Auzubillahi min ash-Shaytanir rajim
Bismillahir Rahamanir Raheem
As we bid the auspicious month of Allah, the noble month of Rajab bye, and resume the exalted month of Sha’ban, it is imperative to mention few words from our learned and saintly past encouraging towards the proper efforts in Sha’ban to get a successful and accepted Ramadan. It is said that if our Sha’ban is not proper, our Ramadan can never be perfect or good enough. The most blissful month of Ramadan is nothing but a downpour of Allah’s mercy and invaluable gifts, the clouds of this Divine rains forms in Rajab, and the strong winds heralding the rains comes in Sha’ban.
- Rain waters are collected in clean pots after rinsing the pots clean, the heart is the depository of Divine graces and the cleanser for the receptacle of the heart is Tawba, profuse and sincere Tawba. This is the foundation of every noble aspiration in our Deen and also our recourse at every junction of our spiritual journey. The saintly ‘alim and Mujahid, the noblest Imam, Shaykh Uthman bn Fundi al-Qadiri al-Maliki (rahimahullah) once mentioned that Tawba is the veil over the filth of our disobedience, our sins, and a veil over the inadequacy of our devotions. Tawba is the security for our past and an assurance for our future. Tawba is life after death, since hearts become dead and decadent with sins and their coming to life again is only through most sincere Tawba.
So, as we gradually journey through Sha’ban enroute Ramadan, it is most imperative to increase our prayers of Istighfar and returning often in repentance so that we arrive the noble month of Ramadan with a clean slate. Any prayers of Tawba from the sunnah would do, and we can as well use few of them interchangeably. Saying Astagfirullah, Astagfirullah, in hundreds or a thousand of times with attentive heart post salat throughout the month of Sha’ban would prove very beneficial. Other longer versions of Dua of Tawba are:
- Astagfirullahal azhim alladhi La ilaha illa huwal hayyul Qayyum
- Ya rabbighfir war’ham wa anta khairu rahimin
- Astaghfirullaha rabbi min kulli zambi wa atubu ilaihi
- One other very important thing to do in Sha’ban towards a fruitful Ramadan is to engage in mandub (nafilah) fast in the month of Sha’ban. We should endeavour to fast some or most of the first fifteen days. Doing more than this is also permitted, but is recommended by some of our noble Fuqaha (alaihimu ‘r-rahma) that we stop fasting after the fifteenth of Sha’ban to strengthen ourselves for the obligatory fast of Ramadan. Those who choose to fast beyond the fifteenth of Sha’ban are, however, advised to stop fasting one or two days before the commencement of the month of Ramadan.
- The fasting of the fifteenth day of Sha’ban, the day following the laylatul bara’ah should be given special credence like all our learned elders of the past. We should use this occasion to make profuse Dua for a Ramadan that would earn us the Jannat key.
- We should also endeavour to worship profusely throughout or most of the part of the fifteenth night of Sha’ban called laylatul bara’ah. We should deed this night an opportunity to seal our victory in Ramadan in advance. Worshipping on this night and fasting the following day are rigorously certified by virtually all the learned of the sublime sunni way and its most noble Imams (alaihimu ‘r-ridwan). It is believed that Duas sent on this night is never repelled by our Karim Lord. As a matter of fact, Imam ad-Daylami (rahimahullah) narrates from our beloved mother, ‘Aisha Siddiqah (radiAllahu ‘anha) as saying:
I heard Rasulullah (alaihi ‘s-salam) saying, ‘Allahu ta’ala pours down goodness profusely in four nights; the night of ad-ha (the 10th night of Dhul Hijjah), the night of fitr (the first of Shawwal), the 15th of Sha’ban (laylatul bara’ah) and the first night of Rajab.
Imam ad-Daylami (rahimahullah) also reported from the exalted Sayyidina Abu Umama (radiAllahu ‘anh) that Rasulullah (alaihi ‘s-salam) said:
There are five nights in which Duas (supplication) are not rejected; the first night of Rajab, the fifteenth night of Sha’ban, the night of Jumu’ah (Friday) and the two nights of Eid.
- We are advised to make profuse Dua specially on this night and throughout the month of Sha’ban seeking from Allahu ta’ala the grace (tawfiq) to participate fully and acceptably in all the profound and menial devotions of Ramadan, so that the month of Ramadan becomes a witness for us.
- We need to also increase and improve on our tilawat Qur’an in Sha’ban, we need to ensure closer contact with the Qur’an al-Majid from this month so that we are already fully on recitation course before the month of Ramadan begins.
- The learned (alaihimu ‘r-ridwan) also encourage us to prepare our Ramadan time-table in this month. A life without a proper schedule is a life in shambles, even animals have some orderliness maintained in their daily life. An hour wasted in Ramadan is a whole life lost, so to escape waste and great losses one has to make a practical and realistic personal time-table throughout Ramadan. This is keeping with the noble ways of our saintly elders, the noble inheritors of Rasulullah (alaihi ‘s-salam), this is the sunnah.
Our Dua as we approach the noble and most honourable month of Ramadan is that we are guided to the right preparation and granted the best of Ramadan ever, and that we are also given greater Ramadan after this. Let us all together spread the message of preparation and help others to the best way to make use of this great month of Divine bounties. Let us forgive others, remove all enmity in the hearts, unite hearts and encourage reconciliation so that with brotherly love, affection and concern we can work together for the best of Ramadan. May our Karim Lord accept our very paltry efforts in the Deen, may He join us all together at the feet of our saintly elders when Qiyama comes. Due to their sublime barakah, may our last day on the earth be the best of our days in life, amin.
Work hard for acceptance without delay
Ramadan is for effort night and day
Soak yourself in devotions focusing the gains
When the goals are lofty we forget the pains
* * * * * * * * *
We do not know what tomorrow holds
But the Lord of tomorrow we surely know
Be mindful of Allah always seeking His grace
Ramadan is a season soonest to end
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