If Sha`baan caught you off guard, then what are the chances that Ramadhan won`t do the same?
The greatest catastrophe is not preparing or not preparing adequately for an important event. Now the problem which we have is many of us do not deem it to be necessary to prepare for Ramadhan.
Reflect on the years that have gone by: how did Ramadhan reach you – were you prepared or unprepared? Procrastinating or well set? Full of regrets or happy that it has arrived?
Let us be honest with ourselves and assess the seriousness of not preparing for Ramadhan.
Can you remember the time before you got married and that special guest who was now going to come into your life to live with you? What preparations did you make? How many months in advance didn`t you and your entire family start the preparations!
What about the time when you were expecting your first child? Did you prepare for its arrival or not?
In all of the above situations and many others, you did everything you could in anticipation of your guest?
Now sit down and ponder over this, the most honourable guest you could ever host is going to be sent to you very, very soon by Allah, and whether you prepare or not, it is still going to stop by and stay with you for a full month.
Ramadhan is not just a special guest; it is the most important event of your life – and what is amazing about our Lord Allah, is that in His Generosity, He gives it to us once every year.
This guest is like no other guest; if we prepare for it, it has so many wonderful gifts in store for us. In fact, even if we are heedless and did not prepare, but are willing to work with it, we are still going to find it to be very kind and generous.
Additionally, although the guest is coming to every one of us, each one of us will be privileged to individual attention from it and actually, it will treat us as if it is our host.
Thus, anyone who tastes its sweetness will find that there is nothing more delightful. This is why, when it leaves, there is a great feeling of loss in the hearts of all those who really prepared well for it and honoured it.
When we prepare for our guests, we normally try to find out what they like and what they would want from us so that we can organize it for them.
Similarly, in order for us to benefit from Ramadhan we must know what it wants from us, which sets it apart from other ordinary guests.
Ramadhan brings certain special situations and events that it wants us to make proper use of – and if we do, then we would have truly honoured it.
Ordinary guests want delicious food – Ramadhan says “No thank you, I will be fasting”.
Other guests want us to take them all over on visits – Ramadhan says just visit the Masjid.
Ordinary guests would want us to sit for long hours and reminisce with them – Ramadhan says give most of your time to the Quraan.
Other guests would not mind if we sit with them talking late into the night – Ramadhan says Qiyaam ul-Lail (night prayer) is best for you.
An ordinary guest would not mind if you spend all your time with them – Ramadhan wants you to isolate yourself in `Itikaaf (seclusion).
Ordinary guests would not mind if we spend on them – Ramadan wants us to spend too, but on the poor.
And the list goes on…
So, while we endeavour to treat our guests with honour and dignity, should we not do the same for this guest – Ramadhan!