“Ruqayyah settled in a seat next to Salman in a ride to Madinah where they resided. She was completely exhausted. Salman soon drifted off to sleep ten minutes into the journey while Ruqayyah rested her back on the seat reflecting comfortably.
It was exactly a year today since Saratu’s death. Not that Ruqayyah had purposely kept tab on the memory, it was just somehow automatically engraved in her heart since the night it happened – an unforgettable Friday night. She remembered how she had sought haven at Umm Ramlah’s home as she was too scared to sleep alone after she heard the news. Ummu Ramlah had kindly taken her in for days, helping her to deal with her grief bit by bit. And who was in the best position to do that anyway, if not someone who had been in such shoes before. Though, the loss of a friend could possibly not be as bitter as the loss of a husband, yet as Ummu Ramlah would say, “Pain is pain”.
Ruqayyah let out a deep breath and looked out of the window. They say time heals pain but some pain just remained with you for the rest of your life. She was a living witness to that.
Ruqayyah couldn’t deny the fact that Saratu’s death had brought her some good as it had broadened her understanding about the concept of life, facilitating her zeal to spiritual obedience, having in mind that at anytime, it could be her turn. Still, losing a loved one wasn’t easy. Whenever her heart tore at the incident, she found consolation in the hadith Umm Farhan had told her about how a Muslim who died on a Friday night or day is free from the fitnah of the grave. In the end what mattered was being saved from Allah’s punishment and not the time of departure from the world” – (An excerpt from “The Bind”)
Brothers and sisters, as much as the time of departure also matters, like Ruqayyah, so many other Muslims are not aware about the virtues of a long life in Islam.
One of the companions of the Rasul (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), Abu hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated,
“Two persons of one clan came to the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and embraced Islam at one and the same time. One of these was martyred in a battle and the other died a year later. Talha bin Ubaidullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he saw in his dream that the person who had died later was admitted into Paradise before the martyr. This surprised him. I do not recollect whether it was he (Talha) or somebody else who narrated this dream (to the Prophet of Allah). The prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) thereupon remarked: “Has not the person that died later fasted for one additional month of Ramadhaan, and has he not offered six thousand or odd rakaats of salaat more during the year he lived after the martyr?”
In another narration, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) concluded by saying : “So the difference between them is greater than what is between the heavens and the earth.”
Source : Musnad Aḥmad 8195.
One thought that came to my mind after pondering over this hadith is that being alive is a great opportunity. An opportunity to continue in acts of worship that can increase the rank of a slave in the sight of Allah. An opportunity to attain a higher level in Jannah by Allah’s leave. An opportunity to repent.
Most times we waste so much time worrying about how much time we would spend on this earth rather than how much work we are doing in our present time. While the former is out of our control as our life span is in the Hands of the Most High, the latter is a matter of choice and strive for each soul.
My friends, the fact is that no sane person wants to die. Even our pious predecessors loved to stay alive as they wished to continue to be lost in the sweetness of their worship for as long as possible, and also to earn rewards, as much as possible. Although, as humans of different levels of faith and knowledge, our reasons for wanting to stay alive might differ. However, irrespective of the reason each soul presents, Allah, the Most Wise, has made His decision such that we would continue to depart from this world one after the other till the end of time. So we’re left with no choice but one – to make the best use of whatever time we have been destined to spend in this ephemeral world by being the most devoted of slaves to our Creator, and to the best of our abilities.
We should always remember that as Muslims, the length of time we live would only matter if we live well.
Dear Brethren, I have learnt that “Long life” is peculiar to each soul of the son of Adam. The advantage that you have over the dead ones is being alive right now and that is your “Long life”. Even if it is for an hour, a day, a month or a year… For this reason, I beg you not despair about the past time you’ve wasted and the future time you’re unsure of. You can still achieve everlasting joy by Allah’s mercy with the present you have been gifted with. All you have to do is use it wisely.
So kindly do me a favor. Sit back, relax and take a deep breath, then sincerely ask yourself : what am I doing with my “Long life”?
Reflect! Reflect!! Reflect!!!
Strive to make a change now. Deal?
By Fareedah Raji (Umm Habeebah)
Editor: Umm Naml