Consider what you are sending ahead (DW# 919)

In Chapter 59 of the Quran, Sura Hashr, Allah says: O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah, and let every soul consider what it has sent on for the morrow [Holy Quran 59:18]
Scholars explain that this verse means that everyone should reflect upon their deeds and evaluate how they may fare on the Day of Judgment. According to the Islamic worldview, our brief existence in this lifetime is an important means to gather provisions for our eternal life which begins after we have left this "life".  

This verse advises us to reflect on what we are gathering and "sending ahead" for our eternal life. Which of our actions are going to count as provision for our eternal home?

I recently came across a lovely little book Golden Rules for Everyday Life by Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov which explains this idea beautifully.
Although he is not talking about the hereafter, he advises that we can prepare our future by living well today:

"We never know what the future holds, that’s true, but the best way to avoid disasters you fear is to try to live sensibly in the present. The future will be what you have made it in the present. It is today that is important. Just as the present is a consequence, a result of the past, the future will be a projection of the present. Everything hangs together; past, present and future cannot be separated. The future will be built on the foundations you lay today, and, of course, if those foundations are faulty, it is no good hoping for a very bright future. If they are solidly built, on the other hand, there will be no need to worry: with healthy roots you will get a strong trunk and healthy branches and fruit.

The past is past but it has given birth to the present, and the present contains the roots of the future. This means that you must build your future in advance by improving the present.

To do this, you must say to yourself, every day, ‘Let me see, what have I said and done today? What kind of thoughts and feelings have I had?’ And if you have done something wrong, if you have entertained bad thoughts and feelings, you must realize that this puts you on the side of the forces of darkness and that those forces will destroy your future.

If you have lived badly during the day, you must at least try, before going to sleep, to lessen the bad effects by having better thoughts and deciding to do better the next day. Your good thoughts will be like a swarm of bees that clean and mend everything overnight so that you can start off next morning in better conditions."

While he is talking mostly about thoughts and feelings, the same advice can be applied to actions. Thankfully, we are judged by what we do, what actions we take and not on the basis of the thoughts and feelings that we have (although they play a major role in our wellbeing).

I particularly like how he advises us to

  • Engage in daily reflection of our actions (in Islamic spirituality this is called Muhasiba and we are advised to engage in self accounting before we are audited on the Day).
  • To end on a good note.
    Imam Zainul Abideen (as) in the Munajat Mutawasileen says: (O Allah) Seal my works with good.

Endings are so important. If we start out our lives a bit lost and then find our way, we are encouraged by the Mercy of the All Merciful, the one who Forgives all sins [Holy Quran 39:53].

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