Many people find it difficult getting into the spiritual state that Ramadan requires and complain in the last ten days of the great month that their month has gone to waste. A major reason for this it seems is that they assume that Allah would have Muslims worship him one month of the year! Whilst worship is a daily affair, Allah would have us worship more in some months over others. Furthermore, the righteous, in understanding the importance of Ramadan, would want to be as prepared as possible, and as a result, would begin preparation two months earlier in Rajab!
Abu Bakr al-Balkhi said: The month of Rajab is the month for planting, the month of Sha’ban is the month of irrigating crops, and the month of Ramadan 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’ban is that of the clouds and the likeness of Ramadan is that of the rain; whoever does not plant and sow in Rajab, and does not irrigate in Sha’ban, how can he reap in Ramadan? Now that Rajab has passed, so what will you do in Sha’ban if you are seeking Ramadan? This is how your Prophet and the early generations of the ummah were in this blessed month. So what will you do?
Sha’ban is the month where last year’s account of good and bad actions for every individual ascends to Allah. As we know, there are four instances when our actions ascend to Allah: the daily record, weekly record, yearly record, and the whole life record. It is reported that Usamah b. Zayd said:
“I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’ban.’ He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’”
The difference between last and this year is that a whole year of your life has passed. A whole year of more than 350 days of actions recorded. The actions of the days are recorded, not neglecting any hour, nor second of each day. Therefore, sit down and try to reflect on what you did in the past year and try to remember the actions that will be put forth in front of Allah.
In this year, many people have made Jannah obligatory upon them due to the good they did, while others have made Jahannam obligatory upon them due to the evil they committed. Have you wondered which of these two types of people you are?High levels in Jannah have been achieved by people who have used their time wisely, yet we remain where we are, still unable to fulfil the obligations as commanded by Allah, still unable to pray on time, still unable to pray in the Masjid. When is the time for us to wake up from this heedless state and realise what we have done and repent and ask Allah for forgiveness?
You may be asking, “What do you want me to do now?” Brothers and sisters, every day that has passed in this previous year has been an extra chance for you to do good, and now that you have looked back at what you have done and what will be put forth in front of Allah, it is time to realise that Allah has blessed you by letting you live until this day. So many people have died during the past year, yet Allah has let you live, and even let you read this reminder to encourage you to turn back to Him, so now is the time to do so.We are now in Sha’ban, so make sure you make full use of it, and repent and seek forgiveness from Allah for all your sins and shortcomings, so that they are forgiven before they ascend to your Lord. Sha’ban is a month which many people neglect. Imagine you are worshipping Allah at a time which many people neglect, and when Allah looks at His creation during that time, only a few humans are engaging in worship, and you are one of them. Sha’ban is a time of fasting, as the Prophet used to fast the majority of this month, so ensure you follow his Sunnah and increase in fasting. Also, make sure you prepare yourself for Ramadan by increasing in qiyamul-layl, reading the Qur’an, offering voluntary prayers and making constant dhikr, so that when Ramadan comes, you are fully prepared for it and are already used to doing righteous actions.