The Holy Prophet sas said:
When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and satans are put in chains.(Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 59, Hadith 86; Sahih Muslim, Book 13, Hadith 1)
If satans are put in chains when Ramadan arrives, then will satans be released when Ramadan ends? The answer is: Yes, to an extent. The special blessings of Ramadan enhance our motivation to do good deeds in a way that is not present in the remaining months; the Holy Prophet sas said:
There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month… In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.(Sunan an-Nasa’i, vol. 3, Book 22, Hadith 2,108)
Also, the special discipline of Ramadan protects us from falling into sin in a way that is not present in the remaining months; Hadrat Musleh Mau‘ud ra said:
(Tafsir- e-Kabir, vol. 2, p. 380)
Mantrains in abstaining from that which is haram for eleven months, but in the twelfth month, he trains in abstaining not from that which is haram, but from that which is halal.
There is no doubt that after Ramadan, we become more vulnerable to sin than we were during Ramadan, and there is a risk that we may lose the spiritual progress we made during Ramadan. However, this is not cause for despair, in fact, being aware of this phenomenon is the first step to preventing it from catching us off guard. It is ignorance of this reality that leads to the despair that can cause us to lose the spiritual progress made during Ramadan.
Being ignorant of the different standard of spirituality we have during Ramadan, as opposed to the remainder of the year, can lead us to fall into dangerous spiritual pits during the eleven months after Ramadan. There is a similarity between the blessings of the presence of Ramadan and the blessings of the presence of the Holy Prophet
The presence of the month of Ramadan is similar, and the flawed comparison we sometimes make between our condition during Ramadan and our condition afterward can overlook the great revolution that Ramadan brought about in our spirituality and character. After Ramadan, we sometimes start thinking that Ramadan brought no lasting change in us because our spiritual state falls after it is over. However, this is not a correct comparison and this mentality creates despair. Our standard during Ramadan is the result of the special blessings and discipline of this holy month. If we wish to make an honest comparison, we have to observe the difference between the standard of our spirituality before Ramadan and after Ramadan. During Ramadan, we are like a spring that has been stretched, and when Ramadan ends, it is inevitable that the spring retracts after it has been released. However, we must remember that the spring does not retract anywhere close to its original position. Thus, the low that our spirituality can fall to before Ramadan is incomparable to the low it can fall to after Ramadan.
Being unaware of this reality can pull us into despair and ingratitude. This miscalculation on our part causes us to overlook the great spiritual progress we made, and when we hold ourselves to an unreasonable standard, we set ourselves up to spiral downwards. Just as orientalists fail to appreciate the great change the Holy Prophet
It is important that we not just concentrate on the best we are able to do, like observing tahajjud, but also the least we are able to do, like observing our obligatory prayers. If a person continuously feels guilty about how he is no longer as regular in tahajjud as he was in Ramadan, this negative mentality can make him despair to the point that he may even start missing his obligatory prayers. On the other hand, if a person is continuously grateful that he can observe his obligatory prayers with greater punctuality than he did before Ramadan, this positive mentality can motivate him to become as regular in tahajjud as he was in Ramadan. If we wish to make an honest analysis of the great change that the Holy Prophet
The question remains, how can we maintain our spirituality after Ramadan? Ramadan itself teaches us this lesson. Hadrat Musleh Mau‘ud ra described two types of Lailatu’l-Qadr (the Night of Destiny), one is the Collective Night of Decree (Ijtema’i Lailatu’l-Qadr) and the other is the Individual Night of Decree (
On whichever night Allah Almighty decides about a believer that, “From now on, he is certainly our heavenly servant,” that is his Lailatu’l-Qadr, and Ramadan is not a prerequisite for this night. At any time during the year, a person’s Lailatu’l-Qadr can happen. Allah Almighty is Gracious and Merciful, and these two attributes of His are always manifesting themselves.(Tafsir-e-Kabir, vol 9, p. 328)
Thus, aside from the appointed times of the special blessings of Allah Almighty, it was necessary that there be another system of blessings that manifests itself at every moment, and that is the system of individual blessings. The Lailatu’l-Qadr of different believers happens on different days, and in this way, the blessings of Allah Almighty descend daily on his servants throughout the whole year.
About the Collective Lailatu’l-Qadr, he ra writes:
Then, once during the year, in memory of the revelation of the Holy Quran, the blessings of Allah Almighty collectively descend on the whole umma in one night during the last ten days of Ramadan, and that is the major Lailatu’l-Qadr.(Tafsir- e-Kabir, vol 9, p. 328)
The lessons that we learn searching for the Collective Lailatu’l-Qadr during Ramadan teach us how to search for the Individual Lailatu’l- Qadr during the other eleven months. For example, in the last ten days of Ramadan, one lesson is that we search for the Collective Lailatu’l- Qadr with a sense of urgency, knowing that time for finding it is quickly running out. Another lesson is that we search with a feeling of certainty, knowing that these are blessed days and Allah Almighty will definitely reward our efforts. Unfortunately, after Ramadan, these feelings of urgency and certainty are often replaced with feelings of laziness and doubt. Thus, forgetting these critical lessons we learned in Ramadan ends up holding us back daily during the eleven months that follow. To find the Individual Lailatu’l-Qadr, we have to search using the same lessons we learned in Ramadan while searching for the Collective Lailatu’l-Qadr—with a sense of urgency and certainty. The search for the Collective Lailatu’l-Qadr ends with Ramadan, but it teaches us the importance of creating a sense of urgency and feeling
of certainty throughout the next eleven months in our search for the Individual Lailatu’l-Qadr.
Another lesson Ramadan teaches us is resilience. During the year, sometimes we feel spiritually high (bast), and sometimes we feel spiritually low (
Ramadan itself gives us training on the principles of sustaining the spiritual progress we gain during Ramadan. To avoid the pitfalls that come after Ramadan, we must not just be aware of the most we can do but also the least we can do so that we are saved from ingratitude; the Holy Prophet sas said:
Look at those who are inferior to you and do not look at those who are superior to you, for this will keep you from belittling Allah’s Favour to you.(Sahih Muslim, Book 55)
We must maintain the sense of urgency and certainty that Ramadan taught us, and continue striving with steadfastness for the remaining eleven months. In his sermon on October 28, 2005, Hudur aba said that it is the requisite of prayer that it is made with patience and not haste. Hudur aba said that the condition is that patience is not abandoned after Ramadan. The first step to overcoming the trials that come after Ramadan is to be aware ahead of time that spiritual trials will indeed come after Ramadan. The spiritual progress we gain during Ramadan can then be put into perspective and help us to further progress during the rest of the year.