After Ramadan, what next?

Ramadan is gone and the question now is? What plans do we have after Ramadan?

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Ramadan is always a month filled with pushing yourself to the limits: low on food, low on sleep, high on Qur’an, high on salah, high on iman and so many other fantastic things. Now, in as we exit this beautiful month, you realise again, Ramadan has slipped past us once more.

What if we made a conscious decision not to crash and burn? To pace ourselves. To improve ourselves after Ramadan? To use the whole year for growth, and transformation in the long run. What I am suggesting isn’t new. It isn’t radical. We all hope for positive change during Ramadan. But should we all limit all these to Ramadan alone?

In this vein, it is pertinent to ask how I can continue with the good deeds I performed in Ramadan. In essence, what seeds have I planted during Ramadan that will flourish throughout the rest of the year? Here are some ways we can improve ourselves after Ramadan as advised by Naima Robert

Introspection

The first step in planning for a transformational after Ramadan life is introspection: looking deep inside yourself, with love and honesty, and deciding how you would like to be transformed. You know your weaknesses, your strengths, where you need to make changes, where you need to push harder. So, this is the time to look within, fearlessly, and dare to consider change.

Some of our worst habits are established over a long period of time. In that time, they could have become a part of us, a part of our personality, our character, our trademarks. These are often the hardest to shift because, first, you need to acknowledge that this particular character trait isn’t one you should be proud of.

Maybe you’re always late. Maybe you smoke and drink. Maybe you’re always tuned in to the latest celebrity scandal. Maybe you have that sarcastic biting wit that everyone (except the victim) loves so much. Maybe you love your food or sleep or social media just a little too much. Maybe you steal and pile up other people’s wealth with yours. It doesn’t matter whether the people around you love it or accept it or merely tolerate it. The question you need to ask yourself is this: is this a habit you want to go before Allah with? Is this something you are proud to present to Allah? If not, it’s time to get to work.

Vision

Who is this ‘transformed’ you? What does s/he look like? What does s/he do differently? You need to see it to believe it. You have to create this image of yourself in your mind’s eye so that you know what you are working towards. Make it real. Find out what makes it tick.

For example, if I were to ask the transformed version of myself how s/he manages to memorise Qur’an and keep up with studying, s/he would probably tell me that s/he spends less time on social media and says ‘No’ more often to social engagements. Now, this may not be what I want to hear, but if I am serious about transformation, about being a better me, I need to bear in mind what s/he is saying.

So, visualise and bring the transformed you to life in your head, so that you have something concrete to work towards. Pray to Allah, bearing in mind what you have visualised. He is capable of all things: ask Him to grant you this vision if it is good for you in this life and the next. And trust in Him.

Organisation & Determination

There are plenty of resources available to help us plan for a productive and transformational after Ramadan life: use them. Do a search and get yourself organised. Make a list of what you want to achieve, your goals, and make notes on how you will achieve those goals.

If it’s about reading the entire Qur’an, how are you going to go about it? Four pages after each salah? A juz’ during your taraweeh at home? Or if it is about smoking and drinking, have you thought about walking with friends who would help you in this path? You think about it and work it out.

You know that the resources are there, so stick to the training acquired in Ramadan. Don’t give up, don’t cheat, and don’t put it off. Keep pushing, keep striving, and keep training yourself for the challenge that is yet to come: living a transformed life, even after the month of Ramadan is over.

May Almighty Allah make it easy. Ameen.

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