(2:28) Why the Cycle of Life and Death Should Inform Our Choices
Here Today. Gone Tomorrow.
Who can guarantee tomorrow? We have no idea what is around the corner, less still the length of our lifespan. We all know people whose death came out of the blue – not just sudden but at a young age.
‘How is it that you deny Allah, while you were lifeless and He gave you life; then He will make you die, and then He will make you live again, and then to Him you will be returned?’ (2:28)
We may not know how many days we have left, but we do know that we are alive right now. It may seem to be an obvious statement, but Allah Almighty’s rhetorical question (istifaam inkaari) directs our attention to our existence. He is telling us that we cannot take our life for granted. Indeed, we did not exist until He gave us life.
With that life comes choices. Those choices should be informed choices. For each choice has a consequence. Each decision and action either takes us closer to or further away from Allah Almighty’s mercy.
We can choose to reject Him and His guidance, and by consequence face eternal regret, or we can pick His path, leading to success and resultant eternal bliss. As we have the intellect to choose wisely, there is no reason to choose what will harm us. We have been blessed with so many favours that even if we did not choose the right thing out of self-interest, surely we would do out of gratitude, if we reflected on it.
Allah Almighty is asking to ponder on it. Reminding us that there was a purpose for our creation and an expectation of what we would do with the blessing of life that we were given.
That reminder of our transience is constant; it is present within the rhythm of our day. We see the cycle of non-existence, life, death, and return to Allah in its minor form on a daily basis. When we sleep it is a minor death. There is no certainty that we will even wake up. Therefore we recite the following dua before sleep:
‘With Your Name my Lord, I lay myself down; and with Your Name I rise And if my soul You take, have mercy on it, and if You send it back then protect it as You protect Your righteous slaves.’
We also use the words ‘insha’Allah’ whenever we talk about a future plan, because we simply do not know whether that plan will come to fruition or not without Allah Almighty’s leave.
Our takeaway lesson is to be grateful and to show our gratitude through making the choices that bring us closer to Allah rather than further away from Him.
I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I ought to do what’s right.
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