Again, this year, Allah has blessed His servants with the splendid month of Ramadan. The month of seeking forgiveness and hastening towards Paradise is back. The month of strengthening our relationship with the Almighty Creator and His book, the Quran, is back. The month of Badr, the conquest of Makkah and Jihad is back.
There is an amazing aura and energy that surrounds us in this month, enabling us to be a better person than the rest of the year. No matter how heavy one sleeps, Ramadan empowers you to wake up for Suhoor halfway through the night. No matter how fond you are of eating, Ramadan keeps you away from eating and drinking in these long summer days. No matter how far you are from the Quran, you try to listen and pay attention in the Taraweeh prayers. No matter how stingy you are, in Ramadan you try to give some charity. No matter how errant you are, you try to be better; you try minimizing the music, television and sinning in this month.
A Self-Control Program
With the Shaitan in chains, Ramadan comes to help us rein our soul. If we search about ‘self-control tips’ on Google, the results contain a plethora of difficult articles dealing with psychology and the human mind; some of their tips being exercise, meditation, eating and sleeping. On the contrary, our All-Knowing Rabb has gifted us with an effective training session in the form of this blessed month to help us gain self-control, or in other words ‘Taqwa – the consciousness of Allah’. We learn to fear Allah and obey him by fasting the thirty days of Ramadan. Even if there is nobody around, none of us thinks of sneaking a snack. We increase in the mindfulness of Allah and are able to take better charge of ourselves.
Ramadan has a message for you; if you can keep away from such vital things as eating and drinking for the sake of Allah, you can resist the temptation to sin, for His sake. Just like how you were eager on praying in Ramadan, you can observe prayers throughout the year. The training program has strengthened you enough to keep you away from evil and control your Nafs, even after Ramadan is over. You do have that tendency to do good; just will it and keep it going!
Here are some tips to help you retain the Ramadan spirit for the rest of the year:
1) Befriend the Quran: Ramadan is all about the Quran; we are recommended to recite the entire Quran at least once, as a crash course for revising our whole curriculum of life. But should we put it away as soon as Ramadan ends? And what if we don’t even understand what it states? Quran is a Muslim’s best friend that keeps reminding you of what is wanted in life, and shall be your accomplice in the darkness of the grave.
As a practical tip, make a plan for the whole year to take a step further in your relationship with the Quran. Learn the language of the Quran and memorize the meaning. If you already understand the meaning, dive deeper and ponder over the verses. If you learn and understand three ayahs daily, by next Ramadan, you will be able to understand a large portion of the Quran. Also, deduce points for yourself that you need to implement in your life. The verses of Allah will keep your faith fresh. Even if it is one ayah a day, do not forsake the Quran.
2) Keep good company: The company you keep determines what kind of a person you are and the activities you indulge in. If your companions don’t care about Allah and emaan (faith), you will soon forget about it too. Search and pray for good companions and keep yourself in their perfumed company. Prophet Muhammad said: “Man follows his friend’s religion; you should be careful whom you take as a friend”. 1
3) Gatherings of knowledge: The biggest faith rechargers are those gatherings roofed by the wings of angels; the gatherings of dhikr, Quran and Islamic knowledge. The feeling obtained in such ‘live’ gatherings is priceless, and cannot be gained by reading or listening to something on your laptop. Look around for such opportunities in your locality and be a part of them.
4) Abandon sins: Sinning stains your heart until it blackens out completely, blocking anything virtuous to reach inside. We cannot move forward on the path of righteousness until we leave sins, especially the major ones. This Ramadan, make a list of all the sins you are involved in and plan on how you will leave them gradually. Throughout the year, focus on one sin every month/week.
5) Obligatory prayers: Do not miss the obligatory prayers, never! Prayer is our direct connection with Allah , our meeting with Him . It keeps us reminded and helps us to stay away from misconduct. Allah says in the Quran:
“Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (Surah Ankabut, 29: 45)
This Ramadan, learn what you say in your prayers and remember it always.
6) Qiyam ul layl: If it is difficult to wake up for Tahajjud every day, (you do wake up in Ramadan, right? It is possible) do try to wake up once every week or at least once every month. The night prayer gives us the chance to bond with Allah in an unexplainable way. The peace, mercy and faith that descends on the heart in the third quarter of the night is priceless. Sleeping early and taking a small nap in the afternoon will help you in waking up for Qiyam ul layl.
Instead of being Ramadan Muslims, we should be Ramadan- born Muslims! Let this Ramadan fuel your faith for the days to come.
Please share your tips (in the comments section below) on how we can keep continue the spirit of Ramadan for the rest of the year. 🙂
- Tirmidhi; Hasan ↩