When Ramadan ended this year, I felt my heart break. There is always a sadness with the departure of Ramadan, but usually it is mixed with the excitement of Eid.
Not this year. This year felt different.
Perhaps it was because I didn’t accomplish what I wanted. But I also felt that Ramadan, our companion, left me. And with that came a feeling of abandonment. Walking to the mosque to pray the Eid prayer, I reflected on my melancholic state. My friend who was feeling the same way said, “I feel like Allah is leaving us.” As is human nature, we were attached to something temporary. Something that we know would come and go. Something that is a means to Him but is not Him. So I had to remind us that Allah is al-Baaqi, and He remains after everything disappears. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) tells us in the Qur’an:
“And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” [Qur’an, 55:27]
The Name al-Baaqi and its derivatives come from the root baa-qaf-ya, which means: to remain, continue and to be permanent. Al-Ghazali tells us that “the everlasting is such that the projection of its existence into the future has no end.”
So the root of our heartbreak is attachment to that which does not last, whether it is to the spirituality of Ramadan or another human being. And this is where we can see how intimately Allah knows us. He tells us His attribute of permanence—He is al-Baaqi. When everything else leaves or dies, He is with us. There is no heartbreak if we are attached to Him—He will always remain. As He tells us Himself:
“Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do.” [Qur’an, 16:96]
The magicians during the time of the Prophet Musa `alayhi sallatu wa sallam (may God send his peace and blessings on him) understood this. When they saw Musa’s (as) staff turn into a real snake—unlike their trickery—they bowed down to Musa (as), and declared their belief in His Lord. Pharaoh was livid. He threatened to torture them and crucify them. But they said:
“Indeed, we have believed in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and what you compelled us [to do] of magic. And Allah is better and more enduring.” [Qur’an, 20:73]
That last sentence is key. They said Allah is more enduring (abqa, from the same root). It did not matter what Pharaoh did to them. Pharaoh would die one day but Allah (swt) would remain. And the deeds done for Him will endure.
So when Ramadan ends, our relationship with Him should continue. Even if we wasted the whole of Ramadan, Allah’s attributes outside of Ramadan will not change. He is still the One who accepts you when you return, who forgives you when you mess up, and who has more mercy on you than your own mother. He is al-Baaqi. He tells us:
“O son of Adam! As long as you invoke Me and plead to Me, I will forgive you whatever you have committed, and I will not make much of it. O son of Adam! If your evil deeds reach the borders of the sky, and then you ask Me for forgiveness, I will forgive you. O son of Adam! If you bring forth the earth full of errors, then you meet Me while you do not associate anything (or anyone) with Me, I will bring forth for you its full of forgiveness.” [Tirmidhi]
So just like we work hard to make temporary things last, let us work even harder for the ultimate permanence. As Allah tells us: “Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring (al-baaqiyaat) good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope.” [Qur’an, 18:46]
Spare yourself the heartbreak and the pain of separation. Work on the things that remain, for He who remains.