The inevitable journey of the Akhirah
The inevitable journey of the Akhirah
Unless we wake up to the fact that we are all Musaffirs on this Dunya with an inescapable journey lying ahead and a destination towards which we must move, we will not muster the resolution necessary to reach our goal. It is enough to say that our biggest obstacle in the way of awakening from our slumber leads us to forget our ultimate destination and we neglect to prepare for that ultimate journey. We deaden our will and resolution with our egos and with the attitude that we are going to live forever.
We have the tendency of assuring ourselves that there is still plenty of time for preparing for the trip, that if we do not prepare for it today we may do so tomorrow, if not this month then the next and so on. To adopt such an attitude means that we would be building castles in the air and living in a fool's paradise. Such a state of extended and outstretched hope, together with a false assurance of unlimited life and unbounded availability of time, makes us oblivious of our ultimate goal, the Akhirah.
May Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala save us from such thinking. We have such a long and perilous journey awaiting us and we have been given a limited time in which to procure and prepare the provisions and dire necessities for the trip, but do not possess anything because we do not pay heed to the inevitable journey. It is obvious that if such a state of neglect befalls us, we will fail to procure the necessary provisions for the long trip, being totally helpless and at a loss at the time of our departure. Such a person will perish on the journey and will not reach the desired destination. We must not loose sight of the fact that our journey is a perilous one, for which the provisions of sound knowledge and fruitful action are needed.
The time of our departure from this Dunya is known only to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. None of us know for certain whether we will be here next week. In short, we have no guarantee whatsoever that we will be alive tomorrow. The dawning of each new day draws us another day closer to our Qabir. If what I say makes any sense than may I humbly suggest that we should all declare very sincerely that today is the first day of the beginning of the rest of our lives.
This prolonging of hope by you and me arises from our inflated egos and self-love and is the most masterly of the vile and filthy tricks of Shaythaan Lanatullahi Alay. Through it he distracts our attention from the Akhirah and diverts us from attending to its affairs. With the perils of the long journey and the obstacles in the way of preparing for it, if we fail to repent or to return to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. The appointed call shall come unexpectedly and send us totally unprepared on our way without any provisions for the very long journey lying in wait.
Even if we have performed good deeds, what guarantees do we have that those deeds are pure and untainted? If we acquired any knowledge, we should ask ourselves whether such knowledge was futile and fruitless or whether our learning was nonsensical and absurd or whether it was an impediment on the long and perilous journey to our meeting with our Glorious Creator and Sustainer. Had the deeds that we have done and the knowledge that we have learnt been beneficial, they should have left some mark on us who have been in their pursuit for years and should have transformed our habits and morals. What went wrong that our past few years' labour has produced an opposite result and has hardened our hearts?
What have we achieved from performing regular Salaat, which is the Me'raj of a Mu'min? Where is the fear of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala which is the outcome of true knowledge? Allah forbid, if we are called to depart from this Dunya right now in our present state, are we sufficiently secured by assuming that we will not encounter any lasting disappointments and that there will be no remorse in store for us? If obliviousness of the Akhirah caused by endless hope is something on account of which the greatest man who ever walked on the face of this earth was concerned about, he was justified; for he knew about the perilous journey awaiting all of us. He taught us not to be complacent and to remember that:
"The Qabar is the first stage of the many stages of the Akhirah."
At all times, we should be busy in gathering all our provisions for that ultimate trip because this is the only chance we have. As Muslims, we must never ever separate our lives from AlmightyAllah's Deen nor from our beliefs, our social, our political and our commercial activities because they all form an integral part of the Muslim way of life. A wonderful example of what this means is given to us in verse 201 of Surah Al-Baqara which we recite every day after every prayer:
"O Allah! Give us good in this world and good in the Aghirah, and save us from the torments of Jahannum."
The earthly life of a true Muhmin is built on the premise that we were created and then brought into this Doonya for the Pleasure (Radha) of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. This means that we live and we die for the Pleasure of our Glorious Creator and we yearn for our "Liqa Allah" - meeting with Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. Out of His Great Muhabbat for humanity, Almighty Allah tells us in verse 208 of Surah Al-Baqara:
"O you who believe! Enter whole-heartedly into Islam, and follow not the footsteps of Shaythaan for he is to you and avowed enemy."
It is only through Imaan and Taqwa that will enable us to abide by the principles and codes of the Holy Sharia'h and the Sunnah of Almighty Allah's Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. Only then will we be able to retain our purity of mind and body in order to keep ourselves free of Shathaan's contamination in preparing for our journey to the Akhirah. This has been made crystal clear to us in verse 6 of Surah Al-Inshiqaq:
"O man! Thou must strive a hard striving (to attain) to Thy Lord, until thou meet Him."
