A Stop Between Two Years: Dr. Fawzān Al-Fawzān
The first thing that might come to a Muslim’s mind while he is witnessing the end of one year and the beginning of another is to remember Allāh’s ability to circulate the days, cause a succession in time and years, and the ability to alternate the day and night. He says: “In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for people of understanding.”  Also, “It is Allāh who alternates the night and the day; in these things there is an instructive example for those who have vision.” 
Additionally, the Muslim will remember Allāh’s ability to manage the affairs of this vast universe and its movements. He says: “All in heaven and earth beseech Him; every day He is in power.” 
How many people were born during this year and how many have died? How many lived in poverty and became rich, and how many lived in luxury only to become poor? How many humiliated people were granted dignity and how many dignified people were granted humiliation? Allāh says, “Say: ‘Allāh, Sovereign of all dominion, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty from whom You will; You bestow honor on whom You will and You disgrace whom You will. In Your Hand is the good.” 
It is easy to become distracted by our hectic lives and by all the things that keep us busy, thus causing us to forget the short time that we have on this earth, the limited number of breaths that we will take, the years and days that are passing us by as our age increases. This passing of the years is a decrease in our life span and only brings us closer to the hereafter.
A poet once said:
We are happy with the days that we are alive,
Every day that goes by only brings us closer to our end.
So prepare yourselves and strive hard before your death,
Because both loss and gain are in doing good. 
Many months and years have passed us by and it as if we are in deep slumber and believing this life to be eternal. Al-Ḥassan al-Baṣrī said: “Son of Adam, you are only a number of days; when one day passes, a part of you also passes.” 
The days and nights of life are only stages for the ages and a storage for the deeds. Although it might be short and limited, you can purchase the most valuable good from it, i.e. Paradise, or the cheapest good, i.e. Hell. A person’s reward in this life and in the hereafter is weighed according to his deeds. Admittance to Paradise or Hell is also linked to a person’s deeds.
Allāh says: “He whose scales are heavy [with good deeds] will lead a happy life; but he whose scales are light, will have his home in the abyss. What will make you know what it is? [It is] a blazing Fire.” 
How beautiful are the words of Ibn Al-Mu‘taz when he said: “Every minute we go closer to our end, and our ages are rolled up as if they are stages [of our life]. We leave this life with the provision of piety, and your age is only days which are so little.” 
Some wise persons said: “How can a person be happy when his day completes his month, his month completes his year, and his year completes his age? How can he be happy while his age leads him to his end, and his life leads him to his death?”
How beautiful is the following depiction of a person riding the coattails of his age to his grave: A person only rides the coattails of his age for a journey that will end in days and months. Every day that he spends, he is further away from this life and closer to his grave.
How many times have we awaited for the end of the month or the year so that we can receive our salaries or our bonuses, or accomplish something that we have either a desire or a need for? Very few people among us realize that all of this [time that has passed] only causes a decrease in our age, in our life span, in the pages of our record, and the moments of good or bad recorded in our scrolls.
We are happy when the crescent appears; it is like the sword that is taken out of its sheath. When it is said that the month is complete, it is only a metaphorical expression as it really means that part of our life has gone.
Additionally, we sometimes forget that death will put an end to our hopes, surprise us before our hopes are reached, take us aback, and be inflicted on us without any prior notice. Allāh says: “No one knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no one knows in what land he will die; with Allāh is full knowledge and He is aware of [all things].” 
How beautiful are the words of Abū al-‘Atāhiyah:
Live as you want in lofty palaces.
Enjoy what you wish in the day and night.
When souls are in the final agony and the chests are breathing with difficulty.
Then you will definitely know that you were living an illusive life. 
There are great examples to be learned in the rotation of the sun and the moon. These months begin as a small crescent, similar to children when they are born. Then, they grow up as bodies and when they are complete, they start to dwindle and diminish. This is similar to the case of humans: a weak childhood, a strong youth, a complete manhood, a weak old age, and then the inevitable death.
Allāh says: “It is Allāh Who created you weak, then gave you strength, then weakness after strength and grey hair: He creates as He wills, and He is the All Knowing, the All Powerful.” 
