Friday, July 31, 2015

Keeping up with the momentum of Ramadan

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, 'Selawat' (blessings) and 'salam' (peace be upon) Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


"And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me." (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51: 56-57)

ON Sunday (July 12th) morning, when the last 'kuliah subuh' (early morning lesson) during the month of Ramadan at a 'masjid' near my house was about to end, the 'ustaz' (religious teacher) opened the floor for questions. 

I took the opportunity to ask him how to keep up with the momentum of Ramadan. Yes, during Ramadan 'it was easy' to perform some of the good deeds but once Ramadan 'escape from us' almost all of us were back to square one!

As in my case (my family-lah), it was 'easy' to get the boys and girls to the dinner table for 'iftar' (breaking of fast) during Ramadan but throughout the year, it was 'difficult' to have a full attendance at the table during breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Then after 'iftar', it was 'also easy' to have all the family members performing the 'maghrib' (dusk) prayers in mass (congregation) but during other times they prefer to do it alone in the comfort of their rooms or at any other places.

Among the reasons given were they were busy and their 'readiness' to perform the prayers differed from one another. For example the eldest son after a game of basketball gave an excuse that he was still drenched with sweat and need time to clean himself first.

'Subhanallah' (Glory to God) for me the struggle to incalculate the Islamic way of living among my family members it was good to hear what the 'ustaz' have to say regarding my question on how to keep up with the momentum or spirit of Ramadan.

Ramadan was over, but there are lots of opportunities that we can use to keep the Ramadan spirit. First of all we must admit that we are weak creatures thus we must seek help from Allah SWT The Almighty, said the 'ustaz'. 

Yes, the first thing we must do is to make 'du'as' (do supplication).  It was Allah who gave you the ability to keep the good habit in Ramadan, and only He can help you maintain it afterwards. Make 'du'as' that Allah helps you not only keep the habit, but that He accepts it and makes it a way for you to grow in closeness to Him.

As for family members and those close to you, it is not you that could 'change' them. For example during 'iftar' in Ramadan, it was not you that opened their hearts to be at the dinner table but Allah SWT. 

So keep up with your 'du'as', pleading to the Lord that your family would stick together not only at the dinner table but when doing more important things such as performing 'solat' (prayers) in congregation and avoiding conflicts among family members.

Secondly, the 'ustaz' said we must always upgrade our knowledge especially those pertaining our 'iman' (belief) and 'amal' (deeds). He suggested to congregators at the 'masjid' try not to miss the almost daily 'tazkirah' (lessons) at the masjid which are nomally held between 'solat' (prayers of) 'maghrib' and 'isyak'.

Regarding this matter, he said, he must also befriended or mixed with 'good people' for example those who frequent the 'masjid' for their five times compulsory prayers and those who showed excellent way of living which is in line with the teaching of the Prophet (peace be upon him, s.a.w.). It is because from these 'good people' we could learn 'many good things about life'.

Yes choose 'good friends' or associate yourselves with role models. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said (as reported by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim): "The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a (musk) perfume seller and a blacksmith. As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell. And as for the blacksmith, he may either burn your clothes, or you may be exposed to his awful smell."

For some of us, Ramadan gives us great opportunity to listen to lectures because of the free time we have and also human beings greatest enemy - 'iblis' (devil) and 'syaitan' (satan) - were tied up. We could always freshen ourselves with the knowledge and information we gained then to generate energy in facing obstacles in life after Ramadan.

Scholars often reminded us that Ramadan comes with an emotional and social package that makes worshiping Allah easier during the blessed month. The reason why many people fail to keep their gained habits and deeds after Ramadan is simply the lack of a 'Ramadan environment'. 

Some suggested that after seeking Allah's help (doing our 'du'as'), we could recreate 'the Ramadan environment' such as performing the recommended fasting (such as fasting for six days during the month of Syawal or fasting on every Monday and Thursday), continuing attending prayers and lectures at the 'masjid' and keep on reading the Qur'an.

If you were extra generous during Ramadan why not continue your generosity? You could make the habit part of your daily and weekly schedule. For example each time you step inside a 'masjid' for your five times compulsory prayers, put RM1 inside its donation box and then during Friday prayers, you could allocate a fixed amount say RM10 or RM50.

Yes dear readers, good habits are often easy to maintain in Ramadan, the blessed month. And it is also easy to abandon 'bad things' such as smoking, wasting time and flirting with the opposite sexes. The hard part is doing so after Ramadan. Pray hard (du'a) that we could maintain the spirit of Ramadan in doing things that pleased Allah SWT until the day we were called by the Lord. 

In doing so, do not be hard to ourselves for Aisha reported that Rasulullah s.a.w. said: "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and remember that you shall enter Paradise only through Allah's Mercy, and also remember that the most beloved deed to Allah is that which is regular and constant even if it is little." (Imam Bukhari).

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