Keeping motivated beyond Ramadan

Keeping motivated beyond Ramadan

Ramadan is proof you can excel.

Alhamdulillah Ramadan is one of the repeated occasions for those who are fortunate to witness it, because there is no guarantee that we can witness Ramadan again next year. Alhamdulillah we were fortunate enough to live through Ramadan, witness Ramadan, fast in Ramadan, perform qiyam in Ramadan, recite Quran in Ramadan, and give charity in Ramadan. For the good deeds you did and the extra effort you put in, Allah Almighty will give you extra as in the very beautiful Hadith Qudsi:

عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مَنْ جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَأَزِيدُ وَمَنْ جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَجَزَاؤُهُ سَيِّئَةٌ مِثْلُهَا أَوْ أَغْفِرُ وَمَنْ تَقَرَّبَ مِنِّي شِبْرًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ذِرَاعًا وَمَنْ تَقَرَّبَ مِنِّي ذِرَاعًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ بَاعًا وَمَنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً وَمَنْ لَقِيَنِي بِقُرَابِ الْأَرْضِ خَطِيئَةً لَا يُشْرِكُ بِي شَيْئًا لَقِيتُهُ بِمِثْلِهَا مَغْفِرَةً

Abu Dharr reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“Allah Almighty says: Whoever comes with a good deed will have the reward of ten like it and even more. Whoever comes with an evil deed will be recompensed for one evil deed like it or he will be forgiven. Whoever draws close to Me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to Me the by length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom. Whoever comes to Me walking, I will come to him running. Whoever meets Me with enough sins to fill the earth, not associating any partners with Me, I will meet him with as much forgiveness.” (Muslim)

This means whatever effort you put, Allah Almighty will multiply its reward by ten. The main thing is to put in the effort. However, many of us are fooled by the shaytan, and tempted by the dunya, and  trapped in our laziness or our procrastination. We keep putting off what we can do, we say we will do it tomorrow, it’s on my to do list, but the reality is that we keep forgetting about it.

Ramadan brings procrastination to an end and helps us to be better and boosts our energy and our sincerity. Ramadan also shows us that we can do better than what we usually do. We are not that weak, we are not falling behind, we can improve ourselves and we can do better. It is living proof which we see every year. You put in some effort and Allah Almighty opens the way for you. It is amazing. It shows you how easy what you thought was difficult actually is. It’s easy when you put your heart into it, when you have determination. Who said that you can’t do qiyam every night? You never thought that you could pray qiyam al layl every night, an hour before fajr. It’s a very dear time to many people to sleep. But you proved yourself wrong and that it’s not only the awliyah of Allah Almighty and those who are top level who do this. You can be a top level as well. Ramadan is the clear proof that if you want to be in the top level, all it takes is to put in some effort with sincerity and Allah Almighty will make it happen.

Effort and sincerity – the winning combination

This is the easy formula: effort with sincerity enables you to reach your goal. If you want to do qiyam al layl?  Effort with sincerity.  Allah Almighty will make it happen. You want to recite the Quran on a regular basis every day in abundance? Effort with sincerity. You want to attend the congregational prayer? Effort with sincerity, then Allah Almighty will make it happen. You want to fast? Of course not every day as we do in Ramadan, but every week at least on Mondays and Thursdays? With effort with sincerity, Allah Almighty will make it happen.  All the top-level deeds that make us closer to Allah Almighty are not blocked for the general public. They are on offer, it is us who might block these top level deeds. We assume these are for top level people and we are not in their league but we are sabotaging ourselves with negative thoughts. Don’t keep telling yourself that you can’t do it, that it is too much, too difficult. If you keep telling yourself this continuously, then definitely you won’t be able to do it.  But if you were to say yes, Ramadan is the defeater of procrastination, the defeater of these mirages or thoughts if you want, I can be better, I can achieve better than I used to do, and on the other side, not just on congregation and fasting and recitation and so on.

Character building

On the other side, the character-building exercise in Ramadan shows obviously and clear that you can control your anger. There are still exceptions, but even the very angry person will be calmer in Ramadan, will be more in control than out of control.  And you can control your tongue because in Ramadan you try not to backbite anyone, or speak ill of anyone, or have a bad intention towards anyone – you try your best.  You also try to lower your gaze, avoid confrontation which leads to bitterness and sinful acts.  You’re the same person. Nothing has changed in you. The only thing that changes is your heart, your intention, your focus, and your connection with Allah Almighty – this enabled you to be a better person. You can use the same method and the same practices which are still very fresh beyond Ramadan because you’ve been doing this for a month. You can use the same technique which Allah Almighty taught you during Ramadan and resume the good deeds you were doing in Ramadan. This is the core of Ramadan if you want.

Ramadan is a confidence boost

The core of Ramadan is to give us this confidence boost that when you come to Allah Almighty He will support you, even if you are very troubled. Even if you are lagging behind, even if you are loaded with so many sins, come to Allah Almighty; He will lift you up, forgive your sins, support you and  make you closer to Him. As long as you’re seeking Him with sincerity, He will never let you down. All this and more you learn from Ramadan. The secret is combination of sincerity coupled with effort.  Be sincere and put in some effort. Take the first step with real, sincere and pure intention, and I can tell you from experience, you can see miracles can happen. These miracles can only happen when you add effort to a sincere intention and pure heart. Keep doing it and Allah Almighty will keep elevating your status and keep you closer to Him.

Keep up the good from Ramadan

Hold on to what you started. Even on a small scale, not necessarily a big scale. The bigger scale is better of course but even if you do something on a small scale, Allah Almighty will multiply your reward. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to love the deeds which he could continue, even if they were small. Without a doubt we all develop some good practices in Ramadan, whether that is a better connection with the Quran, or qiyam al layl, increased patience and better character side.

Review what you managed and say alhamdulillah I’ve done a lot and I’m happy about it and I want to keep it and maintain it and improve it.

Supplicate to Allah Almighty to enable you to keep up your good deeds

The next tip for keeping motivated beyond Ramadan is to make continuous dua – say “Ya Allah Almighty enable me to keep the good deeds, to keep the good efforts, to keep close to you. As you enabled me to be close to you in Ramadan, help me to be closer to you after Ramadan. You are the Lord of Ramadan and also the Lord of all the rest of the months.” Allah Almighty is the Lord of the 12 months not just the lord of Ramadan, so this helps us maintain good deeds. The continuous dua to Allah Almighty with effort and intention and determination will elevate us inshallah and make us closer and closer to Allah Almighty. Not just in Ramadan, but also after Ramadan.

The clean slate

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mentioned in different narrations and different occasions about the reward of fasting in Ramadan, the reward of doing qiyam in Ramadan (praying during the night in Ramadan), the reward of doing laylat al qadr in Ramadan, so in these different occasions, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said whoever did one of the three things – siyam or qiyam or laylatal qadr – his sins will be forgiven. We have different narrations about this pointing out that we have previous sins and future sins forgiven, so we have a clean slate after Ramadan, a brand new page. We are always longing for a new page and Ramadan gives us a new page.

Make your post-Ramadan resolution

Be careful what you write on that new page. What do you want to see on it? Make a list of what you want to achieve as you do at New Year’s. This is your post Ramadan resolution if you want. What do you want to achieve after Ramadan? Maintain and improve the good deeds which you have done. Control your anger beyond Ramadan. Control your faculties – eyes, ears, tongue and limbs, after Ramadan. This will affect heavily what will be written on this new page. At the very least, keep up the bare minimum of what you have started in Ramadan, such as your salah. I know many people do not pray regularly, only on and off. Ramadan is the time they charge their batteries and they pray during Ramadan. Once Ramadan is over, don’t stop. Keep this energy and keep your prayer on time, even though Ramadan is past, as Allah Almighty is worthy to be worshipped not just in Ramadan. The reward is still there from Allah Almighty, so don’t cut yourself off from this reward. Allah Almighty is still forgiving, not only in Ramadan as well after Ramadan.

In the hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: «الصلوات الخمس، والجمعة إلى الجمعة، ورمضان إلى رمضان مُكَفِّراتٌ لما بينهنَّ إذا اجتُنبَت الكبائر».

[صحيح] – [رواه مسلم]

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“The five (daily) prayers, and Friday prayer to the next Friday prayer, and Ramadan to the next Ramadan, are expiation of the sins committed in between them, so long as major sins are avoided.” [Muslim]

We have forgiveness all year round, if we pray and fast and avoid the big sins. Big sins need repentance in order to get forgiveness but as we can see forgiveness is not exclusively for Ramadan. We need to stay closer to Allah Almighty and ask for His guidance and forgiveness. Reciting the  Quran keeps our vision clear and our motivation strong and boosts our energy, therefore keep up your recitation outside of Ramadan. Connect yourself to a tajweed circle. Pray on time. Maintain your daily dhikr, reflections, remembrance of Allah through istighfar, tasbeeh and salah al an Nabi (peace be upon him) – Darood.


