Here we are. Yet another Ramadan has passed us. Farewell to the month of good manners and discipline, farewell to the month of kindness and generosity, farewell to the month of mercy and emancipation from punishment!
After all the fasting and prayers, and as the end of holy month of Ramadan expires, these important questions should be posed: What is after Ramadan? Will everything return back to "normal?" Actually, what is "normal" to us? Does it mean that we will be far away from Allah as we were before Ramadan, committing all the acts that we are forbidden from and neglecting that which Allah has ordered us to do? Will that be the case just because Ramadan is over, and our bank of good deeds may have increased a bit, so now we can even the scale by committing sins till next Ramadan comes and then we will start over again?
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said: "If the servants know what is in Ramadan, my nation would have wished that the whole year was Ramadan." Although it is true that we return back to our routine life in terms of our eating and drinking habits, but that should not also be the case in God-consciousness, committing sins and disobedience to Allah. Sadly, it is a common observation that very few will still go to the mosque now. Very few will contact our relatives now. Very few will give attention to brotherhood or invite others for dinner or sponsor events at the Islamic centers. Very few will think about the poor or offer charity now. Very few will hesitate or think twice before backbiting one other or resisting our lower desires. And very few of us will think about Allah or remember Him in the same regular manner.
During the last four weeks, we have intended or attempted to purify ourselves by cleansing ourselves from our past sins and bathing ourselves with the soap of fasting and supplication to gain proximity towards our Lord. We have disciplined ourselves and our bodies by curbing our desires to a certain extent. Would it now be appropriate for us to walk away after bathing ourselves and walk into a ditch of mud? Would it make any sense to revert back from the state of discipline to that of lack of self-control?
In fact, the past 30 days, or rather the three holy months of Rajab, Sha'ban, and Ramadan were a mere crash course designed to gradually remove from ourselves the stain of sin and transgression, and to replace that with a new person and a refreshed and purified soul. By the culmination of the Night of Power, we have empowered ourselves with the free will to choose right from wrong and to change our past habits to those which are aligned with the teachings of the Holy Prophet and Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them all). Ramadan to us was in essence a school and a teacher. We all attended this school, whether we wanted to or not. Some of us achieved great marks, some received average marks, and some have regretfully attained failing marks. As the Prophet said, "The miserable one is he who fails to attain the forgiveness of Allah in this month."
So, let's not give the Shaytan and his likes the opportunity to gloat over our failure to keep the spirit of Ramadan alive throughout the year. It is no wonder that right after the conclusion of Ramadan, we are encouraged to maintain that state of discipline by observing fast in any six days of the month of Shawwal. That is because the Prophet has said: "Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire."
Indeed, a joyful Eid is felt by those who have attained the mercy and forgiveness of Allah and have re-energized themselves to continue that path of divine service and worship during the rest of the year. It is a sign of gratitude to thank Allah for blessing us with this Ramadan by maintaining the state of purity and piety afterwards. As we celebrate Eid, it is inappropriate to think that we celebrate the freedom to eat and drink or engage in our nonsense activities which we do all year long. As the saying goes, "Eid is not about wearing the new clothes; rather, true Eid is when you fear the Day of Judgment and have gained Divine proximity."
True celebration is to recognize the Divine gifts which Allah has offered to us by His Divine grace and mercy, ranging from forgiveness of our sins to appreciating the significance of the Night of Power by its personification, Lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her).