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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says:





 Three things will follow you to the grave: your family, your wealth, and your deeds. Two things will come back and only one thing will remain with you. (Muslim)





 This is the reality because Prophet Muhammad doesn’t speak from his own vain desires; rather what he speaks is revelation from Allah.





In the Grave, Only Your Deeds That Will Save You


Many times when I go to the funeral, I remember asking myself, “How does your work follow you to the grave?”





 So, I remember one time someone in the area was shot; and naturally at the mosque there were the boys, the tats, the big gold chains, the Gucci heads, and the Lamborghini Gallardo parked outside…





And this all followed into the grave; the money went, the Louis Vuitton shoes, and the brightly watches with the diamond bezels… so all of these followed the man to the grave. They buried the man, twenty minutes later everyone’s walking away. The family made dua, a couple of tears, and walked back.





What was he left with in his grave?





Nothing.





He was left with his deeds. If he did good, he will verily see; and if he did bad, he will surely see.





Keep the Love of Allah in Your heart


The love of this world is crippling us. I went the Hajj this year, but even on the day of Arafah I absolutely struggled to get a tear.





Instead of filling the heart up with the love of Allah, I filled it up with the love of this dunya.





An example of you missing Fajr for ten years and you haven’t moved an inch because of it.





Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:





The sunnah of fajr is worth more than the world and what it contains. (At-Tirmidhi)





We’re missing fajr day after day, but if a piece of metal was to be taken away from the man, that hurts.





Why?





Because this heart has been filled with the love of this world and it hasn’t been filled with the love of Allah.





We understand the value of the Mercedes-Benz, but we have no comprehension whatsoever for the way of Prophet Muhammad.





Allah says in the Quran:





Verily you love wealth. (Quran 89:20)





We are clinging on to rubbish, we’re clinging on to that which will be left; and we’re hanging on to that which will go nowhere.





It is the love of this world that is destroying every single one of us.





Allah has created everything with a fixed life span. The Quran states:





{It is not given to any soul to die save by Allah’s permission, and at an appointed time. } (Aal `Imran 3: 145.)





Indeed there is no certainty in life except death. {Every soul will taste death.} (Aal `Imran 3:185.)








Not only is death itself inescapable, but the place and the very day and hour of death have been forever fixed:





{No person knows what he will earn tomorrow and no person knows in what land he will die.} (Luqman 31: 34.)





{When the time arrives they cannot tarry a single moment nor can they go ahead.} (An-Nahl 16: 61.)





In death, we are compelled to return to Allah. In life, however, we can choose to draw closer to Allah voluntarily by living our lives according to His will.





In this way, we have the opportunity to meet Allah and gain His pleasure even before we leave this world.





Those who fail to use the bounties of Allah to earn His pleasure during this life, will forever regret their mistakes for the cessation of life brings the cessation of opportunities for redemption and salvation, as the Quran warns:





{When death comes to one of them, he says, My Lord, let me return, so that I may act righteously in whatever I have left behind”





Nay, it is but a meaningless word he utters; and behind them now is the barrier of death until the day they shall be raised up.





Then, when the Trumpet will be blown, no ties of kinship will remain between them that day, nor will they ask about one another.





Then, they whose weight of good deeds is heavy in the balance will attain salvation.





But, they whose weight is light in the balance, will have lost their own souls. In Hell will they abide forever.} (Al-Mu’minun 23: 99-103.)





Man’s forgetfulness


Though death is certain, we tend to forget from time to time our meeting with our Lord. This forgetfulness, although part of human nature can make us stray from our true mission in life:





{If anyone withdraws himself from Allah’s remembrance, Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one to be his intimate companion.} ( Az-Zukhruf 43: 36)








Forgetfulness, however, can be overcome by remembering Allah in all of life’s activities, as the Quran again declares:





{Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Shaytan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance -whereupon, lo! They see aright.} (Al-A`raf 7: 201.)





Additionally, we are urged in the Quran to make the following supplication:





{Our Lord take us not to task if we forget or make mistakes. Our Lord lay not upon us a burden like that which you laid on those before us.





Our Lord, make us not bear burdens which we have no strength to bear. Pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Lord Supreme: Help us against people who deny the truth.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 286)





Know that to fear death from which there is no escape is foolish. Having no fear of what is going to happen after death, though it is within our power to change it in our favour, is reckless. Allah reminds us in the Quran:





{Do not throw yourself into destruction with your own hands.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 195.)





No effort to please Allah will be left unrewarded, while every effort made to seek the pleasures of this world will come to naught. Moreover, the Prophet reminded us that nothing will go with us to our graves except our deeds and that constant reminder of death will assist in keeping our indulgence in Dunya in perspective:“Remember often the terminator of pleasures [i.e. death]”. (At-Tirmidhi.)





He also advised that we should take time to attend janazah or funeral prayers, as well as visit the graves of those who have made the transition into the Next-life, for these too will serve as reminders of our eventual fate.





Finally, one of the worst punishments the Quran describes is reserved for those who remain forgetful of Allah.





On the Day of Judgment Allah will not speak to them. He will not even look in their direction.





In this world they will claim to belong to Allah but they are heedless of His commands. On the Day that matters most, there will be a wall between them and Allah. His mercy and His compassion will be overflowing, but not for them.





{Behold those who barter away their bond with Allah and their pledges for a trifling gain – they shall not partake in the blessings of the life to come; and Allah will neither speak unto them nor will He cleanse them of their sins; and grievous suffering awaits them. } (Aal `Imran 3: 77)





Death is often described as life’s greatest mystery and the biggest fear of all. That is certainly true for those who fail to understand both life and death, and who live their lives wrongly and are eventually overtaken by death.





A sage has said that he has problems understanding a wretched person’s life and how at all he can be happy.





