Wednesday, 19 May 2010

"Abi, when will we ever relax?"

A moving story that I've heard once and that I always remember and cherish for its meanings. It's the story of one of the great imams of this Ummah, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal.

His son, Abdullah, once asked his father one day, “Abi when will we ever relax?” His father, one of the greatest revivers of the Sunnah, a role model for all Muslims, looked him in the eye and said, “With the first step we take into Jannah.”
Ya Allah, what a beautiful response!

There are days that come to you and you are tired, and you just want to sleep and relax and "shut off" as they say. Those are the days that you need to ask yourself, a critical question: Where am I going with life? If it's towards Allah and for Allah, then regain your strength and continue your work, for Jannah is precious and must be sought. But if you look into your life and realise that it's not towards Allah, but it is towards Dunya, then here tiredness becomes a blessing, for it is a reminder that you need to change direction.

I love the story on many levels. For one, it shows you that when someone's focus is Jannah, their priorties change, and their outlook on life is different. What we perceive as difficulty, they perceive as ease. What we perceive as calamity, they perceive as reward. What we perceive as obstacles, they perceive as opportunities for sincere dua. Moreover, when your focus is Jannah. This dunya and its constant demand becomes small and the least of our concern.

Also, I love the way the son phrased his question, "Abi" sweet way of calling your father, and "when will we ever relax?" he didn't say, "when will I relax dad?". He wasn't selfish, he wanted to relax, but also cared for his father's condition. This also shows you how the father and son were working hard together. Again, when your focus is Jannah it reflects in your family, children, and those around you and everyone gears up towards that goal.

Our problem today is not that we're tired, our problem today is that we relax too much. We do everything so that we relax. We cheat, break promises, not fulfill vows, lie, take and give we can relax. We don't stay up for tahajjud or wake up for fajr, we don't fast, or go for Hajj and we can relax. We don't walk towards the Masjid, open the book of Allah so we can understand it, all in the name "I need to relax!"

Brothers/sisters, there's plenty of relaxation where we're going, but this is not the time for it. Let's all work for Jannah and be productive in the path of Allah, and work so hard that one day our children would come to us and ask us "Abi"..or "Ummi".."when will we ever relax?" and you can smile and look them into the eyes and say "When we enter Jannah inshaAllah".