Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions. Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. As to what follows: In response to your question, we say: It was narrated in Sunan an-Nasaa‘i and other books that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to give glad tidings to his companions at the onset of Ramadan saying, “There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has enjoined you to fast.” [Sunan an-Nasaa‘i (2106). The Prophet (peace be upon) would explain the characteristics of Ramadan as has been narrated in the Sahihayn from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said, “When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained” [Muslim (1079)]. This is a way of making the community get ready to welcome Ramadan with good intentions and psychological readiness such that when Ramadan comes they will be ready, and their hearts will embark on good deeds. In an authentic hadith ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast for the most part of Sha’ban, rather, in some narrations it has been stated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast the whole of Sha’ban. This shows that he used to get ready for Ramadan before it came by fasting. In explaining the secret and wisdom of preceding the fasting of Ramadan by the fasting of Sha’ban, a group of scholars stated, “It is preparing oneself, like the voluntary prayer which is made before the compulsory prayer.” The pious predecessors of this ummah knew this and they used to get ready for Ramadan in different ways. Some of them got ready for it by fasting thereby following the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who used to fast for many days in Ramadan. Some of them used to get ready for Ramadan by reciting the Qur’an. Ibn Rajab and others mentioned that the predecessors used to recite the Qur’an very much in Sha’ban so that when Ramadan came they would have trained themselves, their hearts would have been ready, and their hearts would be engaged with the recital of the words of Allah the Exalted. Part of the preparation for Ramadan was that some pious predecessors used to supplicate to Allah six months before Ramadan asking Him to make them reach Ramadan alive. A hadith with a weak chain of narrators has been transmitted by Anas that the when the month of Rajab started the Messenger of Allah would supplicate “O Allah! bless us in Rajab and Sha’ban and make us reach Ramadan.” These are some of the ways in which the predecessors of this ummah used to prepare for Ramadanwhich have been recorded by the books of Sunnah and transmitted by the scholars from the predecessors.