On Death And Other Nagging Thoughts

“It does not matter how slow you move, as long as you do not stop,” said some great thinker once. I feel bound to disagree with him. Because firstly, timing counts. And secondly, the acts of moving slow and stopping are often cause and effect of each other. Moving too slow quite often results in stopping too soon. You could get hit by a car while “moving too slow”, causing you to “stop” (figuratively speaking, although literally it makes more sense).

The introduction being done, let me warn you, this is about religion (and no I don’t mind if you stop right here and go back to doing whatever you were). Procrastination, in other words, “moving too slow”, has become a part of our Iman or faith nowadays. And here I basically mean long term procrastination, as reflected in thoughts like “I’ll start praying from next month” or “I’ll become religious from next Ramadan.” Having no nail polish remover at home or having your A Levels in a few months is seen as more than a valid reason to not pray. And then there’s always the thought of an undoubted “later”, threatening to exterminate the good part of you as soon as it tries to convince you that pleasing Allah is more important than pleasing your judgmental friends. The more “practical” part of you tells you that becoming an actual Muslim can wait a little longer. Because after all, it doesn’t matter how slow you move, as long as you do not stop. But you never see the car coming.

Some days I get a little irritated seeing my sister, like a lot of other people, taking her religion too seriously (it hurts to admit though); acting like she might die the next day. The very following nights, I realize, she MIGHT actually die the next day. So might I. Recently, a few episodes of a certain TV series suddenly made me start feeling very insecure. Insecure about health; insecure about life. (It ashames me that I had to wait for a TV series to instigate me while there are so many copies of the Quran lying around in my house). Thoughts of having some unnoticed cancer or inoperable tumors or being hit by a vehicle keep sucking away my usual joys and ignorance. But the fear of dying brings with it another, bigger fear which I thought was always there but now I know that I had subconsciously suppressed it under impractical optimism. The fear of dying AND ending up in Hell. And as I heard someone say: even an atheist, who does not believe in heaven and hell, fears hell. And I know quite well that I haven’t been good and religious enough, for even one day of my grown-up-enough life, to deserve heaven. And from what I’ve seen, it’s the same case for a lot of the muslims of my age.

We hardly pass a day when we give Allah and our Deen more importance than worldly things. We listen to music all day and never even consider opening the Quran. Because reciting the Quran is “too muslim”. To us, waking up for Fajr prayer is “too muslim”; reading about what the greatest man that ever lived (PBUH) said and did is “too muslim”; everything that is supposed to MAKE us muslim, is “too muslim”.

I’m not instigating you to stop doing everything or walk around wearing robes and all. I’m just suggesting that you stop putting off doing what really would matter in the end, that you stop waiting for a “later” that might not exist. Maybe it’s time you thought about putting up some scores on the only scoreboard that counts. Maybe it’s time to move faster. To pray. To follow. To refrain. Not for me; not for anyone else. But for your own benefit. Because you never see the car coming.

Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of life): for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.

– Surah Al-Imran, Verse 185

“Trays of gold and cups will be passed round them, (there will be) therein all that the one’s inner-selves could desire, all that the eyes could delight in, and you will abide therein forever. This is the Paradise which you have been made to inherit because of your deeds which you used to do (in the life of the world).”

 – Surah Zukhruf, Ayah 71-72

Now you don’t want to miss out on that, do you?


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