Ramadan: The transition is easy, the upkeep not so much
I know some inspiring brothers and sisters who make being a practicing, obedient Muslim look so easy. But it is not. It takes constant struggle and for people like myself who are not very disciplined it is very hard to keep up the pace.
I know several brothers and sisters who decided to start practicing and become better Muslims, but after some time, the enthusiasm wore off and in some cases some are left in worse condition than before. It is a struggle to wake up for Fajr. It is a struggle to pray Isha because you have delayed it and now you are sleepy. It is hard.
Lucky for us, once a year we have this amazing month. The month that the doors of Jannah opens. There is something in this holy month that make obedience to Allah (SWT) so easy. As a friend of mine once said and I quote:
I don’t know about you, but fasting is easy. Some over-hyping it to their white friends making it seem like we are super humans for doing it when we are not.
Fasting is not that hard if it was about stopping eating only. But Ramadan is not just about not eating. Ramadan is the month of hope that we pray our previous sins are forgiven and hope that we stay on the path until next Ramadan. It is a month that should be foundation for the rest of our lives. We establish our good deeds in this month and should build up on it even after Ramadan. This holy month should be used as a transition phase for becoming a better individual, more spiritual, more practicing. How you act in Ramadan should be how you act always.
Like any other year, this year, we fast, we break our fast, pray more Nawafil, pray Tarawih, repent for our past sins. What then after Ramadan? Obedience is not only for Ramadan. A Muslim should be in the state of obedience to Allah (SWT) all the time. Ramadan is an opportunity to be ceased so that we repent our past sins and do not go back to our old habits once Ramadan is over.
Ramadan will end this year like the year before, but our commitment to doing good deeds should not end. There is always voluntary fasting, there are always extra Nawafil prayers, getting up for Tahajud and giving from your wealth to the needy. If sacrificed your needs for one month, sure you can sacrifice your wants after that. I am not suggesting separating ourselves from the world completely. What I am suggesting is that sure we can limit our self-indulgences and instead focus on deeds that bring us closer to Allah in the times other than Ramadan. Who knows whether we will see the next Ramadan or not.
So getting back to the original point of this, not eating food during the day is not hard. Even stopping yourself from using bad language is not hard for one month; it is the commitment that makes it hard. Will we take this challenge this year and see if we can stay committed to what Ramadan has transformed us until next Ramadan? I sure hope so.
Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.” [Al-Qur’an 3:8]