The virtues of Qiyaam (prayer at night) during Ramadaan

The virtues of Qiyaam (prayer at night) during Ramadaan

What is the virtues of Qiyaam (prayer at night) during Ramadaan ?

Praise be to Allaah.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to encourage us to pray at night in Ramadaan, without making it obligatory. Then he said, ‘Whoever prays at night in Ramadaan out of faith and the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.’ When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died, this is how things were (i.e., Taraaweeh was not prayed in congregation), and this is how they remained during the khilaafah of Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him), until the beginning of the khilaafah of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him).”

‘Amr ibn Murrah al-Juhani said: “A man from Qudaa’ah came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! What do you think if I testify that there is no god except Allaah, and that you, Muhammad, are His Messenger, and I pray the five daily prayers, and fast in the month (of Ramadaan), and pray at night in Ramadaan, and pay zakaah?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever dies on that will be among the siddeeqeen (those who tell the truth) and the martyrs.’”

Laylat al-Qadr and its timing

2 – The best of its nights is Laylat al-Qadr, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays at night during Laylat al-Qadr {and manages to “catch” it} out of faith and the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.”

3 – According to the most correct opinion, it is the twenty-seventh night of Ramadaan. Most of the ahaadeeth state this, such as the hadeeth of Zurr ibn Hubaysh, who said: “I heard Ubayy ibn Ka’b saying – and it was said to him that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood said: ‘Whoever follows the Sunnah will ‘catch’ Laylat al-Qadr!’ – Ubayy (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: ‘May Allaah have mercy on him, he did not want people to take it for granted and only stay up to pray on one night. By the One besides Whom there is no other god, it is in Ramadaan – he was swearing without a doubt – and by Allaah, I do know which night it is. It is the night in which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to pray (qiyaam). It is the night the morning of which is the twenty seventh, and the sign of it is that the sun rises on that morning white and without rays.’”

In another report, this was attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). (Reported by Muslim and others).

Praying qiyaam in congregation

It is allowed to pray qiyaam in congregation, indeed it is better than praying individually, because this is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did himself and explained its virtues. Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “We fasted Ramadaan with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he did not lead us in qiyaam at all until there were only seven days left, when he led us in prayer until a third of the night had passed. When there were six days left, he did not lead us in qiyaam. When there were five days left, he led us in prayer until half the night had passed. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I wish that you had continued until the end of the night.’ He said, ‘If a man prays with the imaam until he finishes, it will be counted as if he prayed the whole night.’ When there were four nights left, he did not lead us in qiyaam. When there were three nights left, he brought together his family, his wives and the people, and led us in qiyaam until we were afraid that we would miss al-falaah. I asked, ‘What is al-falaah?’ he said, ‘Suhoor. Then he did not lead us in qiyaam for the rest of the month.’” (Saheeh hadeeth reported by the authors of Sunan).

The reason why the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not continually lead the people in praying qiyaam in congregation

5 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not lead them in qiyaam for the rest of the month because he feared that it would then become obligatory, and they would not be able to do it, as is stated in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah reported in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere. Following the death of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), that fear was no longer a factor, because Allaah had completed the religion. The reason for not praying qiyaam in congregation during Ramadaan no longer applied, and the previous ruling, that congregational prayer is something prescribed in Islam, remained in effect. So ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) revived the practice, as is recorded inSaheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere.

Women can pray qiyaam in congregation

Women can attend the prayers too, as is stated in the hadeeth of Abu Dharr referred to above. Indeed, it is permissible to appoint an imaam just for them, apart from the imaam of the men. It was proven that when ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) gathered the people to pray qiyaam, he appointed Ubayy ibn Ka’b to lead the men and Sulaymaan ibn Abi Hathmah to lead the women. ‘Arfajah al-Thaqafi said: “ ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to command the people to pray during the night in Ramadaan, and he would appoint an imaam for the men and an imaam for the women. I was the imaam for the women.”

I say: this is fine in my view so long as the mosque is big enough so that they will not disturb one another.

Number of rak’ahs of qiyaam

7 – The number of rak’ahs is eleven, and it is preferable in our opinion not to exceed this number, following the practice of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because he never did more than that in his life. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was asked about how he prayed in Ramadaan. She said, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never prayed more than eleven rak’ahs (of qiyaam), whether during Ramadaan or any other time. He would pray four, and don’t ask me how beautiful or how long they were. Then he would pray four, and don’t ask me how beautiful or how long they were. Then he would pray three.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Muslim and others).

8- A person may do less than that, even if it is only one rak’ah of witr, because of the evidence that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this and spoke about it.

With regard to him doing it: ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was asked how many rak’ahs the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray in witr? She said, “He used to pray four and three, or six and three, or ten and three. He never used to pray less than seven, or more than thirteen.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, Ahmad and others).

With regard to him speaking about it, he said: “Witr is true, so whoever wishes can pray five, and whoever wishes can pray three, and whoever wishes can pray one.”

Reciting Qur’aan in qiyaam

9 – As regards reciting from the Qur’aan during qiyaam, whether in Ramadaan or at other times, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not set a limit or state what was too much or too little. His recitation used to vary, sometimes it would be long, at other times short. Sometimes in every rak’ah he would recite the equivalent of ‘Yaa ayyuha’l-muzammil, which is twenty aayaat; sometimes he would recite the equivalent of fifty aayaat. He used to say, “Whoever prays at night and reads one hundred aayaat will not be recorded as one of the negligent.” According to another hadeeth: “…and reads two hundred aayaat, will be recorded as one of the devout and sincere believers.”

When he was sick, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the seven long soorahs in his night prayers, i.e., al-Baqarah, Aal ‘Imraan, al-Nisaa’, al-Maa’idah, al-An’aam, al-A’raaf and al-Tawbah.

In the account of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan praying behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), in one rak’ah he recited al-Baqarah, al-Nisa’ and Aal ‘Imraan, and he recited them in a slow and measured tone. It is proven with the soundest (most saheeh) of isnaads that when ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) appointed Ubayy ibn Ka’b to lead the people in praying eleven rak’ahs in Ramadaan, Ubayy used to recite aayaat by the hundreds, so that the people behind him would be leaning on sticks because the prayers were so long, and they did not finish until just before Fajr.

It is also reported in a saheeh account that ‘Umar called the readers during Ramadaan, and told the fastest of them to recite thirty aayaat, the moderate ones to recite twenty-five aayaat, and the slowest ones to recite twenty aayaat.

However, is a person is praying qiyaam by himself, he can make it as long as he wishes; if others agree with the imaam, he may also make it as long as he wishes. The longer it is, the better, but a person should not go to extremes and spend the whole night in qiyaam, except on rare occasions, following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who said: “The best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad.” If a person is praying as an imaam, he should make it only as long as is easy for the people behind him, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any of you leads the people in prayer, let him make it short, because among them are the young and the old, the weak, and those who have pressing needs. But if he is praying alone, let him make it as long as he likes.”

The timing of qiyaam

10 – The time for praying qiyaam is from after ‘Isha until Fajr, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has added one more prayer for you, which is witr, so pray it between Salaat al-‘Isha’ and Salaat al-Fajr.”

11 – Praying at the end of the night is better, for those who can manage it, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever is afraid that he will not get up at the end of the night, let him pray witr at the beginning of the night, but whoever feels that he will be able to get up at the end of the night, let him pray witr at the end of the night, for prayer at the end of the night is witnessed [by the angels???], and that is better.”

12 – If it is the matter of choosing between praying in congregation at the beginning of the night and praying alone at the end of the night, it is preferable to pray with the jamaa’ah, because that is counted as if one had prayed the whole night through.

