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22 March 2011

The Journey of Life

Each day we are given the choice of choosing between the “legroom” of this dunya and the expansiveness of the akhirah.

I’m sitting on a train right now and the ride has definitely been less than pleasant. We have encountered many delays and what should have been a five and a half hour train ride has turned into about a seven hour one. I’ve been sitting here and looking out the window for over an hour. The trees are passing us by, sometimes so slow that I can see every detail on a single leaf and sometimes so fast that the entire figure just becomes a blur of green. I’ve been watching the world pass me by, one tree at a time and I realize that this train ride is just a short version of our life.

Our entire lives are spent on a train. We pass each day, one at a time; sometimes the days pass by so quickly that we don’t realize where the time went and sometimes one day can seem never-ending. But no matter what, we know that this train is not our final destination. This train is simply a mode of transportation, bringing us closer and closer to our final stop. This ride may seem like it’s everlasting, but that’s only because we cannot see the bigger picture. We are so narrow-minded, so consumed in our own thoughts and lives that we refuse to acknowledge our reason for being here in the first place. It is not the train ride that is our final goal, but the destination at the end of the tracks.

Allah subhanu wa ta’ala has given us the Quran, a set of guidelines to follow, so that we may be successful once we reach our destination, but just as passengers on this train refuse to read the “Passenger Safety Instructions,” we refuse to understand the Quran as we should, in order to protect ourselves from the crash that comes at the end.

Why does it become so difficult for us to accept the decree of Allah ta’ala? When we are on a train, we look forward to reaching our destination. We look forward to whom we will see and what we will do. However, on the train of life, we don’t look forward to the destination at the end, the akhira. We don’t look forward to reaching jannah and having our own rivers of milk and honey. Rather, we waste our time focusing on our short life, which will seem like nothing once we reach the Day of Judgment.

We complain about the commands from our Lord; simple commands such as wearing hijab or praying. We refuse to “inconvenience” ourselves, even though we know this is a very short journey. So what if you don’t have a lot of legroom or you’re not sitting in first class? It is better for us to be slightly uncomfortable for a short train ride, than be in excruciating pain once we reach our destination. The best thing to do during this journey is prioritize our time according to how long we will be in the dunya and how long we will spend in the akhira.

What would happen if after the train left the station, the conductor told everyone, “This train will crash. You should read the Passenger Safety Instructions so you know what to do when it does.” Would all the passengers read it? Would they prepare themselves so that they could survive the crash? Would they help others? Or would they sit there thinking that the conductor is a liar and there would be no crash at the end?

We have entered this dunya and Allah subhanu wa ta’ala has told us that we will die, we will be accountable. Then why do we sit around acting like it won’t happen?
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