“I’m a changed person now! I’ll ensure I always pray on time, and in the masjid where possible. I’ll pray all my sunnah prayers, read the Qur’ān every day, and attend weekly classes.” Does this sound familiar? Did you say or think something similar towards the end of Ramadān?
Ramadān is a month of many blessings, as Allāh gives us another chance to return to Him, to do more good, and to change ourselves. During Ramadān, the shayātīn are locked up, and their whispering is far from our ears, so we sin less, and kick evil and the shaytān out of our hearts, to free it for Allāh’s obedience. Our acts of worship significantly increase, so we become closer to Allāh, and we realise our potential, and how much we can really do in one day when we try hard enough. These are opportunities that Allāh gives us so that we can gain a boost in our Īmān, and so that we can use Ramadān as a stepping stone to increase in good throughout the year.
Now that Ramadān is over, and we are back to our daily lives, many of us fall short of making use of this great opportunity, so we return to how we were before Ramadān as if nothing had happened. We also forget that we made constant du’ā to Allāh that He accepts our worship in Ramadān, and that from the signs of acceptance of deeds is that Allāh facilitates doing more good deeds for a person. One method we can employ to try to save ourselves from this lowly state is to think about why we did what we did in Ramadān, and who did it for. Who is this, that we spent the nights standing for, out of whose fear our tears flowed, for whose sake we so easily departed from our wealth, and whose Words we spent hours on end reciting? Is this being not the same Allāh that we worship inside and outside of Ramadān? Did Allāh not command us to worship Him throughout our lives until we die?
And worship your Lord until certainty (death) comes upon you… 
In order for us to increase in our usual worship after Ramadān and be from the ones who truly benefitted from Ramadān, we need to love Allāh, and love obeying Him, and we will only love Allāh when we get to know who He is. Know, my brothers and sisters, that the greatest love is to love the one who has blessed you and was good to you, thus there can be no greater love than the love of Allāh. Who gives you good and repels harm from you? Who gives you health, and rewards you abundantly when you are tested? Who decreed your provisions and is more merciful to you than a mother is to her child? Who concealed your sins and mistakes, was patient with you, and eventually forgives you? Who alleviates your difficulties, answers your du’ā, and gives you what you ask for when He is in no need for you? Who watches you while you use His blessings to disobey Him, yet does not take them away from you and conceals your sins while you are in disobedience, and when you turn back to Him, not only does He forgive you, but He is happy with you and changes your sins into rewards?
If a person did the bare minimum of only one of these things for you then you would have unequivocal love for him, and respect him, so how can you not truly love the one who does more than all of this for you? His blessings are constantly descending upon you, while your disobedience is constantly ascending to Him. His blessings over you are uncountable, “And if you count the blessings of Allāh, you will never be able to number them;”  when He is in no need of you, but you are in absolute need for Him. Your transgressions towards Him do not stop Him from being kind and gentle with you, and do not stop His blessings over you, whilst this treatment from Him is not preventing you from constant transgression and sins.
Everyone in this world wants us or interacts with us to fulfil a need for themselves, whilst Allāh wants us and gives us for our own need, as He says: “My slave, everyone wants you for himself, and I want you for yourself.”  All your needs, along with the needs of the creation are with Him, and He is the most generous, so He gives you more than what you actually ask for. He is appreciative for whatever small you do, and forgives whatever large you commit. He is shy from you but you are not shy from Him. He conceals your mistakes when you do not conceal them, and He has mercy over you when you are not merciful to yourself. He called you to His forgiveness and pleasure, and if that wasn’t enough, He sent the messengers to teach you and guide you to His forgiveness and pleasure. If that was not enough, then He descends every night in the last third of the night to the lowest heaven and calls you, “Who asks me so that I can give him, who calls upon me so I can answer his call, who seeks my forgiveness so I can forgive him?” 
If a businessman made a profitable transaction, would he leave it for something else that is unprofitable? Then how do we leave out doing transactions with Allāh when He promises us that for every good deed we do He multiplies it by 10 up to 700 fold, up to as many times as He wishes; yet guarantees that if we sin it is recorded as only one sin, and if we ask for forgiveness then it is not even recorded as such?
