7 Good Deeds to continue after Ramadan
Ramadan is a beautiful month which only comes once a year. It is only due to the mercy and blessings of Allah that doing good acts during this month becomes so much easier for us than it would be throughout the rest of the year. It is during this blessed month that Allah enables us to become more conscious of him so that we can get closer to him. We also feel closer to our families and a sense of unity with our Ummah as a whole.
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?
Therefore we must continue to do the following Good deeds after Ramadan:
1. Praying obligatory Salaah:
Many of us did not pray our Salaah before Ramadan but during the blessed month we found it easier to pray. There are also many of us who did not pray all of our prayers before Ramadan or we delayed our prayers and did not pray on time. But If there is just one thing that we could take from Ramadan then it must be that we continue to pray all of our Salaah on time. This is because Salaah is the most important obligation that we must fulfil in our daily lives. We cannot continue our lives without praying our Salaah otherwise we are not fulfilling the purpose of our lives.
Allah says: "I have created the jinn and humankind only for My worship" (Qur'an; 51:56)
We will not be successful in this life or the next without praying our Salaah. The first thing we will be questioned about is our Salaah. The Prophet (SallallahuAlaihi Wasallam) said, “The first thing that a person will be questioned about is his prayers.” (Tabarani)
If we fail to answer this question then we will fail in fulfilling the purpose of our lives. Missing Salaah intentionally is so serious that it is tantamount to disbelief:
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "What lies between a man and disbelief is the abandonment of prayer." (Muslim)
There will be many Muslims in Hell who did not pray their Salaah: And Allah says of the people of Hell (interpretation of the meaning):
“ ‘What has caused you to enter Hell?’
They will say: ‘We were not of those who used to offer the Salaah (prayers)’” (Qur'an;74:42-43)
Therefore we must fulfil the purpose of our lives and pray our Salaah. The very minimum each and every Muslims must do is to pray the Salaah. Not to pray the Salaah is tantamount to disbelief. Imagine if we were to die now and we were of those who did not pray their Salaah then how would we answer to Allah when we are questioned about our Salaah? Ramadan is the perfect time for us to establish our daily Salaah on time so we must not stop praying after Ramadan. We do not know which second we will die so in order to prepare for the inevitable we must pray all our Salaah.
2. Reciting the Qur'an:
Many of us left the Qur'an on the top shelf throughout the year which eventually gathered a film of dust over it. When Ramadan came we picked up the Qur'an and blew off the dust and began to recite it again. This is because reciting the Qur'an was easier for us during Ramadan. But what a great loss it is to neglect the book of Allah throughout the year. We are not only missing out on immense rewards but we are missing out getting closer to Allah. How can we expect to connect our hearts to Allah when our hearts are not connected to his book?
We are also missing out on receiving intercession from the Qur'an on the Day of Judgement: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says: "Recite the Holy Qur’an as much as you can for It will come as an intercessor for its reciter’ on the Day of Judgement" (Muslim)
The Reciter of the Qur'an will be in the company of Angels: ‘Aa'ishah (Ra) related that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Indeed the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
There are Ten Rewards for Every Letter Recited from the Quran in normal times but in Ramadan these rewards are multiplied: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allaah, he will have a reward, and this reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that 'Alif, Laam, Meem' (a combination of letters frequently mentioned in the Holy Quran) is a letter, rather I am saying that 'Alif' is a letter, 'Laam' is a letter and 'Meem' is a letter.” (At-Tirmidhi)
According to a hadith in Bukhari and Muslim to which Ibn `Umar (Ra) added that one of the people of whom it is permissible to envy is: "(And) a person to whom Allah has given the Quran and who recites it night and day..
Subhanallah each and every one of us should aspire to be such a person. We envy the rich and famous but such people are not even worthy of being envied. Therefore we should strive to be of those who's hearts are connected to the Qur'an to the extent that we recite the Qur'an day and night and crave for it like we crave for food and drink.
During Ramadan we were able to pick up the Qur'an and recite it again. Therefore we must not put it back on the top shelf as soon as Ramadan is over. We must bring the book of Allah into our daily lives. Let us make a target of reciting a certain amount of the Qur'an daily. Whether it is 1 chapter or half a chapter or even a page or two each day. As long as we continue to recite something from the Qur'an daily. But we must never neglect it again!
