(After the month of Ramadan passed, we step into a life where suhoor and iftar no longer dictate our schedule. The absence of Taraweeh and the Quran recitations that echoed through the nights left behind silence and empty Masajid  right from the day of Eid. The discipline of fasting, which fostered community get-togethers, now becomes a personal endeavor, often without the supportive environment that Ramadan provides. That should be the introspection of how the passing of Ramadan affected our spirituality. Did we turn those good schedules into post-Ramadan habits too?  This article helps the readers to remain motivated to continue good and remain upright even after Ramadan pass away.)

Was our Ramadan spiritual or just a ritual? The post-Ramadan life will brief us on how productive our Ramadan was. The productivity of Ramadan is sensed after Ramadan, observing a supervised continuation of good deeds which we did for a whole month. Shawal is not a month of pause after an upright performance in worship and obedience along with punctuality in attending prayers but it is a continued display of the sabr stamina that we have developed in the past month. The Prophet () and his companions marked this continuation with six fasts in the month of Shawal along with fasting on Ayyam al-Beed (the White Days, i.e., the 14, 15, & 16 of the month), added with Mondays and Thursdays. It is highly recommended to fast on these days, especially the six fasts in Shawal. Abu Aiyub Al Ansari narrated that the Messenger of Allah () said,

“Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year.” (Muslim)

Taqwa and Maghfirah: The Two Main Goals of Fasting in Ramadan

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Astagfar and Maghfirah mends all deeds as Allah says,

“Fasting is prescribed upon you as it was prescribed upon those before you so that you may achieve Taqwa.” [Surah Al Baqarah: 183]

Taqwa has no pause, nor is it a part-time adoption of an activity; rather, it is a lifelong characteristic. They are those who adopted taqwa and protected his nafs from all sins and lagwiyaat will attain salvation. It is a part of taqwa that a person desires to be forgiven. Those who are forgiven and whose tawbah are accepted in Ramadan are given glad tidings of being saved from the Hellfire. The Messenger of Allah () said,

“Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan with iman and ihtisab (enthusiasm and hope to receive reward) will have all his previous sins pardoned.” (Bukhari)

There were six basic acts we focused on in Ramadan and we can also find the mentioning of all the six together in the Qur’an and these qualities need to be turned into a part of our regular lifestyle.

Those who pray, “Our Lord! We have believed, so forgive our sins and protect us from the torment of the Fire. Those who are patient, sincere, obedient, and charitable, and who pray for forgiveness before dawn.” [Surah Al e Imran: 16,17]

The above ayat denotes a connection of sincere faith with some characteristics to be saved from Hellfire. Sincere belief is essential for the sins to be forgiven and five traits identify protection from Hellfire. Ramadan gave us a full opportunity to establish these qualities.

The Prophet () used to seek the protection of Allah from committing bad deeds after doing good. That’s why the Salaf were very concerned about deeds after completing the month of Ramadan. A person who breaks this commitment after Ramadan crosses his limit and becomes like the woman who, after reaping her interest, destroys everything she had built and wastes what she had accumulated. (Sahih Hadith)

Eid is the Day of Happiness for those who established Ramadan With iman and ihtisab. It is a festival of mercy, and goodness, a day of sabr (not disobeying Allah even on a day of happiness and celebration), a day of showing affection and love. It was the nature of the salaf to complete the deeds of goodness with punctuality and dedication. They remained always hopeful of accepting their deeds by Allah and fearful of rejection of their good deeds by Allah.

Khuzalah said, “Had I have an idea of acceptance of deeds equal to a seed by Allah is more beloved to me than this world and what is in it.”

The beloved wife of the Prophet, ‘Aishah, asked her husband, “The people whose hearts tremble from their Lord, is it those people who drank alcohol, do robbery and other evil sins?” He replied, “No, dear wife, it is those who keep offering salah, fasts, give charity, whatever little they have, and then fear for acceptance of their deeds. It is those who do the deeds of Paradise enthusiastically and rush in doing them.”

It should be the nature of the ummah of the Prophet to remain involved in the deeds of righteousness that please Allah after Ramadan too but those deeds should not deceive him about himself because it is with the mercy of Allah that Paradise will be attained

Sincere Faith and Remaining on Tawhid is Steadfastness

Sufyan Ibn ‘Abdillah (Allah be pleased with him) said,

“O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam of which I will not ask anyone else after you?” He said, “Say, ‘I believe in Allah’ and then be steadfast (on that).” (Sahih Muslim: 38)

Allah says,

Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah,” and then remained steadfast on the right path. [Surah Fussilat 41:30]

Abu Bakr Siddique said, “It means those who recite the word means  they believe in Allah and never commit shirk after it.” (At-Tabari, 21:464)

Fulfilling all the obligatory duties of uluhiyyah and ibadah helps one in steadfastness and consistency in the religion. Steadfastness is evidence of sincerity in deeds. Those who behave like guests of Islam in the month of Ramadan should ponder upon this ayat,

And some worship Allah on the verge: if they are blessed with something good, they are content with it; but if they are afflicted with a trial, they relapse, losing this world and the Hereafter. That is the clearest loss. [Surah Hajj: 11]

Consistency means to live and die on tawhid. Consistency is the sign of acceptance of deeds and pleasure of Allah. The intention behind consistency is that the balance of good deeds should exceed the balance of bad deeds on the day of standing before Allah to wipe out all the bad deeds from our account.

