HEEDLESSNESS FROM MEETING OUR LORD
What is your first action when you wake up? Do you plan your schedule at work? Decide what meals to prepare for the day? Figure out the daily activity for your children? Check your mobile device for emails and text messages? Go onto Facebook to check the latest notification?
What are your first thoughts? Do you wonder how your loved ones are doing? Do you wake up angry because of something that happened the night before? Do you wake up happy because you received a present yesterday? Do you think about an important deadline at work? Do you worry about the morning traffic jam?
Or do you wake up with Allah on your mind, wondering how you can gain His pleasure for the rest of the day? Do you wake up with thankfulness that you have been granted another day to live, at the same time mindful that this may also be the last day of your life? Do you wake up with the awareness that you will die and inevitably meet your Lord, and that the day might be today?
WHAT IS HEEDLESSNESS?
Heedlessness in Arabic is called ghafla – and this word in Arabic covers a spectrum of meanings – being neglectful, failing to take warning; and being unaware, unmindful, negligent and careless of warnings. In short, it refers to a person who is not in a state of awareness. Like someone intoxicated who is oblivious to his surroundings or even his own state of existence; similarly a person in a state of heedlessness is unaware about the message of the Almighty Creator. He forgets about the most important state of his life—his life after death.
In today’s fast paced lifestyle, our priorities have become confused to the point we are losing sight of the very purpose of our existence. We have become so immersed in our daily activities that we allocate the majority, if not all, of our time pursuing the demands of duniya, the material life. We are holding on to incorrect values. We have allowed our material pursuits to have such supreme importance such that in the process, we have forgotten that this world is transitory.
Many of us have forgotten, or are on our way to forgetting, our final destination.
You may think that you do not fall into this category, after all you observe your five times daily salat punctually, and you live a modest lifestyle. You do not indulge in any of the major sins. If so, the question you have to ask yourself is this – how do you occupy yourself in the pockets of time when you are not standing on your prayer mat? In between prayers, which is the majority of your time, do you apportion the same amount of effort preparing for your eventual meeting with the Lord as you do finalizing the company reports, entertaining yourself and others or attending to your children’s needs?
What truly motivates you? What forces dictate your thoughts, your actions and even your behaviour to others? Is it the promise of a promotion or a financial incentive? Is it ensuring that your children are top in their class? Is it making your spouse happy? Or is the underlying reason behind all your thoughts, actions and conversations of the day to please your Lord?
We are living in a time when much is tainted by confusion, lack of comprehension and ignorance. Multiple ideologies have seeped into every aspect of our lives. Our knowledge of Islam lacks depth and is reduced to routine rituals with which we are satisfied. This confusion, combined with our pre-occupation with duniya and shallow spiritual knowledge, has led to an erosion of our faith, understanding, manners and purpose of life. In other words, we are plunging into a state of heedlessness.
This heedlessness is evidenced by our spiritual oblivion. All the illnesses, natural disasters, injustice, and even genocides make little impact on us. We are so dominated by our own personal endeavours that we are not even aware of our surroundings. We have no caring, compassion or consideration for others. We have lost a lot of our basic humanity. We are well informed of current affairs; we frown at the mischief we witness; yet we remain aloof, prioritising our more immediate demands for material needs.
The way we structure our daily lives demonstrate that our attitudes towards this world is that of permanence. We behave as if death is reserved for others, as if we ourselves will not die. It is as if all adversities, problems and disasters in this world are only for others; and that we are immune to them because of our wealth, education and status. We seem to trust our careers, money and families to solve our daily issues more than we trust Allah SWT.
It is urgent that we honestly ask ourselves before it is too late:
Are we indeed in this state of heedlessness?
If so, how can we remove ourselves from it?
HOW DID WE FALL INO THIS STATE?
Today, the vast majority of Muslims are living in a state of duniya. The focus of this lifestyle is accumulation and its driving force is material success, even at the price of greed and selfishness.
Islam teaches us to take the bare minimum from this world for our sustenance and share the rest with those in need for the sake of Allah. Our aim is to try to leave this life very light and only maintain the heavy weight of our good deeds and faith to the next world. Instead, we are in competition with each other of the accumulation of financial achievements, status and belongings. We decorate our lives with our possessions, not with our good deeds.
This duniya is has become deeply rooted in our hearts. One generation indoctrinates the next on the virtues of material accumulation and competition; perpetuating the sickness.
When we lose remembrance of the hereafter, the love of duniya takes precedence. It overtakes and consumes our entire existence — our thoughts, actions and desires. It leads us to a lifestyle contradictory to the message of Islam. This is what makes us fall into heedlessness.
MEETING WITH ALLAH IS CERTAIN
The purpose of life is nothing more than to prepare ourselves for the moment of departure and for the meeting with our Lord. Death is an absolute certainty in life, yet people treat it with indifference, as if they were beyond death’s reach. Life after death is treated like a legend or fable, something unreal. The concept of being resurrected after death and meeting with Allah appears incomprehensible, and many prefer not to think about it at all.
In a long hadith recorded by Muslim, Abu Huraira RA reported that the Companions of the Holy Prophet SAW said: “Allah’s Messenger, will we be able to see our Lord on the Day of Judgment?” He said: “Do you feel any difficulty in seeing the sun in the noon when there is no cloud over it?” They said: “No.” He again said: “Do you feel any difficulty in seeing the moon on the fourteenth night when there is no cloud over it?” They said: “No”. Thereupon he said: “By Allah Who is One in Whose Hand is my life you will not face any difficulty in seeing your Lord but only so much as you feel in seeing one of them. “
Allah SWT knows the forgetful nature of people and repeatedly reminds us in the Qur’an of our eventual meeting with Him.
Say, “Indeed, the death from which you flee – indeed, it will meet you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you about what you used to do.” (Al-Jumu’ah 62:8)
Unquestionably, they are in doubt about the meeting with their Lord. Unquestionably He is, of all things, encompassing. (Fussilat 41:54)
And they say, “When we are lost within the earth, will we indeed be [recreated] in a new creation?” Rather, they are, in [the matter of] the meeting with their Lord, disbelievers. (Sajdah 32:10)
Whoever should hope for the meeting with Allah – indeed, the term decreed by Allah is coming. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (Al-‘Ankabut 29:5)
Indeed, it is We who bring the dead to life and record what they have put forth and what they left behind, and all things We have enumerated in a clear register. (Yasin 36:11—12)
If you say that you believe in death and your meeting with your Lord, ask yourself honestly whether you making adequate arrangements for it. Do you prepare for it with the same concentration and dedication as you would when writing your final exams or presenting a report to your manager? Do you take it as seriously as ensuring that your children are dropped off at school on time? Do you spend even a fraction of your time stocking up provisions for your meeting with Allah SWT as you do filling up the shopping trolley with the weekly groceries?
In short, do the majority of your actions reflect that you are making diligent preparations to face Allah SWT? If they don’t, can you in honesty admit that you are a believer of meeting your Lord?