By Alveena Salim
We live in such a fast society. Fast food, fast cars, fast internet and fast communication all means that it’s easier to keep touch with loved ones.
However, despite living in such a fast society, how come we’re always in a rush? How come we don’t have time to keep in touch or to visit loved ones? And how come there are not enough hours in the day to just stop and think of someone other than our own selves?
The underlying reason behind our “busy lifestyle” is that we’re selfish; we fail to think or be there for others, because we’re too busy worrying about our own selves.
Ask yourself, when was the last time you raised your hands in dua and prayed for others and not yourself? When was the last time you seriously considered the problems of others and not yourself? When was the last time you anonymously carried out a selfless deed?
When was the last time you picked up the phone just to see how a loved one was doing? And when was the last time you cancelled your own plans in order to be there for someone else?
Hadrat Hassan (ra), the beloved grandson of the Holy Prophet , used to spend all his time helping others. Once a man came to him and asked for 400 dirhams so that he could repay his debts. Hadrat Hassan (ra) gave the man the money, and after he left he began to cry. The people around him were astonished to see such a generous hearted man cry after giving some money to a man in need. When he was asked why he was crying, he replied “I am crying because I am feeling guilty that I failed to enquire about my brothers need and it became necessary for him to come knocking on my door”. True believes anticipate the needs of others.
It is embedded in our fitrah (natural disposition) to love and have a close relationship with others. However the Nafs (ego) often attacks us and makes us love our selves too much and makes us selfish.
The disastrous effect of loving ones self too much is that our manners and behaviour starts to deteriorate and as a result we start to lack love, patience and compassion for others.
We spend a significant amount of our time worrying about mundane issues; be it work, Uni/school, bills, friends, future plans or parking tickets! Modern research on stress has often focused on the fact that, living in the West, we have little reason for real stress, and we often exaggerate it.
We need to change the way we think and sort our priorities out and nothing changes our perspective on life and sorts out our priorities more that death. Death also highlights the fact that we spend all of our time concerned with mundane, insignificant issues whilst failing to look at the bigger picture. One also receives an insight into their character and other people characters during such testing times.
The Holy Prophet said “people are asleep; when they die they wake up”. The same can be said about those who experience the death of a loved one. We do not like to acknowledge death. We do not like to believe that it will happen to us or our loved ones; as a result we take them for granted.
If we truly believed that our loved ones will not be around forever, we would never ever lose our temper with them or get irritated with their comments and actions. We would make time for them and would go out of our way to make sure that during their time on Earth they were comfortable and pleased with us.
However, it is only when we personally witness our beloved totally dependent on the hands of those who are washing their body and lowering them into the grave, do we fully realize how much we fell short of our duties towards them.
If we remembered death more often we wouldn’t postpone our love or sideline those who are close to us. A wise man once said “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone”. Undoubtedly, one does not realize what they have until it is gone.
It is said that man was created for the ache in the heart for there is no shortage of angels for worship. Visiting relatives IS considered worship and serving them earn us their love and brings peace and tranquillity into our heart and lives.
If we truly loved our relatives, obviously we would be selfless givers to them. One of the most important aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet was that of meeting the needs and fulfilling the rights of others without any expectation of reciprocity.
We should not take our loved ones for granted. Time is fleeting. We just don’t know how much of it we really have. We need to make sure that our loved ones come first, no matter what. Our loved ones are a constant part of our life, they make us who we are, and are a part so constant and so close that we often take them for granted.
The reality is that they can disappear so incredibly fast. People we love can be here one day and gone forever the next. And if we fell short in our duties towards them, the regrets and “if only’s” can fill a person will self-loathing and despair for a long time.
So the next time we’re fighting with a sibling, too busy to visit a relative or having a tiff with our parents we need to remember that our lives are but a fleeting moment in time. They come and go so quickly. Don’t take for anyone or anything for granted.