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Opinions of Saturday, 2 May 2020

Columnist: Abdul-Razak Lukman

On my death bed

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I would have been the lead runner to crave for wealth in unimaginable proportions if we were to live on this earth forever. I sit down here, with a cup of coffee, reminiscing how wealthy people were lowered into the grave worthless. I imagine their daily toils in trying to gather properties as a way of life happiness; and I will say in a sober and most calm voice “Is that the end of life.” I imagine their hassles on daily basis, their projections about businesses and the estimates of profits they were making and targeting for all year round, not knowing that tomorrow is not secured.

I imagine those big men and women, who, in their attempt to contribute to the development of their countries, do forget about their maker. The undercurrents of their works move them away from worshiping Allah. Same is it in business cycles where business tycoons or investors are so busy that they forget about the need to prepare a better place for themselves hereafter. When I sit down to think about all these scenarios, it makes me carve a good social and religious niche for myself. You don’t need to be wealthy to be able to “speak” to God and to have your prayers answered. No, certainly no, not at all! Is just about being true to your humbleness without trying to court the attention of people in society, remain steadfast, pray as always, build a clean heart, don’t disappoint or betray people and always remain open to all manner of people regardless of their social status. Such should be the life of a God-fearing soul.

We often think that most leaders who wear big and classy dresses, make donations and appear to be role models in society are actually doing so for God’s sake. Most of them are doing that because they are pushed to do so. They donate and appear “humble” because society is criticizing how bad and inhuman they are towards the plight of people, they are smiling because society says they don’t and they start playing with children just because of pressure from society, to appear good.

What is most assuring to such people is that, their rewards are just exactly from society by way of praise singing and not from Allah. This is so in a sense that when you are lying on your death bed and subsequently your grave, it is you and you alone. On your death bed, you will be absorbed in a state of awareness, most probably, and money will be far from your awareness, just as money is not part of your endeavors when you first arrive here on earth as a baby.

On our death bed, the thinking of how prepared we are, how many people that we have badly disappointed, betrayed, killed or murdered, or deliberately denied others what should have been given to them. Those thoughts would pre-inform you where your place is, in hereafter. You will judge yourself on your deathbed before Allah judges you. That is why people normally call others for forgiveness before being called by their Maker.

I felt some kind of dizziness in me as I lay on my deathbed, I knew that the angel has arrived fully armed with the message from Allah. This respected Angel, the Angel of death which the Holy Qu’ran identified as Malak al-Mawt, is one of the powerful Angels who deliver important messages. This is an Angel who makes husbands wifeless and children, fatherless. The Angel came in by a knock on the door but none around me could hear the sound. I responded the greeting to allow the Angel of Death into my room. At this hour, I reposition myself on my bed, waiting for the silent hour to call on me. I realised I’m gradually becoming a lone prisoner in my own body. Now, what I see happening in heaven cannot be seen by family and friends gathered around me. For I know that I’m almost gone. Sometimes, I could hardly speak to my family who gathered around me; I could only communicate through blinking of eyes.

As the Angel of Death was with me, I received visitors from different parts of my region, those I haven’t spoken with for years and friends I hardly hear from since we dispersed off from high school. I also received imams from my neighborhood and a couple of friends from the community mosque I pray in, they are all here to pray for me and to read several suras from the Holy Qu’ran to me. As this was going on, the Angel of Death was in our presence, communicating with me about the message from the Omnipresent to seal my stay here on earth. At this time my condition appears improving for good, but I know I’m slowly dying. But I hardly spoke a word for months but this time, I’m able to move with greater flexibility. At this time, my soul is already taken away and I’m advising my family and friends about the need to accumulate wealth of good deeds ahead of the day of accountability.

With this, on the day we all meet our Maker, stand before Him to account for our lives on this earth; on how well we have helped others, destroyed others and make others suffer just because we have the limited power at our disposal, most would have wished that a second chance be given. But then, is too late!

The axe is sharp but it has no use to the salon man whose daily bread depends on how many people he/she worked on for pay. Same is it that the blade cannot be used in place of an axe despite the fact that the blade is blessed with sharpness but lacking the perseverance to withstand the duties of an axe. This is how the human life is tailored through and forever be a vicious cycle.

I have met people who are rich and powerful, they don’t have to be worried about where their next meal would come from. However, they are still struggling with life and hoping that it would change for the better in the next hours or days. We sit down to imagine the life of the richest men and women in the world, we continue to hip praises on them and are blatantly carried away that all is well with them. Hell no! Whiles you are happily enjoying your Ghs 2.50p Waakye with gari with your 0.20p sachet water, the multimillion cedi/dollar holder has all the best foods in the world just right before s/he, but you know what!, s/he is occupied with calls from different walks of life, pressure by workers on the increment of salaries, probably having marital problems at home which makes s/he spending unnecessary stay at work and overrunning him/herself. The millionaire is either thinking of the need to trigger an action that would change the world order for his/her benefit. Most of their benefits sometimes don’t take the compassion of world population into consideration provided that idea could fetch billions of currency. This is the world that we are living in. I once asked a rich man I met at Trade Fair Centre, about the road to becoming rich and how it feel to be rich. I was amazed at his reply. He told me that “ The road to becoming rich is the hazard of the unresting mind and the feeling is to always be at the peak and continue to make more whiles you live. There is no enough money enough for the rich man. You would sometimes want to just be a commoner and enjoy real life, but is impossible.” This is an indication that the world is created to have balances; haves and have not.

I have again met people who are not wealthy, striving to get their next meal and support their family. Majority of the world’s population are within this category. This category of people are those who, perhaps, enjoy the most with their family. They fancy embarking on trips and attending fanfare with family members and continuously interacting with society. They have the best social part of humanity towards the society despite the fact that they can barely do enough for the society. But you know what, the traditional man appreciates such people for the mere contact that they are exhibiting. The rich man/woman in this case has very limited time for his environment but however solves societal problems with his/her social interventions. So, at every angle of the bridge, it serves a useful purpose. The door opener is useful but we rarely appreciate it until it is damaged.

I am blessed to be one of the surviving students of Socrates in this modern century. Lol! In every life teaching piece I write, I’m always motivated to reawaken the Socratic method of learning. So, I will be given you a short story of a determined young man who wanted to know the secrets to success. This young man asked the wise man, Socrates, the secret to success. Socrates patiently listened to the man’s question and told him to meet him near the river the next morning for the answer. The next morning Socrates asked the young man to walk with him towards the river. As they went in the river the water got up to their neck. But to the young man’s surprise Socrates ducked him into the water.

The young man struggled to get out of the water, but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning ‘blue’. Socrates pulled the man’s head out of the water. The young man gasps and took a deep breath of air. Socrates asked, ‘What did you want the most when your head was in the water?” The young man replied, “Air.” Socrates said, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air while you were in the water, then you will get it. There is no other secret.”

All what I want to say is that life is too short for all of us. What would it profit one to spend this short time in conflict with companions? Life is a pursuit of happiness, take care of your health, you can only life once. Most importantly, appreciate where you are and work towards being happy with what you have.

Abdul-Razak Lukman

Freelance Writer

abdulrazaklukman6@gmail.com

+233.24.244.3937