‘Be righteous, prepare for the grave’
The Muslim faithful have been urged to showcase righteous characters and prepare for the eternal transition.
As Islamic scholar, Alhaji Babatunde Jose, in his Friday Sermon said: “A short life should be wisely spent,”
Jose said: “When a man is 70 heaven beacons; as the dividing line between birth and death is long past. What remains can never be as much as what has been. It is self-delusional for man to arrogate immortality to himself. No man born of woman will live forever. We must all taste death: When, how, where and time is all determined by Allah. To this extent therefore we are enjoined to put our life in order so that after our translation, there would be no hiatus.
“I have written the above as an opening for this week’s Huthba when I received an admonition from a friend in his congratulatory message to me on my 70th birthday last Wednesday December 25. It turned out to be a classical case of convergence of thoughts.
“It described the day as another landmark and like any other day that has its morning, afternoon and evening. This he described as a similitude of the three phases of man’s sojourn on planet earth.
“The main thrust of his admonition is that as we grow older into the ‘sundown’ of life, one should deeply reflect and do a stocktaking of all ones deeds with a view to making amends, ameliorate, correct, repent and make restitution where necessary.
“We should also ensure we check the litmus test of family ties and do the needful where it demands.
“There is no doubt; our life on this divide is in stages. Where the trajectory of life is straight without challenges and untoward happenings, we would walk through the gamut of the morning and afternoon of life. On reaching the evening of life, we would start preparations for the sundown. A period which is best spent in retrospection.
“The bottom line of this stage of life is the putting of our house in order. Only a foolish man will live in denial and say that he has time after the age of 70. The Lord said in the good book; Psalm 90:10-12 ‘The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11 Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. 12 So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom,” he said.
Jose continued: “That the grave beckons is not a morbid thought but a reality check. It is evident, that the great thing wanted to make men provide for eternity, is the practical persuasion that they have but a short time to live. They will not apply their hearts unto wisdom until they are brought to the numbering of their days. And how are you to be brought? What! Are there not lessons enough of that frailty without any new teaching from above? Can we need more to prove to us the uncertainty of life?
“The grain does not always germinate – but every man dies. The needle does not always point due north – but every man dies. The sun does not cross the horizon in every place in every twenty-four hours – but every man dies. Yet we must pray – pray as for the revelation of a mystery hidden from our gaze – we must pray to be made to know – to be made to believe – that every man dies! The grave beckons; are you ready?” he asked.