5 Tips to Keep Your Ramadhan Spirit Going Strong
The blessed days of Ramadhan, and the celebratory days of Eid that followed it, have now passed. Decorations have been taken down, the remaining sweet treats have been consumed, and our Eid outfits have been washed and neatly stored away.
Some are now beset with the post-Ramadhan blues. Those moments where you miss the serenity of Ramadhan, and the silence that filled the night as you prostrated and called out to Him. The month flew by, but we did our best to pocket opportunities that pleased Him, and raised our rank in Jannah. Many try to keep up with their Ramadhan habits of increased Qur’an recitation and extra Ibadah, but in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it can feel extremely difficult to find the time.
Even if we feel we didn’t do enough this year, we live with a reassurance that next year we will strive harder, do more, be kinder and pray harder. However, the painful reality is that many did not make it to this Ramadhan. They too prepared for the blessed month, made promises to be better, but it was written that they would return to their Lord before Ramadhan approached. This is a poignant reminder that we should not delay our efforts to next Ramadhan, to the next Jumu’ah, to the next Dhul Hijjah, to another occasion which we are not guaranteed to live to witness.
The Salaf used to spend the six months after Ramadhan praying for the acceptance of their deeds in the month that passed and then the next six praying that they would live to see the next. The true sign of acceptance is that we remain steadfast upon those good deeds and more doors of goodness are opened for us.
We have granted the opportunity to remain steadfast through the blessed month of Shawwal, the neighbouring month to Ramadhan. It’s a month in which we can strive to maintain our Ramadhan habits, and embed them in our daily lives.
“And worship your Lord until the certainty (death) comes to you). (Al-Hijr: 99)
To help you remain steadfast during Shawwal we have prepared 5 tips on how to keep your Ramadhan Spirit Going Strong
1. Pray for steadfastness and success
As believers, we aim to remain steadfast, and on the straight and narrow. Although we may stray, we pray that we get back on track and pleasing to our Lord.
On the authority of Abu Amr who said: I said: “O Messenger of Allah (saw), tell me something about Islam which I could not ask anyone about it save you”. He (saw) answered: “Say: I believe in Allah and then stand firm and steadfast.” (Sahih Muslim).
In Ramadhan, it often is easier to remain steadfast, and away from temptation and distraction, as we know it is a time in which the Shayateen are chained. However, striving to remain steadfast post Ramadhan can be difficult.
“So remain on the right course as you have been commanded, and do not be among those condemned to ruination.” (Qur’an, 12: 112)
If we want to be granted the ability and success in any matter, we should supplicate. In the same way, we should make du’a to remain steadfast, and to keep up our good habits from the holy month. There are specific supplications that should be part and parcel of our daily lives that can allow us to remain in a position of calling onto Him for steadfastness.
“Our Lord, Let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.” (Qur’an 3: 8)
In fact the most frequent supplication that the Prophet (saw) made was for istiqamah (steadfastness):
“O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion.”
“O Allah! I ask You to grant me steadfastness and consistency in all my affairs and I ask You for the resolve to adhere to the path of guidance…”
Beside praying for steadfastness, we should contemplate on what actions or habits we have slipped back into or what can turn us away from steadfastness, and work hard to avoid those actions, or company that could steer you towards that.
2. Keep 6 fasts; get rewarded for 365
“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he had fasted the year through.” (Muslim)
Fasting the six days of Shawwal is a Sunnah that comes with great reward. The Shawwal fasts do not need to kept consecutively; you can fast any 6 days of Shawwal, beside the first day, which is the day of Eid for which fasting is forbidden.
Fasting the six days of Shawwal also make up for any shortcomings in the obligatory Ramadhan fasts. Beside the spiritual benefits, it also has many health benefits including blood sugar management, prevention of diseases and supporting brain function.
By fasting the six of Shawwal, you can get into the habit of keeping additional fasts outside the month of Ramadhan, and implement the habit of fasting on the Sunnah days of Monday and Thursday or the three ‘white days’ of the month (the 13th, 14th and 15th of the Hijri month), when the moon is at its fullest, for which you can attain the reward of fasting the entire month.
3. Incorporate a good habit that you kept up in Ramadhan
It can be overwhelming when you implement several changes to your daily lifestyle, and it can be difficult to keep up. Therefore, in order to incorporate good habits from Ramadhan, take it slow and implement habits which are feasible, that can built into your schedule.