As a bottomless pit, he spends his entire life chasing and trying to get hold of this fleeting world, while at the same time he is being chased by death. Whereas his catching of the world will never come to pass, it is just a matter of time before death snatches such a person and thus brings the whole chase to an abrupt end.





On that score, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) described death as:





… the destroyer of pleasures.





(Jami’ al-Tirmidhi)





However, for a true believer, death is neither the greatest mystery nor the biggest fear in life.





Death is just another life reality – albeit an extra complex, elusive and impactful one – which a person must face and grapple with.





Death is an integral part of existence at the centre of which stands man as Almighty Allah’s vicegerent on earth. For the fulfilment of a heavenly ontological purpose, it is as essential and meaningful as the phenomenon of life itself.





Death is life’s twin. They operate together, complementing one another. There can be no life without death in this transitory world, just as there can be no death without life.





Death and life are two sides of the same coin. They make up the full existential reality of this earthly lifecycle.





Allah Created Death


Almighty Allah reveals in the Quran that he had created death as well as life:





… in order to test which of you is best in deeds. And He is the Almighty, All-Forgiving.





(Al-Mulk, 2)


Death has been created and it came before life. That means – and Allah knows best – that death is not a negative state identifiable with the notion of utter nothingness or non-existence. It is a subtly positive state, or actuality, without which there could be no life as we know it. Existence without death would be unimaginable.





Death in its capacity as a life-less positive state, or reality, is mentioned as created before life because Allah as the Absolute Creator and Originator of existence created life ex nihilo, that is, out of nothing.





The “nothing” here might connote the “death” mentioned before life in the preceding verse. It also might indicate the absolute nothingness or non-existence from which both death and life have been created.





At any rate, the concept of death is very important. It is crucial for understanding life in its totality. The same goes for the nothing-something dialectics, making the concepts of nothing and nothingness in philosophy, emptiness and empty space in quantum mechanics, and zero in mathematics, of equal significance. So important are they that without them life today will be hollow and virtually untenable.





Believers and Death


Every true believer – whose worldview is based on a synthesis of the revealed and conventional or acquired knowledge – knows that death is part of the heavenly plan for existence. Death is a created thing and the angels of death are but instruments of Allah’s Will.





Death is one of the most powerful and undeniable realities, as powerful and undisputable as life itself. Just like the latter, death is everywhere around us, perennially and clearly manifested as much in the smallest and least significant as in the grandest and most treasured.





Every day is a new opportunity to serve your Lord who, “…did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran 51:56)





To be a Muslim means you constantly look at your intentions to see whether you’re serving your Lord or following your own whims and desires. As days melt into weeks and months become years, it’s easy to lose sight of your intentions and fall astray. Yet it is your intentions that count the most!





Are you praying because Allah Almighty decreed prayer for you? Or are you praying to show your piety to others?





Are you giving in charity for the sake of Allah? Or is it to throw your wealth around to impress those around you?





Check your intentions every day and you’ll walk a path of righteousness that leads to Paradise. New Muslims, especially, can benefit from living a ‘purposeFULL’ life in complete worship of Allah Almighty.





Intentions at Home


The home is where the heart is. We work hard to create comfy havens and sanctuaries to seek respite from the hardships of daily life. It is safe place to raise our children in care and comfort. However, the home can also become a distraction that pulls you away from what you were created to do – worship God alone.





With all of the smart devices and gadgets, the modern home has become so technologically advanced that families spend more time with electronics than they do with each other. And worship often falls to the wayside.





Check your intention when it comes to your home. Your home is a blessing from God, use it wisely. Utilize your home as a place to hold Islamic study groups, as the base for a charity drive or even as a Launchpad for calling others to Islam.





For new Muslims, make the best possible use of your home for worship and to engage in activities that are pleasing to God.





In the Workplace


Distractions and workday obstacles often make the workplace one of the hardest places to live out your intentions to please God. This is especially true for new Muslims who return to work dressed Islamically and might face push-back from their co-workers. However, with some clever planning and resolve, it is possible to fulfill your intentions to please God throughout the course of the workday.





Fasting is just one area where Muslims, born and reverts alike, often struggle whilst in the workplace. Non-Muslim co-workers sipping on hot coffee or happily noshing on breakfast pastry is pure torture for a fasting Muslim.





However, if you purify your intentions and fast solely for the pleasure of God, you can beseech your Lord for help to get through the fasting day. Keeping your mind on your own work and limiting interacting with others during the lunch hour are other great ways to maintain your fast.





Other intentions, such as reading a portion of the Quran each day or performing the noon prayer at work, are equally important to please your Lord. Spend that next coffee break wisely and make the intention to increase your Islamic knowledge during those minutes!





Online


What’s the first thing you do when you log online? Most likely, you check Facebook to catch up with friends and then Gmail to see who emailed you overnight. You’ve probably never thought to check your intentions when making use of the Internet, have you?





The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. It can be used with the best intentions to teach others about Islam and network with the global Ummah for the sake of Allah.





Unfortunately, it’s mostly a curse! It’s a primary source of temptation amongst Muslims and a tool of the devil to lead man away from his Lord.





Check your intentions when it comes to using the Internet. It should not be used for idle talk or entertainment, but rather as a tool in the service of God’s creation.





New Muslims can use it to connect with more seasoned Muslims to perfect their Islam. And all Muslims can use it to bridge the gap with the interfaith community while working to negate the media-fueled negative stereotypes through meaningful dialogue.





A purposeFULL life, rooted in seeking the pleasure of your Creator, is a blessing that should never be taken for granted. While others may not even notice they’re not living with the best intentions to fulfill the rights God has upon us, you are aware and have limitless potential in living each day to the fullest.



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