“O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (Qur’an, 2:183)
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers till the end of time.
This first article is intended to propose to all the Muslims regardless of gender differences to assess themselves on whether they are changed Muslims after the rigorous reformation and restoration they have underwent during in the just concluded Ramadan exercise. It is also intended that the soul-searching be a continuous exercise in order ascertain the level of compliance or otherwise. Knowing the true result will in turn provide you with an unbiased self-analysis result sheet. Thus, whatever is the outcome will be the basis for scoring yourself unwavering or unbalanced, upright or immoral. If the scored marks are anything to go by, then put more effort to sustain them before aiming at a higher level of spirituality. But, if it is dispiriting, then try to maintain your level of pity already attained during the Ramadan. What is most disliked is slumping down the ladder after attaining certain level of righteousness during the blessed month of Ramadan.
Allah in His infinite mercy choses for the Muslims the month of Ramadan once in a year and provided them with common stage devoid of satanic insinuations and influences in their daily worships and chorus for a whole lunar month! The usual laziness and shiftlessness that accompany some acts of worship have been suppressed and quenched during Ramadan. The main reason for making the month to serve as orientation period is to be trained to find long-lasting pleasure in attending to all our daily worships without responding to the distractive and destructive implorations of the Satan.
It is true that there are many lesser-fair Muslims who do not take their worships serious. This negative attitude is usually bothering the youngsters populace especially the unemployed or the redundant in the villages. Satan finds them as good foot soldiers for spreading mischiefs in the land. But, because Ramadan is a special month, Allah chained all the Satan from distracting and insinuating them to abandon the mosques, the Qur’an and shun away from mischiefs.
The first thing to do before embarking on the self-examination, you have to get some sheet papers and biro to jot down all your lapses prior to Ramadan. If you are one of those guys who do not perform their daily salawats in congregation, or not praying at all, or seldom read or listen to the Qur’an, or completely glued to Western music 24/7, or your behaviours are alien to the community you live, you just write down all your lapses and shortcoming.
On another fresh paper write all your new acquired attitudes and traits during the Ramadan. Then write downthe bad things you were able, by the grace of Allah, to break away from during Ramadan, but have intention to go back to them or undecided on what to do. Remember to categorize them under the following subheads of Fard(obligatory), Wajib (necessary), Sunnah (enforced by the Prophet), Mustahab (recommended), Halal (permitted),Mubah (allowable), Haram (forbidden) andMakruh (disliked).
You must try to know the categories of every act of worship which you used to forsake in the pre-Ramadan period, and those lofty deeds you imbibed during the month of mercy.
Now compare the major two categorizations and see for yourself the discrepancies and the lessens deeds. Try to find out if the table is showing any sign of improvement or otherwise. Having done that, start to score yourself on every compliance and every defiance.
Make a bar chart or graph to enable you see for yourself from a distance your score cards so that needs for improvement will prompt you anytime you look at it.
The essence of this self-assessment is to provide you withaccessability to your inner self and making you your own judge of your own performances on daily, weekly and monthly basis. This in a way may lead you to redeeming yourself from spiritual oblivion ahead.
Now that we are conversant with the objectives of self-evaluation as self-evidence, we now easily see the linkages between our righteous deeds especially those of the Ramadan, and the ones after.
Allah says: “O you who have believed, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty.” [al-Anfal: 29]