Written By: Ali Asad Chandia
This is the second part of Ali Asad Chandia’s five part series. Imagine you’ve been told that you will be locked up for the rest of your life. Do you just give up and waste the remaining time you have left, or do you work tirelessly to make sure that you are not imprisoned in the next life as well?
In 2011, three young men were sentenced in an Alexandria courthouse after a murder trial. They patiently waited for their sentence for few hours. Finally the U.S marshals came and escorted them to the courtroom where the sentence hearing was to take place. After the hearing they returned to the temporary holding cells and looked as if they were intoxicated. The men were sentenced to 40 years in prison and were in an extreme state of shock. After a few minutes, one of them said to the others, ‘We are left with a meaningless life’. After hearing that statement I praised Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala who has informed us of our purpose in this life. This purpose remains constant for the entire humanity. Everyone on the face of this earth is obliged to fulfil this purpose, regardless of whether one lives in a free world or behind these bars. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:
And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship me (alone). (The Qur’aan 51:56)
When a person heedless of this sole purpose of life goes through worldly trials, he feels abandoned, neglected and helpless. Only if one were to remember the statement of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala:
And when my slaves ask you (O Muhammad sallaAllahu ‘alaihi wassallam) concerning me, then (answer them), I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. (The Qur’aan 2:186)
When a person is conscious of his sole purpose in life, and makes a sincere effort to fulfil this purpose by obeying his Lord to the best of his ability, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grants him amazing strength by which he faces every trial and tribulation with tranquillity and never feels despair. How often do we meet Muslims in prison who are serving life imprisonment and have been incarcerated for two or three decades but their attitudes testify to the strength of their Iman? They are often heard stating only one concern, ‘We lost the opportunity of living this life as free men, we can’t afford to lose the next one also. That is all we got left’. It is by the virtue of submissiveness unto Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that hearts feel comfort and tranquillity, as is stated in the Qur’aan. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:
Those who believe, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts feel rest. (The Qur’aan 3:28)
Ibrahim Ibn Adham said:
The highest level (attainable) is to be exclusively devoted to Allah and to seek His love with your heart, mind and your limbs. And that you hope for none but your Lord, and you fear none but your sin. Allah’s love is so strong in your heart that nothing affects it if you are such, regardless of whether you are on land or at sea, on a plain land or on a mountain, your sole desire will be to meet your beloved (Allah), just as a thirsty person desires cold water and a hungry person desires good food, remembrance of Allah for you will be sweeter than honey and it will be sweeter for you than fresh clean water is for a thirsty person on a hot summer day. (Jaami’ Al-‘Uloom Wal Hikam, pg. 37)
On the other hand, when a person forgets his purpose in life and neglects the obligation of serving his Lord, his life remains miserable and his heart is never at peace. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:
But whosoever turns away from my reminder verily, for him is a life of hardship…(The Qur’aan 20:124)
There are various individuals in this world who have gathered much wealth and could buy whatever this material world has to offer. With all the wealth they gathered they still could not find tranquillity in their hearts and remained depressed. Their lives remained dark as if they were in a vast deep sea overwhelmed with layers of great waves, one above the other, unable to see anything. They never made an effort to seek the light of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala so He left them in the misery of that darkness and none on the face of this earth could remove such a misery.
(CC image courtesy of Thomas Hawk on Flickr)
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)