The method of Rasoolullaah’s (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) teaching was as unique as he himself was. He never discouraged Muslims from asking reasonable questions. Rather, he used to encourage them by commenting that sensible queries are the gateway to learning. Due to such encouragement, many students used to ask him questions. Once, a Muslim visited the noble Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and requested him:
‘Ya Rasoolallaah! Tell us who is the wisest and most far-sighted among us?’
He (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) replied:
“He who believes that life in this world is temporary, remembers death a lot, and focuses more on the preparation for the afterlife is the wisest amongst us.”
Describing the fact that we can’t escape death, Ahllaah says in the noble Qur’aan:
“The death you try to flee from will certainly overtake you. Then you will be returned to the One who knows the visible and the unseen and He will tell you everything you have done (in this world).”
Related with the above-quoted Aayat and Hadees, let me tell you an interesting story, which is obviously described in a metaphorical way.
It goes on to say that once upon a time, a father was on a fun trip with his wife and children. On the way, he saw a stranger standing on the roadside requesting for a lift. Strangely, his head was covered. So, the father asked him: Who are you? The stranger lifted his cover and replied: “I am your wealth.” The father and his family felt very happy and they invited him to hop in.
Then, the vehicle resumed its journey until the father met another stranger on the road requesting for a lift. Mysteriously, his head was also covered. So, the father asked him: “Who are you?” The stranger replied: “I am the high position and power you have always wanted and loved. The father and his family felt delighted and they asked him also to join them. Now, taking the wealth and high position, they resumed their fun trip.
After a distance, the father noticed another stranger just like the earlier two ones. He pulled over and asked him; “Who are you?” The stranger replied: “I am your desires.” Meeting him on the way, the joy of the entire family knew no boundaries. On their pleading, this stranger also joined in.
After a while, the father noticed another stranger, with his head similarly covered, he pulled over and asked him: “Who are you?”
The stranger replied: “I am Islaam, your Deen and religion.” Suddenly, the father felt uneasy. He looked at his family. They all seemed sad and sullen. Looking at Islaam, the images of halaal and haraam, prayer and fasting, hijaab and traditional clothes, no-TV and no-movie flashed in their mind. Influenced by the sad faces of his family members, the father told the stranger (i.e. Islaam):
“Don’t worry! Other travelers are also on the way. One of them will definitely take you.”
He softly but frankly told further: “Now excuse us, next time I will definitely take you with us.”
Thus, having left this stranger behind, they resumed their fun trip.
And out of nowhere, something appeared in the middle of the road. It was a checkpoint with a big STOP sign. The children saw the inspector walking towards their father and whispering something to him: “Your time is up so come with me”, said the checkpoint officer. The father was shocked with fear and couldn’t utter a word. When, he left the car alone, the officer asked him:
“Why are you alone? Where is Islam, your religion and Deen? I need him with you. Is he not with you?”
The father answered: “No, I left him on the way, not too far back. So if you can let me go back, I can bring him quickly.”
The checkpoint officer rebuked him: “You are not allowed to go back, your trip has ended and returning is impossible now.”
But the father kept pleading: “But, but, I have brought every other thing with me, money, position, my car, my wife, and my children and on and on.”
The checkpoint officer told him: “They will niether benefit you nor will they protect you in front of Allaah, not even a bit! And you will leave all of this here only. None of them will help you, except for Islaam, your religion, the one which you left back on the road.”
So the father asked: “Who are you exactly?”
The checkpoint officer said:
“I am your death, the one which you were heedless of and didn’t take into account in your trip!”
The father looked at his vehicle. He found his wife, taking control of it and continuing the trip with all of its passengers but him. And none of them stayed with him, and none of them helped him in any way.
Allaah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, warns us:
“Say: If your father, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your tribes, the property you have acquired, the business in which you fear a decline, and the homes you love, are dearer to you than Allaah and His Rasool…then wait until Allaah shall fulfill His decree. He does not guide the evil-doers.”
Allaah further says:
“Every soul shall taste death: you shall get your full rewards only on the Day of Judgment. Whoever is distanced from the Hell and is admitted to Paradise shall surely succeed. The life of this world is nothing but an insipid and illusionary pleasure.”
Under the light of such Qur’aanic Verses and Ahaadees, the religious scholars warn us that we are in this world on an “employment visa” which is neither extendable nor is it transferable. Ironically, its expiry date is not known as well. Therefore, wisdom and reason dictate that we must always be ready for the departure. Otherwise we may land up in the same trouble, where the above-mentioned “unprepared” father landed in this beautiful and soul stirring story.
May Allaah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, persuade us to spend this life in the shade of Islaam and May He protect us from such a bad demise.
Aameen Yaa Rabbal ‘Aalameen!
(1) Sunan Ibn Maajah, Hadees No. 4259.
(2) Sooratut Jumu’ah, Aayat No. 8.
(3) Taubah, Aayat No. 24.
(4) Sooratu Aali ‘Imraan, Aayat No. 185.