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Don't give up after Ramadan
Alhamdulillah we had a great Ramadan and Eid was just amazing. Now it's going on Shawwal and the days are passing us by like water through the palms of our hands... We must stop to ask... have we benefited from our month of worshiping our Lord or are we back to our old way of life?
Inshallah, let's not let our days go by without benefit. Let's live every moment for Allah and take each breath as if it were our last. Let's take our month of worship and carry it through to our next Ramadan and tell Allah that we will not give up on Him as we often do when Ramadan comes to an end.
Here are some things we can do to make Ramadan last to our next Ramadan Inshallah and also increase our rewards in preparation for that ultimate Day.
1. Make sincere Tauba every chance you get:
Tauba acts like a vacuum cleaning up our sins. Allah made us so important that we have not one, but TWO angels writing down our deeds. We can help ourselves by making sincere tauba each time we mess up so that the angel to our left will Inshallah erase it from our list. And we can do good deeds and the angel on our right will write them down as quickly as we do them! Subhanallah! Can Allah make it any easier for us?
Some ways to perform Tauba is to recite Istighfar often such as "Astaghfirullah", "La hawla wala quwwata illah billah aleuul azeem", or even "Ya Allah, Forgive me!" as often as you can. Especially when you've done something wrong, turn to Allah and aks for His forgiveness and ask Him to help you not do it again.
Inshallah, sincere tauba can remove a sin and add a hasanat in it's place in our book of records! Subhanallah!
Inshallah, Allah will be with the one who is sincere in their repentance.
2. Proclaim Ekhlas to Allah
Simply put, whenever you do something tell Allah you are doing it for Him and Him alone. When you give someone a gift, don't give it because they gave you a gift or because they are nice, but because you know Allah would be pleased with you for giving it to another Muslim and making them happy. Take credit for pleasing Allah and not just for pleasing another Muslim. When you go to pray, tell Allah, you are doing it not just out of duty, but because you want to please Him. Show mercy to others because you know Allah would be pleased with you. Recite Sura Ekhlas as much as you can: Reciting Ekhlas three times is equivalent to reciting the entirety of the Quran! Do everything for the sake of Allah and Allah will be pleased with you Inshallah!
3. Pray on TIME!
Never postpone your prayers. Especially the Fard prayers! Make up missed salah. Continue to do your sunnahs and nafls. Don't give up or Allah might give up on you!
4. Pray your Nafls and your Witr
We all know that performing our Fard will Inshallah get us in through the Gates of Jannat. But is that how far we want to go? Praying our Nafls will take us higher and higher through the levels of Jannat. We are only limited by our time and our energy and desires.
We also can't forget our Witr prayers for Allah loves the Witr. At minimum we must do 1 rakat Witr, and 11 is preferred. We can do any odd number of Witrs that we want so even if we can only do 1, we should always do 1. Remember that Rasul (pbuh) said that someone who does not do their Witr, is not one of his Ummah.
5. Keep your tongue moist with Dhikr
Allah loves dhikr. Allah loves the one who does dhikr. It is said that if Allah loves you, He allows you to recite dhikr often. With the exception of doing salah and reading Quran, we should try to do dhikr often. Dhikr comes in many flavors and forms.
Some examples of Dhikr are:
- Istighfar - 100x or more
- La ilaha Illallah - 100x or more
- Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahuakbar
- Subhanallahi Wabihamdih, Subhanallahil Azeem
- Allahumma ajeerna minan-naar 100x after every Fajr and Maghrib salah
- Recite Ayatul Qursi after every Fard salah and before doing the Sunnah or Nafl portion(s)
- Astaghfirullah lil mu'mineena wal mu'mineen 27x
- Recite Shahadah
- Ash hadu al la ilaha illallahu wahdahu lasharika lahu, lahul mulk, wa lahul hamdu euh' heeyu umeet, wa la hawla wala quwwata illah billah aleeul azeem
6. Don't make the Quran a decoration piece until next Ramadan
We try our best during Ramadan to recite the Quran atleast once. Then when it's over, we put it on our shelves and wait for the next Ramadan to recite it again. Let's not do that anymore and try to read it, even if it's one page a day. We should also try to understand the meaning of what we read. If we don't do this then we can't understand what it is that Allah is trying to tell us. And ofcourse, finally, We should learn to live our lives with the teachings from the Quran. This is the true way to show Allah that we love Him and we do everything for His pleasure and pronounce His Ekhlas.
7. Give Sadaqah! Give Charity! Give! Give! Give!
Don't stop giving just because Ramadan is over! Continue to give in Sadaqah, even if it be a smile to another Muslim to brighten their day. Allah loves us more for showing mercy to His creations. The more mercy we show to others, the more mercy Allah will show to us Inshallah.
8. Walk on Wudu. Sleep on Wudu
Wudu is a weapon against the Shaitan! Fight him the easiest way you can with wudu! Before going to sleep, do wudu. During the day try to keep wudu and if it breaks, try to make it again. The best way to make you do the wudu is to imagine what would happen if you died without wudu.
