5 Opportunities You Need to Harness before 5 Disasters Strike
And it is He (Allah) Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. — Qur’an 6[Al-An’aam]:165
The life of this world is transient, and this is the reason why Allah described it as a deceitful enjoyment. Our time in here is limited, but the hereafter is a place of reward — everlasting bliss or endless doom. For this reason, Islam gives a blueprint on how to live life to the fullest from birth to death. The Qur’an contains several injunctions and prohibitions to live a peaceful life in order to meet Allah pleased with you in the afterlife. The sunnah in addendum contains words, actions, and approvals of the Messenger of Allah. The combination of both is what leads to supreme success.
Allah created life and death in order to test us and see who will put forth good deeds. All through our lives, the opportunity opens up to harness the immense reward. This was well depicted by the Prophet (PBUH) in an authentic narration thus:
Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.” — sahihayn
Let’s look at this beautiful admonition in bits:
- Your Youth before Old Age: We often think adolescence is the prime of life because it’s filled with bloom. The freshness and vigor make young people do things with spontaneity. This often results in negative acts that would be regretted along the line. How awesomely would it have been if you spent your youthful days in servitude to Allah? Dedicating time to learn the deen is of utmost importance at this stage of life. This is because knowledge is a criterion that will guide you through the rest of your life. Learn about the deen, understand and implement it practically and then teach it to others as well. Be patient in dealing with people and do not look down upon them. Give them glad tidings of a good reward and do not be quick in judging them. Spend your night in standing to pray and your day in doing good deeds that yield immense reward. Remember, the youthful age is the prime of energy and zeal, utilize it productively. Indeed a time is coming when you will not have the opportunity to do all of this.
- Your Health before Illness: It’s only with good health we can strive and do a lot of things. We often don’t value wellness until we fall ill and unable to do all the things we did while healthy. Good health is an immense blessing from Allah, yet little thanks do we give for it. Take a tour through the hospitals and visit the sick. This is a good act for reflection and expression of gratitude. Many patients will tell you how much they long for a cure. If only they had health, they will serve Allah. Now that you’re well, serve your Lord before an illness or disability afflicts you which may prevent you from indulging in acts of worship.
3. Your Wealth before Poverty: If Allah blesses you with wealth, spend it in His cause by helping the needy. Always bear in mind charity doesn’t decrease wealth. Remember everything we possess will verily come to a halt, but that which we spend in aiding Allah’s cause will be hugely rewarded. Remember the story of Qarun, his wealth and arrogance? Do not be like Qarun…
But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of legal enjoyment in this world, and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah likes not the Mufsidun (those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupts). — Qur’an 28[Al-Qassas]:77
Spend today in Allah’s cause before a day your riches will not avail you.
4. Your Free-time before the Busy time: Shayk Abdullah ibn Azzam in his book ‘A Message to Every Youth’ said: “If you are too stingy to give Allah your time now, then the coming times will prove you to be even stingier than now”. Islam strongly encourages us to make the best use of our time and to spend much of it in the remembrance of Allah. We should utilise the time we have available to do as much good as we can, because before we know it, this time will have passed. Do not while away your time seeking frivolities and things of no benefit. Procrastination is one evil that deceives most people. They keep having incessant hopes and this leads to waste of time. Before you know it, the time is gone and time once lost can never be replenished. Make good use of it while the clock tickles.
5. Your Lifetime before Death: I often remember this saying that the dead tells no story. It reminds me of how I lost a colleague and friend in a fatal road accident. The brother was an upright young man, everyone had nothing to say of him but good. He served as a leader in the Muslim Students’ Society until the reality of death met him unexpectedly. We have no excuse; no second chance; no time to right the wrong except while we breathe. The life we live is a test and this is reflective from all phases mentioned above. Allah is putting us through trials with all of this; until the death which we fear catches up with us. Then shall we see the reality without a doubt. So what are you preparing for the meeting with your Lord? We ask Allah (SWT) to make us one of those who realizes this admonition as a blessing and utilize it maximally in doing deeds that will please Him Alone.
The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you until you visit the graves (i.e. till you die). Nay! You shall come to know! Again, Nay! You shall come to know! Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge — Qur’an 102[At-Takathur]:1–5
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