Thursday, 24 November 2011

O you who have reached sixty and seventy


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks be to Allah Almighty who has created and has created well, Who has taught and has taught well. And peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet; the Guide to the True Religion, and upon his family and his companions who have walked the straight path.

I have written this message upon the request of one of the Muslim sister to write in this subject; may Allah reward her the best of rewards. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: "One who guides to something good has a reward similar to that of its doer." [Reported by Muslim].

«من دل على خير فله مثل أجر فاعله» رواه مسلم

This subject is worthy of being written about; there are a lot of people who are in their sixties and more who have neglected the value of time. It was worthy of them to be more aware and benefit from the hours of their lives. The more man gets older, the more understanding and experienced he gets which incites him to understand what happens around him. This message, though is entitled to those who reached sixty and seventy, it also includes one who has reached forty and beyond. As a whole it is directed to every reasonable person who seeks to reform both his religious and worldly affairs.

O Muslim brother: age is the window to that life that everyone lives, the believer and the infidel... As for the believer, it is in the service and worship of his Creator, Blessed and Exalted be He… he puts before him the words of Allah: {And I (Allâh) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).} [Surat Az-Zâriyât 51:56].

{وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ} الذاريات: 56

Transliteration: Wama khalaqtu aljinna waalinsa illaliyaAAbudooni

As for the infidel, he did not accept servicing and worshipping Allah… he spent his whole days as beasts do… rather, a beast is better than him… a beast glorifies its Lord and worships Him.

{They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.} [Surat Al-A'raf 7:179]

{... أُولَـٰئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ} الأعراف: 179

Transliteration: olaika kaalanAAami bal hum adallu olaika humu alghafiloona

A human being loves to live… and loves all his days to be pleasurable and delightful.

However, no matter how long a man lives, he loves to describe himself as still being young… he would love to realize a lot of hopes. Here are some of the anecdotes of man:

Al-Hassan Al-Basri saw a leek with his mother. He said: "O mother! What is this evil tree in your hands?"

She said: "O my son! What a senile old man you are."

He said: "O mother: who is older: you or me?"

A man said to Al-Fadhl ibn Marawan: "how old are you?"

He answered: "seventy." A few years later he asked him the same question to which he answered: "seventy."

He said: "did you not give me the same answer twenty years ago?"

He said: "yes. But I am a friendly man. If I get used to a year I stay in it for twenty years. I will not exceed it to another."

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has told us about this eloquently, he has said, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: "The son of Adam (i.e. man) grows old and so also two (desires) grow old with him, i.e., love for wealth and (a wish for) a long life." [Reported by al-Bukhari].

«يكبر ابن آدم ويكبر معه اثنتان؛ حب المال، وطول العمر» رواه البخاري

My Muslim brother: I wish people would pay attention to the passing of days... and the lapse of ages... as they have been aware of prolonged hopes... and the weaving of dreams!

Al-Hassan Al-Basri said: O son of Adam: you are but a number of days. When a day ends, some of you ends."

How many ages have been wasted... and their owners have been wasted!

How many lives elapsed before the hopes of their owners are fulfilled!

How many lives have been lived without any purpose!

How many lives have been spent in other than the obedience to Allah Almighty!

In the long life there is the argument of Allah against the slave!

Sure… As your days increase, the argument of Allah Almighty against you increases.

How many are those who neglected this notion while they are in the sludge of life… struggling for survival.

Wake up O son of Adam: How many apparent arguments of Allah against you there are while you are heedless!

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: "he, from my nation, who lives long till he reaches the age of seventy, then Allah has excused him in his age." [Narrated by Al-Hakim, authenticated by Al-Albani in Sahih At-Targhib].

«من عمّر من أمتي سبعين سنة، فقد أعذر إليه في العمر» رواه الحاكم، صحيح الترغيب للألباني

Qatadah said: "you should know that to live long is perfect proof and argument, we seek refuge with Allah to be discredited by age."

{Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it? And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers) there is no helper.} [Surat Fâtir 35:37].

{أَوَلَمْ نُعَمِّرْكُم مَّا يَتَذَكَّرُ فِيهِ مَن تَذَكَّرَ وَجَاءَكُمُ النَّذِيرُ ۖ فَذُوقُوا فَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِن نَّصِيرٍ} فاطر: 37

Transliteration: awalam nuAAammirkum ma yatathakkaru feehi man tathakkara wajaakumu alnnatheeru fathooqoo fama lilththalimeena min naseerin

My Muslim brother: this does not mean that the argument of Allah is not held against who is under seventy. However, he who has passed puberty is more worthy to have the argument of Allah be established against him.

Al-Hassan Al-Basri said: "he has excused that you are forty; so hurry before your time is due. By Allah, the man in older times used to reproach himself when he reached the age of forty."

'Umar ibn Abdel-Aziz said: "the argument of Allah is established against the son of forty years so he died because of it."

