Remembering Death | Al-Hayat Ad-Dunya

Al-Hayat Ad-Dunya

“Know that the worldly life [al-hayat ad-dunya] is but
[la’ibun] and [lahwun], [zinatun] and [tafaakhurun] among you,
and [takaatsurun] in respect of wealth and children…”
[Al-Hadid 57:20]

Allah SWT gives us the definition of [al-hayat ad-dunya]. Look at the 5 key words mentioned in the ayah and the meaning of their root words:

[La’ibun] = engaging in idle activity without meaning or purpose
[Lahwun] = becoming diverted and neglectful
[Zinatun] = pomp / to beautify
[Tafaakhurun] = self-glorification
[Takaatsurun] = to surpass in quantity.

Notice that all of the keywords do not refer to something physical, but the characteristic / lifestyle to that effect:

A person’s lifestyle that constantly engages in unmeaningful activities is al-hayat ad-dunya.

A person’s lifestyle that neglects one’s obligations that are due upon him is al-hayat ad-dunya.

A person’s lifestyle that is all about vain and pomp is al-hayat ad-dunya.

A person’s lifestyle that boasts and self-glorifies oneself is al-hayat ad-dunya.

A person’s lifestyle that revolves around rivalry in terms of wealth and children is al-hayat ad-dunya.

Al-hayat ad-dunya is, in a nutshell:
a lifestyle that is purely oriented to the now, to the present.

You live a wealthy lifestyle in the present at the cost of being bankrupt in the Hereafter. You chase after people’s praises and admiration at the cost of being forgotten and tormented in the Hereafter. You want to be super successful in each and every aspect in your life, even if it means sacrificing everything in the Hereafter.
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Al-hayat ad-dunya is not wealth, lots of cars and mansions, etc rather our behavior towards these things. The tools for la’ibun, lahwun, zinatun, tafaakhurun, takaatsurun are all neutral. Your wealth is not haram. Your status is not haram. Your beauty is not haram. In fact, our Deen advocates us to work hard, to be successful, to wear nice! What is important is our behaviour / lifestyle towards these things that will determine whether we’re sinning or not. And Allah SWT warns us at the end of the ayah:

“…And al-hayat ad-dunya is only a deceiving enjoyment.”
[Al-Hadid 57:20]

If that game preoccupies most of your time, leave it. If that friend / gathering constantly makes you neglect your obligations to the Deen and family, leave. It’s difficult, I know. But we need to look at our daily routine, interactions and the intentions behind them all.

Don’t chase the present at the cost of the Hereafter.

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Remembering Death | The Deeds We Carry To Our Graves

Ta-Ha 20 : 75

My teacher once taught us: our compensation in al-Barzakh (alam barzakh), whether they be good or bad, DOES NOT depend on the deeds we did while still living, rather it depends on the deeds that we carry after our death.

Take an example: A did 100 good deeds when he was alive, so will he be rewarded for those 100 good deeds after his death? Not necessarily so! Because our good deeds can still be nullified – through shirk, bid’ah, riya’, etc. So A, even though he might had seem pious to his community, actually only brought 5 good deeds after his death.

In contrast, B had done so many sins – remember the hadith that talks about the man who killed 100 people, or the magicians who practiced sorcery and opposed Nabi Musa AS? They were all committing major sins throughout their lives! But because they came back to Allah SWT in humility, regretted what they had done, repented sincerely to Allah which He SWT accepted – then they do not carry those sins and their consequences (i.e. punishment) to their graves.

So here is the lesson for me and you: When we see we’ve achieved to do what Allah has commanded, do not be so full of ourselves. Because what is important are the deeds we carry after our death, not deeds that we thought we have but are actually nullified due to our sins. Similarly, when we fall into sins – no matter how big or small they are – never ever stop making tawbah, never ever despair of His Mercy. Whatever prevents us from coming closer to Allah, make the decision to leave it for His sake. Because all that will be left in the end with us are our deeds – and their consequences.

May Allah SWT accept our deeds.
May Allah SWT protect us from anything that will nullify our deeds.
And may we return to Him SWT free of sins.

He Whose Life Is Long and His Deeds Are Good

It was narrated that a man asked Rasulallah SAW:
“O Messenger of Allah! Which of the people is the best?”
He (SAW) said: “He whose life is long and his deeds are good.”
He said: “Then which of the people is the worst?”
He SAW said: “He whose life is long and his deeds are bad.”
[At-Tirmidhi | Graded: Hasan]

Rasulallah SAW taught us it’s not our lifespan that matters, but our actions. An average lifespan filled with khayr is definitely so much better than a long lifespan filled with sins. We seek refuge with Allah SWT from a long life that only increases us in sins.

As we enter the year with new goals and resolutions, let’s also start with self-critic of our shortcomings.
Do I enter the year with a stronger iman and better akhlaq than last year?
Has there been an improvement in my relationship with Allah, and my relationship with His creations?
Or is there an increase in sins, in bad habits and bad character instead?
Am I getting lazier, or more cynical, or more prone to anger?
Do I constantly demand for my right, but forgetting about fulfilling other people’s rights?

“Have I truly improved myself?” is something that we need to ask ourselves constantly – not on a yearly basis, but on a weekly, daily basis. Our Deen always advocates that doing good should start right now, at this minute, at this instant.

With family, job, and personal responsibilities, it’s easy to forget that our time in this dunya is actually tiny and miniscule compared to the time we will spend in our graves, and then compared to the time we will spend in the Hereafter. It’s easy to forget that this small fraction of time will determine our eternal fate in the Hereafter.

And it’s the Mercy of Allah SWT that He allows us to still receive khayr in our graves because of the good deeds that we do. Allah SWT says:

“Verily, We give life to the dead,
and We record (1) that which they send before, and (2) their traces,
and all things We have recorded with numbers (as a record) in a Clear Book.”
[Yasin 36:12]

Ibn Kathir rahimahullah wrote that this ayah means: “We [Allah] write down the deeds which [1] they used to do themselves, and [2] the legacy they left behind [meaning the effects of our deeds even after our death, such as educating our children, reviving a forgotten Sunnah in the society, etc will still be written for us as hasanah], so We will requite them for that; if it is good, then We will reward them, and if it is evil, then We will punish them.”

This is why scholars of tafsir have said that we have two types of age: (1) Our age in this dunya, and (2) our age in the grave i.e. al-barzakh, because we can still earn hasanah from the effects of the good deeds we left behind. This is like the Hadith where Rasulallah SAW said:

Whoever starts (or sets an example of) something good in Islam,
will have a reward for it,

and a reward equal to that of everyone who does it after him,
without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.

Whoever starts (or sets an example of) something evil in Islam,
will bear the burden for that,

and a burden equal to that of everyone who does it after him,
without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.”
[Sahih Muslim]

It’s good to have new year goals and resolutions, but not at the expense of forgetting the absolute reality that we will, very soon, return to Allah SWT – either in eternal goodness, or in eternal misery. So let these ahadith be a reminder to make important changes in our lives. The wise believer will realize the little time he has left, and will be busy planting seeds of khayr while he is still alive, so that he can harvest them and reap the reward in the Hereafter.

[At-Takwir 81:1] When The Sun [Kuwwirat]

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Ibn Umar narrated that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
Whoever wishes to look at the Day of Resurrection
as if he is seeing it with his own eye,

then let him recite:
‘When the sun Kuwwirat’ (At-Takwir 81:1)
and ‘When the heaven is cleft sunder’ (82:1)
and ‘When the heaven is split asunder’ (84:1)
[At-Tirmidhi | Graded Hasan]

How true are the statements of Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. Hands down, one of the scariest scenes on the Day of Judgment has been told by Allah s.w.t. in Surah At-Takwir. The Surah begins with:

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ
When the sun is [Kuwwirat]
[At-Takwir 81:1]

This is what will happen to the sun on the Day of Judgement. The translation of this ayah is “When the sun is wound round and lost its light.” Our righteous predecessors said this ayah means:

The sun will be darkened,
The sun will go away,
Its light will go away,
The sun will sink in,
The sun will be thrown down.

Ibn Kathir rahimahullah wrote that At-Takwir means to gather one part of something with another part of it, like the folding of clothes together. Therefore the meaning of Allah’s statement [Kuwwirat] is that:

Part of the sun will be folded up into another part of it.
Then it will be rolled up.
Then it will be thrown away.
And when this is done, its light will go away.

Subhanallah, this short tafsir unnerved me so much. Taking straight from the wiki, the Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System, a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, with a diameter about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth, accounting for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System.

So try to imagine that this great sun, greater than the earth, greater than you and me, will easily be folded up like clothes.
And then it will be easily rolled up.
And its light will easily be snuffed out.

It frightens the soul and truly, it humbles it. It reminds us of our insignificance, of our weakness, and it reminds us that if a great creation such as the sun can easily, EASILY, come to pass, then so will you and I.

