How to prepare ourselves to welcome the month of Ramadhan ?
27 Sha'ban 1436

The prophet (s.a.w.w.) said:
(أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ! إِنَّهُ قَدْ أَقْبَلَ إِلَيْكُمْ شَهْرُ اللهِ بِالْبَرَكَةِ وَالرَّحْمَةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ . شَهْرٌ هُوَ عِنْدَ اللهِ أَفْضَلُ الشُّهُورِ، وَأَيَّامُهُ أَفْضَلُ الأَيَّامِ، وَلَيَالِيهِ أَفْضَلُ اللَّيَالِي، وَسَاعَاتُهُ أَفْضَلُ السَّاعَاتِ . هُوَ شَهْرٌ دُعِيتُمْ فِيهِ إِلَى ضِيَافَةِ اللهِ، وَجُعِلْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ كَرَامَةِ اللَّهِ . أَنْفَاسُكُمْ فِيهِ تَسْبِيحٌ، وَنَوْمُكُمْ فِيهِ عِبَادَةٌ، وَعَمَلُكُمْ فِيهِ مَقْبُولٌ، وَدُعَاؤُكُمْ فِيهِ مُسْتَجَابٌ).

We are nearing the blessed month of Ramadhan,, the month of forgiveness and mercy, the month of goodness and blessing. We should, before entering this great month, prepare ourselves to welcome it.

So what preparation is required? Is it by preparing a lot of food and drink , or decorating the home, or planning entertaining programs until the time of Sahar, or sleeping for long hours during the day etc. etc.. Or are there other matters we should consider in order to welcome this holy month. If so, then what are these? Here are a few:

1-Prepare by purifying ourselves from sins and wrongdoings because we are God’s guests during this month. As the prophet (s.a.w.w.) said:
(شهر دعيتم فيه الى ضيافة الله وجعلتم من اهل كرامة الله).
Have we then purified our hearts and selves so we can present ourselves to the Almighty having discharged our obligations towards God and our fellow man and repented for all our wrongdoings? Because the doors of repentance, mercy and turning towards God are wide open for everyone during this holy month so we may succeed to this divine hospitality and thus not be among the unfortunate as the prophet (s.a.w.w.) said:
(فان الشقي من حرم غفران الله).

2-Prepare by redressing our wrongs to others [Rad-e-madhalim] and repaying them; because supplications [Duas] will be useless if a person is unjust and has usurped the rights of others. We have to seek the satisfaction of those whom we have wronged, because if the oppressed supplicates [against the oppressor] then God will listen to him. We must therefore seek their satisfaction before the beginning of the holy month. Should we not do this, then on the Day of Judgment, they will cling on whatever they can and demand their rights - after which no good deeds shall remain for that individual. And if no good deeds remain (because those whom have been wronged have taken all their rights) all the bad deeds will taken from those with grievances and placed in the balance of the bad deeds of that individual. Thus it is required from us to settle the rights and grievances of others before the beginning of the month so that we may be prepared receive the divine pardon and answers for our prayers.

3-Prepare ourselves by purifying our relationship with our Momineen brothers; because the Duas of those whose hearts harbour hate and bickering will not be answered. The prophet (s.a.w.w) says:
(أيُّها النّاس لا تحاسدوا ولا تقاطعوا ولا تدابروا ولا تباغضوا وكونوا عباداً لله إخواناً)
The Momin does not know hatred and envy, because envy destroys good deeds just like fire destroys wood. We therefore have to reconcile our relationships with others before the beginning of the month; because those who forsake each other will not obtain an answer for their Duas. The prophet (s.a.w.w.) says to Abu Dhar: “Beware of abandoning your brother for your actions will not be accepted [by God] if you abandon. O Abu Dhar, I forbid you from abandoning, should you do so then do not abandon him for more than three days.” Deeds will not be accepted if the Momin abandons his brother. The prophet (s.a.w.w) said:

