During Ramadan, our constant worry is how will we maintain this momentum and worship schedule after Ramadan? We must understand that Ramadan is a spiritual month which changes our mood and strengthens our focus on deen. With this month comes a special form of tawfiq/God-given strength, making us more spiritually energetic and more able than usual. Thus outside of Ramadan, it is not possible to maintain that all.
The same applies for Umrah; during Umrah people can get by on less food. What you eat during Umrah, try to eat the same foods back home and you will see how difficult it is to get by! And why is that the case? It is because in Haramain Shareefain, during Ramadan e.t.c there is a lot of nooraaniyat and this has a spiritual effect on us. For those who doubt religion, this experience itself authenticates our deen further.
However naturally, that effect begins to dwindle once we leave Haramain Shareefain, or once Ramadan is over. Therefore, we cannot continue that level of worship but what we must do is increase the worship we did before Ramadan started. To be specific, there are a few areas we should prioritise:
1. Tilawat of the Quran: Increase it but do not make unrealistic goals otherwise, we will burn out very quickly. Increase slowly but surely as the actions Allah loves most are those which are done consistently, even if they are little.
2. Sunnahs: Learn masnoon duas, read a few extra per day, add a few extra Sunnahs per day into your timetable. This is true taraqqi/spiritual progress.
3. Character: This is the department we need the most improvement in. Remember that the weightiest deed on the scales on the Day of Judgement will be good character. Not worship, good character! And bad character, that will contaminate even our good deeds! When we do Qurbani and remove the liver, if you do not take out the poison bag properly without it spilling then although liver is delicacy, the taste will become spoiled. If it goes on the carcass, that too will become spoiled. But if it is removed carefully, everything will be safe. Bad character is like that poison bag, if we are not careful it will spoil even our good deeds.
4. Quality of Salah: Yes in Ramadan we are more focused but now that it has gone for another year, we cannot allow our focus in Salah to vanish for another year too! Make an effort to improve that too.
Now with regards to these four points, how can we practically ensure that we are improving? By managing our time correctly. We have to be systematic in all that we do. Have a plan of action and execute it. In madrassa, school or work, our day is timetabled allowing us to get a lot of work done. Outside of this, we must timetable our day too. If you sit in traffic on the way to work, turn off the radio and make some dhikr, recite durood or play Surah Yasin on a CD and memorise it.
If you have a few spare moments at work, finish off your adhkaar for the day. In other words, identify the time you are using which can be used even more, capitalize on that time and profit further. Once you make such a timetable, stick to it and at the end of the day look through and see how much you have completed. If you have left some out, finish it off before you sleep.
Otherwise, our nafs will get the better of us and one day off will lead to several days off adhkaar, which will eventually turns to weeks and then months, and that is how good habits die overtime. But if we structure our day, centre it around worship and slowly improve on the four points listed above, then inshaAllah we will continue to ascend out of Ramadan just like we did within it.
— Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
(Above is an extract from one of Hazrat’s lectures during Ramadan. To listen to the full audio please click here.)