By Nadeem Ashraf
It’s been more than a month since the blissful time of reflection and prayer that is Ramadan has come to a swift end.
You tried your very best to get rid of niggling addictions and minor sins. You woke up even before Fajr for Tahajjud and Suhoor. You paid attention to your Salah and perhaps, read the Quran more deeply and with more reflection. In the very last days of Ramadan, perhaps you were worried about maintaining this momentum of good deeds and this serene peace of mind.
This worry is something to use as an initiative, dear reader. Revel in the fact that being worried about doing good deeds means that you crave Allah (SWT)’s forgiveness and acceptance. Indeed, it is said that even the slightest bit of guilt that comes from not doing our ordained acts properly is a blessing from Allah (SWT). It pushes us to do better next time.
So, what to do that keeps the momentum gained in Ramadan thriving?
“We are what we repeatedly do,” Will Durant observed in summarizing the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle.
(Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy)
Repetition is key if we want to maintain a state of a continual good habits. The Ramadan momentum is itself gained through repetition of key acts like salah, reading the Quran, and avoiding bad habits. Many psychologists agree that it takes 21 days to form a habit. (Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit). Ramadan is indeed a blessing then to help us form good habits and take us away from our bad ones.
The only problem is that we happen to do these habits in a ‘Ramadan-frame-of-mind’. As soon as Ramadan ends, we revert back to our everyday routine and the habits we had formed fade away. The challenge is to keep up the habits gained in Ramadan and strengthen them even after Ramadan ends.
In fact, our deen has made this very task of maintaining our Ramadan ‘momentum’ easy. During Ramadan, we set a routine for ourselves. We know when we have to wake up and what we like eating for Suhoor. We know how to structure our day so as to not miss one single Rakah of our prayers and we take out time to read the Quran. With that routine set, half the battle’s won already. All you have to do is concentrate on making it a regular part of your lifestyle. Along with the following Sunnah of the Prophet,
you will be relieved to learn how easy it is in fact to never let Ramadan and its goodness fall back too much.
Right after Ramadan, Muslims are enjoined to fast six days in Shawwal which carry numerous blessings. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days from Shawwal it is as if they fasted the entire year.” (Muslim). Similarly, it’s also Prophetic tradition to fast on Monday and Thursday each week.
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Prophet ﷺ was keen to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. al-Tirmidhi, 745.
Think about this. Try to apply it. And with the right amount of effort, you will never be out of that Ramadan ‘momentum’ again. InshaAllah.
But wait, here’s the good news, you’re in for a treat! The BEST 10 days are here already! It is indeed a blessing from Allah SWT that He gifts us the first 10 days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah just when we need them the most. You retain the Ramadan feels a bit after it has passed and by this time when you’re starting to feel the dip badly, comes a lot of incentive and the opportunity of a spiritual uplift.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/457).
So now is the time to increase in fasts, charity, zikr (remembrance of Allah SWT), Quran recitation, extra prayers and all other good deeds that you can think of. And this time make an intention to continue some of these deeds, if not all, even after these days have gone so your year’s fuel is taken care of. Keep doing one little action you did consistently in Ramadan and are now planning to do these days after this time ends.
Indeed, the most beloved deed to Allah is what is done regularly even if it is small. (Musnad Ahmed).
It could be as simple as giving daily charity in the form of few rupees in the masjid’s charity box or committing 15 minutes to read a verse of the Quran and reflect on its meaning.
Keep your chin up and keep doing your best to please Allah (SWT). May Allah (SWT) grant us the taufeeq (ability) to do acts that are pleasing to Him and that He blesses us with Ramadan 2019 and other blessed days. Ameen.