By Seema Muhammad Belushi
Sayyidi al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him) said: 
“Make sure you end Sha’ban in the best of states, for Allah records the rewards that we will receive and the supererogatory actions that we will perform before Ramadan enters. He also records the bad deeds and the wretchedness of those that will be deprived the blessings of Ramadan. What will be your state on the last Friday of Sha’ban and the night before it? Attend the gatherings at the end of this month with a heart focused on the All-Merciful.
Prepare for the first night of Ramadan, for on this night Allah gazes at His creation, a special gaze which is unique to this Ummah. Allah will never punish the one upon whom He gazes.''
Look at how many gifts have been given to this Ummah – when Ramadan enters the gates of the Garden are opened and the gates of the Fire are closed. If someone who is destined for the Fire dies during Ramadan he will see that the gates of the Fire are closed!
The odour that comes forth from the mouth of the fasting person is sweeter in the sight of Allah than the scent of musk!
Every night Allah decrees the safety of 600,000 people from the Fire (in some narrations one million). Then on the last night he decrees the safety of the same number of people that he decreed on every night of the month. He also decrees the safety of others during the day – particularly at sunrise and sunset.
This is not to mention what happens on Laylat al-Qadr! May Allah make us amongst those who reach that night and attain all that it contains. Ask from Allah in the best of ways because Allah does not accept a du`a from a heart which is heedless. Likewise a du`a from a sound heart is more likely to be accepted than a du`a from a tongue which is fluent.
Al-Sayyida `A’isha asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) what she should ask for if she knew that it was Laylat al-Qadr.
He replied: “O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us.”
He also said (Allah bless him and grant him peace): “Do four things in abundance: two things with which you please your Lord, and two things which you cannot do without. As for the two things with which you please your Lord: your testifying that there is nothing worthy of worship other than Allah and your seeking His forgiveness. As for the two things which you cannot do without: your asking Allah for Paradise and seeking refuge in Him from the Fire.”
So say these things in abundance, for they are the best things for which you can use your tongue. Say them in your homes, in the streets, in the mosques not just at Iftar or after Tarawih.
[On the basis of these two hadiths the scholars and people of Tarim repeat the following du`a throughout the month of Ramadan:
أشْهَدُ أن لا إلهَ إلا الله نَسْتَغْفِرُ الله نسأَلُكَ الجنَّةَ ونَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ النَّار
Ashadu alla ilaha illallah, nastaghfirullah, nas’aluk’l-jannata wa na`audhu bika min an-nar
“I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship other than Allah and we seek the forgiveness of Allah. We ask You for Paradise and take refuge in You from the Fire.” (3 times)
اللهمَّ إنَّكَ عَفُوٌ تُحِبُّ العَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنَّا (3) يا كَرِيم
Allahumma innaka `afuwun tuhibbu-l’`afwa f`afwa `anna
“O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us” (3 times). On the third time say “O Most Generous” (Ya Karim).]
May Allah give us the biggest portion of all goodness and make Ramadan a cause of rectification and the removal of tribulations.
 Jalsat al-Ithnayn, Dar al-Mustafa the night of 25th Sha`ban 1432/25th July 2011
 Narrated by al-Bayhaqi
 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim
 Narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi with a sahih chain of transmission
 Narrated by Ibn Khuzayma
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