Islamic Perspectives

How to retain our Spirituality after Ramadan

Be steadfast and upright upon the Deen of Allah ta’ala at all times, for you do not know when you’ll meet the Angel of Death. Beware of him taking you while you are in a state of sin. Forgiveness is always billowing around us, but we must raise the sails of remorse and repentance to feel it. Now is the time to reprogramme your life, rise up and get rid of the negativities, develop your potential, plan and execute, change and get changed, and you will become one of those who gain happiness and blessings in this life and enjoy the bliss of the Hereafter, Insha Allah ta’ala...

By Shahnaaz Bemath

 

We enrolled in a 30-day course called “Ramadan” to attain Taqwa (Fear of Allah ta’ala). It was a time of renewal and re-establishment of our commitment to our Beloved Allah and His beautiful Deen, Al-Islam. Al-Hamdulillah! Many have graduated with flying colours - embracing positive deeni (Islamic) changes in their lives. Now is a crucial time to put it into practice.

We fasted, gave charity, read the Qur’an Kareem and performed the night prayers, especially the last ten nights, standing in prayer before Allah ta’ala. We avoided gossip, slander and every evil that would invalidate our fasting. But now that Ramadan has bid us farewell, many of us, regrettably, will put the Qur’an Kareem back on the shelves, will suspend fasting until next year and will abandon the night prayer. This is not the way it should be, because all of these acts of worship carry rewards and are of benefit to us throughout the year, in addition to the fact there is no divine prescription limiting them to Ramadan.

What is it that happens in Ramadan to make you so motivated to change your life around and how can you get that spirit back to make long lasting, sustainable changes in your life? What is it that Allah ta’ala puts into your life to enable you to make all those changes during Ramadan? If we could examine that, maybe we’ll find clues to work out how we can make the Ramadan spirit last for more than 30 days, so you can make major sustainable changes in your life!

 

RAMADAN CHANGES

1. Purpose: Allah ta’ala gave us an amazing purpose, a powerful reason for fasting, He says it so beautifully in a hadith qudsi: “All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him: the good deeds will be multiplied ten times to seven hundred times, except fasting, which is for me and I will reward it accordingly.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Al-Hamdulillah! He gave us all hope of His reward for abandoning food, drink and intimacy for His sake during Ramadan.

 

2. Long Term Vision: Allah also gave us a long-term vision of what we will achieve if we follow His orders and avoid all that he has forbidden. He will grant us, according to our intentions, the highest place in Jannah.

 

3. Structure and organization: Allah gave us clear rules and a daily structure for Ramadan to give us a specific rhythm throughout the month - with a few exceptions and some flexibility such as a change in the pattern of the days for the last 10 nights - but there are definite targets that we have to reach throughout.

 

4. Challenging and Slightly Unrealistic Goals: Non-Muslims often look at what we do in Ramadan and say that we are being extreme, that we shouldn’t be as harsh on ourselves as we are. But we are able to rise above their criticism and not pay attention to what they say, because we know that Allah ta’ala never requires us to do anything that would be harmful or beyond our capacity. We are convinced of the value and benefits of our fasting and qiyaam and this conviction enables us to stretch ourselves.

 

5. Balance: In Ramadan, it’s not only our bodies that are cleansed through fasting, our spirituality too is improved through increased Salaat and reading of the Qur’aan Kareem. Our finances are cleansed through Zakat, our social relationships are improved through coming together for Iftar, and our social contribution is increased through extra Sadaqah. The Ramadan spirit is developed through a balanced increase in every area of life, with each aspect having its own timing, amount, and purpose. In welcoming Ramadan and bidding it farewell, there are some points of reflection for the faithful: Is there for us in fasting an abundant portion of effort to reform ourselves and mend our ways? Yes! It is indeed an excellent period of reflection over the sincerity of our intentions and appropriateness of our deeds and acts of worship.

A whole new beautiful chapter in our lives opens- of peace, happiness, blessings and mercy with an elated feeling of spirituality, connecting with Allah ta’ala and being immersed in His love. Fear Allah ta’ala as He should be feared for, the fear of Allah ta’ala is the best treasure of our lives. Obey Allah ta’ala and keep away from His restrictions and prohibited boundaries. If you are able to do this, you will achieve His pleasure and be saved from His torment. On tasting the sweetness that comes with obedience, there is no desire to return to any form of disobedience.

