Ramadan is over, now what?
With Ramadan now a distant memory, it is extremely important we do not undo the efforts we made during this month. We found how much more we could do once we put our minds to it and really exerted our efforts into worshipping Allah.
Don’t leave off good actions
Imagine there was a person who exerted so much effort into doing something and then all of sudden un-done all this hard work. Imagine a person finishing the Quran numerous times during Ramadan then not picking it up after Ramadan. Alternatively, a person who would stand the night in prayer and then left if after Ramadan. This was a warning given by the Prophet SAW as he said to Abdullah ibn Amr:
“يا عبد الله، لا تكن مثل فلان، كان يقوم من الليل ثم ترك قيام الليل” متفق عليه
“Oh Abdullah, don’t be like such and such, he used to stand part of the night in prayer but then he left the night prayer” (Agreed upon)
Allah blessed us with being able to pray the night prayers during this month. To avoid falling into what the Prophet SAW warned against, the least we can do is to keep up two optional units of prayer after Isha, and pray witr before we sleep. We can then work on things gradually to pray more and pray later in the night, because the most virtuous prayer, after the obligations, is the night prayer.
A person, just as he can continue with night prayers outside the month of Ramadan, can also continue with optional fast outside the month. There are many opportunities for this including:
– 6 days of Shawwal
Abu Ayyoob Al-Ansaari, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, , said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and then follows it with six (fasts) of Shawwal, it would be as if he fasted for the whole year.” [Muslim]
– The month of Muharram
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, , said: “The best fast after Ramadan is the fast in the month of Allah Al-Muharram [Muslim]
– Fasting Monday and Thursday
The Prophet Muhammad SAW said that deeds are raised to Allah on Monday and Thursday, I want my deeds to be raised and I am fasting (collected by Ahmad)
– Fasting the day of Arafah
“Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on ‘Ashura, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.” Reported by all except Al-Bukhari and At-Tirmidhi
Close the door to evil!
So how can we preserve these good deeds? How can we keep them up after Ramadan?
Something important the scholars say is:
ليس المهم أن تَفتَح بابَ الخير فقط، المهم أن تُغلِق باب الشر
“It is not only important to open the door to good, but it’s also important to close the door to evil”
This is because if the door to evil is open, it’ll take over your good deeds. Just as we find people doing good deeds, they may at the same time be indulging in evil actions, this may be causing deficiencies in their good deeds.
Some doors of evil we can close are:
Safeguarding our tongue – maybe one word we utter may harm a person, this could be a cause for our good deeds to be taken away and becoming null and void.
We learn from the Prophet Muhammad SAW who when it was said to him about a particular lady, she prays at night, fasts during the day and gives charity but she harms her neighbour with her tongue, the Prophet said, there is no good in her, she is from the people of the fire. He was then told about a lady who prays her obligatory prayers but never harmed anyone, the Prophet said, she is from the people of paradise. If you want to preserve your good deeds, preserve your tongue and be mindful of what you say.
Not being envious of others
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِيَّاكُمْ وَالْحَسَدَ فَإِنَّ الْحَسَدَ يَأْكُلُ الْحَسَنَاتِ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ النَّارُ الْحَطَبَ أَوْ قَالَ الْعُشْبَ
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Beware of envy, for it devours good deeds just as fire devours wood or grass.
Allah also says:
أَمْ يَحْسُدُونَ النَّاسَ عَلَىٰ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ
“Or do they envy people for what Allah has given them of His bounty”
When we aren’t happy and pleased with what Allah has given us, we’ll envy other people for what Allah has blessed them with, but we forget what we have.
Allah has blessed us with health, wealth and family, what else can we ask for? Yet we look around us and see our neighbour has more than us, they have a better car and here the envy starts! We’ll look at what’s in the hands of others, yet we won’t look at what we have! Allah says
وَفِي أَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ
…and in yourselves. Then will you not see?
Allah tells us:
لقد خلقننا الانسان في أحسن تقويم
“We have certainly created man in the best of stature”
Allah has created us in the best of stature, we have many blessings; our sight, being able to touch, smell, listen and walk, we’ve been given everything yet we’re still envious of others.
The Prophet SAW told us when it comes to the dunya to look at those below you and not above you.
انْظُرْ إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ دُونَكَ وَلا تَنْظُرْ إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ فَوْقَكَ
Only then, will truly realise and appreciate the blessings Allah has bestowed us with.
We ask Allah to accept our fasting and good deeds during the month of Ramadan, to make us continue with the good deeds and habits we strived to perfect and to make it a means for us to enter through the gate of Ar-Rayyan (one of the gates of heaven).
During Ramadan, we found out how much more we can do, so let’s try to keep up with those extra actions even if they are only “small”. Whether it was making sure you prayed every prayer on time, praying at the masjid at least once a day, giving a small amount of charity every day or being kind and gentle with your family; remember the words of our Messenger, peace be upon him:
“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”
Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 4240