When today’s Jummah khutbah started off with the Imam mentioning worldly competition, I straight away thought this will fit in really well with our Tafsir class in the evening, which is finishing off discussing surah At Takathur.
I liked how the Imam not only mentioned how we compete in worldly matters and occupy ourselves with things that aren’t going to help us much, but he spoke about learning to compete in things that really matter to us, things that will help us reach the most perfect destination, in the life to come.
Us humans are such, that when we hear others have bought a nice car or home, we then feel and want and nicer home or car. When we hear other people’s children went to a good university we want better for our children. When we hear that someone got a promotion at work, we think about how we can change jobs and get a better paid one. And although wanting and working for all this is permissible, when all this overtakes our thinking, our energy and slowly seeps into our purpose, we are only damaging our hereafter.
The imam asked how many of us, when hearing somebody has memorised surah Baqarah, want to compete in memorising the same and more. Or when we hear someone prays tahajjud every night, how many of us make sure we wake up every night for tahajjud too? Or when we know others give regular sadaqah, how many of us increase our own sadaqah amount? This is the real competition we should busy ourselves with. This is what will ultimately count for us; not the number of bedrooms in our house, the model of our car etc.
The imam went on to talk about Anas (ra) – I have serious obsession issues with this sahabi, so the mention of his name always gets my attentive ear. He said, amongst the sahaba, Anas (as) is known to have lived a long life, a life of 104 years – a life longer than the average life expectancy even in today’s age. And even with his long life, he still remains in his grave for almost 1400 years, in the life of barzakh. Now this was Anas (ra), a blessed companion. Then what about us? What about me? When I told my husband this now, he said: “oh wow that just made me feel all funny and raised all the hair on my body!”
It really does! When you compare this life to the one that will be eternal. The one that will last for a very, very long time, a time that won’t just be long, but never ending. And that’s why everything that we rush and compete for here should be all that will help those never ending years, not the short life we live in this Dunya. Compete for what will count in the next life not for the things that will satisfy temporary wants in this life!
My day ended with discussions on the last four ayahs of surah At Takathur and as usual it was a fruitful conversation in class about how we fail and not meet what Allah asks of us. But the teacher gave us a practical way of really getting the surah to mean something, he told us to think of three things that we crave, we have greed for, we really want – and then turn that around and think about how we already may have that in our life and give thanks for it. So for example; we might want a bigger home – realise that we have a nice, warm, safe home – much more than many people around the world, and give thanks to Allah for it. I like this idea, because this takes the gratitude journal idea to a next level of thinking. Not only are we thinking about all our blessings but at the same time we are working to tame those desires down that will be of no use to us.
What a thought filled Friday I’ve had – we ask for things and Allah sometimes gives them to us in subtle ways, and sometimes they just get thrown into our laps, just so we can learn from them. That’s the kind of Friday I’ve had.
until you go into your graves.
No indeed! You will come to know.
No indeed! In the end you will come to know!
No indeed! If only you knew for certain!
You will most definitely see Hellfire.
Then you will see it with the eye of certainty.
On that Day, you will be asked about your pleasures.”
(Surah Takathur, Verses 1-8)