By Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq
There are times when it seems that things are moving so slowly. We want to rush and move on. At other times, we feel like doing something good, but we procrastinate. In fact, time is moving at its pace, usually much faster than sometimes we like or realize. Any of you can look back and try to remember those slow moving moments. But now in reminiscence we see that a good part of our life is already spent. Many of us don't have a whole lot to account for what really have we accomplished for our journey toward the eternal life over those years.
"I swear by the Time; Indeed, mankind is in loss; except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and enjoin each other to follow the Truth, and enjoin each other to be steadfast."
(Qur'an - Al Asr 103:1-3)
This is the Qur'anic reality about time and life. Our precious moments of aakhirah (hereafter)-bound life are fleeting by the second, even though we often don't realize.
Furthermore, the notion that there is more time ahead might be no more than an illusion. There might be more time - the next hour, the next day, month or year - or, there may not be, especially for all the good things we want to do and good words that we want to say! Have you heard some sad stories like the following?
A person had an argument with one of his friends in the evening and felt very bad. He wasn't able to sleep through the night. Next morning, he called his friend to say that he was sorry about the argument, and that he loved him. But the friend was already gone to work. He thought he would call the friend later that day. He did call, only to find out that his friend went to the Post Office that day and was killed in a shooting that took place at the Post Office. The friend passed away. The living friend always regretted that he did not have the time to say that he was sorry and that he loved him. What was unspoken remained unspoken!
The Prophet (s) said: "Value five things before five things: youth before senility, health before illness, solvency before poverty, free time before getting busy, and life before death." (Al-Haakim's Al-Mustadrak: 4-306)
A father had a rough time with his teen-age son. One day he rebuked his son for his action. In the morning the father woke up late. He wanted to hug his son and tell him that even though he rebuked him last night, he loved him so much. The son woke up early and was gone to school. On the way back from his office, the father bought a present for his son. However, even before he reached his home, he received a call in his car that his son had a terrible traffic accident and died instantly. The father did not have the chance to present the gift or give the hug or a kiss, or say what he wanted to say. What was unspoken remained unspoken!
'A'isha reported that there came a few desert Arabs to Allah's Messenger and said: Do you kiss your children? He said: Yes. Thereupon they said: By Allah but we do not kiss our children. Thereupon Allah's Messenger said: Then what can I do if Allah has deprived you of mercy? (Sahih Muslim, 5735)
Abu Huraira reported that al-Aqra' b. Habis saw Allah's Apostle kissing Hasan (grandson). He said: I have ten children, but I have never kissed any one of them, whereupon Allah's Messenger said: He who does not show mercy, no mercy would be shown to him. (Sahih Muslim, 5736)
A person felt regret about an action toward his parents. He wanted to seek forgiveness from them and also make repentance before Allah and seek His mercy and forgiveness. He did repent but could not speak to his mother, because she passed away overnight due to a heart attack. What was unspoken remained unspoken!
Narrated Anas ibn Malik: A man was with the Prophet and a man passed by him and said: Apostle of Allah! I love this man. The Apostle of Allah then asked: Have you informed him? He replied: No. He said: Inform him. He then went to him and said: I love you for Allah's sake. He replied: May He for Whose sake you love me love you! (Sunan Abu Dawood, 5106)
The above hadith is about loving someone among the fellow believers. This hadith, of course, is about anyone who is dear and beloved to us, about anyone to whom we feel a special affinity. While saying "I love you" is not a substitute for showing our love and action through our actions and conducts, it is also important that we communicate verbally. Let us not be among the hapless ones who have never said "I love you" to our beloved ones, whether our spouse, parents, children, and fellow believers, of course, if we feel special about someone.
Thus, let our bad thoughts, unworthy deeds, or unkind words wait until tomorrow, while may our good thoughts bloom, good deeds be acted on, regrets expressed and forgiveness sought, unspoken words of kindness and love be said, and undelivered kisses and hugs be rendered, not tomorrow, but today!
Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq is an associate professor of economics and finance at Upper Iowa University.