To Stand Steadfast in the Way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala after Ramadan
Since one knows now that the new promise he is to give to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is to begin to proceed towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and how he would fulfill this promise just after Ramadan, without delay or procrastination, the question to raise now is:
How could one proceed constantly towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? How could he be firm in his response to the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and the command of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ? How could he realize the concepts of striving (against himself)? How could this lead him to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and make him firm on His way? How could he stand steadfast and firm on his journey towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
No doubt, Ramadan has not come so that you would be a worshipper of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala only in it and after it return to your previous way of remoteness, laziness and heedlessness. But Ramadan, where the devils are chained and the gates of mercy are opened, should be an aid to the people of faith to have access to the Way of Allah. Once they come out of Ramadan, they should stand straight on the way, constantly and regularly, and race each other in this way until they meet Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. That is the way of the worshipers and those who love Allah.
You now have to choose the state in which you should be: that is, to race in the way and love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We have mentioned some of the states of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and how they raced in their deeds, how they raced in standing (at night in prayer), in spending their property and soul for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Each of them did his best to be the first among the martyrs in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the first to offer the whole of his property to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the first to stand at night (in prayer) regularly to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the first to give in charity, remember (Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala), recite the Qur’an, seek knowledge, and attend the assemblies of remembrance: in sum, he sought how he would precede others to all of this.
When he learnt that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (what means): “Race” [Qur’an 57:21] he knew that he was the addressee, being required to be the first in it rather than to be sluggish and slow-moving, who has no sense to this issue, nor does it concern, pain or aggrieve him even in the least, nor does it stimulate him to weep and have a longing for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, to be the first to carry out hastily the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. That is the issue on which one should meditate.
The present issue is: How to make steady progress on the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala; how to race on the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala; how to keep firm on His way until one reaches Him.
1. To Fight the Battle of Gratitude:
Having been guided to obedience, worship, righteous deeds, acts of worship and emancipation from Hell, you came out with love for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala who made you enabled you to do so successfully. He conferred upon you out of His mercy, bounty, generosity and forgiveness, at the time you see the wicked, dissolute, and disbelievers far from Allah, and ignorant of His way, and how He neglected and abandoned them. Instead, He chose and selected you in order to be one of His devotees, one of His elite and those selected by Him, who approach Him, pray to Him, exalt Him, stand (at night in prayer) to Him, fast for His sake, and hasten to Him in doing good things. However, you leave all those favors, fall short of giving thanks for them, do not fulfill what is due on you, engage yourself in the perishable and transient world, and do not care about their Grantor who honored you with them.
That is why to give thanks to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the first step required from the one who likes to stand straight on His way, because gratitude for the favors has, at least, two merits:
The first is that gratitude affirms the favor you have taken from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and by gratitude, the favors increase in confirmation of the statement of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (which means): “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely Increase you [in favor].” [Qur’an 14:7] It is a great favor to be made successful to proceed on the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the gratitude for which affirms it, and racing in this way increases it. The denial of favors blights and removes them. That is indeed out of ingratitude, because He Says (what means): “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’” [Qur’an 14:7]
This indicates that ingratitude is the denial of those favors. He informs people that the favors opened for them by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will be taken from them. We have mentioned that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala opens the favors for man, gives and grants him, honors him, amends his affairs as he likes from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and gives him again and again. He does this in expectation for His slave to give Him thanks for that; and yet, He receives from His slave nothing but the denial of those favors, which he does not deserve. Then, the blessing of those favors is blighted, and the slave returns to his previous conditions, if not worse.
Furthermore, gratitude for those favors increases them. For this reason, after Ramadan, one is in dire need of it, because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made a mention of its significance in His Saying (what means): “And few of My servants are grateful.” [Qur’an 34:13]
It seems as if the devil learnt that, as shown from his story in the ayah (which means): “[Satan] said, ‘Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].’” [Qur’an 7:16-17]
Gratitude then is one of the most important affairs which the devil does his best to corrupt for the believers, so that none among the people of faith would be grateful to Allah The Almighty. For this reason, he stands in wait for them, and cuts them off this way as stated by Allah The Almighty in His Saying (what means): “[Satan] said, ‘Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path.’” [Qur’an 7:16]
That is, once Ramadan is over in which they have begun to proceed on the Way of Allah The Almighty, he stands across this way, so that no one could pass.
But some pass. Who are they?
It is only the grateful ones who pass, about whom Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (what means): “And few of My servants are grateful,” [Qur’an 34:13]. It is those who keep firm on gratitude, for which they spend what may make firm and increase the favor from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
For this reason, after Ramadan, the believers need to be careful lest the ‘Eid, mutual visits, eating and drinking, and any possible thing may impede gratitude, make the heart heedless, and further weaken the faith and worship which one had during Ramadan. Even if after Ramadan, one enjoys mutual visits, eating and drinking, and so on, he should be attentive and fulfill the promise he gave to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, by sustaining the deeds of faith and obedience.
The other merit is that the continuation of the deeds of faith and obedience after Ramadan indicates that they have been accepted in Ramadan. No doubt, if one, after Ramadan, is made successful to worship, and guarded to do it, it indicates that he is in the care of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guarded him, made him successful, and accepted his acts of worship. If ones acts of worship are accepted in Ramadan, the indication of their acceptance is to be made successful to worship after that. But if they are not accepted in Ramadan, the indication of rejection and deprivation is to be deprived of them after Ramadan once again.
The deeds of the Messenger of Allah, ﷺ, were regular. That is, his deeds were at the same level whether in Sha‘baan, Ramadan, or at any other time, except that whenever it was the seasons of forgiveness, he would strive more. That is why the believer, during those days, is in a fight with the devil.