We said our goodbyes to Ramadan, two weeks ago. Our annual visit concluded and we can, once again, return to our daily routines; wrong!! We should not return to the life we had prior to Ramadan. This is the time of reflection. What did we do in Ramadan, and how can we continue these acts of worship? Ramadan is split into 3 parts, the first 10 days “The days of Mercy,” the second 10 days, “the days of forgiveness,” and the last 10 days, “The days of seeking refuge from the fire.” We had thirty days to return to Allah. We had thirty days of Self introspection. We had thirty days to set our goals for the rest of the year. What have you accomplished this Ramadan? Were you able to check off any of the goals on your list?
Ramadan may be gone, but all of the habits you formed in Ramadan can be performed outside of Ramadan. The purpose of Ramadan is to create long forming habits that you can still practice for the rest of the year. Ramadan helps your body and soul perfect four things: your Prayer, your fasting, your charity, and your Iman. Let's look at how you can maintain the acts of worship after Ramadan. Focusing on these 4 things can help you remember Allah AFTER Ramadan.
Performing Salat is a primary pillar in Islam. Allah says in surah to Ma’un:
“So woe to those who pray [But] who are heedless of their prayer” Quran 107:4-5
When people think of Ramadan they often think of Tarweeh, and giving to the Sadaq, and reading the Quran. Of course all of those deeds are very important and we should most definitely engage in those acts, however perfecting your five daily prayers is essential to obtaining forgiveness in and outside of Ramadan. You can perfect your Salah by praying on time, maintaining Kusha (focus) during your prayer. When you are praying, the Jinn, named Kinzab, comes to you and tries to distract you with worldly things.
‘Uthmaan ibn Abi Al-‘Aas Ath-Thaqafi, who narrated that he came to the Prophet and asked him, “O Messenger of Allah, the devil intervenes between me and my prayer and my
recitation of the Quran, and he confounds me.” Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah said,
“That is (the doing of) a devil who is known as Khinzab, and when you feel his effect, seek refuge with Allah from him and spit three times to your left.” “So I did that, and Allah dispelled him from me.” [Muslim]
Focusing on the Surahs you are reciting and their meanings can help you maintain focused in your Salah. You should know and reflect on the meaning of what you are saying in Ruku, Qiyam, Jals.
1. In Ruku you say "Glory be to my Lord the Almighty"
2. In Qiyam you say "Our Lord, all praise is due only to You"
3. In Sujood you say "Glory be to my Lord the Most High."
4. In Jals you say "Oh my Lord forgive me."
If you focus on your movements, and what you are saying and the gravity of these statements you will be able to maintain your focus during prayer InshaAllah.
Abu Hurairahra narrates that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “The first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Judgement will be his Salat. If it is found to be complete, then it will be recorded as complete and if anything is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see if you can find any voluntary prayers with which to complete what he neglected of his obligatory prayers.’ Then the rest of his deeds will be reckoned in like manner.” (Sunan al-Nasai, Kitab al-Salat, Hadith 466)
Tahajjud is considered a voluntary prayer, and it can be performed in and outside of Ramadan. Maintaining Kush’u in both voluntary and involuntary prayers is essential to receiving the reward. When making Tahajjud outside of Ramadan, you should do the same thing you did inside of Ramadan. I know that standing is long and our legs often get tired, but the Barakah is worth it. Prophet Muhammad says in this Hadith in Sahih Muslim:
“Certainly in the night, there is a moment in which, if coincided by a submissive person asking Allah of the good of this world and the hereafter, Allah gives him whatever he asks for, and that is the entire night. (Muslim)
Praying Taraweeh or performing Tahajjud can help you achieve ultimate blessings even AFTER Ramadan. I know that standing for long periods is not entirely comfortable especially if you experience leg cramps, that is why I stretch. I do several stretches to prepare my legs and feet for the long hours of standing, so next Ramadan try out these stretches (try to hold each stretch for 20 seconds):
1. Plantar flexion: this is simply stretching your foot upwards with your heel planted on the ground. Press gently on the back of your toes as you tilt your foot towards your body.
2. Dorsiflexion: for this stretch sit on the floor and turn your toes downward, you want to press lightly on the superior side of your foot.
3. Knee-head posture: whilst sitting on the floor stretch your leg out and lean forward until your head touches your knee. Your other foot should be turned in towards your body.
4. This stretch is good for loosening the muscles in your back and your hamstrings, (you can refer to them as your lambstrings because we are halal).
5. Touching your toes: this something we’ve been doing since we were little and it is perfect for stretching out your back.
These are a few stretches that help me in and outside of Ramadan, but feel free to look up some more stretches that can help loosen up your muscles.
We are currently in Shawwal, another blessed month. Let us take the lessons that we learned in Ramadan and apply them in this month and throughout the rest of the year. Let us fast the six days of Shawwal.
Abu Ayyub reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “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 has fasted for the entire year.” Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1164
Let'sreceive the reward of fasting a whole year. Let us continue to get up at night and pray, and let’s continue to give charity. This past Ramadan should be a game changer for all of us. May Allah accept our Ramadan and allow us to better ourselves as Muslims Ameen.