As Salaam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu
By Shaykh Abdul Atheem Badwi from the magazine Al- Isaalah
Translated and Abridged by Abu Saifillah Abdul Qadir
Ibn Abbas (ra) said:
The Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) was giving an exhortation or advice to a man, so he said to him
"Take benefit from five before five: your life before your death, your health before your illness, your spare time before you get busy, your youth before your old age and your wealth before your times of poverty." (Haakim 4/306)
This is a comprehensive warning, exhortation, or advice. It is indeed full of richness from the Prophet of Allah (salalahu alahi wa salam) From the Prophet who Allah described as:
" With the believers he is always watching over them and full of mercy for them"
We listen to this warning but without taking heed – days pass us by, years are spent, but many of us have not increased in good deeds except very little. We are too busy enjoying our lives in play and amusement. We spent our youth chasing after our lusts and most hidden desires…listen to what Allah (swt) says
"…Before one of you comes to death and then he will say. Oh my Lord if only you would give me respite for a few more days then I will indeed give sadaqah and be of the righteous, but Allah will not delay a persons appointed time of death if its time has come. Allah is all aware of what you do."
The Messenger (salalahu alahi wa salam) advised the man to take benefit, to take heed, of his life before his death…. Yes his life before his death. Because life is indeed a great blessing, a huge blessing from Allah (swt). Every day of it is a blessing, every week of it is a blessing.
As the Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) use to say when Allah would return his soul after sleep:
" Praise be to Allah who gave me life after death and to him is the final return." (Bukhari 11/113)
This is because each day is another day possible for us to repent, do righteous deeds, worship Allah, and change our lives from the evil that we do, and get closer to our lord.
The Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) said
" The best of you is the one who lives the longest and does many good deeds." ( Tirmidi 3/387, 2432)
So this long age with lots of righteous deeds will raise you to a very high and blessed station.
The Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) differentiated between one who died after another by one week.
From Abdullah bin khalid as-salami he said: that the Messenger of Allah made two companions into brothers. One of them was killed in battle whilst the other died the following jummah one week later. So we prayed over him and the Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) said " What did you say in your prayers?" they said " We ask Allah to forgive him and place him with his companion"
Then the Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) said "Were is his prayers in comparison to his, his fasting in comparison to his, his deeds in comparison to his. The difference between them is like that of the skies and the earth." (Abu Dawood7/198,2507)
So look at this, may Allah have mercy on you all, look how this brother who died on his bed had proceeded his brother who died shaheed and how his station was higher than that of his brother because of one week, yes one week. One week which Allah gave him the pleasure to live. So how would it have been if he lived after him by one month or one year or more…? So take benefit, take heed, and use this opportunity of life which Allah as given you. For indeed death will come upon you suddenly.
Indeed the ummah has agreed unanimously that death does not have a fixed year, or a fixed time, and neither does it have a particular disease. Rather death comes at any time so a person should be prepared for this.
My brothers by Allah, do not take your religion as just play and amusement and do not let this pompous world deceive you rather do not let the chief deceiver (shaytaan) deceive you, and turn you away from Allah.
" Verily Allah has the knowledge of the last hour, and he sends down the rain and he knows what is in the wombs of the women, and no soul knows what it is going to earn tomorrow, and no soul knows which land it is going to die in. Verily Allah is the knower of all things."
So take benefit from your life before your death, because Allah (swt) has informed us that the deceased will ask to be returned to the dunya at the time of death, for he will indeed at that time see the real value of life and the great benefit of being alive. Allah (swt) said
" Until death comes to one of them he says, Oh my Lord return me to the world then maybe I will do righteous deeds in that which I left."
Qatada said regarding this verse; " By Allah they will not be prohibited from returning to their family, or returning to their kindred nor to gather wealth, or to fulfil their dsires rather they will be prohibited from returning to the world so they can do righteous deeds and be obedient to Allah. ( Ibn Katheer 3/255)
Allah (swt) said
" Oh you who believe do not let you wealth nor your children destroy you and turn you away from the remembrance of Allah. Whosoever does that will indeed be a loser. And give from that which We have sustained you from before death comes, because then you will say, Oh my Lord if only you would delay me for a little time I will give sadaqah and be of the righteous."
So every loser will ask to be returned, even for a short period, so he can catch up on what he left, so he could make up some good deeds. If only, if only, that could happen. But truly what is going to come to you will indeed come to you.
"Warn the people of the day that the punishment will come where those oppressors will say oh Allah delay us for just a short period we will indeed answer your call, and follow the messenger. Did I not promise you from before? That promise has not disappeared, you resided amongst those that oppressed themselves, and we made clear to you what we done to them, and we did indeed give you similitudes."
And from that which the Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) ordered us to take benefit from is your health before your illness, and your spare time before you get busy.
So health is like a crown, one who wears it is like a king. Non else but an ill person will see that. Spare time is like treasure on else can see that but one who is busy.
This is why when the great scholar of Shaam Jamaal ud Deen Al-Qaasimi may Allah have mercy on him was walking with his colleages he saw a people playing in an open house, so he knocked on their door. He was asked about that and he replied " If these people would sell me their time I would have purchased it.!!
So take benefit my dear brothers of your health also, and seek aid from it to fast, and pray at night, and fight the enemies, and walk to the mosques, and seek knowledge. Do all this and more before you are tested with illness. Because then you will wish you could fast but you will not have the ability, you will wish to pray at night, but it will not be possible for you, you will want to walk to the mosque but your legs will not carry you. That day you will regret and remember the days when you were able to do all these things but you left them.
So fill your time with things that will benefit you before you get too busy. And know my dear brothers, that if you did good deeds whilst you had good health, and if you became ill and were unable to do them, it would be written for you as though you did them. As the Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) said
" If the slave becomes ill reward will be written for him, for all that he used to do when he had health. (Bukhari 6/136,2996)
The Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) also said
" Two blessings that most people do not take heed of , health and spare time." (Bukhari 11/229,6412)
The word “take heed of " in this hadeeth as it is in arabic " Al-Magboon" is from the word " Al- Gabnu" this word is used in sale and purchase. It means “Cheat" like so and so cheated him. The Prophet (salalahu alahi wa salam) used this word deliberately he wanted to express that the one who does not take heed of health and free timing is like one who has been cheated and did not benefit from the two. Like one who has a pure jewel but sold it for an animal that has no value whatsoever.
Ibn Batta said: " The meaning of the hadith is that a person never has spare time until his body is healthy so whoever attains that should be careful not to be "cheated" (or not take heed of) by abandoning thankfulness to Allah for all the blessings he bestowed. And from thanking him is obeying all his commands and abstaining from all his prohibitions. So whoever falls short in that is "Magboon" or one that has been cheated.
And Ibn Jawzi said:
“a persons health can be good and he does not have much spare time because of his busyness, or he may have plenty of free time but unhealthy. So if they are both in a person at the same time laziness in obedience to Allah over whelms him. So he is then "Magboon". The dunya is like an agricultural ground for the hereafter. And this world is a place to do business where the profit is returned to you in the hereafter. So whoever uses his time and his health in obedience to Allah then he is " Magbooth" and whoever uses it in sin and disobedience to Allah then he is " Magboon" because free time is wasted by work and health is wasted by illness.