As the days of Ramadan leave us, we get a feeling of emptiness. Many of us may have achieved a great deal this month whilst others may have been disappointed in how they spent their blessed Ramadan days. The passing of Ramadan so quickly usually leaves the hearts of Muslims around the world saddened. But, what is it that truly saddens us? Is it the end of the iftar party invites? The rumbling belly at lunchtime? Or perhaps something much more important and frightening? The fear of not being able to maintain as much ibadah and concentration on the deen as in the month that has passed, and the distractions of life that overwhelm us soon after Eid?
Whilst this is the case, like in any battle, the soldiers must prepare themselves to win. Our battle in this instance is to maintain a relationship with the Qur’an and continue to build on whatever we have accomplished this Ramadan. Even if it was not as productive as you would have liked, to learn from the mistakes in Ramadan and kick start a solid relationship with the Qur’an in the coming months is equally as important.
Abdullah ibn Masud said:
“The house in which the Qur’an is not recited is like a derelict (forsaken) house that has no one to maintain it.” [Al-Musannaf]
Never let your home become forsaken; so long as you have breath in your lungs, you are able to hold tight to the Qur’an and its teachings. There are no excuses. We all take time to ensure we smell nice, look good and eat well. So, give your soul as well the food it requires by nourishing it with the Qur’an, and never neglect it. Our bodies are finite entities, so feed the soul that will hold you up when your body is no longer strong. Feed the soul to keep your heart awake.
1. Treat every month as if it’s Ramadan
While the blessed days have passed, this does not mean our mentality should change. We make time in this month because we are aware of the blessings and importance of spending time in ibadah. However, this does not mean the time outside of Ramadan should be wasted.
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 2]
This verse applies to everyday; Ramadan is a special time to spend with the Qur’an but that does not mean we should neglect it outside of this month.
Imagine every month to be like Ramadan and try to put as much passion into developing your relationship with the Qur’an as you can. The truth is, any day could be our last and therefore we should optimize our time spent in reading and pondering over the book that was sent as a guidance for us.
2. No excuses!
We procrastinate with excuses as to why we cannot regularly recite and ponder over the Qur’an.
You might “lack time” – but you are reading this which means you have time to surf the net! Cut out idle activities or wake up 15 minutes earlier.
You feel bad because “you don’t understand” what you read – find a Qur’an teacher, read translations and tafsir or start learning Arabic.
You may think “you’ll do it on the weekend” – give yourself the reality check of life. You may not have tomorrow so do what you need to today!
Sadly, it may just be a case of “I don’t know why, I just can’t get in the habit” – In order to make a habit, you must strive. The climb up the mountain is never easy but if you stop midway you will never reach the top. Small steps are better than no steps.
3. Have a monthly goal
At the beginning of each month, set a target for yourself. Do you want to complete the entire Qur’an or focus on particular surahs? Is there a portion you want to successfully memorise? Or perhaps you want to focus on your recitation rather than a particular quantity? Whatever the case may be, having an idea in mind about what your goal is will help keep you focused to achieve it insha’Allah. This is a personal goal for you, your abilities and what you are in need of to boost your iman. Write it down in your diary, phone or wall – keep it around you before your eyes so you always remember what the goal is.
4. Set a time for Qur’an
We can set as many goals as we like, but without being prepared or planning the journey to that destination, it can be extremely difficult. On a weekly basis, work out when you will have the time to read the Qur’an and associated activities that you are focusing on. Are you able to have a set time? It is great if you can but if not, do not panic. Use whatever time you have to do as much as you can.
5. Catch up on what you’ve missed
Some days may be busier than others and you may not be able to read whatever portion you had planned for. Hold yourself accountable for this and ensure to catch up with what you have missed on top of the planned activities for the next day. This is important in ensuring you have a regular habit in place that you try to maintain to attain the goals you have made for that month. Even better, create a post-Ramadan Qur’an group with your friends to help you stay motivated and connected to the Qur’an even when you feel your enthusiasm dipping.
6. Focus on understanding
As well as reciting the Qur’an, make time to read the translation and tafsir. This could be by reading them on your own, or by attending classes at a local masjid or institute. This is really an important part of developing an understanding of the Qur’an; many of us fall out of the habit of reading the Qur’an because we fail to understand what it is that we are reading.
Allah says that the Qur’an is “a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 184]
We should not miss out on obtaining this guidance because we do not understand the language. Make it a goal to learn Arabic, however in the meantime, utilise the translated works available to understand, absorb and implement the message of the Qur’an in your daily life.
7. Implement what you learn
The stories in the Qur’an are full of lessons. Take time to ponder over them and ask yourself how you can implement what you have learned into your life? The Qur’an highlights for us the imperfections we have, whilst giving us the ideas on how to change for the best. Listening to the Qur’an can be healing and soothing, however the fundamental reason for the verses to be revealed is to guide a person to the straight path. Whatever portion you read, ask yourself how you can change your life based on it. Keep a journal with the points you have learned and how you will work towards developing a personality complementary to the Qur’an. Remember the hadith of Aishah :
“The character of the Messenger of Allah was the Qur’an.” [Abu Dawud]
8. Make dua
Lastly, but by no means least – always ask Allah to help you in your quest to understand His words. We are unable to achieve anything without Allah granting us the ability to do so. The beauty of this is that Allah can help us achieve that which everyone else thinks we are unable to do.
Never let the words or actions of others put you down; whatever your goals are concerning the Qur’an and understanding it, put your trust in Allah that He will make it possible. Whatever rocks, boulders or mountains come in your way, never forget that Allah knows your soul can handle the struggle. Break down whatever blocks that try to prevent you from grasping the Qur’an by always turning to Allah and asking Him to make the Qur’an the light of your life and heart!
What are your tips on maintaining a close relationship with the Qur’an post-Ramadan?