Fasting is a way of helping us to be able to control our desires. It is a way of getting closer to Allah because we refrain from our greatest desires solely for his pleasure. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) "Every (good) deed of the son of Adam would be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, has said: With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it, for one abandons his passion and food for My sake. " (Muslim)
Know that fasting will also intercede for us on the Day of judgement: Rasulallah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Fasting and the Qur’an will intercede for the slave on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say: “O My Rabb! I prevented him from food and desires, so accept my intercession for him.’ And the Qur’an will say: “I prevented him from sleep during the night, so accept my intercession for him.’ He (Sallallahu `Alaihi Wasallam) said: ‘And they will (be allowed to) intercede.’” (Ahmad, at-Tabarani, Al-Hakim, Sahih)
Fasting not only has great spiritual benefits but it can also be very beneficial to our general health. Many scientists now recognise that fasting twice a week (which is also Sunnah) can be very beneficial to health. Most of us only fast during Ramadan as fasting is obligatory during this month but we are neglecting great spiritual and health benefits from optional fasting throughout the year which is also Sunnah:
To fast a day and leave the next (i.e. to fast on alternate days); and that is the best voluntary fasting: It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘As (Ra) that he said: the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The dearest kind of fast to Allah the fast of Dawud (As) where he used to fast a day and give up fasting for a day (i.e. fast on alternate days)." (Bukhari, Muslim)
Fasting Mondays and Thursdays: Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasalam) would fast Mondays and Thursdays. He was asked about that and he said: “The deeds of people are presented to Allah on every Monday and Thursday. Allah forgives every Muslim except for those who are deserting each other." He says: "leave them for later”. (Ahmad; Hasan)
Another is to fast the white days (13, 14 & 15th of each Islamic month): Abu Tharr Al-Ghefari said: “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said "O Abu Tharr! If you fast three days of every month, then fast the 13th, the 14th and the 15th [these are call the al-ayaam al-beedh, the white days>". (Ahmad, an-Nasaa'i & at-Tirmithi; Sahih)
Therefore we should try to fast what we can each month. If we cannot fast alternate days then let us fast Mondays and Thursdays. If we cannot fast Mondays or Thursdays then at least 3 days each month i.e. on the White days which are the 13th, 14th and 15th of each Islamic month.
4. The Night prayer:
During Ramadan many of us were able to pray to Allah during the nights as we were up for Suhoor and during the last ten nights of Ramadan. But now that Ramadan is over we should not neglect praying to Allah at night:
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 Qur'an at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Qur'an 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." [Qur'an, 17: 78-79]Surely those who get up and forsake their beds in the depths of the night whilst others are asleep are truly fortunate and have a special closeness to Allah as they are praying unto him whilst the world sleeps in slumber."They forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope..." (Qur'an, 32: 16-17)
The best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer: Abu Hurayra (Ra) reports that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer." (Muslim)
Ramadan is the best time for us to get into the habit of praying during the night as we would already be awake for Suhoor which is before Fajr so it is also the time for the Tahajjud prayer. The Tahajjud prayer can also be prayed straight after the Isha prayer and before going to sleep. So we can still gain great rewards for praying Tahajjud before sleep but it is far more reward for praying Tahajjud after getting up from our sleep in the depths of the night.
So let us make firm intention to continue to get up to pray Tahajjud even if it is 20 -30 minutes before Fajr begins so that we can be counted as those fortunate ones who will be elevated to the high ranks of Paradise for worshipping Allah in the depths of the night whilst most others are asleep.
5. Sincere repentance and thanking Allah
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 favours 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 favours upon us.
Almighty Allah loves repentance and he loves nothing more than to forgive us of our sins: Truly Allah loves those who turn [to Him> in repentance, and He loves those who keep themselves in purity. (Qur'an; 2:222)
All that is required is that we ask of him. We should never despair of the mercy of Allah and we should know that he is most merciful and most forgiving and loves to forgive:
Allah says in Hadith Qudsi: O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and you would then seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you.
When a person sins and then sincerely turns to Allah for forgiveness then one will find Allah ready to accept his repentance and to forgive him, as this verse indicates: And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself, but then seeks forgiveness from Allah, he will find Allah forgiving and merciful. (Qur'an; 4:110)
Regarding being thankful and appreciative to Allah then most of us are of the ungrateful: Iblees said to Almighty Allah: and You will not find most of them grateful [to You>.” (Qur’an; - - 7:17[/COLOR - )
If we become grateful to Allah then he will give us more: “And [remember> when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor>; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe’.” (Qur'an; 14:7)
We should aspire to be of those few who are grateful to Allah. How can we not thank Allah constantly for if we were to sit there and ponder over the favours that Allah has bestowed upon us then we will never be able to even if we were to for millions of years.Therefore we should thank him as much as we can not just verbally but also through our actions.
During Ramadan it was made easier for us repent to Allah and to ask of him for forgiveness. Therefore we must not stop beseeching Allah for his mercy and forgiveness for surely we are in constant need of his mercy. We should repent to him and thank him constantly or at least after each prayer or a minimum of once a day. We must also realise that he does not need us to repent to him or to thank him but we are in need of him to forgive us as we are constantly sinning and we do not know at which moment we will die. So surely if we were to die then we would hope that Allah accepts our repentance and includes us as one of his slaves who was grateful and appreciative of his infinite favours upon us.
6. Improving our character and manners:
During Ramadan there is more emphasis for us to control our desires, our tongues, our ears and our eyes. This is so that we can train ourselves during the blessed month to become better Muslims and doers of good and of those who refrain from evil actions. This month gave us a wonderful opportunity to be able to self evaluate so that we can improve our character and manners. .
