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.
WE are in the month of Syaaban and about to enter the holy month of Ramadan. An 'ustaz' in first 'kuliah subuh' (early morning lesson) for the month of Ramadan at a 'masjid' near my house few years ago, advised congregators 'to work hard' during this holy month so that they would not be 'corot' in the Hereafter after being 'corot' in this world!
The Malay word 'corot' is defined by a dictionary as 'last' and 'left behind'...yes, many among us Malay/Muslims were left behind in life...we may be poor in terms of wealth, health and deprived of status, ranks and so on. In fact in various fields of life such as economy and education, we were far left behind.
Then we were looked down - how true because Muslims all around the globe were locked in problems and being bullied by the so-called superpowers globally and in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq and were prosecuted by regimes such as in Myanmar, Palestine (Israel) and China.
In short we have nothing or 'having too little' perfecting the Malay saying 'kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang' (to live from hand to mouth) in the world but remember 'that condition' was temporary because life is also temporary...our aim is to be successful in the Hereafter even though in this world we were looked down as 'corot', failures or losers, said the 'ustaz'.
But he reminded congregators that being successful in both worlds (this world and the Hereafter) should be sought. In the Qur'an, Allah told us to be successful in the world and Hereafter. Muslims recited this du'a over and over again: 'Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil 'akhirati hasanatan waqina 'adhaban-nar' (Our Lord! grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire." (2:201)
About the condition of a Muslim, Abu Huraira (may Allah have Mercy on him, r.a.) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him (s.a.w.), said, “The strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, but there is goodness in both of them. Be eager for what benefits you, seek help from Allah, and do not be frustrated. If something befalls you, then do not say: If only I had done something else. Rather say: Allah has decreed what he wills. Verily, the phrase ‘if only’ opens the way for the work of Satan.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2664)
Regarding this 'hadith' Imam An-Nawawee r.a. said: "The intended meaning of strength here is a firm will and a desire to work for the Hereafter. So the one being described as a strong believer is more bold and stern against the enemy in Jihad, quicker to go out (to fight) and searching for it (Jihad), more firm in the way he enjoins the good and forbids the evil, (more firm) in his patience with the harms he faces throughout all of that, and stronger in the way he carries out difficult tasks for Allah's Sake. He loves to pray, fast, make zhikr, and perform the rest of the acts of worship, and he is more active in seeking after these affairs, and he keeps a closer watch over his performance of them."
Scholars said a strong Muslim benefited other Muslims, and in defending Islam and the Muslims. They concluded that the believer who has strong 'iman' (faith) is more likely to be fit and in shape. This is because he understands the importance of Jihad and staying in shape in preparation for it, while the weak believer may easily get fat and out of shape, from his overeating and laziness. So physical strength is a direct result of strength in 'iman'.
Conversely, a person could be a topnotch bodybuilder and superb athlete, but he can't even wake up for 'subuh' (Fajr), and Allah is the One whose Help is sought! So clearly his strength is not making him better nor more beloved to Allah, so how could he be considered a strong believer?, they asked.
Abu Kabsha reported: The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said, “I will narrate a saying to you, so preserve it. Verily, the world is only for four kinds of people. There is one whom Allah has granted wealth and knowledge, so he fears his Lord regarding them, upholds family ties, and acknowledges the rights of Allah over him. He will be in the best position. There is one whom Allah has granted knowledge without wealth and he has a sincere intention and he says: If I had wealth, I would have acted like this person. If that is his intention, then he will have the same reward as the other. There is one whom Allah has granted wealth without knowledge and he squanders his wealth in ignorance, he does not fear Allah regarding it, he does not fulfill his obligations to his family, and he does not acknowledge the rights of Allah over him. He will be in the worst position. There is one whom Allah has granted neither wealth nor knowledge and he says: If I had wealth, I would have acted like this person. If that is his intention, then he will have the same sin as the other.”
Well, what's the meaning of being successful in life? We would make a very big mistake or blunder if we take 'successful' to only what we had achieved in this world. But it would be worst if we were 'corot' in this world and in the Hereafter. In short we fail in both 'worlds'.
The 'ustaz' warned that our status, position, power, wealth and all worldly achievements would of no use when we were dead. Only our ‘iman’ (faith) and ‘amal’ (good deeds) would be able to help us.
The key to success is to take religion and practice all its teaching. Those who upheld religion should have no worries but enjoy life because the world would be at his or her feet but those who are after the world, they would lose the world and worst of all, doomed in the Hereafter. Remember the call of prayers (adhan) has this 'clear message' on how to be successful - 'hayya 'alas-salah' (come to pray) and 'hayya 'alal-falah' (come to success)...then how come you could be successful if you disobey Allah SWT, Creator (Master) of the universe including yourself?
The Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM) listed 32 tips (ways and means) to be successful in this world and Hereafter. They are:
1. Believe in Allah: The one and only Creator, Sustainer, Giver of Life, Owner, Inheritor and God of the universe. Allah has no peer, while the universe is a tiny speck in the grandeur of Allah. Also believing in all His prophets from Adam, the first man to the final prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him, s.a.w.) The Qur’an which was revealed to Muhammad s.a.w. is 100 percent Allah’s words. Only one version, the Qur’an is being translated by many translators and memorized by millions. (Qur’an 23:1 and 24:31)
2. Sincerity: Doing good deeds to please only Allah and none else. Deeds done for other than Allah or along with Allah is not acceptable to Allah. Allah The Most Beautiful loves beauty. (Qur’an 30:38)
3. Worship Allah alone: None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, the One-And-Only. (Qur’an 22:77)
4. Guidance from Allah: From the unadulterated Al-Qur’an and authentic ways/sunnah of Muhammad s.a.w., the last prophet. We can never go astray when we follow the Qur’an and sunnah. (Qur’an 2:5 and 31:5)
5. Remember Allah always. Almighty Allah deserves to be remembered all the time. Only by remembering Allah, will our hearts experience true and lasting tranquility. (Qur’an 8:45 and 62:10)
6. Grateful to Allah: Be thankful and optimistic about everything Allah has prepared for us in this world by worshiping Allah zealously. A grateful person lives a meaningful life. (Qur’an 7:69)
7. Fear Allah (takwa): Venerate, love, have hope in while being anxious and concerned of Allah. The most honourable in the sight of Allah are those who fear Allah most. (Qur’an 3:130)
8. Perform regular worship of Allah (five times prayers) and duties like declaration of faith, fasting, tithe and hajj. (Qur’an 22:77)
9. Listen and obey Allah’s law. Allah’s and His messenger’s words will lead to a perfect life.
10. Rationale: The Qur’an agrees very well with the sunnah of Muhammad s.a.w. matches well with the wise mind and fits the fitrah (innate instinct of humankind) – Qur’an 2:189 and 5: 100)
11. Gives preference to Allah’s choices Allah Sees, Hears and Knows everything. (Qur’an 2: 189 and 5:100)
12. Scatter over the earth and seeks Allah’s bounty. Aren’t we Allah’s vicegerents on earth? (Qur’an 62:10)
13. Avoid evil deeds; like consuming intoxicants, gambling and ascribing partners to Allah. Satan promotes lawlessness among us but succumbs among us but succumbs to those who trust and fear Allah. (Qur’an 5:90)
14. Accumulate the rewards of the Hereafter: like the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the pious. They enjoy this life by doing good deeds and Allah’s paradise awaits them May all of us be among them. (Qur’an 7:8)
15. Jihad (strive); with speech, wealth and life to spread the truth and Islamic monotheism. (Qur’an 9:88)
16. Be generous for Allah’s sake, especially when in need of Allah’s Help.
17. Invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil. Good deeds invite Allah’s Blessings. (Qur’an 3:104)
18. Always be on Allah’s side. Unwavering dedication to Allah’s cause, wherever and whenever. (Quran 58:220)
19. Patience and steadfastness: Firm in upholding the truth and Islamic monotheism till the end of our life. (Qur’an 3:200)
20. Repent from all sins and do righteous deeds: Only Allah is perfect and free from mistakes. (Qur’an 28:67)
21. Always be mindful of the enemy. For this reason we continuously seek and need Allah’s Help. (Qur’an 3:200)
22. Honour, assist and follow scholars (ulama) who truly practice Islam. (7:157)
23. Be charitable to oneself. A strong believer is dearer and more beloved to Almighty Allah. (Qur’an 64:16)
24. Avoid usury and illegal income. Usury and illegally gained income lead to hell. (Qur’an 3:130)
25. Seeking means and ways to approach Allah. May we meet Allah at the best moment! Ameen. (Qur’an 5:35)
26. Purifying our souls. Allah has given everyone a soul. A good soul will benefit oneself and others. (Qur’an 87:14 and 91:9)
27. Give kindred (especially parents), the poor and wayfarer their dues for Allah’s sake. (Qur’an 30:38)
28. Lower our gaze, protect our private parts and wear appropriate Islamic attire. Self respect is important in Islam. Insincerity and ignorance cause man to live in disunity, disarray and void of guidance. (Qur’an 24:31)
29. Love each other and have no jealousy, for Allah’s sake: Like the Ansar and Muhajirin. (Qur’an 59:9)
30. Choose friends who believe in the Last Day. Close friend influence our life. (Qur’an 58:22)
31. Say the truth from Allah and His Messenger even if it is unpopular. Truth will prevail. (Qur’an 5:100)
32. Ask the right people: Scholars, parents, experts, specialist, sincere friends and the like. (Qur’an 2: 189)
'Insya-Allah' if we live according to Allah SWT prescriptions i.e. be in His straight path such as obeying to His orders and refraining from doing things He forbids (haram) then we would lead a tranquil life. 'Insya-Allah' we would be safe in this world in the Hereafter; therefore we would not be 'corot' in this world and Hefeafter. So, start 'working hard' for your success in both world this coming Ramadan