I couldn’t believe that the most awaited month of the year was finally here. Last November, when Moazzam, my husband, had first mentioned the idea on our anniversary, I was ecstatic. A trip to Europe? It was like a dream come true! Thus, began the process of planning and internet surfing. Moazzam didn’t want to use a travel agent’s service. We wanted to do it all by ourselves, our way!
“Hayya Alas-Salah, Hayya Allal-Falah”, called the Moazzin from a nearby mosque, through a loud speaker.
My index finger scrolled down on the mouse of the laptop as my eyes scanned one holiday picture after another. The travel websites had loads of information and amazing pictures of the various European destinations with abundant mesmerizing scenic views. The clock was ticking by. Twenty minutes had passed since Adhan, the call for prayer and I was still glued to my laptop. I glanced out of my bedroom window. With the twilight fading, a flock of chirping birds were returning home.
We would love to get our few days’ hotel stay upgraded from twin sharing to suite deluxe but what about securing an upgrade in Jannah?
“It’s time for Maghrib prayer”, spoke Moazzam softly as he entered the bedroom. The cap on his head depicted that he had just returned from the mosque.
“Just a minute!” I replied. My eyes were still focused on the laptop’s screen while I Googled through various holiday packages. I wanted to make sure that we don’t miss out on Disney land during this trip (my five-year-old’s greatest wish) as well as England (to meet my cousin). So we were planning to explore five countries in all, within twenty days, namely Spain, England, France, Switzerland and Germany.
“Euro Rail might be a good option,” I thought. It would save us loads. “But how will we keep our two naughty tots busy at long stretches of 8 and 9 hours?” I wondered. “Perhaps I should search the web for assistance”.
We look for the best, because we simply want the best. Then how can we be so lame when it comes to saving for our eternal life, which is the ultimate holiday, the eternal one?
So I typed on the Google search bar “How to keep toddlers busy during a long journey”. A list of helpful sites appeared on the screen. Most of the links belonged to websites on mommyhood and family-raising. I copied the links to read later in my free time. Then I moved on to hotels. The hotel booking engine exhibited a list of amazing and luxurious hotels with views to simply die for. Our budget allowed stay in three star hotels, but the photographs and added facilities of four star hotels were much more enticing.
“Holidays can be much more fun if we find some discounted packages of Four-star hotels or perhaps, get the rooms upgraded in the same budget”, I wondered, as I explored the front view of a renowned hotel in Spain.
Suddenly, an advertisement popped up on my screen out of nowhere. It read:
“Comfortable reclining seats and four course meals, now available in economy.” The advertisement showed a happy kid sitting with his dad in an airplane watching a cartoon movie, while his dad relaxed on a spacious reclined seat. Spread before the child, on the table was a scrumptious four meal course along with a free gift from the airline.
Our tickets had yet to be booked, but the airlines had already been chosen. Thanks to e-booking, my hubby had discovered the flights offering lower rates and holiday packages. We planned to fly via four different airlines. He wanted it to be a memorable vacation, something to savour in our old age, and I absolutely agreed to that.
Darkness had gradually begun to transcend on everything. The laptop’s black alphabet keys had started to blur, as sun rays bid their final farewell. I frowned, while moving closer to the keyboard. “I should better start saving for MacBook”, feeling the need of a backlit keyboard, an image on the screen caught my attention. I glared at it closely. The serene beauty of a white sandy beach outlining a Turquoise Sea seemed so soothing, so heavenly… “Wait a minute; did I say “heavenly”?”
And then, it hit me. Hit me real hard! What was I doing? My prayer mat still lay folded on the room’s corner table, untouched. But I was so engrossed in planning the perfect family getaway that I forgot to say my prayers. I was spending hours and hours surfing the net, planning, and going crazy but over what? Just to grab deals to maximize the holiday experience, which would all be over within twenty days? What about the eternal holiday destination after death, which will be our final destination, solely depending upon our deeds and intentions? As emphasized in the Noble Quran:
“…Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter” (Al-Tawbah 9:38)
Sadly, the Muslims of today are least bothered about it. We would love to have a first class ticket to travel for a couple of hours, but what about the entry ticket to heaven? We would love to get our few days’ hotel stay upgraded from twin sharing to suite deluxe but what about securing an upgrade in Jannah? Who wouldn’t prefer a royal suite of a seven star to a regular twin of a one star hotel? Don’t we all desire a royal treatment in Jannah for eternity? As Muslims, we know that there are no bounds to Allah’s (swt) blessings for His obedient believers. We cannot fathom the love of Allah (swt) the exalted, nor imagine the bounties that He has in store in Jannah for His believers. And yet we run after our worldly desires, worldly possessions, forgetting that what Allah(swt) has in store in Jannah, has no comparison even to the best in this world.
The Prophet (sa) said: “The life of this world, compared to the hereafter, is as if one of you were to put his finger in the ocean and take it out again. Then, compare the water that remains on his finger to the water that remains in the ocean.” (Muslim)
Narrated by Jabir (ra), once the Messenger of Allah (swt) went through a market and came across the dead body of a deformed sheep. He took it by its ear and asked: “Which of you would like to have this for a Dirham?” Sahabah (rta) replied: “We would not like to have it for anything. What would we do with it?” He said: “Would you like to have it?” They said: “By Allah (swt), even if it was alive, it would be defective, since it is deformed, and now it is dead.” He said: “By Allah (swt), this world has less value with Allah (swt) than this has with you.” (Muslim)
Did we ever realize how much time and energy we spend in designing our houses and furnishing them? We look for the best, because we simply want the best. Then how can we be so lame when it comes to saving for our eternal life, which is the ultimate holiday, the eternal one?
May Allah (swt) enable us to enjoy the ultimate “holiday” experience in Jannah. Ameen!