This past quarantined Ramadan had its fair share of challenges for Muslims. For many, Ramadan means worship at the mosque.
The absence of that meant a lot of upheaval to one’s worship routine and schedule. It meant no communal worship, everything became individual acts, or if/ where possible done with family members.
With hardship comes ease.”Al-Inshirah 94:5
Fortunately, there were many online options for that communal worship experience. Well known organisations such as Qalam, Yaqeen Institute or Rabata hosted Zoom iftars, nightly halaqas, or reflections on the Qur’an.
Many local masjids also had online presence during the month, through nightly Qur’anic readings, or motivational posts.
Aiming for moderation and sustainability
The flip side was a constant flow of information, that was difficult to choose from and process all at once. I picked a few to regularly follow or else I’d have struggled keeping up with all the important content provided.
With being socially distant from the community, it was an opportunity to turn inwards and really focus on that personal connection and spiritual development with Allah.
As is often the case with Ramadan, there’s a spiritual high during the month; acts of ibadah are increased, existing ones are refined, new ones are implemented and there’s a notable sweetness to faith during this precious time.
As the month concluded, an inevitable dip in faith happens, accompanying the Ramadan blues. Being in quarantine allowed a certain ibadah routine; it became easier to carve out time to read Qur’an or perform other acts of ibadah.
After a month of intense ibadah, and having fewer distractions, shifting out of Ramadan, to regular or normal life creates feelings of uneasiness.
That nostalgia has set in hard this year perhaps as this Ramadan had a slower pace to it, I’ve personally felt the void really quickly, even though it’s only been a few days.
It got me thinking about ways to continue my spiritual development after Ramadan. I asked fellow Muslims about their plans and advice to continue their spiritual growth during the rest of the year. Here are seven great ideas to keep growing:
1. Utilize Shawwal
Having Shawwal as the consistency month to make up fasts, and do the recommended 6 days of fasts as a way to “keep the spirit” of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the month of Qur’an so afterwards, daily reading can decrease drastically as most are not hurrying to finish the khatam within a month. Reading daily Qur’an even if it’s just a little is one practice to continue with. It maintains that connection with Allah which was ever present in Ramadan.
3. Acts of ibadah
Making dua during prayer, or performing acts of ibadah during special times; an hour after Fajr, or Magrib to Isha, is a way to set aside time for extra worship.
Continuing to increase knowledge about various aspects of the Qur’an and Sunnah regularly.
One thing, one person notes, being in isolation has afforded the opportunity to know where deficiencies in knowledge about the religion are, and work towards fixing that, so that one knows enough about religious practices to become a better Muslim.
Organisations such as Yaqeen Institute are launching a month long programme in June, focused on the Qur’an with a different theme each day of the week.
Rabata is also continuing its virtual mosque for women, with a weekly qiyam session.
5. New routine
Carving time out of a daily schedule for Qur’an recitation or other acts of ibadah.
For one person, they’ve decided to switch their phone off to have less distractions and really focus that time on ibadah. In addition, they’ve decided to pay a tax if a salaah were to be missed.
The lessons learnt during Ramadan: self control, routine, consistency and faith are reflected onto other aspects of life – keep practicing them.
To keep that community spirit, and encourage others to keep moving forward, online groups with friends is one of those new practices for growth.
In this safe, informal environment, is a place for sharing useful information with each other, collectively increasing in knowledge and faith.
It’s stated that Sahabah used to prepare for Ramadan six months before and continue making dua for its acceptance six months after. There’s no doubt that Ramadan is a month for worship like no other but it’s also important to remember that faith wavers there are peaks and there are valleys. We cannot be in a state of spiritual high all the time.
Spiritual burnout is real. It is really challenging to maintain the entire Ramadan routine throughout the year. The personal focus should be on what:
- acts do I need to do?
- do I want to continue doing throughout the year?
- can I build upon?
So inshaAllah next Ramadan you can add onto this year’s growth, sustainably continuing spiritual development that way.