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Sustaining Habits during Ramadan

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

…بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that  your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6464)

سَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنْ لَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَحَدَكُمْ عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ أَدْوَمُهَا إِلَى اللَّهِ، وَإِنْ قَلَّ

With Ramadan approaching, many of us may be planning to start doing more good deeds to become closer to Allah and make the most out of this blessed month. It may be consistently doing morning and evening dhikr, reading more Quran every day, or waking up for tahajjud prayer. Oftentimes we are sincere in these efforts and we taste the sweetness of ‘ibadah but after Ramadan ends these habits slowly fade from our consciousness without our realization. As this Ramadan approaches, we must make the sincere and conscious effort to be mindful about performing these good deeds consistently and making them a part of our lives. 

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “If the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would perform a deed, he would be firm in it.” (Sahih Ibn Hibban 2646)

كان رسولُ اللهِ صلَّى اللهُ عليه وسلَّم إذا عمِل عمَلًا أثبَته

How can we be more like the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him? Oftentimes we are overambitious and end up burning out. We are not firm in our actions, but rather go through phases. To be sure, highs and lows of iman are completely natural, but what helps us get through those rough patches are the good habits we have already built. 

To get there, we must first think about our foundations. Perhaps we are even lacking in our obligatory deeds. Are we praying on time? Do we concentrate and take our time in our prayers? Again, we all must individually reflect on this. 

For some of us, it may be that we have a bad deed that we must get rid of. These habitual bad deeds are very dangerous because they become so ingrained in our lives that we don’t even realize how they are stacking up against us. We must reflect on how we treat our parents and our siblings, if we are using bad language, if perhaps we are listening to or watching obscene things. Each one of us is different, and we all must sit down and reflect on what we can do to abandon these vices, for after all “Successful indeed are those who purify themselves” (Surat Al A’la 87:14). قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكَّى

Before we take any further steps, we must ensure that our foundations are solid. After that, we can begin stacking good deeds on top.

We must always push ourselves to be better each year. If we feel like we are already doing enough, that is a very bad sign because there is always something more to do. Make sure that you tell yourself a specific goal that you want to achieve. Pick at least one habit that you want to begin doing this Ramadan which you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Do not be like the person who stood to pray in the night, then later abandoned it.” (Sahih Al-Jami’ 7945)

 لا تكُنْ مِثلَ فُلانٍ كان يقومُ من الليلِ ، فترَكَ قِيامَ الليْلِ

Oftentimes, we rely on our external environment to keep us firm on our good deeds. It’s quite easy to do pious actions when all around you people are engaged in the spirit of Ramadan. When you are fasting, when you are doing taraweeh, when you are engaging in charity, these are all ways that your soul is being purified. But can you maintain the purity of your soul when the next semester comes around, and you are being buried under assignments, projects, and midterms? 

What we must do is achieve that state of heart where Allah is always our priority, where we keep the akhira constantly at the forefront of our thoughts. We need to have the internal strength to keep us firm no matter what the circumstances around us are. After all, Allah looks to see the state of our hearts, not our external environment. 

How can we avoid burnout in these circumstances, but still aim to do more? Oftentimes, we all start out with good intentions, but we set ourselves up for failure. We tell ourselves that we will add a dozen rakat of sunnah prayers at once, or that we will start reading a juz of Quran a day when we haven’t even incorporated these habits into our lives in the first place. When we introduce a new habit, it’s important that we start small so that we can sustain it in the long term and solidify its place in our day-to-day life. After that, we can begin to add to these deeds. Start off reading whatever amount of Quran you can, a page or half a page, but make sure to stick to it until it becomes a part of your routine that you cannot do without. After that, begin to add more pages, rakat of prayer, or whichever deed you aim to improve. Shaytan wants us to give up before we even start, but it’s better to do a little bit each day than none at all. Slowly, we find ourselves adding to these good deeds inshallah.

We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to keep us firm and to cleanse our hearts. We must all make a sincere du’aa to Allah to help us this Ramadan. Surely when you call out to Allah, he listens. He knows what is in your heart and if he sees that you are sincere, he will help you. And without the help of Allah, none of us would succeed.

Here are some du’aas that we should repeat during Ramadan and after:

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ

Ya Muqallibal qulub, thabbit qalbi ‘ala dinik

O Turner of hearts, keep my heart steadfast on your religion.

اللَّهُمَّ جَدِّدِ الإيْمَانَ فِي قَلْبِي

Allahumma Jadid Al Imaan Fee Qalbi 

Oh, Allah renew the faith in my heart

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ

Rabbana la tuzigh qulubana ba’ada ith hadaetana wa hab lana milla dunka rahmata innaka antal wahhab

Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower


Disclaimer: This advice column is written by university students. We do not claim any scholarly background nor religious authority. We offer practical advice based on our own experiences in reconciling our commitment to Islam with modern challenges. Though we base our advice on credible Islamic sources, we urge you to further explore the issues that are discussed. We can offer advice and starting points for further inquiry, but ultimately Allah alone knows best. Whatever is good is from Allah, while error is from ourselves.

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