03 Jun Reap the rewards after Ramadan
The beginning of the month of Shawwal for many is a means of happiness, as if signifies the end of Ramadan, a month of struggle to gain closeness to Allah. However, the passing of Ramadan itself should not be something which brings joy, as nobody is promised another Ramadan. So, we pray that our good actions are accepted and that we can work on ourselves to further improve our relationship with Allah throughout the year. This is true success. We also pray that Allah keeps us alive to see and benefit from many more blessed months of Ramadan. Insha’Allah.
So how do we ensure we had an accepted Ramadan Insha’Allah? Simple – we continue the good we tried to do in Ramadan, and we continue the struggle against shaytaan and our evil selves.
The beginning of this should have been the observance of ‘laylatul jaa’izah’. Our Prophet (Pbuh) said:
"Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die." (Ibn Majah)
There is no act of worship specified for this night. But we are encouraged to engage in dhikr of Allah, praying extra salawaat and making du’a. It is truly a blessing to not fall into the traps of shaytaan during this night, as he comes back with full force. If this night was observed in the proper manner, then the month of Shawwal would have started in a beautiful way, with truly alive hearts, Insha’Allah.
However, the night of Eid, and Eid itself, has passed. What if one was unable to observe that special night, due to the lack of knowledge?
If this is the case, we should make it an intention to seek the sacred knowledge, from authentic sources. There are so many ways to gain closeness to Allah and do beautiful worship, which is, – in essence – the purpose of our existence. But we will be unable to achieve it if we are unaware of it. So, let this be a wake-up call to make more of an effort to seek the sacred knowledge, only and always from authentic sources. (Further information can be given from the Imam of the local masjid in terms of which sources are authentic)
Furthermore, Shawwal is a month which begins with an Islamic celebration – A moment of happiness. A day when all the Muslims are encouraged to be joyful. And though we are going through trying times, this in itself is a beautiful way to begin the month, and it should be a means of continuing the happiness throughout the month. True happiness is found in obedience of the Beloved. However, we should not become hopeless if we end up falling into sin, again. There will be sadness as a result of our actions. But, this sadness, this feeling of regret, is so beloved to Allah. It shows our hatred at having upset our Lord. It shows remorse over our wrong. Hence, we should allow the feelings of sadness to lead us TO Allah, not away from Him. We hope, then, that the sadness becomes a means of beauty and reward. In no way is this belittling the act of sinning itself, rather it is a reminder to not lose hope in the mercy of Allah if we fall into sin. But we must try our best to not fall into sin, always.
Sometimes people have the misunderstanding that since Ramadan has finished, we can lessen the amount of good we do. Rather, we are more in need of doing good outside of Ramadan! So, if we were unable to observe the night of laylatul jaa’izah, we shouldn’t lose hope. We should continue our effort to gain closeness to Allah and continue our struggle against our own evil selves and shaytaan.
Therefore, to help us achieve this, we are encouraged to fast 6 voluntary fasts in Shawwal. The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
“Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime." (Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)
This shows the great amount of rewards which we can accumulate, just by keeping 6 fasts. After a month of 30 fasts, this will not be hard to achieve. And since we have developed a habit of fasting, this will also facilitate in keeping the other 6, Insha’Allah. Subhan’Allah, look at how easy Allah has made it for us to gain closeness to Him! Fasting is an action so beloved to Allah, He says in a hadith qudsi:
“Fasting is for Me, and I will reward for it” (Bukhari)
Why should we not want that special reward reserved for those who fast?
One door of Jannah, named as Rayyaan, is specifically for those who fasted. Hence, we should endeavour to be from amongst those blessed people. With the right intention, actions can go a long way. So be sure not to miss these 6 fasts!
Finally, Shawwal signifies the beginning of the months of Hajj. Hajj is another pillar of Islam, alongside fasting. This should also help us in increasing our level of spirituality. We should endeavour to learn about the importance of Hajj, since Hajj is considered to be one of those actions which brings us extremely close to Allah, if done in the right manner with the right intentions. However, if we are unable to make the pilgrimage for Hajj, then we should try to be in such a state in our homes where we are actively trying to do extra good deeds in order to attain a special connection with Allah during these months. Again, since Ramadan has just passed, then this shouldn’t be too hard to attain.
Ramadan is a training ground for the rest of the year.
Therefore, the actions we have made a habit of doing during this month, it should be easier to carry them on after Ramadan.
Here, it could be argued that during Ramadan, the shayateen are locked up, so staying away from wrong and doing good is easier during Ramadan. And this is true to a certain extent. Nonetheless, Ramadan is still a time where we can connect with our inner selves and realise our own strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day, shaytaan can only whisper. Just as our evil nafs (the evil inner self) does, even in Ramadan. Shaytaan does not physically make us do wrong. It’s up to us to choose whether we want to listen to him or not. Just as we stopped our nafs from doing wrong during Ramadan, we, In sha’Allah, gained the strength to help us against the whispers of shaytaan and our nafs outside of Ramadan. So, this blessed month of Shawwal should not be ignored in that regard.
Endeavour to continue the good, not only in Shawwal, but also throughout the year. The ending of Ramadan does not signify the end of our struggle to gain closeness to Allah. Rather, it serves as a reminder to continue the struggle, until the day we meet our Beloved, Insha’Allah
May Allah grant us all the tawfeeq, Ameen.
Walhamdu lillahi rabbil aalameen
Noor Ul Islam Aalimah Department
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The Prophet (Pbuh) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small.