The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down,
a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.
[Quran: Chapter 2:183]


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ramadan Message 2008 - Day 30 (What To Do After Ramadan?)

“He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal, it would be as if he fasted perpetually.” (Muslim)


For the next few days after Ramadan, we will feel like we are still fasting - avoiding munching and not eager to have a drink. This is normal and natural. After all, we ahve conditioned our bodies not to take food or drink during the day time.

But it is only only in visible in our food habits. We changed our behavior as well during Ramadan - the habit of avoiding lies, vain talk and foul languages, the small sadaqah, tolerance, paying attention to others’ needs and seeking opportunities to help out in our own small ways.

Some psychologists have opined that a good habit takes about three weeks for most people to imbibe. Hence, all the dos and don’t in Ramadan should be easy to keep up after those 4 weeks of intensive Ramadan training, if we have a strong will.

For many millions of Muslims, Ramadan is their month of Islamic identity. This is when they get to show that they are Muslims. This is when they get to do their best in the practise of their deen. They get seen in the mosque in this month more than the whole of the remaining months put together. They are motivated by the rewards accruable therein. Some will thereafter, keep the spiritual goodies of Ramadan long after Ramadan, while others return to their old way of life the moment Ramadan ends. But that is not the purpose of Ramadan. Ramadan is instituted to teach us how to live our lives during the remaining eleven months.

It has been said that the early Muslims would spend the next 6 months after Ramadan, morning its departure, holding unto the lessons derived therein, and sustaining the good deeds and the rewarding actions they picked up in the blessed month. Then they would spend the next five months preparing for the next Ramadan by guarding their actions and maintaining a taqwah state of mind.

With Allah’s guidance, we have been able make some progress this Ramadan, we need to beseech Allah to help us sustain this progress in the months after Ramadan. As with all our efforts in life, we rely on Allah to help in its constant and correct performance that will meet His acceptance.

Even the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to supplicate after every salaah: “O Allah, help me to keep Your remembrance, and in thanking You, and in keeping up with my acts of worship.” (Allahumma aa’ini, ala dhikrika, wa shukrika, wa uzni iba’datik.)

After pleading for Allah’s help in keeping up these Ramadan habits, we need a conscious effort on our part not to retreat from this progressive campaign. The best way to do this is to make it regular and constant. In fact, make it daily. Such efforts as: nawafil, sadaqah and recitation of the Qur'an should become part and parcel of our daily activities.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that…the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” (Bukhari) Also fast at least three days in a month if we cannot keep up with the Monday and Thursday weekly fasts.

Then we should make it a duty to evaluate ourselves. Make a list of the habits you have picked up in Ramadan. Then decide on how much and how often you want to carry on with these habits outside Ramadan. With this checklist, you can monitor yourself. Daily could be too cumbersome, but a daily thought about yourself before you sleep is helpful. Weekly is more ideal.

Evaluating oneself is the most difficult job. Most such checklist of goals and plans rarely get written down, and they are hardly regularly checked or evaluated. However, we can achieve this in a group of two close friends watching over each other, comparing notes and activities in a sincere and healthy way. Furthermore, neighbourhood groups dedicated to Qur'an memorisation and knowledge sharing could help to maintain some habits well beyond Ramadan.

Finally, live in fear and hope. Live in fear of death claiming your life and you may meet Allah with loads of shortcomings and inadequacy of good deeds. Live in hope that Allah will reward all your efforts and good intentions. This should keep you going and ensuring that your habits are never abandoned for you do not know which actions of yours will meet with Allah’s mercy, or which inaction of yours could cause your disgrace in the Hereafter. Live with the thoughts of standing before Allah to account for how you always lose your habit immediately after Ramadan and never delivering the goods as expected of you. May Allah save us from such accountability.


Special Ramadan Series

Dear Reader, Assalaamu’alaikum.

Ramadan Mubarak. We wish you a blessed and productive Ramadan! Make no mistake about it - keeping the fast and increasing our acts of worship during this blessed month is not an easy task. The physical demands of balancing work or school with fasting all day, feeling fatigued and less effective than you normally are, waking up for Suhoor, praying Teraweeh and Tahajjud prayers, dealing with sleep deficits.

But the last thing we would want is to let Ramadan pass us by without doing all that we aim and desire to. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty or regretful when Ramadan passes.

The Ramadan Series will send you emails with practical tips on how to gain and maintain the physical and spiritual energy necessary to embark on increased religious oligations so that you will reap the benefits from this blessed month. This includes special Ramadan duas to say during the month. Do sign-up today!

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