Imagine a person who arrives at the starting line to run a 5km marathon, wearing the latest running shoes and carrying the most sophisticated water bottle. However, after the starting gun is fired, he does not begin running immediately, as he is still busy on a phone call. Thereafter, when he eventually takes off from the line, he only makes it 400m before collapsing on the side, already exhausted from the exertion. What will we say regarding such a person?

The best shoes and the best energy drinks will be of no avail if he is not focused and did not train sufficiently. If he did not develop stamina, he will not manage to run the marathon through to the end.

Similarly, the month of Ramadhaan is a special month for exerting ourselves in ‘ibaadah, with the night of ‘Eid being our finish line where we will be awarded our prizes. However, to make the most of this ‘marathon’, we will require two things; focus and stamina.

Being focused means that there should be an absolute minimum amount of distractions to occupy our time and prevent us from engaging in ‘ibaadah. From the instant the moon is sighted, we should not waste a single second as every moment is precious.

Therefore, well in advance, before the month of Ramadhaan commences, we should try to plan ourselves in such a way that when the moon of Ramadhaan is sighted, then apart from our basic, daily responsibilities (e.g. cooking, seeing to the children and home, etc.) we do not have any other obligations, but remain free to devote ourselves to Allah Ta‘ala’s ‘ibaadah. Whether it is the preparation of savouries or even shopping for ‘Eid, it should all be concluded during this period, before Ramadhaan, so that as far as possible, all our time is dedicated to Allah Ta‘ala in Ramadhaan.

Stamina refers to developing the endurance to remain engaged in ‘ibaadah for lengthy periods without one losing focus, concentration and motivation. If a person is not in the habit of reciting abundant Quraan Majeed, then when Ramadhaan arrives, even though he wishes to recite abundantly, he may find it difficult to do so as he becomes tired rapidly, especially while fasting. Similar is the case with performing lengthy rakaats of nafl salaah. However, if one trains himself through gradually increasing his ‘ibaadah from now, he will develop the endurance required.

What you sow is what you will reap. If our preparations are thorough and outstanding, insha-Allah our progress and the benefit that we receive in Ramadhaan will also be spectacular and outstanding. Hence, Imaam Abu Bakr Al-Warraaq Balkhi (rahimahullah) said, “The month of Rajab is the month to sow the seeds, while the month of Sha’baan is the month to irrigate them, and it is during the month of Ramadhaan that the crop (which grew through the effort made in the two preceding months) will be harvested.” (Lataa-iful Ma‘aarif pg. 234)

May Allah Ta‘ala assist us all to spend the period preceding Ramadhaan in a beneficial manner, and may He bless us to progress in the month of Ramadhaan, aameen.