Friday, January 24, 2014

'Alhamdulillah'...there's light at the end of the cave (tunnel)!

**************************** In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ****************************** Reflection 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. *********************************** DURING the last school holidays (December 2013), my family and I visited Perlis's well-known limestone cave, 'Gua Kelam' in Kaki Bukit, about 30 kilometers north of the state capital, Kangar. **************************** As we arrived too early (at about 8.00 am), the cave was still not open for visitors; nevertheless my two teenage boys who were 'in high spirits for adventure', made their way inside; and I who feared for their safety followed after failing to stop them. ****************************** "Kelam' is a Malay word for 'dusky' or 'shadowy', thus 'Gua Kelam' literally means 'Shadowy Cave' and in my opinion 'Gua Kelam' should not be translated into 'Cave of Darkness' as has been done by many people including from the tourism industry. ******************************* Dusky means 'there is still light -- very, very faint'; but during 'our adventure' we found out that it was total darkness in the cave. Perhaps 'our visit' was outside 'the official hours and not welcome'; thus not a light was switched on at that time. So, we were in darkness; luckily one of my sons had his hand phone; the faint light from it was our only 'source and hope' as we moved deeper! ********************** Since it was the first time we explored the cave, we did not know how long and 'what it was like and where 'the 'cave walk' would end. As we moved further inside, my heart beat faster; I prayed to Allah SWT for our safety; at the same time saying to myself "what a foolish thing my boys have done." ************************** In the dark, my mind was 'fast thinking including about the worst'...we would 'be finished' if the roof of the cave came crashing upon us, what if there were snakes at our feet, what would happen if the 'walkway' gave way...but looking at my sons who were in high spirits in the dim light of the hand phone, I coaxed myself...please think positively...hey LanH, have you not heard the phrase; there's light at the end of the tunnel...well the difficulty we were facing would come to an end, 'insya-Allah' (God willing). Just please be 'sabar' (patient)! ********************************* But that did not stop me from 'making some reflections on myself' -- LanH, it is too dark inside a cave, if the darkness and gloomy situation in it distressed and made you afraid, please do think that one day you would be sent inside a place of total darkness without any hope of returning! What was that place? **************************** Please LanH, do not forget that one day you would be buried six feet underground, without any light inside it, not even 'the light from your hand phone' -- that is your grave! Everyone would 'enter' their graves; there is no exception what more choice! *************************** Death is the end of this life and there is no returning to this life in any form. Life in the grave is a state of transition and waiting. It is also known as 'barzakh' which means 'a barrier between two things'. It is a barrier between the worlds the dead had just left and the Resurrection on the Day of Judgment. (Qur'an 23:100) -- Life in the Grave (Invitation to Understanding Islam, PERKIM) ***************************** So, what was it inside a grave? In a 'hadith', Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., said: "I have never seen a sight more horrifying than the grave." (Tirmizi) The passing of the dead to the world of the grave coincides with the beginning of their awakening to the the Truth. The Noble Qur'an says, "And the agony of death comes with Truth. That is what (the disbelievers and evildoers) used to flee from!" (50: 19) **************************** The souls of the righteous ones experience a gentle, quick and satisfied exit. Their souls will be taken to the heavens while the disbelievers and the evildoers will realize at death about the Punishment in the Fire that awaits them. They will struggle to prevent the removal of their souls from their bodies. ***************************** They will be in great pain as their blood vessels and nerves are ripped apart when their souls are forcibly removed. The Prophet s.a.w. was reported to have said that if human beings could hear their cries at death, they would faint. Their names will be recorded in the Register of Hell (Sijjeen) - Qur'an 83: 7-8 **************************** The Prophet s.a.w. was also reported to have said: "If one does not find salvation in the grave, then what follows is very hard upon him." (Ibn Majah and Tirmizi) ***************************** If we happened to be in the darkness of a cave, a very dim light such as from a handset is very much appreciated; surely we need 'light' when we are inside our own grave. What is 'that light'? Perhaps we could learn something from the story of Prophet Yunus (Jonah) alahis salam (peace be upon him) who had to overcome 'three layers' of darkness. What were 'those three layers of darkness'? ***************************** When Prophet Yunus set off in despair, abandoning his ummah after giving up hope of them coming to the right path, Allah the Exalted planned for him to be thrown into the sea, and instructed a whale (nun) to swallow him (but not digest) so that he stayed in the dark belly of the whale contemplating his mistake in abandoning his ummah without Allah's instruction and there he repented. *********************************** So Prophet Yunus was left in the darkness inside the stomach of a fish, darkness of the deepest sea and lastly darkness of the blackest night. In was inside the fish belly, that he made du'aa (supplication) - ‘Laa ilaaha illa Anta, subhaanaka inni kuntu min al-zaalimeen (There is no god but You, glory to You, verily I was one of the wrongdoers).’ ***************************** Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said to his companions: "“Shall I not tell you some words which, if distress or grief befalls any of you and he makes this du’aa, it will bring him joy? It is the du‘aa’ of Dhoo’l-Noon (i.e. Yunus or Jonah): ‘There is no god but You, Glory to You; verily I was one of the wrongdoers.’” (Saheeh al-Jaami‘, no. 2605) ************************** Well, back to 'the grave story' - if we needed light 'when we are buried six feet under' then let us be on His straight path - according to an 'ustaz' whose lessons I followed closely twice a month at a masjid near my house; the light was from our 'good deeds' during our lives such as 'solat' etc (performing all obligations under 'Rukun Islam'), Qur'an reading and learning, giving charity, 'dhikir' (praising Allah SWT), 'salawat' (prayer for peace and prosperty to the Prophet s.a.w.) and many more. *************************** And never forget to du'aa to Allah SWT for example: "O Allah! Cover my shame, pacify my fears, guard me from what is in front of me and behind me, from what is on my right and on my left, over my head and under my feet." Remember this du'aa is to be supplicated when we 'on the Earth and not when we are inside it!' *************************** Another 'ustaz' said knowledge is also 'cahaya' (light); it would light you up in this world and Hereafter. Thus seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim, said the Prophet s.a.w. (Ibn Majah) ****************************** Well, when we are in the dark of a cave, we need a 'cahaya' (light) what more when we are buried six feet under. **************************** While 'straying' in 'Gua Kelam', we badly needed ‘cahaya’ and 'Alhamdulillah' (praises be to Allah SWT) we finally realized there was 'cahaya' at the end of the cave. Gua Kelam is more like a tunnel - at last we reached the other side of the hill which has such lovely scenery including at a 'Secret Garden'. ******************************* A sign placed at the end of Gua Kelam, notes that 'our journey in darkness' was only 370 meters - if the walk in the dark of not more than 10 minutes was 'full of suspense', what would be said about 'our journey with a 'one way ticket' inside our own graves' please think wisely and carefully before its too late! **************************** In conclusion, dear readers, we (I included) need badly 'cahaya' or 'nur' (Arabic) or light in this world, what more when we are buried inside 'our graves' (barzakh) and in the Hereafter!

No comments: