1. Begin preparing for the month of Ramadhaan well in advance. Some of the pious predecessors would begin preparing six months in advance.
2. When the month of Rajab comes, recite the following dua:
اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِيْ رَجَبٍ وَّ شَعْبَان وَبَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان
O Allah! Bless us in the months of Rajab and Sha’baan and take us forth to the month of Ramadhaan.
عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا دخل رجب قال: اللهم بارك لنا في رجب وشعبان وبلغنا رمضان (شعب الايمان، الرقم: 3815)
Hazrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that when the month of Rajab would commence, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would make the following dua, “O Allah! Bless us in the months of Rajab and Sha’baan and take us forth to the month of Ramadhaan.”
3. Make a timetable and set aside time for engaging in ibaadah such as reciting the Quraan Majeed, etc. By planning yourself and being particular regarding your time, you will avoid wasting the valuable moments of Ramadhaan.
عن أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال من صام رمضان وعرف حدوده وتحفظ مما ينبغي له أن يتحفظ كفر ما قبله (صحيح ابن حبان، الرقم: 3433)
Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhaan, acknowledges (and respects) its boundaries and limits, and ensures that he fulfils the rights of Ramadhaan as he ought to fulfil them, all his previous sins will be forgiven.”
4. If a person has any outstanding rights in relation to the Creator (e.g. qadha salaah, qadha fasts, unpaid zakaat, etc.) or the creation (e.g. one has oppressed someone, hurt anyone in any way or has any unsettled debts), then before the month of Ramadhaan commences, he should put his affairs in order by fulfilling all these outstanding rights and obligations. By doing so, he will be able to derive the full blessings of the month of Ramadhaan.
5. Try to gradually increase your ibaadah from before Ramadhaan and get into a set routine of making ibaadah so that it will be easy to carry out ibaadah during the month of Ramadhaan.
6. Engage in plenty of istighfaar and dua from before Ramadhaan.
7. Try to complete all commitments and necessary duties before Ramadhaan so that all your time can be dedicated and devoted to ibaadah.
عن عبادة بن الصامت رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال يوما وحضر رمضان أتاكم رمضان شهر بركة يغشاكم الله فيه فينزل الرحمة ويحط الخطايا ويستجيب فيه الدعاء ينظر الله تعالى إلى تنافسكم فيه ويباهي بكم ملائكته فأروا الله من أنفسكم خيرا فإن الشقي من حرم فيه رحمة الله عز وجل (مسند الشاميين للطبراني، الرقم: 2238)
Hazrat Ubaadah bin Saamit (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that on one occasion, just before Ramadhaan, Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) addressed the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) saying, “Ramadhaan is about to dawn upon you. Ramadhaan is the month of blessings. In this month, Allah Ta’ala turns His special mercies towards you, forgives your sins and accepts your duas and supplications. Allah Ta’ala looks at your vying with each other in carrying out good deeds in Ramadhaan (to please Him) and boasts to His angels about you. Hence, show Allah Ta’ala your efforts of piety and righteousness, for certainly the most unfortunate person is the one who is deprived of the mercy of Allah Ta’ala in this blessed month.”