By Babatunde Jose
As the momentous and highly unusual year 2020 rolls to an end, there is need for us to deeply reflect on the coming ‘Hour’: For many, the year had been a sad experience in many ways. Many have died of the strange affliction called Covid-19; loved ones had their lives attenuated; children were not left out; some families were wiped out and powerful men who bestrode the narrow corridors of power were exterminated by the scourge called Corona. As the year roll to its end, many had been laid off from work for over eight months without any other source or means of livelihood; they have been pauperized and impoverished because of the fall-out of the pandemic. For the lucky ones among us, it is therefore appropriate that we should be full of thanksgiving and penitence. We all have stories to tell! What have we done that we ought not to have done and what are those things we ought to have done but we failed to do? Have we kept the commandments as we have been admonished to do by the good books or have, we persisted in our iniquities? Have we been just and fair n our dealings with our fellow men? Have we taken care of the widows and orphans or have we cheated them of their inheritance? Have we loved our neighbours or wished them ill? Have we been charitable to those who offended us, or have we invoked Psalm 109 on them? Have we then forgiven those that trespassed against us as we would have loved the Lord to forgive our trespasses? No doubt, the Hour gets nearer as the years roll by. It is an inevitable and immutable event. Man must come to judgement or else all our doing good and eschewing evil would have come to nought. It was Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher who said: ‘The drama of this life is not complete; There must be a second scene to it . . . Therefore, there must be another world, where justice will be carried out”’ That other world is the Day of Resurrection.
“The Unbelievers say, ‘Never to us will come the Hour’: Say, ‘Nay! but most surely, by my Lord, it will come upon you; – by Him Who knows the unseen,- from Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth: Nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but is in the Record Perspicuous:’ (Quran, 34:3) See also Surah Qiyamah, Ayat 1-15.
Let us reflect on the coming Qiyamah – also known as the Resurrection, the Day of Judgment, Day of Gathering, and the Great Announcement. Allah is the creator and the master of the Day of Judgement. There is the story of Ezra or Uzair (Quran 2:259) who questioned the possibility of resurrection and Allah made an example of him. He was made to die for a hundred years, resurrected, and made to face his people who have all added a hundred years to their age since he left them. He was made to die at the age of 40 and had not added a day to his age when he was resurrected. His maid who was 20 was now 120 and his son who was 18 had grown to 118. Yet, Uzair was still 40. What a paradox. Allahu Akbar!!! Allah is not bound by time and space!
Quran Chapter 101 promises a reckoning: The (Day) of Noise and Clamour: What is the (Day) of Noise and Clamour? And what will explain to thee what the (Day) of Noise and Clamour is? (It is) a Day whereon men will be like moths scattered about, and the mountains will be like carded wool. Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy, Will be in a Life of good pleasure and satisfaction. But he whose balance (of good deed) will be (found) light, Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. And what will explain to thee what this is? (It is) a Fire blazing fiercely! (Quran 101:1-11) Our preoccupation with aggrandizement is condemned in the Quran: See (Quran 102:1-8) (Quran 103:1-3)
But before the last Hour: “. . … there will be great liars, so beware of them; When the most wicked member of a tribe becomes its ruler, and the most worthless member of a community becomes its leader. . “- Holy Prophet
We need to keep reminding each other of the coming Hour: There is no doubt, “the weekly homily we share re-jig our sense of duty to God, our soul & our neighbour. It reveals the emptiness of our everyday pranks, the vanity of life in itself & the good sense of our obeisance to Allah. Have you in 2020 lent even the tiniest help to the weak or have you alone thoughtlessly consumed God’s favours? All effort directed toward faith & selfless living profit none but ourselves. We must ceaselessly struggle to remember God & His angels. Those who forget would curse their cruel stars! May our hearts forever fly robustly in the spacious firmament of love and freedom. The light will be dim if the oil in the lamp is low. Thus, do all the good that you can all the time, and always honour Allah (swt).” Alhaji Hameed Ajani.
As the year rolls to an end, we might ask ourselves these searching questions from the words of a familiar hymn; “Have I Done Any Good?” Hymns, no. 223:
Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today?
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
How many of us can answer these questions? The emphasis here is ‘when they
needed my help was I there? We pray O Allah “keep us ever mindful of the needs and
wants of others”. May the coming year be a better one for us all.
Let us remember those who have gone for it shall be our turn soon. Who knows for whom the bell tolls!
Barka Juma’at, and a happy weekend.