In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
HOW time flies. No wonder the Malay says ‘masa itu emas’ (time is gold) while the Arab is more concerned with his famous proverb; time is like a sword, if you don’t cut it then it will cut you. Have we understood how precious is time is?
Those who came before us (the Salaf) understood the essence of what this meant to appreciate/value time; this is how they achieved their revival with the help of Allah. Their sayings and practices bear testimony to this…
· Ibn Mas`ud:
I never regretted anything except a day that passed by without having increased my deeds.
· Al-Hasan Al-Basri:
Every day the sun rises it calls upon us, O people! I am a new day; I am an observer of your actions. Take advantage of me for I will not return until the Day of Judgment. O son of Adam, you are nothing but a few breaths. Once one breath goes out, part of you goes with it. In the same way that part of you has gone, soon all of you will go.
· Ibn ul-Qayyim:
Every gulp of air that goes out in a cause other than the cause of Allah will turn to sorrow and regret on the Day of Judgment.
I wish that time could be acquired with money. If so, I would buy time from wasteful and ungrateful people so that I could spend it serving Allah.
It is reported that Sa`d ibn Mu`adh accepted Islam when he was 30 years old and died when he was 37. Despite living only seven years as a Muslim, the throne of Allah was shaken over his death, and seventy thousand angels came down for his funeral.
If Sa’d ibn Mu’ah made full use of the his last seven years to please Allah SWT, what could be said about me (the writer) who was born a Muslim and celebrated his 50th birthday recently (17th February 2012)? Well, perhaps nothing to compare to Sa’d; but I as a writer, have tried hard to convey messages and pass information to readers from the little reading materials I have come across.
I am now a ‘senior citizen’; the past 50 years has become history. Time flies quickly and will never come back. Scholars had divided time into three categories – yesterday (the past), now (present) and tomorrow (the future). To the thinking group of people, we have only the present because yesterday has gone and tomorrow nobody knows what would happen.
Yesterday was just like milk being split. You can’t have the milk back; there is a proverb about it – don’t cry over split milk. But as a ‘weak’ human being, I still cherish those yesteryears especially my college (secondary school) days because that was the place where me and my mates experienced the process of growing up – from adolescence to the adult world.
At that college, I must admit we were crazy over the paper chase. It was the strings of ‘As’ that counts. But now at the age of 50, after hundreds or perhaps thousands of religious talks in ‘masjids’, 'suraus' and 'tazkirah'(religious reminders), only now do I realize how I longed and craved for more and more knowledge.
If you know yourself (this only could be obtained by seeking knowledge), only then you will know Allah SWT and the heavy responsibilities you need to shoulder in this world. Our existence is not without purpose or to 'suka-suka saja' (for play only). Each and every one of us holds higher responsibilities to God, the human race and in fact everything. Everyone is accountable for his actions, even if it is as small as an atomic part of a substance.
So to my ‘old friends’ (and readers) fulfill your days seeking knowledge, for with knowledge, for with knowledge you will understand that everything you do, is to seek God's forgiveness and acknowledge His Greatness.
For example when you stare at the empty sky and acknowledge Allah SWT's greatness in creating it without pillars and feel how small you are, only then you are in the right direction to have His Blessing in this world and the Hereafter.
When you realize this, you will understand, there is no such thing as unemployment in Islam.
There is so much to do and we are short of time to make them materialize. If we were to look at the Prophet as an example, he successfully preached Islam in 23 years - 13 years in Mecca and 10 years in Medina, and died at the age of 63.
If we were to look back at our past, we will realize that we had been wasting our time. If we are now in our fifties and suppose we die at the same age as the prophet, we have about 13 years left to spend our lives. If we have done 'practically nothing' during our past 50 years, just imagine what could be done in our last 10 years.
Even though those college days were more than 35 years ago, some of my friends still preserve the bonds among us and with the help of the new social media - ideas and guides kept on pouring and this e-mail from a friend reminded what we should to and think when we had the ‘golden age’.
One e-mail read: “Late last year, I chanced upon a bookshop selling Islamic books at Right Angle. There I bought Zad Al Ma'ad, although an abridged version.
Good book, though I rate 2nd to Riadhus Salehin…time for all of us to read these sort of books as we hit, approach 50 y'all!
The following is a sermon that is mentioned in ibn Al-Qayyim’s famous book Zad Al-Ma’ad (Provisions of the Hereafter). This book is one of the important resources of knowledge for those who seek to know the Seerah of their Prophet (s.a.w.) as well as, the Fiqh learned from it. This is a book that is unique in that it explains the Sunnah through the Seerah and the Seerah through the Sunnah.
This sermon was delivered when the Prophet (s.a.w.) first arrived in Quba / Al-Madinah and before he (s.a.w.) built his mosque in Al-Madinah.
Ibn Ishaq reported on the authority of ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Ka’b Ibn Malik that he said (part of the narration): "After the Messenger of Allah arrived in Al-Madinah and he stayed In Quba’ on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and he built their mosque, then he left on Friday and time for Friday prayer overtook him in the land of Banu Salim Ibn ‘Awf, and so he prayed it in the mosque which was in the middle of the valley before the building of his mosque.
Ibn Ishaq said: "It was the first sermon which he delivered; according to Abu Salamah Ibn ‘Abdur-Rahman – and we seek refuge with Allah from attributing to him anything which he did not say – he stood up among them and praised Allah and extolled Him, then he said:
"As for what follows, oh, you people! Send forth for yourselves (good deeds); you know for sure, by Allah, that a person among you will be struck down unconscious and he will leave his sheep without a shepherd, then his Lord will surely say to him – and there will be neither intermediary nor screen between them: "Did not My Messenger come to you and communicate (the Message), and did I not give you wealth and favor you? And what did you send forth for yourself?" And verily, he will look right and left, but he will see nothing; then he will look in front of him and he will see naught but the Hell-fire. So whoever is able to shield his face from the Fire, even if it be only by giving a piece of a date in charity, let him do so; and whoever was unable to do so, let him (shield it) by saying a good word, for the reward of a good deed is multiplied by ten times seven hundred times. And may the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you.”
Ibn Ishaq said: "Then the Messenger of Allah, delivered a second sermon, saying: "All praise and thanks be to Allah, I praise Him and I seek His Aid. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of ourselves and from the wickedness of our deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides, there is none can misguide him and whomsoever Allah sends astray; there is none can guide him. And I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, Alone, without partners. The best of speech is the Book of Allah. He whose heart has been beautified with it by Allah and whom He has admitted to the fold of Islam after he had disbelieved will be successful, for he has chosen it (Allah’s Speech) over that of all of mankind. Truly, it is the best of speech and the most eloquent. Love what Allah loves; love Allah with all of your hearts. Do not become tired of Allah’s Speech, nor of mentioning His Name and do not make your hearts hard towards it.
"Hence, amongst everything that Allah creates He chooses [something]; Allah would call it: His Kheerah (best) in terms of deeds; His favorite ones amongst the servants; that which is good and useful in terms of speech; So worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him and fear Him as He should be feared and be sincere to Allah in the righteous words which pass your lips and love one another with Allah’s Spirit between you. Verily, Allah hates that His Covenant should be broken. And may the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you."