Another example is the sun, which rises weak but begins to grow; it slowly becomes stronger until it takes it full shape and its rays and light [are intense] and spread far, then it dwindles [as it sets], eventually disappearing and coming to an end when its heat and light diminish. This is similar to the case of a human: Allāh prolongs his life until he becomes old and weak. The successful believer gains goodness, obedience, kindness, and benefits others thorough his long life. The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) was asked: “Who is the best amongst the people?” He replied: “The one who has a long life and his deeds are righteous.” It was asked: “Who is the worst amongst the people?” He replied: “The one whose life is long, but his deeds are evil.” 
The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) used to often repeat the following supplication: “Allāh, make my life a source of abundant good and make my death a source of comfort by protecting me against every evil.” (Reported by Muslim) 
The coming of the morning and the departure of the night reminds us that life is divided into stages and every stage has its values and status, and has its duties and functions. Every minute is an investment for a specific work or a task that you should carry out. Time cannot be replaced, and the same can be said about deeds, as they too cannot be replaced by other deeds [when the time has gone]. Thus, the one who looks for success and salvation should do his utmost to make the best of his entire life. He should also be eager to use his entire time, and should be warned against delaying things or leaving them for the future. He cannot use excuses to justify his delay or his laziness. If you were to miss today’s deeds, you would not be able to make them up as every day has its duties, every time has its consequences, and every minute has a required job and a constant reckoning.
Time runs by very quickly, refuses to come, and will never come back. If all the people were to gather and try to bring one day of your life back to you, they will never be able to do that even if they tried.
Yesterday, which only passed by a short time ago cannot be brought back even if all the people on the earth tried to do so.
It was reported that ‘Āmir b. ‘Abd al-Qays (may Allāh have mercy on him) used to pray one thousand rak‘ah (a unit of prayer) per day. A man stopped him and said to him: “Stop, so that I can speak to you.” He (i.e. ‘Āmir) said him: “Try to stop the sun so I can talk to you.” Although this report may have some exaggeration to it, it, none the less, relates that time is very precious. Time is connected to life, and any minute that you waste of your time, you waste the same amount from your limited life. A wise person should not waste his time lamenting on what he missed or leaving everything for the future.
The past has gone and what you hope for is an unseen; you only have the hour in which you live.
Al-Ḥassan al-Baṣrī said: A caller comes from Allāh everyday when the dawn emerges as the sun begins to rise saying: “Son of Adam, I am a new creation, and I will be a witness for [or against] your deeds. Try to make the best of me by increasing righteous deeds as I will not return until the Day of Judgment.” 
Those who are well aware of Allāh (‘Ārifūn billāh) feel shy to have Allāh see them in the same state that they were in yesterday. They accept nothing [from themselves] but an increase in their good deeds every day. They feel sorrow to lose a day, considering it as a big loss to the extent that one of them said:
Is it not part of a loss that our nights pass with no benefit, while they are considered part of my life? If a day passes before me in which I neither received any knowledge or guidance, then it cannot be counted as part of my life. 
Another one said: If your capital is your life, then be warned against spending it in an improper place. 
My brothers and sisters, contemplate over the beating of your heart, it is as if each heartbeat urges you to race against time and hasten to do righteousness. Each beat confirms to you seconds, which if counted add up to minutes, notifying you that whatever you have missed [of doing righteousness] will not come back to you or be replaced.
A person’s heartbeat relates to him that this life is only composed of minutes and seconds. So try and increase your remembrance of Allāh, as it will be useful to your soul after your death. The remembrance of Allāh will benefit a person in another life.
Similarly, look at your watch and gaze upon the second hand as it swallows the seconds: one second, two seconds, five seconds, ten seconds, sixty seconds, hundred seconds, thousand seconds, and million seconds. It neither stops nor does it feel tired [as it eats away the seconds]. On the contrary, it still swallows the hours one after another whether you are awake or asleep, standing or sitting, or working or relaxing. Remember that every second that passes by is part of your life and recorded in your scroll as good or bad. If you spend these seconds in doing good, then they will be a reservoir for you [in the hereafter] and an honor [in this life]. Otherwise, they will be recorded against you; so every second that you waste in vain will be recorded against you and not for you.
The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) said: “There are two blessings that many people lose: health and free time for doing good.” (Reported by Al-Bukhārī)  This ḥadīth means that a lot of people are heedless about these two blessings and do not know their true value. They do not obtain any benefit from these two blessings; rather, they either waste them in disobeying Allāh or in doing something that has no value for them. Thus, they (i.e. blessings) will be a loss for them.
If you want to see the truth of this then look at the affairs of the majority of people. Many of them spend hours eating and indulging in gossip, listening and looking [at what Allāh has prohibited], mingling, playing and joking, continuously staying awake, idle talks, and meetings that have more idle and less benefit.
