By Imam Yahya Ederer
The blessed month of Ramadan kept us in a very special intensity.A strict regimen of constant remembrance of The Divine through rigorous fasting, prayer and intensified reading of the Quran. Obviously we aren’t expected to maintain this level of commitment after Ramadan as it would definitely lead to burnout. The Prophet (PBUH) warned us about apathy in Islam.
“Listen Folks, stick with the actions you can handle because God does not get bored until you do. The most beloved deeds to God are those that you can maintain even if few.” (Bukhari 5861)
This Hadith encourages us to maintain some extra acts of worship that we can handle. This leads me to my first Post-Ramadan advice. Let’s maintain our daily Salat. This is the key to our eternal salvation.
The Quran talks about those who will have eternal bliss in Heaven,
“Those who answered the call of their Lord and established the Salah…” (42:38)
“Whoever properly keeps us with their Salah will have light and a proof and salvation on the Day of Judgement. Whoever didn’t keep up with it will not.” (Ahmad 10/83)
“The first thing someone will be accounted for on the Day of Judgement will be their Salah. If it was done properly, then such person will have prospered and succeeded. If it was neglected, then such person will have lost and failed…” (Tirmidhi 413)
The best way to keep up the Salah is two-fold. The first step making it the most important thing in your life that nothing could keep you from it. This entails when your app lets you know what time it is you immediately make ablution and go pray. The second is to make sure that you have a deep grasp of the portions you are praying quoted from the Quran and Sunnah and to make supplications from your heart in prostration in your own language. The Prophet said,
“When in Salah, you are having an intimate conversation with your Lord.” (Bukhari 531)
The second advice I have is related to our relationship to the Holy Quran. Obviously we are not going to read the Quran as much as in Ramadan every day. There are a few points about reading the Quran. First it is book of guidance meant to be pondered over. We are admonished,
“Indeed this Quran guides to a more upright lifestyle.” (17:9)
“Do they not ponder of the Quran or do their hearts have locks on them.” (47:24)
It is the secret to our community’s success.
“Indeed God will either raise a people to virtue or put them down in humiliation by this book.” (Muslim 817)
There are two things which will help us take great benefit from the Holy Quran. The first thing is to make it a practice to read a few verses every day with your family. This will be most fruitful of you have a good translation with commentary. I suggest Yahiya Emerick’s “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an in Today’s English” or for a more extensive commentary try “Maariful Qur’an” or “In the Shade of the Quran”.
The second aspect is that our mosques must all have a weekly Quranic Commentary Program. An Imam has access to a vast rich collection of Arabic commentaries to take gems of guidance from and present them to the community. Similarly, through new reflection on similar teachings and stories God can open up new aspects of faith perspective and practice. At the Muslim Community Center we will be announcing on our website a weekly Quran Study that will be an hour long power point presentation and discussion on the commentary of a few verses of the Quran. Please check our website for more info www.charlottemcc.org.
The Prophet said “Any people who gather in a house of God, reciting and studying it among themselves will have peace descend upon them. They will be enveloped in mercy, angels will surround them and God will make mention of them to those in His presence.” (Abu Dawood 1455)
My third advice for maintaining steadfastness and nurturing faith post Ramadan is to regularly attend the mosque. Attending the communal prayer has great rewards other than the 25x the praying alone as is known from the Hadith. It is about making the mosque the home away from home. A place where not just men, but women and children should go to pray and have fellowship with their fellow believers. This was the case in the time of the Prophet (PBUH) and it was his Sunnah. Especially in our case here in America, it is so important for us to all have a connection to the mosque and regularly attend.
Even with our varying levels of understanding and practice. If there is any place faith will be nurtured and developed it is the mosque. It is the responsibility of the Imam, board and current attending believers to make the mosque a vibrant attractive place that is spiritually fulfilling and uplifting. In the famous metaphor in the verse of light, God talks about how He cultivates His light in the hearts of believers. Then he says where this happens,
“In houses that God has commanded to be built so that so that His name could be remembered and glorified day and night.” (24:36)
My last advice is in maintaining patience, perseverance and steadfastness. In addition to the aforementioned advices, it is important we always be looking to change our ways and better our character and lifestyle. Human beings are creatures of habits unless they are willing to embrace spiritual purification and character refinement. This means reviewing our character, speech, habits, friends, entertainment, etc… Let’s make sure we are avoiding sinful places, people and entertainment so that we can protect our hearts from the evil of the world. The Quran teaches,
“Dear Believers, be conscious of God and look what you are preparing for in the Hereafter. Be mindful of God as He is Fully Aware of all you do.” (59:18)
“He has created the soul and inspired it as to what is harmful and what will protect it. Whoever has purified their soul has truly succeeded while whoever corrupts it has failed.” (91:7-11)
“I swear by the self-accounting soul” (75:2)
We have to be to be ready to get busy spreading God’s light to the world around us. We have been sent as compassion to the world.
“Worship God alone and exert excellence in character toward your parents, family, the orphans, the poor, your neighbors, your colleagues and those under your authority. Indeed God does not like the conceited and arrogant.” (4:36)
May you all have a blessed Shawwal! If we can just fast 6 days of Shawwal then it will be like fasting the whole year! (Muslim 1164)
“You aren’t true believers until you are benevolent and compassionate. They companions said but we are. The Prophet responded, “No, it isn’t that you are compassionate and benevolent to your friends and family, rather it is with all people.” (Al-Targheeb 3/210)