Words Amatullah A.
Photograph Alifiya S.
Amatullah is a theoretical physicist specializing in stellar astrophysics and cosmology, official international Book Fairy (@bookfairies_ke), Sam Kean and Sherlock fanatic and dabbler in the arts of philosophy. She lives on coffee and science, although she is hoping to try out Purple tea and see if that sways her to the light side.
Timekeeper Theme Blurb:
Time is about as large a semantic field as you can find for writing about. I once said that about war, but I think this is even more so. Over the next month, you will read courageous, funny, bolstering and thought-provoking pieces about that universal mistress. Called Timekeeper, this month’s theme may be a misnomer; after all, who here professes to keep time instead of being kept by her.
What follows in this text is advice from ‘past me’ to ‘future me’.
“No! No no no!” Thumping his chest and wailing for him to get up, tears streaking down my cheeks. “No! No please!” Sobbing against his chest, laying down, hoping for just a beat, one more beat. “Please, just a day, just one more day.” But there are no more days, the last tear glistening down his cheek is testament enough. His time has come to an end.
Death, the taboo subject that we are always trying to forget, but the fact that has us ensnared from the time we take our first breath. The human body is known to be a ticking time bomb, our every breath slowly oxidising our cells, each meiosis actually cutting down the length of our telomeres and thus our own lives as well. Slowly, every human is dying.
But, death is also what gives our lives meaning. The Grim Reaper defines and sets a restriction, a timeframe, and every human unwittingly works by that timeframe. Like clockwork, we know when to get up and when to sleep; when to go to school, when to begin work. Yes, society defines the limits for some things like which age is appropriate for retirement; but we choose to live by it because we are run by biological clocks.
We delude ourselves into forgetting that we are not immortal, we delude ourselves into forgetting that the time we have is limited. We party all night, laugh with friends – we live like we have forever. It is the hubris of mankind. Yet, tell me, if you were told you were to die tomorrow, would you dig your grave or still strive for a better tomorrow? If someone told you the exact time and place of your death, would you attempt to avoid it, change the course of time, or live as you live now?
Time is fragile, it ends just as abruptly as it begins.
Imam Jafar-us-Sadiq AS said, “Were the cow to know that it were to die, it would thin with worry.” We know death, we comprehend death; we know we all have a deadline, but as humans are wont to do, we partake in forgetting and push the bad things aside. No need to worry about the memories stored in a box in the attic.
Tick tock. Time’s up. And the wailing ensues to try to get back those three hours that you wasted by binge-watching cat videos.
Maulana AliAS stated “يا مبتغي العلم صل قبل أن لا تقدر على ليل ولا نهار تصلي فيه” Oh seeker of knowledge, pray before you cannot rule over night and day in order to pray in them both.
You, dear ‘future me’; I advise you to take my words to heart, etch them there, tape them to the walls of your mind palace – you don’t have much time left, use it wisely. Don’t be a fool, you were born for one reason and one reason alone, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS’s khidmat, nothing more, nothing less. Two decades down, just a little time left. Break away from the life they sell you, all we knew was go go go, and all you need do is go go go. Soon enough, the time will come when you have to support yourself with a cane again; get up, get out and strive for His happiness. Otherwise, dear me, for what reason did your mother carry you for nine months? What reason were you born for? Make sure that when the end comes, you see a smile on His face that He is happy for all that you did. The clock is ticking, time is slipping by; don’t forget – the sole reason you are here is for His khidmat, not to discover the secrets of the universe, not to lose yourself in space and time; just that one reason, can you repeat it out loud?
We got the life unbelievable. Sleep when we’re dead, live like we’re invincible, we’re young and relentless. Get up. Get out of your mind cause you never know, no way to hit rewind once your eyes close. It’s a brand new day, it’s never too late to start. You can’t live this life with an empty heart, because every single time that we lay it on the line it’s a rollercoaster ride for one. When we know it’s do or die and we’re running out of time, we’ve got to give it all we’ve got. All we’ve got.
I reiterate: يا مبتغي العلم صل قبل أن لا تقدر على ليل ولا نهار تصلي فيه Tick tock, make the most of the clock before the Grim Reaper reminds you why he is the Time Keeper.
May Allah TA give us the strength and the youth to perform Maula’s TUS khidmat to the best of our abilities until we attain Maula’s TUS happiness. Ameen!
May Allah TA grant our Maula TUS, the reason for our existence, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, a long, healthy and prosperous life till the day of Qayaamat. Ameen!