As We Say Goodbye . . .

blog Apr 10, 2024

As we wrap up the blessed month of Ramadan, we may be feeling a mix of emotions: a tinge of sadness at the ending of the month of Blessings, Mercy and Forgiveness, a sense of relief that we were able to fast and pray [and that we can eat again!] and maybe some regret that we did not or could not do more during the blessed minutes and hours of this sacred month of Allah [swt] when we were His guests.

Many of us have been deeply impacted by the news from Palestine and our sense of helplessness to stop the atrocities. Please let us remind ourselves that we have the huge weapon of Dua at our disposal. And though the month of Ramadan may be coming to an end and our eyes may not water quite so much at every Sahoor and Iftar, thinking of our brothers and sisters starving while we are blessed with an abundance of food and drink at our tables, we cannot and must not forget that we have an ongoing duty to do what little we can which includes turning to Him in prayer to ease their plight and to grant them peace and freedom.

No matter what level of closeness and spirituality we attained during this month, we may be wondering of how to make it stay with us a little bit longer.

For many of us, this is the only time in the year when we change the focus of our attention from worldly matters and at least cast a glance at matters of the spirit. During the rest of the year, although we may profess love and belief in Allah, we may think of Him or call on Him only in times of distress and rarely find time to turn to Him in extra prayer or gratitude. During this awesome month, however, we have tasted of the Divine Banquet of Mercy, we have developed some good habits and feel a bit forlorn that we will lose this sense of spirituality again until next year.

As we approach Eid, let us remind ourselves that the Eid celebration is a celebration of our spirituality. It is a celebration of the breaking of bad habits and the instilling of good ones.

And so it is a good idea to reflect on some tiny steps that we can take to maintain the spirit of Ramadan alive so that the spiritual gains that we have achieved are not lost. So that we may start next Ramadan inshallah at a slightly higher plane of spirituality than we did this year.

Just as gains in health are only maintained if one continues with some good habits after time at a health spa, the spiritual gains achieved during this Spiritual Spa time can be maintained with some simple baby steps.

Here are some actions that we took during this month which helped us nurture our spiritual bond to Him, and some simple ways that we can continue these practices:

1. Establishing Salaat

Ramadan is a time when we are most conscious of Salaat and its’ timings, especially the fajr and maghrib prayer.

Regular and timely prayer is the most basic and vital way to maintain our connection to Him. Salaat is designed by the Almighty to be an intentional and consistent detachment from the world and an invitation to turn inwards, to connect to the Source at regular intervals to fuel our spirit. We are invited in the Quran to establish Salaat, not just to pray the occasional Salaat. This means that this act of worship has to be a pillar of our life, a structure of our existence.

Baby steps:

Make a commitment to start praying at least one Salaat exactly on time, every day.
“Adorn” the Salaat by adding recommended actions to the basic prayer. Start with something small and do it consistently before adding the next piece.

2. Reading the Quran

To succeed in any area of life, the first step is knowledge about the rules that govern that area. We do not expect to excel at academics or in the workplace without reading the texts that govern the particular field. Similarly we cannot expect to succeed in this world, get to know the system of cause and effect, to know ourselves or figure out how to achieve ultimate success in the hereafter without looking at the manual gifted to us by the Creator of the system.

Although we may have spent much time in recitation during the month of Ramadan, an ongoing relationship with the Quran necessitates understanding, contemplation and action. Only with understanding and reflection can we use the wisdom in of the Book to improve our life here and beyond.

Baby steps:

Read and reflect on one ayat of the Quran every day. Once again, it is important to start small so that it is sustainable in the long term. One verse a day means that we will have read and understood 365 verses at this time next year. Small steps add up.
When reading a verse which calls to action, make a note of how you could respond through action. If you acted on this verse, what would you be doing differently?
Please join our community of Quran study where we do exactly this. If you are getting this newsletter, you are already a part of it. If you would like someone else to join, please send them this link.

