Keep the Spirit of Ramadhan Alive All Year
As we enter upon the month of Shawwal, let us not leave off the many acts of worship we performed during the blessed month of Ramadhan. Ramadhan, for most of us, was a time of renewal and re-establishment of our commitment to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His religion.
We fasted, gave charity, read Qur’an al kareem and performed the night prayer. We avoided gossip, slander and every evil that would invalidate our fasting. But now that Ramadhan is over, the majority of us, unfortunately, will put the al Qur’an back on the shelves, will suspend fasting until next year and will abandon the night prayer. This is not the way it should be, because all of these acts of worship carry rewards and are of benefit to us throughout the year, in addition to the fact that there is no divine prescription limiting them to Ramadhan.
The Qur’an al kareem
It’s sad, but true, that many of us have fallen into the bad habit of only reciting the al Qur’an during the month of Ramadhan. By doing this, we cheat ourselves out of the abundant blessings that come from reading the words of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Reading the al Qur’an is the best way to remember Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, it is a protection from the Satan and in it are cures for what ails us. For Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says (what means): “O mankind, there has come to you a protection from your Lord and a healing for what is in your hearts and for those who believe, a guidance and a mercy.” [Quran; 10:57]
The Most Beloved Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Whoever reads a letter of the Book of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (al Qur’an) shall have a good deed (recorded for him or her) and every good deed is increased a ten-fold (reward). I do not say that Alif Laam Meem is one letter, but rather Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter and Meem is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi]
The Qur’an al kareem is also the best way for a servant to draw closer to his or her Lord. Khabbaab Ibn Al-Arat, may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala be pleased with him, said to a man: “Draw closer to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala as much as you can, and remember that you can do so by no means more pleasing to Him than by His own Words (i.e. the Qur’an al kareem).”
The Night Prayer
Many of us passed the nights of the month of Ramadhan, especially the last ten, standing in prayer before Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Just because Ramadhan is over, does not mean that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala does not see us now if we stand in the night prayer. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala Says (what means): “Surely your Lord knows (O Muhammad) that you stand (in prayer) two thirds of the night, or half of it, or a third of it…” [al-Qur’an; 73:20]
The Most Beloved Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The best prayer, after the obligatory prayer, is the night prayer.” [Muslim]
The night prayer carries with it many blessings. For example, Al-Hassan, may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala have mercy upon him, was asked: “How is it that those who stay up at night have the most attractive faces?” He, may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala be pleased with him, replied, “Because they are on intimate terms with The Merciful, and He adorns them with some of His light.”
And for those of us who feel that standing in the night prayer will leave us tired and unable to go about our daily tasks in the morning, we should consider the following words of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala’s Prophet. He, sallAllah Subhanahu wa Ta’alau alayhi wa sallam, said: “When any of you sleeps, Satan ties three knots at the back of his head. On each knot he repeats and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ If you wake up and remember Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, one knot is undone and if you perform ablution the second knot is undone and if you pray, the third knot is undone, and you get up in the morning full of energy and with a clear heart. Otherwise, you will get up feeling lazy and with a muddled heart.” [Bukhari]
The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala alayhi wa Sallam said: “Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, Allah will place between him and the Fire a trench like that between the heavens and the earth.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Likewise, fasting wipes away the evils that arise out of person’s wealth, family or neighbour. Huthayfah Ibn Al-Yamaan, may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala be pleased with him, narrated that the Beloved Messenger of Allah, Salla Allahu ta’ala alayhi wa Sallam, said: “The evils caused for a man through his family, wealth and neighbour are expiated by prayer, fasting and charity.” [Bukhari]
The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala alayhi wa Sallam explained to us that fasting protects us from our unlawful desires, shields us from the hell fire and draws us closer to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Paradise. He, Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa sallam, also encouraged us to fast at least three days each month. The best days for this optional fasting are Mondays and Thursdays, or the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth days of the lunar month.
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has blessed most of us to live relatively comfortable lives. But there are Muslims all over the world that find great difficulty in attaining the most basic necessities of life. During Ramadhan most of us give in charity, but we forget to do so for the rest of the year. Giving charity is of greater benefit to the one who gives it, than to the one who receives it. It is a means of purifying our wealth, increasing our faith and attaining righteousness. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala Says (what means): “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East or West, but it is righteousness to believe in Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Books, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, the orphans, the needy, and to the wayfarer …” [al Qur’an; 2:177]
Giving in charity also allows us to express our faith. To truly taste the sweetness of faith, we must want for our brothers and sisters what we want for ourselves. For the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala alayhi wa Sallam said: “None of you will have faith until he likes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.” [Bukhari]
Clearly, fasting, praying during the night, reading the Book of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and giving charity should not be relegated to Ramadhan alone. These good deeds, and others like staying away from gossip and slander, are all things we should do all the time. By keeping the spirit of Ramadhan alive throughout the year, we can safeguard our religion and will be able to seize many opportunities to earn the mercy and blessings of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.