Feel Ramadan- 7) Reminding the Return
Have you heard an old Arabic fable about a man who made friendship with the angel of death? At the spring of their friendship the man made an unusual agreement with the Angel. He demanded that before coming to take his soul, the Angel should send him a notice well in advance. The angle agreed to it. Weeks grew in to months and months into years. One bitterly cold night, as the man sat alone thinking of his success in life, Angel of death tapped on his shoulder. “You are here too soon!?” the man cried out. “You didn’t sent any messenger. I thought we had an agreement!” The Angel whispered: “Dear, notice your hair, when we made friendship, it was full and black, skin was smooth, teeth were shiny, eyesight was sharp, body was sturdy and hearing was strong. Today, your hair has plenty of silver streaks; skin is wrinkled, hearing and eyesight has weakened, teeth have fallen off and body is frail. You had asked me to send one messenger but I have sent many in these years! I have kept my word. Still, didn’t you expect my arrival?”
This may be a fable, besides it holds a strong message and reality of our life. Death will be rude awakening for those who live in sluggishness, without remembering the return journey, despite the shadows fell on every luster of life. They panic as the death knocks at their door. Qur’an warns that as death approaches, they are those who will plead:
“My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous.” [Qur’an 63:10].
In the next verse Allah warns us that: “But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is acquainted with what you do.” (63:11)
In a Hadith reported by Tirmidi, Prophet (May Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) mentions: “Not a day passes upon the grave except it will say I am the home of remoteness, the home of loneliness, the home of soil, the home of worms. (Tirmidi)
Each Ramadan we meet should remind us that we are one more year closer to the inevitable reality of death. We must effectively utilize Ramadan to bring down our affection and affinity towards this mundane world. The main threes, which conquer the minds and flutter in the thoughts of a person, are food, home and sexual urge. Fasting separates these threes from us. While fasting, every believer abstains from food and physical urges. Through I’thikaaf (retreat in the masjid), believers temporarily separate themselves from the warmth of household.
Ramadan does not separate us from the ties of this world, forever. But, it powerfully reminds us about the transient nature of this worldly life. In brief, it strengthens our awareness and remembrance of the eternal life. It enables us to prepare for the big day. It purifies our life and prepares us to embrace the reality called death.
Those who live in the warmth of luxury and enjoyment would faint easily. Their hearts would be entangled by materialistic cravings. It would be grave hard for them to trot through the road of inner purity and piety. Let’s absorb the lesson of simple life, stoic thoughts, awakening death and the salvation of this life, from this Ramadan.
English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadud!