Remembrance of Death
During the Cambodia trip, we had a “Life Journey” presentation for every one of us. We were required to draw/write on a piece of mahjong paper about the significant events in our lives that has made us who we are to day and then present it.
My paper had Imam Ghazali RA written on it because definitely, this man, or more importantly, his book “The Remembrance of Death & The Afterlife” which is a chapter out of his work, The Revival of the Religious Sciences, made me reprioritise my life and was the one major thing that shook me out of my heedlessness. (Not that I’m not heedless anymore… Just that, at that moment, I was doing a lot of wrong things in my life.)
Here’s an excerpt from that book, a book which I try to revisit as often as possible because it always gets me going again.
“Before he died, Abu Musa al-Ashari was intensely occupied [with devotional practices]. Upon being asked why he did not forbear or have some pity on himself, he said, “Horses which have been let loose give all they have when they draw near to their destination. That which is left of my lifespan is shorter even than that.” Thus he remained until he passed away. He took to saying to his wife, “Make ready for hardship, for no passage exists through Hell.”
One of the Caliphs said from his pulpit: “O bondsmen of God! Fear God as much as you are able. Be as a nation awakened by a great shout, which has come to understand that this world is no abode for it, and which therefore exchanges it for another. Make ready for death, for its shadow has already fallen over you; be off, for it pursues you assiduously.
For truly, a span of time eroded by an instant and extinguished by an hour is of necessity fleeting, just as something which is at present absent will, since it is brought ever nearer by the days and the nights, return with celerity; and just as one who shall be granted either triumph or suffering should make the best of preparation.
The man who is pious in his Lord’s sight is he who counsels himself, offers his repentance, and overcomes his desires (for his lifespan is veiled from him); lest hope deceive him and he be entrusted to the care of Satan, who causes him to live only in hope of repentance so that he postpones it, and who makes iniquity fine in his sight, so that he commits it, until such time as his fate assails him at the moment when he least anticipates it.
Between each one of you and Heaven or Hell there lies only advent of death. Therefore, what sorrow shall be the lot of the man of the heedless, that his life should be a warrant against him, and that his own days should cast him into misery!
May God make you and me among those who are not made vainglorious by His blessings, or drawn from His obedience by some act of sin, and who are neither afflicted by any sorrow after their demise. Truly He is the Hearer of Prayer; in His hand is goodness always, Who acts as He will.”
May it be of benefit insyaAllah. Only a short time remains of my holidays. Only a short time remains before my death. May I use my time wisely. Amin.