So I remind my soul, and then yours, to remember who we really are. Do not let our status, our wealth, our looks, our intellect, our state of happiness / sadness make us forget of our responsibilities as slaves of Allah. Do not let the pleasures of life make us forget the Rabb who gave them to us in the first place. Do not allow these things make us look big in our eyes, when in reality, we might be so insignificantly small in the sight of our Rabb. Do not allow these things to make us forget of the Day when Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

“The sun and the moon will be rolled up on the Day of Judgement.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

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Reference:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir

To Be Forgotten/Ignored By Your Rabb

And it will be said:
“This Day, We (Allah) will forget you as you forgot the Meeting of this Day of yours.
And your abode is the Fire, and there is none to help you.”
[Al-Jathiyah 45:34]

In Sahih Muslim, it is reported that Allah will ask some of His slaves on the Day of Resurrection:
“Have I not given you a spouse, honored you, and subjected the camels and horses to you?
Have I not allowed you to be a chief and a master?”
The slave will say in answer, “Yes, O Rabb!”
Allah will say, “Did you think that you would ever meet Me?”
He will say, “No.”
Allah the Exalted will say, “Then this Day, I will forget you as you forgot Me.

This because you took the revelations of Allah in mockery,
and the life of the world deceived you.
So this Day, they shall not be taken out from there (Jahannam),
nor shall they be returned to the worldly life (so that they repent to Allah).
[Al-Jathiyah 45:35]

Therefore o sons of Adam, be wise! Do not let the pleasure of this world fool you, for there will come a definite Day when no apology shall be accepted by the Rabb of all worlds. There will come a definite Day when Allah s.w.t. will forget you, as you have chosen to forget Him.
__________
Reference:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir

[Al-Kahf 18:105] Al-Kahf Challenge (15/20)

If you have been following the Al-Kahf Challenge Series,
you should have memorized and learned the first ten ayat of the Surah – alhamdulillah!
From this post onwards, the series will be focusing on the last ten ayat of Surah Al-Kahf.

To read the series in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3 | Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11Pg 12Pg 13 | Pg 14Pg 15 | Pg 16 | Pg 17 | Pg 18 Pg 19Pg 20  | Pg 21
———- 🌺 ———-

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“They are those who deny
the Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Rabb
and the Meeting with Him (in the Hereafter).
So their works [a’mal] are in vain,
and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign not weight for them.”
[Al-Kahf 18:105]

In the last ayah, we discussed about one of the characteristics of those who will be the greatest losers in the Hereafter: They lost or wasted their deeds.

In this Ayah, Allah s.w.t. gives us another characteristic:

The greatest losers deny the signs of their Rabb,
and they deny the truth of His Messengers,
and they deny the Hereafter.

Just like how the previous characteristic corresponds with the attribute mentioned in Surah Al-Asr (i.e. the people who are in loss are those whom have lost their righteous deeds), these denials also correspond with the two attributes mentioned in Surah Al-Asr:

(1) They do not have the correct belief (إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ) and
(2) They do not believe in the Truth (وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ )

Their denial of Allah’s Signs and the Day of Judgment constitute false belief, and are in fact untruthful, because Allah s.w.t. has clearly shown to us His Signs. If only these people reflect deeply!

Because of their denial, all of their [a’mal] / works are in vain. The word [a’mal] is typically used for good deeds, so these people may had done acts of goodness when they were alive – they may had started a charity project, they may had come out with an invention that has helped millions around the world, or they may even had worshiped their God to the best of their capability – however for these people, Allah s.w.t. says their deeds will have absolutely no worth whatsoever.  Why? Because they don’t believe in Allah, and they refuse to accept the Truth. Allah s.w.t. says:

And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did,
and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust.
[Al-Furqan 25:23]

We ask Allah s.w.t. to keep us steadfast on this Deen, and we ask Allah s.w.t. to soften the hearts of those who have yet to believe.

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For the article written in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah & mp3 of the Ayah, please click here.

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’oon

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Do we really understand when we say ‘Inna Lillahi wa inna Ilayhi raji’oon’ (Verily to Allah we belong, and verily to Him we shall return)?

Al-Hassan Al-Basri (rahimahullah) once said:

“Do you know its explanation?
Inna Lillah (Verily to Allah we belong) means
I am a worshiper / slave who belongs to Allah,
w
a inna Ilayhi raji’oon (and verily to Him we shall return) means
I am returning back to Him.
So if you know that you are worshiper / slave who belongs to Allah
and that you are returning back to Him,
then know that He will question you,
and if you know that He will be questioning you,
then prepare answers for the questions.”

On that Day, each one of us will be held accountable, no one can save us, and no excuses will be accepted – it’s far too late to appeal:
“Oh Rabb, I wanted to pray, but I was busy with my work!”
“I wanted to wear hijab, but I planned to do that after I got married.”
“I did want to give up that sin when I’m ready, but You took my life before I could do so.”

If you know you will die, then be assured you will be buried.
If you know you will be buried, then be assured you will be resurrected.
If you know you will be resurrected, then be prepared for the Questions.