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Portrait of a Traveller September 15, 2007

Posted by shadows15 in Gems and Jewels, Weekly Wisdom.
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Al Fudayl ibn Iyaadh Rahimahu Allah once sat with a senior and asked him, “How old are you?”

The man replied, “60 years old.”

“Did you know”, said Al Fudayl, that for 60 years you have been traveling towards your Lord, and that you have almost arrived?”

The man was reduced to silence. He whispered, Inna lillaahi wa Inna Ilayhi Raajioon (To Allah we belong and to Him we return).

Al Fudayl asked, “Do you know the meaning of that statement. You are saying that you are Allahs slave and that to Him you are returning. Whoever knows that he is the slave of Allah, and that to Him he shall return, should know that he shall be stopped on the day of judgment. And whoever knows that he will be stopped, let him also know that he will be responsible for what he did in life. And whoever knows that he will be responsible for what he did, let him know that he will be questioned. And whoever knows that he will be questioned, let him prepare an answer now!”

“What then shall I do”, asked the man.

It is simple, said Al Fudayl. Do good in what is left of your life, forgiven shall be your past. If not, you shall be taken to account for the past and what is to come.

In the not-so-far-away days of old, whenever a journey was to be undertaken proper provisions had to be prepared. The deserts were long, hot, and harsh. Unmerciful. There were no truck stops to fill up with Doritos, or rest stops to buy a coke from a vending machine. In fact, there was not even a human in sight for miles upon miles of barren sand dunes.

Thus, you had to have the provision with you before you made the journey. Enough food, enough water, enough everything to carry you to your destination.

From here, in the verses dealing of Hajj, when everyone shall have to make some sort of journey to reach the Kabah, Allah tuned the attention of His slaves to another journey, a journey every soul is traveling, whether they know it or care to just remain heedless. Allah turned their attention to the journey to the Hereafter, to Paradise or Hell.

[And take a provision (with you) for the journey; verily the best provision is Taqwa (piety and righteousness).] Al Baqarah 2:197

Ibn Umar narrates: one day I was with the Messenger of Allah (Sal Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam). He then turned to me, held my shoulders with both of his blessed hands, and said: Be in this life like a stranger or a traveler.

And whenever Ibn Umar narrated this to his disciples he would add: If you reach the evening, do not await (to be alive) by dawn, And if you reach dawn, do not await (to be alive) by evening. Take advantage of your Health before you fall sick. And take advantage of your life, before you die. Bukhari

Your story and mine in this life should be the story of a stranger in town or a traveler. Recently, the writer lived the life of a stranger about to begin a journey. It had been six years that he had lived in Madinah Munawwarah and now had come the time to move on. In the last days, he would buy a bar of soap and think, will I be around long enough to use the whole bar or should I get a smaller one. Gadgets and inventions bounced off the supermarkets shelves. It all looked interesting, but there was no time to enjoy it, it had to be left on the shelf. The journey was about to begin. A few extra trips were made to the Prophets Masjid. Concentration was up a few notches in prayer. The journey was about to begin.

You know how it is when some youth go to camp. Night after night they cry homesick. That is what a stranger feels; this is how we should go through life.

The Prophet Sal Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam said, What have I got to do with the material world. The example of the material world and I is that of a traveler. Traveling in the afternoon heat, he stopped to rest under the shade of a tree for some moments. Then, he rose and left it. – Ahmad, Tirmidhi. The hadith is Hasan.

The journey: life. The destination: Paradise or Hellfire. Ali Radi Allahu Anhu used to say, The material world has gotten up to leave you and the Hereafter has gotten up on its way towards you. Both of them have children, so be from amongst the children of the Hereafter and not from the children of the material world. For verily, today is deeds and no accountancy, and tomorrow is accountancy and no deeds.

A Wiseman once said, Strange is he who has the material world walking away from him and the hereafter walking towards him. How could he busy himself with what is leaving him and turn his back to that which is coming towards him.

This is the journey that we are all traveling; now it is up to us to take advantage of the time. Muhammad ibn Waasi Rahimahu Allah was asked once how he was feeling. He replied, Whats your opinion of someone who travels a mile towards the hereafter every single day?

Dear brother, dear sister. Every soul is on this journey. Some have understood this and are spending their days in preparation for the questions to come, for the repayment. Others are living life to the fullest as they say, heedless and negligent of the hereafter. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta Ala describes the day that they will finally wake up and smell the fire:

[(It will be said to the sinners): Indeed you were heedless of this, now We have removed your covering, and sharp is your sight this Day!] Qaaf 50/ 22

They are living in a satanic intoxication. All that concerns them is a new car, a bigger house, and a handsome mate. Some wake up in this life with time to repent. Others will here the above verse when regret will be worthless.

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