Tag Archives: istiqama after Ramadan

Staying Spiritually High After Ramadan

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The guest of Ramadan came to visit, and we welcomed the month with open arms. We embraced all the aspects of this Holy month and on account of our dedication, the Mercy of Allah poured down on us. The guest brought a sense of peace into our homes. We fell in love with our spouses again, we felt closer to our children, we were kind to our parents, but most of all – above all else we loved Allah and His Messenger more than anyone. We truly tasted the sweetness of eeman! The Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said about this;

“There are three qualities whosoever has them, may taste the sweetness of Faith: firstly one who loves Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) above all else; secondly one who loves someone simply for the sake of Allah, and thirdly, one who loathes return to disbelief, after Allah has rescued him from it, as he would loath being thrown into the Fire.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Now as our guest of Ramadan has left us again for another year, and we hope we will live to see another, we must hate to return back to sinfulness just as we would hate to be thrown into the Fire. It may be now that the month has left us, that something within us is stirring. Shaitan is back to his old tricks, now that his chains have been unlocked and the desires within us are raging. Cravings are setting in, our desires are calling us and the battle has begun. Our thoughts are fighting and our hearts our wavering. Now is the time to restrain ourselves more than ever before. Now is the time for relapse prevention!

faithOne of the companions approached the Prophet, pbuh, seeking some simple yet holistic advice that could keep him going on The Straight Path, this is what he said;

 “Say, ‘I believe in Allah’ and then be steadfast.” (Istiqama)
[Muslim]

‘Istiqama’ – literally means to be steadfast, upright, to go straight, to keep going consistently. A quality every Muslim needs

“And worship your Rubb until there comes unto you the certainty” (i.e., death). (Quran:15:99)

 In the past, when we tried to embrace Islam and then we slipped, we blamed Allah. We would angrily say that we tried and that Allah decreed for us to fall. We blamed others and said we were led astray or that Shaitan caused us to leave the Path of Allah. A major catalyst to change is to take 100% responsibility for our own actions and know that Allah never causes us to slip, but it is  us who abandons His Way and turns our back on Islam.

Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves.” (Quran: 13:11)

Ramadan was the training programme and now we must set our training into action. Weistiqama tasted the sweetness of good deeds so we must let that sweet taste linger in our hearts. Every time the thought of sin enters our minds and we entertain those thoughts, it is as though we are imagining carrying out the sin that it will be sweet and tasty. The cravings increase the longer we allow thoughts of sin to ruminate throughout our minds. However, we know that history tells us once we have tasted the sin it is never sweet, rather it leaves a bitter and disgusting after taste in our hearts. It is only through those things that Allah loves that causes the hearts to be filled with sweetness. So as soon as the thought enters our minds we must stop them dead, counteract the thought, and seek refuge in Allah. Allah describes this process and calls  upon His servants to seek help from Him.

Verily, those who are conscious of Allah, when an evil thought comes to them from Shaitan , they remember (Allah), and (indeed) they then see (aright).(Quran, 7:201)

changeIn Ramadan, we were able to overcome the thoughts. We were more conscious of Allah. Therefore we have found the answer! To be able to overcome sinfulness and desires we need to increase our consciousness of Allah, or ‘Taqwa’ as it is known in Arabic. And the ways to do this is through all those things that Allah loves – fasting, praying, dua, reading Quran and all good deeds. We did all of those things in Ramadan, so we can still implement them throughout the year so that we can create a recovery programme that will keep us going on the Straight Path with istiqama. We proved to ourselves how capable we are, so let’s keep striving forward inshaAllah with the goal of pleasing Allah.

Verily, those who say: `Our Lord is Allah (Alone),’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Jannah which you have been promised! We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have all that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have all for which you ask. An entertainment from (Allah), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (41:30-32)

Lynne Ali-Northcott

 

 

The Post Ramadan Blues – A carers thoughts

Dear Fellow Carers,

Assalamu alaikum. Hows it all going after Ramadan? I remember some of the most hardest times for me, as a carer of an addict, was just after Ramadan. Things were really good during the fasting month. I was happy, my loved-one was clean and embracing the dean. But there were many Eids when my loved-one relapsed. And shortly after Ramadan everything went back to ‘normal’. I had the post-Ramadan blues. Depression would set in and I would be very anxious and stressed. But we must remember, our own recovery does not end as soon as our loved-one relapses. If THEY choose to undo all their hard work it does not mean we should too. By keeping up our prayers, duas, reading the Quran, and all the good deeds we did in Ramadan we will stop ourselves from slipping and falling into depression and other self-deprecating behaviours. We must be responsible for keeping our own selves strong, no matter what condition our loved-one is in. After all, it was by doing all those good deeds that lifted our spirits, and even helped our loved-ones to abstain from their addiction or at least cut down on their sins.

