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.
WATCHING the life styles of our new generation for example young men and women in my housing area or even my own grown-up children made me scared; the majority of them were in 'comfort zone' - they were pampered with luxurious of life - among youngsters with jobs almost of them own cars or at least motorcycles.
Yes, I had never seen these working youngsters using public transportation. And regarding food; the majority of them rarely ate at home; they frequented stalls including those run by 'mamaks' and sometimes ate at fast food chains. They too rarely cook at home, perhaps they only knew how to cook 'maggi mee'!
They too were dressed in 'the style of the rich and famous' and regarding 'accessories items' such as electronic gadgets they were always up to date. As for the girls, their 'tudungs' were from renowned house of design and fashion.
I was amazed at the style of living of our youngsters. For example a young man who was a neighbor and had been working as a postman for only a few years could own a new Proton Saga FLX...it's totally different from my way of life when I entered the working world as a journalist in 1986.
During the first and second year of working, I still used the old Yamaha kapcai 90cc motorcycle which I bought during my university's years and after three years working only then a managed to buy a car...mind you it was a 'third-hand' one!
Perhaps I was in 'the wrong train'; yes how could I compared the slow and nostalgic 'train' of mine compared with 'the fast and furious one' of the new generation.
My way of thinking and their's did not matched; well let's the young generation live the way they liked but one thing that disturbed my mind was a 'tazkirah' (lesson) by an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) at a 'masjid' near my house recently, who warned about the danger of living in 'comfort zone'.
To begin with he told a story about a monkey perched on top of a coconut tree. The monkey was trying to have a rest after a day's hard work. But the whether was troublesome...suddenly there was a windstorm, the monkey hugged and hold tight...the more fierce the wind blew, the more the monkey tightened his grip to the trunk of the coconut.
Then it was over; the whether became fine, the wind was mild and gentle The breeze made the monkey comfortable (he was in a comfort zone) and as he sat on a branch, he felt asleep. He was too deep in his sleep that he loose balance and fell flat to the ground from 30 meters...well he was 'pronounced dead'!
So 'which type of wind or style of living' made the monkey fell down? It was the gentle wind that made the monkey felt comfortable and at ease thus he was not careful or alert to dangers around him. But in a tight situation such as facing a thunderstorm he understood he would be in trouble even dead if he just took things easy. He worked and 'prayed' hard that God would saved him by 'taking away' the menacing wind.
There's another story, famous among the Malays, about a 'daydreaming' guy named Mat Jenin. When he was perched on top of a coconut tree, Mat Jenin who was poor, dreamed of becoming rich until he could have the hands of a princess in marriage...and as he about to touch the beautiful lady he crashed down and as the monkey he too 'was pronounced dead'!
Living in comfort zones made many of our youngsters took things too easy. They did not understand the hardship of life, for the majority of them think their existence were 'to enjoy worldly pleasures to the maximum'. Well some had guts to say "semasa muda ini enjoy dulu, tua nanti taubatlah" (while we are still young have fun, when we became old then we would repent).
So when they 'have some money' after working, they started to buy worldly pleasures they dreamed off previously such as cars, home audio visual sets, electronic gadgets and so on even if they had to make heavy loans.
To our youngsters, please seek knowledge so that we would be safe in this world and Hereafter. Allah SWT says in the Qur'an: "Competition in (worldly) increase diverts you; Until you visit the graveyards; No! You are going to know; Then no! You are going to know; No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty...; You will surely see the Hellfire; Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty; Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure. (Qur'an: Surah Al-Takathur; 102, 1-8)
Being 'playful' in life thinking that we were still young and far away from death is a 'dangerous game' because Allah SWT The Almighty could take our life at anytime...remember there's a Malay proverb saying "putik kelapa pun ada yang gugur" (young coconuts too fall down).
Remember even 'skillful' monkeys too fall from trees. Monkeys are coordinated physically and are well suited to a life of trees proving that they are skillful animals when it comes to climbing and swinging around on the branches of trees. But sometimes these monkeys while playing with on the tree slip and fall down. There is also a Malay proverb which reads: "Sepandai-pandai tupai melompat akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga" (as clever as the squirrel hops, it will, one day, eat dirt).
Watching the people around us especially our youngsters we have to acknowledge that many are madly in the 'rat race chase' - their lives are only to fulfill their desires; they work, eat and play and have no time even to say 'thank you' (Alhamdulillah) to their Creator such as performing the 'solat'.
Some people seemed like animals; Allah SWT says in the Qur'an: They are like cattle, who only think about what it eats, and does not think about the future and prepare for another life. They are not only like cattle but even worse, because cattle obey Allah in reasons of its creation. This is reflected in Surah al-Furqan where it says: "They are only like cattle - nay, they are even further astray from the Path - even worse than cattle." (Al-Qur'an 25: 44)
Nowadays people are heaping 'worldly pleasures' like mad. They do not care if they had to make loans which involved in 'haram' (prohibited) process such as 'riba' (usury), giving and receiving bribes or involved in money-laundering.
Allah informs man about the insignificance and deceptive allure of the world in the Qur'an: "Know you (all), that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. Here is a similitude: how rain and the growth which it brings forth delight (the hearts of) the tillers; soon it withers; you will see it grow yellow; then it becomes dry and crumbles away. But in the Hereafter is a penalty severe (for the devotees of wrong). And forgiveness from Allah and (His) good pleasure (for the devotees of Allah). And what is the life of this world, but goods and chattels of deception? (Surat al-Hadid: 20)
True wealth belongs to those believers who never show an inner interest in possessions in this world and truly believe that only Allah gives everything to man. These are actually the really wealthy people in this world; they do not limit their lives to a mere 60-70 years. Believers engage in the best trade by obtaining paradise in exchange for this life. They prefer permanent instead of temporary wealth. Allah informs us about this in the following verse:
Allah has purchased from the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Taurah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded: that is the achievement supreme. (Surat at-Taubah: 111)
Subhanallah, nowadays we, especially our youth are now living in a comfort zone...hopefully we are not going to ZZZZZ (doze off) in this challenging era just like 'the fallen monkey'!