Thursday, 7 August 2014

Post Ramadan Mindset


Post Ramadan Mindset;

Appreciation And Gratitude To Allah
SubhanAllah, walhamdulillah, wa la ilaha illallahu Allahu akbar. 
Allah SWT has blessed all of us to have witnessed the greatest month of the year. We need to take some time out and truly remember all the blessings from Allah azza wajjal for having allowed us to worship Him in this month. Furthermore it is a direct command of Allah that we glorify Him as stated at the end of one of the ayahs of Ramadan. 

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.”
[Qur’an 2:185]

The ability for us to have recited the Qur'an abundantly, to have memorised the ayahs from the Qur'an, the long periods of salaah in the masajids, the khushu that we felt within it, the brotherhood that we sensed in our communities, alhamdulillah for bringing our families together. 
Alhamdulillah for allowing us to unite as an ummah and give in the form of zakaat and sadaqah.  Alhamdulillah, for being able to control our gaze and tongue and actions. 
Alhamdulillah for having multiplied the reward of our good deeds so many times over, which inn sha Allah will be presented on our scale of good deeds. 
Alhamdulillah for opening the gates of Jannah  and filling our lives with rahmah/mercy and for having closed the gates of Jahannam.
Alhamdulillah for having locked up the shayateen and to have made our training easy for us.
Alhamdulillah for giving us that guidance for which we beseech Allah SWT daily within our salaahs. 

Thank you Allah for Laylatul Qadr and for forgiving all of our sins. We can most certainly go on and on in our gratitude to our Lord for the numerous blessings of our Lord upon us in this month and there is no exaggeration in that.

It was a month which some of the salafs used to make duah 6 months before Ramadan to see it and then 6 months after asking Allah to accept their 'ibaadah from within that month. 
SubhanAllah, this is because they realised the importance of that month and we should certainly follow in their footsteps. 
We need to certainly reflect upon all of our good actions which we engaged in and understand why and how we did what we did. We should pray to Allah that He accepts our 'ibaadah as if it gets accepted, then inn sha Allah we would have bagged a great number of hasanath/rewards which will fill our scales on Day of Judgement. 

Graduating From Ramdan
Ramadan was a madrasa for us, a school, an academy where we had enrolled on a course.  A young aspiring student, whenever he enrols on a course or in an institution, a university, he does so with an incentive in mind. That he will graduate with a certain skill set which will then enable him to secure a well paid job, which will then enable him to buy a big house, a car, possibly get married and the list goes on. 

Ramadan was indeed like a madrasa for us from where we received excellent training and have now raised up our bar, which will enable us to progress through the year. With Ramadan, Allah says to us,

“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (The fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious - see V.2:2).”
[Qur’an 2:183]

i.e. He says, the purpose for which we are going through this training programme is none other, than to attain Taqwa. We had intense training where we deprived ourselves from halal provisions on Allah's command for the entire duration of the month.  This meant that we weakened our bodies through taking away its provisions and instead fed and nurtured our souls through dhikir/remembrance of Allah and recitation of the Qur'an. 

In this month, we realised we are able to leave a life of disobedience and that we can worship Allah, that we can leave most if not all of the sins which we commit habitually.
This immediately makes ourselves have taqwa in Allah. After that, we spent a large portion of the night, standing in qiyaam in front of our Rabb supplicating to Him, listening/reciting the beautiful words of Allah from His glorious book, trying to contemplate on what is being recited and thereby being constantly aware of His azza wajjal’s presence.
In this month, we learnt patience in its many forms. We exercised the patience of controlling our tongues, our limbs, our desires.
We felt the pangs of hunger through which we were able to relate to the poor people all across the world and so we gave abundantly in the form of sadaqah and zaka’at. 
Alhamdulillah, what a great month that was and what great honour to have had admission in that school from which we have now inn sha Allah graduated! 

So the questions is, where are we going to go now that Ramadan is over?  Now that we have Taqwa more than what we had at the beginning of the last month, what does it mean?  How precious is this asset which we have acquired and how important is it for us to practise the skill which we have gained? 
Indeed, it is a great asset which Allah has bestowed upon us and we should do whatever we can to hold on to it in order that we may become successful.

Brothers and sisters, now that Ramadan is over, are we going to destroy all of the good work which we have done? 
In the Qur'an, Allah praises good actions in the continuous sense and not just as a one off good action. Allah wants us to be the one who are continuously engaged in good actions. 