This is what the Sahaabah did at the time of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him). ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Abd al-Qaari said: “I went out with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab to the mosque one night during Ramadaan, and saw the people scattered throughout the mosque, some praying individually, and some praying in small groups. He said, ‘By Allaah, I think that if I gathered all of them behind one reader it would be better.’ So he resolved to do that, and he gathered them behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b. Then I went with him on another night, and the people were all praying behind their reader, and ‘Umar said, ‘What a good innovation this is. What they sleep and miss – meaning the latter part of the night – is better than what they are doing,’ – the people used to pray qiyaam at the beginning of the night.”

Zayd ibn Wahb said: “‘Abd-Allaah used to lead us in prayer in Ramadaan, and he used to finish at night.”

13 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade praying witr as three rak’ahs, and explained this by saying: “Do not make it resemble Salaat al-Maghrib.” Therefore the person who wants to pray three rak’ahs for witr must find a way to make it different (from Maghrib). There are two ways he can do this: either by giving salaam after the first two rak’ahs, which is the best way; or by not sitting after the first two rak’ahs (i.e., praying three rak’ahs non-stop). And Allaah knows best.

Recitation during three rak’ahs of witr

14 – It is Sunnah to recite Sabbih bi ismi Rabbika al-‘A’laa in the first rak’ah, Qul Yaa ayyuha’l-Kaafiroon in the second rak’ah, and Qul Huwa Allaahu ahad in the third rak’ah. Sometimes Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-Falaqand Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-Naas may be added as well.

It was reported in a saheeh report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) once recited one hundred aayaat of Soorat al-Nisa’ in one rak’ah of witr.

Du’aa’ al-Qunoot

15 – A person may also humble himself before Allaah by reciting the du’aa’ which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught to his grandson al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him), which is:

“Allaahumma’hdinee fiman hadayta wa ‘aafinee fiman ‘aafayta wa tawallanee fiman tawallayta wa baarik lee fimaa a’tayta wa qinee sharra maa qadayt, fa innaka taqdee wa laa yuqdaa ‘alayk. Wa innahu laa yadhillu man waalayta wa laa ya’izzu man ‘aadayt. Tabaarakta Rabbanaa wa ta’aalayt. Laa majaa minka illa ilayk (O Allaah, guide me along with those whom You have guided, pardon me along with those whom You have pardoned, be an ally to me along with those whom You are an ally to, and bless for me that which You have bestowed. Protect me from the evil You have decreed for verily You decree and none can decree over You. For surety, he whom You show allegiance to is never abased and he whom You take an enemy is never honored and mighty. O our Lord, Blessed and Exalted are You. There is no refuge from You except with You).”

Sometimes one may send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and there is nothing wrong with adding other du’aa’s that are known from the Sunnah.

16 – There is nothing wrong with reciting Qunoot after rukoo’, or with adding curses against the kuffaar, sending blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or praying for the Muslims in the second half of Ramadaan, because it is proven that the imaam used to do this at the time of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him). At the end of the hadeeth of ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Ubayd al-Qaari mentioned above, it says: “… They used to curse the kuffaar in the middle, saying, ‘Allaahumma qaatil al-kafarata alladheena yasuddoona ‘an sabeelik wa yukadhdhiboona rusulak wa laa yu’minoona bi wa’dik. Wa khaalif bayna kalimatihim wa alqi fi quloobihim al-ru’b wa alqi ‘alayhim rijzaka wa ‘adhaabak ilaah al-haqq (O Allaah, destroy the kuffaar who are trying to prevent people from following Your path, who deny Your Messengers and who do not believe in Your promise (the Day of Judgement). Make them disunited, fill their hearts with terror and send Your wrath and punishment against them, O God of Truth).” Then he would send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and pray for good for the Muslims as much as he could, and seek forgiveness for the believers.

