Transcribed by Hena- some changes were made for relevance and readability
Alḥamdulillāh – this is a very bittersweet moment we are all experiencing at the end of the month of Ramaḍān. Maybe we all have some regret and remorse for the opportunities we missed out on during Ramaḍān. But at the same time, it is also an opportunity to be grateful and thank Allāh for the blessing and ability that he did give us. Inshā'Allāh we go forward from here trying to be better people, to be the best that we can be, and hoping in the Mercy of Allāh SWT, that we will live up to our intention of being better people.
The Qurʾān very specifically points out that taqwa is the objective of the month of Ramaḍān- in simple words, the objective of Ramaḍān is to become a better person. What that exactly means, this is subjective, it differs from person to person – for someone it can mean 'I didn't pray and now, inshā'Allāh I will pray five times a day'; for another is could be that 'I had a very strange relationship with my wife, I learnt patience, gratitude, respect during Ramaḍān and I hope from now on my family relationships will be better'.
For another, it could be 'my home life is fine, so are my prayers, but I don't like to put money in the donation box – I learnt to do this in the month of Ramaḍān'. Whatever my challenge was, the month of Ramaḍān gave me the tools – fasting, qiyam, dhikr – all are training that help me become a better person.
How do we keep it going?
You typically do not hear this but we won't be able to keep Ramaḍān going – it is a special time, there is something different about Ramaḍān, the entire community fasting for an entire month together. When we set up an unrealistic goal, how can we achieve that? The objective is not to literally keep Ramaḍān going.
Shawwal has started. What is practical? How can we make an effort? How can keep that same zeal, energy, dhikr, taqwa, ṣalāh, same connection to Allāh going?
About fasting Allāh says: La a 'la kum tattaqoon
Taqwa is at the end of the āyah, at the end of this training what do we want? Taqwa is what I want to walk away with. Ramaḍān is gone and Shawwal is here, then Dhul Qadah and Dhul Hajjah. I can not keep Ramaḍān here but what I can keep is being aware, being cognizant of my choices, I can keep consciousness of Allāh SWT, that is something we can keep going.
2 Simple Thoughts
If you have more or if you already have your objectives laid out, than that is great but for people at my level, who don't know where to go after this awesome month.- who are thinking 'I don't know where to go, what do I do in the days after 'Īd?'
Consistency- strive to achieve consistency, not with what you were doing in the whole month of Ramaḍān, but pinpoint something, even it is: 'I will read Qurʾān ten minutes a day, I didn't read Qurʾān before' Find something that you didn't do before Ramaḍān and do it now.
'I pray 5 times but do not come to masjid so everyday I will come to the masjid once a day, I will pray Fajr at the masjid, start my day right. Coming home from work instead of crashing in front of a TV, I will come to the masjid at least once a day. I will pray in Jama'ah, with the community.' Find something small and gain consistency with that ie, I will put a quarter in the sadaqa box at home and when it fills up I will bring it to the masjid. The best of deeds are those that are done consistently – long lasting. The Prophet of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)
And the most beloved of good deeds to Allāh is that in which a person persists, even if it is little.
Narrated by Bukhāri, 43; Muslim, 782.
The word used is Wa in kal- even if they are very little. The word for very small is also very small too- kalla. Two letters repeat each other, squish them together, a small verb, making idgham, a minimum of a three letter word becomes a 2 letter word, small word, just a little bit. This is the part of the eloquence of the Arabic language.
So I will do a good deed EVERY single day, I will find consistency.
Another hadith of the Prophet that I found in Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri, is about a person, who is consistently doing a good deed and does it in routine, now one day you get sick or your boss tells you to go to another field office, something comes up and you weren't able to do the deed for the day. Allāh tells the angels to still write down the reward for him. Allāh says yes, because that a part of life, my slave made the full effort, he made the effort routinely, give him the full reward.
A convergence of events-Ramaḍān is ending and our kids are going back to school, our youth are going back to school, they have to make choices everyday, good or bad, good or bad, every day.
In Sūrah Ash-Shūraá 42:25, Allāh tells us who He is.
And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do.
He continues (madare form, action renews itself) to accept taubah (repentance) from his slaves and continues to wipe away the sins. Taubah is making a u-turn, you start making a choice and going down a path and then say to yourself 'No' and turn around and come back to him. He continues to wipe away sins, He embraces you in His Mercy and any baggage that you are coming with, is brushed away.
wa ya'fu an sayyiaat
You will not be perfect, you may not always meet your goals, you may be really disappointed in yourself, just make that u-turn, don't worry about it. He will wipe it away, turn around comeback to Allāh, follow it up with a good deed, – realize that you will mess up, keep returning back to Allāh.
wa ya'lamu ma tafa'loon
That waw is a waw haaliya and in English it mean even though, he continues to accept repentance from his slaves and wipe away the sins even though He knows what you will do tomorrow but today He will forgive you.
That is who we are dealing with- He who accepts and forgives you even though he knows what you are going to do tomorrow. Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) knows that you will mess up today, He continues to forgive even though he knows we will mess up. Keep returning back to Allāh over and over again. If you follow up a bad deed with a good deed, not only will He will wipe away the sins and he will take your sins and convert them into good deeds for you.