“This is the Book (the Qur'an), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun [the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)].
3. Who believe in the Ghaib and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and spend out of what we have provided for them [i.e. give Zakat , spend on themselves, their parents, their children, their wives, etc., and also give charity to the poor and also in Allah's Cause - Jihad, etc.].”
[Qur’an 2:2-3]

We need to be from the Muttaqeen, i.e. those with Taqwa, which was of course the key reason for fasting the month of Ramadan. Following that, Allah immediately mentions the need for us to have a continuous connection with our Rabb.
Allah describes the successful as those who ‘yu-qeemoonas salaah’ and regarding zakah he says 'wa ma razaqnahum yuunfeequn'  they are both stated in the present tense of the structure indicating a continuous stream of action. 

Food For Thought
We need to be continuously mindful that the Lord in Ramadan whom we so beautifully worshipped is the same Lord outside of Ramadan.
The lord who we simply loved to worship in Ramadan, where we raced to the masjid immediately after iftaar, after fasting the whole day is the same Rabb, Al Hayyul Quayyum after Ramadan.

Prophetic Guidance Post Ramadan
So an obvious question that comes to mind is, what is the recommended action to undertake now that Ramadan is over.  Alhamdulillah, Allah has truly given us guidance through His last Messenger (SAW) and we are never left in a state of bewilderment and confusion.

Ayyub (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said,
“Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days from Shawwal it is as if they fasted the entire year.”
[Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah; Ahmad transmitted it from Jabir, Muntaqa]

Many of us are aware of this hadith but fail to be greedy of the reward and take full advantage of it.  We should also try and do the fasting of Monday and Thursday or at least the middle 3 days of the Islamic month, 14th 15th and 16th.

Remember, Rasulullah (SAW) said the most beloved deeds to Allah is the one which are continuous even if it may be trivial. 
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said:
“O people, you should do whatever good deeds you can, for Allaah does not get tired (of giving reward) until you get tired. And the most beloved of good deeds to Allaah is that in which a person persists, even if it is little. If the family of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started to do something, they would persist in it.”
[Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 43; Muslim, 782]

What relationship lasts if there is just a onetime productivity? Our jobs, marriage, friendship, they all require continuity. Do we not need to be devoted to it? 
If that is the case with the dunyah then what about with Allah SWT? 
He blesses us throughout the year and provides us everything we need, so why are we not continuously glorifying Him and excel in supererogatory deeds?

The Main Aim
We should ensure that we don’t drop back to a level at which we were before Ramadan. So as our life spans out and inn sha Allah and as we witness multiple Ramadan the overall trend of our chart of good deeds will continue to go up and up throughout the year increasing us in character and in ibaadah inn sha Allah.

If we were to mentally plot our own chart of good deeds, it is critical to note that the breakeven point has to cover the 5 pillars of Islam and the regular recitation and study of Qur’an and that should be our target of the bare minimum which we should be doing as a Muslim.
We cannot afford to be found by the Angel of Death in the red zone which falls below that mark and outside the boundaries set for us as Muslims.

The Messenger (SAW) told us in an authentic hadith ,
“The first thing the people will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment is prayer, Allah will say to His angels (even though he already knows) : “Look at my servants prayers. Were they complete or not?” If they were complete It will be written as complete. If they were not fully complete Allah will say: “See if my servant has voluntary prayers, If he has them Allah will say: Complete his obligatory prayers shortage with his voluntary prayers.” Then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner.”
[Reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nisa'i, and Al-Hakim]

Now, if we happen to be doing our bare minimum which is expected of us as Muslims then this is the very moment where we need to make a conscious decision to up our game. 
We need to do this because too many Ramadan have come and gone and we are still the same.
We are just not moving from our places but our appointed number of days in dunya is coming to a close. 

Ask yourself, we all seem to want Jannah, right? 
We all want Allah to give us the best but why is it that we are only willing to pay a small price for the ultimate success? It simply doesn't work that way. 
How many of us brothers live close to a masjid within walking/short driving distance and how many of us regularly make it to the masjid for Fajr?
Most mosques have a fraction of a turnout when compared to other salahs at Fajr and that is the case across the world, be it in Muslim or in a non-Muslim land. This is a good example to illustrate where we stand as a community and as an Ummah. 
We complain at everything and expect the best to be granted to us by Allah but we are not willing to give anything for it!  How do we then expect the izzah to be returned back to the Muslims?
We need to keep up the spirit of Ramadan within ourselves first and foremost and do the extra nawafeel deeds, because surely this will lead us to attain the love from Allah and this is what matters the most. 
Ramadan was supposed to be a wake up call for us.  Allah azza wajjal will sometimes give us the most horrendous of calamity in order that we turn back to Allah.
With what is happening in Gaza, is this waking us up and returning us back to our Lord as an Ummah? Are we willing to up our game or are we too comfortable in our very comfortable lives to not bother with our condition and the condition of the Ummah?
We need to please our Lord, so let us make a sincere intention to improve our lives in a way that is pleasing to our Rabb.