It was a soothing moment. I had just got up after praying, and a smile played on my lips. I took a deep breath. I felt cleansed, lighter, contended somehow. It was the twenty-first night of Ramadan and I was trying to make it count.
Have you ever felt a little bit smug about your Qiyam al Layl? A little like, oh, at least I’m up! Not to disclose my sins or anything, but astaghfirullahil Azeem, I know I have. It’s an essential point in the story and I can’t avoid it, even if I try.
So as I took a break from ‘Ibadah, and leaned back on the couch, my legs stretched out on it, I tried to read some durood. I was half awake and half asleep. The room was dark, and the window was open. I could hear the stillness outside. There was so much peace, Subhan Allah.
And just like that it was time to go. Yes, the end. I mean it. Was it a dream? Was it reality? Whatever it was, it scares the living daylights out of me. I am not making this up, okay? Don’t believe me if you don’t want to – I know what happened was real.
Something – and I can’t even quite describe it came near me. Was it the angel of death? It was scary looking. In those very moments of peace, it appeared out of nowhere, thoroughly uninvited. I hurled my arms at it – but Allahu Akbar my arms felt constricted, like I couldn’t even push it away. Oh no, no please, no, I screamed. Except the voice didn’t come out.
No, no please I begged. My mouth was not saying the words, the angel of death (or whatever it was) was reaching out towards me. In those few moments, my life, and the sheer hollowness of it, played in front of my eyes like a nightmare.
What did I have to die without regret? Only a few moments ago I was so smug about my Qiyam al Layl! This incident put things into perspective, and how! A shiver runs down my spine even as I remember the utter desperation of that moment.
Regret, utter yearning for another chance, one more go, please, please. I have nothing to show, I want to turn away from the being that now covers my existence, yet I cannot move. I want to shirk; my face can surely not be shown to my Maker, I cannot die, not so soon, I think urgently to myself.
Time has gone still. I realize how hollow, how shallow my life has been. Woe be to me, woe be to me, I think to myself. I begin to wail – again, I do not have a voice. In the dark that had seemed so soothing only moments back, there is utter terror.
And just as soon as it had come, the moment passes. I breathe out. I feel my face, it was real. Or was it a dream? I switch on the lights and shiver.
And then I think. Is this how it’s going to be? It’s going to come, there’s no doubt, it’s clear as day – or in my case the night. Will I be so constricted, will I take so long, too long to realize I have nothing to show to Allah? That my every ‘ibadah was incomplete, baseless, and devoid of sincerity? And that my entire life was filled with useless entertainment that yielded no profit. I ate my fill without giving anyone, I selfishly lived in my own little bubble, and I did not learn the deen like it was my responsibility to. And if that is but a tiny glimpse of death, what’s the real deal like? Oh Allah, save me!
Life is a fickle friend. But Allah, You are Al-Afuu, you love to pardon, so pardon me, and everyone reading this, on this blessed night. May there be unlimited and infinite salutations, peace and blessings upon your beloved prophet (PBUH) and his family and his friends till the end of time. Oh Allah please, please, let death be a pleasant experience. Let it be