They train very hard day and night and they go over every scenario so they will be fully prepared for this major competition. They are completely ready and prepared and the competition is about to begin.
The strange thing is, once they enter the competition they suddenly give up. Their competitors are around them, sweating, working hard to win as they just put minimum effort in the event.
Well this is what many of us do when it comes to the training course we do in Ramadan and the real-life competition in the rest of the year. This is what many people go through every single year. They get hyped in Ramadan, they enjoy a great month of different types of worship only to come to a complete stop at the end of the month after celebrating Eid.
Let’s call this the Post-Ramadan Blues. The emotions are all over: the hype is over, the glory is over, the the communal worship vibe is over. The training is done and we ready to go into the competition, so let’s act like it’s a competition!
Here are five ways that you can move on from the Post-Ramadan Blues to improve your worship throughout the whole year so next time you can start your training on an even higher level with more motivation and in five, six, eight, ten years you’ll improve a little every single year inshaAllah.
My first suggestion is that you appreciate the blessing of Ramadan. Recognize that out of billions of people on Earth you firstly are Muslim, secondly you fasted what Allah commanded that you fast in Ramadan and even that you’re alive to witness Ramadan yet again!
These alone are incredibly huge blessings Allah has chosen you specifically to give. So think about the potential reward from that one month of intensive worship and really be grateful to Allah for giving you permission to enter the month, to fast in the month and to at least have a good go at increasing your worship in it. Recognizing these blessings will help you move forward with improved motivation and aspiration.
After having a jam-packed month of great worship and great habits you can now set up a new habit to continue after the month. The great thing about Ramadan is that it starts you off in a new timetable. This is usually based on a mixture of work hours, sleeping hours, time for taraweeh and time for breaking the fast.
Now keep that in mind and think of just one single habit that you can establish in your life after Ramadan. The number one habit that I would suggest is reading Quran every single day. The specific way to do this is to:
Now you might want this to be five minutes or it could be 30 minutes it depends on your ability but usually we overestimate our abilities so I would suggest halving what you think you can do. Once you do that every single day for one month then you can start to think to think about increasing it. Never underestimate the power of consistency in worship!
As Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said,
سَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنْ لَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَحَدَكُمْ عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ أَدْوَمُهَا إِلَى اللَّهِ، وَإِنْ قَلَّ
To the nearest translation: “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 6464]
In Ramadan our schedule was based around events like: work, iftar, suhour and taraweeh. This made worship habits much easier! Likewise we can implement this to a smaller extent after Ramadan. This won’t just make sure we do that act of worship but we will also find more barakah in our time and work because of it.
This new habit that you want to establish (point 2) after Ramadan needs to have a specific time allocated to it each day. It should be done at the same time each day. I would strongly suggest the morning for this. This is when I read my personal a portion of 4 on every day. I know that when I wake up, I pray and I have breakfast and I know that the next thing to do is read my Quran.
We know as a basic lesson from the psychology of habit building is that we need a trigger to start a habit, a very specific event. For example, I know once I finish my breakfast that I have to go and read Quran. So similarly you need to find the time or a specific event as a trigger that occurs everyday.
It is no coincidence that the Prophet (ﷺ) encouraged us to fast 6 days in the month following Ramadan. This is because it is easier to continue a habit than to start from scratch. We are ready! We are already used to fasting everyday for 30 days and so it will be much easier to continue with just six days. This will give us the reward of fasting for a whole year inshaAllah! That’s how much Allah wants us to continue with our good habits, He incentivised us this much!
من صام رمضان ثم أتبعه بست من شوال كان كصيام الدهر
To the nearest translation: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He who observes As-Saum (the fasts) in the month of Ramadan, and also observes As-Saum for six days in the month of Shawwal, it is as if he has observed As-Saum for the whole year.” [Muslim]
This is also pointing to the fact that once we’ve got the momentum of increased worship in Ramadan we should also have a new habit or new worship habits that come along with it in the months following (point 2). So we are going to fast 6 days inshaAllah but also we’re going to have our new habits that we’re going to continue following the advice of the prophet (ﷺ).
The companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) would spend months after Ramadan asking Allah to accept their worship. This is probably because they truly understood the magnitude of the actions done in this great month and similarly we should reflect on our blessing of entering the month and also the fact that we increased our worship in it (point 1).
We know that if just some of the worship in those blessed 30 days were accepted then we’ve accomplished a great great thing! So in your sujud, in your prayers and in your private du’a time make sure that you ask Allah to accept your worship in Ramadan.
For example, if you read Quran for 15 minutes, once the time is up you have evidence that you have completed the habit. However, if your goal was just to read more Quran (in general) you would never know if you truly achieved that goal because there is nothing measurable.
that if you establish a habit like this in your life and you continue it every day, that next time Ramadan comes you will not approach it with a negative feeling like you didn’t accomplish much in the previous year, but you will feel like you’re making progress and then next time I want you can add to it and add to it.
In 5 to 10 years you will see the great accomplishments and progress that you have made. Even if we don’t live for another 5 or 10 years the intention is that we will continue to increase and increase every single year as long as we are alive and Allah knows our great intention.