Quranic Reflection No. 321 Āyat 35:29 – Keeping the Spirit of Ramadan alive
innaladhīna yatlūna kitābal-lāhi wa-aqāmus-salāta wa-anfaqū mimmā razaqnāhum sirran wa-‘alāniyatan yarjūna tijāratan lan tabūr
Indeed those who recite the Book of Allah and maintain the prayer, and spend secretly and openly out of what We have provided them, hope for a transaction that will not perish.
(Sūrat Fātir, No. 35, Āyat 29)
Bidding farewell to the month of Ramadan often means a decline in the spirituality experienced during it. The highs felts during the worship of the nights, the recitation and reflection over the Book of God, the empathy felt for the need, all slowly subside. It almost slips away unnoticed. To prevent that a conscious effort is required so that some of the spirit can be maintained throughout the year.
Before celebrating Eid some resolutions can be made regarding what actions and attitudes should be continued, even if done in a small dose. The verse above gives us three things which can be done continuously so we continue the efforts to be close to God all through life and not just at appointed times. These three habits are:
1) Reciting the Book of Allah regularly – a practice must be maintained of ongoing recitation each day. Note that the word yatlūna is in present tense, showing a continuity of action. The Holy Prophet (s) says: One who recites ten verses of the Quran every night will not be counted amongst the negligent ones (ghāfilīn), one who recites fifty verses will be written as those who remember Allah (dhākirīn), and one who recites one hundred verses will be written down as the obedient and worshipper of Allah (qānitīn). (Thawābul A‘māl, p .232). Undoubtedly, regular tilāwah would lead one to understand and follow the Divine message.
2) Establishing Prayer – Salāt must not just be said but must be established. It should be a habit to keep up the required etiquette such as praying on time, praying with focus and attention, spending time in worship. Just as it was done in the month of Ramadan. Imam Ali Zaynul ‘Ābidīn (a) supplicates for the good habits one needs to develop in Ramadan by saying: O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family. Grant us success in it (i.e. Ramadan) to perform the five prayers punctually, observe the obligations You have decreed, attend to ceremonies You have prescribed and follow the timings You have fixed (Sahīfa, Supplication 44, passage 8).
3) Spending on the needy – Majority of Muslims are a lot generous during Ramadan. Muslims felt the hunger and thirst of others, experiencing it firsthand. Hearts were softened and compassion for the less fortunate was very evident. Such habits must be continued after the holy month. In the same supplication mentioned above, Imam al-Sajjād (a) prays: Give us success in this month to show favor to our kin with devotion and gifts, take care of neighbors with kindness and benevolence, purge our wealth of obligations, and purify it by paying alms (Ibid, passage 10).
These three habits are the foundations of a trade with Allah, the gains of which will never perish. Continue the good habits you have formed in the month and reap the benefits all through the year.
Sources: Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr-e Nūr; Academy for Learning Islam, Glimpses of Sahīfa Sajjādiyya