Monday, April 25, 2011

Becoming Companion in the Everlasting Abode

One of the companion Rabee'ah narrates from his companionship with the blessed Messenger of God, may abundant peace and blessings be upon him:

It was the beautiful habit of the Prophet that if someone did him a good turn, he loved to repay that person with something more excellent. He wanted to do something for me too in return for my service to him.

So one day he came up to me and said: 'O Rabee'ah ibn Ka'b.'

I responded: 'Labbayk ya rasulullah wa Sadaik' - At your command, O Messenger of God and may God grant you happiness.

The Messenger said, 'Ask of me anything and I will give it to you.' ..

I thought a little and then said: 'Give me some time, O Messenger of God, to think about what I should ask of you. Then I will let you know.'

He agreed.

At that time, I was a young man and poor. I had neither family, nor wealth, nor place of abode. I used to shelter in the suffah (porch) of the mosque with other poor Muslims like myself. People used to call us the "guests of Islam".

Whenever any Muslim brought something in charity to the Prophet, he would send it all to us. And if someone gave him a gift he would take some of it and gifted the rest to us.

So, it occurred to me to ask the Prophet for some worldly good that would save me from poverty and make me like others who had wealth, wife and children. Soon, however, I said: 'May you perish Rabee'ah. The world is temporary and will pass away. You have your share of sustenance in it which God has guaranteed and which must come to you. The Prophet, peace be on him, has a place with his Lord and no request would be refused to him. Request him therefore, to ask Allah to grant you something of the bounty of the hereafter.'

I felt pleased and satisfied with this thought. I went to the Prophet and the Prophet asked: 'What do you say, O Rabee'ah?'

'O Messenger of God,' I said, 'I ask you to beseech God most High on my behalf to make me your companion in Paradise.'

'Who has advised you thus?' asked the Prophet.

'No by God,' I said, 'No one has advise me. But when you told me 'Ask of me anything and I will give to you,' I thought of asking you for something of the goodness of this world. But before long, I was guided to choose what is permanent and lasting against what is temporary and perishable. And so I have asked you to beseech God on my behalf that I may be your companion in Paradise.'

The Prophet remained silent for a long while.

Then he asked: 'Any other request besides that, Rabi'ah?'

'No, O Messenger of God, Nothing can match what I have asked you.'

The Messenger said to me, "Then, in that case, assist me for your sake by performing much prostration to God."

So I began to exert myself in worship in order to attain the good fortune of being with the Prophet in Paradise just as I had the good fortune of being in his service and being his companion in this world.

Know, O beloved, that man was not created in jest or at random,
but marvelously made and for some great end.
- al-Ghazzali

In My Father's abode are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you;
for I go to prepare a place for you. - Jesus Christ, peace be upon him

The Reality Theory of Everything

Among the realities in the domain of the unseen reality (al-ghayb) which is to come after passing away from the world of apperance to the world of unseen: three knowledge of truth are of paramount importance and they are: concerning the resurrection after death, the day of meeting with the Lord and the life of hereafter. There is not a single faith tradition that didnt include these aspects of reality, there is not a single Messenger, Prophet, Avatars who didn't communicate about this reality in their own language, fitted in their time and people's understanding.

In ancient religions, communication regarding the truth of after-life was based mostly on language of symbols because of the unsophisticated nature of human consciousness where such reality was very difficult to grasp. Just as for a child inside its mother's womb floating in fluid, covered with darkness, the idea that a whole world with lights, colors and sounds existing outside the womb is impossible to grasp; similar is our limited experience of this world to grasp the reality of after-life.  We still lack a terrestrial vocabulary for our mysterious celestial quest. Among the three Abrahamic faith, Judaism provides very small account of afterlife reality (or the teachings are mostly lost), while Jesus in his teachings did mention it quite strongly yet he did mention that he can not tell everything because the disciples are not ready, yet when the spirit of truth comes he will make everything clear.

In the brotherhood of continuous chain of Divine Messengership, successor of Jesus, Muhammad Mustafa, through the revelations of the Quran provided the knowledge of the unseen regarding the reality of after-life, beginning from death, the life of barzakh (intermediate life), resurrection, meeting the Lord for accounting and finally the everlasting abode of the after-life. The Quran makes man aware of this reality.

And (those who have no knowledge of certainty), they say, “There is not but our worldly life; we die and live and nothing destroys us except time.” And they have no knowledge; they are only assuming. And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, their argument is only that they say, “Bring [back] our forefathers, if you should be truthful.” Say, “God causes you to live, then causes you to die; then He will assemble you for the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt,” but most of the people do not know. (Quran, 45:24-26)

In the Last Testament, "the reality theory of everything" regarding the hereafter is communicated in much more vividly, specially through the earlier Meccan revelations and subsequent explanations and commentary by the Prophet through his Prophetic narratives.

You will be with those whom you love

A man asked the Prophet about the Final Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment) saying, "When will the Hour be?"

The Prophet said, "What have you prepared for it?"

The man said, "Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Apostle." The Prophet said, "You will be with those whom you love." - Narrated by Anas, from Bukhari collection

wa allazina 'amanu, ma'a hu
Those who believe are with him.
ma'a hu. With him.
Do you really hear this? Do you perceive this? Do you feel this? With him.
This gave ecstasy to the heart of the holy companions.

 - a moving supplication by Habib Umar bin Hafiz, (click here to see and listen)
a contemporary Shaykh from the lineage of holy family of the Last Prophet

kama bada akum, taAAoodoon.

as Lord brought you forth in the beginning, so shall you also return.
- The Quran 7:29

# Resources:
* Dont forget about the Hereafter, a talk Abdur Rahim Green
* Dunya or akhira (beautiful advice) by Sheikh Hamza
* The Soul's journey after Death - Ibn Al-Qayyim's Kitabar-Ruh (download PDF)
* The Vision of Allah in the World and the Hereafter
* A talk by Sheikh Bahmanpour on Life after Death and the Hereafter via Youtube
* Islam basics and beyond
* Islamic eschatology
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