Seize the Day, Tomorrow is not Yours!


By Sumayyah bint Joan

Upon hearing about the death of a fellow Muslim, it suddenly struck me how very fleeting life is, and that I was only a twinkling of an eye away from where he is now.

 

Death is the reality from which none of us can escape. It draws nearer every day, every hour, every minute. So I had to ask myself, if I were to die today, would I have done all that I could to ensure Allah’s Favor, and to evade His Wrath? Unfortunately for me, the answer was a resounding NOOO.

 

At the end of the day, I ask myself, what good have I sent ahead for the benefit of my soul? And again, the answers usually, very little. Time, it seems, is moving by so quickly. It seems just like yesterday that we started the “New Year,” yet we’re already almost a third of the way through it. A month seems like a week, a week seems like an hour and an hour feels like just minutes. This is why I’ve resolved to try my utmost, with the aid of Allah to take advantage of every opportunity to do good deeds, and not to put off until later, what I can do now. Death is coming, are you ready?

 

Allah says, “Every soul shall have a taste of death, and only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only those who are saved far from the Fire, and admitted to the Garden will have succeeded. For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.” [3:185]

 

It is so easy for us to get caught up in the comings and goings of our everyday lives, that we tend to forget that we don’t have forever in this-worldly life, and get distracted away from our true aim and purpose. We tend to forget that we are here to worship Allah and to avail ourselves of the various opportunities He gives us to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven. For He, Subhanahu Wa Taala, also says,

O you who believe! Revere Allah, and let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow; and revere Allah. Allah is well Aware of what you do. And be not like those who forgot (disobeyed) Allah, and He caused them to forget themselves. Those are the disobedient. Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of Jannah. It is the dwellers of Jannah who will be successful.” [59:18-20]

 

He also tells us that we do not know the hour of our own deaths, or in what land we will die. But He through His unending Mercy toward us, has given us ways to prepare for the inevitable now, because once we’ve passed from this life to the next, there is no coming back to do the things we should have done. For Allah says,

Until death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord, send me back. Perhaps I may do good in that which I have left behind.’ No, it is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is a barzakh until the day when they are raised up.” [23:99-100]

 

Allah has given us ways to protect ourselves from the punishment of the grave. One of these ways is by fighting in the Cause of Allah. It is reported that a man asked the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, “O Messenger of Allah, why are all the believers tested in the graves except a martyr?” He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “The flashing of swords over his head was a sufficient test for him.” (An-Nasai)

 

This may be difficult for most of us to do in this day and age, but Allah has provided us with many other ways to earn ease in the next life. These include reciting Surat ul-Mulk, because the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “Surat Tabarak is the protector from the torment of the grave.” (Al-Hakim) He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, also said, “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqh, a knowledge of Islam from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a for him.” (Muslim)

 

Another way to earn a continuing reward is by reviving a lost Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “He who initiates in Islam a good way gets his reward for it, as well as rewards similar to those who follow him into it, without reducing any of their rewards.” (Muslim)

 

For those of us who know of fellow Muslims who have already begun their journey, or who are about to enter, into the next life, there are things we can do to make the transition easier, insha’Allah. These include performing the Janazah prayer for the deceased, fulfilling the deceased’s vows, payment of the deceased’s debts and the supplications of the Muslims.

 

This life is fleeting. Death is coming. Let us get ready.

HAD I BUT KNOWN


 

Anfal, a rich young girl, sat waiting impatiently at the doctor’s clinic to get the results of a medical test. She was in a hurry to attend a party and feared she might be late for her appointment with the hairdresser. She never thought the result would be anything important. It was just a precaution insisted upon by her family. She had never suffered any serious illness, apart from the odd ache in her limbs. Then, it was her turn to see the doctor. She hurried inside to get it over with as quickly as possible. She was surprised to see the doctor look sad and concerned as he asked, “Is this yours?”

 

She answered, “No, it is my daughter’s.”

 

She wanted to know the truth and thought that perhaps he would hide the truth, if she told him it was her own. He asked her to have a seat, so she sat feeling somewhat afraid.

 

She looked at him anxiously, as he said,”Why did not you send a man to get the results?”

 

Anfal said, “It was on my way so there was no need to send someone else.