When we talk about Ramadan usually, we can’t but say Ramadan is the month of taqwa of Allah Almighty. It is about obedience to Allah and protection against rebelling against His commands. Let’s cut down our bad habits and be more submissive. Live your life through submission because we’re Muslims and Islam is about submission and Ramadan teaches us how to submit more to Allah Almighty.

Ramadan is one of the many stations Allah Almighty has given us

What we need to do is to understand that Ramadan is one of the stations that Allah Almighty has given to us which will improve us, like the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, Rajab, and Jummu’ah, they are seasonal stations in our life. Some of these stations open on an annual basis, some of them are on a monthly basis, some of them are on a weekly basis and some of them on a daily basis. If we connect to these stations we can excel, which is exactly what Allah Almighty wants us to do. This is why He is introducing these stations to us and telling us that look ahead to this station. Only the foolish one passes by these stations and neglects them saying ‘Yeah I’m not interested.’ You will not harm the stations, but you will harm yourself.

Imagine if it’s raining gold and jewels what would you do? It is only common sense that you would go outside with the largest bucket you have and try collect these gems and gold. It’s very foolish to stay inside and look through your window and say, “Yeah, it’s not for me”. It is depriving yourself. You only have to step outside and the treasures are you, to stuff your pockets and fill your bucket. It needs some effort but when you do something for Allah Almighty, He will give you back much more than you expect. This is what we learn from Ramadan.

Continue to fast

One of the gates of Jannah is Baab ar-Rayaan. Those who fast, will get to pass through that gate.  Jannah has 8 gates and Jahannam has 7 so Allah Almighty’s rahma (mercy) prevails as there are more gates to Jannah. We can continue to fast after Ramadan. By offering the reward of fasting the six days of shawwal Allah Almighty is encouraging us to continue the habit of fasting beyond Ramadan. We can fasting these 6 days every Monday, Thursday, or consecutively; it’s up to you. Otherwise after Ramadan, people can easily fall back into old habits – as they say, old habits never die. However they can die! Don’t buy into this proverb, because you can kill bad habits very easily and the proof is before our eyes because in Ramadan we do kill our bad habits, at least many of these bad habits. We are the same person after Ramadan. Promise Allah Almighty that you will stop these bad habits and keep your promise to Allah Almighty after Ramadan. I’m not sure anyone will say Ya Allah Almighty I only want to stop these bad habits in Ramadan and when Ramadan finishes, I want to resume these bad habits.  I believe no sane person would say this. You are able to stop these bad habits if you wish. The real proof is that you didn’t have an extra special vitamins you had a good intention. So keep this good intention and the motivation from Ramadan and Allah Almighty will enable you to be a good person even after Ramadan and excel and be better inshallah.

Maintain good company

The other thing which we can see as well after Ramadan is company. After Ramadan, you will come back to the old company you keep.  Many cut down on any distractions, including bad company, during Ramadan, if it distracts them from the spirit of Ramadan. But when Ramadan finishes they will relax and go back to their old ways. Good company is the motivation for good deeds. And you’ve seen it with your own eyes, they will pick you up and take you to tarawih with them or you will walk together to the tarawih together to pray in the mosque. They are good company. They’ll call you up and tell you to come for tarawih or to break their fast together and so on. Do not underestimate the effect of the good company and also bad company. If you want to stay in a good practice, then you need to cut down on the bad company.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) statedL

 عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أَن النبيَّ -صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وسَلَّم-

 قَالَ: «الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ، فَلْيَنْظُر أَحَدُكُم مَنْ يُخَالِل». 

[حسن] – [رواه أبوداود والترمذي وأحمد]

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“A man follows the religion (i.e. ways and manners) of his intimate friend. So, each of you should carefully consider whom he takes as his intimate friend.”  [Tirmidhi]

This means you will follow the religion of your companion. If he or she is a good, motivated person, then you will be influenced by him or by her. This will help you to do better. And vice versa, if he or she was evil or an influence for evil then you will follow. So avoid any bad company. Minimise it because it will bring you down. You have alhamdulillah worked hard in Ramadan to get to this level of goodness and this level of purity and clarity and sincerity, so don’t allow anything to bring you down or to distract you from your closeness to Allah Almighty. Nothing is more important than your connection with Allah Almighty.

The more you give to Allah Almighty the more Allah Almighty gives you back, multiplied by tenfold, hundredfold, depends on your sincerity. So you already enjoyed the fruits of this, now don’t go back to the bad company and the bad habits. Because you can be better. And it’s very obvious and very easy to see this. During the last tens days of Ramadan, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would excel in goodness (peace be upon him). Of course he’s the best of Allah Almighty’s creation, so he was excelling in goodness and he is showing us the living proof (peace be upon him) that these levels can be achieved and he motivated the Ummah to follow his footsteps during the last ten days of Ramadan and the last ten nights of Ramadan as well.

