One of the murids told me when we came in that his father-in-law has now been dead for six years. He has been away from them, and is in the Barzakh now, for six years. It seems like just the other day when he passed away. One day Imam Shafi’i (r.a.), when his son had passed away, stood in front of the bier and said: “Is this where it all ends?” Of course, Allah has given each one of us an allotted time on earth, a certain number of days, hours and minutes, whatever the case might be. And it is this allotted time that we have to answer for when we come into the Divine Court. Part of our questioning is going to involve what we had done with our time. This is what life and death are all about.
When I look at my own life, and I’ve reached a very good age,
(Alhamdu lillah: all praises be to Allah), and at the lives of others, I see how people have lost those close to them. They’ve lost parents, children, wives, husbands and siblings. In my own life I’ve lost siblings, parents, a child and a wife. I’ve lost everyone one is supposed to lose. And I think that if we look back at the direction our lives have taken then we realize that Allah plants in our lives certain events that are there to help us in the direction that He wants us to go. Thus, each one of us says: “O my Lord, I’m coming towards Thee, and when my life ends eventually I’ll come into Thy Presence.” Because we are going towards Him, we are working with certain things, certain of the ibadat that He has sent to us to prepare ourselves for the moment when we stand in front of our Lord. This is very important for us to understand.
Our lives – Allah has given certain directions to them. In those lives, there are certain events, or certain issues, or certain things that happen as part of our walking towards Him or running towards Him or whatever the case might be. Despite our losses of those close to us, we have to keep on struggling forward on the road we have chosen for ourselves. This applies to all of us. We need to plead on our prayer mats or elsewhere: “O my Lord, I am walking towards Thee. Take my hand and lead me towards that goal that is in my heart.” I want to repeat this to you. We have to understand that Allah acts with us in certain ways, and we must ask: “O my Lord, take my hand and lead me to that goal that is in my heart.” How Allah takes our hands, we do not always understand. He might take our hands by granting to us a very pious person to guide us under the instruction: “Take My servant’s hand and lead him to where he wants to go.”
(musabbibul asbab). Everything starts with Him. He is the First Cause. We do not only say: “O Allah, place our hands in the hand of a pious person to lead us to our goal,” We say: “O Allah, take our hands and lead us to Thee.” He is the
(musabbibul asbab). He is also the goal. He starts the cause. I sometimes tell the story of a man in the Ninth Street Mosque in Kensington who had pleaded on numerous occasions with Allah to go on haj but he had no money. One Friday he was again in the mosque and after most of the people had left, he had again raised his hands and pleaded for the same thing. He spoke to his Lord about his problem. When he came out a man called him and said: “Come sit with me in my car.” In the car the man said to him: “I have all the money for you to go on haj next year.” He just cried. He had appealed to Allah Who is the First Cause. Allah had placed into operation certain processes in the cosmos, processes which eventually came to that point where that man said to him, “I have all the money for you to go on haj next year.” Where did this all start? It started with Allah. When that man raised his hand to His Lord and said: “O my Lord, I wish to go on haj,” the process was already in operation. When Allah decreed at the beginning of time haj for him, the process was put into operation. Almost endless time later, the decree bore fruit.
Allah is busy with every single one of us. He is busy with each one of us in different ways, and He examines the way we are walking towards Him. Sometimes He makes it easy and sometimes He makes it difficult. But we have to remember where we are going and we must not allow anything, or any person, or any event or any statement to take us away from what is in our heart with regard to our Lord. We must not allow it. Please, please, we are murids of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim. Please, we must be steadfast on the road that we are on. All of us are on this road. Some of us are falling down and getting up but we are still on the road. There must be in our minds a consciousness that our Lord is busy with us. There must never be a moment in our minds that we think that Allah is not busy with us. Every moment of the day, He is busy with His Creation. And every single thing that happens in this creation, at every moment, He is in charge of. He puts things into operation.
We never consider that at some time, we are not going to be here any more. We never consider that. I never thought that there will come a time in my life when I would be without my first wife, never thought, never entered my mind, that there will come a time in my life when we would not be together. I’ve never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be the only remaining son of my mother. This is because we do not know the nature of the passage of time and we do not know the nature of the events in that time period. We do not know. So when I look back at my own life I am amazed, just absolutely amazed, at the road Allah has made me eventually walk. And I can’t understand the events that had put me on this road so that tonight I can speak to you about the religion of Islam. Where did it all start? I don’t know. I know where it is going to end. I know that at some time each one of us is going to stand in the Divine Court. We are going to stand in the Presence of Allah and we are going to have to answer for what we have done in the allotted time granted to us.
I want to end off by stressing again: don’t let anything, any person, any event or any statement take you off this road. Keep firm … keep firm … keep firm. Don’t make the mistake of becoming lazy. When we have to do certain things, we should do them because the years pass very fast. So please, we must ask Allah with all the determination in our hearts, with all the passion in our hearts, with all the feelings in our hearts: “O my Lord, I ask Thee to keep me steady, to keep my feet firm on this path.”
We ask for this through the blessings of Suratul Fatihah …
And Allah knows best, and I ask forgiveness for any mistakes or distortions in what I have said, Amin.
Selected Talks by Yusuf da Costa [Published 2008]