Recently, I had been invited to deliver a short reminder in a Masjid not too far from where I live. I was asked to share some reflections on how one can make the most of their life after the month of Ramadhān has come and gone. In short, just because the month has moved on from our calendar, this does not necessarily mean that its effects should leave our daily lives – Ramadhān can still very much be part of our ‘spiritual’ calendar; the calendar that has Ramadhān written on it everyday.
Here is what I shared based on my own experiences and motivations. I once heard a scholar say that if you want to bring about a positive change in your life, then keep reminding people of that change. Sure enough, the fear of hypocrisy will compel you to act upon what you say. And only God knows best.
1. Duā (supplication) is an incredible power that many of us sometimes don’t fully comprehend—because if we did, we would do whatever is necessary to get our Duā’s answered. Sometimes our Duā’s are answered immediately and sometimes they take much longer than we expect. However, when made properly, Duā’s can transform our lives and bring about miraculous results.
2. Refrain from disobedience. We all have the capacity to carry out acts of obedience, but only the truly sincere can abandon their appetites and desires. Thus did the Messenger of God (God bless him and grant him peace) say: “The [true] emigrant is the one who abandons evil, and the [true] warrior is the one who fights his passions” (Mustadrak).
3. Our connection with the Qur’ān should extend beyond its recitation. We should sit with the people of knowledge and understand God’s message to us. Ā’isha (God be pleased with her) stated that the Messenger of God (God bless him and grant him peace) said, “The one who recites the Qur’ān and is skillful therein will be with the obedient, noble, recording angels; and the one who reads the Qur’ān stammering, it being difficult for him, has two rewards.” (Bukhāri and Muslim). For English readers, I recommend reading Imām Nawawīs Al-Tibyān fi Ādāb Hamalat al-Qur’ān (Etiquette With the Qurān) to learn more.
4. We should constantly keep ourselves engaged with the remembrance (żikr) of the one Companion who never parts from you – whether you are at home or travelling, whether you are asleep or awake, and indeed, in your life and at your death – that is none other than your Lord, Your Protector, you Master and your Creator. As God Most High says, “I am the companion of the one who engages in remembrance of Me” (Shu’ab al-Īmān).
5. As for that action that is beneficial in purifying the heart, none is more effective than what is consistent, even if it is little. This is based on the statement of the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace): “The best actions are continuous ones, even if they are little” (Muslim). The heart is like silverware; one may polish it with a few hard strokes and then put it down; or one may gently polish it regularly so that its shimmer is maintained. Left unattended, the heart becomes encrusted. Unwholesome deeds accumulate and take away its purity. But with consistent work on self purification, the heart comes cleansed and is kept that way.
6. Ibn Atā’illāh said: “Do not take as a companion someone whose state will not elevate you and whose speech will not direct you to God Most High”. There is nothing more beneficial than pious companionship. Sit with the people of knowledge (Ulamā) and friends of God (awliyā). The state of a companion should be such that his entire attention is focused on God Most High. The gaze of his heart should be diverted from creation. In every affair his complete reliance is on God Most High. In his lofty estimate, creation should have no significance and no rank. Obedience to the Sacred Law in all affairs should have become his natural disposition. His speech should guide towards the Path to God Most High. Such a person is qualified for companionship.
7. Never stamp on others rights and avoid all forms of injustice. The Advice from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir Gilāni to Humanity is sufficient:“Make every effort that you do not do injustice. Make every effort to give the rights to those who are entitled to them. Give gifts to one another. Show mercy to one another. Do not slander one another. Do not subjugate one another. Help each other, ignore any wronging between yourselves, and do not expose each other’s faults. Tolerate your wrongdoing to each other. Leave people under the veil of God Most High. Command what is right and forbid what is wrong, without prying or spying. Denounce any wrongdoing that is apparent but do not concern yourselves with what may be hidden. Do not expose others’ faults so that God Most High will not expose yours.”
And only God knows best.
Hāroon Ibn Ebrāhīm Sīdāt
29th Ramadhān 1436.