A believer is a guardian over himself: he accounts himself for Allah. Those who take account of themselves in this world will be audited lightly in the Hereafter. Those who take this issue lightly will find their auditing very difficult. (Al-Hasan Al-Basri)
The view from my bedroom window on the fourth floor of a typical Jeddah building is breathtaking-the first of it’s kind for me. The severe weather conditions would not permit me to venture out to Makkah today. While that means a full day’s worth of classes missed, I am learning my very own lifelong lesson right here, in the midst of one of Jeddah’s finest sandstorms. The horrifying howls of the wind, like sturdy metal chains clashing together, are blowing whirlwinds of sand in all directions, fogging all sights and blinding the eye. I could easily see myself in a hurricane scene from the Wizard of Oz, as trees bow this way and that, imitating windshield wipers of a car on a rainy day.
Birds circle the sky and screech warning calls, alarmed. In this commotion I sense hidden messages, speaking to me, catching my attention to be heard. The incessant wailing of the wind only intrigues the thought and seems to strike its gusts against my soul. Its pleas force me to check where I stand, to grade myself with a degree, to label myself with a category. If death were to come as sudden as this sandstorm, rather with more intensity, would I be ready? Would I embrace death with joy and relief to depart from this world, and see the Exalted face of my Lord?? Or would my soul race around my body in panic, attempting escape from the Angel of death, begging for a second chance to amend?? I shake my head in self-reproach and could only wonder at my fate.
أفأمنوا أن تأتيهم غاشية من عذاب الله أو يأتيهم الساعة بغتة وهم لا يشعرون؟
Then do they feel secure that there will not come to them an overwhelming [aspect] of the punishment of Allah or that the Hour will not come upon them suddenly while they do not perceive?
How wise were the words of Umar bin Al-Khattab Radi Allahu ‘Anhu! If only I knew what he knew, I would never find the courage to read over the ayahs of warning without assessing its graveness and shivering – in fear and hope.
حاسبوا أنفسكم قبل أن تحاسبوا، وزنوها قبل أن توزنوا، فإن أهون عليكم في الحساب غداً أن تحاسبوا أنفسكم اليوم، وتزينوا للعرض الأكبر، يومئذ تعرضون لا تخفى منكم خافية
“Call your souls to account before you are called to account and weigh your souls (i.e. your actions) before you are weighed for it will make the accountability easier for you tomorrow if you call your selves to account today.” [Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad]
The alarming question still pounds in my head for an answer, “Have I filled my vast desert of records with good deeds or left it deserted?
-The Sahara Bloggers (Niqabinja)