After he had finished cursing the kuffaar, sending blessings on the Prophet, seeking forgiveness for the believing men and women and asking for his own needs, he would say: “Allaahumma iyyaaka na’bud walaka nusalli wa najud, wa ilayka nas’aa wa nahfud, wa narju rahmataka rabbanaa wa nakhaafu ‘adhaabak al-jadd. Inna ‘adhaabaka liman ‘aadayta mulhaq (O Allaah, You do we worship, to You do we pray and prostrate, for Your sake we strive and toil. We place our hope in Your Mercy, O our Lord, and we fear Your mighty punishment, for Your punishment will certainly overtake the one whom You have taken as an enemy.” Then he would say “Allaahu akbar” and go down in sujood.

What should be said at the end of witr

17 – It is Sunnah to say at the end of witr (before or after the salaam):

“Allaahumma innee a’oodhu bi ridaaka min sakhatika wa bi mu’aafaatika min ‘aqoobatika, wa a’oodhu bika minka. La uhsee thanaa’an ‘alayka, anta kamaa athnayta ‘ala nafsik (O Allaah, I seek refuge in Your good pleasure from Your wrath, and in Your protection from Your punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot praise You enough, and You are as You have praised Yourself.”

18 – When he gave salaam at the end of witr, he said: “Subhaan il-Malik il-Quddoos, subhaan il-Malik il-Quddoos, subhaan il-Malik il-Quddoos (Glory be to the Sovereign, the Most Holy), elongating the syllables, and raising his voice the third time.

Two rak’ahs after witr

19 – A person may pray two rak’ahs after witr if he wishes, because it is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this. Indeed, he said, “This travelling is exhausting and difficult, so after any one of you prays witr, let him pray two rak’ahs. If he wakes up, this is fine, otherwise these two rak’ahs will be counted for him.

20 – It is Sunnah to recite Idha zulzilat al-ard and Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon in these two rak’ahs.

Offering congratulations for the beginning of Ramadaan

Offering congratulations for the beginning of Ramadaan

What is the ruling on offering congratulations for the beginning of Ramadaan by saying “Kull ‘aam wa antum bikhayr (roughly equivalent to “Many happy returns” – traditional Arabic phrase of congratulations on occasions such as Eid etc.)?.

Praise be to Allaah.

There is no specific wording that the Muslim has to use to offer congratulations for the beginning of Ramadaan, so it is permissible to offer congratulations in any wordings that are customary among the people, such as saying “Kull ‘aam wa antum bi khayr” and other words that do not contain any meanings that are forbidden in Islam.

And Allaah knows best.

What should we say to the Muslims on the occasion of the beginning of Ramadaan?.

What should we say to the Muslims on the occasion of the beginning of Ramadaan?.

Praise be to Allaah.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allaah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.”

[al-Baqarah 2:185]

This blessed month is a great opportunity for goodness, barakah (blessing), worship and obedience towards Allaah.

It is a great month, a noble season, a month in which hasanaat (rewards for good deeds) are multiplied and in which committing sayi’aat (bad deeds) is more serious than at other times. The gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the sinners’ repentance to Allaah is accepted. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its end is redemption from the Fire.

So give thanks to Him for the season of goodness and blessing that He has bestowed upon you, and for the means of bounty and various kinds of great blessings for which He has singled you out. Make the most of this blessed time by filling it with acts of worship and forsaking haraam things, so that you may attain a good life in this world and happiness after death.

For the sincere believer, every month is an occasion for worship and his whole life is spent in obeying Allaah, but in the month of Ramadaan he has even more motives to do good and his heart is even more focused on worship, and he turns even more to his Lord. By His grace, our generous Lord bestows His bounty upon the fasting believers and multiplies the reward for them on this blessed occasion, so He gives abundantly and rewards generously for righteous deeds.

Time passes quickly

Days pass so quickly, as if they were mere moments. We welcomed Ramadaan, then we bade it farewell, and only a short period of time passed and we are welcoming Ramadaan again. So we should hasten to do good deeds in this month and strive to fill it with that which Allaah is pleased with and with that which will help us on the Day when we meet Him.

