There is so much work to be done and there is so little time. When Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) delivered his final address on Jabal Rahmah or Arafat, he asked at the end whether he had delivered the message. The response from the thousands of Companions (r.a.) was a resounding “yes”. Of course, this and also other indicators showed that his life on this planet, as we say, was going to come to an end. Allah Almighty had granted him a period of life to perform certain tasks as part of the religious re-orientation of humanity. Today, one wonders what went through his mind, because he must have known that his end was near. Because of his position as the Final Messenger, and as the most beloved by his Lord, the fact that his end was near could not have had any negative impact on him. He was beyond having any fear or grieving or any other negative qualities with the approach of his demise. I am writing all of these, because one sees in his life the complete fulfillment of the task that he had been given by his Lord. In a sense, there was nothing more for him to do on this planet. What he had been destined to do, he did. Of course, he must have known all about his destiny and all the tasks involved in that and so when he asked the Companions (r.a.) whether he had delivered the Message, he could only have asked that in relation to what had gone before in his personal life, and in relation to what was still left of that life on earth, and any other functions that he was going to have in the Hereafter. One sometimes wonders whether when he said: “Have I delivered the message?” Did he not perhaps think: “O my Lord, I’ve completed what Thou hast sent me to do on this planet”. But this is as usual my imagination. One thing I am sure, there must have been an intense consciousness in him of the destiny of his life and the completion of his tasks. It could not have been otherwise. The present geographical distribution of Muslims on this planet tells the whole story. He was the greatest of us all and so his tasks were the greatest of tasks. And although he acted, as we say, in the Arabian Peninsula, his actions were in fact in totality, a cosmic one. We must try to understand. When he closed his eyes, Prophethood and everything that goes with it were forever sealed. This, of course, he was referred to the Seal of the prophets. He came to seal Prophethood and the Divine Message with his coming. He had come to close everything down. This was perhaps one of the greatest of his honours. His awareness of this must in a certain way also have impacted on the multifarious tasks that he performed in different aspects of his life.
I am telling you all of these, because I want to come to us. For each one of us also, Allah Almighty has decreed an allotted time and certain things. In many cases, there are certain tasks that He has decreed for us to perform. When we look back at our own lives, then the reality of His Decree is exposed. When we see our footprints, perhaps we have to ask where they are going to. The Decree covering where they are, we see or come to know of. The application of the Decree from that moment of looking back to the period of looking forward is unknown to us. Today it is as unknown as our previous footprints were at different times in our lives.
You see, it is clear as one looks at one’s footprints, and those matters that one has become involved in, as to where our Lord is leading us and what our Lord wants us to do. Of course, the direction can be changed by Him but not necessarily so. What I am saying is that our Lord has granted us a certain allotted time and with that He has granted us certain tasks; for each one of us. Every single human being has not been “created in vain”. Most of us just don’t know for what we have been created. And so each single human being, whether he or she knows this or not, has an allotted time and tasks (that have been decreed for us), whatever they might be.
Let us now look more at ourselves. Perhaps when we consider the path our Lord has made us walk, and our understanding tells us that this is a good path, in many of us there is a very serious worry that we might be made to digress from the path. There are no guarantees with regard to our endings, as far as we know. Of course, if in terms of the Divine Decree our endings are going to be good then there is nothing that can alter this situation. However, our frailty and weakness as human beings and our hope in our Lord causes us to raise our hands to Him and to appeal. For many of us and I am sure it should be so for all of us, this supplication is, in a sense, a final call to our Lord with regard to where we want our footprints to lead. To all of us this should be a major concern.
But there is more to this than just this concern. Our Lord has given each one of us a certain number of breaths, and He has given all of us particular tasks to perform as human beings. It cannot be otherwise, because He has not created us for sports. All of creation is a very special one and the creation of human beings is even a more special one in all of the cosmos. We have also been specially honoured. And so, and it doesn’t matter our circumstances or our states if our Lord had decreed certain things for us then those things will be done, whether we like it or not. It doesn’t matter what we desire of personal direction and it doesn’t matter whether we are not aware of the direction of our footprints, it is our Lord who is in charge of us. Of course, there is deep satisfaction in us not only because of the path we are walking, and which He had decreed for us, but also because of the many tasks He has granted us to perform. And so, many of us say: “Alhamdu lillah” for the positive nature of the path and of the tasks. And when we supplicate to Him asking Him to keep us in a state of guidance, it is because we desire that He keeps us on the path with the tasks.
Do we see how small we are in the cosmos? Do we see? Yet despite this He granted some of us certain highly commendable graces. We are so minute but we are so important to Him, and so every step we take on this path of Tariqah is His Decree at work, and every task we perform also in this Tariqah, is also part of this Decree and our supplications that He must keep us firmly on this path are also part of that Decree. When we do very simple things like dishing a plate of food for a poor person, we are functioning in terms of a monumental decree that our Lord launched at the beginning of time over His Creation. The dishing of the food is a very small incident and is almost unnoticed in the magnitude of His Creation and of His Divine Decree; but it does not go unnoticed by Him, not only because of His Decree but also because He is All-Knowing and All-Seeing. There is so much gratitude in us for where He has made us to walk, and so much gratitude for what He is making us to do, and even more gratitude for the prayers that come from our lips. We say Alhamdu lillah. In this vast cosmos He has given special meaning for us in our lives. There is so much gratitude and so many Alhamdu lillahs.
[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]