Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Lessons of Death

(IslamWeb) By: Wahiduddin Khan

Man desires life, but, sooner or later, he has to come to terms with death. Just as he is at the peak of his career, death comes and shatters it all. Suddenly, he has to face a world for which he has made no preparation.

Man aims at establishing his own glory on earth, but death comes and demolishes all the delusions of grandeur which he had nurtured, teaching him how powerless he had been before death.

Man wants to be his own lord and master, but his helplessness in the hand of fate shows that he has no control over his destiny.

Man wants to satisfy his desires in this world, but he is foiled by death, which teaches him to seek in the Hereafter the gratification that constantly eludes him in this world.

We must learn from death, for the secret of life is hidden in the message it has to teach us. Death shows us that we are not our own masters; that our stay on earth is only temporary; that the world is no place for the realization of our dreams. Death teaches us how to live; it shows us the way to real success.

Delusive Grandeur

People usually take worldly success to be an indication of success in the life to come. But they are mistaken in this, for success in this life has nothing to do with eternal success.

Worldly grandeur is no true grandeur at all. It is just a means by which man is put to the test. Some are happily placed in this world, while others are not. But whatever the conditions of human existence, all men are the same in that they are being tested. A person's position on earth is not an indication of success or failure: it is just a test.

When one is raised in stature or in some way honoured in this world, one would be mistaken if one were then to look down on others, for all are equal in the face of death. Death puts the whole human race on one level. Then great are those whom God sees to fit to make great, and lowly are those who are cast down by Him.

The world is a place of trial. Here man can pretend to be great, but it will not be long before real position is exposed. On that day, many who have honour in this world will be debased before God; many who claim to be friends of justice and humanity will be exposed as enemies of the very causes they exposed; many who are acclaimed amongst the brave will be condemned as cowards; many who claimed to bow to the truth will be exposed as shams.

The Inevitable Fate of Man

The poor are aggrieved by their lowly conditions of living. They eye the rich with envy, not realizing that wealth creates even more problems than poverty. Important figures may appear to command substantial popular support, but in private they have no peace of mind. They are so restless that they cannot sleep at night without the help of sleeping pills. Everyone is beset by problems in this world, though the nature of these problems differs from person to person.

However much happiness one obtains in this life, it can only last for a short time. Death will spare no one. When it comes, wealth and power will be of no avail. Some die walking on the streets, others die while traveling in aeroplanes. Some die in shacks, others in palaces. Death shows no mercy. It is an inevitable fate which everyone has to face.

Death reminds one to look beyond the present, and to seek success beyond this ephemeral world. Those who fail to learn will soon be deprived of the temporary pleasure which they enjoy in this world. They will find themselves in a world of darkness. They will feel remorse at not having prepared themselves for the life after death, but their remorse will not benefit them. They will have to live with their anguish for all time.

Life's Journey

Everyone's mind is full of hopes and ambitions. Everyone cherishes some dream and likes to think that he is progressing towards the fulfillment of that dream. Death puts paid to all his hopes and shows him that he has been traveling towards the world of God, not the world of his own fancies. The journey of his life is not destined to end in this world: he is bound for eternity. How ignorant man is of is own fate! How different from what he imagines his real destination.

Man spends his life ensuring that his children make the most of their future, but he does not live to see the fruits of his efforts. Before long he himself is forced to face a future for which he has made no preparation. Man strives to build himself a comfortable home, but death comes between him and the enjoyment of which he dreamed. Man seeks to enrich himself; he thinks that the more he earns, the more he will advance in honour and prestige. But soon he has to come to terms with the fact that he is bound for the desolation of the grave rather than the honour and prestige of which he dreamed.

Man cannot do without ephemeral comforts. This obsession causes him to deny the stark realities of life. If only he realized that his temporary pleasures would soon be replaced by eternal torment, then his attitude to life would change radically.

God's Mercy

What a shock it will be for man to realize that his activities on earth have come to nothing. People take pride in asserting themselves, but they would do better to take pride in humility. They seek to justify their errors, but they would do better to admit them freely. They have been instilled with emotions of love and fear to offer to God, but they waste them on other objects.

Hoarding wealth is their greatest aim in life, whereas their greatest aim should be to give their wealth in God's cause. True virtue lies in being kind to the weak, but they ignore the weak and hail the mighty. They would do well to delve into the silent world of meanings, but they prefer to engage in noisy, worthless pursuits. Progress lies in being able to criticize oneself, but they are busy criticizing others.

Man is living in a fool's paradise of his own making, but the Resurrection will shatter all his dreams. Then, only those who take refuge in His mercy will be saved.

SUNDAY :16/05/2004


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