 

“The doctor looked sadly at her and said, “You seem to be an educated girl. You understand the nature of life.”He stopped talking, and she began to tremble.

 

She asked, “What do you mean doctor?”

 

The doctor said, “The result indicates that there is a blood disease.”

 

He looked down at his papers and remained silent. Anfal had to ask him to give her more information.

 

She cried in fear, “Is it cancer?”

 

He did not look at her, but a cloud of sadness covered his face. It was as if he was sentencing her to death. She said in a broken voice, “I am finished then.”

 

The doctor knew then that she had lied, but it was too late to hide the truth. He looked kindly at her and said, “I am sorry for you. Why did you lie? Anyway life and death are matters within Allah’s power. Many sick people live long and many healthy ones die.”Anfal felt as if she were drowning, as if a hard fist was cruelly squeezing her heart. She tried hard to regain her strength and said, “I do apologize. Thank you doctor.”

 

The doctor encouraged her saying, “Be strong and optimistic. Medical science is constantly progressing. Some of today’s incurable sicknesses can be cured tomorrow I still have hope. Leave me your telephone number.” She repeated the number automatically without knowing what she was saying. Feeling great shock and bitterness, she again thanked the doctor and left.

 

At home she kept the truth to herself. She did not know how to share it. Anyway, everyone was busy, getting ready for the party. Her mother asked, “Have you been to the doctor? Why did not you go to the hairdresser?” It was just a by-the-way question, needing no answer. She briefly said, “I am not going to the party !”. She went upstairs into her room and locked the door. She stretched out on her bed fully clothed and listened to her family’s voices, as if they were coming from a far away place. The wind seemed to her to be a funeral sad tune, lamenting her approaching death. The bedroom seemed strange to her as she would be leaving it soon. What about the house? It would not remember her. She was just a guest. Others would take her room and soon forget her. She tried to cry but tears did not help. She looked around her in pain. Those curtains that she had tried so hard to get, would stay after her. It would not have mattered if they had been made of the roughest fabric, she would leave them for others. She wished she had not troubled herself for such things. She wished she had saved her time and money for more useful things, which could have been helpful to her in her difficulty.She wondered, “What is useful to me?”

 

She was young, beautiful and rich with everything her heart could desire. Could anything help her and save her from death? She had always longed for an official job with a good salary. She had it, but could it save her from death? An idea struck her. She hurried to the phone while everyone was away. She dialed the doctor’s number and asked eagerly, “If I travel abroad can I find a cure?” He said, “There is nothing new abroad. It is a waste of money.”She put the phone down and sat on a nearby chair. Her salary would not change matters.

 

She walked through the house’s rooms as if saying her farewells. She paced the small garden and looked at the trees. She whispered, “I wish these trees knew I am leaving them, those stones, walls…I wish these doors knew my hands will soon no longer open them. I wish those flowers, that I planted and watered knew. How often the thorns and hard stones tore my hands! How often I watered those dying flowers with my tears when there was no water. I wish they knew the meaning of my departure. These fruiting trees were tiny when I planted them. I did my best to help them flourish until they grew up healthy and fruitful. Will they know I am soon leaving? Will they remember my days in their company? What about these seats, I used to rest on. Will they miss my presence? Will they be ready for someone else to settle on them? My writing desk felt my writing in tears and in smiles, does it know I am leaving? Will it miss my pen and papers in its drawers?

 

I wish they all knew I am leaving. I wish I had known I was leaving, then I would not have cared so much for this life. I would not have felt proud and arrogant…Had I known I were a guest in this world I would not have been cheated or tempted by its luxuries… Had I known this I would have been aware that leaving a simple life is easier than leaving a luxurious one… Had I lived a simple life, I would not have found it difficult to cross from this world to the next. My family is now enjoying the party…how often I longed for such parties, how much I cared for fashion and hairstyles! Can they help me now?”

 

Anfal threw herself down on the nearest chair as if she had realized a truth previously unknown to her. She said, “What shall I take with me? Nothing but the coffin and my deeds. What kind of deeds will go with me on my long journey? Nothing! Yes, nothing!” She remembered her friend Sarah, who used to advise her and guide her to the right path of Allah.

