Before the lights go out
‘Life is short’, no longer seems to be a riddle to me, if it does to you than you are a young reader full of aspirations and ambitions. I admire you as much as I fear for you, for the biggest lesson life teaches you is that everything (every experience, every feeling, every action, every inaction, every instance) is relative, from one of us to the other. Your time will come and the lessons will be learnt if you are awake to these realities that surround you.
The world defines achievers in context of material gain and success as the ability to grasp the mundane. The modern world loves conditionally and beholds you for as long as your season persist, you are thereafter known as the yesterday, but for as long as you remember the purpose of your creation and the parameters underwhich we all operate in this world, many times misguidedly, this should not bother you, and you will therefore be ready to prepare more for your approaching journey. A journey that demands you to carrry the baggage of deeds – good deeds. And like my wordly travels, I shall be faced with the task of deciding what I can and cannot carry. What are going to be my necessities, what items are contolled at the portal where my soul will enter the hereafter, and leave the glamour and glitter of this world. In fact, whether I step into darkness or light is actually my conscious choice. The bad news is that the powerful magnetic attraction of life, especially in your youth, you may never actually be ready for this.
You and I have exchanged bitterness and malice. We have spoken ill of the other, and also name called each other. You are young so I can say you have some time on your hands to ask for my forgiveness, but for me I am hoping you will care enough to forgive me in return. But if you are needless, both now and then, then our collective suffering will ensue. But for what it is worth, and I am aware that unsolicited advise is not wanted, nor are the words of unsuccessful men and women in your view, are welcome, but when standing at the precipice of my days of end, I but must utter to you and to caution you to steer clear of vanity when endowed with time as there are many causes you can serve to relieve others; to abstain from arrogance when blessed with wealth, while you will be in a position to aid others; to run away from places of show off and demonstration as these hurt others more than you can ever comprehend; and lastly to ensure you do not assasinate the character of others when in possession of immaculate speech, as your tongue can pierce lives and souls of entire families and nations.
I am taking with me as my handbook Imam Sajjad (AS)’s supplication and I advise you to do the same and reflect on it:
11- We own nothing of the affair
except what Thou hast decreed
and nothing of the good
except what Thou hast given.
12- This is a fresh, new day,
over us a ready witness.
If we do good,
it will take leave from us with praise,
and if we do evil,
it will part from us in blame.
13- O God,
bless Muhammad and his Household,
provide us with the day’s good companionship
and preserve us against parting from it badly
by doing a misdeed
or committing a sin, whether small or great!
14- Make our good deeds within it plentiful
empty us therein of evil deeds,
and fill what lies between its two sides for us
with praise and thanksgiving,
wages and stores,
bounty and beneficence!
15- O God, ease our burden on the Noble Writers,6
fill our pages for us with our good deeds,
and degrade us not before them
with our evil works!
16- O God, appoint for us in each of the day’s hours
a share from Thy servants,
a portion of giving thanks to Thee,
and a truthful witness among Thy angels!
17- O God, bless Muhammad and his Household
and safeguard us from before us and behind us,
from our right hands and our left hands
and from all our directions,7
a safeguarding that will preserve from disobeying Thee,
guide to obeying Thee,
and be employed for Thy love!
18- O God,
bless Muhammad and his Household
and give us success in this day of ours,
this night of ours,
and in all our days,
to employ the good,
stay away from the evil, give thanks for favours,
follow the Sunna’s norms, avoid innovations,
enjoin good behaviour, forbid the disapproved,
diminish falsehood and abase it,
help the truth and exalt it,
guide the misguided,
assist the weak,
and reach out to the troubled!
Let us both do this before the lights in our eyes go out…