Everything in this world has a beginning and all that begin, must end as well. This is the law created by our Lord ﷻ and it is one among His innumerable signs. The Ramadan that we witnessed this year is unlike any other before and it has already come to an end. Although the days under lockdown seem to drag on, the month of Ramadan seems to have passed pretty swiftly.
This Ramadan has been like none other. Masjids have been shut and most of them haven’t been able to hold daily obligatory prayers, let alone Taraweeh and Qiyaam ul-layl. Beneficial interactions such as the iftar and suhoor get together, the community gatherings etc. were not possible either. However, it’s amazing to note that we may be a lot closer to the Ramadan of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the early generations this year. We’ve gotten closer to the original spirit of Ramadan.
Let’s face reality, the contemporary practices that have nowadays become a part of Ramadan culture/tradition like sumptuous meals with extravagant menus and frivolous gatherings and entertainment; excessive shopping lists — from food and clothing to gifts and home-décor – all these had no place in the Ramadan traditions of our ancestors. Such unmindful behaviour goes against the very spirit of Ramadan.
The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e., Allah will not accept his fasting)” [Al-Bukhari 1903, 30:13]
Our main focus as this blessed month concludes must be to carry the principal takeaway i.e. the spiritual benefits gained beyond it through the coming days, months and years ahead.
Some of the acts that we can continue beyond this Ramadan:
Hold on to the Sunan al-rawatib for life
One of the first things we’ve done to increase our worship during Ramadan is to get consistent with the daily sunnah prayers. There are immense rewards promised for it as this Hadith proves, “Whoever is regular with twelve Rak’ah of Sunnah (prayer), Allah will build a house for him in Paradise…” [at-Tirmidhi]
We need to make sure we don’t lose this precious habit to our busy daily schedule.
Continue with the fasts
True, Ramadan is over. However by fasting the last 30 days we’ve formed a habit. We must stay in the flow and complete the six days of Shawwal as soon as possible. Furthermore, we must make fasting a part of our lives, like fasting on Mondays and Thursdays or alternate days, or if that is difficult, just the 13th, 14th, 15th three days of every month will add immensely to our scales on the Day of Resurrection.
Stay in contact
These uncertain times have taught us to cherish our loved ones keeping trivial differences and disputes aside. This is exactly what Islam promotes and the month of Ramadan inspires. So, the relatives that you’ve reconnected with this Ramadan and ‘Eid with wishes and greeting; make sure to stay connected with them from now on. You should not find yourself remembering them again only next year.
Make charity a habit
Among other acts of worship, many of us increase our donations and charity in Ramadan especially during the last 10 nights. Now that it’s over we must ensure we don’t lose that spirit of generosity and empathy; especially now, in the current situation around the globe.
As we all know, the ongoing pandemic has impacted people’s lives in a variety of ways. During this time when most of the world has been under lockdown many have lost their employment, others have been stripped off their income. Among those most affected are those who fear starvation more than the virus and those who earn on a daily/hourly basis, their daily wages determining whether dinner could be served at the house.
Setting aside some amount of money each month for charity will help form a solid habit that will InshaAllah help us greatly in the Hereafter.
Continuing the guard on speech and manners
During Ramadan we get cautious of what we speak and how we act to make sure that we don’t lose our reward of fasting because the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” [Narrated by Abu Hurairah, Sahih al-Bukhari 1903]
By making sure that we do not let this guard down even after Ramadan we put in place a major character change in us. Avoiding cussing, arguments, backbiting, temper-outbursts etc. can only prove beneficial not only in the Hereafter but this world too. The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said, ‘The best among you are those who have the best manners and character.’ [Sahih al-Bukhari 6029]
The Qiyam ul-Layl
We may have stayed up through the night for the last ten nights of Ramadan. However, now that Ramadan is over, it may not be practical for most of us to do the same throughout he year considering our routines are designed for the day. However, we may still be able do something to gain the immense reward of the nightly prayer. It is important that we keep the following Hadith in our minds and avail its bounties:
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” [Sahih al-Bukhari 1145]
Therefore, waking up and praying an hour or even a half an hour before Fajr adhan will ensure we gain some part the last-third of the night and along with it the Fajr prayer on time. And it would be splendid to top it with recitation of the Quran:
“…and recite the Qur’an in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night)”. [Surah al-Isra verse#78]
Covid-19 affected Ramadan this year under lockdown and stripped from us some of the joys and blessings of gathering together for acts of worship that we cherish. However, holding the spirit of Ramadan high we strove to gain all the rewards we could together with our families under quarantine. Ramadan always gives us a beautiful opportunity to adopt positive changes in our actions and intentions regularly, developing it into a habit. Keeping up the effort beyond Ramadan will give us a positive change that would eventually upgrade our personality for good.
And finally, we all know that consistency is beloved to Allah as narrated by Aisha (radhi Allahu Anha), Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 6464]
So be consistent and stay safe!