Assalamualaikum ustaz. What is the ruling for the countdown to Ramadhan? Hope for an explanation from ustaz. Thank you.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Indeed, the month of Ramadhan is the most awaited month by a believer. Allah SWT says:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days.
Surah al-Baqarah (185)
To answer the above question, firstly, countdown means counting down the time to reach the awaited moment. Indeed, the action of waiting a certain moment of worship is a noble act. This is the same as waiting for the next time for prayer after finishing a prayer. The Prophet PBUH said:
أَلاَ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى مَا يُكَفِّرُ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْخَطَايَا وَيَزِيدُ بِهِ فِي الْحَسَنَاتِ " . قَالُوا بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ . قَالَ " إِسْبَاغُ الْوُضُوءِ عَلَى الْمَكَارِهِ وَكَثْرَةُ الْخُطَا إِلَى الْمَسَاجِدِ وَانْتِظَارُ الصَّلاَةِ بَعْدَ الصَّلاَةِ
"Shall I not tell you of something by means of which Allah expiates for sins and increases good deeds?" They said: "Yes, O Messenger of Allah." He said: "Perform ablution properly despite difficulties, increasing the number of steps one takes towards the mosque and waiting for the next prayer after prayer.'"
Sunan Ibn Majah (776)
The same, it is highly encouraged for us to wait and hope to reach Ramadhan. This can be understood when we are commanded to supplicate starting from the month of Rajab and Syaaban for us to reach the month of Ramadhan. In a hadith narrated by Sayyidina Anas bin Malik RA, he said: “The Prophet PBUH make du’a starting from the coming of Rajab;
اللهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي رَجَبٍ وَشَعْبَانَ، وَبَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَانَ
O Allah, bless us on Rajab and Sya’aban, and make us reach the month of Ramadhan
Musnad Ahmad (2346)
Besides, we are commanded to make du’a to reach the Ramadhan in peace and safety as well as being ready to perform the worship in that month wholeheartedly. Among the commanded du’a is:
اللَّهُمَّ سَلِّمْنِي لِرَمَضَانَ، وَسَلِّمْ رَمَضَانَ لِي، وَتَسَلَّمْهُ مِنِّي مُتَقَبَّلًا
O Allah, bless me until Ramadhan comes, and bless Ramadhan for me and accept from me (my acts of worship from that month).
Narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Du’a (913) and Abu Nu’aim al-Asbahani in Hilyah al-Awliya’ (3/69)
Besides, Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in his book, Lataif al-Ma’arif cited from Ma’la bin al-Fadhl: “Indeed, those (the salaf scholars) make du’a to Allah SWT for six months to have the chance to enter Ramadhan and the next six months for Allah SWT to accept their deeds”. (Refer Lataif al-Ma’arif: 204)
There were among the scholars who also recite poem due to their excitement in meeting ‘a blessed guest’ which is the month of Ramadhan, while saying:
جَاءَ شَهرُ الصِّيَامِ بِالبَرَكَاتِ * فَأَكْرمْ بِهِ من زَائِرٍ هُوَ آتِ
The month of fasting full of bless has arrived
What an honour for this guest to come
(Refer Lataif al-Ma’arif Fi Ma Li Mawasim al-‘Am Min al-Wazaif: 204)
This is one of the ways the previous people did to remind the public to get ready with the coming of Ramadhan. Besides, we already explained in detail what a person should do to get ready for Ramadhan, kindly refer to Bayan Linnas Series 62- Ahlan Wasahlan Ya Ramadhan.
Based on the above discussion and arguments, we conclude that the ruling of doing the countdown for Ramadhan is permissible. In fact, it is highly encouraged if the act motivates people to do good and increase their acts of worship. So, the people who did that will also receive the reward in accordance with a hadith of the Prophet PBUH where he said:
الدَّالَّ عَلَى الْخَيْرِ كَفَاعِلِهِ
'Whoever leads to good, he is like the one who does it.'
Jami’ al-Tirmidhi (2670)
There are many ways to remind the public to get ready to meet the month of Ramadhan. One of them is by doing countdown like this. It is a really good effort of da’wah and has a big impact on society. However, we should not only wait for the coming of Ramadhan, but we should also be prepared by performing even more good deeds in other months as well. May Allah SWT give us true understanding in His shari’a as well as taufiq and hidayah to perform the acts of worship wholeheartedly for Allah. Amin.