Prepare to return from whence you came(DW# 758 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], verse 57 says:

Every soul must taste of death, then to Us you shall be brought back.[Holy Quran 29:57]

The only certainty is death. This verse reminds us of this fact of life. For human beings, the sojourn on this plane of existence is but a brief transit stop.

We are all, in a sense, waiting in the departure lounge. The tickets and visas for our travel have been arranged. We simply do not know when our flight is scheduled to leave. Unlike other journeys (mentioned in this Sura), the journey of death is choice less. Allah swt guarantees that we will all taste it. The choice lies in how we prepare for it.

For believers, we are reminded that the purpose of this transit stop is simply to gather provisions for the life that lies ahead.

The injunction to remember death at all times is of course not new to Islam. Philosophers and Stoics through the ages have always embraced the fragility of life. Warriors in ancient Rome, for example, used to reminded: Momento Mori (remember death) when they went into battle.

In modern times, it seems that we have found ways to distract ourselves from this fact of life. We call it morbid and morose to talk or think about our departure from our planet.

Remembering that we are here for a short time is not morose. It allows us to appreciate how ephemeral and fragile life is and helps us rise above our petty concerns of the day and over our obsessive planning for tomorrow. It helps us focus on what really matters: whether we are living with virtue and excellence right this minute. It helps us remember that we are accountable for our time here and how we spent it.

This Sura helps ground us in this reality. It reminds us that for those who have caught themselves up in the web of this world, entangled in all the strings which seem so attractive, death is the end of everything comfortable, familiar and beautiful.

But for those, who have spent their lives trying to remain detached enough from this web, who bear patiently what befalls them, who try to use their time well to do good and to persevere on the Path, for them death is a sweet relief. For those who use this world as a springboard to realize their spirituality, who "die before they die" (or in modern slang, who live "woke"), for them death is a beginning.

And a beautiful return home.

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