Its another set of 10 days- those of Dhul Hajj. Hajj…sigh. Well if you can’t go for Hajj, there are the 10 days leading into Eid and the most important day for everyone, regardless if you’re performing Hajj or not, is the Day of Arefa. As those 10 days start (today), I was reflecting on how this year I have been able to keep the Ramadan spirit going, much longer then usual. These are the 5 things I feel I have been able to do to keep that Ramadan feeling:
1. Don’t jump out of the deep end: I think one of the things we do during Ramadan is we participate in a great deal of sunnah activities- extra prayers, reading more Quran, sitting together to share food, longer duahs. All of these things are easier during Ramadan and in return are what add to the Ramadan spirit. By extending those activities, even a fraction of the intensity of Ramadan, into the rest of your year will help you keep hold of Ramadan. For me, this year that is a significant change.
2. Mercy is a Year Round Thing: During Ramadan we are filled with Rahma, as Allah floods our lives with Rahma. I feel that one thing we lose after Ramadan is that sense of Rahma and in turn we begin to lose the Ramadan spirit. We worked on holding onto Rahma by doing good deeds, being kind, smiling, having good thoughts, doing things for ourselves, family, friends and strangers that we weren’t asked to do. We showed mercy to ourselves, others and the environment during Ramadan because those were good deeds that were being multiplied, we should continue that even if the deeds aren’t being multiplied.
3. Stay close to those who make you the person you are. Family orientated activities, that don’t deal with business, were the central part of Ramadan. In fact, those activities were all about our faith, we gathered because of our religion. Eating together, breaking bread, cooking together- all of these activities brought the family and friends together during Ramadan. Doing things that are like that, removing the trappings of business and consumerism or multitasking, and even better electronics, will help keep that Ramadan spirit going.
4. Cut the static- I talked about cutting the cable cord. I think one of the things that really helps the Ramadan spirit is not being governed by television or its content. Use your DVR, limit your tube time, watch the content your consuming.I Performed the five daily prayers with greater concentration throughout the day I was better able to monitor my thoughts and censor and control my own impulses easily. Also, checking social media like a crack addict, or having that cell phone around texting all the time, it layers on all these connections and responsibilities that allows you to lose yourself and lose sight of your God conscientiousness. I find that its important to cut that out of my life, so I can devote my time and attention to God, myself and family and friends.
5. Do good deeds. Part of Rahma, is understanding the suffering of others. Anticipating the needs of others is a way to become sensitive to other peoples life. Learning to walk a mile in another persons shoes is that old saying that oft gets repeated but is so hard to truly live by. In having a sense of participating in the suffering of others, is our way as Muslims to get near to Rahma in Islam because you raise your consciousness of God and his infinite mercy toward us.