الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد
Fasting during the month of Ramadhaan is an obligation upon the Muslims and is a pillar from the pillars of Islaam, and so with the advent of the month of Ramadhaan, one should prepare for the many acts of worship such as fasting and standing in the night prayer, Therefore it is necessary upon the Muslim to learn and understand their rulings and regulations in preparation for this month, since there are many from the people who are ignorant or unaware of these rulings, and as a result their reward for the fast may decrease or become invalidated altogether due to their engaging in affairs which have been cautioned against or prohibited. So educating oneself with its rulings is of great importance, additionally there are other affairs which the Muslim actualizes and undertakes as he enters the month of Ramadhaan, and they are as follows:
One Should Sense Joy and Happiness at the Advent of Ramadhaan
The advent of month of Ramadhaan is a joyous occasion, as it is an opportunity for attaining the forgiveness of Allaah, The Most High, through fasting and standing in prayer.
On the authority of Abee Hurairah (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا، غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
((Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhaan out of true faith and seeking reward, then his previous sins will be forgiven for him.))
There occurs likewise from the hadeeth of Abee Hurairah (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
مَن قَامَ رَمَضَانَ إيمَانًا واحْتِسَابًا، غُفِرَ له ما تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنْبِهِ
((Whoever stands [in prayer] in Ramadhaan out of true faith and seeking reward, then his previous sins will be forgiven for him.))
Likewise the gates of Paradise are opened during this month and the gates of the Fire are closed, as occurs in the hadeeth of Abee Hurairah (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
إِذَا جَاءَ رَمَضَانُ فُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ النَّارِ وَصُفِّدَتِ الشَّيَاطِينُ
((When Ramadhaan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the gates of the Fire [of Hell] are closed, and the devils are shackled.))
Ibn Rajab (rahimahullaah) said: How does the believer not rejoice at the good tidings of the opening of the gates of Paradise? How does the sinner not rejoice at the good tidings of the closure of the gates of the Fire? How does the rational one not rejoice at the good tidings of a time in which the devils are shackled? Where does any period of time resemble such a time?”
Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) said regarding the advent of the month of Ramadhaan: “The Muslim should encounter it with joy and happiness and jubilation and thankfulness to Allaah that He has allowed him to reach the month of Ramadhaan and granted him ability and thus made him of the living who compete in righteous action. Indeed reaching the month of Ramadhaan is an immense blessing from Allaah, and it is due to this that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would give his companions the tidings of the advent of Ramadhaan, in manifestation of its virtues.”
As mentioned previously, the Muslim should feel joy at the occasion of Ramadhaan, since it is an opportunity to attain the forgiveness of Allaah, The Most High, and to benefit from the good that can be attained during this month. Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said: “Whoever reaches the month of Ramadhaan, and Allaah enables him to benefit from it, then indeed Allaah has conferred upon him a great blessing – which is such that nothing is equal to it.”
Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) explained this joy which the Muslims feel at the advent of Ramadhaan in further detail when he said: “The reality is that the Muslims are joyous with Ramadhaan in two aspects:
The first aspect: is for the one who is joyous of Ramadhaan because he becomes actively engaged in Ramadhaan upon worship, and so he becomes plentiful in worship, and this is without doubt the basis and it is the objective – and it is good.
The second aspect: is for the one who is joyous of Ramadhaan due to the abundance of its good and the abundance of the blessings of Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic, as well as His Pardon over His servants, as well as due to what is within it from the many factors that by way of which Allaah forgives the person on account of; such as fasting.
That which is befitting for a person is that he is joyous of Ramadhaan due to both affairs together.”
To Repent From One’s Sins
Shaikh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) said: “It is legislated for the Muslim that he encounters this noble month with sincere repentance, and makes preparation for fasting it and standing within it (in prayer) with sound intention and true determination.”
The Shaikh (rahimahullaah) said likewise: “That one is to have careful consideration for repentance before this noble month enters, so that it enters upon you and you are in safety from your sins, Allaah may wipe them from your account due to repentance. Then have true determination that you will be upright in Ramadhaan.”
Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said: “The best thing that one could encounter Ramadhaan with is repentance, sincere repentance that is acceptable – no matter how great the sin.”
Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) stated at the end of some advice he gave on the advent of Ramadhaan: “That which is important is that the advice that I give to myself and to my Muslim brothers secondly is: to turn repentantly to Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic, and to repent to Him, as well as to stand in obedience to Him in accordance to one’s ability during the month of Ramadhaan and in other than it.”
