Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
It is the duty of every Muslim, man or woman, to get himself or herself well-prepared for Ramadan at early time so that he/she can get the utmost benefit of the blessed month, which is a good chance that comes only once a year.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Your question does show your zeal to welcome the blessed month in a fitting manner. I pray to Allah to inspire us to love His ordinances to follow them diligently while staying away from the things He has forbidden.
As for your question, I would mention three points here:
1- Acquiring proper knowledge as to perform this important pillar in form and spirit should be a top priority. As `Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “There is no benefit in reading without reflection; likewise there is no benefit to be derived from rendering worship without knowledge.”
2- Beside knowledge of the forms of worship, we must also seek to discern the inner dimensions. You may read one or both of these excellent books for this purpose:
Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship by Imam Ghazali.
The Four Pillars by Sayyid Abu al-Hasan Ali Nadvi.
3- Be prepared to join the faithful in tarawih in the mosque and partake of the spiritual graces that emanate from Allah. For when the believers gather and listen (to) and read the Qur’an and offer supplications to Allah, it is on occasion for the descend of sakinah or the spiritual tranquility.
4- Finally, make a firm resolution to ensure that the blessed month usher a new chapter in your life; a time to enhance faith, seek repentance, break bad habits and cultivate good ones.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.