(أيما مسلمين تهاجرا فمكثا ثلاثا لا يصطلحان إلا كانا خارجين عن الاسلام ، ولم يكن بينهما ولاية ، فأيهما سبق إلى كلام أخيه كان السابق إلى الجنة يوم الحساب Imam Al- Sadiq (a.s.) said:
(لا يفترق رجلان على الهجران إلا استوجب أحدهما البراءة واللعنة ، وربما استحق ذلك كلاهما ، فقال له معتّب: جعلني الله فداك !.. هذا الظالم ، فما بال المظلوم ؟.. قال : لأنه لا يدعو أخاه إلى صلته ، ولا يتغامس له عن كلامه ، سمعت أبي يقول : إذا تنازع اثنان فعازّ أحدهما الآخر فليرجع المظلوم إلى صاحبه حتى يقول لصاحبه : أي أخي أنا الظالم حتى يقطع الهجران بينه وبين صاحبه ، فإن الله تبارك وتعالى حكم عدل ، يأخذ للمظلوم من الظالم)

And we must purify our hearts from cheating, envy, rancor, hypocrisy or else we shall be included in this saying of Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.):
(ومن بات وفي قلبه غش لأخيه المسلم ، بات في سخط الله وأصبح كذلك وهو في سخط الله حتى يتوب ويرجع)

Islam is a religion of love and fraternity and the settlement of rights. It is of no use that we pray and fast but do not interact according to God’s orders and our hearts do not love one another. Because prayer teaches us love as it teaches us purity and serenity. Therefore our supplications will not be heard unless our hearts are empty of grudge, envy and hatred.

4-We prepare ourselves to welcome the month of Ramadhan by inspecting the conditions of the needy. The month of Ramadhan starts could start and there are hungry mouths and people sleeping on the floor and families unable to provide proper clothing for themselves and others without shelter – and here we are, blessed with plenty of clothes, food and drink. Fairness requires us to inspect the conditions of these people before the holy month, because the Hadith says:
(من كان له فضل ثوب وعلم بان في حضرته محتاج، اكبه الله على منخريه في نار جهنم)

I have an extra shirt and my brother doesn’t – this is neither Iman nor Islam. The Hadith says:
(مثل المؤمنون في توادهم وتراحمهم كمثل الجسد إذا اشتكى بعضه تداعى سائره بالسهر والحمى)

Also, the believer should not live in satiety and his Momin brother in hunger. The Hadith says:
(ما آمن بي من بات شبعاناً وجاره جائع) (ليس منا من لم يحسن مجاورة من جاوره)
Therefore the Momin has to check the condition of his Momin brother, near or far, in each corner of the globe. If we hear of a needy person then we must help; because in reality the responsibility is not restricted to the home or the neighbourhood; rather it encompasses all Momineen wherever they may be. If you hear of a needy person at the far corner of the world whom you are able to help and you don’t; then you are accountable. The Hadith says:
(أيما مؤمن منع مؤمنا شيئا مما يحتاج إليه وهو يقدر عليه من عنده أو من عند غيره ، أقامه الله عزوجل يوم القيامة مسودا وجهه، مزرقة عيناه ، مغلولة يداه إلى عنقه ، فيقال : هذا الخائن الذي خان الله ورسوله ، ثم يؤمر إلى النار).

Islam requires us to feel for the conditions of the poor and needy and not waste our money on that which does not please God, so we may not be plagued by our action on judgement day. We will be held accountable for each dirham we spend. The Hadith says:
(لا تزول قدما عبد يوم القيامة حتى يسأل عن أربع: عن عمره فيم أفناه، وعن جسده فيم أبلاه، وعن ماله فيم أنفقه ومن أين اكتسبه، وعن حبّنا أهل البيت.)

Our monies should be spent in what please God and not on illicit matters. Help the needy especially those who need food. Among the recommended acts of the month of Ramadhan as the prophet (s.a.w.w.) said:
(أيها الناس مَن فطر منكم صائماً مؤمناً في هذا الشهر كان له بذلك عند الله عتق رقبة ومغفرة لما مضى من ذنوبه.) (ما من مؤمن يطعم مؤمنا شبعا ، إلا أطعمه الله عزوجل من ثمار الجنة ، ولا سقاه شربة إلا سقاه الله من الرحيق المختوم ، ولا كساه ثوبا ، إلا كساه الله عزوجل من الثياب الخضر ، وكان في ضمان الله تعالى مادام من ذلك الثوب سلك)

We ask Allah (s.w.t) to grant us success in fasting this month and worshiping during its days nights – He is the grantor of success.