 

She used to remind her of the Qur’anic verse: …and make provision, for the provision is the guarding of oneself. (AI-Baqarah:239)

 

She had never considered the importance of good deeds. Now she was in need of such deeds to present to Allah. She would stand to give her account, but what would she say? How could she expect Allah’s mercy when she disobeyed His orders? How could she ask for forgiveness when she never even thought of obeying Him in her life’s affairs? She wished she had read the Holy Qur’an instead of all those cheap novels. She wished she had gained some knowledge of her religion instead of reading film-star magazines. She continued wishing she had done few things, and not done other things. She wished she had not angered this person or that, and had never lied or gossiped about anyone. She wished she had not been proud and despised the poor.

 

She said, “I wish I could start my life all over again to make-up for my errors and to obey Allah’s orders. I worshipped my desires and ignored my Creator. I wish I could live for a while to make up for my sins.”

 

She remembered a Qur’anic verse, her grandfather used to recite: Until when death overtakes one of them he says: Send me back, my Lord. Haply I may do good in that which I have left. By no means! It is a mere word that he speaks, and before them is a barrier until the day they are raised. (AI-Mominoon:99)

 

Here she said, “Oh God, I do mean it…”

 

Tears burst from her eyes. She cried bitterly in repentance, not pain. She decided to obey Allah in all His orders if she lived a bit longer. The phone rang and she walked towards it lazily. Tears in her eyes she said, “Yes?”

 

Someone said, “Can I speak to Miss Anfal?” She knew the speaker. It was her doctor.

 

She said, “Yes, speaking.”The doctor said cheerfully, “Congratulations my daughter! There is nothing wrong with you. Thank God!”

 

She was stunned with surprise. She did not know what to say. “No disease? How? You are joking, doctor!”

 

The doctor said, “May Allah protect me I am not joking. I have just got an apology from the analyst. He explained that there was a mix-up with the names. Your name was written instead of someone else. I have your medical report here in front of me. You are quite well. Be thankful to Allah my daughter.”

 

Excitedly she said, “Thanks be to Allah, Thank you doctor.”

 

She put the phone down, feeling as if she was new-born. She knew she was safe for a while, but death would certainly come one day. She had no time to waste. However long she lived she was a guest. The first thing she did was to perform her prayer, which she had neglected for a long time. She promised Allah to obey His orders to pray, fast, and stick to wearing decent clothes. She would also give up whatever Allah had forbidden. In order not to forget this, she wrote the Qur’anic verse on a placard and hung it on the wall. On the other side she wrote a wise saying:

 

“Repent the day before you die. Because you do not know when you will die, then always be repentant.”

A Learning Disabled Child experiences: “A piece of True love”


At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children,the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

 

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question.
“When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?”

 

The audience was stilled by the query.The father continued. “I believe,that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child.”

 

Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, “Do you think they’ll let me play?”

 

Shay’s father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging.

 

Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, “We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.”

 

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield.

 

Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

 

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

 

At this juncture, would the boys let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

 

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible cause Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly,much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.

 

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

 

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

 

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first
baseman.

 

Everyone started yelling,” Shay, run to first! Run to first!” Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled; everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second!”

 

By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head. Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home.

 

Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third!” As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, “Shay, run home!”

 

Shay ran to home, stepped on to the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the “grand slam” and won the game for his team.

 

“That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face,”The boys from both teams helped bring a small piece of true love and humanity to me and my son.”
Author: Unknown


The Prophet(peace and blessings be upon him), said: “You are given sustenance and victory for the virtue of those who are weak amongst you.”
We, should show mercy and care to the disabled and handicapped out of both human and religious motives.
In Islam, we are commanded to show mercy to everything in this world.
In another Hadith: The Prophet(peace and blessings be upon him), said “Show mercy to those on earth so that He Who is in the heavens (i.e. Allah) bestow mercy to you.”
Courtesy: www.everymuslim.net                  

A story of Selflessness


This is a story of Imam Abu Hanifah(R.A.). It was one afternoon. At this latter period of Imam Abu Hanifah(R.A.) life; with age his body had become somewhat heavy, causing him some difficulty in moving around. Also, his house was situated on high ground, with a fair number of steps to climb to reach the entrance.

 

This particular afternoon Imam Abu Hanifah(R.A.) had just climbed up the steps and entered his house, and had just sat down with the intention of lying down to rest, when somebody called out to him from the bottom of the steps:
I wish to ask you some question. Please come down. Imam Abu Hanifah(R.A.) came down and asked, What is the question that you wish to know?

 

The person replied, Oh! Just as you had reached the last two or three steps I forgot!

 

Imam Abu Hanifah(R.A.) said, It is of no consequence. When you remember, you may ask, and Imam-saheb went back up the stairs.
Just as Imam-saheb was about to lie down to rest, this person called out again, I’ve remembered! Come down. Imam-saheb climbed down again. This time, too, it was the same story: The person said, I had remembered, but ” just as you reached the last step, I forgot!”
Sometimes it was the last step that Imam-saheb had reached, sometimes it was the third or fourth last step, but every time it was the same story, that he had remembered but had forgotten again!

 

In this way he made Imam-saheb climb up and down six or seven times! Then finally, when Imam-saheb had climbed down and enquired, What is the question? this person replied, Yes! Yes! Now I remember!
Imam-saheb said, Go ahead and ask.

 

The person asked, What is the taste of faeces?

 

Let us pause for a moment. He wanted to know what faeces tasted like! Is this a question to put to anybody? How much trouble and inconvenience did he not put Imam-saheb to, to ask this?
However, with an even temperament (mustaqil mizaj), with steadfastness (istiqamat), with a firm stance (thabite-qadam), Imam-saheb responded very calmly, It depends. What type of faeces are you enquiring about – the taste of fresh faeces, or the taste of stale faeces?

 

The person said, Well… Both! Tell me the taste of fresh faeces and stale faeces.
Imam-saheb answered, “The taste of fresh faeces is sweet, whereas the taste of stale faeces is bitter.
The person said, What, did you taste each of them?

 

Imam-saheb replied, There is no necessity for one to taste each in order to determine these qualities. There are some signs and indications which will equally lead us to this conclusion. I have noticed that flies tend to settle on freshly passed faeces. Flies are attracted by sweetness. So, one can conclude that freshly passed faeces taste sweet. Flies do not settle on stale faeces. Bitterness repels flies. So, again, one can conclude that stale faeces are bitter!
The person said, What you have stated is absolutely correct!
Imam-saheb, in turn, asked him, Why do you say so?
The person explained, I knew the answers beforehand!

 

He explained further, We were a few people sitting together, having a discussion, and the question came up: In this present age, who is that person who is a sahebe-hilm(a person who is tolerant)?
These people wanted to know who is the most accomplished in the quality of hilm, of selflessness, of giving sarifice(qurbani), of undergoing personal inconvenience for the sake of others.
It was our unanimous opinion that it was Imam Abu Hanifah. I came specifically to put you to the test, so that I could see for myself whether our unanimous opinion was correct or not !
Source: “FOR FRIENDS – Booklet 8 “
Courtesy: www.everymuslim.net                   

An Amazing Uplifting Story: A Nurse meets an old man


My name is Cassie, I am 23 years old. I graduated as a qualified nurse this year and was given my first position as a home nurse.

My patient was an English gentleman in his early 80s who suffered from Alzheimer’s. In the first meeting, the patient was given his record and from it I could see that he was a convert to the religion of Islam, therefore he was a Muslim.

I knew from this that I would need to take into account some modes of treatment that may go against his faith, and therefore try to adapt my care to meet his needs. I brought in some ‘halal’ meat to cook for him and ensured that there was no pork or alcohol in the premises as I did some research which showed that these were forbidden in Islam.

My patient was in a very advanced stage of his condition so a lot of my colleagues could not understand why I was going through so much effort for him. But I understood that a person who commits to a faith deserves that commitment to be respected, even if they are not in a position to understand.

Anyway after a few weeks with my patient I began to notice some patterns of movement.

At first I thought it was some copied motions he’s seen someone doing, but I saw him repeat the movement at particular time; morning, afternoon, evening.

The movements were to raise his hands, bow and then put his head to the ground. I could not understand it. He was also repeating sentences in another language, I couldn’t figure out what language it was as his speech was slurred but I know the same verses were repeated daily.

