“Aminah! Abdullah! Yusuf! Come and help me set the table please, Hamaad and Hafsah will be here very soon.” Ummi called out from the kitchen.
Aminah quickly placed her crayon into the pot and scurried into the kitchen. Abdullah followed.
“Here we are, Ummi!” Aminah replied. As usual, she had a huge smile on her face. She loved to help Ummi prepare the dishes and set the table.
Abdullah also enjoyed helping with house chores. He was taught that the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would help his family in the home and he wanted to follow in his footsteps.
In fact, they both would often compete to assist their Ummi, as they knew how many Hasanaat (good deeds) they would get if they made her happy.
“What do you want us to do, Ummi? Shall I put these plates out?” asked Abdullah.
“Yes please, and Aminah, could you set the knives and forks beside them, darling?” Ummi replied, as she chopped cucumber to go into her special salad.
“Are you making your special salad, Ummi? Yummy! I can’t wait to eat it InshaAllah!” Aminah giggled as she grabbed a bunch of knives and forks.
The rest of the table was all prepared. The usual plates, cups and utensils were set out, except that today, there was one, extra thing on the table. There were dates!
Abdullah hadn’t seen dates on the table in a long time; in fact, he didn’t even know they had dates in the house.
“Aminah, why has Ummi put dates on the table? Who’s fasting?” he asked, as Aminah trailed behind him, carefully putting down knives and forks beside the plates Abdullah had placed.
“I don’t know, maybe Yusuf is fasting. I haven’t seen him all day, but I heard him reading Quran in his room on my way downstairs, and he’s been in there since Asr.”
Suddenly, the doorbell rang leaving Abdullah and Aminah looking at each other, deciding if it was worth racing each other to open the door.
Finally Aminah let Abdullah do it. “You can go this time Abdullah, I need to finish setting the table. Remember to say the special greeting like Abi taught us to say when we open the door!”
Abdullah nodded and headed to the front door.
Yusuf came down the stairs, as he always did when he heard the doorbell ring; he found it disrespectful not to come down to greet guests that came, no matter how busy he was.
“Assalamu Alaykum, Aunty Nusaybah. How are you?” Yusuf asked cheerfully. He was delighted to see his Aunty and cousins come for another halaqah.
“Walaykum Assalam, Yusuf, we’re all fine Alhamdulillah. MashaAllah, we can already smell the food in the kitchen and it smells yummy!” replied Aunty Nusaybah.
“Assalamu Alaykum, dear sister, it’s great to see you and the children again! Come into the dining room, the food is nearly ready InshaAllah,” said Ummi.
“Ummi, what time is Maghrib today?” asked Yusuf, looking a little pale.
“In around 7 minutes, not long left darling. Go sit at the table, I’ve put out some dates for us to break our fast, and don’t forget to make lots of duaa now,” replied Ummi.
Hafsah and Hamaad looked at each other, confused. “Why are you fasting, Aunty?” asked Hamaad.
Ummi looked up, put the salad bowl down, and smiled. “Well, darling, I’m sure you know it’s very close to Ramadhan and-“
“And we are all so excited!” shouted Abdullah, and Ummi laughed.
“Yes, we are indeed! That’s why me, Yusuf and Abi decided we should start preparing from now, by getting used to fasting and the routine of Ramadhan. So when it comes around, we can focus more on our Ibaadah and relationship with Allah,” she explained.
As she said this, the Adhaan sounded, and everyone became silent to repeat after the Mu’adhin. After that, Ummi and Yusuf picked a date each, and drank some water.
“I think we should pray Maghrib, and wait for Abi to come home from the Masjid before we start eating,” said Yusuf.
Aminah’s face lit up. “And then we can have our halaqah while we have dessert!”
“Good idea,” Ummi said as she set the prayer mats for Maghrib.
After the family had eaten, it was time to begin the Halaqah. Yusuf was teaching again today and his topic was , ‘Welcoming Ramadhan’.
“So, bismillah. Who knows what month we’re in?” questioned Yusuf.
“Err… May?” asked Hafsah with a raised eyebrow.
Yusuf chuckled, “I’m sorry, I meant to ask, which Islamic month?”
“Ohh!” laughed Hafsah.
“Sha’baan!” Hamaad shouted out quickly.
“Yes, MashaAllah. Well done!”
“Sha’baan, my dear siblings, is a very special month as it is the month just before the blessed month of Ramadhan. There are hadith that mention how the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would fast a lot in this month and increase in his worship.”
“Wow, is that because he wanted to prepare for the holy month?” asked Abdullah.
“Yes, that’s what I think too, and because we need to prepare physically and spiritually, so that when Ramadhan comes we can dive right in to it and get to work!”
“Fantastic, Aminah! That is exactly what Sha’baan is for. To increase in our good deeds and to set goals and prepare for an awesome Ramadhan, inshaAllah.”
“So, tell me, Hamaad… how are you going to prepare?”
“Umm, I am going to try and fast once a week, inshaAllah, with Ummi and Abi.”
“That’s good, but remember, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to fast most of sha’baan but not all of it. A few days before Ramadhan your body needs some rest and nutrition before the proper fasts begin.”
“ I didn’t know that!” replied Hamaad.
“And what about you, Hafsah?” Yusuf turned to his younger cousin.
“I am going to start reading more Qur’an every day,inshaAllah.”
“MashaAllah.” Yusuf nodded, feeling impressed.
“-Well, I’m going to make a special, superstar Du’aa list, inshaAllah!” Aminah jumped in excitedly before he could question her, grinning widely.
“That’s great!” Yusuf replied, high-fiving his sister.
“My turn!” Abdullah exclaimed. “I am going to inshaAllah, start making goals for reviewing my memorisation of the Qur’an.”
“What amazing goals!” Yusuf replied.
“Now, before we end this halaqah, can I have a volunteer to read this please?”
“Me!” shouted Aminah.
Yusuf handed her the book.
Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of Heaven are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Bukhari]
“JazakAllah Khair!” Yusuf said, as he took the book from his sister.
“Right, kiddos, that is the end of our short halaqah. In our next one, we will be discussing more tips and hadith related to Ramadhan, inshaAllah! Are we all happy and motivated?”
“YESSS!” they all cheered in unison.
“Good!” Yusuf replied contentedly.
- Dear children, if you haven’t already done so, now is the time for you to begin writing up some awesome goals for Ramadhan. Use the attached worksheet to help you organise your goals so you can aim for nothing but the best!
- From this story we learnt that Sha’baan is a month to prepare yourself for the blessed month of Ramadhan. This means increasing your knowledge on Ramadhan, increasing in righteous good actions and practicing fasts.
- As we all know, practice makes perfect! So let’s practice fasting in Sha’baan so that we can have a perfect Ramadan to look forward to
- Ramadan is the best of months, you can see how you progress, write a journal and see how much you’ve changed inshaAllah.
(Tips: Get a buddy to work with you and inspire each other to do good actions).
May Allah bless and preserve you all.
Checkout the Worksheet: