by Faraz Baig
You have a huge project due at the end of the year. I mean, a huuuuge project. Everything is riding on it. Every student either A) will have all their dreams come true or B) will experience extreme pain and disappointment.
There is no choice C.
After you turn your project in, the day arrives when the teacher passes out your grades. And boy, is it nerve-racking! You can literally feel the tension and anxiety in the classroom. Everyone’s fretting about all the different ways they may have messed up. There are so many different ways you could have made errors!
“Did I have enough content?”
“Did I have all the sections the teacher wanted?”
“Were all my facts correct?”
“What about spelling and grammar?”
“What about formatting?”
And on and on and on.
The point here with this hypothetical story is that when we’re facing an important audit/evaluation, we become terrified of even the smallest details because we start to realize the consequences of messing them up.
This hypothetical story is a very small glimpse of what people will feel like on the Day of Judgment. Obviously, nothing in this life compares to the Day of Judgment (or even comes remotely close for that matter). But the story above at least starts to illustrate our mindset in the face of a serious audit.
Of course, on the Day of Judgment, the stakes are as high as they could possibly be. We’ll be audited on our entire lives. Literally everything we did will be recorded and presented to us. The smallest of deeds will be recorded for us. Can you imagine how nervous every one of us will feel, with our eternal home at stake?
This raises an important question: if we know this Day is coming, what are some good ways to prepare? With allllllll the different material out there to learn, where exactly should I start?
Obviously, there are many actions we can take to prepare. But for a good starting point, what if I told you there’s an action that literally anybody is capable of doing, and yet, despite its mind-blowing simplicity, it’s powerful enough to single-handedly swing things in our favor on the Day of Judgment?
Sound too good to be true? Good news: it is true…there is such an act.
What is this act? It is none other than prayer.
The Prophet (SAW) said that “The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” (al-Tabarani. Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albani).
And the more you think about it, the more it makes sense! Prayer is, after all, the second pillar of Islam, right after the shahada. It’s a good reflection of our shahada. If one believes Allah is the only being worthy of worship, then one will understand the importance of connecting with Allah. Prayer gives us the chance to connect and have a one-on-one dialogue with Allah.
Additionally, the quality of our prayers is directly related to our other actions. When the quality of our prayers increases, the other actions follow suit. Allah tells us in Surah 29, Verse 45 that “Indeed, prayer prohibits shamelessness and wrongdoing.”
This isn’t to say that you’ll become completely perfect since we are humans after all. But at least if one is able to stand before Allah and sincerely praise Him, glorify Him, ask Him for His help, then it stands to reason that this person probably won’t go around openly committing sins. And if the person falls into sins by mistake, he/she will have the proper attitude toward the sin and will repent.
The Prophet (SAW) also said that “If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any filth left on him?” The people said, “No filth would remain on him whatsoever.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, “That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
There is a lot in the Quran and the Hadith literature about the merits of prayer. It’s pretty amazing how powerful this simple action can be. But note that the Shaytan realizes how powerful this action is, and that’s why he does everything he can to either A) keep us away from prayer altogether or B) cause our minds to wander during prayer.
Just remember: Allah doesn’t ask us to do anything we are incapable of. So even if it’s a struggle, Allah will certainly help us out if we put forth a sincere and honest effort. As long as the actions are done solely for Allah’s pleasure, there is a tremendous reward. With prayers, the Prophet (SAW) said that “Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays them in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and khushu’, has a promise from Allah that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah. He may either forgive him or punish him.” (Malik, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Nasa’I. Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albani.)
And Allah knows best.
Hope everyone has a great week inshaAllah.