Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Sight for Sore Eyes (Outta this World)

Source: Matteo Paclotti
Knowing man’s tendency to fixate on the bad, I try to avoid the news. I try, but stories of war, corruption, greed and immorality often outsmart my sloppy evading techniques. No matter what I do, the depressing headlines find me. They tell me that people are constantly dying of starvation, that hate speech is ‘telling it like it is’ and that religiosity, the only thing I know to be beautiful and good, is a filthy illness of backward people. They tell it over and over and over until I can see little else but gloom. It’s no wonder people are losing their faith. I get it. Life has little meaning if this mess is all there is.

But that’s the very thing we lose sight of at times when we need it the most. Is this all there is? We experience this world around us with our eyes and ears and it all just seems so sharp and real. So real we often forget; this isn’t all there is at all.

There is another life and it is longer and more potent than anything we go through now. A tiny taste of the Hellfire will make all life’s pleasures disappear and just a touch of Paradise will make someone forget anything unpleasant they ever experienced.

When we look around us, we think we know what we’re seeing. This person is winning, this person is losing. This person is suffering, this person is having fun. This person is loved by everyone and this person is a loser. That’s the vision of someone whose knowledge is limited to their own senses and intellect. But when we look with knowledge from the Creator of the life to come, what will we begin to see?

The Prophet (SAW) asks his companions one day, “Who do you think is the childless among you?” The companions give the most obvious answer, “Those who don’t have any children.” How could it be anything else? And yet the Messenger (SAW) tells them, “No. The childless are those who haven’t sent any of their children ahead.” The companions had answered according to the reality they could see in front of them but the Prophet (SAW) told them to look forward, to look to the next life. You may see someone in sadness, devastated because they’ve lost their beautiful child. And then you see another playing with their little one happily. It’s upsetting. Your senses are telling you that the first is worse off than the second. Use the sight Allāh gave you through knowledge and look again. One’s future is uncertain, their child has yet to grow and make decisions that will lead them to a life of bliss or torment. The other? They have an innocent child waiting for them, absolutely free of sin and ready to take hold of their clothing and lead them into Paradise. Isn’t that a different picture of hardship?

Source: Kentama
Another time the Messenger of Allāh (SAW) asks his companions, “Do you know who the bankrupt one is?” They answer, “The one who doesn’t have any wealth or property.” Again the Prophet (SAW) gets them to take a step back and look at things differently. He tells them the bankrupt one is someone who had the kind of wealth that mattered (prayer, fasting, charity) but he had no respect for the rights of other people. He insulted them, slandered them, took their money and hurt them and so he lost everything. On the Day of Judgement, all his good deeds got given out to those he abused until he had nothing left. Then they got to unload all of their sins onto him and he was thrown into the Fire. We see tyrants, abusers and bullies all the time. They get their power, respect and wealth all at the expense of others and it just seems so unfair. With your new sight look at them again. Look as everything they thought they earned in good deeds gets distributed out and, instead of raising their ranks, raises the people that they hurt instead. Look as this person has everyone’s junk thrown on them until they fall. Who’s got status now?

The world around us bombards us with a YOLO (You Only Live Once) perspective where sin is blissful freedom and religion is unnecessarily difficult or foolish. When we look to society, morality is what brings people pleasure. As long as you can’t see the harm you’re doing to others, it’s OK. Those who act upon the guidance of God seem boring, old fashioned and unpopular. Look again with the perspective of the next life. Who’s enjoying themselves? Who’s free to do whatever they want? Who does everyone want to be associated with? People may be mocking us now but Allāh tells us the believers will be the ones having the last laugh.

Every bit of difficulty we go through to please Allāh will be a source of reward for us. One time the Messenger (SAW) slaughtered a sheep and distributed the majority of it. He asked his wife what was left and she answered, “Nothing except the shoulder.” He replied with his vision on the life to come, “All of it is left except the shoulder.” Anything we sacrifice here for the sake of Allāh is an investment into our eternal life.  It may seem like an initial loss in effort, money, time, comfort, pleasure… but it’s ultimately a whopping big gain. Certainly more so than what we cling on to and we’ll miss out if we can’t look ahead and see that.

This life is just a passing moment in our existence. What’s any number of years compared to an eternity? Looking at this world alone, it hurts. Things seem bleak, unfair and confusing. But as Muslims we can learn to see more than what is in front of us. Our unbelievable steadfastness in staying optimistic and doing good comes from our belief in a merciful Creator, comes from our knowledge that there is another life to come. Justice will be served and efforts will be rewarded. We just need to put on the right glasses to see it.

Source: Helen Cassidy

Recommended Reading & Viewing
Surah Al-Mutaffifeen
Children of Jannah (Support for those who have lost a child)
Doubts About Islam - Sh. Yasir Qadhi (Talk on losing imān in challenging times)


  1. I can definitely relate to the beginning. I've always tried to avoid the news as it's filled with so much negativity (especially towards Muslims) and I'd find myself feeling embarrassed. However I'm now trying to overcome this and change my perspective on the way I view things so this article was perfectly timed!

  2. Such an important reminder. It's about keeping the right perspective throughout this life. Great post!

  3. The way things are going in society these days it's hard *not* to let worldly affairs affect the way we feel. Even when you think you've sheltered yourself from it, a news headline or Facebook message can quickly upset your mood. Al'hamdulillah this post really helped to remind me not to stress life through keeping the big picture in mind. I pray Allah makes us of those who view this world through the lenses of the next world.