Planning for a Good End

The ultimate goal of every Muslim should be to achieve Jannah. We all want to live a good life and meet our Creator, Allah while He’s pleased with us. However, we don’t know when or where or how we will die. And more important than that, what we’ll be doing or saying, when we meet our end in this temporary life on Earth. So how do we ensure that we die doing good and not doing evil. It is a very special blessing to die in a state where Allah is pleased with us. It goes without saying that the likelihood of us dying while doing good is increased if we are habitually doing good (and by the same token, avoiding evil) on a daily basis. Like with everything else worth achieving, it does require some planning and hard work.

1-Develop Good Habits/Get rid of Bad Habits – Living righteously, obeying Allah and following the teachings of Islam as outlined in the Quran and in the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam is a lifestyle. We need to develop the habits such that we fulfill the obligations and stay away from the prohibitions every day of our lives. And when we slip, we return to Allah in repentance, seeking His forgiveness immediately.

2-Help Others – It is extremely important to develop this quality in ourselves for the secret of a happy and fulfilled life is to help others, be good to them and bring joy to their lives all for the sake of Allah alone. In Islam, having a good character is a fundamental requirement. Living life helping others will increase our chances of meeting our Creator when He’s pleased with us.

3-Use the Siwaak – The habit of using the Siwaak (the tooth stick) used for oral hygiene is an established Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ). According to a Hadith, ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The Miswak (tooth-stick) cleanses and purifies the mouth and pleases the Rubb.” [An-Nasa’i and Ibn Khuzaimah].

4-Keep Good Company/Avoid Bad Company – The company we keep has a direct effect on us. Our friends and family affect us in many ways, shaping our thoughts, beliefs, actions and habits. While we cannot choose our family, we can certainly choose our friends. Always pick friends carefully. If they are good, they can lead us to doing good and if they are not good, they can lead us in the opposite direction. Good friends a special blessing from Allah.

5-Acquire Knowledge – Acquiring knowledge is a lifelong worship, it helps us be in a state that we are receiving blessings from Allah. If we adopt the lifestyle of the student of knowledge, for the sake of Allah alone, we can assure that our life will be a blessed one.

6- Evaluate Self Daily – Self-evaluation is important in Islam. We are encouraged to ponder upon life and our own actions. Regularly evaluating oneself is an important part of making ourselves better Muslims, leading lives that are continuously improving toward the pleasure of Allah.

7-Be Good to Parents – There are numerous Hadith regarding the importance of parents and the advice to treat them well. Here’s a very comprehensive authentic Hadith on this subject: ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said, “The pleasure of the Lord lies in the pleasure of the parent. The anger of the Lord lies in the anger of the parent.” (Imam Bukhari, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

8-Visit the Sick – Visiting the sick is a great deed. It has amazing value for the person you’re visiting, however there is even more value in it for us. This is recommended in the Hadith as well. It reminds us to be grateful for the blessing of health, Alhamdulillah.

9-Attend Funerals – Attending funerals is also carries a huge reward from Allah. It serves to remind us of our own mortality and to be good in this life while we have time. Doing this often softens the hearts and gives our imaan (faith) a boost and everlasting reward from Allah.

10-Make Duaa – Making duaa is paramount to the success of a Muslim. It is not an optional worship. Allah loves those who ask Him for everything. Allah does not like those who do not ask Allah for everything they need. We should humble ourselves before Allah and reach out to His Mercy with our duaa.

Allah knows best.

May we all meet Allah when He is pleased with us, Ameen.

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A King of the Buwaih Dynasty

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Three (things) accompany a dead body: members of his family, his belongings and his deeds. Two of them leave him, and only one remains with him. Indeed, his family members and his belongings leave him but his deeds remain with him.” [Bukhari]

Commentary: In Shadharat adh-Dhahab it is related that one of the kings of the Buwaih Dynasty, Fakhr ad-Daulah, said: “I collected enough wealth for my children and their army to suffice them for fifteen years.”

But when he died, the keys to his treasures were with his sons who ignored his funeral. Consequently, the people searched for an appropriate cover for him. They eventually bought one from the caretaker of the mosque. All the while his sons and soldiers bickered among themselves until his corpse rotted.

When the disputing was over, the people had to lasso his corpse and pull it from a distance because of its horrid smell. As they pulled his corpse, it fell apart on the stairway of his castle.

Here was a king who owned a great portion of worldly life, a legacy of two million dinars, eight hundred and fifty six thousand dirhams, and a sensational amount of 14,000 pieces of jewels, gems, pearls, diamonds, and gold. This is not to mention incredible amounts of silverware, furniture, weapons and carpets.

But when he died no one attended to him, with nothing to cover him except what they could scavenge from the caretaker of the mosque. This is the reality of this life. We come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed. Only our deeds enter our graves alongside us. Indeed, the wisest person is he who prepares himself for the afterlife by obeying Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) in the best of ways.

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Life has a purpose and death is not the end

In a recent visit to Pakistan, I happened to attend the funeral of one of my uncles. I had gone to see him just the day before he passed away. His eyes lit up and as I entered the room he was in. He gestured for me to drink the coffee which was brought for me. He’d suffered a stroke a couple of months ago and was unable to speak or move or eat (he could move his left arm and blink and was being fed liquid food through a tube. He could hear and understand and would squeeze my hand with his left hand and blink to acknowledge it. It brought tears to my eyes.
What a life he had led: nine children all married and have had children of their own. As old as he was, he was mobile until the stroke. He was ready to meet Allah Subhanahu WaTaala. I informed him of the Hadith that when a believer is sick, he continues to get the reward of the good deeds he used to do when he was well even when he can’t do them while he’s sick. I asked him to pray constantly for the garden of paradise for himself, his family/friends and relatives. I asked him to seek forgiveness from Allah for himself, his family/friends and relatives to be protected from the hellfire. He squeezed my hand with surprising strength at everyone of these du’aas. It was as though he smiled when I told him that the old age and paralysis is only a test from Allah briefly and that in Jannah we’d all be young and be able to fly around as we wished. It was as though he cried when I told him that Allah is shy when a white bearded Muslim asks Allah for something – so ask Him for entry into Jannah and protection from Jahannam with persistence like a kid asks for candy. The next day he was gone. The janazah was serene with a masjid full of people in the neighborhood that knew him as Abdullah Sahib and in the masjid which he frequented daily for all his prayers. May Allah forgive his sins and admit him into his paradise and may we meet him there ameen!
Just two years ago, Abdullah Mamu’s younger brother Khalid Mamu had passed away (while he was being rushed to the hospital from the masjid). He was speaking to his daughter on the cell phone as he died. She’d reminded him to say the kalimah and he passed away saying “Laa ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasullullah”. What a way to die! Subhan Allah!
Life is a journey and death is not the end. No human being ever created will ever cease to exist: we were created for eternity. This life is brief, the next life is forever. Everything in life is a test. All our deeds, good or bad, will remain with us for eternity. The material possessions will remain in this world and be inherited by others who may fight over it after you’re gone. So let’s all prioritize our lives and chase after the akhirah and not the dunia. Although we live in this world and have to raise families and earn our livings, we shouldn’t get attached to this world and whatever it contains. Who in their right mind will build a house at a train station or an airport? It’s a journey, not a destination. The next life is eternal so we need to be ever more concerned about how we would be there: whether we’ll have a nice house in Jannah or not? Let us prepare ourselves for the ‘real life’ that is to come, without wasting a single day.
Share with your friends and family and let us be prepared for our deaths before it catches up with us when we are unaware.
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