A sinful desire is like a rose from afar. We get allured by its fragrance, become blinded by its beauty, and overlook the thorns. Don’t allow Shaitan to be an anchor and halt your spiritual journey. Raise the sails of Iman to reach the beautiful shores of Jannah. Would you rather invest for short term pleasures and benefits, or would it be more sensible to invest for everlasting returns and eternal benefits? Don’t let the chains of desire (nafs and shaitan), bind you to dunya whilst restraining your soul from pursuing Jannah. May Allah ta’ala make our hearts the throne upon which our Iman will sit, and let it rule over our nafs and prevent it from trying to enslave us.

 

Ways to maintain the good habits you picked during Ramadan

* Make Du’a: It was Allah ta’ala who gave you the strength and ability to keep the good habit in Ramadan, and only He can help you maintain it afterwards. Make du’a that Allah ta’ala helps you not only keep the habit, but that He accepts it and makes it a way for you to grow closer to Him.

 

* Make it a habit: If you want to keep good habits, you’ve got to make sure they remain part of your daily schedule. For instance, fasting. Our beloved Messenger (pbuh) encouraged us to fastion Mondays and Thursdays. He said: “A man’s deeds are reported (to Allah ta’ala) on Mondays and Thursdays and I prefer that I should be fasting when my deeds are reported.” (Tirmidhi)

* Evaluate yourself weekly: This will help you see the bigger picture. You’ll be able to evaluate on a more long-term level how well you’ve been keeping your habits in practice. You can do the same thing on a monthly and yearly basis.

 

* Don’t fall apart once you make one mistake: The beauty of Taubah (repentance) in Islam is that Allah ta’ala blesses us with opportunity to always return back to Him after doing something wrong. We should remember that we are humans and that we will err. Only Allah ta’ala is Perfect.

 

* Ask yourself why you kept the habit: Niyyah or intention is a key to Allah ta’ala’s acceptance of our good deeds. If we developed a habit to impress others, for instance, we may be able to keep the momentum for a while only, but most probably it’ll wear out afterwards. But if we maintain a habit sincerely for the sake of Allah ta’ala, Insha Allah, not only will we be rewarded for it, but our intention will help us maintain the necessary motivation to continue to do good.

 

* Work your way up slowly: Aa’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet of Allah said: “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and remember that you shall enter Paradise only through Allah ta’ala’s Mercy, and also remember that the most beloved deed to Allah ta’ala is that which is regular and constant even if it is little.” (Al-Bukhari)

The wisdom in this Hadith is tremendous and it is one way of keeping up good habits you have picked them up in Ramadan. For example, let’s say you were motivated to read Qur’an Kareem for half-an-hour on a daily basis during  Ramadan. But now that it’s over, you feel sluggish, lazy and want to give it up. Yet, you had wanted to maintain this habit after the blessed month was over. So, instead of trying to read Qur’an Kareem for the same amount of time, reduce the time period to as much as you are initially able to do, even if it’s just ten or twenty minutes a day. If you keep up this ‘ten minutes a day’ habit, Insha Allah ta’ala, you will see the amount of Qur’an Kareem you read will increase slowly but gradually, perhaps even surpassing your Ramadan maximum in the long-term, Insha Allah.

Be steadfast and upright upon the Deen of Allah ta’ala at all times, for you do not know when you’ll meet the Angel of Death. Beware of him taking you while you are in a state of sin. Forgiveness is always billowing around us, but we must raise the sails of remorse and repentance to feel it. Now is the time to reprogramme your life, rise up and get rid of the negativities, develop your potential, plan and execute, change and get changed, and you will become one of those who gain happiness and blessings in this life and enjoy the bliss of the Hereafter, Insha Allah ta’ala. Be sure that reform is always possible, seek help from our loving Allah ta’ala, and do not feel unmotivated or lacking in strength or lose hope in Allah’s infinite Mercy.

May Allah ta’ala accept our fasting, our Ibadah and all our righteous deeds, that our condition after Ramadan be better, that the state of our Ummah improves and that we are granted honour and strength to submit to His obedience. Ameen.

Enjoy your Eid by remaining consistent on those good deeds and by refraining from undesirable acts and things which are liable to remove Allah ta’ala’s favours from you. One of our righteous predecessors said: “Each day in which no act of disobedience to Allah ta’ala is committed is Eid and each day a believer spent in acts of obedience to his Lord is Eid.”

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2013 on page no. 20

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