Do you remember how you felt at age of 8 when your strict father found out about your ‘secretly-eating-an-apple-at-1-pm-in-the-afternoon-during-the-month-of-Ramadhan’? I do. I was shocked to death. Camne boleh kantoi???!!!
Yesterday I was asked: ..
“what would happen if I die next hour? or tomorrow? Do I have any pahala I could rely on to save myself from the torture in the grave? and from the burning hell fire?”
I was shocked. Speechless. Because I know I don’t have a good answer to come out with. And because I know I wouldn’t like my answer, whatever it is.
The questions took me all the way back to recap what I have been doing my whole life, and to review what my typical everyday life has always been. I thought about it over and over.....but I couldn’t find anything out of my seemingly crammed schedule, something that was genuinely done for my akhirat. I didn’t count in my prayers. One, because I am very much aware of the quality of my prayers. Second, because those prayers are my obligation as Muslim. If you were given some money because you deserve it (like getting your salary) you don’t feel anything. It’s only when you receive a gift out of sudden that your heart melts. So prayers are out, zakat out, puasa out. What’s left? Possibly some good deeds that I have done like bringing a fried fish to school to feed two starving kittens that I saw the other day, or maybe helping my housemate to submit her homework when she rather slept soundly on the couch in the middle of hot sunny day.
But then I was again asked: “Do I think those were done sincerely?” I hate to agree that as I grew up I learnt the art of being less sincere. Something was usually done because of certain reasons and/or benefits, and these are almost always duniawi-based. I teach because that is my job. I wake up early for sahur because I didn’t want to be extremely hungry throughout the day. I did terawih prayers at the school’s musolla because everyone else at the school did. If sincerity is to be judged, I fail straight away.
I was too speechless to even answer the next question: What about my dosa? This time I was even afraid to think. It is countless!
We talked about this matter very deeply. We came to a point that it is the time now that we start to think seriously about our akhirat. This doesn’t mean that I stop working on my PhD research, or stop buying my all-time-favourite-M1-double-pearl buble tea. I am still looking around for garage sale on Saturday, and going to a fitness center for another swimming lesson. So what does it mean? It means that I need to start working on generating lots and lots of pahala for my akhirat. Improve quality of prayers. Truly learn Al-Quran, write more entries to spread wisdom and knowledge, selawat as much. sedekah. sedekah. sedekah. As I wrote this, I am terrified of how I will manage to do these stuff. They are easy, yet they are hardly done. But I remember Andrew Mathiew wrote in his book ‘Being Happy’ that human is subject to fear when we are not doing anything. The moment we take action, fear subsides. So I will try and keep trying. Because I might die anytime! A big truck’s brake paddles might suddenly not work as it is approaching a junction and I happen to be driving 10 meters in front of it. Somehow I might be falling off a ladder with my head badly hitting a giant rock, got heavily bleeding, and severely damaging the brain. Or I might have a heart attack for no obvious reason while cycling towards school. Or there might be something called cancer growing inside my body that I am not aware of. Nauzubillahiminzalik...
Because when the time comes, death comes.
Dan bagi tiap-tiap umat ada tempoh (yang telah ditetapkan); maka apabila datang tempohnya, tidak dapat mereka dikemudiankan walau sesaatpun, dan tidak dapat pula mereka didahulukan.Surah Al-A’raf, 34
May Allah help me, and all of us to strive for syurga...while we are still given the chance to live......Amin Ya Robbal Aa’lamin.