Wednesday 22 January 2014

The Train of Life

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem 

As with the journeys in this world, the journey to the Aakhirah (Hereafter) also requires provisions. We know that death opens the door to a never-ending life. And this life will be pleasant and enjoyable if we take with us, the passport of Imaan and if we send ahead of us, the ‘material’ required to build our Jannah, Insha-Allah.

Having had the opportunity to travel by train on many occasions, the following analogy came to mind – with Allah Ta’ala’s Fadhl.

Our birth and arrival into this world signals the start of a journey. Like how a train is set on the railway tracks, so that it may move towards a destination, our lives seem to be like train engines, set on life’s tracks, with a course set out for us – and a destination awaiting each of us.

…Life in this world initiates our journey to the Aakhirah, and our life-span is like a moving train.

Each year of our life signifies a coach. The coaches of life are unique in that each one has twelve compartments (twelve months) and each compartment has 24 divisions (hours), and each division has 60 sections (minutes) and each section has got a further 60 sections (seconds).

Extraordinary and amazing as it is, this is our train of life, which we are given by Allah Ta’ala, to load the provisions for the Hereafter, Insha-Allah.

In fact, just pondering over these aspects of time: the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, decades – and one sees the amazing and great power of Allah Ta’ala, who established time in this manner, in this division and segmentation. Allahu Akbar!

So we should imagine ourselves on the platform of the station of this world (Dunya). Our train is moving along towards the Hereafter, and we are filling the various compartments or coaches with deeds. We are packing and stacking each coach with good deeds or bad deeds – or with both good and bad deeds – or with nothing.

If we waste time on the station platform and we do nothing, then different sections or compartments of the coach are left empty. And doing nothing in the time given to us to acquire our provisions will ultimately result in regret.

If we are filling and heaping our coaches with worldly goods – and we are engrossed in accumulating more money, more homes and cars, more gold and silver, more and more of the world, then plenty may be acquired but nothing accompanies us when we have to leave. Let us understand that when we reach the station of the Qabr, all these worldly goods will be offloaded. The train of life disposes and drops the burden of worldly goods before we enter our graves.

Allah Ta'ala says:

“…and he will come to Us all alone.”
[Surah Maryam 19 : 80]

Nothing will be taken from this world, except the sheets which comprise our Kafan (shroud), to cover us; and our deeds which were carried out in the time of life. 

How sad it is when a person builds up his Dunya and leaves his Aakhirah barren. He invests in Dunya which he is to leave behind and he makes no investments in the Aakhirah where he will reside forever.  We exert ourselves and sacrifice our lives for a world which we are leaving behind… And indeed, this is a great loss and cause of great remorse.

If we pass time in bad deeds, we are only loading onto our train, the punishments of the Qabr and Jahannam – we are loading snakes and scorpions and fire to punish us when we reach the destination. This will then be awaiting us. May Allah Ta’ala protect us all.

If our seconds and minutes and hours, our nights and days are spent in accumulating good deeds and we are continuously loading Zikrullah, Salaah, Zakaah and Sadaqah, Fasting and other good deeds onto our train, then these will take on the form of the beautiful Ni'mats (bounties) of Jannah: the gardens, streams, castles and palaces, etc.

We are living in times, where everything is high-tech, high-speed. Even modern day trains are breaking records in speed.

Man is trying to keep pace with time, but cannot catch up with time. And the Hadith tells us as well, that a time will arrive where a year will be a like a month, a month like a day, a day like an hour, and an hour like a flicker of a candle. ...So the train of life is an express train; traveling at an extremely high speed - delivering us to our graves fast.

Whether we are awake or we are sleeping, whether we are engaged in work or we are whiling away time, the train of life is continuously moving.

Take the example of sleep: If we make the intention of sleeping to gain rest, to gain strength and energy to continue in actions that will be pleasing to Allah Ta'ala, and if we sleep according to the Sunnah : Sleeping in a state of Wudhu, sleeping on the right side, with the right hand beneath the cheek, reading the respective Masnoon Duas - then despite being in a state of sleep and inactivity, we have loaded the compartments of those hours of sleep with great rewards and tremendous good.

If a person goes out to earn his living, and for eight or nine hours, he will be occupied in business and trade, then many hours are passing him by. However, if he intends that he is seeking Halaal sustenance, and with that Halaal sustenance, he will maintain his wife, children, spend on his parents, contribute for the poor and needy, he will expend in Deeni causes and he will utilise such earnings for Hajj and Umrah, then though he is occupied in the worldly activities, he is filling up the train of his life with great goodness and virtue.

Finally, after loading up the compartments and coaches of life, we will jump on the last coach and that is the end of the worldly life. What is ahead of us, in the form of good deeds or bad deeds, will be made evident in our graves and in the Hereafter.

Allah Ta’ala informs us that all these deeds will be waiting for us on the Day of Qiyaamah:

“The Day every soul will find what it has done of good present [before it] and what it has done of evil; it will wish that between itself and that [evil] was a great distance…”
[Surah Aal Imraan 3 : 30]

When loading our train with the goods of our deeds, there are two very important points to be kept in mind: Intention and Concentration.

Loading good deeds which are contaminated with Riyaa (show and ostentation) is like filling up a coach with lifeless bodies – which will not earn us any rewards; in fact, it can be the cause of punishment.

If there is no sincerity and devotion and there is no concentration, then there is the form of a good deed, but there is no weight to that good deed – like loading and packing empty cartons into the carriages of life. There may be quantity but there is no quality. The inner qualities are absent or non-existent – and we just do for the sake of doing. So our coaches are full with big boxes and cartons, but they are empty. 

Let us introspect and see if we are filling up with good or with evil, or we are letting coaches go by without anything, or we are piling up empty cartons in each compartment.

Where the Sahaba (RA) and our Akaabir valued each and every passing moment, looking towards filling the seconds and minutes and hours and days and nights in good deeds, in serving mankind, in seeking the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala, in seeking salvation, in seeking Jannah - let us reflect and ask ourselves: With what do we fill our seconds, minutes, hours - the days and nights of our lives?

Let us contemplate over this reality of life and time – which is slipping past so quickly, so quickly. If we keep in mind the Amaanat (trust) of this life, we will utilize our time constructively, Insha-Allah. Our lives will become valuable and we will be the beneficiaries of good time management when time is spent in Allah Ta’ala’s Pleasure.

Each one of us has a set number of coaches – but we do not know how many. It could be 20 or 50 or 70 coaches. Whilst we do not know how many, we work with each day we have, each minute we have at hand. There may not be another minute or another day. Let us work towards loading the carriages of our lives with noble, good deeds – so that we can enjoy the bounties of Jannah.

“For the like of this let the workers [on earth] work.”
[Surah As-Saffaat 37 : 61]

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the understanding, the concern and the Taufeeq to occupy ourselves in loading virtuous deeds in the carriages of the train of life and protect us from piling sins or empty actions in our lives. (Aamien)

By Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)