MY GOAL IN LIFE: THE REAL RETIREMENT PLAN -PART 2
Constitution of Happiness
The following two verses of the Qur’an, if mastered, will change your life:
Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty. [Al Qur’an 57:21]
It does not mean to disregard your job or marriage. However, don’t make these your goal in life! Instead, you should hurry towards Allah’s forgiveness without any further delay. Every other goal in dunia is secondary.
If our plans collide with our qadr, the following verses help to reconcile the difference:
No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah, is easy… [Al Qur’an, 57:22]
Always keep in mind that nothing can happen to you except that it was already written for you. Yet, how many of us believe that when we are put to the test? The following tells us to neither despair nor be triumphant when failure or success has been granted, because we have to keep in mind that all has been written for us and that we are taught that the ownership of all conditions belong to Allah:
… In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful. (Al Qur’an 57:23)
Many of us hover between the present and the past, regretting what has already come to pass and worrying about tomorrow. We weep about the past, nurse regrets over our wrong decisions, are miserable about the present and fearful of the future. We now get hysterical and blow our own personal mishaps out of proportion. Whereas, most of our problems are actually insignificant, but they blind us to the calamity over the whole ummah and of the people who have real problems.
Don’t cry about the past, not even about your sins. There are already done. Make istighfar and move on. Don’t worry about the future because the future is in the hand of Allah. Don’t lose today, because that is all you have.
Remember that belief in qadr, whether good or bad, is one of the articles of faith, without which one’s Islam is deficient. Allah reminds us of qadr to ease the burden of life and to reassure us not to worry. We are merely being swept in the current of life which has been designed by Allah. Belief in qadr refrains us from reacting disproportionately in times of tribulation.
It was narrated that ‘Amr bin Dinar heard Tawus say: “I heard Abu Hurairah narrate that the Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Adam and Musa debated, and Musa said to him: “O Adam, you are our father but have deprived us and caused us to be expelled from Paradise because of your sin.”
Adam said to him: “O Musa, Allah chose you to speak with and He wrote the Torah for you with His own Hand. Are you blaming me for something which Allah decreed for me forty years before He created me?”
Thus Adam won the argument with Musa, thus Adam won the argument with Musa, thus Adam won the argument with Musa.”
Another hadith reminds us of the sole reliance of Allah, not on others:
Ibn Abbas (RA) said: One day, I was riding behind the Prophet (SAW) when he said, “O boy! I will instruct you in some matters. Be watchful of Allah (Commandments of Allah), He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights, He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him Alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to Allah Alone for help. And remember that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which Allah had foreordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allah had pre-destined against you. The pens had been lifted and the ink had dried up”.
In another hadith we are reminded: “Verily the first of what Allah created was the Pen. He said to it: “Write.” So it wrote what will be forever (i..e. until Allah wills).”
Everything has been destined to follow its course. Even before you existed, your chapters were already written for each day of your life. This knowledge should make you make the effort to strive but to trust in Allah for the outcome. Appreciate that if you succeed, it is from Allah, and if you fail, then it simply wasn’t written for you.
What happens if we are disengaged from the reality of the message and we are following dunia deep inside? Dunia will eat us and we will forget the goal of Allah. There is a hadith which reports that we have been created for akhirah but the dunia has been created for us.
The dunia was created for us as a transitory platform, so that we can take what is sufficient for us to akhirah. What if we accumulate more than what we can carry?
The Key is with Allah
And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record. (Surah Al An’am 6:59)
When we read this verse, it should relax us and calm us. Allah wants for us to enter jannah and He is providing us ample opportunities to earn that right. He will take care of us if we rely on Him. He is the best Planner, for He know things that we can never comprehend. The problem is when we have a collision with Allah and rebel. Allah will win this confrontation, and we will lose, dunia and akhirah. Allah will make us miserable of what we possess and unhappy about what we cannot obtain.
Our happiness lies in being happy, surrendering to Allah and being busy with what Allah wants from us. Remember that dunia is a tool to obtain akhirah. Dunia is not the objective, because no one is a permanent resident of this earth.
Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. (Al Qur’an 16:97)
Always be thankful for everything, under all circumstances, and you will be fine! Let go of the things you dislike, and don’t dwell on it. Apply this to everything you have in life, from your spouse, to your job to your car.
In the following, Allah tells us about the story of Adam in Paradise, and within it contains the constitution of happiness:
[Allah] said, “Descend from Paradise – all, [your descendants] being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter]. (Al Qur’an 20:123)
Remember that you did not choose who you are. Being a Muslim is a gift from Allah. Place this on one scale, and having a perfect life but without hidayah (guidance) on the other. Which is has more weight? What is the issue if we experience some agony and hardship in life, in reward for eternal joy? It is far better than having a perfect life but a tormented hereafter.
Reported by Anas ibn Maalik: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “The most affluent of the people in this world, of those who will go to Hell, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and dipped once in the Fire. Then it will be said: O son of Adam, did you ever see anything good? Did you ever have any pleasure? He will say: ‘No, by Allah, O Lord.’ Then the most destitute of the people in this world, of those who will enter Paradise, will be brought and dipped once in Paradise, and it will be said to him: O son of Adam, did you ever see anything bad? Did you ever experience any hardship? He will say: No, by Allah, O Lord. I never saw anything bad and I never experienced any hardship.”
This hadith puts our hereafter into perspective. A moment in jannah will make a person forget all the hardship of dunia, and an instant in jahannam will make a person forget all the ease of life.
What is the Consequence?
If you ignore the message, one of the consequences is that Allah will resurrect you blind:
“He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?”
[Allah] will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten.” (Al Qur’an 20:125 – 126)
In the Qur’an, there are 48 verses giving us a strong warning about dunia. There is the same number of verses about ghaflah or heedlessness. It is a state where one is staggering through life, unaware about his purpose, and living in total oblivion. Today, we are supposed to be the people who carry the message, but we are heedless of it.
We perform worship on a personal level which only affect us, like salat and hajj, but what about the wider sphere? What happens when we neglect our collective responsibilities to each other? If we don’t spread Islam, who will? If we do not spread justice, who will? We will become exposed and weakened.
Thawbaan (RA), the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) related that the Prophet (SAW) said:
“The nations shall gather and team up against you (i.e., Muslims) as the predators gather and team up against their prey.” Someone asked, “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied, “No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent (of water), and Allah will take the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts.” Someone asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is al-wahn?” He replied, “Love of the world and dislike of death.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
Are we prepared for death? Do we educate our children to arrange dunia in its correct priority? How many of us look for a potential spouse to help us advance our deen? How many of us prefer a moderate life, with minimum overheads? Yet, many of us spend more than we earn, and we choke ourselves trying to maintain this lifestyle.
How much do we spend on vacations? How much do we spend to renovate our house or upgrade our cars in percentage to what we invest for akhirah? We have our elaborate plans for dunia and meticulously schedule everything in our diaries, but what is our plan for akhirah? What did we sacrifice to Allah last year and what are we planning to sacrifice to Allah this year? What of our beloved possessions are we willing to give up for Allah? We may talk about doing so, but what happens if we take no further action and we die?
We need to rekindle, revive and develop our faith. We have to wake up against the heedlessness of meeting Allah. We have to make Allah smile at us, not be displeased with us.
Once your journey of iman has revived, your goal in life will be reshuffled. You can still continue with your job, still seek companionship and be a spouse and a parent, but your vision and priorities will change. A marriage will be for sabeelillah, your children will be raised to serve Allah, your budget for yourself will be modest and you will allocate more to the underprivileged and needy, and you will fashion yourself to be a role model to others.
All change starts from within, and remember that once we die, we will not be called to reckon for others, but only for yourself. So, just focus on yourself and not on the deficiencies of others.
Now that we have this knowledge, and we are aware what is going on. Let us wake up and prepare for the real journey – the journey after death and the journey of infinity. Let’s try to have the real retirement plan, without any excuses. The one that is assured and secured by Allah’s promise. We have a lot to do and a lot to gain, for ourselves, family, society and the nation. May Allah open our heart to be vigilant and awake about the responsibility we all bear and may Allah allow us to be among those who succeed in gaining the happiness of infinity which is everlasting jannah, ameen.