O you who has lived long: hold yourself accountable… do not lag behind… be sincere in your work to Whose argument has been established against you… how many proofs there are in long age that break excuses.

Longevity is a preacher to whoever is preached

Verily there are lessons and examples in the passing of days… to whoever contemplates and ponders! Rather, there is not a day passing of this life but has a lesson to sane people!

How many lessons –O man– there are in your life?

In long life there is increase in understanding… have you benefited from that?

In long life there is weakness… frailty… have you discerned that?

Abdul Aziz ibn Abi Rawad said: "he who does not learn a lesson from three will not learn a lesson from anything: Islam, the Quran and old age."

Some wise man said: he who is missed by the arrows of death will be tied by nights and years."

Yunus ibn Habib entered the mosque and was supported by two men because of his old age. Some man, who used to accuse him for not liking him, said: what do I see, you are getting old O father of Abdel-Rahman?

He said: it is what you see. I wonder if you would reach it!

From the lessons is the death of peers… the parting with loved ones… this is a lesson to be prepared. Imagine O sane person:

Imagine I lived for ever

Fulfilled my wishes of sons and wealth

How can I see those I was familiar with

And my youth which has gone and never returned

From them is the repetition of events… seeing the calamities in the self and the siblings… if there is contentment, there is the reward.

Abdel-Rahman ibn Abi Bakrah, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: "who wishes for long life, let him adapt himself to calamities."

The virtue of longevity in performing acts of obedience

This is the great virtue of long life… the reason of the creation is worshipping Allah Almighty. Whoever performs this function perfectly, then he is the luckiest man by his life; it is worthy of him to wish for long life.

It is like that who deposits a sum of money in his account every day… there is no doubt that it makes him happy if this lasts so that he increases his money. This is the condition of he who deposits in his mortal account… and this is his pleasure. Then what about the pleasure of he who deposits in the immortal account?

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: would I tell you about the best among you?"

They answered: yes.

He has said: "the best among you is he who lives longer and performs the best righteous deeds among you." [Al-Albani, authentic due to other narrations].

«ألاأنبئكم بخيركم؟ قالوا: نعم، قال: خياركم أطولكم أعمارا، وأحسنكم أعمالا» الألباني، صحيح لغيره

Suleiman ibn Abdel-Malik entered into the mosque of Damascus. He saw an old man crawling; so he said: O sheikh, would it please you to die?

He said: no.

Suleiman asked: why and that you have reached what I sea of old age?

The man said: youth has gone along with its evil, and old age has remained with its goodness. When I sit I mention Allah, when I stand I praise Allah, so I'd love these two things to last for me.

An old man was asked: how old are you?

He said: ten years.

It was said: how is that and you are an old man?

He answered: I have been a repentant for ten years.

Mohamed ibn Eissa al-Bughdadi said: "it was said: what belongs to you from your life is the period in which you obeyed Allah, the period you disobeyed Allah in is not to be considered from your life."

Hilal ibn Yassaf said: "when men of the Medina reached their forty years of age, they used to devote themselves to worship."

Ibrahim An-Nukha'i said: "they used to seek this worldly life but when they reached forty they sought the Hereafter."

O Muslim brother: make your life a farm for your day of poverty… exploit its hours in acts of worship… and attend to yourself so that you harvest goodness and survival.

Beware of wasting your life in other than worshipping Allah Almighty:

My Muslim brother: your life is a trust entrusted to you by Allah… do not come tomorrow and you have lost His trust!

So be keen, O sane man, to benefit from your life… and do not waste it in other than obeying Allah Almighty.

Those who have reached their sixties and seventies should be the keenest people in obeying Allah Almighty… as this is the age of solemnity and carefulness.

But you would wonder when you see this who reached sixty or seventy crowed over this worldly life… gasping behind its lustrous desires! Neither a religion nor a brain restrains him.

Such man was supposed to be a role model for others in virtues… good morals… wasting the life of such a man is grand.

For him we dedicate the words of Shumayt ibn 'Ajlan…

Shumayt ibn 'Ajlan said: you find the one of them has grown old, his bones weaken, and he has been denied sleep and taste, his mouth wide open, longing for this worldly life, as if he has invented living old, Woe to you!

Do you wish that youth returns back to you?!

It is not returning back to you, would you not get hold of yourself in the rest of your life?! Would you not hasten in repentance to Allah?!

How odd this is! Was there not in old age and the passing of years anything that restrains your light mindedness and lustrous desires?

Your nights end and your sins increase

Your life wears out but time is new

You calculate that the decrease is increase

But you decrease not increase

Think and ponder your condition you may

Remember and sanity may return to you

How many old men are there who wasted their hours watching TV… abandoning the call of sanity and wisdom!

How many old men are there who wasted their hours in staying up late at night, fruitlessly, gossiping!

