In school, college or university, whenever we are given an assignment to work on, with this assignment we are also provided a certain set of instructions which need to be followed in that assignment and not to forget the most important part i.e. the deadline. Deadline is also attached to it, a date on which this assignment needs to be submitted. So in total an assignment is given with two major details which include the instruction set and the deadline.
Similarly, the life that Allah (SWT) has given to us is an assignment. Along with this assignment we are bestowed upon with an instruction set manual i.e. His miraculous book – The Glorious Qura’an – the ultimate Reminder.
Allah (SWT) – The Most Exalted says in the Glorious Qur’an:
“This [Quran] is a Message for humanity, in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is but one God, and that those of understanding may take heed” (Quran 14:52)
Along with this instruction set we are provided with a deadline – a date when our soul will depart from the bounds of this world of illusion – Dunya.
Allah (SWT) says in Qur’an:
“O my people, this worldly life is only [temporary] enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – that is the home of [permanent] settlement” (Ghaafir 40:39)
Allah (SWT) also says:
“But you prefer the worldly life, While the Hereafter is better and more enduring” (Al-‘Alaa 87:16-17)
Allah (SWT) further says:
“Beautified for those who disbelieve is the life of this world, and they ridicule those who believe. But those who fear Allah are above them on the Day of Resurrection. And Allah gives provision to whom He wills without account” (Al-Baqarah 2:212)
Dunya is an Arabic term which literally means something closer and lower in stature. It is also referred to as temporal world or something that is temporary and will last real soon. This Dunya where we have engrossed ourselves in is in actual a place where we are supposed to live as travelers. On the authority of Abdullah ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with them both), he relates that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once held my shoulders and said:
“Live in this world as (if you are) a wayfarer or a stranger.” And Abdullah ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with them both) used to say: “If you live till night, then do not wait for the next day (i.e. do not have hopes that you will live to the next day), and if you wake up in the morning do not have hope that you will live till the night. And take (advantage) from your health before your sickness and take advantage of your life before your death (i.e. do every possible obedience in your life before death comes to you for then no deeds can be performed.)” [Bukhari and Tirmidhi]
Just imagine that there’s this little boy who is fond of toy cars. He saw his favorite toy car Ferarri model in a toy-shop. What will be his immediate response? Obviously he will do whatever it takes to acquire it. Because he knows how much value it holds to him. But now imagine if outside the same toy shop he finds a REAL Ferarri, what will be his response now? For sure, he will give up the thought of that toy car because he now knows the worth of the real Ferarri. This is exactly our state. We have fallen in love with this Dunya i.e. the toy car. We are so submerged in the delusion of this life, delusion of the things around us, false love, false attachments, false cravings, false beliefs, that we have integrated ourselves in this culture of false-ism. And because the beauty of Aakhirah is unseen or beyond our imaginations so we aren’t much bothered about it. And in all this ignorance we are missing out the REAL thing. And this is what the real test or assignment is. To believe in the unseen. To believe in divinity. The Real Thing.
Our worries for this world have become so high in nature that we have somewhere down the lane lost the real purpose of our existence. We have buried the thought of our departure (death) in Dunya, and are wandering in this world to seek for a so-called purpose. The real purpose Allah (SWT) rested in the creation of this universe is reflected in this Ayah of Surah Mulk where Allah (SWT) says:
[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving – [And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks?
This Ayah reflects our mere reason of existence. This life is a test, an assignment that we are given. And there’s a deadline decided by the Higher Power already. And when this deadline will approach we wont be able to escape it. Death will approach you wherever you go. It’s after you. You can deny it today but what will you do tomorrow?
Allah (SWT) The Most Gracious says in the Qur’an:
“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.”
Allah (SWT) The Most High, The Most Exalted says in The Qura’an:
“…When their term comes, neither can they delay nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).” (16:61)
In another verse, Allah (SWT) warns us:
“Wherever ye are, death will find you out, even if ye are in towers built up strong and high!…” (4:78)
He (SWT) further says:
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. (Ale-‘Imraan 3:185)
What has already been said is mostly regarding life and death. Now lets focus on the third aspect i.e. the path in between. All that we are engaged in this life, is being recorded. Every deed whether evil or good, every act, every blessing that we are bestowed upon with, are a part of the larger package that we entitle as a test or an assignment. We will be accountable in front of our Lord about what ever we have engaged ourselves with in this life. Now lets converge our lens towards what Allah (SWT) wants us to engage with in this path in between.
“And spend [in the way of Allah ] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, “My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous.” But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do” (Al-Munaafiqoon 63:10-11)
This short span of life that we have, we need to devote ourselves entirely for the sake of our religion. We need to balance out our deen and dunya. We are sent here as a traveler. And a traveler is supposed to stay for a limited amount of time. We all have undertaken a journey – A Spiritual Journey. This is just a spot where we are made to rest for a short span of time. Once our rest is over we have to resume a journey that is eternal – DIVINE. Reflect upon these verses and you will realize how hopeless we are when it comes to death; In this life, the soul and the body are together except during sleep when the soul may leave the body and come back in the morning or Allah may take the soul at that time.
“It is Allah that takes the souls at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those onwhom He has passed the decree of death,He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect.” (39:42)
It is indeed something to be pondered; that we die each night and Allah gives us another chance at life when we wake up the next day. We aren’t sent here to submit ourselves to our desires, to the lust of this world, to shamelessness. Our heart isn’t manufactured for all these worldly desires. The path in between will decide where we will land. Where we will subside – Jannah or Jahannum.
“So direct your face toward the correct religion before a Day comes from Allah of which there is no repelling. That Day, they will be divided” (Ar-Room 30:43)
“O you who believe! let not (one) people laugh at (another) people perchance they may be better than they, nor let women (laugh) at (other) women, perchance they may be better than they; and do not find fault with your own people nor call one another by nicknames; evil is a bad name after faith, and whoever does not turn, these it is that are the unjust. O you who believe! avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it; and be careful of (your duty to) God, surely God is Oft returning (to mercy), Merciful.” (Q.49:11-12)
Allah (SWT) The Most High, The Most Compassionate says in The Qur’an:
“O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed – that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind. That is because Allah is the Truth and because He gives life to the dead and because He is over all things competent. And [that they may know] that the Hour is coming – no doubt about it – and that Allah will resurrect those in the graves” (Al-Hajj 22:5-7)
And finally I would do the closing of this article with the opening verse of the Glorious Qur’an;
“In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. Praise be to God, Lord of Universe, the Merciful and Compassionate, Ruler on the Day of Judgement, You do we worship and call upon help , Guide us along the Straight Path, the road of those, whom You have favored, those whom You are not angry, who are not lost.” (Qur’an 1:1-7)
May Allah (SWT) The Most Exalted, guides us all (Ameen Sum’Ameen Ya Rabbul Aalameen)