by Asma bint Shameem
Mmmm…..guavas. I love them.
Living in the US, guavas are a rare commodity, a special treat, not just something you can buy every day from the store down the street.
And for many years, since moving to the United States, I was unable to enjoy this sweet blessing of Allaah….until a few years back, when seeing my love for them, my mother found some guava seeds and planted them for me in my backyard.
And since then Alhamdulillaah, we’ve enjoyed ripe, juicy, sweet guavas season after season.
Through storms and hurricanes, cold spells and freezes, this guava tree amazingly withstood the forces of nature against all odds, alhamdulillaah, and produced ripe, delicious fruit…..until last winter.
This last winter was particularly long and cold, and I watched in dismay, as the leaves on my guava tree first turned red, then yellow to brown and then gray.
One by one, all of them fell off until there was nothing left but dry, withered, empty branches.
Not a single leaf left on them.
I thought I had lost my guava tree.
And ever since winter was over, I would look out my window every single day, hoping to see some life, some greenery ….. may be just a leaf or two, but….nothing.
No more guavas, I thought.
My guava tree was dead.
But this morning, as I casually glanced outside my window, my eyes took a double take.
What was that I think saw?! Could it be?!! Do I dare hope?!!
I quickly went outside to reconfirm what I was hoping for all this while.
And yes, sure enough, there it was. A few small green leaves, sprouting from bare, seemingly dead, totally empty branches.
Allaahu Akbar! My guava tree was living again!
After I had given up, after I had thought it was gone, Allaah, the One who created this tree in the first place, had brought it back to life!
And as I rejoiced over the ‘rebirth’ of my guava tree, an ayah from the Qur’aan echoed in the back of my head.
وَآيَةٌ لَّهُمُ الْأَرْضُ الْمَيْتَةُ أَحْيَيْنَاهَا وَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهَا حَبًّا فَمِنْهُ يَأْكُلُونَ
“And a sign for them is the dead land. We gave it life, and We brought forth from it, grains, so that they eat thereof.” (Surah Yaseen: 33)
A sign, Allaah says. What is this sign…I thought to my self? And then it hit me.
The guava tree is a sign from one of the numerous signs of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala.
It is a sign that just as Allaah is able to bring back a dead tree after it was all withered and dried up, back to life, this is exactly how we will be brought back to life after we are all dead.
يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَيُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَكَذَلِكَ تُخْرَجُون
It is He Who brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living, and Who revives the earth after it is dead. Likewise you shall be brought forth.” (Surah Rum:19)
And not it’s not just the guava tree. There are multitudes and multitudes of signs like these all around us…signs that show us the fragility and brevity of our lives, signs that show us our ultimate end and destination when we will be resurrected once again after we are dead and we will be have to stand in front of our Creator and give an account of our lives.
All we have to do is look around.
Didn’t the grass turn yellow after it was green and then after that become brown? And then didn’t it become green once again?
Didn’t someone you know die this year and didn’t someone you know have a baby?
Didn’t the sun rise yesterday and then, didn’t it set? And then didn’t you see it rise again this morning?
Allaah didn’t create us to eat, drink, have fun. Nor did He create us to grow up and get married, have kids and then eventually just die with no purpose, goal or reason. Allaah tells us that the only and only purpose of our creation is to worship Him, our Creator, Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala.
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
“And I (Allaah) have not created mankind and jinn except to worship Me.” (Surah az-Zaariyaat: 56)
That is the reason you and I are here. That is reason you and I are living. And Allaah is telling us that.
Yet we forget.
We get busy and distracted by the beauty of this life, its attractions, its lure. We forget we are here only for a very, very short while and then we will have to return to Him. Each and every single one of us. There’s no escaping it, no matter who you are. Allaah warns us ahead of time:
“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children. (It is) like a rain (Ghayth), thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment, and (there is) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure. And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” [57:20]
Allaah is telling you and me that this world is nothing but a delusion. It is fake…no good. It won’t come in handy. The only thing that will come in handy is our Imaan and good deeds.
“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. For, the worldly life is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion.” (Surah al-‘Imraan: 185)
This is when our deeds will come to an end. After that, it is just our reckoning. Reckoning of our life…..
Every single deed….every single word….every single heartbeat.
What will we say and what will we do?
How will we answer Him?
Will we even be able to answer?
Are we even prepared?
We don’t know when the angel of death will come knock at our door.
We hear about death almost every day, in the newspapers, in our communities, in our own families. Therefore, the question that we must ask ourselves before it is too late is….. What have we prepared for that moment when this life comes to an end for us?
Did we really fulfill the purpose of our creation or are we just living in a delusion, fooling ourselves and immersing ourselves in some ‘fake’ happiness trying to shy away from the fact that one day death will eventually meet up with us and then it will be time to face theREALITY?
Subhaan Allaah! We must use this life to prepare for the Aakhirah……when this life will no longer be of any avail to us.
All the ‘fun’ we had, all the ‘degrees’ we earned, all the ‘friends’ or ‘connections’ we had, our money, our bank balance, our position will be nothing.
If we do not use this life to prepare for the Hereafter, and act accordingly before it is too late, then, in fact, we have simply wasted this life – no matter how much it seems that we have achieved. It is all a waste if we did not stop, think and prepare for our meeting with Allaah, the Day when everyone’s deeds will be exposed and each will be recompensed according to what he has done in the Dunya.
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَاء فَعَلَيْهَا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ
“Whosoever does righteous good deed it is for (the benefit of) his ownself, and whosoever does evil, it is against his own self, and your Lord is not in the least unjust to His slaves.” (Surah Fussilat:46)
Its like what Umar RA said:
” Every day we say: ‘So and so has died, and so and so has died,’ and a day will come when people will say: ‘Umar has died’.”
And then he wept.
That’s exactly how one day you will be and I will be. Don’t we hear every day about so and so dying?
Well, one day….people will hear about you dying and me dying.
Read the next ayah and realize that Allaah is talking to you… yes, YOU when He says….
فَانظُرْ إِلَى آثَارِ رَحْمَتِ اللَّهِ كَيْفَ يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَمُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“Then contemplate (O man!) at the effects of Allaah’s Mercy! How He gives life to the earth after its death. Verily! The same (Allaah) will give life (to the men) who are dead; and He has power over all things.” (Surah Rum:50)
Now it is up to you. Either contemplate on these signs of Allaah, as Allaah is telling you to, and prepare yourself and correct yourself before that ultimate and inevitable meeting with your Creator or ignore it as if it will never happen to you. Then you have no one to blame but your own self.
The choice is yours.