Sunday, November 4, 2012

Living until the 11th hour | The meaning of servanthood


It's November. It's the 11th month of the year. We've got about a month to go before we say adieu to 2012.  In about two weeks time, we'll be celebrating Awal Muharram InshaAllah - 1434 Hijri it will be.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that we are still alive. That He has let us live for the most part of the year. You know we could have died in June or October or anytime, had He wished. But of course we do not care, we never really cared about death do we? Unless we are diagnosed with a fatal disease and told roughly when the 11th hour might be.

We are either living our dreams or trying to. We are wide awake to life and all its offerings. But let's not forget something. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said 'People are asleep, when they die, they are awake.'

The question then is how do we not sleep in this borrowed life. Or to phrase it differently, how do we stay awake to reality, to the things that really matter. Then there is this somewhat paradoxical statement from the Prophet - 'die before you die'. It may sound paradoxical but perhaps he (pbuh) wanted us to "die" now so that we would truly wake up now and not later, better now than later. 

Die in this context, in Sufi terms is fana or annihilation. It's a big word no doubt and I don't want to pretend as if I understood it better than you do. I am just thinking aloud and trying to make sense of the true meaning of life and death, the true purpose of our pneuma.

Fana, as defined by Shaykh Dr. Thaika Shuaib is "interpreted not as annihilation of the self against the worldly pleasures alone, but as dissolution of ego (nafs) and getting submerged in the love of Allah and existing to love and serve His creations."

So until the 11th hour arrives, let's not spend the minutes bloating the ego, let's fill the hours and days with actions which He loves - serving His creations. The Prophet s.a.w said, "The best of people are those that bring the most benefit to mankind."

Shaykh Dr. Thaika Shuaib will be one of many respectable speakers at 'The Sacred Path of Love' annual event in Singapore on 1st and 2nd December 2012. The theme for this year's event is: The meaning of servanthood.

For details: enquiries at soutilaahi dot com

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