What was the condition of the Salaf us-Saalih [the Righteous Predecessors] – May Allaah be pleased with them – in relation to the approaching of this great Month [Ramadhaan]? What was their guidance, their conduct and their way of welcoming [Ramadhaan]?
Shaykh Saalih al Fawzaan (may Allah preserve him):
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
و عليكم السلام ورحمة الله و بركاته
May Allaah bless you, and also [bless you] for that which you have pointed out; these two great questions. The first question, relating to the situation of the Salaf in the month of Ramadhaan as it is recorded in the narrated books by trustworthy narrators [about them]. They used to ask Allaah – The Exalted, The Majestic, to reach Ramadhaan before it enters [upon them].
They would ask Allaah to allow them to reach the month of Ramadhaan, for that which they know from the great goodness and the many benefits it contains. So once Ramadhaan enters [upon them] they would ask Allaah to aid them upon righteous actions during it, and once it finishes they would ask Allaah to accept it from them,
Allaah – The Exalted, The Majestic, 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].”[Surat Al-Muminoom Verse 60/61]
They [the Salaf] used to strive in [righteous] actions and thereafter were afflicted with worry upon carrying out righteous actions; ‘Is it or is it not going to be accepted [by Allaah]?” This was due to their vast knowledge of the Greatness of Allaah – The Exalted, The Majestic; and their knowledge of that which Allaah does not accept. Except that which is sincerely done seeking His Face and is in accordance to the Sunnah of His messenger ﷺ, [this is] in relation to the actions one carries out.
So you’ll find that they never used to praise themselves but rather feared that their actions would become void; to such an extent that they would show more importance in their actions being accepted, rather having to strive to perform more [good] deeds.
Due to the statement of Allaah – The Exalted, The Majestic:
“Verily, Allaah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).”[Surat al-Maeda Verse 27]
They would devote themselves in the month of Ramadhaan as previously mentioned in the worship of Allaah, they would lessen from [carrying out] worldly related actions, and they would put aside time to sit in the houses of Allaah – The Exalted, The Majestic, and say: “Let’s preserve our fast and not backbite anyone.” They would also bring the Qur’aan and study it.
They would preserve their time by not wasting it; they never used to be neglectful and forsake it. As this being the situation of many today, but would rather [they prefer to] preserve their time. During the night, they stand in prayer, during the day they fast, read Qur’aan, remember Allaah and perform righteous actions.
They would not be neglectful of a minute of their time or even a second, except that they would carry out a righteous action during it.
Translated by Markaz DaarutTawheed