As we enter the last days of Ramadan, it is important to think about life beyond the blessed month. Since the purpose of Ramadan is for us to attain God consciousness, planning for life beyond it is important for spiritual development and to maintain the heightened awareness of our Lord attained during Ramadan. The fact that we can we can push ourselves to perform extra acts of worship and draw closer to our Lord is proof of what we can achieve all year round. Intending and committing to evolving spiritually after Ramadan is a way to overcome the ‘blues’ and spiritual low that can happen once the month is over.
Despite the countless blessings and virtues, many of the acts of worship can also be performed outside Ramadan and are not temporary acts to be abandoned once the blessed month is over. Voluntary prayers, reading the Quran, giving charity and other praiseworthy acts of worship that can be maintained. Using the month as a way to instill permanent change will provide more than a one month boost. Being consistent in some of the good habits developed will eventually result in permanent change. Five ways to maintain your spiritual high are:
Be honest and reflect on your current spiritual state to create a Post Ramadan vision. Identify strengths and weaknesses to aid in clearly defining areas that need improvement. We are reminded many times in the Quran and sayings of the prophet (peace be on him) reflect and contemplate, this is a perfect time to do this.
Not limiting fasting to the month of Ramadan
Fasting is not limited to the month of Ramadan. There are many voluntary fasts that are recommended throughout the year such as; fasting all of most of Shaban, 6 days of Shawwal, 9 days of Dhi’l- Hijjah, days of Arafat and Ashurah, 3 days of every month (13th, 14, and 15th), every Monday and Thursday, every second day and in Muharram. Make a commitment to fast some voluntary fasts throughout the year.
Make giving charity a lifestyle. Charity can take many forms such as monetary, using your skills to help others or simply smiling at someone. Giving charity in monetary form purifies our wealth and as a result we will be blessed with more wealth. Setting up regular payments to give to a good cause every month is one way to ensure giving charity is continuous, give a small amount regularly that you can afford to commit to. Do you have a skill that you could use to help someone? Can you give some of the food you cook for your family to a neighbour or donate some food items to a food bank? These may seem insignificant but are consistent ways to earn reward.
Maintaining at least one Ramadan habit
Pick at least one Ramadan habit you will continue after Ramadan. As we naturally exert ourselves in Ramadan, choose one act of worship to continue even if it’s reading one page of the Quran a day or praying two units extra of voluntary prayers each day. Be realistic and choose something you are confident you can continue. The aim is to make it a habit which will stay with you for the rest of your life. Imagine if you successfully added Ramadan habits every year, over time you would have developed lifelong spiritual habits!
We need Allah’s help and guidance in everything we do, no matter how small. Sincerely pray to Allah to help preserve the good habits that you have been doing specifically the ones you want to continue after Ramadan.
Use this Ramadan as an opportunity to lay the foundation for the coming year. In what way will you renew yourself and grow spiritually for the coming year? What Ramadan habits will you continue?