The recitation of the Quran should be a daily habit of every believer as it was sent down as a guidance to mankind. Try to read an ayah after every salah, or a page a day. By doing this daily, it will become a norm and easy to continue with.
Salatul Duha is an optional prayer, prayed between sunrise and Dhuhr. It is something that he (saw) never failed to perform. There are many virtues and rewards for offering this optional prayer and it is something we could quite easily incorporate into our lives.
The Prophet (saw) “Whoever regularly prays the two rakʿahs of Duha, his sins are forgiven even if they are like [the vastness of] the foam of the sea.” (at-Tirmidhi)
Whether it’s salatud-duha, 2 raka’at of the night prayer, or the 12 recommended prayers (sunan ar-rawatib) a day, try to develop a habit.
4. Keep on giving
In Ramadhan, following the example of the Prophet (saw), the ummah is at its most generous in its giving. People donate more regularly, especially on Friday and in the last ten days, hoping to catch the virtues of Laylatul-Qadr. It is a beautiful gesture of coming together, of feeding the fasting, clothing the poor, and sheltering the homeless. We dig deep as we feel closer and connected to Allah, and our hearts are softened to the plights of others.
Giving sadaqah has many benefits ranging from removing calamities to forgiveness of our sins. Although the reward of charity is multiplied in Ramadhan, we should continue the habit of giving post Ramadhan, even if it is a little amount each day.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” (Ibn Majah)
By giving in charity throughout the year, you become accustomed to the habit, and it will be a part of your daily or weekly routine. It will not be difficult for you to give, and you will reap the rewards of it, both in this life and the hereafter.
Begin by giving in Shawwal by setting up a monthly donation to sustain our work. By giving just £1.17 a day – less than your daily coffee – or £35 a month we can ensure we can deliver the practical, financial and emotional support our beneficiaries require long term.
Ramadhan may have passed, but the opportunities to serve and to give sadaqah remain open.
“Give out of what We have provided for you, before death comes to one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if You would only reprieve me for a little while, I would give in charity and become one of the righteous.’” (63:10)
Another way you can do this is with a HHUGS penny box. You can place it in your home, work place, prayer room or local community centre. Get your children, and loved ones involved in the act of giving and instill the values of helping others from young. You can order one here.
5. Continue to seek and implement beneficial knowledge
“Whoever takes a path in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to walk in one of the paths to Paradise. Indeed, the angels will lower their wings in great pleasure with the one who seeks knowledge.” (Abu Dawud)
We are encouraged to ponder, reflect and learn about Islam and its teachings – and of course, then implement what we have learnt by translating it into action. This helps us draw closer, and understand the religion better. You are rewarded when you are seeking knowledge and your rank is raised in the sight of Allah.
During Ramadhan, many of us strive to learn and study more. You may have read more Islamic books, and listen to more lectures and podcasts as you try to substitute the entertainment you usually consume. However, we should aim to continue this habit, studying the Qur’an and tafseer, and reflect on the stories of the Prophets, their companions and the lessons we can learn from them.
In the month of Shawwal, you should continue the habit of seeking knowledge, to draw closer to Him. There are many topics which you can learn from which interests you ranging from the beauty of His creation, to the miracles within the Qur’an, to the brave stories of the companions. You can share these stories and lessons with your family, and make it a habit to discuss it with your loved ones daily.
Alongside seeking beneficial knowledge, it is vital to translate it into action. One of the ways you can kick start this, is by signing up for the paid recorded access for our Believer’s Shield Course, held in April with Ustadh Alomgir Ali and Ustadh Jamal Abdinasir. You will learn more the benefits and meanings of the morning and evening adhkar and how to implement them into your daily lives.
You can benefit from the recorded access at a time that suits you, and therefore can be beneficial to other members of your family and your friends, for which you will be rewarded of sharing beneficial knowledge!
A beneficial transition
The month of Shawwal is a gift to the believer’s post Ramadhan. It is a month in which we can transition and implement good habits into our daily lives which will make it easier for us to act upon and benefit from. It is important to take it one step at a time, and not to overwhelm yourself which actions you may not be able to keep up with.
May Allah make Shawwal a beneficial month for you in which you remain steadfast upon the deeds of Ramadhan, and grow closer to Him. Ameen.