I received a message from a close friend informing me her sister-in-law passed away just now. I couldn’t register it. The only sister-in-law I knew of was a 20 something year old woman who had gotten married 2 weeks earlier, and was due to fly out to her honeymoon tomorrow.
It turned out to be that very person.
Up until two-weeks ago there was only talk of the wedding: gown, center pieces, photo shoot, catering, make-up artist, you name it! The bride had turned into a bridezilla who wanted nothing short of perfection.
Their wedding pictures came out a few days ago. The couple shared them with the family last night when they attended a birthday party. They said their goodbyes to everyone as they were due to fly out to their honeymoon shortly. They left past midnight and were in a head-on collision with a drunk driver just 10 minutes later. The bride died on the spot. Her bridal henna still on. Her husband was airlifted and is in critical condition fighting for his life.
They were to fly out to their honeymoon on Tuesday. That’s when her janaza is scheduled now. Instead of honeymoon she will be going to the grave.
It is shocking and leaves us speechless. But why should it be so shocking. Isn’t death the most certain thing in life? We don’t know whether we will have health, wealth, spouse, children, but from the moment we are born, what is certain about us is that we will die. But it still comes as a shock. It leaves us dumbstruck. Especially when it comes in the middle of us enjoying life.
Hasan Al-Basri (RA) said: “If the akhirah was just a pot that would last forever, and the duniya was gold that you would have temporarily, you would obviously choose that which would last forever. How then when the duniya is lesser than a pot that will perish and akhirah is like gold that will last forever?”
It is the shifting of focus from akhirah to duniya that leaves us shaken and unsettled, every time we are faced with the most certain thing—death.
Prophet SAW recommended that we remember death often because it keep us focused and grounded on what is certain over what is doubtful. Death is certain and life is doubtful since we don’t know when and how it will end.
This bride was beautiful. Her photoshoot was stunning. The car accident left her so disfigured that even the family is advised not to view her face.
It is certain that we are leaving. What is doubtful is how we will leave. May Allah SWT give us good ending with His pleasure. May Allah SWT grant us the blessing of making tawba before we leave.
Prophet SAW used to seek protection from seven types of death including sudden death.
It is narrated from Abu Dhar Al Ghiffari that he keeps these 4 points as principals of life:
Anchorthe boat, for the sea is deep.
Take ample provision, for the journey is long.
Carry a light load, for the destination is far.
Have sincerity in your actions, for the one who judges you, knows.
This is what it means:
In the first point, anchoring the boat is metaphor for controlling your desires and temptations because the deep sea of duniyacan make you get lost. It can mean two things: ifwe do not control our goal and the purpose of living the wave of temptation and duniya will cause us to drown. Second, if we do not control ourselves in this duniya the consequences after death will be severe.
The second point means to increase your good deeds and the relationship with Allah SWT because the journey after death is very long. The time we will spend in the grave, onyawm al qiyamah and after that, is nothing compared to the limited time we spend in this world.
Carrying a light load refers to decreasing the sins and waste of time, effort, and money, because all will be accounted for on the Day of Judgment.
The last point means to work hard to develop sincerity in your actions because nothing will be accepted except the sincere effort done purely for the pleasure of Allah SWT.
At the end of the day, we are leaving. It is up to us to prepare our luggage for the journey we will most certainly go on.
Like Hasan Al-Basri (RA) said: “O son of Adam, you are nothing but a mere collection of day. Whenever a day passes by, a part of you passes away.”
Who would have thought just two weeks ago that this young bride wanting a picture-perfect wedding had all but left this world and will be going to her grave instead of her honeymoon? But this is the truth. And the sooner we internalize it, the better our chances of success are in both this world and the next.
Gain every moment and make the best of it. You don’t know if you will have another one. Either you waste it for duniya or you gain your akhirah with it.
We believe the nucleus of a nation is the family. The success of a nation depends on the strength of its families. You develop a family, you develop a nation and we hope to do just that!