Just consider of how many times a day you have to force yourself to remember
something. Already by the time you get out of bed, there are many issues
with which you have to keep your mind occupied. You might have taken notes
or placed a reminder somewhere so as not to forget about any of them.
At times, even the thought of forgetting is worrisome…
What if, though, you had actually forgotten about something greatly more
important than anything else in your daily life?
Our purpose in writing this book is to remind you of those issues in
your life that are most important. Never forget that, forgetting those
things of which you will be reminded in this book will cost you immeasurably
more than forgetting what you attempt to remember throughout the day,
no matter how valuable that issue may seem.
The purpose of this book is to remind you of the reason of your existence
in this world. We feel the need to remind of this because man is forgetful.
Engrossed in everyday routines, unless he wills otherwise, he may easily
become distracted from the real issues to which he actually needs to pay
attention. He may easily forget that Allah encompasses him all around,
that He watches him at every moment, that He listens to him, and that
he will one day have to give an account of his actions to Allah. He may
well forget about the certainty of death, the grave, Paradise and Hell,
that nothing happens other than that which is Allah's Will, and that there
is ultimately a reason for everything.
Man is prone to forgetfulness. In forgetfulness, he may not remember
the purpose of his life, and thus, temporarily fail to conduct himself
correctly and commit a mistake. For sincere people, such forgetfulness
does not last more than a second; by the time they recognize their failings,
they immediately repent, turn towards Allah, and continue observing the
limits set by Him. Believers pray to Allah in the following way:
...Our Lord, do not take us to task if we forget
or make a mistake!... (Surat al-Baqara: 286)
The kind of forgetfulness meant here, though, is actually not the ordinary
forgetfulness we are likely to experience in our daily lives. Man is,
by nature, forgetful and is inclined to make mistakes. However, the sort
of forgetfulness treated in this book is the kind that contributes to
spiritual numbness, inattention and ignorance, even though one's mental
faculties allow him to continue with the regular course of his day.
So, what is it that a person disregards and therefore forgets?
No doubt, the most crucial matter a person is inclined to forget is the
existence of his Creator, and his accountability to Him… the reality of
an eternal life to be spent either in Paradise or in Hell… The existence
of Hellfire and the eternal blessings of Paradise are as real as you reading
this page. However, despite their knowledge of these truths, those who
have allowed themselves to become forgetful have become unconcerned, and
falsely assume that deliberately forgetting these matters will help them
avoid the truth.
But, can man really avoid his responsibilities by forgetting about them?
Certainly not. Man is responsible to Allah, his Creator; he will taste
death sooner or later, and will then be called to account in His presence,
all alone. As a consequence to this account, he will either spend the
rest of eternity either in Paradise or in Hell. As the Qur'an reads, "We
did not create heaven and earth and everything in between them as a game"
(Surat al-Anbiya': 16); no being, including man, is created without
a purpose. Man is not left to his own devices, but is created to "worship
Allah." (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 56) However, if he becomes carried away
by daily routines and fails to exercise his wisdom, then he may well come
to forget this truth. Only those who reflect more deeply on the events
and beings that surround them can arrive to this important conclusion.
Reflection upon one's own creation alone would make a person realize
Allah's favours on him. It will eventually make him conscious of the necessity
of making serious effort to show devotion to his Creator. Initially, he
was nothing; then, he began life as a single cell invisible to the naked
eye. This cell divided billions of times, and gradually grew into a man
with all his organs intact. More importantly, this being acquired life,
a soul, though he had been nothing. A drop of sperm developed into a lump,
and then into a being, able to enjoy the faculties of thinking and speaking.
It is His Lord Who created him from nothing. However, some people come
to forget their creation, making paltry excuses, and dare to deny Him.
He makes likenesses of Us and forgets his own creation,
saying, "Who will give life to bones when they are decayed?" Say "He Who
made them in the first place will bring them back to life. He has total
knowledge of each created thing." (Surah Ya Sin: 78-79)
If you too fear of being ungrateful, then you have to stop being distracted
by every-day thoughts. Because, a person keeps himself occupied with the
thought of his Lord only if he does so deliberately. Similarly, he becomes
cognizant of his responsibility to Him, if he remembers that this world
is a temporary place, and that he will have to give an account of everything
he has done in this world.
Essentially, none of the issues discussed in this book are of a kind
for which you would merely say, "I'd better not forget." No, you must
not forget any single one of them. Only by remembering them can you worship
Allah and earn His good pleasure. Most importantly, do not forget that
it is the only way to salvation, both in this world and beyond.
Allah shows you two ways with which He tests you; you are free to make
a choice, but remember that one of these ways leads to eternal punishment,
while the other leads to eternal bliss...
And shown him the two highways? But he has not
braved the steep ascent. What will convey to you what the steep ascent
is? It is freeing a slave or feeding on a day of hunger an orphaned relative
or a poor man in the dust; then to be one of those who believe and urge
each other to steadfastness and urge each other to compassion. Those are
the Companions of the Right. Those who reject Our signs, they are the
Companions of the Left. Above them is a sealed vault of Fire. (Surat al-Balad: