As the familiar enlightening rhythm of the Takbir echoed on televisions during the final night of Ramadan, you realised you finally reached the end of your spiritually illuminating journey. Everyone is delighted to open up a new chapter the next day, but somehow you feel that there’s a missing piece that tells you that you’re not quite satisfied with your progress. And then it hits you: You didn’t maximize your Ramadan.
You feel like you missed out the opportunity to be a better Muslim. You did what you’ve always done pre-Ramadan, and you knew you learned exactly nothing from the blessed month. You feel worthless, unaccomplished, and regretful for the time you have spent; 30 days to be exact. You’ll have to wait another year to meet the blessed month once again, but the thought of imminent and unpredictable death frightens you.
If you’re ever deep down in the dumps about what you can’t change, this is the time to stop. Don’t let your yesterday pull you down and eat you up with guilt and remorse. It’s no use to dwell on the past, nor is it healthy for your emotional and mental well-being! Stop your negative train of thoughts — depressing concepts like the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only…’ — and start thinking about how you can get back up and redeem yourself into a better and more perceptive Muslim, Insha’Allah.
But First, What Does the Qur’an Say About Moving Forward?
Everyone is capable of change, and Allah Almighty emphasizes that for each and every one of us. It might be difficult to move on with the fact that you wasted 30 days of fasting doing exactly nothing, or worse, committing sins. But here are just a few Qur’anic verses and hadith to remind you that even if you wasted Ramadan, you still deserve a second chance.
وَٱلَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا۟ فَـٰحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ فَٱسْتَغْفَرُوا۟ لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا۟ عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا۟ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ(Qur’an, 3:135)
“Those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions (and who can forgive bad actions except Allah?) and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing.”
“Do not give up and do not be downhearted. You shall be uppermost if you are believers.”
Remember that Allah Himself — The Most Merciful and The Most Beneficent — believes in your capabilities! And so, you have no reason not to. He’s the Creator of all Mankind, and He is All-Knowing. Why should you punish yourself for what you can’t change in the past?
The worst thing you can do is to compare your progress with others. You may think that your friends and families fared well in their spiritual journey, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do just as well!
So, let’s jump into how you can move on from the ‘mistakes’ you made in the blessed month, and be better post-Ramadan!
3 Steps to Getting Back Up Post-Ramadan
1. It’s All in the Name of Self-Love
Usually, we are our own worst critics. We just can’t help but compare our progress with others, beat ourselves up for committing something we’ve already done in the past, and punish ourselves for it.
We get demotivated and frustrated with what we could have done! It’s important to remember that what and how you react now will determine the future. The longer you dwell on your mistakes without finding the ideal solutions, the more you’re actually wasting your energy and time doing something productive!
Of course, being optimistic doesn’t just happen overnight, as it requires a lot of practice, reflection, and time to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made. You can always listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos on self-love to internalise the meaning of self-love and forgiving yourself. Here is some content for you to browse through to get you through the tough times, Insha’Allah.
2. Making Your To-Do List Realistic
A realistic to-do list should be everyone’s holy grail to becoming a more successful person. It should be yours too. Now, What makes one list realistic and another one not?
A realistic list has only the goals you think you can achieve given your circumstances, time period, and capability. It should reflect the end goals of what you truly want to achieve as a Muslim. It should be specific enough for you to have a clearer direction of where you should go, but not too restricted to the point that the failure of completing those goals will frustrate you.
However, if your goals are too vague, you won’t know how to go about those goals or how to determine your finish line. Likewise, if your goals are too ambitious or too rigid, you might find it difficult to accomplish them and end up disappointing yourself even more. Either way, if your list sounds like any of these instances, you need to relinquish your unrealistic expectations.
Be sure to make your list as specific as possible. For example, instead of setting a goal like “I want to read the Qur’an a lot better,” identify each step you intend to take to improve your recitation. In that case, one of your “to-dos” should sound like this: “Search for a Qur’an recitation course,” or something like: “Attend Qur’an recitation classes every Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM.”
3. Putting an End to Your Old Ways
Bad habits are our worst culprits. They hinder us from becoming better people in life! It’s hard to break when you’ve gone at it for years, not knowing how to break the cycle. The sad part is that you know exactly what the consequences are the moment you act upon it, but you know deep down that you are not able to control yourself.
Reading this, you know now that it is your calling to ditch all of your bad habits and replace them with good ones. Take note of your triggers. What triggers you to commit those bad habits? Why do you find it hard to end those bad habits? What can you do to substitute those bad habits? Ask yourself these questions and make a mental note.
If you’re looking for apps that can help you put a stop to all of your bad habits, you can definitely check these out:
At the end of the day, beating yourself up because you feel you wasted Ramadan won’t get you anywhere in life. It might be a difficult phase to go through, knowing that you haven’t done your best.
However, it doesn’t mean that your journey has ended and that you’re destined to be doomed forever; it doesn’t mean that you’ve wasted your life forever. It simply means that you REALISE your mistakes, and this is your chance to turn it upright and fix your mistakes with the RIGHT attitude. We hope and pray that Allah Almighty grants you patience, steadfastness, and strength to become a better Muslim — always.