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It’s the time for change

Publishing Date : 21 January, 2020

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM


How long will we be on this earth for? Seldom do we stop to think about this very sensitive subject. Only a handful of us may be lucky to live to a ripe old age of 100, but most of us won’t even get that near that.



As humans we all have our hopes, dreams, ambitions and plans for the future, but life is full of uncertainty; From the day we are born the countdown starts for the day of our departure from this transitory world; we never know when the Angel of death will come knocking at our door – there is no denying it, only time will tell when.


While we all know that our life in this world is of a temporary nature and that the life to come is eternal, many of us spare little thought to what we can do to earn a Heavenly life in the Hereafter. The Qur’an says: ‘Short is the enjoyment of this world; the Hereafter is the best for those who do right’ (Qur’an 4: 77). And; ‘Little is the comfort of this life as compared to the Hereafter…Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter?’ (Qur’an 9: 38).


There are many verses in the Qur’an that describe: ‘the beautiful mansions in the Gardens of perpetual bliss’ (Qur’an 9:72), in the Hereafter as opposed to this fleeting life. The question that we should be tackling in our minds is what can and should we do to be among those who will be given that Eternal abode?


We need to recognize that we are but a traveller in transit, just passing through this world and the length of our time on this earth is uncertain and only known to our Lord, therefore we should take every opportunity to ensure that we make the time and effort to secure our place in the Hereafter. Time marches on, so do we, towards meeting our Maker.


But while we make efforts towards our Eternal life, we should not forget the value of time in this world. We are so ‘busy’, we go through our days involved in our daily chores that we cannot even do a simple thing like spending quality time with our families. It is true that we have the stresses of our employment, office and other worldly commitments – but we need to step back and bring a balance into our lives by acknowledging the value of time. When we have something to do, how often are we prone to postpone it, (yes that includes me) and say ‘I will do it later / tomorrow / next week’ without realising that we may not be around to do so.


But we know that we should be adding the words ‘Insha Allah’ – meaning (if Allah so Wills). The Qur’an reminds us ‘nor say anything, I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow without adding if Allah so Wills’ (Qur’an 18: 23). There is also verse in the Bible that speaks of the same message when it says: “you don’t even know what your life will be tomorrow. You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. What you should say is this ‘if the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that’.” (James 4: 14-16)


So while we involve ourselves in our daily struggles and chores we should also be setting aside time in the remembrance of our Lord and Creator. Setting aside time on a daily basis for remembrance of Allah, to pray to, to thank and to seek the blessings of our Lord is what we should be aiming to do.  


Some may think that it is a difficult thing to do, but this does not necessarily mean that we should leave our daily work obligations and other stations that we occupy in life and spend all our time in prayer. What is meant is that we should infuse into our daily lives and occupations the proper conduct and behaviour, morals, ethics, values and that all our actions are within the bounds of our religious belief and guidance. We have to set aside time on a daily basis to remember and to thank our Creator for our daily blessings.  


Even the Bible reminds us of this: “…..Give to God what belongs to God.” Mk 12:17. Mat. 22:21. In other words we should always remember our Lord and Creator, there is a time for us and a time for our Lord. In Islam, a Muslim is constantly reminded through his obligatory five times daily prayers that there is a time for us and there is a time for our Maker.


These five times daily prayers are inter-spaced during specified times of the day – as result the message is clear to us, as it is a constant reminder that brings our consciousness to the fore that even during our busy daily schedules we have religious obligations to fulfil. Hence it trains us for the need to balance our time in such a manner that we are able to fulfil both our spiritual and secular obligations.


Apart from the obligatory prayers at specific times, a Muslim is expected to recite verses from the Quran be it directly or from those that they have memorised. There are many other small prayers and supplications that we can continuously recite whilst we are working, walking about, jogging or whenever – this window of time allows us via this constant remembrance to bring us closer to our Lord.


But apart from these physical acts of worship a Muslim is obliged to lead a life that is in congruence with the guidance of the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). I once read some words that capture the value of time beautifully and I cannot recall if I had previously shared them with readers. But even so I still want to share them with readers because they carry a very valuable message and capture the value and importance of time.


To realize the value of ten years: Ask a newly Divorced couple.
To realize the value of four years: Ask a graduate.
To realize the value of one year: Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realize the value of nine months: Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.
To realize the value of one month: Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of one week: Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of one day: ask the editor of a daily newspaper.
To realize the value of one hour: Ask those who are waiting to meet their loved ones.
To realize the value of one minute: Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realize the value of one-second: Ask a person who has survived an accident...
To realize the value of one millisecond: Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics
To realize the value of time; think of the time spent with a loved one that you have lost
To realize the value of a friend: Lose one.

Time waits for no one. Therefore we have to savour and treasure every moment that we have. We will treasure and value it even more if we can share it with those special people around us. All these are worldly things and will always pass - they are not infinite like the Hereafter.....

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