Take 5 before 5: The Phases of Life


In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

The Prophet (saw) advised to: “Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death
(Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)

Many of us are familiar with this hadith, of which had awakened a reality within me.

We make observations through different phases of life, observations of ourselves and those around us. We make mistakes, and watch others make mistakes, and majority of the time take a lesson from them. Sometimes we don’t, and kick ourselves for not learning from the mistakes.

One of the beauties of Islam is that we are given a secure way of life, and the best understanding, which gives us the highest strength and motive. Islam prevents us from making grave mistakes, pre warning us of what we may fall into, gives us stepping stones and gives us aims, goals and aspirations. Islam – even till this day throws me back, with its beauty and wisdom. One of ways in which we trust in Allah (Tawwakul), is that we follow His commands and the advice of the Prophet (saw), whether we are in a compromising situation or not, whether we are in good health or not, whether we think the outcome will not be what we desire – we all should aim to act on Allah’s commands – regardless, which then in turn will give us prolonged success. It gives us security, in judging from what’s right and wrong, as we make judgements based on the understanding Allah has given us, if we follow Allah’s commands – we know we can never go wrong or be in regret that we made the wrong decision.

For myself, it truly was a favour or a gift bestowed upon me, and all Muslims;

This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Al-Maida 5:3]

This Hadith summarises the phases which we may go through throughout life, Youth, Parenthood, Middle age, Old age. If we sit back and think, throughout these phases, we gain and lose. This Hadith, advises us, to take advantage of what is of its highest during these phases, all aimed at… Worship to Allah.

It is known, that the one who spends his youth in servitude to Allah, will be rewarded highly, and also be amongst the 7 to be in Allah’s shade on the day where there will be no shade. The hadiths compliment each other.

I watch my sister in law run around the house after her two children all day, feeding them, watching out for them in case they run out of the house and stand in the middle of the road wating to be confronted by a car. I watch my mum, who is majority of the time ill, and sometimes difficult for her just to even sit in peace, without being in pain. I knew another middle aged woman, who was also usually ill, and who hasn’t fully embraced the deen even till today.

I put myself in these situations, and wondered how would I try to fit in my time to Allah, and how much time can I devote to Allah in these situations.

If we reach the age of 40 without having invested in the akhira, without making use of our time we had, made use of our health, and we come to the realisation of Allah where we are at the brink of our health, constrained with time due to responsiblities, and look back at the money we had which could have been spent in better ways, how will our states of minds be?

It is usually within our youth, we have less responsibility, we are at the peak of our healths, we have vast amounts of time which we can let easily slip away.

We can all aim to make our steps, our eating, our sleep a way of worship – If we aim to keep ourselves in good health, in order that we can prolong our lives and worship to Allah, If we make use of our free time, because as many mothers will know, raising children, especially within the first years are very time consuming, therefore before parenthood, we should use the time we have. The great benefit in this is, is if we use our time and efforts in Allah’s way, Allah places Baraqah in it. If we store our good deeds, we can sit in some peace of mind in our later ages, when if we are in bad health, and tied up with other responsibilities, and not have great regret, that we spent the majority of our lives in other than the worship of Allah.

InshAllah in the coming month, an article will be produced concentrating on one part of the hadith, relating to the ‘phases of life’, inshAllah in order that we can take benefit…

Watch this space…

Sr. Aysha Khanom

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6 Comments

  1. Junaed says:

    How, true
    something that is often repeated, but never really thought about

  2. maryam says:

    subhanAllah- that’s the truth. JezakiAllahu khayrin… I miss the days when I could go to the halaqa in the masjid because I didn’t have class at that time…or do extra ebadah because I didn’t have a crazy schedule…so easy to miss out on the good when you have what seems to be a great amount of time, but subhanAllah, every small thing counts when you realize how little time you have to do what you used to do. take 5 before 5!

    “It is usually within our youth, we have less responsibility, we are at the peak of our healths, we have vast amounts of time which we can let easily slip away.

    We can all aim to make our steps, our eating, our sleep a way of worship – If we aim to keep ourselves in good health, in order that we can prolong our lives and worship to Allah, If we make use of our free time, because as many mothers will know, raising children, especially within the first years are very time consuming, therefore before parenthood, we should use the time we have. The great benefit in this is, is if we use our time and efforts in Allah’s way, Allah places Baraqah in it. If we store our good deeds, we can sit in some peace of mind in our later ages, when if we are in bad health, and tied up with other responsibilities, and not have great regret, that we spent the majority of our lives in other than the worship of Allah.”

  3. Razia says:

    We all need to wake up. we take the things Allaah swt has given us for granted and then when we lose it, then we realize it’s value. This hadeeth is an excellent reminder for us and a ‘eye opener’ too. I pray Allaah swt make our path easy, strengthen our Emaan and help us to develop Taqwah !

  4. Asalaamu Alaiykum W’Rahmatullahi W’Barakatuh.

    Masha’Allah, an excellent article. Simple and easy to understand, with much wisdom. Subhan’Allah, really makes you think about your priorities in life. Reminds me of the voluntary fasts we can keep during youth. If I think I’m struggling now, then how will I feel when I’m older?

    Jazak’Allahu khaiyrun for this piece. May Allah SWT grant you the tawfiq to continue.

    Asalaamu Alaiykum W’Rahmatullahi W’Barakatuh.

  5. Asma says:

    Salaam

    MashaAllah great article. This hadeeth was going around my head all day so I looked it up and came across your article. Really got me thinking… May Allah swt give us the tawfiq to worship Him as He should be worshipped. Peace and blessings upon the prophet muhammad.

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