Dear brothers and sisters, in a time where each and every taboo is being dropped in front of our eyes, there is still a topic which is seldom spoken of but is a certainty for each and every one of us. The topic this week is on our death from this world and this is both a certainty and an unknown as we know this time is coming for us but none of us know when it will come.
The imam mentioned ayat 185 of Sura Al-Imran in reference to today’s reminder and it is translated to say:
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
And Sura Al-Jumma ayat 8 which is translated to say:
Say, “Indeed, the death from which you flee – indeed, it will meet you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you about what you used to do.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we are being told by the Lord of all that we are here only for a short time. These ayats are warning us not to get lost in the distraction of this world. And that this world is merely a vehicle, a test from Allah SWT, that we are experiencing before our return to Him.
As is done in previous reminders, if we are travelling to our destination, say on a train, would we be focused on the destination that we are travelling to our the train carriage that we are sat in? If we are going to visit our loved ones on that train, is it the train that gets all our attention and care or rather is it the excitement of when the journey ends and the loved ones we will be meeting?
Such is the analogy of this life. So many are focused on the train journey itself, they are dedicated in making the journey, the focus of all their love and attention. They even forget about the fact that they are on the journey and that it is the destination that ought to have their time and effort.
As Muslims we must be careful that we do not fall into this trap. We need to be mindful that we are only travellers and that we must pack and prepare well for our destination.
The imam concluded today’s reminder with 4 practical tips or points of contemplation that we must take away in order to keep our mind focused on our destination and to keep the journey, i.e dunya as a secondary thought and not to prioritise it over the eternal life to come.
- We must ask ourselves if we are people who are focused on the afterlife. Are we truly detached from this life. Practically this can be applied through a few tests. For example, when hardship reaches us, is our first thought to think that this is simply a test from our Lord and that our reaction is what is measured and accounted for by Him? Or are we the type to complain when the going gets tough and begin to compare with such and such and become envious as to why they have and we don’t?
Are we the type to lose our temper when things don’t go as we expect? Either through events or even other people’s injustices? Or are we the type to think that the event is from Allah SWT and to return to Him in pleas and prayers and in the case of injustice, pray and forgive the shortcomings of others in the hope Allah SWT shows that same mercy to us?
- The second point is that the good deeds we are doing need to be for the right reasons. Unfortunately our Lord has told us that there will exist people in this world who are good but are doing it for the sake of others. An example being a person who gives to charity but makes sure everyone knows about it. Or someone who teaches Quran, not for the sake of Allah SWT, but for the status amongst his family or friends. These people are the biggest losers because they are doing all the right things but their intentions are corrupt.
We ought to ask ourselves for each and every good deed, are we thinking of Allah SWT when we are doing this? Are we sat on a prayer mat five times a day thanking Him for the opportunity to do such and such good deed? If our remembrance of Allah SWT isn’t there when we are doing good, then can we be sure that the intention is for Him?
- The third is to ask Allah SWT for a good end. If you speak to doctors working the A&E in Muslim countries, you will find that a lot of them are surprised by the fact that not all those who are even told to recite Shahada do so in their final breath. In fact, this in itself is a blessing from Allah SWT that we return to Him with the blessed words in our final breath. The Prophet SAWS said:
whoever’s last words are there is no Lord except Allah enters paradise
We need to ask Allah SWT that we return to Him in a state of remembrance of Him just as we lived life in remembrance of Him.
- And finally, that we need to start banking for the next life. None of us know when our time in this journey is up. Nobody is certain when our destination will arrive and so we need to be preparing for the journeys end each and every day we are still here. This should be in the practical manner as instructed to us by the best of creation, SAWS.
Acts such as daily remembrance through duas at set times. We all have phones with alarm functions or to-do list apps we can download so set daily reminders for duas, for recitation of even a single ayat of the Quran, for weekly acts of charity or voluntary fasts for the sake of Allah SWT.
Start small, form small habits but make them consistent and insh’Allah these will rack up over time and will count in your next life. Remember, it’s consistent acts such as these which will also serve to weaken the influence of Shaitaan in this life as well.
Dear brothers and sisters, we pray that Allah SWT enables us to be of those who are mindful of death and that we return to him in such a state. The imam reminded us of the hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“When Allah wants good for a slave, He puts him in action.” It was said: “How does he put him in action O Messenger Of Allah?” He said: “By making him meet up with the righteous deeds before death.”
Let us be of the correct mindset so that we are of these people mentioned in the hadith.