by Raiiq Ridwan
In the previous article, we put together the various names Allah uses for the Day of Judgement. Insha’Allah (God willing), we will be moving on today. However, moving on is not necessarily moving forward. What we will do is step back a bit and look at death, which is the real start of one’s judgment.
”Every soul shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned” (Qur’an, 29:57)
”Wherever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high.” (Qur’an, 4:78)
Why this toil through life and death and then resurrection all over again? one may ask. These are questions which have baffled philosophers throughout generations. However, we cannot ask simple mortals, however intellectual they may be, to know the matters of the unseen. Rather we will ask the One who has the keys to the knowledge of the unseen, and He subhanahu wa ta’ala answers all the burning questions in our minds:
“Who has created death and life, that He may test which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving”. (Qur’an, 67:2)
If we were to go on a journey to a foreign country for just a few days, we would take over a week just preparing for it, doing the shopping, packing our bags and taking ample provisions for the journey. Then, what about the ultimate journey, the guaranteed journey, the journey that is eternal. What have we done for it? It is a one-way ticket, and the real problem is that we do not know when the boarding is going to be. It can be anytime, even now!
If life and death has been created to test which of us is the best indeed, then are we not fools if we do not make the best of this situation? The life of this world is temporary, while the life of the hereafter is everlasting. Whether it is the blessings of Paradise or the disaster of Hell, it is endless, and there will be no turning back. Therefore our choices are limited to only one – utilize this time, this moment, today. Prepare here for the Hereafter.
One of the names of the Day of Judgement we mentioned previously was Yawm Al-Hasrah, which means the Day of Regret or the Day of Distress. Have you ever imagined how the Day of Judgement would be, if you were ONE good deed short of the required for Jannah? Have you ever thought that on that day you might say, “Oh my Lord, I wish I had sacrificed that sleep for fajr”, “Uff, I wish U hadn’t committed that tiny sin there”, and so on and so forth. Subhan’Allah, the simple thought of it terrifies me.
A problem often arises. Sometimes when our iman (faith) is real high masha’Allah we feel the urge to do more and more good deeds. We can push ourselves over our limits and soon burn out. Then we fall back and end up doing even less than the obligatory, less than before.
Shaykh Tawfique Chowdhury mentioned three things to do if you are new towards Islam, and you are still in the process of “moving in” to Islam:
1. Fix your salah (prayer), first, praying them punctually, consistently and developing a serene heart.
“Successful indeed are the believers. who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness”. (Qur’an, 23:1-2)
2. Instead of trying to do a lot of good in one go which burns us out, we should try and remove a lot of the filthy habits that have become part of our second nature. These habits amount up and become more difficult to eliminate over time, so we should try removing them by building good habits insha’Allah. Replace one bad with one good – greed with generosity, for example.
3. Have a good circle of friends and stay in good company. “Man is likely to follow the religion of his friend. So watch out with whom you make friends.” (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhee)
A Muslim is one who loves to meet Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, and therefore he loves all that Allah loves and hates all that Allah hates. This is the state of iman we should aim for, where every deed we do will be for the sake of Allah, and desiring His love. Only when we have firm love for the religion of Allah, can we sacrifice for the sake of it, and work for it.
When we love someone we have both hope and fear. I love my mother more than anyone else on earth, and I have both hope and fear in her. I always hope that my mother is happy with me, loves me, is doing something good for me. On the flip side, I am always fearful of angering my mother, displeasing her, hurting her or disappointing her.
In a similar way the love for Allah is something that is greater, and it is based upon hope and fear that is far greater. Ibn Al Qayyim rahimahullah (God have mercy on him) compared Iman to a bird. The head of the bird is love, and each wing is hope and fear. If one wing were to break or weigh heavier than the other, then the bird wouldn’t be able to fly and reach its destination.
While we love Allah, we should be hopeful of His Mercy and also fearful of His Punishment. Indeed one of my favorite Shaykhs, Saalih Al-Munajjid once said:
“Love of Allah is life itself, and to be deprived of it entails a terrible death; it is the light without which one would sail in a sea of darkness; it is the cure without which one’s heart will be overwhelmed by a multitude of diseases; it is the joy without which one will remain in permanent grief; it is the essence of faith and deeds, without which they become like a soulless body.
It is the means without which people will never reach their destination nor attain their place in Paradise; it is the means with which people reach their beloved (i.e., Allah). I swear by Allah that if people can achieve this honor in both this life and the Hereafter, then they have attained the true joy and happiness.”
Such profound words subhan’Allah! It is on this note that I end for now.
May Allah indeed help us to benefit ourselves in the limited time span that we have and utilize it in shaping our homes of the hereafter, and truly find the love of Allah