Last week we asked you what your plans were for the rest of the year, and highlighted a few important days that are worth keeping noted. Throughout this month we have been emphasising how Ramadan is a pot of gold that we hold close to our hearts, we find treasures deep within ourselves that teach us more about who we are and the abilities we have. However, sometimes these precious gems can get buried amongst our daily life, habits and commitments and they are left waiting to get dug up again the following Ramadan.
Wouldn’t it be better to keep these treasures within arm’s reach and anticipate weightier diamonds with loftier rewards for our old friend’s arrival next year?
It’s important to keep in mind that the feelings we get during Ramadan are not supposed to be throughout the whole year because then Ramadan would not be special and it would not have the status that it holds. A lot of people say that Ramadan always comes at a good time for them, whether it is because they are experiencing hardship or they needed spiritual refuelling, and so whilst the feeling and atmosphere might not last, the effects can and should.
So, how is Islam for the whole year? You can listen to our podcast about how to make your imaan high survive throughout the year, but we also wanted to share a few golden tips on how to keep those treasures close to heart and equally as important, our minds.
- Remind yourself that you may not excel as much as you did in Ramadan and that this is okay, not every month is Ramadan.
- As Allah loves the deeds that are consistent, perhaps you could be consistent with a good deed you started during Ramadan, whether that is praying Sunnan more often, giving a little bit of charity every month, smiling more or decreasing swearing or other bad habits. Don’t underestimate the power of dua, and take it to your advantage to help yourself! “If you ask, ask Allah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allah.” (Tirmidhi)
- Train yourself up with fasts, you can fast the Sunnah days of the week (Monday and Thursday), or Al-ayyam al-beed (13th, 14th and 15th – the white days of month from the Hijri calendar) and don’t forget about the super special days to fast in dhul-hijjah including Arafah, then soon after comes Muharram wherein there is the day of Ashura. Pre-plan these days to fast, make them meaningful with family and friends, and keep your goal on doing it only for the sake of Allah. Maybe you could commit to fasting the special days between now and Ashura, and then from Muharram to Sha’ban you can fast the extra sunnan to keep those fasts consistent until Ramadan.
- Have a day each week where you focus an hour or two completely on something deen related. Although Islam should thread through our every action and thought, sometimes we can let life get ahead of us and we forget to feed our souls with what it needs. Possibly pick up a book about the Prophet (pbuh), add to your memorisation bank, read the tafseer of your favourite surah, learn extra a’diyaat – choose a time and a place that suits you, and use it to benefit yourself and improve your relationship with Allah.
- Use Ramadan as a “spring clean” to clear out bad habits. If you have picked up your bad habits again, it’s okay – acknowledge them and understand you need to get rid of them. You could use the mentioned days above to set yourself small and achievable goals e.g. by Dhul-Hijjah, “I want to stop self-harming on the days I fast”, or, “I want to only be smoking 3 cigarettes a day by the Islamic new year (Muharram).”
- Get into a practice of noting down your negative thoughts, and challenging whether they are productive, beneficial or worth noticing. Alongside this, get into a practice of reflecting upon the positive, keep a thought/mood diary where you can note down what brings you happiness and why, and what makes you feel sad and why. This way you can keep an eye on triggers/situations which you can avoid for future occurrences, and also have a nice record of memories which you can think about when feeling low. If we look and focus on our problems, we will continue to see the darkness and hardships of our lives. If we remain optimistic for solutions and steps forward, we will find beaming light guiding us towards the easy path.
- If you haven’t already checked out our #RamadanVibes on our social media, you will find that a lot of them include a community feeling, taraweeh congregation and general Muslim togetherness. Good company can have a massive impact on how you view yourself, and how you live your every day. If you met some people during Ramadan at the masjid, get back in contact with them, meet with them, sit with them, learn with them and grow with them. The Prophet (pbuh) said that we are on the deen of our companions – so be sure to increase your time with good company and decrease your time with companions who are like the blacksmith. “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” (Bukhari)
- Don’t isolate yourself from Islam, and don’t isolate Islam from yourself. Carry it with you wherever you go, and be a walking da’ee in behaviour and speech. You don’t need to preach about your religion 24/7, but it shouldn’t be just left at home. Connect yourself to it, allow yourself to feel the goodness and reap in the rewards – remind yourself that you are an honourable servant of Allah. A lot of people with mental health illnesses have trouble with their identity, particularly Muslims so make your very own brand name Islam and what it has to offer for everyday life.
- Procrastination is a huge tribulation for many, in all its forms. Whether it is productive such as cleaning, baking, or exercising, or negative such as selfie taking, social media scrolling, or bingeing, it needs to be reduced massively in order to make your year productive and beneficial. We are not saying you need to be a deed making machine, you are allowed to relax and take some time out of course, however the time you spend procrastinating or just staring out of a window, is what needs to be made productive. Use this time to learn more, read more, and spread more. With the new digital age, there is no excuse to not educate ourselves, we have YouTube, phone apps, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts and all sorts. So make your procrastination a means of productive procrastination. It doesn’t have to be strictly Islamic, it could be anything you are not 100% sure on, such as different types or your own mental health disorder. The more you know yourself, about yourself including your Islamic identity, the more likely you are to feel confident and comfortable in being yourself.
- Remain hopeful. You will never be helpless. Allah is Eternal and there is never a time when He will not be there. Remind yourself you have lived through 100% of your bad days, and your next bad day is another in passing. You can get through this, and we believe in you.
Have you got any tips you would like to share? Let us know by joining the discussion below!
Inspirited Minds continues to pray for your successful year and tremendous efforts to be multiplied in tenfold!