Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, reflection, and charity in the Islamic calendar, which holds significant spiritual importance for Muslims globally. To fully capitalize on this sacred period, Muslims must prepare themselves mentally and physically. Here are some insightful quotes from the Qur’an, hadith, and scholars of the four schools of thought to assist in preparing for Ramadan.
The Qur’an encourages Muslims to engage in fasting, as stated in Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:183, “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” It also highlights the significance of the month of Ramadan as a guide to mankind, with clear signs for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong) (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:185).
Hadith, narrations of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), reinforce the significance of Ramadan, stating in Sahih Al-Bukhari, “When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the devils are chained.” Furthermore, Sahih Al-Bukhari notes that “whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.”
Scholars also play a vital role in preparing Muslims for Ramadan. Imam Abu Hanifa, founder of the Hanafi school of thought, stated that “The month of Ramadan is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Paradise.” Imam Malik, founder of the Maliki school of thought, noted that “The reward for every good deed is multiplied during Ramadan.” Imam Shafi’i, founder of the Shafi’i school of thought, stated that “Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and seeking Allah’s reward, will have their previous sins forgiven.” Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, founder of the Hanbali school of thought, emphasized that “Fasting Ramadan is a means of attaining Taqwa (piety), and the purpose of Taqwa is to attain Allah‘s pleasure.”
To prepare for Ramadan, Muslims should consider starting to fast gradually before the commencement of Ramadan. Starting by skipping breakfast or lunch and gradually increasing the duration of fasts helps adjust the body to the change in eating habits. Planning meals beforehand, including a balanced and nutritious diet, is vital during non-fasting hours. Increasing spiritual activities such as praying, reading the Qur’an, and attending religious lectures also helps strengthen the connection with Allah.
Charity is an integral part of Ramadan, and Muslims should earmark funds for charitable causes. Additionally, disconnecting from social media or limiting its use during Ramadan helps avoid distractions and focus on spiritual goals.
More importantly, staying hydrated during non-fasting hours is crucial, drinking plenty of water and other fluids while avoiding sugary drinks and caffeine. Muslims should make dua (supplication) for themselves, their families, and their communities and ask Allah to guide them on their spiritual journey.
The Qur’an, hadith, and teachings of scholars provide valuable insights for Muslims preparing for Ramadan. Fasting during this blessed month is an opportunity to attain piety and seek Allah’s pleasure. Muslims should strive to utilize this period for spiritual growth and self-improvement, seeking to derive maximum benefit from this holy month.