The Significance of the Self
As heedless creatures, we’re constantly trying to achieve the next goal, the next milestone. Whether it be going to this university, working for a big company, travelling to that place on your bucket list, attending this program or that, getting married. The list endless. Subhan’Allah, yet we forget how quick times flies and how very little time we have left. Speaking for myself, having reached a quarter of a century, I may have achieved my ‘dunya’ goals but what have I secured for my akhirah? This question should be always be at the forefront of our minds.
Nevertheless, it’s important to recognise that the feeling of contentment is very fleeting as is the nature of the world. A Ramadan in lock-down has given the the perfect opportunity to really reflect. To ask our those central questions.
If I leave this world tomorrow, will I be ready to meet my Lord?
Have I harmed anyone?
Have I cut any ties?
What sins will be brought forth on that day?
This is where mindfulness really helps. If we close our eyes and imagine ourselves surrounded by thousands, millions, billions of people. People who came before us, who will come after us. People from all walks of the earth. We all have one thing in common – we’re all before our Lord, about to be judged for our deeds.
Will I receive my book of deeds in my left or right hand?
Am I ready to meet Allah swt?
Tomorrow is not certain, never mind next Ramadan. In the same breathe that we pray that Allah allows us to reach Ramadan next year, we should also focus on today and really make this moment count. We’re already half way through Ramadan. We need to be holding ourselves account for what’s left of the month.
How can I take one more step towards Allah?
What good deed can I write down in my book today, not tomorrow?
Imam Ali says: “Hold yourself accountable for your deeds – we usually hold others accountable because we always look at others and do not look at ourselves, although man is not responsible for others; he is responsible only for himself, thus he has to hold himself accountable before he turns to others – and demand it to do what is ordained (of acts of worship and other duties) and supply yourself with provisions and be prepared before you are brought back to life“.
Islam has made attaining good so easy on us. Whether it be giving sadaqa, spending time with your younger siblings or, cooking iftar in the kitchen. So let’s make today count. Bismillah. We’ve worked hard enough with our dunya goals, but with lockdown, we now have to focus on what matters, our relationship with our Lord, Allah swt.
Personally for me, a grounding reminder is always that of Surah Asr:
“By time, indeed mankind is in loss, except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.”
So remember, whilst yesterday has passed with all its actions, and we can’t take anything back – Allah has provided us with an amazing opportunity. Allah al-Ghaffaar , the most forgiving, opened the gate of repentance to Himself and commanded us to turn to Him. So seek forgiveness during this blessed month and have hope in His mercy.
Finally, I’ll end with a beautiful saying that I was once told.
A bird requires two wings to fly properly and to be able to maintain balance. As such should be the believer, for whom the wings represent hope and fear. And the head, that represents one’s love for Allah.
And how can we love Allah swt. You only love someone when you know him. So use this time. Use this Ramadan, to learn his names and reflect on his attributes.
Finally, I would advise, no matter what trial or tribulation you are facing, always uphold an amazing opinion of Allah swt.
Shailaa Kauser is the Head of Recreation for MABY, a full time civil engineer and a part time Islamic studies teacher for kids. In her spare time, she loves to study Islamic sciences and martial arts.