Published — Friday 17 April 2015
When you pass away, do not worry about your dead body as fellow Muslims will take good care of it; they will take off your clothes, wash your body up, and wrap it in a clean white shroud; they will take you to your new house, the grave.
Many are those who will escort you to your final resting place; many will even cancel their businesses to see you off. Your belongings will be discarded — your keys, books, handbag, shoes, and clothes.
By the consent of your family, these will be given out in charity in a way to benefit you in the life to come.
You can rest easy knowing that the world will not collapse or even mourn you; life will go on, and your job will be taken by another.
Your property will be legally distributed among your heirs whereas you will be brought to account for every penny.
According to the degree of affinity with others, the period they will spend to mourn you will vary. Eventually, you will be completely forgotten and assigned a special place on the shelf of memories.
Believe it or not… the above is nothing but the truth!
Hence, your story among humans comes to an end and another one will soon start with the truth, namely, the Hereafter.
At this very moment, you are all alone; with no glory, property, power, health, children, or wife. And the grave, which represents the first stage of the Hereafter — that is the real life — attends the scene.
Now, the question that begs answering here is: What did you prepare for this? What did you prepare for the grave and your final hour?
This is a very important question that requires every one of us to reflect on and think about.
However, prior to reflecting on what you should do in this present life to gain eternal success and everlasting prosperity in the Hereafter, let us open our hearts wide to Abu Hazim and listen to what he had to say as an answer to the Umayyad Caliph Sulaiman Abdul Malik who asked: Why do we like this world but dislike the Hereafter?
Abu Hazim’s answer flowed freely: Because you filled this world with joy and rejoice and ruined the world to come.
Surely, one dislikes moving from pleasures to ruins. Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an, “But ye prefer the life of the world. Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting.” (Qur’an, 87:16-17)
Accordingly, if you prepare for yourself a pleasant place in the Afterlife, you will be rejoiced to move thereto and vice versa.
Unfortunately, many fellow Muslims do care about this present life at the expense of the Hereafter. They even sell their souls out in return for nothing or for a job, some property, fame or influence.
More amazingly, one may find some who sell their Afterlife out in return for the perishable present life of theirs or, much worse, of others. When Abu Hazim was asked: ‘Who is the fool?’ He answered: ‘It is he who sells his Afterlife out for the present life of another!’ One may wonder, how many fools are there in this life!
However, if you desire to be prosperous in the life to come, you should seize the opportunity as long as you breathe so as to accumulate good deeds and a righteous credit with Allah the Almighty that may benefit you on the Day when wealth and sons will not avail any one.
Abdullah bin Omar said, “Allah’s Apostle took hold of my shoulder and said, ‘Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler.’
The sub-narrator added: “Ibn Omar used to say, ‘If you survive till the evening, do not expect to be alive in the morning, and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening, and take from your health for your sickness, and (take) from your life for your death’.” (Al-Bukhari)
Therefore, you should be keen on the time you are allotted by Allah the Almighty in this present life. Time is nothing but your own life which decreases each and every day until it eventually ends up at a definite term.
No one is ever reported to have prolonged or shortened his own lifetime save through investing it in either good or evil deeds.
So, if you desire to obtain prosperity in both this present life and the Hereafter, you should be keen on observing what follows:
1. Obligatory religious duties
The merits and virtues of duly performing obligatory and supererogatory acts of worship are beyond counting. Let us look into the following Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah in this respect.
Allah’s Apostle said, “Allah said, ‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a Wali (devoted friend) of Mine.
And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My Refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him’.” (Al-Bukhari)
To sum up, if you want to be loved and protected by Allah, just do as He, Glory be His, says in the above Hadith.
In the same vein, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was once asked about the best deed and he answered as is shown in the following Hadith that is narrated by Abdullah ibn Masud: “I asked Allah’s Apostle, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! What is the best deed?’ He replied, ‘To offer the prayers at its stated fixed times’.” (Al-Bukhari)
To be continued next week