Ramadan is now over. Our eyes shed tears and our hearts ache for the departure of the month of the Qur’an, the month of mercy, the month of solidarity, the month of forgiveness, the month of freedom from the Fire. However, we should continue doing good deeds after Ramadan since the Lord of Ramadan is the Lord of the entire year.
Means of Ongoing Obedience
First, be a Rabbani, not Ramadani!
Some pious people used to say: “Try to be a Rabbani (belonging to Allah always), and do not be a Ramadani (only worshipping Allah in Ramadan).” We do not worship Almighty Allah only in Ramadan; we have to worship and serve Him every day of our lives.
Muslims must continually do good deeds. We have to observe our daily prayers, fast during Ramadan, give zakah, and perform Hajj if we can afford it. We should also speak the truth, be honest, and treat each other and all human beings with courtesy and kindness. Remember that good deeds lead to more good deeds and bad deeds only lead to more bad deeds. It is said: “One of the rewards of good deeds is more good deeds after that, and one the consequences of evil is more evil deeds after that.”
Second, consistently doing good deeds is a sign of sincerity.
When people do something good and then do more good, it means that they really benefited from their good actions and that Almighty Allah accepted their good deeds. However, when someone prays, fasts, does some acts of charity, and then stops doing these things, this means that from the beginning his intention was not good. He was not sincere in his good deeds. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) always stressed the fact that the best good deeds in the sight of Almighty Allah are those that are done consistently, even if they are very few.
Islam is the religion of purity and sincerity. This applies to all the seasons of the year; not only to Ramadan.
Allah the Lord of Ramadan is also the Lord of the entire year, thus, we should not confine our acts of worship to the month of Ramadan; instead, we should seize every chance to show humbleness, devotion and sincerity to Almighty Allah at all times, so that we may gain His pleasure.
Third, there are means to continue doing good deeds.
The following are some of these beneficial means that help us continue doing good after Ramadan:
1. Seek the support of Almighty Allah,, beseeching Him the Almighty to guide you to the right path and to help you remain steadfast in faith. Almighty Allah has praised the supplication of those who have been instructed soundly, when they said: [Our Lord! Cause not our hearts to stray after Thou hast guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from Thy Presence. Lo! Thou, only Thou art the Bestower.] (Aal `Imran 3: 8)
2. Continue to observe optional fasting after Ramadan: We are encouraged in the Sunnah to observe optional fasting after the month of Ramadan. The days in which optional fasting are recommended are:
a) Fasting six days during the month of Shawwal
b) Fasting the day of `Arafah, Dhul-Hijjah 9,, provided that the person is not performing Hajj
c) Fasting Muharram,10, and if possible the 9th and 11th days of the same month
d) Fasting as many days as possible during the month of Sha`ban
e) Fasting during the months of Rajab, Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah
f) Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays
g) Fasting the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every lunar month
3. Continue offering the Tahajjud Prayer: During Ramadan we were accustomed to performing the Tahajjud Prayer, so after Ramadan, we should continue to offer it, even two rak`ahs. Praising the character of devout believers, Almighty Allah says (what means), [Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, the while they call on their Lord, in Fear and Hope”] . (As-Sajdah 32:16)
Likewise, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: “It is highly recommended for you to observe Qiyam Al-Layl, for it was the practice of your righteous predecessors. Qiyam Al-Layl brings us close to Our Lord, atones for our sins, drives disease from the body, and puts a stop to transgression.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say, “There is an hour in the night, in which no Muslim individual will ask Allah for good in this world and the next without Him giving it to him, and that applies to every night.” (Reported by Muslim)
Al-Hasan Al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “We know of no harder act of worship than enduring through the night and offering our money.” He was asked, “How is it that those who observe Qiyam Al-Layl are among the people with the most beautiful faces?” To this he replied, “Because they commune with the Most Merciful and He clothes them in light from His light.”
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as having said: “Whoever wakes up at night and lets his wife do so in order to offer two rak`ahs, will be recorded amongst those who make much dhikr of Allah in that night.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)
4. Continue reading, listening and reflecting on the Qur’an: Through the month of Ramadan, we used to read, listen to and reflect on the Qur’an; therefore, we should not forsake it after Ramadan. The Qur’an describes the Prophet’s complaint to Almighty Allah because of his people forsaking the Qur’an: “And the Messenger has said, ‘O Lord, indeed my people have forsaken this Qur’an.’” (Al-Furqan 25:30) We should never forsake the Qur’an so that we would not be included in the Prophet’s complaint (peace and blessings be upon him).
5. Continue taking care of the poor and needy: In Ramadan, we used to feed the poor and take care of them. We paid zakat al-fitr to help them meet their needs; therefore, we have to continue caring about them after Ramadan.
Ramadan exposed us to hunger and thirst. After feeling the pangs of hunger and thirst we should be more sympathetic to the plight of millions of people who are less fortunate around the world. A true Muslim can never be apathetic about the suffering of others.
In a hadith qudsi (Divine Hadith) the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) narrated from Almighty Allah: "O Son of Adam, I asked you for food, yet you did not feed Me.” The man will ask: How can I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds? Allah will say, "Didn’t you know My servant so-and-so was hungry and you did not feed him; didn’t you know that if you were to feed him, you will find Me with him?" (Reported by Muslim)
6. Continue offering supererogatory acts of worship; do what you are most inclined to do and capable of doing regularly, even if it is little. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "O people! Do only those good deeds which you can do, for Allah does not get tired (of giving reward) till you get tired, and the best deeds to Allah are the consistent ones, even though they may be few."
7. Continue performing a lot of dhikr and ask Almighty Allah for forgiveness. This may seem insignificant, yet observing it regularly increases faith and strengthens the heart.
8. Continue avoiding all that has been prohibited: In Ramadan, we used to refrain from lawful things—such as food and drink—during the daytime. We have been sufficiently trained to maintain self-control and self-discipline; therefore, we should continue avoiding all that Almighty Allah has forbidden.
May Allah accept your and our good deeds.
Dr. Wael Shihab, PhD in Islamic Studies, Al-Azhar University