بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
As Ramadan drew to a close this year, I resolved I would not let go of all the things I had started during Ramadan. I would recite the Qur’an a lot every chance I got during the day. I would offer all my salawaat (prayers) on time and with concentration and feeling. I would keep voluntary fasts regularly. I would control my tongue and eyes. This year would be different.
But right after Eid, my son fell ill and then I followed. The viral left us both weak and disoriented to an extent that it was an effort to even pray sitting down. All my vigor and enthusiasm of Ramadan seemed to be fizzling out as I lay in bed unable to do much else.
I realized as each day passed by and I struggled to hang on to the routine of Ramadan, that the biggest test after Ramadan is bringing continuity to our good deeds whether big or small. If we catch ourselves right after Eid and start our Shawwal fasts early, the backward spiral is stalled. If we do not let our sleep patterns return ‘to normal’, we can easily wake up for tahajjud (pre-dawn prayer) and recite Qur’an and make duas at night. If we don’t go on an eating rampage, our appetites after Ramadan are decreased so that we don’t feel too hungry throughout the day and can continue to eat less and fast more.
However, this is easier said than done, because Shaitan goes on over drive after Ramadan and tries to draw us back into the world of deception and make us forget the spiritual delights of Ramadan. Love of the world creeps back in and makes our souls ill and our hearts diseased so that they can no longer fend off Shaitan’s attacks and the temptations of the self.
When I fell ill, all the housework, the laundry and cooking, came to a halt. Physical sickness can bring to a stop the important chores we normally have to do for a reasonable life on this earth. Similarly, when our heart is ailing and sick, all the good and righteous things that we need to do for our akhirah (hereafter) come to a stop. Until this sickness is cured, we will not be able to function as successful Muslims.
So we need to take some inner and outer steps to ensure that we are able to progress as Muslims from one Ramadan to the next Insha’Allah:
First of all, we need to close the doors that lead us back to our old ways, we need to limit how much we delve into worldly desires. For that we need to avoid:
- The friends (real or virtual) who lack commitment to deen (religion) who are slaves of their desires
- The gatherings which make us neglect the remembrance of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى )
- The activities that have no use in this life or the next (window-shopping whether real or virtual, gossiping, watching useless TV shows or movies, chatting or browsing uselessly).
Secondly, we need to identify and chalk out an action plan and schedule for every day and for the long term. Some of the things we may need to include in our daily plan are:
- Recitation and memorization of portions of the Qur’an
- Study of tafsir (exegesis) or seerah (life of the Prophet (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم)
- Adhkaar and duas
- Sadaqaat (charity) with time and money
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet (make a plan)
- Sleeping early and waking up before Fajr
- Going to the masjid (mosque) for Maghrib or Isha, atleast once a week (for ladies)
This should help us keep the focus of Ramadan and race in performing good deeds. In Ramadan, it is our focus that makes all the difference and it is there because we know we have a very limited time to perform as many good deeds as we can. And we know everyone is competing with us so we try harder because of this spirit of competition.
We need to bring about the same urgency and focus to our life because after all, our time on this planet is limited too. Each one of us was born with an expiry date that none knows but Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ). Yet what we do know is that every passing minute is bringing us closer to that date. And we are all competing against each other as well as helping each other in this race against time. The finish line should be none other than Jannah (Heaven); till we reach that goal, we cannot rest or feel satisfied. That is when a believer will actually break his life-long fast from desires and temptations and in Jannah he will enjoy the blessings that his Lord has prepared for him.
The race has begun, what are you waiting for?
وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous.”
[Al-Qur’an: Surah Ali-‘Imran:133]
Hafsa Ahmed’s Profile
I am currently residing in Saudi Arabia and have been homeschooling my two sons for some time. I completed the Taleem al Islam course at Al-Huda Karachi in 2000-01. It turned my life around and I have been working and teaching at Al-Huda in Karachi, Dubai, Abu Dhabiand Riyadhsince then, particularly classes for teens in English. I lead the English division of the ‘Mercy for the World’ campaign launched by Dubai Islamic affairs and Charitable Activities Department in 2008, giving lectures, appearing on a radio show and designing a book and posters. My passion for writing spurred me to publish a few pamphlets at Al-Huda and to start a blog www.thewritebrew.blogspot.com, all praise and thanks to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.