The Reckoning of Mankind Draws Ever Near

As the warning of “The reckoning of mankind draws ever near” (Aniya 21:1) was called out in the midst of the companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the apprehension in their hearts, arising out of their fear of Allah, reflected in their eyes, causing them to cry rivers of sadness “so that valleys flow according to their measure” (al-Rad 13:17) Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, gave away all his wealth, not even sparing his garment, Umar Ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased within, wished he were an inanimate shrub, and Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, wished after his death never to be resurrected out of fear of Allah. Ali ibn Ali Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, shouted at this worldly life, I divorce you thrice, even though a single divorce would have sufficed, but he did it thrice to ensure that someday his self-desire would not rekindle the hope to seek a loophole by means of which he could return to it. Abu ad-Darda, may Allah be pleased with him, wished he were a fodder plant chewed by animals, and Imran ibn al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with him, wished he was reduced to ashes. Indeed you listen to the Quran but undoubtedly you do not hear the the way they heard it.

Devotees are focussed upon worshipping their Lord; their feet are lined up in harmony within the rows, standing their weight on the throes of fear of Allah, so when they are affected by their fear, they shift their weight off the foot of fear onto the toe of hope.

The condition of people differs at the time of their death; some endured the fear of Allah until the moment they died, such as Umar ibn al-Khattab, who said on his death bed: ‘Woe to Umar should his Lord not forgive him’, and some were distressed by the thirst of their fearful cautiousness so they cooled themselves down with the water of hope, such as Bilal ibn Abi Rabah, may Allah be pleased with him, whose wife lamented while he was on his death bed saying; ‘How grievous and sorrowful is this moment for me!’ while he on the other hand said jubilantly ‘How joyous and pleasant this moment is, soon I will meet Mohammed and his companions!’ This is because Bilal knew that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would never forget the one who announced the call for Salah and so he mitigated death with the comfort of hope.

While Sulayman al-Taimi was on his death bed he said to his son: ‘Narrate to me the hadiths related to consciousness, so that I meet Allah, Exalted is He, while I am optimistic in Him.’ For how long should a traveller walk? Surely he must stop and seek repose at some point.

O you of feeble will: How far are you from the path on which Adam, peace be upon him, suffered, because of which Nuh was mourned, for the sake of which Ibrahim was thrown into the fire, on which Ishaq was laid down to be slaughtered, Yusuf was sold for a meagre price, Zaariyya was cut into pieces, Yahya was murdered, Ayyub suffered all kinds of calamities, dawn wept so much, Sulayman did not rejoice despite all that he possessed, Musa desired to see His Lord, Isa wandered with the beasts in the desert, and Muhammad endured poverty!

The first step in the path towards Allah is to sacrifice one’s soul; this is the path, yet where are those who will walk it! This is the shirt of Yusuf, peace be upon him, waiting for Yaqub, and here is the Mountain of Sina awaiting Musa, where is Junayd to witness and where is al-Shibli, the pious worshipper, to listen to all this?

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi pages 128-131