we declare Your Perfection above and beyond all: we have no knowledge whatsoever except what You have taught us. No doubt it is You, and You alone that is all Knowledgeable and all Wise. (al-Baqarah, 32)

Friday, May 6, 2011

You only live twice

As ridiculous as that old James Bond movie title sounds, there's actually truth in it. After all, Allah Himself s.w.t says:

كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنْتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ۖ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
How can any of you deny Allah and you used to be dead then He brought you to life, then He will give you death again, then He will bring you to life again, then you will be returned to Him (2: 28)

We are given life twice, and the way we carry ourselves in the this life will determine our life in the next one. Just about any Muslim knows that. However, too often we became overly concerned with this life that we don't give as much concern about the next one. Allah s.w.t reminds us of this fact in surah al-A'la:

بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا. وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
Not at all, you prefer worldly life. And the hereafter is better and longer lasting (87: 16-17)

In this ayat, Allah s.w.t is using the pronoun 'you', meaning He is speaking directly at you and I and the problem that He highlights isn't wanting for dunya (worldly life); it's preferring dunya over akhirah (the hereafter). In other words, Allah is telling us to get our priorities sorted out!

But let's face it, in this day and age, when people talk about long-term thinking and aspirations, most will talk about getting a high-paying job, a luxurious house and ride etc, which is nice and all but you know what Allah has to say:

وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ
and in that (the rewards of jannah), let those who have aspiration aspire (83: 26)

Let's all be the judge of ourselves. How much effort are we putting into dunya? How much are we putting into akhirah?

It's all a matter of preference and in the end, that makes all the difference in the world.


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