A friend once told me that the most certain thing in the world to be believed in … is death. It is as palpable as life, but more dominating, more capturing than life itself. From that point onwards one cannot sustain a thought process that considers death a mere neutralizer of life. From that point onwards thought processes focus on death as a pivot and deeds as neutralizers. Therefore let me suppose that the very next moment I live is my last, and that I might not get to complete this article, and that death not only finishes my earthly pilgrimage but also manages to make me immortal.
Most of the aforesaid statement sounds acceptable. Most of it … except the last little bit: death, bestowing immortality. Although it sounds far beyond possible, human history is filled with examples to suffice the above-mentioned phenomenon. Men have proven their lives to be worthy of death only because of the immortality it gives. Martyrs, freedom fighters, soldiers and rulers, all live in deeds, not in years.
If death takes me this very moment, I will be dead before the 20th year of my life. The time I have spent may not be enough to evoke revolutions or change the world. But it is enough to impact, to affect and penetrate many lives around me. Subsequently the lament I would want at my funeral is not to be “… and so young!” I would want it to be, “Well lived”. Come death this minute taking me during a cause worth fighting for, my age is not going to be the crux of it all. It was not the crux for Rashid Minhas. It was not the crux for Keats. Nor was it in the case of the thousands of youngsters dying in Kashmir and Palestine every day. They have not measured their lives in years.
Holding on to life as a treasure is quite justified, I agree. But each moment can only be worth living if we understand that the number of our birthdays have not given us our sagacity or our magnitude. Our deeds have.
If we spend every minute of our lives as if they are precious, as if they can impart some good one way or the other, the number of years we live will cease to be of any consequence. Each moment will be an eternity lived.
I believe in death – as soundly as I believe in goodness. I believe in the exalted chance of life Allah (swt) has given to me. I believe in the extraordinary potential of a human to make one moment a lifetime. Therefore, I believe in the measure of deeds for a human. Hundred years lived, as weasel cannot weigh a grain. Yet the single-day life of the lion will have the ounces of glory. A life without purpose, a life without passion and dedication will certainly be measured in years. It is the lowest measure of human achievement. But a life with a dedication to improve, to help and to hope is a life that sets a standard for all those around us. It creates immortality. Those who choose to tread this path have listened to the call of the righteous.