Life's Big Questions

"What is the life of this world but amusement and play? But verily the home in the hereafter, that is life indeed, if they but knew"( Ankabut 29:64). What is the first thing that come to our minds when we hear the word 'life''? Is it money, love, career, power, party or about '' yaomul qiyammah''( day of Resurrection). Our real definition of life is spending extravagantly, being in position of power or getting married and having kids. To say this is just  is to deface the purpose of our existence in this world.

We begin to fret when questions we don't have answers to begin to pop-up in our heads. Questions like what happens when we die, what does the soul really look like, why are we here on earth, what does the last day look like and how do we know its near, how do we reconcile body, spirit and soul in Islam and what really is success? I go up to look into the skies seeking for answers on why I am here. I have pondered over this since I could differentiate between my right and left hand. I reminiscing over what has happened, what is happening and what will happen to me. Isn't that something everyone should take a break for and ask themselves? Although the bond is so strong but I can't seems to link together. I am scared of how my thoughts today can affect my choice tomorrow. In my own modest way, I will attempt to answer some of life's big question. Why are we here?

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life but rather recognize that it is he who is being asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life, and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life. The day I took up the courage to ask myself that question was the day my life turned around. I stopped getting worried about life, became more humane and became more conscious of Allah. Being here is not about being a celebrity, a mega star, a big politician, a big boy or girl. No! We can't dispute the fact that all these are parts of what constitutes life but who we are is a product of why we are here. Our purpose definitely varies from man to man, but we tend to pay much attention to what is being created rather than the creator. To know who you are is to first discover why you are here. Psychologists broke this down to what is known as 'temperaments'. Be it sanguine, choleric, melancholy or phlegmatic, do all these actually tell who we are? For me, I found in me all of these temperaments and I could conclusively say I am 'SanCholMelPhleg'. Feel free to laugh out loud! Our main purpose on earth is to worship God Almighty. Allah says 'I have not created man and Jinn except to worship me'. How do you worship Allah? Do you worship Him by being conscious of His presence or just because you were told to do so? To leave everything to Allah is to live by faith and accept your destiny. When the will of God is not known the purpose is not served. What does our soul look like? As there is light so is darkness.

A writer once described soul in terms of colours, majorly 'white and black'. Unfortunately no one is either. We both have the two in us but one could be dominance of one and recessive of the other. But when you have it in the same proportion, it is grey. Your soul is your inner self. Confusion sets in when the body is not in agreement with the soul. Your body is the packaging while your soul is the content that determines the quality of the product. Who you are is judged by what lies inside of you. When you eat a bad apple, it turns your stomach causing discomfort and possibly diarrhea. That is how much you are affected by what you feed your soul with. There is power in words either through reading, listening or saying. So what do you listen to? Who do you surround yourself with, negative or positive minded people? Do you read the Qur’an and the hadith, seerah, fiqh or its all hip hop music? Who is your mentor? You need to answer these questions to know where your soul belongs. Paying much attention to your body than your soul is a waste. Sometimes your appearance is the product of what is inside but not in all situations. I pay attention to my body because I appreciate the work of Allah and the need to be maintained, but I consciously and continuously feed my soul with useful materials to uplift me so that I am counted among the favoured in this world and the hereafter. What happens when we die?

Death is inevitable! We are all going to die and rise up later whether we like it or not and whether we shy away from talking about death or hearing about it. A lot of people believe everything ends here on earth. As I described earlier, the body remains the container of the soul. Just as you eat a chocolate bar and throw the sachet away that is how our soul and body depart when we die. The soul leaves the body and get decayed after a while in the grave. The day we die isn't the day we will be judged but you start getting your reward right in the grave. At this point you are left with your iman, your solat, your deeds, your character and your essence. The day the trumpet is blown that is the day of resurrection, all souls shall rise. We would all be lined up in the presence of the creator to make account for our deeds on earth. Have you done something that warrant paradise or hell? Assess yourself today and see what you arrive at. If you do good, your memory lingers on forever but when you do bad, few people cry and then you are forgotten. Allah gives and takes life and that is what should be at the back of our minds. This has got nothing to do with age, colour, ethnicity, tribe, gender, achievements or wealth. We will all be judged equally. We human procrastinate thinking we have got time but time is but a passing moment. You can only boast of the moment you are now but not the next as Allah Alone has the knowledge of the unknown. What does the last day look like and how do we know it is near?

The word 'last day' sends thrills down my spine, my heart trembles and body to shivers. No one knows when it will come but the signs have been emphasized. We are already experiencing some signs and some are yet to come. When that day comes there will no longer be repentance. According to Mufti Ismail Menk, coming of prophet Muhammad as the last prophet is part of the signs of the hour. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said '' I have been sent myself as the hour and close to the hour is as close as these two fingers as he pointed to the first two fingers'' (Buhari). When angel Jubril appeared to the prophet and ask him about the hour. He replied that only the ones who has the hour knows and he asked again about the signs. Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) responded that ''when the parents will become slaves for their children and even an herdsman who could not afford a pair of shoe will become rich. '' The day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail but only he (will prosper) that brings to a sound heart" ( Shuara 88-89). Let me briefly mention few signs as stated by the Qur'an and hadith ; trials, confusion, lots of people will embrace Islam but few will be true Muslims, money will be plenty but spent in the way of Allah, Earthquakes will increase, catastrophe, Mass death; people will be killed for no reason while the people that are killing don't know why they are killing but just received an order, severe winters and tornadoes from some countries, flooding due to a lot of rainfall but without crops, and so on.

These are all happening and that makes me ask 'are we in the end-time'? "He questions: when is the day of Resurrection? At length, when the sight is dazed, and the moon is buried in darkness. And the sun and moon are joined together, that day will Man say: “where is refuge?'' By no means! No place of safety! Before thy Lord (alone), that day will be the place of rest. What is success? Should success be measured in terms of material things or your nearness to Allah. Success is fulfilling God's designed destiny and reaching the state of piety. As some destinies are attached to yours so is yours attached to others. If you are able to fulfil that destiny by reaching your goal, you can say you are successful in a way but not totally. Achieving your goal without helping people along the line or having good impact on lives is not really a success but a personal achievement. Success isn't how much is in your bank account but the number of lives you were able to save with the account. Always see success to be the reward of here after. To reconcile body, mind and soul is to fill your heart with the words of the Qur'an, follow the tenets of Islam, choose friends who make you conscious of Allah, filter what you see, hear or eat so as not to poison your system and iman. Let the Qur'an and hadith be your guide, your words, your spiritual food, your music, your life. Do good always and desist from immoralities. Life is all vanity; seek the hereafter brothers and sisters in Islam. You can write your own answers to life’s big questions and send to me. Salam alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu.

Ganiyah Kareem is a scientist and a make up artist

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