3. To Hasten to Begin from the Night of ‘Eid:
The attempt to fulfill the promise requires you to return to your Lord in those days, and begin your covenant from the night of ‘Eid – that is to fulfill your promise to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
The most important days on which one should fulfill his promise, after Ramadan, are the first days of Shawwal. Let no one think that the days of ‘Eid are days of indulgence. They should never be a cause of remoteness, negligence, indulgence, and leaving the good states in which one has been. That is an indication that those good states had such a strong trace in the heart of the man. If one loves and approaches his Lord, it becomes difficult for him to cease to proceed on His way. How could he abandon that love? That is like death in his sight; and his example is like the fish when it comes out of water. It indicates that he has been attached to his Lord, in truth, and under all circumstances, would never abstain from Him, nor neglect His right, nor give priority to love for anything over his love for Him, nor could he be estranged from Him.
On the contrary, his Lord, as we have already mentioned, is his friend, object of remembrance, beloved, and companion, as He Says (in a Qudsi Hadeeth):
“I am the companion of the one who remembers Me.”
Since his Lord is his companion, in Thikr, worship and so on, he then will be estranged from anyone else, and dislike to mix with anyone else. Even if he mixes with anyone else, he should do so just to have the advantage which returns upon his heart with soundness, rather than with anything that may divert his heart from remembrance and worship (of Allah). The traces of that mixing are seen well in our states; if one likes to stand at night (in prayer), he could not do that, because of his hardheartedness, and the heaviness of this mixing upon the heart, not to mention heedlessness.
One may sit to speak with his companions, or go to visit so-and-so, or do one of the worldly deeds, with determination to stand at night (in prayer), or recite his daily portion of the Qur’an, or do any act of worship. However, after this mixing, his heart weakens, and he cannot stand (at night in prayer), nor worship nor recite the Qur’an, and further says: Tomorrow, Allah willing, I will try once again. That is different from the state of the Messenger of Allah, ﷺ.
Let us consider the state of the Prophet, ﷺ, which was quite different from ours’ these days, and how he never wearied of worshiping his Lord. His deeds were regular; and he used to say: “The deed that is the dearest to Allah is that done regularly.” [Muslim] His deeds in Ramadan were not different from his deeds at any other time. His deeds were constantly regular; and if Ramadan came, as one of the seasons of great forgiveness, he would strive more and more, in order to attain the Night of Al-Qadr, obtain the prize of the Lord, and receive those benefits and advantages on those days where one approaches his Lord, and during the last ten days, those acts of worship would be increased to receive those mercies. For this reason, it is due on one to be in this very state in those days, i.e. the state of longing for worship.
4. To Long for Worship
After Ramadan, one should long for worship, whether he has come out after Ramadan as accepted, rejected, disappointed, lost, or in the same previous state before Ramadan, with neither standing (at night in prayer) nor (recitation of) Qur’an nor remembrance (of Allah). In this case, everyone should entertain the feeling of longing for worship, for standing at the gate of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, for the sweetness of faith, for attachment to and approaching Allah The Almighty, for reassurance about and reliance on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Those are the signs of love for and approach to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, which show that the states of the believers are like the state of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, they are always connected with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Those states should only be affected by what increases them in love, affection and longing for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and for worshipping Him, feeling the sweetness of obedience and worship, remembrance and reliance (on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala). Of course, one likes that his good state with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala would survive, continue and increase (in strength), in which his heart feels constantly firm on the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, that it approaches the Hereafter and abstains from this world, that it likes to prepare to meet Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and hasten to depart to Him.
Those meanings enlighten the heart, and motivate one to strive (against oneself) and not to leave the gate of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala regardless of his being a loser or negligent. He is inspired to strive regardless of his bad states that lead him to this world, children, property and living, and all other similar occupations which result in forgetfulness, heedlessness, and failure to fulfill what he has promised Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, i.e. to remain in the good state in which he was in Ramadan.
So, one should long for obedience and worship, like to return to it, and be tranquil with those meanings, due to their good consequences. We, more often, hear that the righteous predecessors used to supplicate Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for six months to accept (their deeds in) Ramadan, and a further six months to enable them to reach the coming Ramadan. They, thus, seemed to be attached to this approach to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Whoever is in this state after Ramadan, and, at the same time, grows sad and grief-stricken whenever he returns to his previous bad states, indulgence, heedlessness, forgetfulness of promises with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, abstention from obedience and worship, and sleep from standing (at night in prayer) and striving (against oneself), then, two important things will be expected:
The first is to persist in standing at the gate of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, so that He would open for him the gates of obedience and worship once again, reward him for those good intentions, and approach to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The other is to attain what he has not attained in Ramadan. That is, to be pardoned (by Allah).
That is why they used to say continuously, “O Allah! Provide us with wellbeing, and pardon us” for many days after Ramadan, thereby expecting the pardon of their Lord.
If he is not forgiven by the end of Ramadan, by virtue of fasting, standing (at night in prayer) and the Night of Al-Qadr, and all the other gates of forgiveness and emancipation from Hell, then, by virtue of the longing for obedience and worship, gratitude and grief over what passed, and beginning to fulfill his covenant with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, He may forgive him and open for him the gates of obedience and forgiveness.
Although the days of forgiveness and pardon may have passed away, one’s attachment to them, reliance on them, grief over missing them, and beseeching his Lord to open for him the gate of those acts of worship, and feeling their sweetness and returning to them, being accompanied by those good states, could cause Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to pardon him, forgive him, emancipate him from Hell, prepare for him the way of the right direction once again, open for him the way to Him, take his hand to Him and strengthen him to endure those states.
Two important things to be done again by such a person:
– To start standing at night (in prayer) from the ‘Eid night:
The first step on the way which indicates that longing is to stand at night (in prayer) beginning from the ‘Eid night, regardless of such obstacles as one’s spouse, property, children, visits, going and returning, eating and drinking. Those obstacles are not specific to this day only. They always cause one to turn back on his heels, and have their evil effects afterwards.
– To observe six fasts consecutively just after the day of ‘Eid:
This was shown by the Messenger of Allah, ﷺ, in his statement: “The one who fasts Ramadan, and six of Shawwal seems to have fasted perpetually.” [Muslim] Doing so indicates that he does not weary of fasting and that he longs for the days of Ramadan. Let him be careful, lest the devil comes to tell him: Would you observe six fasts of Shawwal consecutively? This is indeed too much. Fast only Monday and Thursday! Fast a day and leave a day; or leave fasting on the days you will visit or be visited by your family and people. The devil then continues to whisper to him until he makes him leave that determination and abscond from this concern with worship and obedience, with the result that he would slacken and indulge, and Shawwal would pass away without finishing those six fasts, saying: Tomorrow will be the first of Dhul-Qa‘dah, in order to relieve himself of those days. Such fasting and standing are the best manifestations of this deed.
We have already referred to the fact that a sign of a good deed being accepted is to be guided to do another good deed, and a sign of a good deed being rejected is to commit a misdeed after it. This is the implication of Ibn Rajab’s statement in his Lataa’if Al-Ma‘aarif, “What could be worse than a misdeed committed after a good deed, which blights it! And what could be better than a good deed done after a misdeed to efface it! And the best of all is a good deed to be done after a good deed, to increase it, and bless its reward with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.”
One then needs to have this concept well-established in his mind, that is, to be guided to do a good deed after a good deed. That is to begin to fulfill his covenant with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. To be made successful to do a good deed means that if it is standing (at night in prayer), and one is made successful to keep standing (at night in prayer) after Ramadan, it indicates the acceptance of standing from him in Ramadan; and if it is fasting, and he is made successful to keep fasting after Ramadan, it indicates the acceptance of his fast; and the same applies to one’s being made successful to give in charity, persist in Thikr, recite the Qur’an regularly in full, and approach it and reflect upon its meanings.
We have learnt how the believers come out in the state of meditation; how they fulfill their covenant with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala once again; how they make a new beginning with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the beginning to follow a right course on the journey to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala; how they adhere to the obedience and worship of Allah once again, and approach the Hereafter, abstain from this world, and learn how to be with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in a state in which they neither hesitate, nor retract, and to be, with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, in the best state expected by a believer, and to have longing for it with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. This means that one should not be like the evil slave, who fulfills once, retracts once, repents once, turns on his heels once, obeys once and disobeys once. Of course, if your child is in such a state, you will not approve of him. If the one serving you is in such a state as to obey you once and disobey you once, come late once, slacken once, and come on time once, then, in the end, you would dismiss him.