As the blessed month of Ramadhaan draws to a close, and the month of Shawwaal approaches, people eagerly anticipate the arrival of the day of ‘Eid. However, it is at this time that the challenge arises – the challenge of istiqaamah (steadfastness).

Throughout the month of Ramadhaan, people exert themselves in ‘ibaadah, try their best to refrain from all sins, and in general, reform their conditions and improve their lives. In the last ten days especially, men fill the masaajid to capacity, and many women at home spend hours at night on the musalla.

Unfortunately, for many people, the end of Ramadhaan is like the commencement of a holiday – a holiday from Deeni duties, obligations and ‘ibaadah. This mindset is the mindset of the disbelievers who work throughout the week and then make merry on the weekend, or toil through the year and then indulge their every evil desire in December.

For a Muslim, there may be a break from work, business or school. One is also certainly not expected to strive out of Ramadhaan to the same level as he strove in Ramadhaan. However, at the same time, there is NO holiday, vacation or break from the injunctions and obligations of Deen and our ‘ibaadah for Allah Ta‘ala. Rather, it is through remaining steadfast, constant and consistent upon Deen that we will progress and gain entry into Jannah.

In this regard, it is reported that on one occasion a Sahaabi by the name of Sayyiduna Sufyaan bin ‘Abdillah Thaqafi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Please give me some advice in regard to Islam, which is such (i.e. so comprehensive and complete) that I will not need to ask anyone for advice after you.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “Say, ‘I have brought imaan in Allah,’ and then remain steadfast (upon all the dictates of the sharee‘ah).” (Saheeh Muslim #159)

In Ramadhaan we may be reciting one para (juz) or half a para daily, according to our ability. Now that Ramadhaan is drawing to an end, we should not bid our Quraan Shareef farewell and place it on the shelf for another twelve months. In Ramadhaan, we are waking up at the time of sehri and performing Tahajjud Salaah. Let it not be that Ramadhaan is the only time in our lives when we perform the Tahajjud Salaah. In Ramadhaan, we are particular regarding our dressing, not listening to music and refraining from sins in general. It should not be that after Ramadhaan we relapse and return to our evils and vices.

Instead, let us use this blessed month as the means to bring about a permanent positive change in our lives – the effects of which will remain with us throughout the year. Let us not be ‘seasonal worshippers’ who show zeal in the month of Ramadhaan, but with the sighting of the Shawwaal moon, we turn our backs and disappear into the distance.

It is said that the renowned saint, Bishr Haafi (rahimahullah), was once informed of certain people who exert themselves in ‘ibaadah during Ramadhaan (but are lax out of Ramadhaan). At this, he remarked, “How evil are those people (i.e. how evil is their condition) who only truly recognize Allah Ta‘ala in Ramadhaan! The one who is truly pious is the one who worships Allah Ta‘ala and exerts himself throughout the year.”

It is similarly mentioned that Shaikh Shibli (rahimahullah) was once asked, “Which is more virtuous – (the month of) Rajab or Sha’baan?” In reply, Shaikh Shibli (rahimahullah) said, “Become a ‘rabbaani’ (a person devoted to Allah Ta‘ala all the time) – and do not be a ‘sha’baani’ (one who is only devoted to Allah Ta‘ala in Sha’baan).” (Lataaif-ul Ma‘aarif pg. 396)

In the very same way, we should not be ‘Ramadhaanis’ – people who are only devoted, faithful and obedient Muslims during Ramadhaan. Rather, we should strive to be ‘Rabbaanis’ at all times.

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us with istiqaamah, and make Ramadhaan the turning point in our lives, aameen.