How can we prepare for Ramadaan?

We can prepare for Ramadaan by taking stock of ourselves and recognizing our shortcomings in living up to the Shahaadatayn, or our shortcoming in fulfilling our duties, or our shortcomings in not keeping away from the desires and doubts that we may have fallen into…

We should set ourselves straight so that in Ramadaan we will have a higher degree of faith. For faith increases and decreases. It increases through obedience to Allaah and it decreases through disobedience and sin. The first act of obedience that a person should achieve is that of being a true slave of Allaah and believing that there is none that is rightfully worshipped except Allaah, so he directs all kinds of worship to Allaah and does not associate anyone else in worship with Him. Each of us should realize that whatever has befallen him could not have missed him, and whatever missed him could not have befallen him, and that everything happens by the will and decree of Allaah.

We should avoid everything that could undermine our commitment to the Shahaadatayn. This means keeping away from bid’ah (innovations) and things that have been introduced into the religion. We should also follow the principle of al-walaa’ wa’l-bara’ (loyalty and friendship vs. disavowal and enmity), by taking the believers as our friends and by regarding the kaafirs and hypocrites as enemies, and we should rejoice when the Muslims gain a victory over their enemies. We should follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions and adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the way of the Rightly-Guided Khulafa’ who came after him. We should love the Sunnah and love those who adhere to it and defend it, in whatever country they are and whatever colour or nationality they are.

After that we should take stock of ourselves and recognize our shortcomings in doing acts of worship such as praying in congregation, remembering Allaah (dhikr), paying attention to the rights of neighbours, relatives and the Muslims, spreading the greeting of salaam, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, urging one another to follow the truth and be patient and steadfast in doing so, being patient in avoiding evil actions and in doing good deeds, and accepting the decree of Allaah with patience.

Then we should take stock of ourselves and our sins and our following whims and desires. We should stop ourselves from persisting in that, whether the sin is great or small, whether it is a sin of the eye, by looking at that which Allaah has forbidden; or by listening to music; or by walking to things of which Allaah does not approve; or by using one’s hands to srike in a manner with which Allaah is not pleased; or by consuming things that Allaah has forbidden such as riba (usury) and bribes, or any other means of consuming people’s wealth unlawfully.

We should never forget that Allaah stretches forth His hand during the day to accept the repentance of those who sinned at night, and He stretches forth His hand at night to accept the repentance of those who sinned during the day. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).

Those who spend (in Allaah’s Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allaah loves Al-Muhsinoon (the good‑doers).

And those who, when they have committed Faahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allaah and ask forgiveness for their sins; — and none can forgive sins but Allaah — and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.

For such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath (Paradise), wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is this reward for the doers (who do righteous deeds according to Allaah’s Orders)”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:133-136]

“Say: “O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”

[al-Zumar 39:53]

“And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allaah’s forgiveness, he will find Allaah Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”

[al-Nisa’ 4:110]

By taking stock, repenting and seeking forgiveness, this is how we should welcome Ramadaan. “The smart man is the one who takes stock of himself and strives to do that which will benefit him after death, and the helpless one is the one who follows his own whims and desires and engages in wishful thinking, (assuming that Allaah will forgive him regardless of what he does and that he does not need to strive to good deeds).”

The month of Ramadaan is the month of great gains and profits. The smart trader is the one who makes the most of special occasions to increase his profits. So make the most of this month by doing lots of acts of worship, praying a great deal, reading Qur’aan, forgiving people, being kind to others and giving charity to the poor.

In the month of Ramadaan the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are shut. The devils are put in chains and a caller cries out each night, O seeker of good, proceed, O seeker of evil, desist.

So, O slaves of Allaah, be among the people of good, following the path of your righteous forebears who were guided by the Sunnah of your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so that we may end Ramadaan with our sins forgiven and our righteous deeds accepted.

We should note that the month of Ramadaan is the best of months.