9. Watch what you watch
On the Day of Judgement we will be answerable for everything we did with our eyes, our mouthes, our hands, our minds, our legs, our body and every other part of our bodies. We will be asked if we kept our eyes downcast when something non-halal passed us by or if we looked away when something bad came in front of our eyes. We will be questioned about our speech and our words and if we made fun of others or even ourselves.
We will be asked if we tried to do good with our body or we didn't care enough to do right by it. We are answerable for habits that make us sick or kill or damage our body. We are accountable for everything we think and do.
We must learn to improve ourselves each day so that we can be perfect on the Day of Judgement!
10. Tahajjud Salah
Each night Allah comes down to us in the last third of the night asking us who is it who wants Allah's forgiveness for He will give it to them; Who is it who asks for His mercy and He will give it to them; Who is it who wants a prayer fulfilled and He will fulfill it for them. Don't lose this precious time by sleeping through it. Allah's promise is always true and even if you wake up a half hour before Fajr, Inshallah, Allah will still be there to hear our prayers.
The best way to show thanks to Allah for all that He has given us is to do it with our entire bodies while in salah. Salah is the one action where our entire body is dedicated to Allah's worship for as long as we are in salah. Subhanallah!
11. Duha Salah
It is said that he who loves Allah, also loves Muhammad (pbuh)! And we show our love for someone by doing as they did and living as they did. Rasul (pbuh) always prayed the Duha prayer. We should also continue this Sunnah. Also, remember that for each Duha prayer you perform, you get 360 hasanats!Subhanallah! Imagine how many we will get if we just perform even 2 rakats before leaving for work every day! Imagine the hasanats pouring over us if we were to do all 8 rakats!!
12. Keep making Dua to Allah for EVERYTHING
One of the easiest ways to let Allah know you are thinking of Him is by continuously making dua to Him for everything in this life and for the Hereafter! Subhanallah! Can it get any easier than that? Allah loves the slave who begs Him for everything! Even our selfish needs are a blessing to us! As a friend would say, Ya Allah give me halaal rizq and even more!
There is so much to talk to our Lord about, there is no limit! We should be making so much dua to Allah that we should be talking more to Allah than any other person! Subhanallah!
- Turn to Allah for advice or guidance. Who better to solve our problems than Allah?
- Give Hamd: Thank Him for all the good things you have.
- Tell Him of the patience you are trying to maintain during those hard times; Allah loves a patient believer.
- Beg Him for everything in your daily life, even for that parking spot on a busy Sunday afternoon!
- Ask Him for forgiveness for all past sins and to help you from doing sins in the future.
- Talk to Him about everything that is in your mind and heart and ask Him to guide you and keep you in the halal
13. Keep Relations Alive (Salatul Raheem)
Allah forbids us to break family ties. No matter how hard it might seem to keep familial relationships going, it's very important that we try our best to maintain them. Shaitan loves it when we break our ties so let's not please the shaitan!
14. Watch your words...
Just as our bodies are accountable for us, our words are also accountable. We have to protect our speech as best we can.
- No backbiting for it is like eating the flesh of a dead brother!
- No creating fitnah or tarnishing another person's character.
- No lying.
- No making fun of people or even ourselves with name calling or nicknames that are ill in nature.
- Protect our expressions before we hurt someone with it. Even a sneer or the lifting of our eyebrows is a taunt to someone else.
- Avoid expressing jealousy. Only Allah knows what's best for each of us and not everything everyone else has is good for us.
- Protect our iman by not being arrogant about the level of our iman for there is always someone better!
- Watch what we write, read, say!
We must always remember that the smallest slight can weigh very heavily on the Day of Judgement! We must always be careful of what we say to the people we are interacting with. Even with young people, we must be careful not to hurt them with our words.
15. Purify your heart
The ultimate goal in life is to attain Ehsan. Ehsan is that condition where we see Allah in front of us, judging us, and we are careful with every cell in our bodies to please Him and ONLY Him and we make every effort to avoid all possible types and forms of sins!
We must cure our hearts of all its diseases, the worst being the one where we think we have enough iman and so are not going to be accountable for all our actions. The disease of self-righteousness. The disease of arrogance. The disease that we have done enough good that we will surely go to Jannat!
We must always remember that Allah does not need us. WE NEED HIM. There are so many creations of Allah who's only purpose is to worship Allah and nothing else. When these creatures exist, then who are we to assume that our worship is necessary? It's not.
THAT is also the reason why we are the luckiest of Allah's creations and we must take as much advantage of that blessing as we can! Where those creations worship Allah because that is their job, we worship Allah because we want to. And the one who does the most, will get the most acknowledgement from Allah. Our goal in life shoud be strive to be that one lucky person!
And the only way we can do that is by purifying our hearts of all diseases of arrogance and self righteousness and instead worship Allah sincerely, the best way we can, knowing that He will hear us and have mercy on us because that is His promise to us.
Let's not let our days go by without benefit. Inshallah we all have to meet with Allah sooner or later. There is no guarantee that it will be later so we always have to be prepared to die today or tomorrow. Are you ready?
May Allah make it easier for us to please Him and may He guide us and keep us on the right path always. Ameen.
(Summary from Sister Eiman's Thursday Class - Sept 24, 2009)