How do we carry the torch of Ramadan forward; continue the spirit of Ramadan for the entire year, and throughout our lives?
Ramadan has passed. Our Qur’ans have shut. Our mosques have emptied. And our hearts have once again filled with the love of life, the hatred of death, and the desires that consume us.
The Satan that was once banned has again taken his place in our minds, our homes, at our front, and at our back. Once again he has kept his vow of assault:
(Satan) said, ‘Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful (to You).’ (Al-A`raf 7:16-17)
And so while we find ourselves again vulnerable to the very same struggles that plagued us before Ramadan, let us not forget the very purpose of our efforts during that blessed month. Let us not allow the fruits of Ramadan to be lost. And let us not miss out on the very purpose of our fasting.
When commanding mankind to fast, Allah says:
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.(Al-Baqarah 2:183)
Ramadan Torch .. God-Consciousness
It is that consciousness of Allah which is essential for the fulfillment of our purpose in this life. It is that fear of Allah which provides the muscle for our struggle to remain on the straight path. And if taqwa (God consciousness) is the muscle, Ramadan was our personal trainer.
If, during Ramadan, we were able to keep ourselves from an essential physical need (of eating and drinking) out of fear of Allah, are we not able to keep ourselves from forbidden things after Ramadan, out of that same fear? None of us would dare sneak a glass of water while we are fasting. And yet, the very same Lord who could see us sneak in that drink during Ramadan can see us commit haram outside of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, we could wake up before sunrise to feed our bodies. But after Ramadan we sleep through Fajr and starve our souls. Let us not allow ourselves to be conquered. Yes, Satan can call us again. But all he can do is call. The power and choice is ours. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, ‘Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah ] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment.’ (Ibrahim 14:22)
And so there are some who will allow Satan to reign over them. But there are others over which Satan has no power. Addressing Satan, Allah says:
Indeed, My servants – no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators. (Al-Hijr 15:42)
But how do we become among Allah’s servants, over which Satan has no authority? How do we continue the spirit of Ramadan for the entire year, and throughout our lives?
The following are some ways:
1. Guard your prayers. During Ramadan, many of us make sure to pray every prayer on time — often at the mosque. Continue to guard your prayers, because surely they will guard you. Allah says in the Qur’an:
Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. (Al-`Ankabut 29:45)
2. Remember Allah by staying close to the Qur’an. During Ramadan, many of us spend our nights and days reading Qur’an. Remembering Allah by staying close to the Qur’an everyday will protect you from Satan and keep your heart polished. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of Allah” (Al-Bukhari). The Prophet has also said: “Read the Qur’an, for verily it will come on the Day of Judgment as an intercessor for its companions.” (Muslim)
3. Think more and talk less. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Sometimes a person says a thing which pleases Allah, and in return Allah raises his status; and sometimes a person says something which displeases Allah, and it takes him to hell.” (Al-Bukhari)
Ibrahim an-Nakh`i, a pious predecessor, once said: “Whoever reflects will find that the noblest and most dignified person of every gathering is the one who is most silent, because silence beautifies the scholar and conceals the faults of the ignorant.”
4. Repent often. Many of us seek forgiveness from Allah during Ramadan, but abandon this practice once Ramadan is over. Keep in mind that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to repent to Allah a hundred times every single day. Repenting often keeps our hearts clean and always connected to Allah.
A dear colleague of mine said that with the passing of Ramadan one feels as though they have lost a relative. Indeed. But in our grief, let its passing not be in vain.