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

Another of example of that – i.e., of the differentiation between the things that Allaah has created – is the fact that the month of Ramadaan is superior to all other months, and the last ten nights are superior to the other nights.”

Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/56

This month is superior to others in four things:

1 – In it there is the best night of the year, which is Laylat al-Qadr. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’aan) down in the Night of Al‑Qadr (Decree).

And what will make you know what the Night of Al‑Qadr (Decree) is?

The Night of Al‑Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allaah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months).

Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel (Gabriel)] by Allaah’s Permission with all Decrees,

(All that night), there is peace (and goodness from Allaah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn”

[al-Qadar 97:1-5]

So worship on this night is better than worshipping for a thousand months.

2 – In this month was revealed the best of Books to the best of the Prophets (peace be upon them). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)”

[al-Baqarah 2:185]

“We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night [(i.e. the Night of Al‑Qadr) in the month of Ramadan — the 9th month of the Islamic calendar]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].

Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.

As a Command (or this Qur’aan or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers)”

[al-Dukhaan 44:3-5]

It was narrated by Ahmad and by al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer that Waathilah ibn al-Asqa’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Scriptures of Ibraaheem were sent down on the first of the month of Ramadaan. The Tawraat was sent down on the sixth of Ramadaan. The Injeel was sent down on the thirteenth of Ramadaan. The Zaboor was sent down on the eighteenth of Ramadaan, and the Qur’aan was sent down on the twenty-fourth of Ramadaan.

Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1575.

2 – In this month the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the devils are chained up.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains.” (Agreed upon).

Al-Nasaa’i narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Ramadaan comes, the gates of mercy are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the devils are put in chains.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 471.

Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and Ibn Khuzaymah narrated in one report: “When the first night of the month of Ramadaan comes, the devils and rebellious jinn are chained up and the gates of Hell are closed, and not one gate of it is opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and not one gate of it is closed. And a caller cries out: ‘O seeker of good, proceed; O seeker of evil, desist. And Allaah has those whom He redeems from the Fire, and that happens every night.”

Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 759.

If it is asked, how come we see many evil actions and sins committed in Ramadaan, for if the devils are chained up that would not happen?

The answer is that evil actions become less for those who observe the conditions and etiquette of fasting;

or that the ones who are chained up are some of the devils – namely the rebellious ones – not all of them;

or that what is meant is that evil is reduced in Ramadaan, which is a proven fact. If evil happens at this time, it is still less than at other times. Even if all of them (the devils) are chained up, that does not necessarily mean that no evil or sin will happen, because there are other causes of that besides the devils, such as evil souls, bad habits and the devils among mankind. Al-Fath, 4/145

4 – There are many kinds of worship in Ramadaan, some of which are not done at other times, such as fasting, praying qiyaam, feeding the poor, i’tikaaf, sadaqah, and reading Qur’aan.

I ask Allaah, the Exalted, the Almighty, to help us all to do that and to help us to fast and pray qiyaam, and to do acts of worship and to avoid doing evil. Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.

How can we prepare for the arrival of Ramadaan?

How can we prepare for the arrival of Ramadaan?

How can we prepare for Ramadaan? What are the best deeds in this blessed month?.

Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly:

You have done well to ask this question, because you have asked how to prepare for the month of Ramadaan. Many people misunderstand the true nature of fasting, and they make it an occasion for eating and drinking, making special sweets and staying up late at night and watching shows on satellite TV. They make preparations for that long before Ramadaan, lest they miss out on some food or prices go up. They prepare by buying food, preparing drinks and looking at the satellite TV guide so they can choose which shows to follow and which to ignore. They are truly unaware of the real nature of fasting in Ramadaan; they take worship and piety out of the month and make it just for their bellies and their eyes.

