Aug 27, 2012

How to Stay Consistent with Dhikr and Duas After Ramadan

By Sabeen Mansoori

I climbed a mountain, 
In Ramadan.
My spirit light, soaring while fasting,
My feet firmly rooted in the remembrance of Allah,
I thought I reached, the peak of Taqwa,
So I threw a party.
During the festivities, 
I slipped. 
Somewhere, Somehow…
Now I stare again,
At the base of the mountain,
Hoping that Allah gives me the strength,
To climb again. 

I feel as if I am still circling the base of that mountain waiting for the boost that comes from Ramadan to propel me to the top again. Many times I have tried to scramble up towards a higher level of taqwa and had only temporary success. Reaching the clouds when reflecting on some verses of the Quran, or in moments of intense loneliness and betrayal or when the tide of events turned miraculously in my favor. But the fall was always inevitable. The fall into the dark abyss of ingratitude, of laziness and procrastination, gossiping and anger was always imminent.

My fingers hesitate to type instructions that I have failed to fully implement in my life. I write this humbly, because I dream of having a productive spiritual routine and I struggle with it sometimes on a daily basis. Maybe you will pray for me when you pray for yourself and Allah will put barakah in your time and my time and make this dream a reality. Maybe this is the Ramadan that both of us have been waiting for.

"O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous (attain taqwa)–" (Al Baqarah 2:183)

If only it were possible to capture the spirit of Ramadan in a bottle so that you could sip from it throughout the year and keep your eman fresh till the next Ramadan. If only you could squeeze and store the essence of Ramadan so that your level of Taqwa (consciousness of Allah) does not decline drastically. What would this miraculous elixir contain? What are the consistent acts of dhikr and dua that can be incorporated successfully into your daily routine?

There are ingredients that Allah grants us only in Ramadan and are not available at any other time of the year: the fact that the Shayateen are chained and the doors of Paradise have been opened, and that every good deed receives ten times its normal reward. There are other ingredients that can be attained out of Ramadan with some effort as well.
  • Establish a regular habit of reciting, listening and reflecting upon the Quran. Ramadan is the month of the Quran but do not let a single day out of Ramadan pass without the Quran in it. Listen to it in your car; carry your mp3 player, iPod etc. with you when you go for a walk or go shopping. Make it such an intrinsic part of your day that you feel incomplete without it. Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala asks in the Quran itself:

    Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (Muhammad 47:24)
  • Make Tahujjud a part of your daily routine after Ramadan. It is a practice of the Muttaqeen (the righteous).

    Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and springs, Accepting what their Lord has given them. Indeed, they were before that doers of good. They used to sleep but little of the night, And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness...” (Ad-Dhariyat 51:15-18)

    Many of us pray it diligently in Ramadan because we wake up before our families to prepare suhoor, but we abandon on the morning of Eid because we are so exhausted from Eid preparations. Find a partner to develop your habit of praying Tahujjud. This could be your life partner, your friend, a child or a parent. A gentle daily reminder (a text, an email, a brief call) will inshallah gradually lead to the inculcation of a regular habit. 

  • In Ramadan, time itself is blessed and even the most sinful of us is able to attain a level of ibadah (worship) that is unimaginable outside of Ramadan. There is a slice of the day that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam has informed us is a source of barakah (blessing) for us:

    Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Allah made the early hours blessed for my Ummah”.(Ahmed)

    There are specific supplications that are authentically narrated from the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam for the morning and the evening. These are like a spiritual breakfast for the soul that will sustain you through the day. Place a copy of these supplications near your prayer mat so that you automatically reach for them every morning and night. Have these supplications downloaded on your phone. Do not procrastinate. Do it now. 
  • In Ramadan we strive to attain forgiveness for our sins by reciting Quran, standing in Taraweeh and trying to mend relations that have gone sour. It is very challenging to be a productive believer if you live life on an emotional roller coaster and carry the burden of useless grudges. Stay in touch with family and friends, even the disgruntled ones, after Ramadan. One excellent tip from Dr. Farhat was to post the phone numbers of close relatives on the fridge so that as you glance at the names you are automatically reminded to call.
  • Keep relationships that elevate your eeman and avoid prolonged conversations with people that will infect you with their ingratitude. 
  • Remember those that did not make it to this Ramadan and realize that even if you are not able to achieve everything that you aim for, if you were to die before next Ramadan, you will have died trying to attain a higher level of Taqwa. There really is no time to procrastinate. 
  • Give charity in the form of time, talent or wealth throughout the year. One sister regularly contributes her talent to the community. She sews and crochets hats and other items throughout the year and donates them to the hospital. When asked about her goal for Ramadan she replied, “To make sixty hats for the cancer patients at the children’s hospital.” Find a pet project and devote yourself to it throughout the year. The two actions are interdependent: helping others with sincerity will fill you with gratitude and help you increase in the remembrance of Allah and increasing your zikr (remembrance) will motivate you to help others. 
As Ramadan approaches I walked around asking people what their goals were for Ramadan and I received various answers: 
  • “Read more Quran with the meaning"
  • “Make it through.” 
  • “Pray five times a day.” 
I realized that my question was incorrect. I should have asked what are your goals for Shawwal? What will be the state of your worship after the blessed month of Ramadan is over and all the spiritual perks that it brings are gone? When your time is assaulted by useless distractions and your conniving soul says, “Ramadan is over. You did so much worship mashaAllah. Now you can relax.”

One friend had all the right answers. She said, “I want to make the habit of praying Tahujjud, reading Quran with understanding, controlling my anger and being a better person starting from this Ramadan and taking it to the next, inshaAllah.”

Be aware,as you step into Ramadan, that the role of devout believer that you play in Ramadan is a dress rehearsal for the remaining eleven months of the year. Strive and strengthen your resolve to keep working towards a higher level of Taqwa till your last breath and use your time in Ramadan wisely as an investment, inshaAllah, for a productive life in this world and a blessed eternity in the Hereafter.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to stay consistent in worship and good deeds after Ramadan?

18 Sources of Barakah
Corpus Quran


Salaam Aleikum, Mashallah Tbarakalalh very well written, and cuts to the core of what Im feeling right now!! Thank you so much for your honesty and humilty in writing this.May Allah continue to put baraka into our writing ameen!

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