Who is your friend ?
Brethren, whenever I chance upon beautifully crafted words, words of wisdom, words on marble, I am immediately attracted to it; I become like the honey bee which is forever attracted to beautiful flowers.
Imagine what it would be like if the words were to be words of faith, words carefully ‘worlded’ in order to impact the soul, reconnect our hearts to the origin, to our Creator. Such is the state I am present as I read this sermon; a sermon of and on faith; a sermon which is meant to impact my faith, and yours.
The Imam says: “surround yourself with Muslims who practice the Deen; they are your true friends in this life and in the Hereafter”. But what a very difficult admonition this is for those brethren of ours who constantly desire to belong.
Remember, there are only two types of friends for us in this world- those who, whenever we are in their company, we are reminded of the world, of the necessity to pursue the world, to compete for the world. These are not of the best. They are good, but they are not the best friends you should crave. They are fair-weather friends. Their tenure is temporary.
But there are other friends! Yes. Friends who remind us of the hereafter, of the imminence of resurrection, of the ephemerality of this world. These are of the best. Now who is your best friend? Indeed, a friend who does not care about your al-Akhirah is not really your friend.
But what if you have turned the corners? What if that friend has become your “soul-mate”?; Illusions. We often think we are indispensable; we often consider the other indispensable in our life. The person who merited that description is Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). Yet he had to answer the higher call when his time was up. If indeed this is a change that deserves your consideration, then bear this in mind -the greatest obstacle on your way is not that friend of yours but you; the hardest person for you to correct is yourself. There is no shame in being wrong, the shame is in choosing to stay on the wrong path.
Always remember this principle- whatever brings you closer to the Almighty, takes you farther away from Hellfire; whatever takes you away from your Creator brings you closer to Hellfire. Remember we all take tomorrow for granted because we believe tomorrow will always be there. But bear this in mind- tomorrow maybe there, but we may not!
Yesterday many thought that they would see today, but they are gone; today we all think and pray to see tomorrow, but not all of us will: reality. Death could be tonight, in the next hour, the next second, yet we live as if we still have so many years to live. You may be rich, famous or have a high status in this world- “Your Excellency Sir, Governor of Eldorado; Your Excellency, Madam! The first lady of Corruption; as far as the angel of death is concerned, you are nothing but another name on the list. Our death and meeting with our Creator is approaching and yet our biggest worry is what are we going to wear tomorrow?
She met him at a bus stop close to the University of Ilorin campus gate; moments thereafter she was told the person she just met had departed this world. Out of disbelief, she sent Whatapp messages to his line; out of disbelief, she kept on calling his line in the empty expectation that he would pick up his call. Remember that day when that phone call would be picked up not by you anymore but by those who shall inherit that costly hand-phone you value so much.
On that day, your beautiful wife would once again become a ‘bride’ waiting to be betrothed afresh; you shall be taken out of that big mansion of yours in order to be interred outside of that beautiful dwelling of yours where you would be lonely and alone; except with your righteous deeds: the prayers you observed on time, the poor you showered with material gifts, the grieving sister you made happily. Dear sister, live your life to please your Creator only, not His creatures. If the Almighty is pleased with you, the displeasure of His creatures counts for nothing.
Remember you cannot expect to enter paradise when you have not worked for it while on earth; you cannot pass an exam you never took a class for. Dear sister does not be like the beautiful girl on the street who abandons her food in order for her not to gain weight. If indeed we can afford to shun the lawful things of this world in order to gain other lawful things, it should be easy for us, therefore, to shun the forbidden things of this world in order to gain His pleasure.
(08122465111 for text messages)
Afis Ayinde Oladosu PhD
Professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies
Dean, Faculty of Arts,
The University of Ibadan,