We bed farewell to Ramadan 1444 and we are now well into Shawwal. It is astonishing how easy it is for people to just pick up where they left off pre-Ramadan and yet, we were supposed to have just come out of what was supposed to be a transformational 29 – 30 days.
Here are DEEP 5 questions we should be asking ourselves for the sake of Allah.
Who am I?
This question is an opportunity for you to analyze both your outward and inner self. What are your qualities, characteristics and values and do they align with the fundamental teachings of Islam?
Also consider how people perceive you as well. Contrary to “only Allah can judge us”, we will be held accountable for what we knowingly publicise of ourselves if it will cause people to think negatively of us or mislead them from the true teachings of Islam. It is not for onlookers to “correct” their perceptions, the onus is on you first and foremost. Your fellow Muslim is actually duty bound to correct any wrong s/he sees.
If you have a certain look and persona – is this is a true reflection of youself? Does it align with Islam and would people say your speech and appearance align with Islamic values?
What is my purpose?
The purpose of every Muslim should be to live a life in complete submission to Allah.
This means you should adhere to the teachings of Islam and accomplish all the obligatory deeds as a basic.
It also means to do everything for the sake of the Almighty and in order to get His rewards. This includes serving our husbands, taking care of and looking after the home and our children and cherishing our parents. Other things include kindness to neighbours, animals and the wider Muslim community.
You may falter but always admit to your weaknesses as a creation of Allah and go back to the Often Forgiving and Most Merciful. Just keep walking in His direction.
Is your purpose to live your life to the fullest in this world or are you living this life in preparation for the next eternal, everlasting one?
What have I planned for the future?
What future are you planning and does Allah play a big part of it? If you are looking to get married, is it in order to get closer to Allah by being a wife and do you plan to fulfill the duties of a wife? If you want to have children – are you prepared to raise the next great mothers of our Ummah? To raise a scholar, a Qari, or a Mufti of their age?
When seeking education or work – as a woman, a daughter, mother, wife – what is your ultimate goal?
All the questions under this category lead to this: what have you planned for death? Are you living every moment as if it can be your last or are you confident that you’ll be here tomorrow, next week, next year or in 10 years?
We shouldn’t get lost in this world and all it’s happenings. We should really think about how death will find us because no one has the assurance that they will die in a period of high iman and of full submission. The best way to guarantee death with such blessings is to fill yourself and your surroundings with the remembrance of Allah.
Am I using my senses for good and guarding them against sin?
To attract and project goodness within youself and your surroundings, you must look after your five senses. Allah (s.w.a) gave the eyes, nose, mouth, hands, and ears the responsibility of aiding us in this world but we are warned against misusing them as they have the ability to testify against us on the day of judgement. Your sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing can be sources of so much goodness, and of sin.
We perceive the world, our environment, connections and emotions through our senses. All of them have the ability to enable us to marvel at the wonders of Allah’s creations and they are linked to memory and retention too.
What have you sacrificed for the sake of Allah?
We start good behavior and give up on a lot of misdeeds for Ramadan but we go right back to them starting from the day of Eid. Muslims are not required to give up anything that is halal in order to show their devotion to Allah. However, you can heap rewards for giving up sin(s) for the sake of Allah – so what have you started doing or given up on for the sake of Allah? This can be anything like starting to wear the hijab, changing to modest clothing, not listening to music or watching movies and dramas, changing how you talk, improving on your haya – especially when outdoors e.t.c.
P.s. I have seen that a lot TV serials and dramas getting advertised as “Ramadan worthy”. This is a very dangerous trap because our rewards for fasting can get washed down to nought for watching sinful behaviour because we are so desperate for distractions, as entertainment.
If you are finding it difficult to change your ways for the sake of Allah, here are your basic steps:
1) Pray all 5 daily prayers & on time;
2) Read the Quran, for at least 10 minutes a day to start with;
3) Purify yourself (ghusl) after intercourse and immediately when your periods stop – don’t delay;
4) Don’t go longer than 40 days without cutting your nails and removing hair from your armpits & private parts;
5) Spend some times during your mornings and evenings sending salutations to the Prophet (s.a.w) – at least 10 times each period: “O Allah, we ask for peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad” اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَ سَلِّمْ عَلَى نَبِيِّنَا مُحَمَّدٍ (Allaahumma salli wa sallim ‘alaa Nabiyyinaa Muhammad);
6) Constantly engage in istighfar – saying “Astaghfirullah” أستغفر الله (I seek forgiveness of Allah). You don’t have to remember a particular sin that you had committed, just focus on asking for Allah’s forgiveness for any sins you knowingly or unknowingly committed;
7) Don’t let your mind wonder – keep yourself busy with the remembrance of Allah, doing some chores, learning new skills or doing some hobbies (halal). Remember, you will be rewarded for simply attaching whatever you do to Allah;
8) Dua (supplication or prayer) – if you fully intend to change yourself (especially if external factors will make it particularly challenging) pray to Allah to make it easy. Prayers can change destinies but it will also take the basic intention and some effort from you too.