Do not be surprised when you find some people complaining about what to do during their leisure time. They are impatient with the long time that they have, so they try to waste time and ruin it. Glory be to Allāh, who is the Greatest! Is it the blessing of spare time that they are discussing? In fact, they neither know about the values of this blessing nor make the best use of it. They are not aware that the time they waste, others, who have high intentions and sublime interests, use it to collect the goodness of this life and the hereafter. They realized the value of time, were successful in investing it, and received the benefit of each minute.
If you ask the one who wastes his time: why do you break your ties of kinship? Why are you ungrateful to your parents and neglectful in your children’s upbringing? Why are you not involved in calling to Allāh? Why are you lazy in seeking knowledge and have a weak intention to compete and exert efforts to acquire it? Without any hesitation, he would respond: I am busy, while in reality nothing kept him busy except sleep, sloth, lack of ambition, weakness of intention, and the control of his passion and desires over him.
How beautiful are the words of the poet who said: Time is the most valuable thing that you can keep; I see that it is easy for you not to waste it.
These days, we are paying farewell to a day that is fleeting and receiving a new one . I wish I knew what [deeds have] we done in the past year and what deeds will we perform in the New Year? Everyone should take the time to question himself. He should look at his past year and how he spent it, and how did he spend this year?
He should ask himself, did he performed the Islamic obligations as they were meant to be performed? Was he careful of avoiding Allāh’s punishments by not violating His prohibitions and sacred things? Did he fulfill the people’s right? Did he perform his duties towards his parents, children, relatives, and everyone else? Did he safeguard his tongue, eyes, ears, and private parts against what Allāh prohibited? Did he legally earn his money and spent it in a legal way? ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb is reported to have said: “People, question yourselves before you are questioned. Weigh your deeds before they are weighed. Prepare for the meeting with Allāh; on that Day you will be brought for judgment and not a single deed of yours which you hide will be hidden.” 
However long you live, whether it is seventy years, ninety years, or you were granted two hundred years, how short this period will be and how limited this life will be. Prophet Nūḥ (Noah) (peace be upon him), remained alive for nine hundred and fifty years and called his people to Allāh. When he was asked how he perceived the length of this life? He said: “It was like a house that had two doors. I went through one and came out from the other.” 
Ask yourself, how did your records close this year? You might have nothing left remaining of your life except hours or maybe days.
You hope for a long life, but you do not know that if the night comes you will live until the dawn. How many young people are safe during the day and in the night his shroud is being woven? How many healthy people died with no illness and how many ill people lived for a long time? 
The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) advised someone by saying: “Make the most of five things before five others: youth before old age, health before sickness, wealth before poverty, free time before becoming busy, and life before death.” (Reported by Al-Ḥākim who graded it as sound and Adh-Dhahabī agreed with him.) 
The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) recommended us to seize these chances before their opposite takes place. You find strength and commitment in youth, but once the person becomes old, his strength weakens and his will vanishes. You find zeal and drive in health, but once he becomes ill, his drive collapses, he becomes bored, and he will be charged with heavy loads. You find comfort and free time with wealth, but once he becomes poor, he becomes busy trying to earn a living for himself and for his family and he will have many concerns.
Within free time, there is a huge chance of obtaining provision of righteousness, and coming closer to Allāh though the partaking of various worships. Allāh says: “When you are free [from your immediate task], continue to labor hard.”  Meaning, strive hard in Allāh’s worship.
There is a great opportunity for [committing] righteous deeds in this life. When a person dies, a barrier becomes erected between a person and the performance of righteous deeds, and it will not be possible for him to return to this life. Allāh says: “When death comes to one of them, he cries: ‘My Lord, send me back [to the world] so that I may make amends in the things I neglected.’ Never! It is but a word he says. Before them is a barrier until the Day they are raised up.” 
Just as people should stop and analyze and question themselves, so too should groups and communities. They should review their struggles and their fights; reviewing their past, analyzing their gains and losses, and draw future plans so that they may avoid anything that might cause them to stumble or humiliate themselves. This self analysis will help communities and groups to improve their methods of working to create a better community; the best community is the one that has not become arrogant because of some gains, whatever they may be, that they have received. Such communities and groups have neither been affected by [an external] fierce power which it had to face, nor influenced by a calamity, even if was severe and bitter. Rather, they will continue in their tracks struggling, winning, fighting, and hoping.
