By Babatunde Jose
What have we gained from Ramadan? Have we been spiritually rejuvenated? Has it been morally fulfilling? Have we been able to shed many of our iniquitous baggage? Have we relinquished the sins of fornication, covetousness, and a life of deceit? Have we been able to move nearer God in an atmosphere of God-consciousness? Have we been doing the needful in our homes and to our fellow man? Have we given the orphan his due? Have we entrenched Justice, Fairness and in our daily living? What of compassion and empathy? Do we feel the pains of our fellowmen, our subjects and followers? Have we taken steps to right the wrongs we wroth on the people around us? Have we been fair to our wives, children, relations and neighbors? Are we satisfied with our new lease of spiritual awakening? Must all the gains of Ramadan end today? Are we returning to our old ways of cheating, backbiting, slander and wickedness? Today is therefore, a day of decision. Are we going to consolidate on the gains of Ramadan or descend back into the abyss of a sinful life? The choice is ours. Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem.
Ramadan has rightly been described as a school of Iman and a stop to recharge our spiritual batteries. Must we allow that battery to die by going back to the old ways? The choice is ours.
Unfortunately, the fall and descent into a life of sin and iniquity starts a few days after Ramadan; when we say ‘fasting is finished, the nightly prayers are over; the group gatherings to break the fast have vanished. We can eat, drink, and be merry again when we like.’ And that special feeling of God consciousness gradually fades away. The spiritual high evaporates, and all we are left with are the bad habits we tried to shed during Ramadan which mysteriously rear their ugly heads once it is over.
Ramadan is supposed to increase your faith and God-consciousness:
“Believers! Fasting has been prescribed for you-as it was prescribed for those before you-so that you may be conscious of God.” (Quran 2:183).
The lessons learned and spiritual benefits gained during that month are intended to carry over for the rest of the year until next Ramadan.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions [while fasting], God is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.”
Ramadan is a month of training for us so that we may become doers of good and refrain from evil throughout the year. Each and every year this blessed month helps to train us to become better Muslims. But now that Ramadan is over are we going to continue doing the good we acquired from it or are we going to go back to the way we were before it started? That is the question.
Many of us did not say our prayers before Ramadan but during the blessed month we found it easier to pray. We cannot continue our lives without praying; otherwise we are not fulfilling the purpose of our lives.
Allah says: “I have created the jinn and humankind only for My worship” (Quran; 51:56)
We will not be successful in this life or the next without prayer. The Prophet (SAW) said, “The first thing that a person will be questioned about is his prayers.” Missing prayers intentionally is so serious that it is tantamount to disbelief: The Prophet (SAW) said: “What lies between a man and disbelief is the abandonment of prayer.” (Muslim). Unfortunately, there will be many Muslims in Hell who did not say their prayers.
Many of us left the Quran on the top shelf throughout the year but when Ramadan came we picked up the Quran and blew off the dust and began to recite it again. By returning the Quran to the bookshelf, we will be missing out on receiving intercession from the Quran on the Day of Judgment: The Prophet (SAW) says: “Recite the Holy Quran as much as you can for It will come as an intercessor for its reciter on the Day of Judgment” (Muslim)
Allah the Most High said,
“Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of the night, and (the recital of) the Quran at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Quran at dawn is ever witnessed. And some part of the night awake for its recital, as voluntary worship for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised estate.” (Quran 17: 78-79)
During the blessed days and nights of Ramadan we were given the ability to repent and ask Allah for his mercy and forgiveness and to thank him for his infinite favors upon us. But now that Ramadan is over we must not stop repenting to Allah for our sins and we must continue to be thankful to Allah for his infinite favors upon us.
Truly Allah loves those who turn [to Him in repentance, and He loves those who keep themselves in purity. (Quran 2:222)
Our Lord! (they say), Let not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast guided us, but grant us mercy from Thine own Presence; for Thou art the Grantor of bounties without measure (Quran 3:8)
Eid Mubarak and Jumuah Mufeedah!