Don’t be a yo-yo. Build a rational attachment to your good deeds, not an emotional one.
A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had a mat and he used it for making an apartment during the night and observed prayer in it, and the people began to pray with him, and he spread it (the mat) during the daytime. The people crowded round him one night. He (the Holy Prophet) then said:
O people, perform such acts as you are capable of doing, as Allah will not get tired (of giving rewards) till you get bored and tired (of performing religious deeds). The most pleasing acts to Allah are those which are done continuously, even if they are small. And it was the habit of the members of Muhammad’s (ﷺ) household that whenever they did an act they did it continuously. [Muslim]
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ كَانَ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَصِيرٌ وَكَانَ يُحَجِّرُهُ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَيُصَلِّي فِيهِ، فَجَعَلَ النَّاسُ يُصَلُّونَ بِصَلاَتِهِ، وَيَبْسُطُهُ بِالنَّهَارِ، فَثَابُوا ذَاتَ لَيْلَةٍ فَقَالَ:
“ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، عَلَيْكُمْ مِنَ الأَعْمَالِ مَا تُطِيقُونَ، فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَمَلُّ حَتَّى تَمَلُّوا، وَإِنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَا دُووِمَ عَلَيْهِ، وَإِنْ قَلَّ ” . وَكَانَ آلُ مُحَمَّدٍ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا عَمِلُوا عَمَلاً أَثْبَتُوهُ . رواه مسلم.
The high level of worship of the Prophet (peace be upon him)
Aisha reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go into seclusion in the mosque in Ramadan particularly in the last ten nights in a tent which she would erect for him and he would release it during the day. It was so that he could focus on his worship. When people saw this, they began to copy him and their numbers grew. We envy them – that they could witness him praying and experience the blessings of being around him and basking in his light and aura. They wanted to follow his footsteps and gathered in the mosque. Word got round that he was doing extra prayers and we see the importance of good companionship from how the friends encouraged each other to come and join in. Good friends give you good advice and encourage you to increase in goodness.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) realised that their numbers were increasing and the mosque was filling up, so he warned them to stay within their capabilities and not to push themselves beyond their capacity.
In another narration, he said that his level, energy and ability was beyond theirs, so the would not be able to do everything he did. Out of his mercy he did not want them to struggle, so he advised them to stay within their ability.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“I am not like you are, indeed my Lord feeds me and gives me to drink.” (Tirmidhi)
He was always nurturing them and he said that Allah would not tire of rewarding them for their good deeds, unless they cease doing them.
Ibadah has to be consistent, not occasional
The key was in their hands. If you do an abundance of good deeds and then drop to zero this is inconsistent. The Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted them to be consistent, so he said the most beloved act for Allah was the one done regularly, even if it is small, because it is something that they keep. He was building a rational and spiritual attachment to their deeds, rather than an emotional one. Sometimes you are carried away in a frenzy of emotion and outburst of energy, but you cannot continue at that level. However worship should not be on and off, it is not seasonal, it should be ongoing. We should not be worshippers in Ramadan alone.
Alhamdulilah we witnessed Ramadan and Allah enabled us to pray and fast and stay up to worship Him in the night.
Ramadan is now behind us. What should we do?
We should not drop back to zero. We have to be consistent. The most pleasing act to Allah is what is consistent. What are the small acts of goodness he was referring to? The bare minimum is the obligations. If we are only regular in our salah in Ramadan, we need to carry this habit beyond Ramadan. We should pray our salah on time and not fall behind once Ramadan is over. Once we have developed the habit of doing our fard, we can build on it.
If you fasted in Ramadan, don’t stop fasting outside of Ramadan. Pick one day a week when you can fast. It is not an obligation it is Sunnah, but it is how you maintain the barakah in your life and the focus.
If we fast the six fasts of Shawwal, we can gain the reward of a year.
Abu Ayyub (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
عَنْ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ الْأَنْصَارِيِّ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ كَانَ كَصِيَامِ الدَّهْرِ
“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he has fasted for the entire year.” (Muslim)
Your salah is your connection with Allah in your life. We are nothing without our connection with Allah. Dunya will eat us, especially as we are inundated with issues – the cost of living crisis, inflation, war and conflicts. Financially, socially and mentally people are suffering, so we need internal stability and you cannot get this over the counter from the pharmacy. You can only get it from Allah.
Finding peace outside Ramadan
The peace which everyone is seeking is an internal peace that Allah gives those who are connected to Him. Without doubt, we felt peace in Ramadan. However, peace is not exclusive to Ramadan – we can hang on to it outside of Ramadan. Allah Almighty said
ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ ٱلْقُلُوبُ ٢٨
Those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort. (13:28)
This inner strength which Allah gave us comes from having a strong connection with Allah and nothing can connect you better to Him than your salah. So be regular in your salah, and as a minimum, fast once a week.
Recite the Quran
The Quran was revealed in Ramadan but it is not just for reciting in Ramadan. It should be recited everyday. Keep the bare minimum recitation everyday. I know some people recite one Juz every day in Ramadan, but after Ramadan they are too busy. Read five pages a day – one after each salah. Then top it up to ten. This is the Word of Allah Almighty, the Wahi (revelation)! If you want the angels to descend on you and your homes, then recite the Quran, they are the best company. Don’t make your houses graveyards – keep reciting the Quran.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: “Do not turn your houses into graveyards. Satan runs away from the house in which Surat Al-Baqarah is recited.” [Muslim]
Wake in the last third of the night
In Ramadan, you developed the habit of waking up for suhoor. Suhoor was the purpose but it showed you that you could wake up and witness the last third of the night, which is the most special time, when Allah asks us to call upon Him. Every night, 365 days a year, we can wake at this time, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) did until he passed away. If you cannot do it every night, pick one or two nights when you can do this and feel close to Allah Almighty on a consistent basis. It is not us who are calling on Allah, but Allah is calling on us to ask Him what we want. What a loss if we miss out on that.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أن رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ يَنْزِلُ رَبُّنَا تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ يَقُولُ مَنْ يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ مَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ مَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ
“Our Lord Almighty descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of every night, saying: Who is calling upon Me that I may answer him? Who is asking from Me that I may give him? Who is seeking My forgiveness that I may forgive him?” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Encourage your spouses and friends
Let’s get the barakah of Ramadan outside of Ramadan as well, by keeping up our good deeds and being consistent.
We ask Allah to make us people of goodness within Ramadan and outside Ramadan.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim Khutbah 28th April 2023
Podcast Staying motivated beyond Ramadan
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