Month of Shaaban
Shaban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadan. There are some hadiths narrated from the prophet (PBUH) regarding this month:
- The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid , reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad : “Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Shaban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month.” Prophet Muhammad , replied: “That (Shaban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting.”
- Ummul Mu’mineen ‘Aishah (r), says, “Prophet Muhammad , used to fast for most of Shaban. I said to him, ‘Messenger of Allah, is Shaban your favorite month for fasting?’ He said, ‘In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.’ “
- In another Tradition she says, “Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha’ban.”
These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha’ban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, did not like to miss it.
Moreover, with Ramadhan just around the corner, where many of us really do ‘make it or break it’ for the rest of the year due to the quality of our‘ibadah (worship) in it, it becomes paramount to prepare properly for this once in a lifetime opportunity
Preparing for Ramadan
Other than fasting as was mentioned above, There are other steps we could take to help us prepare for Ramadan, it should be noted that these points are not based on a hadith or verse but rather some suggestions from Muslim scholars:
1- Renewing your Intention: Make the intention to fast this month for the sake of allah, for the sake of following the sunnah of the prophet, and for the sake of preparing yourself for Ramadan.
2- Reading Quran: Start by reading 1 or 2 pages/day. Then increase the number of pages gradually everyday until you reach 20 pages by the end of this month.
3- Athkar: Read daily Day and Night Athkar. After getting used to these atkhar try other atkhars found in the book Fortress of the Muslim.
4- Pray Qiyam-ul-Layl: Try to pray at least 2 rakats/day then try to add more rakats later by the end of the week. The sunnah is to pray 11 rakat including the witr as has been narrated in the hadith. That being said, save some energy so that you can push yourself harder in the last ten days of Ramadan
5- Dua: Make plenty of Duaa that Allah will help you worship him and help you prepare for Ramadan. Also, make Duaa that allah grant you the blessing of being alive in the coming Ramadan as the Sahabah used to make Du’a 6 months after Ramadan that Allah accept their deeds in Ramadan. And for the next 6 months, they would make du’a to Allah to grant them the blessing of being alive in the coming Ramadan.
6- Other suggestions: Feeding homeless people, helping your family and friends, charity or even a smile that can make an orphan happy.