How many old men are there who wasted their hours with bad company… coming and going!

'Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "the remaining of the life of a person is priceless. He tries to make up for what has passed and revive what he has made die".

There is another type who wasted their life in collecting profits… seeking livelihood… you see them busy with kids… unaware of themselves… suddenly here is the cup of Death… they leave behind what is a fortune for others… but for him it is forfeiture!

Abu Hazim said: "people are two types of workers: a worker in this worldly life for this worldly life; it has occupied him from his Hereafter; he fears poverty for those whom he will leave behind and he secures himself against it; so he wears his life out for the needs of others!

And a worker in this worldly life for what comes after it; so what is destined for him from it comes to him without any work and he becomes a king before Allah. He would never ask Allah for something and but that He will respond to him!"

How strange! O you who seek to establish your worldly life, would it not be better to establish your Hereafter!

O grayed hair who maintain this worldly life

How many wonders there are in you

What is the excuse of he who builds a house

While his body is weak and wrecked

Beware of Death!

O you whose life has been prolonged… know that the journey has an end!

Have you remembered – O wise - how will you conclude this trip?!

It is: death! The severe end for those who have not prepared for it!

Masruk said: "when anyone of you reaches his forties, he must be on his guard from Allah."

Al-Fudhayl ibn 'Ayyad asked a man: how long have you lived?

He said: sixty years.

So he said to him: for sixty years you are walking towards your Lord. You are almost there.

The man said: Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.

Al-Fudhayl said: do you know the interpretation of what you have just said?

You say: I am a slave to Allah and I shall return to Him. So he who knows that he is a slave to Allah and that to Him he shall return he must know that he is to be held responsible for his actions and that he will be asked about them; so he must prepare an answer.

The man said to him: then what shall I do.

He said: easy.

The man asked: what?

He answered: perform good deeds in what is left of your life so that what has passed will be forgiven; because if you perform evil deeds in what is left of your life you will be punished for what has passed and what is yet to come.

So O you whose life has been prolonged: here you are watching the death of people, young and old… yes, Death does not differentiate between the young and the old… but it is closer to the old!

That is the reason the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, has said: "the ages of my nation are between sixty and seventy, and the least among them who surpasses them.'' [Authenticated by Al-Albnai]

«عمار أمتي ما بين الستين إلى السبعين، وأقلهم من يجوز ذلك» صححه الألباني

My Muslim brother: prepare for the day when you will meet the only Originator of the heavens and the earth… remember the day when you will be alone shrouded in a narrow pit… heavily dark!

If being seventy is your disease

Then the only remedy is Death

If a person has been seventy years walking

He is to his end is near

What you should be:

You should be keen, O wise man, on being always concerned on worshipping Allah... not a day to pass by without you checking the balance of good deeds... just as you are keen in checking your mortal balance of money...

The most important thing to start with; is the obligations… and the most important of obligations are observing prayers… you should perform them in their due time… in the houses of Allah Almighty (the mosques).

Make sure to perform them perfectly with reverence… fulfilling all their pillars… as well as their acts from the Prophetic sunnah… be keen in reading the books of the religious scholars which describe the correct manner of prayer; as has been performed by the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.

Persist in increasing your optional acts of worship… You are in an age where you should hasten to performing righteous deeds… and to grasping the biggest share out of them.

Try to be early to the mosque… you will be blessed if you accustom yourself to be the first to come… and the last to leave.

When you come early to the mosque, increase performing optional prayers… and reading from the Book of Allah Almighty… repeat that after concluding the prayers…unless that they are the times when prayers are forbidden to be performed… increase your regular part of the Quran.

Do not keep company unless with whom is beneficial to you in your religion… keep away from the meetings where Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden) increases… or sexual relations… and even if you sit in a meeting and you felt that its people are heedless, if your heart is full of the love of acts of obedience you will find serenity and tranquility that will delight you.

Be keen in abiding by the Prophetic invocations of different occasions like the invocation when entering the house, the invocation of getting out of the house, the invocation when eating and drinking, the invocations before sleeping and other invocations.

Thus, you will always be connected to Allah Almighty… and increase praising Allah, glorifying Him and thanking Him.

And as most preoccupations are at homes… so you must fill your leisure at home by many means such as performing optional prayers, reciting the Quran, reading useful books and conducting useful conversations with the kids. A home would be changed into a successful school from which successful generations are graduated if its potentials are well-utilized. From home you can phone your kin and relatives to check on their conditions.

Finally: remember that obeying Allah Almighty is the end which everyone should roam around, it is the means to the happiness of the two homes (this worldly life and the Hereafter). Be keen to be one of its people and avoid the other (sin).

I ask Allah to make me and you from the people of worship... and may He take us by His mercy to the high grades in this worldly life and after death... and all praise be to Allah Almighty... And peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet and his family and companions.

Azahari Ahmad Mahmoud

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