During this year, the Muslim community has gone through very difficult trials and tremendous disasters; foremost among these trials are the fierce campaigns and unjust wars against our brothers in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Sudan, and other places. This has caused the Muslim blood to become cheap and the occupation of their lands by any and every foreigner.
When a Jewish, Christian, or a Buddhist is kidnapped, the entire world turns head over heels; international organizations begin to move, mass media will be on the highest alert, and the whole international opinion will be mobilized to deny what happened and take revenge against the Muslims. As for Muslims, no one feels any sympathy for them, entire people are being annihilated, their resources and properties are being robbed, and their sacred prohibitions are being made legal [by the invaders]. You will hardly find anyone who will deny this or someone who would lend support or aid to them. Our situation is analogous to the description of what a poet once said:
Killing a non-Muslim is an unforgivable sin,
while killing an entire Muslim people is a questionable issue.
In spite of that, we believe in Allāh and are quite sure of His victory.
Such blows, however painful they might be, will be pushing and awakening,
when darkness encompasses a place, dawn will emerge.
If the darkness of the night fills the entire place, then dawn will break.
Allāh says: “Do you think that you shall enter Paradise without first having suffered like those who passed away before you? They were afflicted by severe poverty and ailments, and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed with him said: ‘When [will] the help of Allāh [come]?’ The help of Allāh is certainly near.” 
 ’Āl-‘Imrān, 3:190.
 Al-Nūr, , 24:44
 Al-Raḥmān, 55:29.
 ’Āl-‘Imrān, 3:26.
 This verse of poetry is attributed to Abū al-‘Atāhiyah. Refer to: Muḥāḍarāt al-’Udabā’ by Al-Rāghib al-Aṣbahānī, 1/483.
 Refer to Jāmi, al-‘Ulūm wa al-Ḥikam, explanation of the ḥadīth that says: “Be in this world as if you are a stranger or just passing through.” 7/40.
 Al-Qāri‘ah, 101:6-11
 The poetic verses are attributed to ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mu‘taz. Refer to: Dīwān Abī Hilāl al-‘Askarī, 2/181.
 Refer to: Laṭāt’if al-Ma‘ārif 321/1.
 Luqmān, 31:34.
 The poetic verses are attributed to Abū al-‘Atāhiyah, Refer to: Al-Kashkūl for Abū al-‘Alā’ al-‘Āmilī, 1/4.
 Ar-Rūm, 30:54.
 Reported by Al-Tirmidhī 9/ 119 no. 2499. It was also reported by Aḥmad in his Musnad 38/ 191 no. 18194 and the two reports are narrated through ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd (may Allāh be pleased with him). In his book titled Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmi‘ no. 3296, Al-Albānī graded it as sound.
 Muslim’s Ṣaḥīḥ 17/ 367, no. 7078 on the authority of Abū Hurairah (may Allāh be pleased with him).
 Refer to: Kanz al-’Ummāl 15/796 no. 43161.
 This poetry is for Rāfi‘ b. al-Ḥussain. Refer to: Al-A‘lām by Al-Zarkalī, 3/12.
 In another report, it came as be careful. The poem is for ‘Imārah the jurist (from Yemen). Refer to: Wafayāt al-’A‘yān ( the letter ‘ain ع ) and the book of ḥayāt al-Ḥayawān by Al-Dumairī, part two, section of the pure letter (letter ‘ain ع )
 Ṣaḥīḥ ( the sound book of) Al-Bukhārī 21/261 no. 641 through Ibn ‘Abbās (may Allāh be pleased with them).
 This verse of a poem is attributed to Ibn Hubairah. Refer to: Dhayl ṭabaqāt al-Ḥanābilah 1/114.
 Refer to: Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah, 8/149 no. 18.
 Refer to: Iḥyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn by Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazzālī , 2/393.
 Refer to: Bahjat al-Majālis wa ‘uns al-Majālis for Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr 1/183.
 Reported by Al-Ḥākim 18/126 no. 7957 through Ibn ‘Abbās. In his book Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmi‘ no. 1088.
 Al-Sharḥ , 94: 7
 Al-Mu’minūn, 23:99-100.
 Al-Baqarah, 2:214.
Posted on April 2, 2013, in Important Reminder and tagged A Stop Between Two Years: Dr. Fawzān Al-Fawzān, al fawzan, allah, islam, Prophet Mohammed, quran, salih al fawzan, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.