Shawaal to Ramadan

Although the month of Ramadan is over and already it feels like centuries have gone by, still the thought of it is not leaving my mind. Over and over again I am reminded of how I should have spent it and how I did not measure up to its greatness. It is the same feeling I got after having done the one and only Hajj of my life… as if I had not done it… as if it had only been a dream. Maybe my mind is too overwhelmed by the awesome-ness of these great events that I cannot do justice to it or maybe the REAL deep down reality is that I am not prepared for it… Because I mistakenly assume that Ramadan is going to transform me into a good person… just as I had thought that Hajj was going to make me a true believer. But it turned out that the real change had to come from within me… and it should not be restricted to just this one month or one event. Rather character development or Tazkiyah should be an ever going activity in our life.

The outside circumstances can change instantly… like one moment you are in the evening of shabaan and the next hour the moon is sighted and you enter Ramadan. But that doesn’t mean that your heart has also taken a leap from being a miser to becoming generous, or from being a half-hearted believer to becoming hundred percent committed, or from being lazy to becoming productive. At the most you can see yourself “change” on an outer level… because obviously you have to fast and pray and be extra conscious of Allah. But if your change was not planned and you didn’t make any specific targets for self improvement then you will return back to your “normal” state of heart, as soon as the moon is sighted for the next month.

If it so happens that you have a conscience that is still alive, then surely this reality is going to make you feel real bad!!! So there must be some way to feel hopeful again… some way to remove this guilt?

After a lot of pondering over this question I reached the conclusion that I should start my preparation for the next Ramadan right now… starting with Taubah for the past failures and making intense duas for sincerity and the taufeeq for focus and hard work.

For every month I should specifically target one bad habit that hinders my way to Allah’s pleasure and side by side work to inculcate one good habit that would strengthen my bond with Allah. For example give up useless talk and busy my tongue in Zikr of Allah. One bad habit will be destroyed with a good one. Start with the easy ones and then move my way up to tackle the more deeply ingrained “harder-to-get-rid-of” things.

In this way, by Ramadan, even if I do not succeed in my efforts, at least I will have some projects on which I had worked on and the barakah of Ramadan will enable me to complete them… inshaAllah

So all thanks to Allah for giving us hope in his mercy and the taufeeq of making his pleasure the goal of our life… may we act upon what he teaches us through our accomplishments as well as failures. Ameen

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