Sayyiduna ‘Ubadah ibn Samit (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) use to teach the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) the following du’a when the blessed month of Ramadan would arrive:
اَللّٰهُمَّ سَلّمْنِيْ لِرَمَضانَ وَسَلّمْ رَمَضانَ لِيْ وَسَلّمْه لِي مُتَقَبَّلا
(رواه الطبراني في الدعاء والديلمي ، وسنده حسن- كنز العمال 8/584)
Allahumma sallimni li Ramadana, wa sallim Ramadana li, wa sallimhu li mutaqabbala.
Translation: O Allah! preserve me for Ramadan, safeguard Ramadan for me and accept it from me.
(Kitabu Du’a of Imam Tabarani, Hadith: 912, also see: Hayatus Sahabah, vol.3 pg.182 and Kanzul ‘Ummal, Vol.8 pg.584)
“Preserve me for Ramadan” means: O Allah! allow me to remain healthy and able so I may benefit from Ramadan. It shouldn’t be that when Ramadan arrives, I am caught up in some unfortunate condition that hinders our Fast, ‘ibadah etc.
“Safeguard Ramadan for me” means: In addition to being able, O Allah! grant me the tawfiq (ability) to maximise my benefit from this auspicious occasion. Many able people witness this month but fail to actually benefit from it. These people are truly unfortunate! May Allah save us.
“and accept it from me” means: O Allah! after inspiring me to be devoted throughout the month, don’t let it go to waste by not accepting it.
Status of this narration
The chain of narrators for this Hadith is weak. (Footnotes of Shaykh ‘Awwamah on Musnad ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdil ‘Aziz, pg. 280)
However it is positively supported by the practice of the salaf (pious predecessors) with slight variations in the wording and is therefore suitable for practice.
Habit of the Salaf
1. Imam Tabarani (rahimahullah) reports that the famous Tabi’i: Makhul (rahimahullah) would recite this du’a at the beginning of Ramadan. (Kitabu Du’a li Tabarani, Hadith: 913)
2. He also reports from ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn Abi Rawwad (Demise: 159 A.H.) that “the Muslims would recite” a similar du’a (with additions to the above wording) upon the arrival of Ramadan. (ibid, Hadith: 914)
3. Imam Muhammad ibn Nasar Al-Marwazi has recorded in his Qiyamul Layl that it was the habit of the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) and the Tabi’un (rahimahumullah) to recite this du’a when Ramadan arrived. (Mukhtasar Qiyamul Layl, pg.98)
4. Hafiz Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) has quoted the reliable Tabi’i; Yahya Ibn Abi Kathir (rahimahullah) to have said:
“It was their habit (the Sahabah and Tabi’un) to make this du’a…” (Lataiful Ma’arif, pg.280)
5. Imam Abu Nu’aym (rahimahullah) has recorded in Hilyah, that Yahya Ibn Abi Kathir (rahimahullah) himself would also recite this du’a.
(Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 3 pg. 69)
It is probably in light of these substantiations that Imam Suyuti (rahimahullah) has declared the narration as hasan, i.e. soundly authentic. (Kanzul ‘Ummal, vol.8 pg.584)
When to recite this?
Besides the last reference, all of the above have mentioned this du’a to be recited when Ramadan arrives or commences. In the version of Yahya ibn Abi Kathir (rahimahullah) the words used are:
اللهم سلمني إلى رمضان
O Allah keep me safe till Ramadan
This supports the habit of reciting this supplication (with these words) before the arrival of the month itself.
May Allah Ta’ala guides us all to implement this sunnah and teach it to others. Amin.