Repenting from sin and abiding upon abandonment of it is not just for the duration of the month of Ramadhaan, but is a repentance and abandonment of sin in Ramadhaan as well as beyond. Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said: “Whoever is determined upon abandonment of sins in the month of Ramadhaan whilst contrary to other than it; then such an individual in not an outright repentant one; however he is one who abandons the act in Ramadhaan.”
To Endeavour in Striving Sincerely and Seizing the Opportunity for One’s Own Benefit
That which the Muslim should be determined upon is to endeavour in sincerely striving hard in order to attain forgiveness of sins and attain reward for the various acts of worship during this month and not losing out on the tremendous opportunity he has been given.
Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said: “That which is befitting for the Muslim in the approach of Ramadhaan is that he encounters it with a joyous comforted heart and a soul that feels at ease yet determined in carrying out good and abandoning evil.”
The Shaikh (rahimahullaah) said likewise: “Indeed the month of Ramadhaan is a month of profits and gains, so enrich yourselves by it through worship and by being plentiful in prayer and in reciting the Qur’aan and making dhikr as well as pardoning the people and showing goodness. Likewise remove any enmity and hate and rancour that is between yourselves.”
Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said also: “Upon us is to seize this opportunity; for perhaps the individual may pass away before the second Ramadhaan reaches him. Since as you are aware; that there were people who were with you last year, and now they are in their graves; bound to their actions, possessing no ability to increase a single merit to their good deeds, nor are they able to remove a misdeed from their bad deeds. That which came to pass them by may come upon you; rather it shall certainly (one day) come upon you, however; it may come upon you before another Ramadhaan returns upon you. Therefore’ seize the opportunity!”
The Guidance of the Salaf With Regard to Entering the Month of Ramadhaan
Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said: “The guidance of the pious predecessors (radhiyallaahu ‘anhum) in their encounter of Ramadhaan was that they would encounter it with joy and happiness and endeavour and strenuous effort, they would not squander an opportunity except that they would take advantage of it. So they would be plentiful in reciting the Qur’aan and in making dhikr and Tasbeeh and prayer and giving in charity and showing goodness and other than that, likewise:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ وَكَانَ أَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ حِينَ يَلْقَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ وَكَانَ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ فَيُدَارِسُهُ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدُ بِالْخَيْرِ مِنْ الرِّيحِ الْمُرْسَلَةِ
((The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was the most generous of all the people, and his generosity used to be more so in Ramadhaan when Jibreel would meet him. He used to meet him every night during Ramadhaan in order to revise the Qur’an with him. Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to be more generous in doing good than the fair wind sent forth. ))
So that which is befitting for us is that we are joyous with the advent of Ramadhaan and that we receive good tidings on account of it and that we prepare for it with endeavour and strenuous effort by way of righteous action and we take advantage of the opportunity with that which brings one closer to Allaah, The Blessed and Most High.
For indeed the person does not know if he will reach the month of Ramadhaan in the following year and that which is after it or whether he will not reach it, and the seasons of good are like the seasons of the traders, so just as the traders prepare for the seasons of buying and selling in order to procure commodities and their variants and their large quantities; then likewise we should prepare with complete preparation for the advent of Ramadhaan through righteous action and avoid those things which are forbidden.”
وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.38) and Muslim (no.1778)
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.37) and Muslim (no.759)
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.1898 and 1899) – with slight variation in wording, and Muslim (no.2492) and the wording above is that of Muslim.
 Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.203-204
 Majmu’ Fataawa vol 15 p.9-10
 Majaalis Ramadhaan p.11
 Liqaa-aat ar-Ramadhaaniyyah p.31
 Majmu’ Fataawa vol 15 p.10
 Fataawa Noor ‘alaa ad-Darb (no.149)
 Fataawa Noor ‘alaa ad-Darb (no.98)
 Majmu’ Fataawa vol 19 p.35
 Majmu’ Fataawa vol 10 p.743
 Sharh Mishkaat al-Masabeeh vol 2 p.656
 Ad-Diyaa al-Laami’ vol 2 p.165
 Liqaa-aat ar-Ramadhaaniyyah p.17
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.6) and Muslim with similar wording (no.5964) from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiyallaahu ‘anhumaa).
 Fataawa Su-aal ‘alaa al-Haatif vol 1 p.729