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.
YEARS ago to 'breath fresh air', I packed my bag and was off on a 'kapcai'; traveling from my home state Melaka to the southern tip of mainland Asia that is Tanjung Piai in Johor.
'Alhamdulillah' (All praise be to Allah), the to and fro trip of about 350 kilometers for three days and two nights was smooth. In Pontian I made a brief stop at an old friend's house, Haji Kasiron Reduan, 80, a former teacher and writer who had been bestowed several literature awards.
After the 'warm get together session', before departing I asked Haji Reduan for tips in educating our children. He said it is good for parents especially the father to inculcate 'falsafah hidup' (philosophy of life) to their children.
He said the Malay Language is rich in 'falsafah hidup'; just look at its idioms...one example is 'genggam bara biar sampai jadi arang' which means 'when you want to achieve something, you need to be courage, so no matter what obstacle coming through, you keep standing on your commitment until you finally have it in your hand securely'.
So, what was among the 'falsafah hidup' you taught your children, I asked. Its so simple, he said, each time I was about to depart for example when sending him or her off to his/her boarding school, I whispered to my children 'jangan lupa solat' (don't forget to pray).
Why did you reminded them 'jangan lupa solat' and not 'solatlah' (please pray)? It was because 'solat' is one of easiest 'ibadah' (act of obedience to Allah SWT) to be forgotten by a Muslim. Only those with strong 'iman' (faith), would 'istiqamah' (steadfastness) in performing 'solat'.
A study on secondary school pupils regarding performing 'solat', only 20 percent mentioned they performed the five times daily 'fardu' (obligatory) prayers; the question is 'what happened' to the other 80 percent of the students?
'Solat' is second in line of the 'Rukun Islam' (Five Pillars of Faith). It is the first 'ibadah' to be judged in the Hereafter; if a person failed in this aspect of 'ibadah', then his/her other good deeds would not be accounted for; 'nauzubillah' (we seek refugee in Allah) from being thrown into Hell.
Well, what does Allah SWT says about the purpose of Him created us (mankind)? In Surah Adh-Dhariyat (51), 'ayahs' (verses) 56 and 57 He says: "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me."
Yes 'our mission' in this world is to worship Allah. 'Subhanallah' (Glory to God) how is our days and years (time) spend on earth? Each and everyone of us is given 24 hours a day; let's us now evaluate on what we do in our everyday life. Perhaps our (the writer included) 24 hours were full of playful and useless activities and being wasted away without us being guilty!
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?
Let us look at look at the things we do during those 24 hours given to each of us by Allah SWT. A large part of it (about 6-8 hours) we sleep, another 8 hours we spend it working, and for the balance time, we are engage in routine activities such as eating, watching TV, playing games, going to the toilets and so on.
This is what ordinary people do, as for a busy person such a businessman, a journalist or a politician; he may spend perhaps up to 16 hours doing business or work and some may complain he or she has no time to say his/her ‘solat’ (prayers).
Imagine, from the 24 hours a day given by Allah SWT, he/she has the guts to say that he/she has no time to say his five times daily ‘fardu’ (compulsory) prayers! Some dared to say they have no time to perform even a prayer! Remember that Allah SWT has sent us to earth to worship Him as being mentioned the ayah 56-57 of Surah Adh-Dhariyat.
How come when a person says he has no time for prayers yet pious people during the same period of 24 hours could perform all five times daily prayers in congregation in masjids and some could offer up tens or even hundreds of ‘rakaat’ of ‘sunat’ (recommendation) prayers. If a ‘busy’ person complains he has no time to even flip the pages of the Qur’an, then there are pious people who could complete reading (khatam) the whole Qur’an in a day!
And during 'football seasons' such as the World Cup, a fanatic football fan would perhaps spend all his/her 24 hours a day given by The Almighty with his ‘eat and sleep way of life’ in front of the idiot box (TV).
Perhaps he/she is too busily engrossed in his interest that he/she has no time to perform his obligations to Allah SWT such as performing his ‘solat’! Yes his/her 24 hours a day is spend only of football yet pious people with the Hereafter as their main concern, could do numerous good things that ‘insya-Allah’ (God willing) would please Allah SWT and would rewarded handsomely by Him.
Then there were among us who managed to say our prayers but they were done 'in a nick of time'. We were 'too stingy' with their time to be with God; we prayed 'when we have the time' and the obligations were done during our 'free and spared time'.
Take for example the way some of us performed our 'zuhur' (midday prayers). 'Zuhur' begins at about 1:15 pm; but at that time we were busy with our office chores and were reluctant to have our lunch hour not fully used. We would rather be at the lunch table joking with friends rather than joining congregators at masjids or be at our office's 'surau'.
After lunch we were back to our office work. Suddenly at 4.15 pm when we were preparing our desks to go home, only then we realized we had not perform our 'zuhur' prayers. We rushed to the 'surau' and managed to say our prayers 'in the nick of time' because 'asar' (late afternoon) prayers begins at 4.25 pm.
Then there were some of us who pray during commercial breaks while glued to their TV favorite programs shows and films such as Hindustani movies and football games.
'Subhanallah' dear readers including myself, if our lives 'fit the above description' let's do some reflections. Surely during all 'those years' we had done injustice not only to God but our ourselves.
Allah SWT The Almighty has given us 24 hours a day, is it fair for us to give Him 'our lousy time'? If we have 'no time' to be with Allah SWT, then what could be said about our relationship to Him? I am afraid if we have 'no time' to Him, then 'He would also have to time to us'.
An 'ustaz' described the situation as such: "If you hired a worker what do you expect from him/her? Say his/her working hours is from 9 am to 5 pm (8 hours), what's your reaction if he/she spend 7 hours doing things of his/her wish and fancies and only an hour to do work subscribed by you? Of course you would get angry, would not pay him/her but 'kick him/her out'.
"Then please have a mirror to look at ourselves. Allah SWT has created us to worship Him but what's our attitude to Him. We not only 'do not do what He told us to do' but we go against Him; only once in a while we give 'our spare time' to Him. From our 'ill attitudes' we should be able to judge 'what rewards' we would get from Him.
"The correct way is allocate our prime to Allah SWT. Please give our time to Him. If He expect us to say our 'solat' (prayers) at the earliest time possible, then do it...if 'zuhur' begins at 1.15 pm, prepare for it earlier - take our ablutions and headed for the masjid - we should give priority to His orders. Remember we are His servants...we are send to earth to worship Him."
A hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas: Allah’s Apostle s.a.w. said: “Take benefit of ‘five’ before ‘five’: your youth before your old age, you health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your preoccupation and your life before you’re your death.”
Dear readers especially myself, please make full use of the opportunities given by Allah the Almighty, not to waste them. We should appreciate what we have especially the ‘five’ mention in the hadith - youth, health, wealth, free-time, and life.
It is a timely time to do some reflections on our overall practice of Islam. For example how is our 'solat' nowadays - is the 'quality' of our 'solat' at 50 years of age the same as our 'solat' when we were 15 years old - that was 35 years ago?
Mother and father, please note that many of us do not or fail to 'dakwah' our children. The father thinks that he should be a good Muslim but forget about his wife and children. He should ‘dakwah’ not only himself but his dependents for Allah SWT says: "Believers! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are angels stern (and) severe as wardens, who flinch not (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." (Qur’an 66:6)
As parents, we are the 'first teacher' for our children. The question is how is our children's 'iman'; have we always reminded them to be always on the straight path such as coaxing them with wisdom words like 'jangan lupa solat' (don't forget to 'solat') as practiced by my good old friend, Haji Kasiron Reduan?