By Zahra Anjum
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
I have always noticed one thing during the Taraweeh prayers in Ramadan. If you were to reach the Masjid (mosque) late in the first or last few days of Ramadan, a good spot would be hard to find. However, in the middle of the month, the Masjid would be relatively empty.
The same is the case with most of our good deeds and acts of worship. The arrival of this blessed month spurs excitement and zeal in our hearts. We begin with high spirits and great goals. But, with the passage of time, the spark dwindles down and laziness overpowers us. It is not necessary that we have this ‘feeling’ all the time, but with some extra effort we can ensure that we stay steadfast in our worship.
How can we stay steadfast on our plans for the month? How can we avoid this plunge and not lose any moment of these precious thirty days? Below are some tips that may help Insha’Allah (Allah willing):
1. Know this time will never return
Remind yourself that Ramadan is a once-in-a-year opportunity. Many of our acquaintances and close people left us before this Ramadan; who knows if we will live to see it next year? In it is the night that is more virtuous than a thousand months. With the rewards being multiplied, it is the best time to race in good deeds and seek forgiveness.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “May a man who experiences Ramadan and it passes before he is forgiven be humiliated. (Tirmidhi: reliable)
Let us not laze around and feel demotivated lest we regret losing this excellent chance on the Day of Judgement.
2. Are your goals realistic?
The commencement of Ramadan does not cease our regular responsibilities. Sometimes we set goals that are impossible to achieve alongside these responsibilities. Or, we set the goals too high for thirty days, tire ourselves in the first few days, and then lose the momentum.
We must plan according to our capacity and available time. Islam was never about quantity; it is about quality! Even small deeds can go a long way when performed with consistency and sincere intentions. Re-evaluate your goals in the light of this hadith:
Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Do good deeds properly, sincerely, and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise; the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it is little.” (Bukhari)
Aisha (ra) relates that the Prophet (sa) said: “Do those deeds which you can do easily, as Allah will not get tired (of giving rewards) till you get bored and tired (of performing religious deeds).” The most beloved prayer to the Prophet (sa) was the one which was done regularly (throughout the life) even if it were little. And whenever the Prophet (sa) offered a prayer, he used to offer it regularly. (Bukhari)
3. Refresh yourself
Nothing is possible without Allah’s help and guidance. When you feel you are slacking, take shelter in Dua (supplication). Recite the Dua for protection from procrastination and seek refuge from Shaytan (Satan). Refresh your soul by reading or listening to an inspiring reminder. You can also read a few pages from the Seerah; nothing is more stimulating than it!
4. Make daily and weekly plans
Break whatever plans you have made for the month into daily and/or weekly milestones. For example, if you want to read the Seerah, decide the number of pages you want to read each day. This will make it easier for you to review and assess your progress. Each day as you go to bed, mentally revise what you have completed and what needs to be accomplished the next day.
5. Find company
When we are alone, we are prone to falling, and when in company, each strengthens the other. It is easier to worship when you see others around you doing the same. Include your family and friends in your Ramadan aspirations. This will help you stay motivated. For example, if you have planned to read the explanation of some selected Surahs (chapters), do it together with your family members.
Zahra Anjum is a freelance writer, editor and translator based in Islamabad, Pakistan
© IIPH 2015