Ramadan is over and only Allah, the Most High, knows if we will ever witness it again.
If you could use three words to describe how you feel at this point, which would you use? Guilty, satisfied, defeated, weak, strong, motivated?
And flash back to Ramadan, how did you feel? We are in the last days of Shawwal, and many of us feel our iman (faith) has taken a dip.
Let’s discover seven beautiful, instant ways to get back on your feet, spiritually, and head towards the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah with a heart full of zeal!
1- Change Your Mindset: Don’t Blame the Devil
Allah, the Most High, says:
Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. (13:11)
In Ramadan the devils were locked up and it seemed it was ‘easier’ to make that right decision; to just go ahead and pray that extra prayer, open the Quran and hold yourself back from watching or listening to something you shouldn’t.
Post-Ramadan, the devils have been unlocked once again, and when you feel Ramadan’s ending means going back to all your old ways, you need to realize something quick: Satan has no power to force mankind into committing sins!
Look at this amazing dialogue between the Creator and Satan:
[Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all.” (15:39)
And Allah’s response:
Indeed, My servants – no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators (al-ghaawoon). (15:42)
All Satan can do is call you to misguidance and make it look attractive to you, but it’s up to you how you deal with it. Be confident!
An Amazing Hadith to Battle Satan
You might feel your iman and sense of taqwa (God-consciousness) decreasing and your desires taking over again; now is the time to realize your own strength.
Let us take inspiration from the following narration, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
The believer can seize the forelock of his Shaytan as one of you seizes the forelock of his camel whilst traveling. (Ahmad)
Ibn Kathir explained:
“What is meant by seizing his forelock is defeating him and overwhelming him, as one does with a camel when it runs away, then you seize it and overpower it.” (Al bidaayah wa-n nihaayah)
Abul-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi said:
“Know that the likeness of Iblees with one who is pious is like a man who is sitting with food and meat in front of him, and a dog comes near him. He tells it, ‘Get away!’ and it goes. Then it comes to another man who is weak in faith and every time he tries to shoo the dog away, it does not go.
The former is like a pious man whom the shaytan approaches, and his dhikr is enough to banish him; the latter is like the one who is weak in faith; so the shaytan does not leave him because of his weakness of faith. We seek refuge with Allah from the shaytan.” (Talbees Iblees, p.48)
Hence, be confident and be convinced you are stronger than Satan. Use the isti’adhah (saying ‘a oodhu billahi minash-shaytanir-rajeem’) as a true weapon in your daily life; whenever a sense of weakness, anger, a ‘bad’ whisper comes to you, strike back seeking refuge in Allah!
2- Supplicate for Acceptance
The salaf (pious predecessors) used to supplicate six months after Ramadan for Allah to accept their deeds in Ramadan. This demonstrates an important concept in Islam; asking for Allah’s acceptance. Make it a habit after each and every good deed, big or small, to ask Allah to accept it from you, every single day again and again.
3- Use the No-excuse Policy: Talk to Yourself
You just knew you had to get up for Fajr in Ramadan (not only because you had to have suhoor), but how could you miss a prayer in Ramadan?
We worship Allah and not Ramadan; so give yourself no other option, use a no-excuse policy and put your obligatory prayers first and on time. This is your no-matter-what priority. Keep telling yourself (out loud if you need to): ‘I must pray, nothing is more important. Everything else can wait!’
The companions used to address themselves; realize the power of affirmations!
How much time have you spent with the Quran after Ramadan? Your renewed relationship with the Book of Allah doesn’t end at the end here, it just started.
Give yourself no other option than opening the Quran each day. Allah knows what hurts you or causes you to feel down now, and every day of your life. For each of your heart’s diseases is a cure and the Quran is a source of healing; it seeks out your (spiritual) illnesses and leads you to their cure.
4- Don’t Just Give Charity: Be in a State of Generosity!
Instead of giving charity in Ramadan and then hardly ever spend, let alone seek out opportunities to give sadaqah, ask Allah to make you charitable, to make you in a state of generosity.
Give secret sadaqah at least once a week and keep begging Allah to present you with opportunities to give the best of charity and then the ability to do so. Remember tawfeeq (ability) to do good all year round is from Allah alone and without it, we would not be able to even give a crumb in charity.
5- The Forgotten Goal: Be of the Grateful
If someone asks you now: ‘What are the goals of Ramadan?’ What would you answer; to gain taqwa and to learn self-control? There’s a goal of Ramadan described in verse 2:185, which is overlooked by many.
At the end of the verse, Allah says:
… and perhaps you will give thanks or be grateful. (2:185)
You might have fasted the required days and increased in taqwa, but have you accomplished the goal of gratitude? Did you set it as a goal beforehand, and did you focus on it in Ramadan?
Did you find yourself complaining, about the hardship of fasting, the food, the weather etc.? And did you thank Allah once in Ramadan for enabling you to witness it and did you thank Him even once after Ramadan, for enabling you to do all these extra acts of worship?
Turn around 360 degrees now and focus on being more thankful. Recognize the blessings of your health, wealth, guidance and above all your desire to practice Islam. You give thanks and Allah will increase you; so if your iman is low, thank Him for the guidance He gave you and He will increase you in faith. Beg Allah, ash-Shakoor, from the heart to be of the grateful ones!
6- You Can’t Be Sinless, But You Can Try to Sin Less
Muhasabah, bringing oneself to account, is perhaps one of the most effective tools to be a successful believer.
Do you realize the blessing of feeling bad after a mistake or sin? It means your heart is alive and all you need to do is act upon that feeling.
How? By seeking forgiveness. How many don’t even realize they are doing a bad deed, or commit sins without feeling bad about it?
Think about your day each night; say astaghfirullah before you go to sleep. Say it in your own language if you like, simply say ‘sorry Allah for this and this..’, as long as it is from the heart. Also think about your sins in Ramadan; as the sins you couldn’t stop in Ramadan must be your biggest vices. Take action and create a list with what you can do to fight those sins and make continuous dua’ Allah saves you from them.
7- Stop, Turn and Try Again
Finally: don’t fall apart when you make a mistake. You will slip— maybe you already have. Know that Allah gave us the concept of repentance. Never despair or give up on yourself, thinking: ‘See, I cannot do this.’
When you missed that prayer, didn’t even open the Quran or started backbiting again, take a moment to acknowledge it, and then turn to Allah to seek His forgiveness from your heart. Then ask Allah to give you the tawfeeq (ability) to get back on track, quick.
Don’t give up praying on time, reading Quran each day… just because you missed a couple of opportunities. Get yourself back together and try again, and ask Allah to help you!
Use those amazing sin erasers; such as the Repentance prayer (Salatul Tawbah), the supplication after eating, the supplication after a gathering (kafaratul majlis)* and be convinced they will erase your bad deeds. Don’t let Satan make you feel otherwise, ever. Each day is a new chance to turn back and get closer to Allah, all year around.
*Find the supplication for after eating and when getting up from a gathering, which both mention the reward of being forgiven one’s sins, in the Fortress of the Muslim or Hisnul Muslim.