The superiority of having a good character: Abu Darda (Ra), relates that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Nothing is heavier in the scales of a believer on the Day of Judgement than his good behaviour. Allah detests a person who is obscene and shameless”. (Tirmidhi)
Many of us think that good Muslim is one who observes all of the Salah, the fasting, the Zakah, and the Hajj. But that is not the case. If the ritual observances do not help the person to be humble, virtuous and truly Allah-fearing, then one cannot become a proper Muslim. A Muslim should be good and just in dealing with others, no matter their religion, and take special care to keep away from all the shameful and sinful things Allah has forbidden.
One can never get close to Allah by being arrogant, full of pride and having a bad character and manners. Those who have humility and are humble and have good character and manners are the closest to Allah and Allah raises their ranks in the hereafter. The best person is the one who is best towards others.
How we can make a change to our characters:
The first step to change is that we must internalise the need for change within ourselves. Then we must have an example to follow and the best role model and example for us to followinour daily lives is undoubtedly the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). This is because Allah has made the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as an example not only for us but for the whole of mankind. Allah says about the character of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): And indeed you are of a great moral character (Qur'an; 68;4)
Annas bin Malik (Ra) said, "The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had the best manners among all the human beings" (Bukhari and Muslim)
So by making the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) our role model then we are giving ourselves the best example to follow in our daily lives. So after internalising the need for us to make changes within ourselves then we must do an honest self evaluation of ourselves and really look at what we must change about ourselves. It does help to write out a list. So let us write out a list of the most important change we must make to the least important and concentrate on the most important change first.
Once we have realised what we need to change then we must take immediate action. A good way of doing this is to dedicate a whole month in trying to improve one of our most major faults. This is because it is far better for us to concentrate on changing one thing at a time about ourselves. We should try to take a short while at the end of each day or at least at the end of each week to see how we have done to rectify our fault. Then at the end of the month we can see how we have done in terms of improving this major fault. Then the month after we can concentrate on another fault. By doing this we will have dedicated the entire year month by month trying to rectify our major faults.
Whilst trying to rectify our faults we will inevitably slip and fall. That is to be expected as we are only humans and Allah recognises that. But we must constantly and consistently strive to be the best Muslims we can possibly be for the sole pleasure of Allah and know that we will become better by constantly working to rectify ourselves.
7. Giving in Charity:
Many of us felt more generous during Ramadan and therefore gave more in charity during this month than we did throughout the rest of the year. But now that Ramadan is over it does not mean that we should stop giving in charity or only give a little bit now and again but we should always give as much as we can possibly afford. Allah says regarding giving to charity:
Spend (in charity) out of We have bestowed for their sustenance secretly and openly ; and turn off evil with good: for such there is the final attainment of the (Eternal) Home. (Qur'an; 13:22)
'O son of Aadam! Spend, I will spend on you." (Al-Bukhari)
“Who will loan Allah a beautiful loan so He may multiply it for him many times?” (Qur'an; 1:245)
Subhanallah the Lord of the worlds is asking us his creations for a beautiful loan. This wealth that we have is not even ours in the first place. So whatever we give away to charity is given to us by Allah. Surely if we give to Allah a beautiful loan (in the way of charity to the needy) then he will give us back far more in return. Allah is testing us with the wealth he has given us to see how we will spend it. Surely we will be accountable for every penny we spend so we must ensure that we give away as much as we can for his pleasure. We must also realise that any wealth we do give away will not decrease our wealth in the slightest:
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Giving in charity doesn’t decrease you wealth in the slightest, and the person who pardons is not increase except in honour and there is no person who is humble for the sake of Allah, except that Allah will raise his rank.” (Muslim 2588)
Surely if we give reluctantly then Allah will also give to us reluctantly: Narrated Asmaa’ bint Abu Bakr (Ra) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “[Give (in charity) and do not give reluctantly lest Allah should give you in a limited amount; and do not withhold your money lest Allah should withhold it from you.” (Al-Bukhari (2590, 2591) and Muslim (2244))
So let us give a set amount of our wealth away each month as much as we can afford and also give away whatever we have in our pockets whenever we come across the needy. We can also do more for charity by fund raising. We can do this by doing good acts and getting sponsored for it like mountain climbing, walks, jogs, selling food or items and giving away the proceedings to charity.
Remember: When we die our good deeds will also stop except for the charity we gave away during our lives which will continue to increase our good deeds even after our death. So the more we give away to charity then the more we will be increasing our good deeds after our death.
We must ask ourselves this question: How can we sacrifice the Hereafter which is for eternity for this life which can end at any second? Surely we will be in utter regret in the Hereafter if we were to waste this life chasing this world which is for but a few days compared to the pleasures of the Hereafter which are everlasting.
Ramadan is a great mercy for us by Allah. Throughout the year our Imaan (faith) dips and just before Ramadan arrives it comes when we need it the most. But just because Ramadan has now ended then it does not mean that we should go back to our old ways and stop doing the good we acquired from it. Otherwise we would have wasted this entire month and would be of those who are most unfortunate.
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Jibraeel (As) appeared before me and said: "Woe to him who found the blessed month of Ramadan... and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness." Upon that I said: Aameen. (Sahih Bukhari)
So let us continue with the good we acquired from this beautiful month and make Dua to Allah that he accepts our deeds and efforts and enables us to live to see another Ramadan. Ameen