The sunnah is to do itikaf (seclusion) in the mosque, for those who are able to do so. It takes you to a different level, a different realm, and again this is not something very difficult to be done. Anybody can do that. And you’ve seen probably many people around you, friends, family this that the other, are doing many of these good deeds in Ramadan. So again it’s a living proof that you can go up the levels and be closer and closer and closer to Allah Almighty.

The importance of sincerity

The more efforts you put in, the closer you become to Allah Almighty. Whether it is through fasting, or recitation side, or salah side, or giving charity, all these good deeds can make you closer to Allah Almighty. On one condition – sincerity. You can do all these good deeds without sincerity it will make no difference whatsoever. In fact it will be recorded against you because it will be an act of showing off or arrogance or the like of it. So the secret of acceptance if you want is ikhlas, sincerity, to do it for Allah Almighty’s sake. And as long as we are doing it for Allah Almighty’s sake, so we ask Allah Almighty Himself to enable us to keep it, say “Ya Allah Almighty enable me to keep the good deeds, to excel in these good deeds, to do them purely for your sake”. 

I can tell you from my own experience, from my observations, that sincerity can take you miles ahead of what you can imagine. Beyond your imagination. But having said this, shaytaan will play you. Because he doesn’t like to see you excelling in goodness. So shaytaan will come and whisper to you, ‘Yeah you’ve done a great job, wow you should be proud of yourself, you’re this you’re that. He will try to ruin it for you’. That is the bait of Shaytaan. It is exactly what the shaytaan wants you to do. Then he ruins your deeds.

Stay humble and ask Allah Almighty for acceptance. Remind yourself that you are not doing this to show off or to be praised, but to be closer to Allah Almighty. The reminder is internal, so keep telling yourself you will do this to please Allah Almighty. Whether it’s fating or something else, you don’t need to tell everybody that you’re fasting or giving some charity in secret. This is the secret which will give you acceptance inshallah.

Deeds must be according to the sunnah

There’s another additional detail which is very important. You need sincerity of course. You need the efforts. You need the supplication and dua. You also need to do it in accordance with the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Whether it’s the salah or siyam or charity, the etiquettes have to be in compliance with the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is what will make it acceptable inshallah.

How do we know our deeds have been accepted?

Ramadan has finished, alhamdulillah. We are full of hope inshallah that our deeds were accepted from Allah Almighty. Scholars mentioned something beautiful: how do we know that our deeds have been accepted?  They said that one of the signs of acceptance is to be inspired to do another good after a good deed.

After Ramadan, the sign it has been accepted is that you are inspired to fast the 6 days in Shawwal.

Abu Ayyub 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]

By a simple calculation, Ramadan about 29-30 days, multiplied by 10 = 300.  6 days multiplied by 10 = 60. And the lunar calendar is 360 days. So if you were to do this every year it’s as if you’ve fasted all your life. 360 days every year all your life. And this is the reward of Ramadan and fasting Ramadan 6 days.

It is not an obligation to fast, it’s a sunnah. There are many other sunnah deeds that can be done after Ramadan, like fasting Mondays and Thursdays as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do, and the 3 days (13th, 14th and 15th) of the lunar calendar. These will bring extra reward and extra closeness to Allah Almighty, and extra control and extra taqwa and this is exactly what we need to do. Thus Ramadan is the opening for a series of goodness starting with fasting, but not stopping at fasting. During Ramadan, we used to wake up for suhoor with the motivation of eating, but although the motivation might have been for food, but the real reason behind having to wake up at suhoor time is the barakah of the time and feeling the rahma which descends in that very special time, an hour before fajr or so, which is the sahr time. The sahr time is the most blessed time, not only in Ramadan the sahr time is along the year every night, 360 days, every year. You witnessed this during Ramadan, but it’s not exclusive to Ramadan. It’s 24/7 x 365 or 360 days in a year.

Start small and build from there

What can you do after Ramadan? If you can, say you will wake for qiyam once a week. Don’t say every night because it will be a heavy task to start with. The try to increase it. This will be a good practice. Take baby steps, say once a week or twice a week and then take it from there. This is how you can keep and maintain inshallah the good deeds. It’s an indication a big sign that Allah Almighty has accepted from you to be motivated to do another good deed.

We ask Allah Almighty to enable us to keep the good deeds and excel in good character and excel in goodness in Ramadan and after Ramadan, Ameen.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim. Transcribed by Shamaila Jawaid.


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.