So many people prepare for this and that.
And so few of them prepare for death.
“So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” [Surah Al-Hijr (15) : 98-99]
Death is probably everyone’s least favourite topic, which is quite strange when you consider that ALL OF US will die.
What’s amazing is that the more righteous a person is, the more at ease they are with dying, and the less righteous a person is, the less at ease they are with dying.
There was a story that I heard that explained to me why that was so. One of the caliphs went to a scholar and asked him why people were so averse to death. The scholar pointed out how nobody would like to leave a house that they had built and furnished for a house that was not ready.
[That was the gist of the story. Sorry, I don’t remember the exact details.]
So, that’s why many people are averse to death. They’ve spent their lives polishing up their dunya (worldy life) but made little effort to build their house in Paradise.
A righteous person, on the other hand, would obey Allah and focus on the hereafter rather than letting this dunya control him/her.
I mean really, brothers and sisters, let’s look at most of our lives:
Why are there so many parties and so few Islamic classes?
Why is there so much talk about useless matters and so little dhikr (remembrance)) of Allah?
Why is there so much time spent reading the news and magazines and so little time spent reading the book of Allah?
Why is there so much time spent toiling away at night for that project that is due the next day but so little time spent toiling away at night by standing up in prayer?
Why is there so much money spent on clothes, accessories, food, furniture and Allah knows what else but so little money spent on charity and helping our brethren who are in need?
Why is there so much time spent on listing other people’s flaws but so little time spent listing our own flaws?
Why is there so much time spent talking or thinking about how we can help our ummah (nation) but so little time actually spent on doing so?
Why is there so much time spent on disobeying Allah and so little time spent on obeying Allah?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
We’re still alive, which means that we can still change before we die.
Now, you might say: “Huh, I’m too sinful! I need time to change.”
Okay, you need to read the following two stories:
1) The murderer who went to Paradise
Abu Said al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There was a person before you who had killed ninety-nine persons and then made an inquiry about the learned persons of the world (who could show him the way to salvation). He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: No. He killed him also and thus completed one hundred. He then asked about the learned persons of the earth and he was directed to a scholar, and he told him that he had killed one hundred persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: Yes; what stands between you and the repentance? You better go to such and such land; there are people devoted to prayer and worship and you also worship along with them and do not come to the land of yours since it was an evil land (for you). So he went away and he had hardly covered half the distance when death came to him and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment. The angels of mercy said: This man has come as a penitant and remorseful to Allah and the angels of punishment said: He has done no good at all. Then there came another angel in the form of a human being in order to decide between them. He said: You measure the land to which he has drawn near. They measured it and found him nearer to the land where he intended to go (the land of piety), and so the angels of mercy took possession of it. Qatada said that Hasan told him that it was said to them that as death approached him, he crawled upon his chest (and managed) to slip in the land of mercy. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6662]
Allah has granted us a month like Ramadan out of His Mercy and his Wisdom. Everyone knows how much easier it is to worship Him during this month.
However, were we given this month for us to worship Allah only for its duration? Or were we given this month so that we could train our bodies and souls to be constantly obedient to Allah?
You know what the answer is.
The first thing that we need to do is to intend for this month to be a new start for us. If we don’t intend to continue being obedient to Allah after the month is over, then why exactly are we being obedient to Him in this month to begin with???
So, how do we make a fresh start? The first way is to close the doors.
Close the doors? Yes, the doors of sins. Our sins.
How do we do that? By seeking Allah’s Forgiveness and repenting to Him, of course.
How do we do that?
Well, there’s a hadeeth which tells three ways to seek His Forgiveness. It’s quite beautiful. Also, Imam Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) has explained it in a magnificent way.
You can the read hadeeth and its explanation here.
Let’s all read it, ponder over it and aim to apply it, insha-Allah.
Want some motivational stories of people who made a fresh start?
Well, here’s the story of the man who killed 99 people and here are the stories of a whole bunch of people who tried to seek the truth. (The link is to another blog of mine.)
In case you’re wondering what sin the latter group was guilty of (before they sought the truth) – it was shirk (ascribing partners to Allah) and that is the worst sin in the sight of Allah.
So, here’s to a new beginning.
PS. Yes, I’m going to have teensie-weensie reminders every day, (which will include motivational stories), insha-Allah, along with some other stuff.