Short Answer: Prophet Muhammad used to fast a lot during the month of Sha’ban. The Prophet encouraged Muslims around him to increase in worship during Ramadan, before it actually arrived, by mentioning the extra rewards for doing good deeds during it. He tried to motivate them in advance.
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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had a three-faceted strategy for preparing for the blessed month of Ramadan:
(1) practical preparation (by fasting more voluntarily fasts),
(2) asking Allah, through supplication, for its blessings, and
(3) exhorting, motivating, and reminding the people around him about the arrival of the imminent month of blessings, and encouraging them to do good deeds in it.
1- Voluntary Fasting During Sha’ban
Prophet Muhammad used to fast a lot during the month of Sha’ban.
Usamah bin Zaid said:
I said, “O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Sha’ban.” He said: “That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.” (Sunan Al-Nisai)
The same has also been recorded on the authority of the wife of the Prophet, `Aishah:
The exact number of days that he fasted during Sha’ban have not been recorded, but we can safely assume that by the time Ramadan arrived, he was already in the habit of daily fasting.
However, he did not fast the whole month.
2- Supplicating for Blessings on the Sighting of the Crescent Moon
Whenever the Prophet sighted the crescent moon signaling the start of any new lunar month, including Ramadan, he would make a special supplication:
Talhah bin Ubaidullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
At the sight of the new moon (of the lunar month), the Prophet used to supplicate: “O Allah, let this moon appear on us with security and faith; with safety and Islam. (O moon!) Your lord and mine is Allah. May this moon be bringing guidance and good”. (Jami` Al- Tirmidhi)
3- Reminding People of the Blessings of Ramadan & Encouraging Them to Perform More Good Deeds
The Messenger of Allah said:
There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, in which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has enjoined you to fast. During it, the gates of heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and every devil is chained up. In it, Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived. (Sunan Al-Nisa’i)
So you can see, how the Prophet encouraged Muslims around him to increase in worship during Ramadan, before it actually arrived, by mentioning the extra rewards for doing good deeds during it. He tried to motivate them in advance.
This is what has been narrated in authentic Prophetic narrations, about how Prophet Muhammad used to prepare for the month of Ramadan.
And Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your question.
Salam. Please stay in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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