It’s definite, confirmed.
The most sure, undeniable thing about my life is that I am going to experience death.
I just don’t know when.
It could be today, in a week… anytime really.
My voice will no longer be heard. My hands will no longer touch the skin of my children, their hair.
My eyes will cease to gaze at the breathtaking sky, my nose will no longer smell the fresh air and my shoulders will no more feel the pleasure of embrace.
My life is only a road leading to that destination.
That inevitable moment where my body will become just an empty vessel that will be consumed by the earth.
Before my Islam, this realization was difficult to endure.
I realized I could leave my home to go somewhere and never arrive, or never return; that I could begin crossing the street and be smashed by a car; that virtually at any moment- my life could simply end… and that’s true for all of us.
The fragility of life begs many questions doesn’t it?
Do you ever wonder; Why?
I am a Mother. My husband and I have five adorable and sweet, little children.
I watch my youngest daughter, who is two, bouncing around the house, her cheeks like plump pillows or balloons when she smiles and laughs. So adorable, so precious,
But she too will have to die… my baby.
Doesn’t that make you think?
Think of your favorite actor or actress… or the most beautiful model you admire – they seem so eternal in their pictures, in their roles…
But they too are only traveling towards their deaths.
Doesn’t that bother you?
Of course it does, it should.
When we realize that life is temporary it necessitates that we search for it’s meaning,
Not ignore it!
I’m not saying we should find meaning in our lives, like, “My purpose in life is to help others.” or, “my purpose in life is to make art.”
But the actual reason we are here; that we have been given life.
Often instead, we treat it like a freak accident when someone dies. We search for diets and health regimens as if they will protect us from life’s end –
But they won’t.
We say goodbye to our friends and coworkers as if we will definitely see them tomorrow.
We look at our treasured children and forget that their lives are finite.
We should be preparing them not just for college and marriage – but for true success and we can only do that if we are preparing ourselves.
We can only do that if we have sure knowledge and clear guidance.
How could you be here on earth, where there is illness and loss and earthquakes and fighting and death and birth and happiness and beauty and pain and uncertainty and pleasure and time…
Yet, your greatest purpose is to have fun and enjoy it?
Or to love and be kind?
How is loving people or being kind to people who are also going to die, an integral purpose?
The fact that these things are not completely satisfying should propel us further – one shouldn’t rest, until they are sure they’ve found the truth.
That’s right: truth.
Not blind faith, or something that makes you feel better.
And there cannot be multiple truths about our existence.
Then, upon finding the truth one must pursue knowledge and practice of it – that is by necessity.
Life is not a mystery left for us to wonder about for it’s extent.
Isn’t that good news?
It’s good news.
If you are someone who is truly seeking the truth and you are fully willing to submit to it once you discover it, then ask the One who created you for help, and He will surely guide you to it.
That is a fact.
So I don’t feel I need to push on you that Islam is the truth. I know it is and I know that if you are a genuine truth seeker, you will find Islam.
Being a Muslim doesn’t give anyone a free pass though, like I said the finder of truth must then seek knowledge of it and practice.
As a Muslim I know why I am here. I know why we are here, how we got here and where we are going. I only know this because the One who created all of it provided us that information.
I don’t ignore death or try to forget about it. I remember it often – the destroyer of life’s pleasures.
It’s not to be macabre or morbid, but as motivation to do good and avoid being lazy.
Because that is how we keep from being distracted by life from our true purpose. So we don’t get lost in pleasure and family and tasks and responsibilities. Or even sadness, depression or anxiety.
Death is not the calamity, but the hardening of our hearts and the denial of the One who gave us life, that is the real misfortune.
So we remember life is short and can end at any given moment, thus we better use it wisely and stay focussed on the goal – our ultimate reality.
My fear of death itself is replaced with concern for the manner in which I return to my Maker. Will I be one with whom He is pleased? Or will I die wronging myself and denying Him and His plan?
I can’t avert my death, but I can strive to return to my Lord in a good state – fulfilling the purpose for which I was created.
I can strive for the real life, that isn’t fraught with difficulty and displeasure, but filled with peace.
So while I am closer to my death with every breath I take, I try to also be closer to the One who owns everything, is of extreme Mercy and Who can grant me eternal life.
After I die.
And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play.(Quran 21:16)
Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?” (Quran 23:115)
Do you not see that (The One God) has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent? But of the people is he who disputes about (God) without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].
And when it is said to them, “Follow what (God) has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that upon which we found our fathers.” Even if Satan was inviting them to the punishment of the Blaze?
And whoever submits his face to (God) while he is a doer of good – then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold. And to (God) will be the outcome of [all] matters.
And whoever has disbelieved – let not his disbelief grieve you. To Us is their return, and We will inform them of what they did. Indeed, (God) is Knowing of that within the breasts.”(Quran 31:20-23)