The fact that we may think that we keep ourselves pure in mind and body in our preparations for the Akhirah does not mean that we have attained Jannah or that we have a path leading directly to Almighty Allah. To assume such a thing would be like building sand castles in the air and following a pipe dream. We will all have to make the journey to our meeting with Almighty Allah 'stage by stage' just as did all the Ambiya Alayhim Salatu Wasallam as confirmed to us in verse 19 of Surah Al-Inshiqaq:
"That you shall certainly ascend to one stage after another."
To fully understand what is meant by the verse "that you shall certainly ascend to one stage after another", we must refer to the Meraj of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam and his experiences on that most holy and auspicious journey. On his return from the Meraj our Nabee Sallaqllahoo Alayhi Wasallam relates that he met our father - Nabee Adam Alayhis Salaam on third heaven, Nabee Esa Alayhis Salaam on the fourth heaven, Nabee Moosa Alayhis Salaam on the fifth heaven and Nabee Ebrahim Alayhis Salaam on the 6th heaven.
The 'stage by stage' progress referred to by our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam also shows us that Nabee Adam Alayhis Salaam who had passed away many thousands of years before the Meraj had reached only the third stage. Nabee Esa Alayhis Salaam who had ascended without any physical death some six hundred years before the birth of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam had reached only the fourth stage. Nabee Moosa Alayhis Salaam who had died one thousand five hundred years before the birth of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam had reached the fifth stage. Nabee Ebrahim Alayhis Salaam - the Patriarch had passed away some two thousand five hundred years before the birth of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam and had reached the sixth stage. We should ponder upon this fact and remember that if it took this long for these great Prophets Alayhim Salaam to reach their various stages, then how much longer will our journey take?
Alhumdoelillah! The most auspicious Meraj of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam however took him through all these stages to his direct meeting with Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. One may ask why our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam should have had this wonderful experience while still alive and living on the Doonya. The answer is simple. Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal had decreed that Nabee Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam was His Beloved Ghataman Nabee'een - the last, the final and the seal of the Ambiya Alayhim Salatu Wasallam. Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen had chosen him and gave him the task of setting an example and to preach the Final Divine Message. His duty was to lead humanity out of darkness and onto the Path of Seerathal Mustaqeem. We must awaken our hearts and inform it of the truth as narrated by our Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam who said:
"This Dunya is the farmland of the Akhirah."
That is, if we do not sow the seeds of righteous deeds in the few days of our life here on this Dunya, the opportunity will be lost forever. When we reach the threshold of the other world and death seizes us, deeds come to an end and all hopes are extinguished. If, Allah forbid, we continue to remain in the slavery of lusts and the captivity of various carnal desires until the Angel of Death arrives, it is possible that Shaythaan may achieve his ultimate objective of wresting away our faith. Let us clear our hearts and turn our attention to the focal point of absolute perfection and try to ponder on verse 17 of Surah Sajda where Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala's promise has been made very clear:
"I have prepared a reward for My righteous servants what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what the mind of man has not conceived."
Could we really ask for and achieve any greater reward than to enjoy the Pleasure and the Company of our Glorious Creator and Sustainer Who created us - to be enveloped in the Light of His Majestic Glory, and dwelling in the warmth and security of His Muhabbat, His Rahma'h and His Eternal Abode? Can we deny ourselves what Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal offers us? Our eyes for the brilliance of His Glory, our ears for the words of His Welcome, and our hearts for the contentment of His Divine Company?
If Almighty Allah gave us free and easy access to Janna'h we would not appreciate it as we had not fully earned it or done very little to deserve it. But if through all our trials and tribulations we can Insha'Allah earn the Pleasure and the Company of Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen and become worthy and fit for our final and ultimate journey for our reunion with Him, then Alhumdoelillah, our lives have not been in vain because Almighty Allah reminds us in verse 156 of Surah Al-Baqara:
"......Surely we are Allah's, and to Him shall we return."
"O Allah! condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; pardon us and do not require us to suffer the consequences of our wrongdoings, as those before us had to do. O Ya Rabbal Ala'meen! Creator of the heavens and the earth - lay not on us a greater burden than we have strength to bear. Expiate our sins, grant us Thy forgiveness, and have mercy upon the Ummah of Your Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. Thou art surely our Protector. O Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen! grant us victory over the infidels and unbelievers." Ameen!
(Moulana Abdul Hamid Lachporia Saheb)