What Makes One’s Life Have Worth?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

What Makes One’s Life Have Worth?

Excerpt from a reminder given by Shaykh Sulaymaan Ar-Ruhaylee حفظه الله to a group of Islamic University of Madinah Students, studying in the faculty of Sharia (Islamic Law). See transcript below:

I advise myself and all my brothers everywhere in the West and elsewhere. To indeed know that the worldly life is short and it will perish and the one who passes through it, will pass by everything except that which he produces upon it. All of you (from those present during this reminder) have passed twenty years. Twenty years and it’s gone completely! It’s gone and the next twenty (years of your lives) will leave. If Allah writes for you all to stay, the next twenty will also go.

Wallahi my brothers! Wallahi if you pondered over it (your lives) after years, you will see it is not worth anything except what you have put forth of good. Now I have surpassed 55 (years of age). 55 years, wallahi my brothers, I do not see them as anything! I do not see them as anything with all that could be found in them. Except one thing, the small amount of good I think I have done. And you all shall progress (in age as I have) so increase in the good that tomorrow you will see that your life is not worth anything except for it, that which you have put forth (of good deeds). And I am talking about before standing in front of Allāh. I’m not talking about the meeting of Allah! What I’m talking about is in the worldly life Now I have reached over 50 (years of age), reached over 55 (years of age). I’m beginning to get closer to the Hereafter and to look upon death.

Wallahi my brothers I look at these 55 years! Wallahi I don’t see it as anything! I don’t see it as anything except for the good that I expect and hope Allāh accepts from me. Now you all are in your youth, in goodness and in good health. Increase in that which tomorrow you will gauge your futures with and your lives with and that which you will know your worth with it. Wallahi there is no worth to anyone except what he put forth (of good) for himself. Now you all are in health and strength you might not realize it, however, when the weakness and illnesses start and you all see yourselves closer to death, then you shall know this matter.

Increase in the good, in all its forms, being obedient to the parents, being good to the people, increasing in voluntary prayer and fasting, increase as much as you can. Wallahi tomorrow you shall see your worth in this world before meeting Allāh. And from the greatest of good is to call the people (to Al-Islām).

No matter your situation, The Prophet ﷺ said “A believer will continue to be long necked (to go about quickly in performing good deeds and being well in his standings with Allāh) so long as he does not shed unlawful blood and when he sheds unlawful blood, he becomes slow and heavy-footed.”¹

So no matter the shortcomings, there is always hope for you and there is good in you. A believer will continue to be long necked. Long necked is an analogy for being upon goodness and righteousness, no matter the shortcomings found in him. He is upon goodness, calling to goodness as long as he does not shed unlawful blood. Al-wardah – is the shedding of unlawful blood.

There is no one from amongst us that is complete. Everyone of us knows his own sins, some of us our sins are hidden and some are apparent. And if only those who are complete would give the call (to Allāh and Al-Islam), no one would give the call (to Allāh and Al-Islam). Allah has given you from his bounties, you’ve studied in the Faculty of Shariah (Islamic Law in the University of Madinah). Allāh blessed and opened for you things. So teach your neighbors, your mother, your father, your brothers. No matter your situation. It is from the best actions that will aid you (in the sight of Allāh).
When you reach your 50s or your 60s and you see people praying salah and you taught them, you see that you have worth. You will see that you have worth truly. You will see people taking care of reading the Quran because you taught them how to read the Quran. You will see your worth with this matter (calling to Allāh and teaching the people their religion).

So increase in this matter and when you stand in front of Allah, “So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it”. Rather, this is a great matter!
My brothers I advise myself and you all to take advantage of this time and life. Allāh has honoured us to be able to study in this faculty of Sharia (Islamic Law). Wallahi Allāh has honoured us! So let’s take advantage of this honour to rectify whatever we can (of wrong-doings). Rectify! Even if it is something small. Of course, I say that we must struggle against ourselves and to look at ourselves and to look to rectify ourselves. However, we should also teach other than ourselves. We should call other than ourselves. Talk to other than ourselves with what we have learned, that which we know, with that which Allāh has bestowed upon us from this (Islamic) knowledge that we learned from the Faculty of Sharia (Islamic Law).

We will grow in this worldly life, we will grow in this worldly life and even in ourselves. If you sit with yourself and lay yourself bare. Leave the people to look at you, even perhaps they may see you as a prominent Shaykh. Wallahi! I swear to Allāh! It (their opinion of you) will not benefit you! Whether they may see you in the highest of positions or that they may see you in lowest of positions. It will not benefit you at all! You alone! You alone! It all comes down to you and when you sit in humility between the Hands of Allāh. This is (one’s) true position. This is (one’s) true worth. You know your true worth and value with this. If you see yourself self-sufficient then you have no worth. Especially with the advancing of age (and the inevitability of death).

¹Related by Abi Dawūd – The Book of Trials and Fierce Battles – Number [4270]

Translated by: One of the esteemed brothers from Sabeel Ar-Rashad and your brother Abu Uwāis Muhammad Abdullahi Elmi