Munaasabah: What Next After Ramadan

Munaasabah: What Next After Ramadan

Preamble

Muslims should be especially grateful to Allah for the many favours He bestowed upon us. Among those special favours is the blessed month of Ramadan, a month of forgiveness and mercy; the forgiveness and mercy of Allah will lead us unto His pleasure. Allah’s pleasure is a guarantee of paradise.

Ramadan is filled with opportunities

Ramadan is an opportunity to multiply the rewards of righteousness. It comes once every year with its special atmosphere of tranquility and multiplies reward of every righteous deed in the least multiples of seventy. This year’s Ramadan has come and gone forever, we are left with the memories of our deeds.

Don’t stop…

Unfortunately, some Muslims today consider the Eid as liberation from the captivity of Ramadan. This is because they consider Ramadan as an unnecessary hindrance preventing them from pursuing their lust.

Ramadan is not for self-torture; it is for self-discipline and training. Only Muslims who understand this will enjoy the true spirit of Ramadan.

…but continue

Ones determination and ability to continue on righteousness after Ramadan indicate ones sincerity and the acceptance of deeds in Ramadan by Allah.

Allah is the Lord of all time

This year’s Ramadan has gone forever; the next Ramadan is another to come. We have eleven months before the next one, what will you be doing before then? Will you turn away from righteous deeds; then be a worshipper of Ramadan? The Lord of Ramadan is the Lord of all months and He commanded righteousness in all months.

Your Ramadan: between hope and fear

The faith of the believers with regard to their righteous deeds lies between hope that Allah will accept them for reward and the fear that it will be rejected. This is a measure in the Islamic belief system to aid Muslims strike a balance between two negative extremes of pride and hopelessness. But indeed, Allah accepts righteousness from a slave who truly believes, sincere in his actions and patient.

وَاصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

Be patient, verily Allah does not allow the reward of

the righteous to be lost[1]

Be consistent even with what is little

You should be aware that the month of Ramadan is characterized with certain motivations that boosted your Godliness which enabled you to carry out righteous acts in it. While the special atmosphere of Ramadan that activated these motivations had gone, you still have the opportunity to utilize those motivations again and again by reactivating them with the piety that resides in you; gained from Ramadan.

Ramadan is an institution.

If you observe well, you should realize that Ramadan does not bring many new acts worship; it only came to revive the existing ones under its blessed atmosphere of:

  • Godliness: The link between yourself and your Lord. He is your Creator and it is your responsibility to worship Him always.
  • The Qur’an: The Qur’an was revealed in Ramadan; this plus the special attention given to it by Allah when ordering the fast of Ramadan encourage the Muslims to live more consciously and conscientiously with the Qur’an. Ramadan has gone but the Qur’an remains. The Qur’an maintains the surest link between you and your Lord. It is a means to attain Godliness.

إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ وَيُبَشِّرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَبِيرًا

Indeed, this Qur’an guides to that which is most suitable and gives glad tidings to the believers who do righteous deed that they will have a great reward[2]

  • Community / Collectiveness: The feeling of togetherness that characterize the month of Ramadan is a good motivator for the easiness and continuity of righteous deeds in it. This larger community has gone, but you still have the opportunity to join in the company of righteous true believers closest to you. Participate in regular programmes of Islamic organizations around you. This will assist to maintain the piety gained in Ramadan. The truthful are those who will constantly advice you on righteousness and remind you when you make mistakes that will affect you in life and Afterlife.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ.

O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true.[3]

  • Gatherings of knowledge: Special moments like gathering for tafsir and fiqh with fellow Muslims may no longer be available, but some organizations around you continue these programmes at various periods. Although the special atmosphere of Ramadan where the majority celebrate these programmes is over, they still remain, so be available in their attendance.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:

“مَنْ يُرِدْ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُفَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ”

Abu Hurayrah narrated that “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘When Allah wills good for a person, He causes him to understand the religion.'”[4]

Ramadan and Taqwa

The acceptability of righteous deeds by Allah depends on the sincerity[5] of its doer and the rewards depend on its quality. This quality is measured by the level of piety of the doer.

The purpose of Ramadan is to increase us in piety in order to improve the quality of our righteous deeds.

Depending on the type and how much fuel (i.e Taqwa) you have refilled the vehicle (i.e heart) that drives your actions, determines how much and fast as possible your movement to salvation before you reach another filling station (i.e. Ramadan).

Now you should:

  1. Pray to Allah to accept your ibadah in Ramadan.
  2. Observe six day fast before the end of Shawwal, after you have completed any fast missed from Ramadan.