During Ramadan we built something beautiful. With every good action that we did for Allah we started preparing our homes in Paradise. Brick by brick we built a palace, tree by tree we planted a garden. May Allah accept all our good deeds. But we must not destroy all of this by undoing all our hard work and returning back to how we were.

Most of us carers of addicts suffer from high anxiety, stress, depression, anger, sadness, to name a few. We go through some really tough times and life is really hard. We are often in turmoil and don’t see clearly. Allah shows us the signs but our judgments are clouded with confusion. In Ramadan, we get a sense of clarity. We even dare to make promises to ourselves to make changes if our loved-ones relapse after Eid. But do we follow them through?

We need to be kind to ourselves. The first step to self caring is to concentrate on our spirituality and our relationship with Allah. We got close to Him in Ramadan and we felt His Response to our prayers. Is not the Lord of Ramadan, not also the Lord of all the other eleven months of the year?

No matter what choices the addict in our lives make, we must always make the right choices for ourselves. Do not let their downfall be our own destruction. Let not the actions of others drag us down. We will return back to Allah, and they will return back to Allah – as individuals! They have their book of deeds and we have ours. Its time we concentrated on our own for a while. If we get sick again, how can we help someone else, if we ourselves, are full of sickness. We cannot help anyone until we first help ourselves.

So lets not abandon all our good deeds. Be not like the one that Allah described so beautifully in the Qur’an;

“And do not be like her who destroys her yarn that she herself made strong” (16:92)

Making Pure Intentions for Eid

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In Muslim populated areas crime levels soar on Eid day and most of those crimes are drug or alcohol-related. Fights break out and people are arrested. What a sad state that is.

Are you a Muslim or a Ramadan Muslim? What is a Muslim? Islam means submission and a Muslim is someone who submits to Islam. Who are we submitting to? The One who created us. How should we submit? By following His orders and staying away from His Prohibitions. Do you want to be a Muslim just in Ramadan, or do you want to be a Muslim all year around? Do you want to keep this feeling of happiness alive throughout the year?

Ramadan is the training ground for the rest of the year. We are soon to be completing our training. There is still time to push ourselves harder, more time to search our souls, enough time to reach out to Allah and beg of His Guidance and Forgiveness. Ramadan is like building a beautiful home. Brick by brick, deed by deed, good word by good word we build our house of righteousness. Why would we want to smash it all down on Eid?

“Do not be like the woman who had broken her yarn into pieces after spinning it firmly” (16:92)

This analogy offered by Allah should make us think. This woman he is describing has spent a long time spinning little fragments of cotton into fine yarn only to then pull it all apart again. This Ramadan, we worked hard, fasting, praying, sacrificing, abstaining all to try and make ourselves strong in faith. We must work twice as hard to keep doing these actions in order to not undo all the hard work we have achieved. We must make strong intentions now, not to return to the same state we were in before Ramadan. Allah says;

“Verily, those who say: `Our Rubb is Allah (Alone),’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Jannah which you have been promised! We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask. An entertainment from (Allah), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (41:30-32)

By returning to sinfulness after Eid, we are turning our back on this promise of Allah. He has offered us Paradise on account of us standing firm – Istiqama – staying upright and making strong intentions to stay on The Straight Path of Allah. During Ramadan, we felt the natural high, we got the opportunity for a sense of belonging with the Muslim Ummah, our hearts softened upon hearing the Qur’an and our hope soared when we made duah. Let us not then go back to the life we had before. Let us keep the spirit of Ramadan alive!

