To those alive. To those who have stood on a knife edge between life and death, and tipped towards life. To those who have been forced to gaze into the gaping chasm of death from the vista of life, and eschewed it all the same. To those who, after between beaten and battered by hardships, have considered suicide, and have said no. To you all, perhaps belongs the greatest of all victories – God’s reward.
In the moment of hardship, when your face is swollen from the beatings of life, optimism and positivity is overpowered by the yoke of suffering. In the moment when one mourns the death of a loved one, combats a terminal illness, or any other hardship, comfort and happiness exist only as the unborn moon; present and real, but with no influence or guidance. Such is the reality of suffering; it overpowers any positive emotion. The individual is thus left in bitter combat with a maelstrom of negativity and sadness.
It is in these moments that the individual is presented with a tremendous opportunity. The opportunity is perhaps no less that Paradise itself. To fight against hardship, endure and uphold God’s command is to convey the utmost dedication to it, made possible only when conviction occupies every recess and crevice of one’s existence. When Satan whispers and inclines one toward sin and unholy coping mechanisms, even suicide itself, he tempts the individual with liberty from suffering, albeit a false and ephemeral liberty, which quickly cascades into further grief and dissatisfaction. But the believer is granted a vantage point, enabling them to see beyond the momentary comfort that Satan offers, and gaze at however much of God’s Mercy a human may fathom. This vantage point is only accessible through a trying staircase, built from countless hours of prayer, reflection and remembrance of God. Thus, to see through the façade of Satan’s temptations even when enduring suffering and hardship is in itself a testimony to the piety of the individual.
In that moment of pure insight, the individual actualises the human potential, at least in part. They ascend beyond the material, and connect with a realm of interconnectivity between all things.
To understand the potential that a moment of hardship holds is incredibly difficult, and to act upon it is even more challenging, but very possible all the same. Perhaps to help one realise this potential, one may perceive their present moment as the pinnacle of their existence, as the crucible of their destiny. Whatever the hardship may be, or indeed whatever ease there may be, the human never exits the shadow of death. An abrupt death may be awaiting mere moments away from any experience; the knowledge is only with God. And so God may give His fading servant a moment of redemption, a moment where the servant may ascend to the vantage point of insight, and see through the stylistic but hollow temptations of Satan, in doing so fulfilling the human potential. Death may then greet the servant, and they may then be given the Glad Tidings.
It is important to consider death for a moment and what it encapsulates. It is the most significant conclusion, the most decisive of endings. It is the end of the human condition, and everything that has shaped it. From Adam, Cain and Abel, the flood of Noah, the dominion of Solomon, the suffering of Jonah, the patronage of Abraham, the passion of Moses, the healing of Jesus, and the endgame of Muhammed, death is the moment which closes the human condition off from all that is in this present world. One’s collection of deeds are complete and are sent forth for Divine Reckoning. Maybe this is why, when asked of the exact timing of the Day of Judgement, the Quran’s response is to instruct the questioner to fear the Judgement itself, for the timing is inconsequential for the individual. The world ends with you.
And so, in considering what death is, the individual when faced with hardship is given a handhold to fervently grip onto as they face an onslaught of suffering, and ascend to the vantage point of insight, thus providing the opportunity to fulfil the human potential.
To those alive, in the condition of suffering, you are ascending to the vantage point of insight. God is your firmest handhold. No other pleasure, friend or thing has the enduring presence of God’s Mercy.