A little over a week has passed since the end of Ramadan, and many of us are struggling as we readjust our schedules. Our stomachs struggle to accommodate daytime meals, and that lightness (and the quiet focus that comes with it) is all but a distant memory, especially after over-indulging on Eid. You try to fast the days of Shawwal, but it’s just not the same. You miss the masjid and juggling hectic iftar invitations. You rode the struggle bus hard this Ramadan, and you didn’t think you would have such a hard time getting off. The truth is, Ramadan was hard, but leaving it is harder. Physically, you may be a little relieved to welcome a normal sleeping schedule and to say goodbye to eating at 3:00 in the morning. But in your heart, you feel the void. Every day in Ramadan, it’s so easy to feel connected to Allah and to Muslims all over the world. Your day is governed by obedience to Him, and you feel His mercy all around you. Suddenly, it feels like the magic is gone. I decided to ask some of my co-workers at Islamic Relief how they are keeping the Ramadan spirit alive, and from their answers I complied a list of 5 things we can all do.
- Forgive yourself and keep moving. I struggled a lot this Ramadan – I don’t think I tried hard enough or really utilized this month to the best of my abilities. I may not have reaped the multiplied rewards of the month, but all the goals I feel like I could have tried harder to achieve, I’m slowly working to achieve them now, even if it’s little by little. By next Ramadan, I wont feel as helpless. Maybe you feel like you failed this Ramadan, but the learning and effort should continue after Ramadan. Ramadan is about trying to establish habits and a mindset I can practice even when the month is over. It’s a small glimpse of who I can be if I just try a little harder.
- Talk to Allah. My favorite thing about Ramadan is feeling close to Allah. This is a feeling that’s not exclusive to Ramadan, and if we feel like it is that might just be Shaytan tricking us. Allah will never turn away from us as long as we turn to him. One small, tangible goal I set for myself is to make duaa in at least one sujood every prayer. Sometimes the duaa is just me talking to Allah about my day and asking for Him to bless it. Everytime, that is enough.
- Maintain small habits. Islam is not a religion of “Go big or go home.” The most loved actions to Allah are those that are consistent, even if they’re small. I’m trying to keep the small deeds I did in Ramadan going— like trying to read a few pages of Qur’an everyday, trying to pray tahajjud if I’m awake during that time at least once a week, or continuing to give sadaqah in small amounts. That was my focus this Ramadan, to try and build some small habits that I could maintain consistently. So I’m just trying to continue with that as much as possible.
- Be mindful of your daily routine. In Ramadan, your daily routine becomes centered around fasting, and therefore it is centered around Allah. There is something powerful in that. Even though that routine changes once Ramadan is over, I think keeping some of the habits you’ve made in Ramadan is important. Small things, like not eating lunch when you don’t need to, trying not to waste time, avoiding gossip—being mindful of our daily routines is something that becomes hard post-Ramadan. During Ramadan, it felt like every day and every night was so important, and now it become easy to be complacent. But if we are conscious of it, we can carry over some of those blessings.
- Attach your heart to the masjid. It’s safe to say that masjid attendance skyrockets in Ramadan, but the day after Eid, the musallahs are empty again. So much of the spiritual high you can feel in Ramadan is thanks to being present in the house of Allah. The masjid is always there for you, so make a habit of going, even just for one prayer once a week. Make a plan with your friends to take a trip to pray there together. Maybe even fast that day and break your fast in the masjid together. It’s like a mini Ramadan, and you don’t have to get there super early to avoid the taraweeh rush! Allah loves for you to pray in the masjid, and you’ll feel your iman get stronger from it.
May Allah help us all to keep the Ramadan spirit alive. Comment below to share what you’ve been doing!