by Fatima Ariadne
“The world is in three days. As for yesterday, it has vanished along with all that was in it. As for tomorrow, you may never see it. As for today, it is yours, so work on it.”
(Hasan Al Bashri)
Just a month ago I had my wedding. As culture dictated, I had many ceremonies before and after the main course, mainly filled with Qur’an recitations. I remember how I recalled and recorded every passing moments vividly. Like turning on a video recorder in my head, I said to myself over and over, “this is the moment and I will immerse into it deeply, before it’ll change tomorrow”.
But just in the very day I stood after reciting my marriage vow, a little shocking realization came after me.
Suddenly I remembered death.
Talking about weird inspiration coming in a weird time, but true!
It has nothing to do with my marriage, it’s just about the life phase I’ve (we’ve) been through. Far yesterday when I was a child, I never thought this day would ever come. But it comes. I never thought about having physical relation with a man, but it’s come and done.
What you thought would never come, will certainly come, and yesterday will be as the passing dreams.
And guess what? After death, certainly you’ll be standing in Afterlife, remembering worldly life as a passing dream.
How quickly they’ve come and then gone, isn’t it?
Somehow the old adage “be the child of this moment” is never enough.
While the Scholar (ulema) gave wedding tauseeyah (speech), my mind just wandered everywhere. Like a movie slideshows about my life are being played quickly from the subconscious library.
It only felt like several years ago when I stood in the kindergarten, confused and dazzled with the surroundings, I asked myself, “why do I come to this existence?”.
Then my high school moments. How I trembled at stage singing an a cappella soprano piece before around 100 female-only students, but I made it anyway. Then Uni. How my friends and I climbed mountain and screamed at the top of my lungs when we reached the top. How my eyes captured the beauty of dying leaves of Japan’s autumn last year. How I ran into a lakeside ecstatically, for seeing Sothis rising in the pristine night sky….
Everything. Every moments. Laugh. Tears. Smiles. Reverie. Wonder.
They once felt very intense. You were so much drowned in such oceans filled with emotions and momentum. But now they just don’t matter as much anymore. Like a dream, they have all passed. Much like a Prophetic saying, “the pen has been lifted and the pages have dried”.
Moments of life are passing so fast that we want to almost tell that time is merely illusion of consciousness. Time is only the numbers we define on the clock. It is the moments that count. That’s why the Divine put our Afterlife in Eternity. No longer we must experience the illusive sweetness or pain that is ephemeral. No more “this too shall pass” once we make our way to cross over to Afterlife. What Divine compensation could be better than Eternity itself?
For the very reason, this verse makes perfect sense to me :
“The Day (Judgement Day) they see it, it will be as if they had never lived (in this world) except in one afternoon or one morning” (Suraa An-Naziat : 46)
Yesterday we were born. Learning to walk. Go to school. Graduated. Get a job. Get laid. Married. Retired. We spent old age. Died. Some just died young. We write and left behind the story of our lives. But every journey only leads to one [physical death] and eventually we realize that what we thought as the end is only a beginning.
Carpe Diem VS “This Too Shall Pass….”
Today and this time, you are reading this blog.
But 30 minutes later, you will certainly do and experience something else. And this blog will be one of your passing moments.
Then think what you’ll be, do, have, and standing at – 30 hours, or even 30 years later.
When you were kid, you wouldn’t think you would be a mommy or daddy. You wouldn’t even imagined that. But if God wills you for it when you’re adult, you’re certainly become one. When you were a teenager, you wouldn’t think you’ll grow old and your hair turns grey. But if God lengthens your age until that moment on, it will certainly happen.
You will certainly pass through that stage.
Likewise, we think that death, grave (barzakh), and Day of Judgment as something really far, far away. Like – why bother with that if we now can sit and look up the blue sky, and everything’s just seems “fine”? The rat race, bills, debt, and children might leave you breathless – but the day of judgment?
But ready or not, time DOES passes, and they will absolutely happen :
Your death. The Grave. The Hour. The eternal home.
“Verily, what you are promised with, shall come to pass”
(Qur’an 77 : 7)
I constantly read books on how we must immerse in every moment we have, immerse in “the now”, “be the child of the moment”.
But now I realize that Islamically, it’s just not enough. Every single breath we’re able to spend is nothing but gift. Our time in this world is vessel to fill, the same vessel that will be questioned in Afterlife, and it’s your choice to fill it with gems or sands. A true muslim will honor every moments they have by making it worthwhile for their Afterlife, either to serve Allah and to serve others.
“By time. Verily, mankind is in loss! Except those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and advises each other in truth, and advices each other to patience (persistence)”
(Qur’an 103 : 1 – 3)
It was my great grandmother who taught me voluntary silent dhikr everywhere i.e. while you’re on the bus, queue, shopping center to not letting each seconds wasted. And actually she’s the one who seems like never pass her time without dhikr. Recently, 13 years after she’s buried, the family decided to move her grave to another place. They reported her body is still intact, and there was a sweet fragrant of flowers from her grave. Subhanallah!
A righteous Sufi master, who’s still one of the Salaf (from the third generation of Prophet’s era, to be exact) Junayd Al Baghdadi — was asked this question when he was a 7-year-old child : “what is gratitude?”. And there he answered wonderfully :
“True gratitude is to not taking advantage of Divine gift you have, to do disobedience toward Him”
We might be merry and waste our time like we have time forever. But as the clock is ticking, that very day called death will surely come…… calling you to her cold embrace — ready or not.
This earth is not our home. We are only a temporary traveler. Our mission in life is preparing for the next , longer journey.
Be the beacon of light and hope. Reach out and heal someone’s soul. Thank your loved ones for their ceaseless support. Thank the Divine for all you have, for both the blessings you realize or not. Remember Him a lot. Be in service, before your time is running out. And honestly, we’ll never know when our time will running out.
Die before you die.
“Make use carefully of five moments before five moments :
your youth before your old age comes,
your healthy time before you fell ill,
your wealthy time before you fell into poverty,
your spare time before you’re busy,
and your life before your death”
(Mustadrak Hakim; authentic according to Al Albani)