Ramadan has come and gone once again. It's important to take some time to assess where you stand in terms of your faith right at this moment in time. Ramadan was a time of self-restraint, introspection, spiritual devotion, and heightened God consciousness. We spent thirty days trying to restrain our ego, figuring out ways to turn back and repent to our Creator. We made time for the glorious word of Allah; the Quran became our companion throughout the month. So where do we stand right now with regards to our faith? If someone was running a marathon every single day for thirty consecutive days, what do you think would be the outcome after that period of time? Would the person be healthier or become more lazy? Would the person have better health or would it deteriorate? Would the person be in a better or worse place than before the past month? Ramadan has ended, but where are we? Where is our relationship with God and the holy book? Faith by its very nature is turbulent and will go up and down. You may or may not have had the most amazing Ramadan, but whatever Ramadan you did have, should be a reflection of where you are right now. If you've fallen behind in the worship you were so immersed in before, then ask yourself why. What shifted? The post Ramadan crash is normal. It is difficult to notice and even harder to assess if you're not consciously questioning it. It is however, something you can navigate through with ease.
Renew your intentionsWhen it comes to your faith, intentions are key. Actions are judged by their intentions. Faith wavers and dips, and sometimes our intentions shift with it. Ask yourself why you are doing what you're doing. What lies behind the action? Why do you go to work each day? Why do you cook dinner each night? Why do you do what you do? Is it solely and purely for the sake of being perceived as someone or something? Or is it for the sake of your family, because it is your responsibility? Or is it to please Allah? Simple daily tasks like going to work, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, studying, all of these can be righteous acts of worship too. If these things are done with the correct intention, that is, seeking Allah's Mercy and Favour, then it can be considered worship. For example, the food you eat each and every day can be considered worship when the intention behind the act is beyond simply a matter of physical satiation. If you reflect upon Allah as the sole provider of this sustenance, it becomes worship. Start your meal with the name of Allah and end it with His praise. Whilst you eat, recognize and remember the mercy of God, the grace and power that He encompasses. In this way, thinking of God during and after your basic, daily tasks, gives these simple daily functions a higher value.
Re-assess your prioritiesDuring Ramadan, our faith was driven by the desire to engage in mandatory acts of worship such as fasting. We prioritized our faith over sleep, hunger, and sometimes work and friends. Ramadan was a driving force for us and that should not have changed. If we have abandoned the Quran and become lenient with our prayer, then what does that tell us about our Ramadan? This period of time should be an extension of our worship during the holy month. If we are wavering and lost, then we must go back to the root of the issue. What are you prioritizing? Why? Is it work? Is it family? Is it social company? What is more important to you right now, than the Lord of the worlds and the Writer of your destiny? Remind yourself that when you make efforts and strides to gain nearness towards Allah, He comes to you running. When you remember Him, He remembers you. When you prioritize Him, he increases your blessings and rewards. When you make God the focal point in your life, everything else falls into place. If Allah is the epicentre in your life, every other worry, dilemma, struggle, and test, will become easier. You will become stronger and more resilient simply from relying solely on Allah for affirmation. Turn back to Allah and ask yourself what really will matter on the day of days.
Turn back to the QuranThe Quran is the rope of Allah. It links us to our Creator and anchors our hearts in His remembrance. If you haven't touched the Quran since Ramadan then now is your opportunity. Instead of feeling guilty and ashamed, repent and turn back to the words of God. We often times take for granted the Mercy that pours out from the Quran. We take for granted that it is a shifaa or a healing for all our ailments. Both spiritual and physical. We forget that when our hearts are attached to the word of Allah and His remembrance then all our struggles become easier to bear. We tend to distance ourself from the Quran when we realize Ramadan is over. But that sense of accountability has to remain all year round. We live in a world that is hyper-social and all about instant gratification. We need to return to Allah and our hearts are crying for His sustenance. We are constantly feeding our souls the false realities that we see on social media and we are forgetting the only reality that matters in the end. This life is a test. In and of itself. Through and through. Nothing lasts except the good deeds we accumulate and worship we engage in for the sake of Allah. The Quran reminds our hearts of what matters and counts. It keeps our ego at bay. It gives us a sense of strength and balance to navigate through this difficult universe and world we live in today. The Quran can save our faith and our lives - if we allow it to.
So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.
- Surah Al-Baqarah [2:152]