I don’t know about you, but Ramadan always seems like it is both the longest and the shortest month.
In the midst of the month, I honestly feel like I have always woken up early before the sun and prepared for a day of fasting. But when the month dwindles down to a day or two; and I’m preparing Eid presents, outfits, and goodies; I can’t believe it because the month feels like it literally just began.
To be a hundred percent honest, Ramadan also feels like it’s both the hardest and easiest month. In the middle of the hot afternoon of a long day, Ramadan seems challenging and transformative. But at the end of a day with a full stomach and cool drink, it seems that there is nothing easier or more rewarding.
There is no doubt that Ramadan is a phenomenon like no other. But when all is said and done, when all the fasts have been broken and the tarawih prayers have all ended in tasleem, many of us are left wondering did we do enough? Has our Ramadan been a success? Has it been accepted?
There is no way of knowing for sure, before we meet our Lord, if our deeds are accepted from us. We do our best and have hope in the Mercy of Allah (SWT). But there are many good indications of whether or not Allah (SWT) has accepted our efforts in the holy month.
Here is the long and short, the hard and easy of knowing if our Ramadan closed on a high note. Answer “yes” or “no” to the following to find out if your Ramadan was likely accepted.
Did You Do Your Best?
The only way we can really fail at Ramadan, and in a larger scale, at the test of life, is if we give up trying. There is a reason why the Quran says:
On no soul does Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. (Quran 2:286)
This is partly because we are not expected to do more than we are capable.
Allah (SWT) puts on us what we are capable of handling. And if we try our best, then inshaAllah we have succeeded. This also applies to Ramadan. Did you do your best to do your best?
It doesn’t matter if you slipped here or got tripped up there. Did you pull yourself back up, turn back to Allah (SWT), and use every tool available to you to keep going, keep drawing nearer to your Lord?
If so, you’re in pretty good shape, inshaAllah. The only failure in this life is giving up. Trying is all we can do. The results are with God.
Do You Miss Ramadan?
Do you wish it was still Ramadan and you had more opportunities to earn extra reward free from the distractions and temptations of life outside of Ramadan?
If you miss Ramadan, odds are that you did it right. If you worked toward a good Ramadan, then likely Ramadan felt good because Allah (SWT) put peace and tranquility in your heart for your efforts. And now you miss it for all the right reasons.
P.S. Don’t feel sad. You can bring some of that special Ramadan feeling with you. It’s the jolt of iman that makes the month amazing and that feeling is available to you all year round.
Were You Able to Keep it Together on Eid?
Maria Zain writes that:
“Scholars say that Eid is the acid test to Ramadan. Whatever happens on Eid, how one behaves, how one arranges his thoughts, is a reflection on how Ramadan had unfolded for him or her.”
If Ramadan is gone and you find yourself immediately breaking from your “Ramadan good behavior”, then you might have just been going through the motions of Ramadan.
A Ramadan done right should change you. It should rewire parts of you to make a better, more giving, more patient you. And even if you do slip back into bad behaviors post-Ramadan, if you had truly changed during Ramadan, that slip will be much more gradual. Thank God Ramadan is every year, am I right?!
Are You Keeping up the Good Deeds/Staying away from the Bad?
Just as question # 3 mentions, Ramadan should change you. You should not be one person on the last day of Ramadan and another on the first of Shawwal. And a good way to determine if you did Ramadan justice is to look at the actions you continue and those you continue to stay away from.
If your Ramadan was a success, if you worked toward real change, then you should be keeping up with at least some of the extra good deeds you did in Ramadan and you should be continuing to avoid what bad you left in Ramadan.
A successful Ramadan allows you to form new, better habits and break away from the old, bad habits.
Did You Do it All Seeking Nearness to and the Pleasure of God?
The Prophet Muhammad said:
Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. […] (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
This is also true of Ramadan. If you abstained from food, drink, intercourse with your spouse and all that is haram just so people would say that you participated in Ramadan, then you will have what you intended. But your reward will not be with Allah (SWT). It will be with the people.
However, if you did participate in Ramadan seeking nearness and the pleasure of God, then your actions are judged by those intentions. And you will have what you intended – nearness and the pleasure of God, that’s a successful Ramadan.
It probably comes as no surprise that if you answered “yes” to all or most of the questions, then there’s a good chance that Allah (SWT) has accepted your efforts in Ramadan, whether they were able to fast or not.
Congratulations!! InshaAllah, your slate has been wiped clean and you probably have a ton of extra good deeds on your account. Keep up the good work!
If you answered “no” to all or most of the questions, then you still have the opportunity to turn it around.
Just because Ramadan is over doesn’t mean the doors of Allah’s (SWT) mercy are closed or that time’s up for you. Do your best to do the good and leave the bad with the sincere intention of drawing nearer to God. That’s all it takes. Start walking toward God, and God will come running to you.