What after Ramadan?
We are leaving the blessed month of Ramadan, its beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We leave the month of the Holy Qur'aan, taqwa, piety, patience, Jihad, mercy, forgiveness and freedom from hellfire. Have we fulfilled the requirements of taqwa and graduated from the Ramadan school with the diploma of God-fearing? 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 fulfil the conditions for receiving mercy, forgiveness and release from the Fire?
Many questions and numerous thoughts come to the heart of the sincere Muslim, who asks and answers with truthfulness. The topmost question is what have we gained from Ramadan? Ramadan is a school of faith and a 'stop to recharge one's spiritual batteries', to acquire one's provision for the rest of the year.
When will one take a lesson and change for better if not in the month of Ramadan? The noble month is a true school of transformation in which we change our actions, habits and manners that are in variance with the law of Allah Almighty. "Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." [Ar-Ra`d, 11]
If you are from those who benefited from Ramadan, fulfilled the requirements of taqwa, truly fasted the month, prayed in it with truthfulness, and strove against your soul, then praise and thank Allah Almighty, and ask Him for steadfastness upon it until you meet your death.
Be not like the one who has sewn a shirt and then destroyed it. Have you seen one who sewed a shirt, so when she looked at it, and she liked it. Then she destroyed it pulling a thread by thread for no reason. What would people say about such a person? Or have you seen one who earns a fortune trading throughout the day, then when the night comes, he throws away all that he earned, dirham by dirham. What would people say about such a person?
This is the condition of the one who returns to sinning and evil-doing after Ramadan and leaves obedience and righteous actions. So after he was favoured with the blessing of obedience and enjoyment of communicating with Allah Almighty, he returned to the blaze of sins and evil actions. How evil are the people who know Allah Almighty only in Ramadan?
My dear ones, falling short in one‚Äôs commitment to Islam after Ramadan is manifested in many ways, including:
1. Men leaving the five prayers in congregation, after they filled mosques for Taraweeh prayers, thus going to the mosque for recommended prayers and leaving obligatory ones.
2. Return to musical entertainment, forbidden films, women displaying their adornment beyond that, which ordinarily appears thereof, free mixing, etc.
This is not thankfulness for blessings and favours, nor is it the sign of acceptance of one‚Äôs actions. Rather, this is opposition to favours and absence of thankfulness.
These are from signs of one‚Äôs deeds not being accepted -- and Allah's refuge is sought -- for one who truly fasts rejoices on the occasion of Eid, praises his Lord for helping him complete the fast, and remains fearful that Allah Almighty may not accept his fasting, just as the previous ones would continue asking for acceptance of their actions in Ramadan for six months after it.
From signs that one's deeds are accepted, is that he or she has improved in his or her obedience to Allah Almighty. 'And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‚ÄòIf you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]...'‚Äù [Ibrahim, 7]
Increase you in good, faith and righteous actions. So, if the servant is truly thankful to his Lord, you will see him guided to more obedience and distanced from sinfulness. Thankfulness is leaving sins, as the early Muslims said.
'And worship your Lord until there comes you to the certainty [ie death].' [al-Hijr, 99]
The Muslim must continuously be in the state of obedience of Allah Almighty, firm upon His Shari'ah, steadfast upon His religion, so that he or she is not of those who worship Allah Almighty only during one month or only in one place. Rather, the believer knows that the Lord of Ramadan is also the Lord of other months, and that He is the Lord of all times and places, so he is steadfast upon the Shari'ah of Allah Almighty until he meets Him while He is pleased with him.
Allah Almighty said: 'So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah].' [Hood, 112]
And: 'So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.' [Fussilat, 6]
And the Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) said, 'Say, ‚ÄòI believe in Allah,' then be steadfast.' [Sahih Muslim]
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 Aashura and Arafah, and others.
If standing in prayer at night during Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary night prayer throughout the year. 'They used to sleep but little of the night.' [Surah Az-Zaariyaat, 17]