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be [rewarded] as if he had fasted the entire year.”[6]

  1. Start preparing for the next Ramadan 1436 A.H.
  2. Keep your regular five daily obligatory solats with the congregation[7] in the mosque at due times. Also observe superogatory prayers like.
  1. Qiyam-ul-layl: Prayer at the last third of the night. It is the most emphasized voluntary solat after the obligatory and the most effective on spiritual growth and closeness to Allah. This makes it especially important.
  2. Solat dhuha: Starting from after sunrise until just before mid-day – before solat Zhur. It is observed in pairs of rakats with minimum of 2 rakats and maximum of 12 rakats.
  3. Solat Taobah: Advised to be observed shortly before sleep at night. Taobah means repentance. These two rakats of prayer is observed to show remorse over what we have done wrong during the day. A faithful Muslim who is conscious of death will always take it serious. Allah said:

اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الأنْفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَى عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الأخْرَى إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

It is Allâh who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that did not die during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.[8]

  1. Maintain regular fasting on Mondays and Thursdays and the 13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month.

Abu Hurairah reported that the most the Prophet would fast on Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that and he said: “The actions are presented on every Monday and Thursday. Allah forgives every believer, except for those who are avoiding each other. He [i.e. Allah] says [about them]: ‘Leave them.’ “[9]

It is recorded in Sahih Muslim that the Prophet, when asked about fasting on Monday, said: “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I received revelations.”

Abu Dharr al-Ghafari reported: “The Messenger of Allah ordered us to fast for three days of every month-that is, on the days of the full moon (the 13th, 14th, and 15th of the lunar month). And he said: ‘It is like fasting the whole year.’ ” [10]

  1. Recite the Qur’an daily, especially during mid-night prayer (tahajjud) and after solat-ul-fajr in the morning. It is recommended for every Muslim to complete recitation of the Qur’an at least once every month. That means a juz/para consisting of 20 pages should be recited every day. This is only a part of the Qur’an project[11] recommended for every Muslim.
  2. Keep company of righteous friends who will be part of your success story to salvation in Afterlife.
  3. Keep attendance at programmes where you can learn the correct ways of practicing the religion.
  4. Give lots of sadaqah and gifts. Sadaqah is what is beneficial that you give willingly and generously to those who need it. The following are only few from what was outlined as sadaqah in the Sunnah: The food you give to the hungry[12], the smile you put on your face when meeting a fellow[13], the direction you give to the traveller who lost his way[14], the harm you remove from the road[15], the morsel of food you took into the mouth of your spouse[16] and the intimacy you have together[17], and lots more.

Sadaqah should not be confused with gift. Sadaqah is given to those who need it as a basic necessity of life; Gift is given to people as a surplus. The giver of sadaqah does not expect reward nor gratitude from his benefactor, the giver of gift expect love in return; in other words, sadaqah will build the bond between a slave and his Lord while gift will build the bond between a slave and his fellow. Sadaqah is an injunction of Allah in the Qur’an and a pillar of the religion, it is weightier on the scale of righteousness and it quenches the anger[18] of Allah on the slave. The reward of sadaqah is more divine than worldly.

Sadaqah always comes from the higher to the lower level, gift is often goes from a lower to higher level and vice versa.

Sadaqah was forbidden for the prophet and his household; only gifts were permissible for them[19].

[1] Surat-ul-Hud 115

[2] Surat-ul-Israa 9

[3] Surat-ul-Tawbah 119

[4] Ibn Majah Book 1, Hadith 225

[5] This is in addition to being a true believer in Allah (i.e Muslim) and the deeds done in accordance with what is established in the Shariah (i.e in accordance with the Qur’an & Sunnah)

[6] This is related by “the group”, except for al-Bukhari and an-Nasa’i.

[7] This is only for males. Females have the options between praying at home and praying in the mosque.

[8] Surat-ul-Zumar 42

[9] This is related by Ahmad with a sahih chain.

[10] Related by an-Nasa’i and by Ibn Hibban, who called it sahih.

[11] Other aspects of the Qur’an project include: Tahfiz (memorization), Tadabbur (contemplating its meaning), Tafsir (seeking its explanations), etc

[12] Because he needs it to survive.

[13] Because he needs it to make him comfortable.

[14] Because he needs it to locate his destination.

[15] Because the people need it to use the road safely.

[16] Because it is part of love required to sustain the sacred bond (i.e. marriage)

[17] Because it is needed to have legitimate children (i.e. to have pregnancy and prevent adultery)

[18] The anger that a slave might have incur on himself through some sins

[19] Perhaps, this might be a principle to establish the superiority of the prophet over the rest of the believers, since sadaqah comes from the higher to the lower.

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