InshāAllāh, the believers will begin the 1st of Rajab in a day or two. The Academy for Learning Islam (A.L.I.) presents the following tips to prepare for this distinguished month of worship.
1) Go out to seek the hilāl (crescent) in your area. Upon sighting the new crescent, recite the following Du‘ā as practiced by the Messenger of Allah (s)
اَللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِيْ رَجَبٍ وَشَعْبَانَ، وَبَلِّغْنَا شَهْرَ رَمَضَانَ، وَأَعِنَّا عَلَى الصِّيَامِ وَاْلقِيَامِ
وَحِفْظِ اللِّسَانِ، وَغَضِّ الْبَصَرِ، وَلاَ تَجْعَلْ حَظَّنَا مِنْهُ الْجُوْعَ وَالْعَطَشَ
Allāhumma bārik lanā fī Rajabin wa-Sha‘bāna, waballighnā shahra Ramadāna, wa-a‘innā ‘alas-siyāmi walqiyām, wahifzil-lisān, waghaddil-basari, walā taj‘al hazzanā minhul-ju‘ū wal ‘atash
O Allah! Bless us in Rajab and Sha‘bān and makes us reach the month of Ramadān. Help us [in these months] with fasting, standing [for prayers], guarding the tongue, casting down the gaze [with modesty], and do not make our [only] share in it [the experiencing of] hunger and thirst. (Ibn Tāwūs, Iqbāl p. 628; Majlisī, Bihār v.95, p.376)
2) Try to keep awake on the 1st night of Rajab, occupying yourself with doing tasbīh, dhikr, istighfār, recitations of Holy Qur’an, recommended Du‘ās and Munājāts and reciting mustahab salāt. For those living in Europe and North America, the nights are short and can easily be spent in worshiping Allah, subHānahū wa-ta‘ālā.
The Messenger of Allah (s) said: Rajab is the month of istighfār (i.e. pleading for forgiveness from Allah) for my Ummah, (so) do a lot of istighfār in it for surely He is All-forgiving and All-merciful (Q, 6:54, 165)… Say in Rajab many times: Astaghfirullāh (i.e. I plead for God’s forgiveness) and beseech Allah in repentance to overlook what has passed, and protection for the remainder of your lives. (Hurr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il Hadith No. 13986)
Imam Ja‘far al-Sādiq (a) said: I heard from my father, who heard from his grandfather that [Imam] ‘Ali (a) loved freeing himself [for worshipping Allah] on four nights in the year: 1st night of Rajab, 15th night of Sha‘bān, eve of [Eid] al-Fitr and eve of [Eid] al-Nahr (i.e. 10th of Dhūl Hijjah). (al-TūsI, Misbāh 2:648; Ibn Tāwūs, Iqbāl 421)
3) If possible, fast as many days as possible in the month of Rajab. The days are longer for mu’minīn living in Europe and North America. Allah, subHānahū wa-ta‘ālā, will inshāAllāh assist all those fasting for His pleasure. Moreover, these fasts will prepare us well for the Holy month of Ramadhān.
Abū Sa‘īd al-Khudrī narrates that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: Indeed Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha‘bān is my month, and Ramadān is the month of my ummah. Surely, whoever fasts a day in Rajab, he/she secures Allah’s greatest pleasure. The fast of that day stifles the wrath of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, and one of the gates of hell is closed for him/her.
(Ibn Tāwūs, Iqbāl, p. 634; Hurr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il, Hadith No. 13887)
Imam Mūsā b. Ja‘far al-Kāzim (a) said: Rajab is [the name of] a stream in Paradise which is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey. Whoever fasts one day in Rajab, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, will make him drink from that stream. (al-Sadūq, Al-Faqīh 2:92; al-Tūsī, Tahdhīb 4:306)
We pray to the Almighty Allah (swt) to grant us tawfīq to worship Him devotedly and benefit from the huge rewards that He has kept for believers in this distinguished month.
Source: 40 Hadiths: Rajab and Sha‘bān, Academy for Learning Islam, www.academyofislam.com