He is (still) CloseMay 31, 2019 2023-08-03 15:24
He is (still) Close
He is (still) Close
Now that the month of increased blessings is behind us, it is likely that we will return to our pre-Ramadan ways. When we talked about the blessed month, we discussed how it’s akin to running a marathon: from the dedicated training prior to the event, to the focused mental and physical efforts required to make it to the finish line. But how we treat ourselves and approach our day-to-day beyond the finish line is equally, if not more important.
So what are some ways we can retain some of those Ramadan vibes in our lives? Here are 6 ways we can prevent that dip after the month is over.
1. Maintain at least one act with consistency
Set a realistic goal of one act you can maintain post-Ramadan. An act you had not practiced prior to Ramadan or done as regularly. Maybe it’s simply reading the Quran consistently or maybe it’s incorporating more sunnah prayers into your day. Whatever you feel you can really commit to and build upon as the year goes on. Choose something you enjoy and something that is easy. Many people love establishing or increasing their dhikr because it is easy to do (does not require wudu) and plenty of “dead time” throughout the day they can fit it in. Like power foods, choose “power dhikr” that will give you the most for your time. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.” (Bukhari, 6405)
It will be through these additional acts that we will ultimately feel closer to Allah. They also serve as our internal measure of the benefit we were able to take from the momentum and blessings of Ramadan. What we do the remainder of the year is equally, if not more important, so take the time to commit to that one act, and then build from there.
2. Be Reflective: Track Your Progress
In our fast-paced distracted day-to-day, it is not often we take the time to reflect. Whether it is simply on our day or ourselves. It is these moments of reflection that ultimately shape our behaviors for the better, so it is essential we incorporate that into our day/week. For some, they may be the early hours of the day after Fajr prayer, for others they may be prior to going to bed. Find the time you think works best and simply sit down and reflect. If you want to write down some pointers or reflections, definitely do so!
It helps you separate your actions from your thoughts about your actions. Measure your progress so that you can feel a sense of achievement. It may be a good idea to speak to someone you are close to help you through this process.
3. Be Mindful
Resist the temptation to just ‘let go’ once Ramadan is over. Be mindful of how you use your time and your words. Mindfulness is not only what allows us to be more calculated in our actions, but it is what helps attain an inner peace that’s often difficult if we get caught up in the noise.
Part of mindfulness is the remembrance of Allah and gratitude for His infinite favors upon us. It gives us patience through times of difficulty and ultimately allows us to remain cognizant of our purpose on this Earth.
4. Continue Learning
Sign up for a weekly class or schedule a group discussion with friends. Find a way to continue learning and seek Allah’s guidance to help apply and internalize what you learn.
Once again, if you feel more comfortable putting pen to paper, you definitely should. Our documented notes and thoughts can serve as a great tool towards progress. Journaling has proven to be an effective means to clarity of thought, the development of a genuine internal voice and external expression, and the vehicle to self-correction. When Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى swears by the pen and what it writes in the Quran, like all other Divine Speech, it carries more than one meaning. It is not only calling our attention to the pen Created by Allah to write down decree, but it also elevates the status of the pen and writing. Don’t underestimate the power of journaling regularly.
5. Stay Healthy
Abstaining from food for a good portion of our days definitely does give our bodies a much-needed break. However, what we put into our bodies upon breaking our fast is what matters. When we don’t maintain the healthiest food choices, we get lethargic and that in turn impacts our mental capabilities. Try and stay on top of your health beyond Ramadan with the goal of attaining mental sharpness. Our lives have become increasingly sedentary and so what we put into our bodies has become even more important. Sugar is the primary culprit for most as it does the most damage in terms of our energy levels. If you can’t cut it out, limit it and you will notice a difference.
6. Fast, fast, fast
This is the most obvious one perhaps, but it is what is tied most closely to our “Ramadan feels.” If you haven’t done so in previous years, try and fast 6 days in Shawwal for the reward for a year! 1 If you have, then maintain that goal and add on some sunnah ones by fasting Mondays or Thursdays (or both!). Make fasting an act you do outside of Ramadan so that you can attain that mental, physical and spiritual cleanse throughout the year. Just like Ramadan is akin to a marathon month, every work out has a cool-down period. If we abruptly switch off all of our Ramadan routines, we can hurt our spiritual well-being. Take a few weeks to wind down so that you can give yourself the best chance at retaining the habits you follow in the month.
Finally, remember, Allah, says in the Quran:
“Whenever My servants ask about Me, indeed, I am near. I respond to the call of the supplicant whenever he calls upon Me.” (2:186)
We tend to feel close to Allah during the blessed month, but His closeness remains year round, if only we seek it.
1“The Prophet ﷺ famously said as per the hadith in Sahih Muslim:
“Whoever observes the fast of Ramadan and follows it up with six fasts in Shawwal will be rewarded as if he has fasted the entire year.”