7 Life-Changing Habits I Hold On To After Ramadan
While Ramadan is the month of fasting from dawn to dusk, it's also the month of dedicating myself to worship in the hopes of drawing closer to Allah swt. It is in this blessed month that I re-evaluate myself and inculcate better habits to attain His pleasure and forgiveness. But what happens after Ramadan?
Like me, do you feel a sense of loss every time it leaves and you aren’t quite sure of how to transition from this spiritual high? Here’s the good news, my dear sisters. It is possible to return to normalcy without losing our newfound level of spirituality.
Habits we formed in the holy month are habits we can hold on to throughout the year. This may mean changing parts of our lifestyle and shifting priorities to maintain the spiritual level we just achieved.
Let me tell you about the 7 habits I adhere to year-round. Habits which could potentially change your life.
- Never miss Fajr again
Start your day right by praying Fajr.
I have been there. I had every intention of waking up for Fajr when I set the alarm only to hit ‘snooze’ and miss it on some days.
The difference in Ramadan? I wake up much earlier for the blessings of suhoor and pray Fajr right after.
Your body clock gets used to waking up for suhoor as you gain momentum from it. Instead of losing that momentum after Ramadan, use it to pray Fajr on time. It is easier to wake up early when your body has grown accustomed to it for a month.
And when you successfully prioritise Fajr as part of your daily routine, you will find comfort in knowing that you started your day in the best way possible - one that pleases Allah and sets the right tone for the rest of your day.
- Stay up after Fajr prayer to recite the Qur’an
Ramadan reminds me of the beauty of the Qur’an and makes me yearn for it daily. I can’t help but miss its recitation during tarawih every night. So what’s a girl to do about it after Ramadan?
Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran: “Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Quran of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed” (Quran, 17:78)
Fajr is a blessed time to be reciting Qur’an with the angels as our witness, and convenient too, since we are already awake from the Fajr prayer.
Don’t miss the opportunity. Commit some time after your prayer to sit with the Qur’an and recite as much as you are comfortable with.
If you are just starting to incorporate this into your routine, it will be a good idea to start small and increase your recitation gradually. Proficiency levels vary for all of us so read a few lines if that is all you can afford to do consistently and build up as you go along.
- Make Tahajjud a weekly affair
One of my best habits in Ramadan is developing the tenacity to do Qiyam. Standing in prayer and engaging in other acts of worship at night gives me a feeling of peace and calm like no other.
But we don’t need to leave night worship just because Ramadan has ended.
Allah descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of the night to hear the calling of His servants, every night. So try to rise up for Tahajjud and pour our hearts out to Allah during this time.
It may be unrealistic for most of us to do this daily, but once a week? That’s a micro-goal we can set to accomplish.
- Make charity a habit
The rewards of spending our wealth in charity are immense and we are rewarded manifold for it in Ramadan. My father has been exemplary in teaching me that regardless of how much we earn, we can afford to give charity even if it were little. It is now my habit to give whenever I can.
To make charity a regular act in your life, set aside a fixed amount from your earnings every month specially for charity. Donate online to a trusted charity organization or drop by your local masjid.
Charity is not limited to monetary handouts. You can also give your time and talent by volunteering with a non-profit organization or personally helping underprivileged persons you may know of.
It is this small investment that will truly matter in Allah’s sight. One that helps others in this dunya and will benefit us in the Hereafter. Insha’Allah.
- Improve my manners
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ““Nothing is heavier on the Scale of Deeds than one’s good manners.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Islam frequently emphasizes the importance of good manners and behaviour, not just in Ramadan. Striving to be more mindful of my manners means I treat others with respect and avoid gossiping with friends.
Good manners can be as simple as greeting someone warmly and speaking kindly.
When dealing with difficult situations involving others, do choose your words wisely and respond with patience for the sake of Allah swt.
- Be kinder to my parents
We are nothing without our parents, aren’t we?
In the spirit of Ramadan, I put extra effort to please my parents. I realise it makes them happy and I don’t plan on stopping. Ever.
Parents appreciate even the simplest gesture, so let’s make it a habit.
- Cook for them
- Take the trash out regularly
- Help with house chores
- Buy groceries
- Surprise them with a gift
- Take them out for a meal or fun trip
Your parents will appreciate you going the extra mile. And their smiles? That makes it all worthwhile, because the pleasure of Allah lies in the pleasure of our parents.
- Wear the hijab consistently
Allah has ordered for Muslim women to cover themselves appropriately. Years ago, I took the leap and decided that I was going to wear the hijab for good.
But everyone’s journey is different, yes? Some of us have sealed the hijab as part of our identity while others are still unsure of it.
I have seen non-hijabi sisters take the initiative to wear the hijab in Ramadan and I think that’s good practice so they can feel more comfortable in it. If like them, you have not come around to wearing the hijab permanently, how about starting small?
Take the first step by wearing it for one day. When you feel comfortable enough, wear it for a couple more days, and so on and so forth. For starters, I would recommend a soft chiffon scarf that is versatile enough for any occasion, like Suriah Scarves’ Everyday Essentials Hijab. Experiment with different styles in your own time to see what you feel best in.
Sisters, wherever you are in your journey, I hope you never give up on the idea of hijab. I pray you will one day be happy to wear it consistently, for the sake of Allah swt.
It’s okay to miss Ramadan and feel like you’re missing out when it’s over. But it’s also important to realize that the month has left us with a newfound spirituality and healing that we should optimise for the rest of the year.
Don’t let this spiritual high dissipate but be consistent with good habits and watch yourself improve till the next Ramadan.
Because let’s not forget, Ramadan ends, but worship doesn’t.