Ramadan is the month where Allah forgives sins and frees people from the fire of hell. But there is one condition to this forgiveness: avoiding al-kabaair. Give it a listen.
0) Isha and Fajr prayer in congregation (jama’ah).
I put this as number 0 because if nothing else, this is the one thing a person HAS to do: pray Isha and Fajr in congregation.
The Prophet said, “The one who performs Isha’ prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat the whole night.” [Reported by Muslim]
This is the baseline. Everything else after doing this is a bonus insha Allah.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم described suhoor as the blessed meal. Its something that Allah has especially given to us, so we should not leave it even if it means having a sip of water as suhoor. Its so special that the Prophet described it from the morals of prophethood.
The following collection extol the virtues of suhoor. I received this in an email and found it worthy of sharing. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said,
“Have suhoor because suhoor is blessed”. 
( تسحروا فإن في السحور بركة ). صحيح
“Have suhoor even if with water”. 
( تَسَحَّرُوا و لَوْ بالماءِ ). صحيح
“Have suhoor even if with a gulp/sip of water”. 
( تَسَحَّرُوا ولوْ بِجَرْعَةٍ مِنْ ماءٍ ). صحيح
“It – the suhoor – is the blessed meal”. 
( هو الغَداءُ المباركُ. يعني السَّحورَ ). صحيح لغيره
“No doubt Allah and His angels send their mercy on those who have suhoor”. 
( إن الله و ملائكته يصلون على المتسحرين ). حسن صحيح
“Suhoor all of it is a blessing. So don’t leave it even if you have to take a sip of water because Allah and His angels send their mercy on those who have suhoor”. 
( السحور كله بركة فلا تدعوه، و لو أن يجرع أحدكم جرعة من ماء، فإن الله عز وجل وملائكته يصلون على المتسحرين ). حسن لغيره
“A good suhoor for the believer is dates”. 
( نعم سحور المؤمن التمر ). صحيح
“The difference between our fast and the fast of the people of the Scripture is eating of Suhoor”. 
( فصل ما بين صيامنا وصيام أهل الكتاب أكلة السحر ). صحي
“No doubt suhoor is a blessing that Allah has given to you, so don’t leave it”. 
( إن السحور بركة أعطاكموها الله فلا تدعوها ). صحيح
“No doubt Allah put blessing in suhoor and (just) measure”. 
( إن الله تعالى جعل البركة في السحور والكيل ). حسن
“Expedite the iftaar and delay the suhoor”. 
( بكروا بالإفطار و أخروا السحور ). صحيح
“Blessing is in three things: in the congregation (jama’ah), thareed (bread dipped in meat broth) and suhoor”. 
( البركة في ثلاثة: في الجماعة و الثريد و السحور ). صحيح
“Three things are from mannerisms of prophethood: expediting iftaar, delaying suhoor and placing the right hand over the left in prayer”. 
( ثلاث من أخلاق النبوة: تعجيل الإفطار وتأخير السحور ووضع اليمين على الشمال في الصلاة ). صحيح
Don’t miss it!
Ramadan With Quran: an intense, daily study of the Quran consisting of translation and recital. Starting July 15th,2012.
Journey Through the Qur’an – Daur-e-Qur’an, is a quick skim-through of the translation of the Qur’an. One juz (or 1/30th) of the Qur’an is covered daily, enabling the class to finish the translation of the Qur’an within the month of Ramadan.
The class is a must-attend for all Muslims so that they can spend their Ramadan with the Qur’an, trying to understand its meaning.
Starting Sunday July 31st
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm online and in-person at the Islamic Community Center of Milton.
Preparation for Ramadan (which is coming in about 6 months) begins now. Too often we put it off to the very end and the result is a mediocre Ramadan year after year. Ramadan contains the 10 best nights of the year – including the biggest and most blessed night of the year (Laytul Qadr), rewards are multiplied many-fold during this blessed month, the gates of paradise are opened and the devils are chained. All of this makes worship easy and tremendously rewarding. So it is critical that we prepare for Ramadan to extract the maximum benefit out of it.
The most important aspect of a successful, fruitful Ramadan is the Qur’an. This is because Allah says, “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion between right and wrong” (2:185, translation from the Noble Qur’an). The guidance for mankind was revealed by the Lord of mankind in Ramadan. What’s the connection between the Qur’an, Ramadan and the guidance from the Qur’an? The answer – and Allah only knows best – is that the guidance of the Qur’an is best received in Ramadan. Thus, in Ramadan, it is essential that we ponder over the Qur’an as we listen to it, reflect over it, recite it and memorize it so that we can receive its guidance and the furqan (the criterion between right and wrong).
To achieve this in the up-coming Ramadan, here are a few tried-and-tested suggestions from yours truly:
1) Understanding. If you don’t understand the Qur’an without a translation, then you must begin a course/curriculum* today that will enable you to do so within the next 2-3 years. Then you’ll notice how much benefit you get out of taraweeh and qiyam prayers each successive Ramadan. Understanding the Qur’an in its original text without the crutch of a translation is the key to pondering over the Qur’an and reflecting over it.
2) Recitation. If you are not used to reading the Qur’an, come Ramadan time you will get tired of it very quickly. So, you must start reciting a page or two daily from today so when Ramadan comes, you are ready to read the Qur’an for longer periods of time. Moreover, this consistency will, insha Allah, carry over after Ramadan and become a beautiful habit.
These two are essential. The next two are important but not as important as the above two.
3) Memorization. There is a special sweetness in long prayers during Ramadan. Thus, aim to memorize something significant before Ramadan comes in (e.g. Surah Baqarah) so you can enjoy your prayers more.
4) Arrangements. Make logistical arrangements (e.g. building up a vacation, booking time-off, etc.) for i’tikaaf so you can benefit to the max in the last ten days.
It is famously quoted that our predecessors in faith used to pray to Allah 6 months to accept their previous Ramadan, and 6 months to see the next one. This preparation for Ramadan is a legacy of our predecessors in faith and upholding it will allow us to see results in Ramadan like never before. The crux, core of this preparation in getting ready to understand the Qur’an. Without it, the next Ramadan will be another run-of-the-mill Ramadan.
Everyone fasts and prays during Ramadan, most people give charity, but how few cry in prayers, over-whelmed by the Qur’an. Allah says, “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone)” (8:2, translation from the Noble Qur’an).
We ask Allah to make us of those mentioned above, ameen.
*Some programs/curricula that focus on Qur’an:
– Milton Qur’an Academy’s Miftahul Qur’an course. Please email email@example.com for more details.