Secondly:

Others are aware of the real nature of fasting in the month of Ramadaan, so they start to prepare from Sha’baan, and some of them even start before that. Among the best ways of preparing for the month of Ramadaan are:

1 –Sincere repentance

This is obligatory at all times, but because of the approach of a great and blessed month, it is even more important to hasten to repent from sins between you and your Lord, and between you and other people by giving them their rights, so that when the blessed month begins you may busy yourself with acts of worship with a clean heart and peace of mind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful”

[al-Noor 24:31]

It was narrated from al-Agharr ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O people, repent to Allaah for I repent to Him one hundred times each day.” Narrated by Muslim (2702).

2 –Du’aa’ (supplication)

It was narrated from some of the salaf that they used to pray to Allaah for six months that they would live until Ramadaan, then they would pray for five months afterwards that He would accept it from them.

The Muslim should ask his Lord to let him live until Ramadaan with a strong religious commitment and good physical health, and he should ask Him to help him obey Him during the month, and ask Him to accept his good deeds from Him.

3 – Rejoicing at the approach of the blessed month

The arrival of Ramadaan is one of the great blessings that Allaah bestows upon His Muslim slave, because Ramadaan is one of the occasions of good in which the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed. It is the month of the Qur’aan and of decisive battles in the history of our religion.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say: ‘In the Bounty of Allaah, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Qur’aan); —therein let them rejoice.’ That is better than what (the wealth) they amass”

[Yoonus 10:58]

4 – Discharging the duty of any outstanding obligatory fasts

It was narrated that Abu Salamah said: I heard ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) say: I would owe fasts from the previous Ramadaan and I would not be able to make them up except in Sha’baan.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1849) and Muslim (1146).

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

From her keenness to do that in Sha’baan it may be understood that it is not permissible to delay making them up until another Ramadaan begins.

Fath al-Baari (4/191).

5 – Seeking knowledge in order to be able to follow the rulings on fasting and to understand the virtues of Ramadaan.

6 – Hastening to complete any tasks that may distract the Muslim from doing acts of worship.

7 – Sitting with one’s family members – wife and children – to tell them of the rulings on fasting and encourage the young ones to fast.

8 – Preparing some books which can be read at home or given to the imam of the mosque to read to the people during Ramadaan.

9 – Fasting some of the month of Sha’baan in preparation for fasting Ramadaan.

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast until we said: He will not break his fast, and he used not to fast until we said: He will not fast. And I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) complete a month of fasting except Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more in any month than in Sha’baan.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1868) and Muslim (1156).

It was narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd said: I said: O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting in any month as you fast in Sha’baan? He said: “That is a month that people neglect between Rajab and Ramadaan, but it is a month in which people’s deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds and I would like my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting.”

Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (2357); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.

This hadeeth explains the wisdom behind fasting in Sha’baan, which is that it is a month in which deeds are taken up (to Allaah). Some of the scholars mentioned another reason, which is that this fasting is like Sunnah prayers offered beforehand in relation to the obligatory prayer; they prepare the soul for performing the obligatory action, and the same may be said of fasting Sha’baan before Ramadaan.

10 – Reading Qur’aan

Salamah ibn Kuhayl said: It was said that Sha’baan was the month of the Qur’aan readers.

When Sha’baan began, ‘Amr ibn Qays would close his shop and free his time for reading Qur’aan.

Abu Bakr al-Balkhi said: The month of Rajab is the month for planting, the month of Sha’baan is the month of irrigating the crops, and the month of Ramadaan is the month of harvesting the crops.

He also said: The likeness of the month of Rajab is that of the wind, the likeness of Sha’baan is that of the clouds and the likeness of Ramadaan is that of the rain; whoever does not plant and sow in Rajab, and does not irrigate in Sha’baan, how can he reap in Ramadaan? Now Rajab has passed, so what will you do in Sha’baan if you are seeking Ramadaan? This is how your Prophet and the early generations of the ummah were in this blessed month, so what will you do?

Thirdly:

For more information on the deeds that the Muslim should do in Ramadaan, see the answers to questions no. 26869 and 12468.

And Allaah is the Source of strength.

Islam Q&A