Assalamu alaykum everyone,
Maybe it is because I am getting older, but this Ramadan flew by way too fast. It came and went in the blink of an eye. Sadly, I do not think I was able to achieve all my personal goals and targets this Ramadan (completing the final few assessments of a university degree took a lot of my time – who knew?). The reality is, I am sure there are many others who find themselves in the same boat as me for various reasons. So, what do we do now?
It is very easy to think negatively and convince yourself that you wasted your one opportunity in the year to return to your Lord. Do not listen to these thoughts, the whispers of Shaitan are deceptive and more frequent now that the devils are unchained. Just because the month designed to bring us closer to Allah SWT is over, it does not mean our efforts to draw nearer to Allah SWT are put on pause for 11 months.
One of the signs of an accepted Ramadan is that upon its completion, your life changes for the better. Conversely, if our lives return to what they were before Ramadan, then we surely have wasted our Ramadan. Therefore, if we continue the various hasanat (good deeds) we performed regularly during Ramadan, it is a sign that our Ramadan was a productive one. The hasanat we performed during Ramadan are unique for every Muslim, so only you can formulate your post Ramadan plan. Universal goals include:
- Attending the Masjid more frequently
- Reciting and pondering over the Qur’an daily
- Continuing to be charitable
Personally, I find specific goals to be more practical and achievable. If you define your targets very clearly, you give yourself something to work towards. For example, when I said I would go to the Mosque every day to pray Fajr, I was far more motivated and consistent compared to times where my goal was to just pray in the Mosque more frequently.
It is very easy to create specific goals too. People who are new to reading Qur’an for example, could recite a Juz (1/30th of the Qur’an) a month, which is a very achievable target. For those who wish to perform voluntary fasts, perform them on the 13th,14th and 15th of each lunar month. Or if you desire to fast even more regularly, fast on Mondays and Thursdays (you will also be reviving the sunnah if you fast these days, I have not plucked these days out of thin air!). Formulate your post Ramadan plans and try to find others who you can perform them with. This will prevent you from becoming lazy and can provide you a little extra motivation.
Although I was very busy with studies during Ramadan, I suddenly have lots of free time now my assignments are complete. The Prophet pbuh advised us to:
“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death.”
So for those of us who were unable to find the time during Ramadan due to exams and coursework, be sure to take advantage of your free time when it does arrive. Free time is a temporary blessing which we should be more conscious of. Let us use our free time to maintain the good habits we acquired during the blessed month and strive to develop spiritually beyond Ramadan.
I hope you all had a productive and blessed Ramadan insha’Allah! And I pray that we are all able to continue our hasanat well beyond Ramadan. Ameen.