Dear Brothers in Islam rahimakumullah,
As we left this congregation last week, we were listening to a concise yet comprehensive reminder from Rasulullah SAW about taking advantage of five matters that we all posses, before five other matters come to visit us inevitably. As we recall, this famous reminder is narrated by ibn ‘Abbas radiyallahu anhu and reported in many books of our pious scholars of the past, including Al Mustadrak of Imaam Al-Haakim, also in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, and in other accounts, with an authentic chain of narration. The Messenger of Allah SAW said to a man while he was advising him:
"Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death."
This time, dear brothers, let us continue to ponder over this reminder, given by our beloved Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alaiyhi wa sallam for all of us, particularly about richness before becoming poor, free time before becoming busy, and life before death.
Dear Brothers in Islam, take advantage of your richness before poverty.
One day we might not have anything, and the other day we might have much more than we need. One day, a person might have the best of jobs and the largest of salaries, yet, the next day, something happens and he does not have that job anymore and loses his source of income. So the wise person uses his richness before he becomes poor. He invests for his future.

As for the investments of this dun-ya, the Muslim and non-muslims are both the same; they both do that. Even the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam would store staple food items for a whole year for his family. We too, should make sure we have enough money for our family and our children and ourselves, so we are not poor and we are not beggars. There is no doubt that this is a part of our Shari'ah as well.

But while doing this, let us not forget that we also need to invest for the Akhirah. Should we not think about investing this money so we can pick it and pluck it in the Hereafter when we need it far more than we need it in this world? We need to invest for the real future, our real life after our death.

The Messenger sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam once asked his companions, "Who amongst you loves his inheritors' money more than his own money?"
The Sahabah said in answer, "Yaa RasulAllah, all of us love our own money more than we love the money of our inheritors. We all love our own money. We guard it and protect it more than the money of our inheritors."

Then He said, sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, "Verily, the money that you spend in charity is your money, and the money that you leave behind is the money of your inheritors."

Ponder over that hadith for a while, how true it is. As for the father who loves his own money more than the money of his son, does he not realize that one day his son will take that very money of his and he will have nothing to do with it? All that is left of his money is what he spent during his life for the sake of Allah, if there was any such money. Any of it spent in charity for the sake of Allah, is money that will be yours permanently. The Arabic word for charity includes zakah, sadaqah, waqf, and any type of monetary good that you did. Everything besides this will go into the hands of your inheritors.

Remember that feeding your family is an ibaadah if you are doing it for the sake of Allah and you will be rewarded. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said that, "one morsel of food, one handful of food, "if you feed your wife with it, there will be a reward for you on the Day of Judgment." Now everybody, Muslim or non-Muslim, feeds his family. But will everybody be rewarded for that? No. Because only the one who does it remembering Allah, thinking about Allah, and doing it for the sake of Allah will be rewarded.

Ask ourselves the last time we went shopping, was Allah in your mind? Did you think of doing this for Allah? When you picked up the milk and the bread, was your heart thinking, "Oh Allah, I am buying this food through halaal money, and this is halaal food, because I want to feed my family and this is an obligation that You have put upon me, therefore, I am doing it for your sake." Who amongst us has this in his mind? This means thinking of Allah, spending for the sake of Allah, and having the intention of pleasing Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala.

This is the third of the five things: "your richness, before poverty."

Beloved Brothers, rahimakumullah, take Advantage of Your Free Time Before You Become Busy
This is yet another great treasure that every single one of us possesses. Every one of us must use our free time before we become busy. How much free time do we have and what do we waste it on? Think about it. Think about how much free time all of us have been blessed with. We have hours and hours every day and they go by. What do we waste it on? Regrettably, we see many muslim and perhaps we're among them, waste time on things of which there is no benefit whatsoever for this world nor the hereafter.

In another hadith, Rasulullah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam has warned us about the two blessings, i.e. health and free time, that most people have been deceived by. In other words, they don't realize their blessings of health and free time.

Spending time wisely does not necessarily mean spending it in purely religious deeds. But spending time wisely can even be something in this world. Learn a trade. Learn something that can benefit you in this world and that can benefit other people as well. Islam is a complete way of life, a complete code. Do not forget that all of the acts a mu'min does can be transformed into acts of worship if, and only if, he does them for the sake of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala.

When we have some free time, let us take advantage of it. The greatest thing that we can do in this free time is to worship Allah. And one of the greatest acts of worship is to seek knowledge. Take a book out to read, listen to some cassettes, or listen to some CD's. Do whatever you can do to increase your 'ilm. Attend some classes or even visit one another for the sake of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala. Visit your Muslim brothers with the proper Islamic etiquette and ‘adab. This is an act you can do that will pass your time away, and be worthwhile.

This is the fourth of the five matters: "take advantage of your free time before you become busy."

Finally, dear brothers, take advantage of your life before your death.
This one phrase summarizes it all. Every one of us has a life. That is why we are here right now. Every one of us without a doubt will die. Allah says:
so say, ‘The death you run away from will come to meet you and you will be returned to the One who knows the unseen as well as the seen: He will tell you everything you have done

And it is as Allah said, the Messenger sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam passed away and so did the people that opposed him and believed in him. They all have passed away. And the turn came for those after them, and then those after them, until it is our turn.

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam therefore reminded us, "Take advantage of your life before your death." This is the greatest of foresight. Hence the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam concluded the hadith with this phrase.

How are we going to use this life before death comes? As for the people who do not receive Guidance from Allah, they will totally waste it because they will make this life their goal. He will live only to appease and satisfy every desire of his. Then on the Day of Judgment, he will beg Allah to send him back to this life. Allah describes this in the Quran:
and he says, ‘My Lord, if You would only reprieve me for a little while, I would give in charity and become one of the righteous.'

All of a sudden, when his Lord sends him his death he remembers Allah. Whereas throughout all of the years that he lived, Allah was nowhere near him; Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala was the furthest thing from his death. On the Day of Judgment when he is resurrected, he will say:

Allah obviously will say, "no". You have only been allowed one life and you will not be able to go back and change that life. For every good you do you will be rewarded, and for every evil you do you will be punished.

Everyone has only one life. That is what Allah has given and this is what we must make the best of in this world so that we are compensated accordingly in the Hereafter.

These are the things that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam told the man to do. He advised him to take advantage of five matters before five others: your youth, before your old age; and your health before you fall sick; and your wealth before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life before your death.

This hadith deals with responsibility, wisdom, foresight, long-term planning, and good strategy. Every one of us has been blessed with these five blessings. There is no one amongst us who has not been blessed with these five things. So how do we utilize them? What do we utilize them for? Why do we utilize them?

The wise person is the one who strives to achieve the pleasure of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala and then expects the best from Allah. We ask that Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala makes us amongst those who can can seize these five things, who can take advantage of them before the other five will come. These first five matters will inevitably be taken away from us, and substituted by the others that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam mentioned.

Aquulu qawli hadzaa, astaghfirullaha al-'adziim, lii wa lakum. Innahu huwa al-ghafurun al-rahiim. Fastabiqul khayraat.

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