The Rewards Of Sincerity and Steadfastness are no Less than Paradise

Allah has assured such believers about it in many places in the Qur’an,

Then worship your Lord, until the certainty (death) comes to you.”[Surah Hjir: 99]

“The angels will descend upon them, [saying], “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised. [Surah Fusilat: 40]

Being Sabirun

Sabr is mentioned in the Qur’an in more than 90 different places. A true fasting person undergoes different types of sabr, such as

  1. Controlling the desire to eat, drink and get intimate with your spouse during the fast.
  2. Controlling the temptation of sins by abstaining from backbiting, fahisha and other forbidden acts. It is mentioned in the story of Prophet Yusuf how he did not fall to the temptation of the invitation of the lady.

“Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the Muhsinun (good-doers) to be lost.” [Surah Yusuf:90]

  1. Restraining anger: Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet () instructed to restrain anger during fasting,

“A fasting person should not behave prudently or foolishly but If somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting.” (Sahih Bukhari: 1894).

It was the noble character of the Prophet that he continued with such noble behavior even when he did not fast. The same is expected from his followers.

    1. Reducing sleep while standing for Qiyam al-Layl at night for long hours. Listening to the Qur’an for long hours during taraweeh in Ramadan already gives us the feeling of nostalgia but continuing it as tahajjud prayers after Ramadan is the best way to commemorate the blessed prayers. Allah has already announced appreciation of such believers,They sleep very little but invoking their Lord [during tahajjud]. [Surah Dhariyat: 11]

Al-Sadiqun: Being truthful is a trait of the people of Paradise. In this age of  replacing facts with fabrication, character assassination, wrong fatwas, while speaking truth is the dire need of society. The Prophet () said,

“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to al-fajur (i.e., wickedness, evil-doing), and al-fajur (wickedness) leads to the Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.” (Bukhari)

Qanitun: The devout worshiper is the one who is very particular about his prayers year long instead of just in Ramadan. Allah has included this characteristic in the list of those believers whom he has mentioned with appreciation in His Book.

“Successful are indeed the believers. Those who with their salah are khashi’un.”  [Surah Al Mo’minoon: 1, 2]

Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) said, “It means offering prayers with fear and tranquility.” Hasan Basri said, “Khushu is in the hearts and that is why they (true believers) lowered their gaze and humbled towards others.” (Tafsir ibn Kathir)

Al Munfiqun: Spending in the way of Allah is one of the noble characteristics of each and every Prophet and their companions. Generosity should not be restricted only for the month of Ramadan, but it should be a continuous lifelong process. The needs of the people continue even after Ramadan. The orphans still need their school fees, and the widows need money to run their homes, along with the needy within our relatives and neighborhood, who wait for the repetition of generosity which they joyfully experienced in the month of Ramadan. Every opportunity of charity will raise our standard in Paradise. If you study the early surahs of Makkah, they will inform us that charity was already instructed by Allah immediately after the prophethood was declared.

Al Mustaghfirin bil As‘har: Sins continue post Ramdhan and many of us commit them more often as compared to the month of Ramdhan. Therefore, repentance should also be performed a great amount throughout the year. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar used to offer tahajjud regularly throughout the year. He would pray long hours, and then inquire from his servant, Naf’i, if it was the last part of the night. He would then perform istaghfar. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

Therefore do not restrict the good deeds for only the month of Ramadan and wait for the next Ramdhan to come, for who knows if you might get another Ramdhan if death is lurking around. So grab each and every opportunity of performing good deeds and continue it until the following Ramdhan. The real proof that you have positively changed in the month of Ramdhan is seen and experienced on how you are after Ramdhan. It is time for self-introspection.

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Nisaar Nadiadwala

Previously a visiting university faculty member in both Malaysia and Tanzania, Nisaar Nadiadwala is presently based in the UAE as a trainer in Public Speaking and Communication Skills. As a consultant and a coach in the field of Public Speaking, panel discussions, news debates, and in anchoring Radio-TV-Podcast shows, he has helped people to build their careers through polishing their skills in making presentations. Besides being an award-winning speech maker, he has received the honorable title of Top Writer on Quora in 2018 and continues to retain that position: https://www.quora.com/search?q=Nisaar+Nadiadwala In regard to his socio-religious contributions, Nisaar focuses on family issues from an Islamic perspective, trying to cover every segment of the family. His special attention remains the tarbiyah of teenagers, for which he is invited to many Islamic Schools as a consultant and as a speaker on the teenage period of life. He relates his work to the grooming of adolescents, motivating them to adopt the Islamic way of life through his TV series, articles and workshops in community schools. His latest release is an E-book Teen's Deen - a collection of short stories for teenagers - published by www.themuslimfamily.net He has hosted his Pre-Marriage Preparatory Workshop in many cities of India and abroad. His book, I want to marry, but …, is the talk of the community in the desi crowd. Mr. Nadiadwala trains both online and in person through his course packages. He can be contacted at: Nisaar Nadiadwala [mnisaar@gmail.com].

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