I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“My Lord! Bestow Hukm (Wisdom) on me, and join me with the righteous. And grant me an honorable mention in later generations. And make me one of the inheritors of the Paradise of Delight.”Qur’an 26:83-85
Each man was born without a record and depending on his duration on the face of earth, he leaves this world with records of his deeds and actions written for or against him. History bears testimony to two categories of people; those whose existence was a blessing not only to themselves but to those who lived around them, and those whose existence was nothing but a catastrophe and a calamity. There will always be this dichotomy viz-a-viz the two types of forces; the forces of good and the forces of evil.
Every morning that man wakes up, he is faced with a new card to play with and depending on how he plays it, he either draws closer to Allaah or gets farther away from Him. This has been alluded to by the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said, “Every person starts his day as a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or causing its ruin.” Sahih Muslim. Undoubtedly, it is the culmination of each day of a person’s life that defines his worth when he is alive and even after he is long gone, buried beneath the sod. This was aptly captured in a statement famously attributed to Imam Ash-Shafi’ that, “some people have passed away but their character has kept them alive, others are alive, but their character has killed them.”
Obviously, living a life of piety and righteousness was the dominant aspiration of all the messengers of Allaah and coupled with that, was the desire to leave behind a worthy legacy. The verse of the Qur’an referenced above is a convenient one to demonstrate how passionate Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was, in wanting to leave behind a worthy legacy. He is the best of all Prophets after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), yet he asked Allaah may He be Exalted, in the words of the Qur’an, “And grant me an honorable mention in later generations…” Ibn Katheer, under the Tafseer of this verse said that it means, `cause me to be remembered in a good manner after my death, so that I will be spoken of and taken as a good example.’
For this reason, it is pertinent upon each individual to seek the company of the righteous while alive and even strive to be from among the righteous. Each step taken, each word spoken, each word not spoken, each gesture of either approval or disapproval, each inaction, each advocacy or inadvocacy, are all part of the history man leaves behind for later generations. Someone said it so eloquently that, ‘those who will come after us will be better than us or worse than us because of us.”
Furthermore, it should be the desire of each person to see that he is conscious of his actions because whether he is aware that his existence affects others either positively or negatively or he is unaware of that, the fact still remains, that man does not live in isolation and as such he forms the fabric of the society he lives in. Allaah, may He be Exalted, says; “So, let not this present life deceive you, and let not the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allaah .Qur’an 35:5. Again, Ibn Katheer in commenting on this verse said, it means, `this life is as nothing in compare to the great good that Allaah has promised to His close friends and the followers of His Messengers, so do not let these transient attractions distract you from that which is lasting.’
In conclusion, whatever we are doing, the world is watching, some are desperate (seeking for means of survival) so they do not talk, while others are dignified (minding their business) so they do not talk, but be rest assured that the world is watching. Each person has a choice to either strive to leave behind a worthy legacy or a worthless one.
Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, is the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd & a Lecturer at Baze University, Abuja. Twitter: @Penabdull Instagram: @Penabdul