3. Giving generously

Many of us plan our yearly giving, Sadaqa, Khums and Zakat, during the month of Ramadan. We actively seek out those that are needy and reach out to them with giving in cash and in kind. We experience the deep sense of gratitude, humility and sense of satisfaction that comes from reaching out and helping fellow human beings. It reminds us of the human connection that we share, of our responsibility to the whole and of the necessity of enabling the flow of wealth rather than the hoarding of it.

Throughout the Quran, the acting of giving Zakat (literally means to purify wealth through giving) comes hand in hand with establishing prayer. Allah swt constantly reminds us that our relationship to Him through prayer is complemented by our relationship to humanity through giving.

Baby steps:

Be aware of need all around you. When the urge to giving strikes, do not second guess it or talk yourself out of it. Take action to meet the need in whatever way you can.
Start a small but regular contribution to a cause. By automating it, it ensures that it will happen even if you forget or feel strapped for resources.

4. Dua

One of the most special things about Ramadan are the moments of connection to Him through Dua or supplication. The process of turning to Him and asking from Him enriches us beyond measure and gives us spiritual strength.

Whereas sharia applies to our outward actions and its job is to regulate human action in order to create the basis of social justice, dua is the training the heart to love the Creator, to experience His love and to understand that the more you love Him, and have a personal relationship with Him, the more you understand that the laws of sharia are to help you reach your full potential. The duas that we have been reciting during this month all emphasize the personal quality of Allah’s relationship with us and His all-encompassing love. Dua is therefore a vital practice to cultivate spirituality and nurture our connection to Him.

Baby steps:

Look through a compilation of dua such as the Sahifa Sajjadiya or the Duas of Imam Ali (as). Pick one that calls to you.
Pick a longer Dua and spend a few minutes after Salaat reading and reflecting on a few verses of it at a time. Feel free to make notes of your reflections or to mark passages that speak to you at this time. Endeavour to use those passages to communicate with Him at various times of the day.

5. Maintaining Family Relationships

The month of Ramadan finds many of us trying to reach out to family, by an invitation for iftar or sending food and gifts. As the nights of Qadr approach, we are reminded about making amends with those members of our family whom we have issues with. Through prayer and supplication, our hearts become soft, through closeness to Him, we begin to recognize the big picture and may be more amenable to forgive and overlook the small grievances that we may have been holding.

While reflecting on the Quran, we are reminded to pardon people, to manage our anger, to repel evil with good and to maintain relationships with our blood relations. We begin to recognize, once again, that He is happy with us if are human connections are in order.

Baby steps:

Regularly reach out to long forgotten family members through a phone call, email or text.
Consider inviting family to share meals with you, even if the house is a mess and even if your cooking is not perfect! You will reap the rewards in increased love and attachment.

Let us pray to Allah swt to help us to continue the good deeds that we may have started during this month and to continue staying away from that which displeases Him.

Let us wrap up with an extract from Imam Sajjad as 's Supplication in Bidding Farewell to the Month of Ramadan (Supplication ­ 45)

O God, with the passing of this month make us pass forth from our offences, with its departure make us depart from our evil deeds, and appoint us thereby among its most felicitous people, the most plentiful of them in portion, and the fullest of them in share!

O God, when any person observes this month as it should be observed, safeguards its inviolability as it should be safeguarded, attends to its bounds as they should be attended to, fears its misdeeds as they should be feared, or seeks nearness to You with any act of nearness-­seeking which makes incumbent upon him Your good pleasure and bends toward him Your mercy, give to us the like [of that] from Your wealth and bestow it upon us in multiples through Your bounty, for Your bounty does not diminish,

Your treasuries do not decrease but overflow, the mines of Your beneficence are not exhausted, and Your giving is the bestowal full of delight! Ameen

Thank you for joining me on this small effort to reflect on His word and do what we can to live the Quran in our modern lives. Much gratitude and appreciation for your warmth and support and kind messages which fuel me and keep me going.

Please accept a warm Eid Mubarak from myself and my family to you and your loved ones. May our deeds be accepted, may we counted amongst His friends and may we all be gathered together under His Protection, Guidance and Mercy always. Ameen.



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