Thoughts during a lecture
by Huma Ahmad
As I stood there in front of the room lecturing on "The Soul's Journey After Death", I could not help but think that what I was doing was futile. Half of the people in that room were going to walk out with the same beliefs as they came in with; that this was all something like a fairy tale. The other half would listen, nod and go back out doing the same things they were doing before.
There is something inherently wrong with our generation. I say this as being one of them.
We listen to lectures on Islam like they are stories of old. We're not quite sure if Islam is completely correct. Because if we did, would we continue doing the things we do? Where is our aqeedah? Where is our certainty in truth? Where is our fundamental belief? For example, we're not quite sure what will happen after we die, but we'll take the Islamic explanation because it's there. Why don't we believe that what will happen to us after we die is the truth? The truth is the way we should look at it, like it is something that will definately occur, like any other fact of life, any other undeniable scientific law or simple equation.
Some facts: We will be tested. We will die. Our soul will be taken. Our soul will be placed back in our bodies and be questioned. We will undergo punishment of the grave. We will be ressurrected. We will be asked. We will be punished.
My soul questioned if any of this reached the 30 college age students in front of me.
I decided to give two examples from my own experience. One a friend that I grew up with and went to Islamic weekend school with. One day senior year in high school, she just started getting sick. Just like that she became so ill. She passed away a year later from ovarian cancer. We were 19. Can you imagine? 19 years old. She was engaged and had just gotten married. She was just one of us.
A second example; some of you might have known her, Basma. She was the daughter of Imam Siraj Wahaj in New York City. She went to MYNA conferences and camps with us. She was active. She was one of the best Muslims I've ever met. One of those kinds of Muslims you meet and you can't stop smiling when you talk to them. She was pregnant and gave birth on a Thursday I remember to a beautiful baby girl. A week later, just days after, she didn't feel right and went back into the hospital and died soon after from internal bleeding. Unthinkable, the community of New York was stunned. She was only 20 years old. She was gone and a beautiful baby girl in her place. They named her Maryum.
These are examples I give that occured to me in my life. I'm sure no one is immune and have felt the pain of loss in their own lives.
Can you imagine, I said to the 30 pairs of eyes staring at me, they were 19 and 20 years old. They were just like us. I'm sure they never thought it would happen to them either.
I think every night before we go to sleep we should think about what we did that day.
"I woke up, I went to school, I saw someone committing a sin. I discussed it with others. Someone new was at the MSA meeting I didn't bother to talk to them or be friendly. I made a remark that I knew hurt someone. I missed Asr because I didn't want to be late for class."
We need to think about these things. What if we don't wake up the next morning? Allah tells us that He takes the souls at night and keeps the ones that aren't to be returned. What if we don't wake up? What if we are hurtled to the next step; we wake up and our soul is being taken out of our bodies, taken up to the heavens and taken back down into the body. We are buried, the dirt slowly covering us. We are made to sit up, are questioned. What will we say? We recieve punishment of the grave. We are resurrected. We are asked about every single tiny small thing that we did. What will we say? I wanted to forget the time I did this, the time I said that. Countless countless sins before me. So many in just that past day that I didn't think about? What to do?
Allah gives us another chance when we wake up the next morning. Here is a new day. You can now make up for what you did the day before. You can run out and ask forgivness for all those you wronged. You can try to make up for it, improve. Another bright beautiful day.
We need to stop being complacent. We are too comfortortable. What is wrong with us that we live in delusion? We think about our lives and are comfortable. "Oh I am doing enough. I'll get to heaven eventually. I'm Muslim that's enough." Why aren't we scared? Why do we think we will go to heaven? We are nothing compared to the people of past. We commit sin after sin and our hearts feel nothing. What is wrong us that we do not feel discomfort, pain when we commit a sin, before we do it, not even a twinge?
Sometimes Allah might send a hardship upon poeple to bring them to the right way. Hardship brings many people back to Islam. Sometimes Allah might keep people poor because He knows what would happen if they had money. Shouldn't we be scared? If we disobey Allah, He might send something to teach us. Perhaps that would be better. Perhaps we should pray that Allah send us something to remind us, to scare us.
I remind myself first, before anyone.
We need to wake up. We need to know that what is coming is true beyond any doubt. We will die. We will be ressurrected. We will pay for each and every sin we committed.
One day we won't wake up the next morning, and oh the regret we will feel on that day...the regret.