Relapse Prevention

failing-to-plan-is-planning-to-failThe number one contingency plan to prevent relapse on or soon after Eid is good planning. If we don’t plan things through we are more likely to succumb to urges and cravings or invitations from bad company. As Eid day arrives its a bit like being a smoker on a long flight. While travelling, the smokers knows he cannot light up a cigarette so his cravings do not set in, otherwise known as ‘long flight syndrome’. But the moment he is out of the airport the cravings are so intense its the first thing he does. While we were fasting we were not able to indulge in our addictions and we often lose the urge to sin, yet the moment the opportunity arises all those cravings and urges come back. We need to be prepared. Start getting your Eid plans in well in advance of the actual day. It may be that bad friends are already making their plans. We need to keep away from them. We must stick to good company. If we are alone, we can find out what our local mosque has planned or try to team up with other individuals on their own like new Muslim reverts, foreign students etc. We need to make sure we have closed every door to relapse on Eid.

The purpose of Eid

Not many people know this, but the purpose of Eid is to be thankful. Allah tells us this;

“…So complete the period (of fasting). Glorify Allah (and thank Him) for the guidance He has granted. Perhaps, you would be grateful!” (2:185)

Notice in this Verse Allah says “perhaps” we will be grateful. This means that not every one of us who observe Ramadan will be grateful at the end. During this month, we will have received so many blessings from Allah. His Mercy rained down on us, yet were we thankful to Him? A sign that our Ramadan has been accepted by Allah  is if we show gratitude to Allah on the day of Eid. Let us be among those who are grateful. A strong intention now will help us. One way Allah asks us to show our gratitude to Him is to praise Him. We can recite;

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, and all praise be to Allaah). 

The Prophet, pbuh, would recite this Hamd – Praise of Allah – from sunset as he broke his last fast of Ramadan. He would repeat this througout the night and the following day, especially while walking to the mosque for Eid prayer. This is one of the sunnahs of Eid.

Follow the Sunnah of Eid – The following is an excerpt from http://islamqa.info/en/49014

1 – It is mustahabb to recite takbeer during the night of Eid from sunset on the last day of Ramadaan until the imam comes to lead the prayer. The format of the takbeer is as follows: 

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, and all praise be to Allaah). 

Or you can say Allaahu akbar three times, so you say: 

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great , Allaah is Most Great, and all praise be to Allaah). 

Both are permissible. 

Men should raise their voices reciting this dhikr in the marketplaces, mosques and homes, but women should not raise their voices. 

2 – You should eat an odd number of dates before leaving for the Eid prayer, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not set out on the day of Eid until he had eaten an odd number of dates. He should stick to an odd number as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did. 

3 – You should wear your best clothes – this is for men. With regard to women, they should not wear beautiful clothes when they go out to the Eid prayer-place, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Let them go out looking decent” i.e., in regular clothes that are not fancy. It is haraam for them to go out wearing perfume and makeup. 

4 – Some of the scholars regarded it as mustahabb to do ghusl for the Eid prayer, because it is narrated that some of the salaf did this. Doing ghusl for Eid prayer is mustahabb, just as it is prescribed for Jumu’ah because one is going to meet people. So if one does ghusl, that is good. 

5 – The Eid prayer. The Muslims are unanimously agreed that the Eid prayer is prescribed in Islam. Some of them say that it is Sunnah, some say that it is fard kafaayah (a communal obligation) and some say that it is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation), and that not doing it is a sin. They quoted as evidence the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded even the virgins and women in seclusion, i.e., those who did not ordinarily come out, to attend the Eid prayer place, except that those who were menstruating should keep away from the prayer-place itself, because it is not permissible for a menstruating woman to stay in the mosque; it is permissible for her to pass through but not to stay there.

Beware of Shaitan

The Shaitan were chained during the month of Ramadan and they will be released at sunset of the last fast. They will flee from their chains yet they will be weak at first and we will be strong. Our bodies may be weak from tiredness, hunger and thirst but the hearts of the Muslims are strong. Insha’Allah Allah has given us a head start over the devils who will be fasting on Eid. Let us try to be conscious of every shaitanic thought that enters our minds and counteract them with the remembrance of Allah.

So let us strive hard Oh Muslims, just as we did in Ramadan. Let us not slip back into our old ways or hang out with the old crowd. Let us do everything we can to overcome our sinfulness and stay on The Straight Path to Allah. InshaAllah we have become purified like the day we were born. Let us not add dirt to those clean slates. May Allah help us, Ameen.

Don't let the world pull you away from the goodness you have found
Don’t let the world pull you away from the goodness you have found