Keeping the lessons and taqwa of Ramadan
By: Shahnaaz Bemath
We enrolled 30 days in a course called Ramadan to reach “Taqwah”(Fear of Allah Most High). It was a time of renewal and re-establishment of our commitment to our Beloved Allah Most High and HIS beautiful Deen-ul-Islam. Al-Hamdulillah! Many have graduated with flying colours – embracing them with positive Deeni (Islamic) changes. Now is a crucial time to put it into practice!
We fasted, gave charity, read the Qur’an Kareem and performed the Qiyamul Layl (Tahajjud) especially the last ten, standing in prayer before Allah Most High. 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 overlook 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 Most High puts into your life to enable you to make all those changes in 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!
Allah Most High gives us an amazing purpose, a powerful reason for fasting, HE says it so beautifully:
“All the deeds of the son of Adam (peace be upon him) 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 gives us all hope of His Reward for abandoning food, drink and intimacy for HIS Sake in Ramadan.
- Long Term Vision
HE also gives us a long-term vision of what we will achieve if we follow HIS Orders and avoid the things that HE has forbidden – HE could grant us, according to our intentions, the highest place in Jannah.
- Structure and Organization
HE gives us clear rules and a daily structure for Ramadan to give us a specific rhythm to 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 fulfil throughout.
- Challenging and Slightly Unrealistic Goals
The 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 Most High never asks us to do anything that would be harmful for us. We are convinced of the value and benefits of our fasting and Qiyam and that enables us to stretch ourselves.
In Ramadan, it’s not only our bodies that are cleansed through fasting, our spirituality is also improved through increased Salah and reading of the Qur’an Kareem. Our finances are cleansed through Zakah, our social relationships are improved through coming together for Iftar, and our social contribution is increased through extra Sadaqah (Charity). 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 are some points of reflection for the Mu’mineen (True Believer): Is there for us in fasting an abundance of effort to reform ourselves and mend our ways? Yes! It is indeed an excellent period of reflection if one ponders over the sincerity of his/her intention and appropriateness of his/her acts of worship during the blessed month.
A whole new beautiful chapter in your life has opened – of peace, happiness, blessings and mercy with an elated feeling of spirituality, connecting with Allah Most High and being immersed in HIS love, Subhan-ALLAH. Fear Allah Most High as HE should be feared for, the fear of Allah Most High is the best treasure for you. Obey Allah Most High and keep away from HIS restrictions, 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 returns, or would it be more sensible to invest for everlasting returns? Don’t let the chains of desire (nafs & shaitan), bind us to Dunya whilst restraining our soul from pursuing Jannah. May Allah Most High make our hearts the throne upon where our Iman will sit, and let it rule over our Naffs(desires) before i t tries to enslave us…
Ways to maintain the good habits you picked during Ramadan:
► Make Du’a
It was Allah Most High who gave you the ability to keep the good habit in Ramadan, and only HE can help you maintain it afterwards. Make Du’a that Allah Most High helps you not only keep the habit, but that HE accepts it and makes it a way for you to grow in closeness 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 (Allah’s peace be upon him) encouraged fasting on Mondays and Thursdays? He said: “A man’s deeds are reported (to Allah Most High) on Mondays and Thursdays and I prefer that I should be fasting when my deeds are reported.” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)
► Evaluate yourself Weekly
This helps you see the bigger picture. You’ll be able to evaluate on a more long-term level how well you’ve been keeping your habit 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 Most High blesses us with this opportunity to return back to HIM after doing something wrong. We should remember that we are humans and that we will err. Only Allah Most High is Perfect.
► Ask yourself WHY you kept the habit
Niyyah or intention is a key to Allah Most High’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, but most probably it’ll wear out afterwards.
But if we maintained a habit sincerely for the sake of Allah Most High, 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
A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Rasulullah (Allah’s peace be upon him) said: “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and remember that you shall enter Paradise only through Allah Most High’S Mercy, and also remember that the most beloved deed to Allah Most High is that which is regular and constant even if it is little.” (Hadith-Al-Bukhari)
The wisdom in this Hadith is tremendous and it is one way of keeping up good habits you have picked up in Ramadan.
For example, let’s say you were motivated to read Qur’an Kareem for half-an-hour on a daily basis in 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.
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 Most High, 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 Most High 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 reprogram 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 gain happiness and blessings in this life and enjoy the bliss of the Hereafter, Insha-Allah Most High! Be sure that reform is possible, seek help from our loving Allah Most High, and do not feel unmotivated or lacking in strength.
May Allah Most High accept our fasting, our Ibadah and other righteous actions, that our condition after Ramadan be a better one, the state of our Ummah improves and that we are granted honour and submit to HIS obedience. ..Ameen
Enjoy your Eid by remaining consistent on the those good deeds and keep away from undesirable things that are capable of removing Allah Most High’s favours from you. One of our righteous predecessors said:
“Each day in which no act of disobedience to Allah Most High is committed is Eid and each day a believer spent in acts of obedience to his Lord is Eid.”