Life after Ramadan: reaping the fruits and keeping the spirit alive
As the month of Ramadan comes to a close we should take a step back and look at what we set out to achieve at the start of Ramadan and we should also look forward and plan how we will endeavour to make the most of this month going forward.
Reaping the fruits of Ramadan
At the beginning of Ramadan we set ourselves various goals and targets to achieve during Ramadan. We probably achieved these goals and targets to varying different degrees. The achievement of these goals and targets in and of themselves are a great blessing for which the reward is as high as being forgiven all of our sins, being saved from the Hellfire and entry into the Mercy and reward from Allah. May Allah accept from us all of our deeds and reward us with these great prizes. However, there is more to it. Allah makes it clear that the purpose of Ramadan is for us to attain taqwa and become better than we were before. So it is important for us to analyse our achievements and to ensure that we make the most of these achievements going forward.
We should carefully look at what we managed to achieve in Ramadan. Be it the fasting, praying, reciting the Quran etc. and pick out from these things what we will continue to do after Ramadan and to what extent. Ramadan is a time that Allah makes it easy for His slaves to reach great heights and post-Ramadan it will not be as easy to reach the same levels. Out of habit, we may continue for a while but as the trials and tribulations of life hit us we may find that we are slipping back to our state that we were in before Ramadan within a matter of months, weeks or even days. So we need to take a practical and systematic approach.
If we managed to make sure that we were getting to the masjid in time to pray our sunnah before the fard then we should aim to make sure that we are at least getting to the masjid in time for the fard. If the masjid is far away but we were making an effort to get to the masjid for ‘isha everyday to pray in congregation then we should make sure that we are still making an effort to go to the masjid a certain number of times in the week. If we managed to complete the recitation of the entire Quran during this month then we should ensure that we continue to read the Quran everyday, perhaps half a juz or quarter a juz everyday. If we managed to control our eyes and tongue from falling into that which is frivolous and displeasing to Allah then we should ensure that we are now at least not falling into the haram.
Whatever it is that we have managed to achieve, each of us need to set ourselves some minimum targets based on these achievements to keep to.
Living the spirit of Ramadan
Although the days and nights of Ramadan come to an end, the spirit of Ramadan should remain very much alive in the life of a Muslim. This is because the life of a Muslim is nothing more than keeping to that which Allah has commanded, abstaining from that which He has prohibited and yearning for the Mercy and reward from his Lord as a result of this period of obedience and abstaining.
The parallels between Ramadan and the life of a Muslim are amazing when we ponder over it deeply. Ramadan is a short period of time, one month in a whole year. Our life in this dunya is only a short period when we look at our ‘life’ as a whole. The creation of our souls, the blowing of our souls into the fetus in our mother’s womb, our life on this Earth, our death and the time in the grave and finally the life of the akhirah. In Ramadan we abstain from that which Allah has made forbidden even though during the rest of the year they are halal. In our lives we abstain from things that we see people enjoying and taking great pleasure from all around us. At the end of Ramadan comes the great celebration of Eid where we celebrate and thank Allah for allowing us to live through Ramadan achieving what we managed to achieve. At the end of our life, if we’ve lived a righteous life which Allah accepts, we have the greatest ‘Eid’ of having Allah bestow upon us His Mercy, forgiving our sins and entering us into His gardens that He has prepared for His righteous slaves. A place where we are given the greatest reward of being able to gaze at the Face of the Lord of the Universe, a place where there are delights that no eyes have seen, no ears have heard and no hearts can even imagine in their wildest fantasies.
May Allah accept our humble efforts that we made in this month, allow us to be better than we were before Ramadan and May He allow all the Muslims in the World to enjoy the blessed day of Eid.