From time to time, I like to sit in complete silence with an open heart, away from all distractions and to just think. Nothing keeps me company but my thoughts, and my rosary beads (misbah) in my hand while praising, glorifying, thanking Allah (swt), and invoking blessings upon the beloved Muhammad and his pure family. I treasure these moments very much. It is in these moments that I often find a beautiful peace within me. I find answers, solutions, and inspiration. I learn more about myself, and understand my existence by looking within, reflecting, and listening to the whispers of my soul. I completely shut out the noise of this world and the chatter of people around me. We spend so much time feeding our bodies that we neglect our soul’s need; after all, soul food is just as important! “Surely, in the remembrance of Allah do our hearts find rest.” [13:28]
One afternoon, I sat and stared out the window. I found comfort in watching the cars come and go by and found solace in the soft sway of the bushes and trees. I found comfort in the sound of the wind and sounds of life. Then something caught my eye. I saw men setting up and building an additional portion of a house for our new neighbours. How tired they looked, drenched in sweat and in dirty clothes. I immediately begin to contemplate.
Man is so strange sometimes. We work so hard and put so much effort in attaining pleasure for this world only, and totally forget about our permanent homes in the hereafter. We lose sleep, we stress out, spend money and put so much work into building our perfect homes, adding extra space here for a bigger dining room, maybe adding a swimming pool there, doing this, doing that, all for a home we’ll only stay in for a while. Simplicity is best. The Quran states: “Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [7:31] This “excess” could include food, drink, clothes, wealth, and even time. And in another verse, Allah tells us: “Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.” [17:27]
Our lives in this world are temporary. Would you put much effort into decorating your temporary home while you are waiting for your new and much bigger house to be built in another area? Of course not, because you know something better is awaiting you.
In Surah Fatir, Allah (swt) talks about many of His signs and attributes. One ayah that stuck out to me in this surah is when Allah reminds us: “O mankind, indeed the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the deceiver.” [35:5] Allah (swt) is reminding us to not be deluded by the glitter and glamour that is the facade of this dunya. What is this dunya but something that will soon pass away? Yet we invest so much into it.
What we need to do is take a step back and realise its reality. Allah (swt) also tells us of the one whose job is to deceive us, making everything here look permanent and glamorous- the chief deceiver, shaitan (satan). We should take shaitan as an enemy and keep the big picture, the ultimate goal in mind: the akhira (hereafter).
Why do we not spend as much time and effort trying to make our ever-lasting and permanent homes in the hereafter just as beautiful and comfortable as our temporary homes? Why we do not work just as hard for the hereafter?
Whatever it may be, is it really worth stressing over? After all, this too shall soon pass. Haven’t you ever wondered why verse 5 is repeated twice in Surah Al-Sharh? “Verily with hardship comes ease.” Allah (swt) is trying to tell us and emphasise that there is ease that comes with hardship, to not worry, because good things come to those who are patient. This life is a test. Yet can we honestly say we are studying enough or working hard enough to pass it? If we are “too busy” all the time, we’ll end up failing it. Yet, if we set aside time away from the distractions of this world, we can make a big difference to our hereafter, and pass the test of this world.