Questioner: I have a few questions, the first of them: What is the guidance of the Pious Predecessors, may Allaah be pleased with them and have mercy on them, regarding the approachment of this great month? How was their line of conduct? How was their way?
The second question, oh noble Sheikh, is how should the preparation of the Muslim be in order for him to take full advantage of these days and nights that he is living in presently? A knowledge-based preparation of learning the rulings of fasting, nullifiers of the fast, etc. (This is because) some people are negligent about these things and hence do not gain the obligatory amount of understanding of fasting. So can the Sheikh, may Allaah preserve him, shed light and make mention of this matter?
Sheikh Saalih al-Fouzaan, may Allaah preserve him, answers:
“In the name of Allaah, the Beneficent, Most Merciful. And may peace be upon you, the mercy of Allaah and His blessings.
May Allaah bless you and bless that which you pointed out in these two magnificent questions. The first question about the condition of the Pious Predecessors in the month of Ramadan; their condition as it has been mentioned about them in the books of transmission with authentic chains is that they used to ask Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, to make them reach Ramadan before it entered. They would ask Allaah to make them reach the month of Ramadan because of what they knew this month contained in it from extensive good and tremendous benefit.
Then when Ramadan came they would ask Allaah to assist them in performing righteous actions in it, then once it was gone they would ask Allaah to accept it from them, i.e. their actions that they did in it.
As Allaah, the Mighty and Sublime, says:
“And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear (whether their alms and charities, etc., have been accepted or not), because they are sure to return to their Lord (for reckoning). It is these who race for the good deeds, and they are foremost in them [e.g. offering the compulsory Salat (prayers) in their (early) stated, fixed times and so on].” [23:60-61]
They would strive in performing actions and then would be afflicted by sadness afterwards thinking will it be accepted or not? This was because of their knowledge of the greatness and magnificence of Allaah and their knowledge that Allaah doesn’t accept anything unless it is sincerely for His face and correct upon the Sunnah of His Messenger. So they did not used to praise themselves and they were afraid of their actions being nullified. They were more fearful of whether they would be accepted than they were exhausted in performing the actions themselves. Because Allaah, the Mighty and Sublime, says:
“Verily, Allaah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun (the Pious).” [5:27]
And in this month as it has preceded they would exert themselves in worship, they would decrease in their actions of the dunya, set aside time for sitting in the houses of Allaah and they would say “let’s preserve our fast and not backbite anyone”, they would be with the masaahif and would study the book of Allaah, they would preserve their time from being wasted away without any benefit. They weren’t negligent or disregardful like many of the people are today, rather they would preserve their time, at night they were praying and the day was fasting, recitation of the Qur’aan, rememberance of Allaah and righteous actions. They would not waste away one minute of it except that they were putting forth righteous action(s) in it, this is the answer to the first question.”