Also there was something strange, he didn’t allow me to feed him with my left hand (I am left-handed).

Somehow I knew this linked to his religion but didn’t know how.

One of my colleagues told me about paltalk as a place for debates and discussions and as I did not know any Muslims except for my patient I thought it would be good to speak to someone live and ask questions. I went on the Islam section and entered the room ‘True Message’.

Here I asked questions regarding the repeated movements and was told that these were the actions of prayer. I did not really believe it until someone posted a link of the Islamic prayer on youtube.

I was shocked.

A man who has lost all memory of his children, of his occupation, and could barely eat and drink was able to remember not only actions of prayer but verses that were in another language.

This was nothing short of incredible and I knew that this man was devout in his faith, which made me want to learn more in order to care for him the best I could.

I came into the paltalk room as often as I could and was given a link to read the translation of the Quran and listen to it.

The chapter of the ‘Bee’ gave me chills and I repeated it several times a day.

I saved a recording of the Quran on my iPod and gave it to my patient to listen to, he was smiling and crying, and in reading the translation I could see why.

I applied what I gained from paltalk to care for my patient but gradually found myself coming to the room to find answers for myself.

I never really took the time to look at my life; I never knew my father, my mother died when I was 3, me and my brother were raised by our grandparents who died 4 years ago, so now its just the two of us.

But despite all this loss, I always thought I was happy, content.

It was only after spending time with my patient that felt like I was missing something. I was missing that sense of peace and tranquility my patient, even through suffering felt.

I wanted that sense of belonging and a part of something that he felt, even with no one around him.

I was given a list of mosques in my area by a lady on paltalk and went down to visit one. I watched the prayer and could not hold back my tears.

I felt drawn to the mosque every day and the imam and his wife would give me books and tapes and welcome any questions I had.

Every question I asked at the mosque and on paltalk was answered with such clarity and depth that could do nothing but accept them.

I have never practiced a faith but always believed that there was a God; I just did not know how to worship Him.

One evening I came on paltalk and one of the speakers on the mic addressed me. He asked me if I have any questions, I said no. He asked if I was happy with the answers I was given, I said yes.

He asked then what was stopping me accepting Islam, I could not answer.

I went to the mosque to watch the dawn prayer. The imam asked me the same question, I could not answer.

I then went to tend to my patient, I was feeding him and as I looked in his eyes I just realized, he was brought to me for a reason and the only thing stopping me from accepting was fear…. not fear in the sense of something bad, but fear of accepting something good, and thinking that I was not worthy like this man.

That afternoon I went to the mosque and asked the imam if I could say my declaration of faith, the Shahadah.:

(lā ʾilāha ʾillà l-Lāh, Muḥammadun rasūlu l-Lāh)

There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is Allah’s messenger.

He helped me through it and guided me through what I would need to do next.

I cannot explain the feeling I felt when I said it.

It was like someone woke me up from sleep and sees everything more clearly.

The feeling was overwhelming joy, clarity and most of all…. peace.

The first person I told was not my brother but my patient.

I went to him, and before I even opened my mouth he cried and smiled at me.

I broke down in front of him, I owed him so much.

I came home logged on to paltalk and repeated the shahadah for the room.

They all helped me so much and even though I had never seen a single one of them, they felt closer to me than my own brother.

I did eventually call my brother to tell him and although he wasn’t happy, he supported me and said he would be there, I couldn’t ask for any more.

After my first week as a Muslim my patient passed away in his sleep while I was caring for him. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon.

He died a peaceful death and I was the only person with him.

He was like the father I never had and he was my doorway to Islam.

From the day of my Shahadah to this very day and for every day for as long as I live, I will pray that Allah shows mercy on him and grant him every good deed I perform in the tenfold.

I loved him for the sake of Allah and I pray each night to become an atoms weight of the Muslim he was.

Islam is a religion with an open door; it is there for those who want to enter it…. Verily Allah is the Most Merciful, Most Kind.
* Note * Our sister Cassie passed away October 2010 Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon, after she gave da’wa to her brother, who had accepted Islam Alhamdulillah.

May Allah subhaana wa ta’ala grant sister Cassie Paradise Ameen Ya Rabb.

Courtesy: http://www.everymuslim.net