Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
When Ramadan ends, the month of Shawwal begins – on Eid ul Fitr day! When Shawwal begins, our test begins. We have just spent a whole month boosting our Imaan - it is up to us now to continue performing these good deeds throughout the rest of the year.
The scholars say that the sign of acceptance of good deeds in Ramadan is that we remain firm and regular on our good actions after this month is over – our connection with Allah should be stronger than ever!
We should ask ourselves: does Allah deserve to obeyed properly only in this one month? Does Allah deserve to be worshipped properly only in this one month? He looks after us during the rest of the 11 months so we owe Him at least this much.
Some Advice to help maintain an Islamic lifestyle after Ramadan
· Keep up with the recital of the Quran. Keep your target small but consistent. A Hadith says that the most beloved deed to Allah are the regular ones, even if they amount to little in quantity. Why are the Muslims in such troubles today? Because they have left the greatest gift of Allah, and so they have lost the help of Allah.
· Keep listening to Islamic lectures online etc – these are very beneficial and will give your Imaan a boost!
· Study Islam and increase your knowledge about your religion and the Shariah. Try and learn the simple rulings, improve your tajweed or read the life story and sayings of the Prophet (saw). The more we learn about our religion, the more we will begin to recognise our creator and realise what He expects from us. This will help us to do things which please Allah and keep away from those things that anger Him.
· Finally, the most important, regular 5 times Salah and to make dua at least once a day! Salah when performed 5 times a day will prevent you from almost every major sin: Indeed the prayer wards off indecency and lewdness (Surah Ankabut).
Stay firm on salah in times of happiness and fear, day and night, when free and when busy.
With salah comes dua! What can be said of the person who makes dua to Allah 5 times a day after each salah? You will find that all your worries and troubles will be gradually eased. You will become happy and content for you will come to appreciate and see that Allah does everything in His own time, according to his own wisdom and always does things which are best for us!
There is a saying: When Allah answers your dua straight away, it is because He is testing your faith. When Allah does not answer your dua straight away, it is because He is testing your patience. When Allah does not answer your dua at all, it is because He has something better for you. Those who happily leave everything in Allah’s hand will see Allah’s hand in everything.
Remember, regardless of your past, your mistakes and your ignorance, it’s a new start for all. If the likes of Hazrat Umar (ra) were transformed from the strongest of enemies to the 2nd greatest companion, and was buried next to the Prophet (saw), then there is hope for us all. As long as we are willing to take advantage of Allah’s mercy by repenting over the past and making firm good intentions for the future.
A verse in the Quran reads in Surah Nisaa Verse 147:
What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.
This verse shows us that the way to Allah is simple - we must be grateful to Him and believe in Him. This means that we should act upon all His commands and follow the way of His beloved - the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Six Fasts of Shawwal
Shawwal is the first of the 3 months named Ashur – ul – Hajj – the months of Hajj. We should try and keep 6 optional/nafl fasts in this month.
“Whoever completes the fasts of Ramadan, then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the reward of fasting the whole year” (Muslim)
How does this work? Ramadan was 30 fasts, if we add the 6 fasts of Shawwal that is 36. Every good deed in Islam is multiplied by 10 and 36 multiplied by 10 is 360. There are 365 days in a year but fasting on 5 of these days is forbidden so that equals to 360!
In the Hadith, it mentions that anyone who does this always it’s as though he has fasted his entire life!
It’s better to keep any qadha fasts of this Ramadan first, then these six fasts. The six fasts do not have to kept straight away but in any order – as long as they are in Shawwal.
May Allah accept all our worship during Ramadan, and give us the ability to carry on worshipping Him properly throughout the rest of the year - Ameen!