Being Strategic in Preparing for the Akhirah
Being Properly Prepared
As most of us do not feel prepared for the akhirah, what tips are there to help us focus?
Though most people think that ‘This day I have perfected for you your religion’ (5:3) is the last ayah to be revealed, they do not realise that that was only a fragment, a part of a longer ayah.
Whereas the last complete ayah to be revealed was the one from surah Baqarah:
Be fearful of a day when you shall return to Allah and you will receive your reward fully for what you have done and you won’t be wronged (2:281)
The Need to Focus
These words are very poignant. Allah Almighty is warning us to fear the day when we shall return to Him. It is a fact. Whether we are believers or disbelievers, we will all face death, whether we like it or not.
The day when you will be presented to Allah Almighty individually:
And truly you have come unto Us alone, as We created you the first time. (18:48)
Allah Almighty, out of his mercy, is encouraging us to prepare for this day, as did the Prophet (peace be on him) in plenty of narrations. For example, in sunnah Al Tirmidhi, he said:
Whomsoever is fearful, he will start his journey early, and whoever started his journey early, he will reach his destination safely. Verily the merchandise of Allah is expensive, verily the product of Allah is Paradise. (Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (peace be on him) said that whoever is fearful starts early, using the word ‘adlaj’, which in Arabic comes from ‘dulja’ which is the very beginning of the night. This is related to the fact that if you want to travel in the desert you cannot travel in the day, especially at noon as its too hot.
Those who are prepared for the journey will start the journey just after sunset or before fajr, to reach their destination safely. So if you want to prepare properly, you have to follow the means.
Thus whoever is fearful of Allah Almighty, of His anger and His punishment or whoever is fearful of thieves during the journey or any danger he might face during the journey, should be prepared.
Life is a Journey
Aren’t we all on a journey? Whether we recognise it or not, every day our journey takes us closer to Allah Almighty. Every week we move towards our destination by one week, and every year we move towards it by a year. And who knows when our time is, only Allah Almighty knows. This is why we have to be prepared.
Use the Best Times to Prepare
The Prophet (peace be on him) as narrated in Sahih Muslim the three most important times in our day are mentioned:
- ghadwa – the beginning of the day i.e fajr
- rowhati – just before Maghrib
- dhulja – the beginning of the night or before fajr
We should seek help from Allah Almighty at these times.
And he said (peace be on him), in the hadith:
Everyone is taking a journey, on a daily basis. He is either one of two things – he is taking a journey to free himself of the shackles of the dunya, the whims and desires and he will please Allah Almighty and then he will be safe, or he might lead his soul to its ruin. (Muslim)
Choosing the Akhirah
It is our choice whether we work towards our Final Destination of not. We write our destiny through our choices. Whatever we choose will be our destiny.
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace be on him) said:
There is none of you but Allah Almighty will speak to everyone. There is no translator between him and Allah Almighty. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Allah Almighty will speak to everyone of us. Be fearful of Hell.
Actions which Create a Shield
Whenever we hear the words fattaqun nar (fear hellfire) it means we need to make a shield between us and hellfire. Through preparation i.e. salah, sadaqa, siyam, recitation of Qur’an, and by giving relief to those in desperate situations or giving them a hand to those who are struggling etc.
Our Tired and Distracted Reality
We might think we are fearful, but are we really fearful of meeting Allah Almighty? Due to our busy lives and all the competing demands on us, we tend to forget about the akhirah, and sometimes we are so exhausted towards the end of the day, we might not read our salah properly, or we may even fall sleep without praying. Isn’t that so? Unfortunately, yes.
Is it in line with the preparation? It isn’t. So we have to do our best.
Overcoming the Obstacles
Anas bin Malik narrated that the Prophet (peace be on him) said in the hadith:
Indeed the product of Allah Almighty is expensive, the price of it is jannah. (Tirmidhi)
Is it worth our patience, efforts and tiredness? Of course, it is. Don’t forget that the final destination is jannah Insha’Allah.
Putting in the Effort
Depending on the seeds we plant in dunya and the effort we put in, we see the fruits in the akhirah. If we never planted the seeds we can’t expect the fruits.
This is a reminder form Allah Almighty to all of us. It’s a reminder from the Prophet (peace be on him) on how to split our time and dedicate special time for our akhirah, let alone the 5 daily prayers. If we are sincere about it, then dedicate a special time in the early morning before fajr, after fajr, before maghrib, and after maghrib. These are the most blessed and sacred times.
Quality over Quantity
No matter how many rakahs you pray, it is not about quantity it’s about quality. It’s about sincerity, starting with just waking up and making sincere du’a. This will be the right direction and right preparation for the akhirah.
When we start every day like that, the course of the day will change. You will change. The barakah in your time and rizq will change. Your relationship with those around you will change.
Why? Because you are a different person now – you are a person connected to Allah Almighty; focused on your akhirah. A person who deals with the dunya but for whom that is not the main concern.
When you can see the change in your life, it will prepare you for the day you meet Allah Almighty.
Do We Really Love to Meet Allah Almighty?
In the hadith, the Prophet (peace be on him) said:
Whoever loves to meet Allah Almighty, Allah Almighty loves to meet him (Ibn Majah)
Have we asked ourselves this question? It’s a very scary question: Am I ready to meet Allah Almighty? Am I truly ready? I might have wronged someone, I might have debts… what will be my position on the day I meet Allah Almighty? What will I reply to Him when He asks me?
We still have some time, so let’s prepare ourselves.
Last week we attended a funeral for 12 people in one single janazah. We asked the gravedigger in the graveyard, what is the average number of people buried in the cemetery every week? He replied he lost count but usually its about 30 people each week. That particular day was a record number. But it could have been you or me. Allah Almighty only knows when our time will be.
If you have wronged somebody sort it out now before its too late. Rectify your shortcomings before it’s too late. If you have unfinished business, finish it now before it’s too late.
Our priority is not about having a mansion in the dunya, it’s about having a castle in the akhirah. The dunya is not the main concern, the akhirah is.
Taking that journey means you take your vehicle and start the journey, you don’t sit in your car and say ‘Bismillah, Allah Almighty let me reach Leeds today.’
It’s not about false hope; we need to take action. This is exactly what Allah Almighty is saying in the Qur’an. Imaan and action will make you reach jannah, you have to activate your imaan.
So we need to put in the effort. It’s not just having vague wishes, but putting hopes into action. From today let’s dedicate some time for supplication, for sincere recitation and du’a to Allah Almighty, that He will prepare us to meet him, to make us from his auliyah, from those whom He loves and has chosen, those who are close to Him. I ask Allah Almighty to make the dunya in our hands and not in our hearts.
Be Proactive. Not Reactive
So often we are an ummah of reaction instead of action. We need to take a step forward and be active instead of being reactive.
When we lose someone, only then do we think of the akhirah. No, start now. Start and improve your preparation for the akhirah. You never know when your call will come from Allah Almighty.
Khutbah delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim at UK Albanian Muslim Community and Centre
Transcribed by Hafsah Malik
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