Graduating from Ramadan
We leave the blessed month of Ramadan, its beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We leave the month of the Quran, taqwa, patience, struggle, mercy, forgiveness and protection from punishment on the day of judgment.
Many questions and numerous thoughts come to the mind of the sincere Muslim, who self reflects with truthfulness.
Have we fulfilled the requirements of taqwa and graduated from Ramadan school with the diploma of God-consciousness?
Have we fought our souls and desires and defeated them, or have we been overtaken by our customs and blind imitations?
Have we performed our actions in a way that fulfills the conditions for receiving mercy, forgiveness and release from chastisement?
What Have We Gained From Ramadan?
Ramadan is a school for strengthening iman (faith), an opportunity to recharge one's spiritual batteries and to acquire one's provision for the rest of the year.
The noble month is a true school of transformation in which we train our inner self to change our actions, habits and manners that are in variance with the Laws of Allah. "Verily, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." (Quran 13:11)
If you have fulfilled the requirements of taqwa (God-consciousness), fasted the month, prayed in it with sincerity, and strove against your soul, praised and thanked Allah for all His blessings, and asked Him for steadfastness then you have benefited from Ramadan.
After the end of this blessed month, to revert back to habits of before Ramadan would be like one who stitches a beautiful garment and then deliberately destroys it. Or a person who earns a fortune trading throughout the day, then when the night comes, he throws away all that he earned. What would people say about such a person?
This is the condition of one who returns to ill habits after Ramadan and leaves righteous actions. After he was favored with the blessing of obedience and enjoyment of communicating with Allah he returned to ignorant actions. How deprived are the people who know God only in Ramadan!
Falling short in one's commitment to Islam after Ramadan is manifested in many ways, including: Leaving the compulsory prayers, after they filled mosques for Taraweeh prayers, thus going to the masjid for recommended prayers and leaving obligatory ones, and a return to a life of material and social indulgence without God-consciousness.
This is not thankfulness for blessings and favors, nor is it the sign of acceptance of one's actions, rather this is opposition to favors and absence of thankfulness.
From signs that one's deeds are accepted is that he or she has improved in his or her obedience to Allah. "And remember when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]" [Quran 14:7]. So if a person is truly thankful to his Lord, you will see him guided to more obedience and distanced from actions that are disliked by God.
A Muslim must continuously be in the state of obedience and God-consciousness. A believer knows that the Lord of Ramadan is also the Lord of all times and places.
"So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah]." [Quran 11:112]
-- If the fasting in Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary fasting, such as fasting six days in Shawwal, on Mondays and Thursdays, the three days in the middle of the month, the days of Aashoora and Arafat, and others.
-- If standing in prayer at night during Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary night prayer throughout the year.
-- If Zakat, charity and zakat ul-fitr of Ramadan have ended, then there is the option of sadaqa, and many other doors to charity and voluntary actions still remain open.
-- Reading of the Quran and understanding it is not only for Ramadan, rather it is for all times.
Continue Good Deeds
-- The requirement of showing forgiveness and compassion to people does not end with Ramadan. Know that Allah is the most forgiving and companionate and loves all who are forgiving and companionate.
Righteous actions are for all times and all places, so strive and beware of laziness.
"O Allah, Who turns the hearts, keep our hearts steadfast upon Your prescribed path."
I ask Allah to accept from us and you our fasting, our prayers and other righteous actions, that our condition after Ramadan be a better one, that the state of our humanity improves, that we are granted honor and that we truly submit to our Lord. Ameen
Adapted from "Wa maadha baada Ramadaan", by Dar Al-Watan
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