Knowing the above fills our hearts with awe for our beloved Lord and Creator, and makes us feel shy in front of Him. Therefore we should be shy to use His blessings in an act other than an act of obedience, let alone use His blessings in a way that displeases Him. How can we then be heedless of His worship when everything around us is a blessing from Allāh?
My brothers and sisters, it is time for us to ensure that we turn to Allāh throughout the year, that we appreciate His blessings over us, and that we are from his thankful slaves. Let us ensure that our closeness to Him that we attained in Ramadān does not fade away, and that our hearts that were filled with His obedience are not again filled with the whispers of the shaytān. During our time in Ramadān, we felt a great sense of peace, tranquillity and contentment. This is the feeling that a believer feels when He is close to his Lord, and if you try to remember all of the other pleasures you have had in the dunya, you will surely see that none match the pleasure you had when you were close to Allāh. This feeling is in fact the greatest pleasure of this dunya, and none of the people who appear to have everything in this dunya can ever feel such a beautiful feeling with the worldly pleasures they have. The pious predecessors used to say,
If the Kings and Princes of the world knew what we feel in our hearts from closeness to Allāh then they would fight us for it with their swords.
My brothers and sisters, it is time for us now to ensure we have this feeling throughout our lives, and not only in Ramadān, for the one who tastes the sweetness of Īmān is a fool if he leaves it for lowly, worldly pleasures.
From the main methods that a believer uses to ensure he does not fall back to the lower state he was in before Ramadān is to avoid sinning because that is how the shaytān will be able to re-enter the heart, and the love for the dunya does not mix with the love for Allāh in the same heart. The shaytān will not be able to control you when you are close to Allāh so make sure your closeness to Allāh is something that accompanies you throughout your life. Have you not heard what Allāh says to the shaytān?
Verily you have no control over my (believing) slaves. 
We know from ahādīth that the most beloved actions to Allāh are the continuous ones, even if they are little, so let’s set a plan for some acts of worship that we will continue throughout our lives. The scholars say that the best thing is to set yourself a minimum target that you must achieve no matter what your situation is. If you are feeling strong then you exceed this minimum target, but at times of tiredness and busyness, you just meet this target. For example, you set yourself a target to read 10 pages of Qur’ān a day. If you are feeling strong and have more time, then you read more (and that should be the aim), but if you can’t then you just read 10 pages, and never go below that. Similarly you can do that for the night prayers so your target is to pray at least 3 rak’at witr every night. You try to pray more during the night, but if you can’t then you at least pray 3 rak’at. By doing so, you have ensured you have continuous acts of worship that you never abandon, hence are doing the most beloved actions to Allāh. You can also record these targets in a checklist and compete with your wife and/or family so that you can monitor progress and support each other.
My final point is just a subtle reminder that though we have completed the great act of fasting in Ramadān, alhamdulillāh, we need to realise that our whole life is like a day of fast. We must refrain from harām desires and sin, and will only feel real sweetness in the hereafter when we complete this fast, so let’s not lose sight of that and always keep it in the back of our minds in everything we do, for Allāh is deserving of more than that!
 Al-Qur’ān 15:99
 Al-Qur’ān 14:34
 Mentioned by Ibn Al-Qayyim as in al-Jawāb al-Kāfi}
 Bukhāri and Muslim
 Al-Qur’ān 15:42
Abul Baraa studied Chemical Engineering at UCL, and now works full time for a major Engineering firm. Throughout his time at university, he was involved in Islamic Society da’wah and wrote a number of articles for the society’s periodic newsletter. Abul Baraa is a firm believer of the necessity to continue Islamic Studies throughout working life, and is a regular attendee of a number of weekly circles. He has completed an in-depth study of Imām al-Nawawi’s 40 hadīth with Ustādh Alomgir Ali, and has created a blog with summarised bullet-point commentary on each hadīth, which can be found on www.hadithcommentary.wordpress.com.