*** 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. ***
TIME flies very fast; by the time readers are reading this article a week had past since we started 'puasa' (fasting) in the holy month of Ramadan. Recently an old mate posted in our e-group a list of our batch in secondary school some 40 years ago and what impressed me he managed to tick names of friends who had passed away - eight out of about 120 mates - had been called by Allah SWT.
My friends and I are now 53 - it meant that the friends who were called by the Lord were very young - many of us are now climbing the ladder to top positions in public and corporate sectors. Almost all of us graduated with first degrees at the age of 23, and now with some 30 years of experience working and some having masters and PhD degrees, many of us are holding key posts in various working identities.
Three years ago when my school batch were celebrating 'our half a century (50 years) existence on earth' in a comeback gathering, I distributed photocopies of my writing which appeared in the English Section of Harakah entitled ' Our critical last 10 years'.
In the article, among others I mentioned that if were to follow 'Sunnah' (follow the life span of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. who died at 63) we have about 13 years 'to check ourselves' before we would be called by the Lord. Now, three years had passed, our existence in this world is getting shorter and shorter by each day.
I remember writing: "Time is running short. Our batch (class of Form Five 1979) who turned 50 this year would only have a balance of 13 years to do our best in life including the most important - our preparation for life in the Hereafter which is forever.
"Beloved friends, if our past 50 years were wasted that easy, imagine how are going to benefit the last 13 years left? Yes, how are we going to use that short span of time to save ourselves from Hellfire. If we were to think hard (I mean moving in the straight path), then we would panic and tremble, the time left is so short yet we have drifted too far to catch back the time that was lost when we filled it with aimless activities what’s more with ‘haram’ (forbidden) ones.
"At 50, are we still after those worldly pleasures; for example if we have already owned a bangalow, are we all out to renovate it into an ‘istana’? Or are we chasing after a Lamborghini after having being blessed with a fleet of five cars including a Mercedes, a Bugati and Ferrari?
"Or are we still chasing after women (girls to be exact) to make them Mrs. No 2, 3 or 4? Or are we madly working to make our money (or to be exact RM figures) in our bank accounts with more 0 digits behind; for example if we were having RM100,000; would we like to add another one 0 to make it RM1,000,000 (one million ringgit) or three 0s to make it RM100,000,000 (one hundred million ringgit). Wow, that’s a lot of money!
"Ooh friends, remember at 50, we have finished using 5/6 of our lives. We have another 1/6 of it to go with; so dear brothers, enough is enough, with the balance of about 10 years, please make the best of it to work hard so that we would not be dumped into the furthest part of hell. Allah SWT says in the Quran: “O! You who believe, save yourself and your families from Hell-fire, whose fuel are humans and stones (idols)…” (At-Tahrim 66: 6)
"If we were to enter a race of 600 meters and we have only another 100 meters to pass the finishing line, would we still be dazzling away with all that worldly wonders that would be of no help to us in the Hereafter or are we putting all our energy and resources to reach the finishing line?
"Scholars have reminded us again and again that RM, dollars, pounds, rupees and yen would of no use in the Hereafter. The much sought items there were ‘iman’ (faith) and good deeds; unfortunately the Hereafter is not a place to do good deeds but a place to reaped ‘our best crop’ grown on earth!"
Well dear readers, 'alhamdulillah' (all praise to Allah) we are blessed again to observe Ramadan; it is timely for us to do some reflections - we do not know if this is our last Ramadan - as in 'my batch schoolmates case' - eight of them had been called by Allah SWT.
An hour before writing this article, I heard an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) had beautifully explained the above situation - living in this world is like us lining in a row to have our throat being slaughtered, just like chickens in a slaughter house where they were put into a cage and then picked up one after another to be slaughtered. Sorry if this harsh word offended some readers and to my dear old school mates, I was sacred scared and my heart trembled upon writing this sentence - 'who wound be No 9?'...'who would the next 'allahyarham' (the late?).
'Ya Allah' (O Allah), I am very very afraid. I am not ready for death. The problem is whether we are ready or not, death is inevitable. It would surely 'knock our doors', only time would tell. Death would be upon us whether are afraid or not afraid of it - one sure thing every living things would come to end one day!
To readers especially friends (I included) who are still 'chasing worldly pleasures like mad' and forgetting our future in the Hereafter, please stop it because who knows 'we are the next chicken in the cage to be picked up and then been slaughtered' (die-lah).
After death, nothing could help us - only our 'iman' and 'amal' would determine our being in the Hereafter and the saddest part of it there is no way to be back on earth 'to do corrections' for example to repent and do good deeds. There is no point to regret because death and beyond is a one way ticket journey - everything we left on earth would of no use except for there - that are our 'sadaqah jariah' (long term charity such as building a masjid), the good knowledge that we impart and pious children who would 'du'a' (do supplication) for us.
Why must we be crazy for 'worldly pleasures' because 'they are only temporary satisfactions'. Scholars have reminded us that our priorities in life keep on changing as the years pass; for example when we are young, many of us were are after wealth and a sound and peaceful married life, then as we grow older we realize that it is health, then it is love (bondness among families members) and then when we lay on our death bed, only then we realize that we long for good deeds done.
At this critical moment only do we realize that our ‘amal’ are not enough to take us to the Hereafter; but it is already too late. The son of man grows and with him grows two things – the love of wealth and love of long life. But what about good deeds?
If we knew that we need to gather lots of good deeds in this world for ‘stock’ in the Hereafter where RM, dollars and pounds were useless, we would be after them when we were still young; unfortunately many of us realize it when death is upon us.
The Holy Prophet s.a.w. warned us when he said: “On the day of Judgment, one will not be able to move away before Allah until he has accounted for his life, how it was spent; on knowledge, to what use it was put; regarding wealth, how it was acquired and spent; and on body, how it is utilized?
All things related to this world would not satisfy human beings, for example regarding richness (wealth) the Holy Prophet said: “Even if there were for a man two valleys full of wealth he would aspire for a third one, and nothing would fill man’s belly but dust, and Allah turns him who turns to Allah.
So, it is timely during this Ramadan to remind myself, friends and readers that our priority in life should be expanding our stock of ‘amal’ before our ‘Big Day’ (death) catches up on us. Don’t gamble with our lives, thinking that death is still far away from us; who knows this Ramadan would be our last!
As for this Ramadan, pray and work hard to please Allah; we should 'be greedy' to stock up our 'pahala' (good rewards). In our 'greediness' for 'pahala', please hope and hope and 'du'a' that we would get Lailatulqadar (Night of Power) this Ramadan.
In Surah Al-Qadr, Allah SWT says: “Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Power; Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power is!; The Night of Power is better than a thousand months; The angels and Spirit (Jibril, Gabriel) descend therein, by permissions of their Lord, with all decrees; (That night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn.”
When one performs his obligations and good deeds during ‘Lailatulqadar’, then he/she would be rewarded for his/her deeds for that night better than a thousand months (1 night = 83 years 4 months!).