Tips to prepare yourself in Sha’ban for Ramadan
While we anxiously wait for the blessed month of Ramadan to start, we often overlook the powerful months leading up to it!
Rajab. Sha’ban. Ramadan. Allah SWT has given us these three months in succession to gain reward and nearness to Him. May He SWT accepts from us all the good deeds that we performed in the month of Rajab. Now it is time for us to focus on the month of Sha’ban.
Sha’ban is also known as the month of the Prophet (SAW) and the gateway to Ramadan. It has its own special merits and rewards. So, we should try to be at the forefront of seizing its rewards and earning Allah SWT’s pleasure.
Here’s four things we can do in Sha’ban to prepare ourselves for Ramadan.
Usamah ibn Zayd reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as you fast during Sha’ban.” The Prophet (SAW) said, “It is a month people neglect between the months of Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the worlds and I like for my deeds to be raised while I am fasting.” [Sunan al-Nasā’ī]
The Prophet (SAW) said that our deeds are raised to Allah SWT in Sha’ban. Therefore, we should be concerned and extra vigilant about what we during this month. We should make sure that we repent to Allah SWT throughout the month and do extra good deeds so that He may be pleased with us.
One specific way to gain these extra good deeds is by keeping voluntary fasting. The Prophet (SAW) specifically chose fasting to be his choice of deed for Sha’ban saying, “I like for my deeds to be raised while I am fasting.”
The fasting person is someone Allah SWT is pleased with. Fasting brings us closer to Allah SWT and away from the Hellfire.
Here’s a hadith which shows us the great importance of fasting:
“Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep his face seventy years’ distance from Hell...” Al-Nasā’ī [Sahih according to Al-Albani]
If we fast even one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep us seventy years distance from Hellfire on the Day of Judgement! This hadith also fills us with the hope of Allah’s mercy and gives us the motivation to do those extra voluntary fasts, especially in the month of Sha’ban, following the beloved Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW).
Sha’ban is also a good time for sisters to make up their missed fasts from the previous Ramadan if they have not done so already. If you choose to make up your fasts at the beginning of the month, it gives you some time to rest before Ramadan begins.
2. QUR’AN and TAFSIR PLANNING:
Sha’ban is also the perfect time to brush up on our Tajweed and Qur’an recitation. We don’t want Ramadan to be our re-introduction to the Qur’an after a whole year absent from it. We can use the month of Sha’ban to watch Tajweed videos on YouTube to help us learn and review rules we may have forgotten. We can also make a list of Tafsirs we want to listen to during Ramadan so that we are not only reading the Qur’an but also making an effort to really understand it and connect with it.
Many people intend to read more Qur’an in Ramadan, but without a plan, this intention can remain unfulfilled. Planning our Ramadan Qur’an goals in Sha’ban is one of the best ways to make sure that when Ramadan comes, we can dive right into what we need to do. Some people like to aim for the classic one juz per day method to finish the Qur’an.
Others may not be able to take on such a big commitment. Regardless of what your Qur’an goals are, it is important to plan them early. How many pages do you want to read per day? Will you read in the morning or evening or after each salah? Having a journal or worksheet to help you track your daily Qur’an reading is an easy way to keep track of your Qur’an goals.
There are lots of Ramadan goal trackers available that you can use to plan which surahs we want to read or memorize during the month of Ramadan.
3. PLANNING FINANCES
Ramadan is the month of charity. The Prophet (SAW) was known to be more generous in Ramadan than in any other month of the year. We should all aspire to be more charitable in Ramadan, but that lofty goal should ideally begin before Ramadan.
Use the month of Sha’ban to take inventory of your budget and expenses. How much money can you afford to give to charity in the month of Ramadan? Make the sincere intention to give and ask Allah SWT to place barakah in what He has given you.
Set some money for Zakah, Sadaqah, and Zakat ul-Fitr ahead of time so that when it’s time to give, you are confident and stress-free, Insha'Allah.
Covid-19 has left many families around the world struggling more than ever before. Planning your finances is one of the best ways to guarantee that you will have something to help them!
4. SEEKING FORGIVENESS
One more good deed to do in Sha’baan is to seek Allah SWT’s forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance.
Mu’adh ibn Jabal reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Allah looks down at his creation on the middle night of Sha’ban and he forgives all of his creatures, except for an idolater or one harboring malice.” [Sahih Ibn Hibbān]
Most of us wait until Ramadan to seek forgiveness because we see and remember Ramadan as the month of forgiveness.
However, the Prophet (SAW) is bringing to our attention here in this hadith that we need to seek Allah SWT’s forgiveness in Sha’ban as well. This is not a month we can overlook. We need to seek Allah SWT’s forgiveness from the major sins and the minor sins, whether that’s shirk or hurting other people and holding grudges against them. We need to forgive those who have hurt us and clean our hearts for the sake of Allah SWT.
Here’s two powerful duas to recite during this blessed month of Sha’ban:
Du’a for protection from minor shirk:
"Allahumma inni a’udhu bika an ushrika bika wa ana a’lamu wa astaghfiruka lima laa a’lamu. “O Allah, I seek refuge with You lest I should commit shirk with You knowingly, and I seek Your forgiveness for what I do unknowingly."
Du’a to cleanse our hearts from any rancor and malice:
"Allahumma tahhir qalbi minal-ghilli wal-hiqdi wal-hasadi wal-kibri. “O Allah, purify my heart from hatred, resentment, jealousy and arrogance."
May Allah SWT protect us from being heedless in the month of Sha’ban, and may He forgive us for our shortcomings. May Allah make it easy for us to fast, to plan for Ramadan, and to forgive those who have wronged us. Ameen.