We all have wishes that we strive to accomplish in our lives. It’s a natural part of human existence. We wake up each morning hoping for those dreams to come true. We work hard for them, we speak of them. We feel proud to accomplish them, and jealousy hold onto them when they come into our possession.

Wishes differ from one person to another and are influenced by such things as education, culture, friends, and personal needs.  A poor person, for example, wishes to be rich; a sick person wishes to be healthy; a traveler wishes to return home safely; and so on.

We live in a time, however, where there is confusion about what to wish for. People are constantly being bombarded with images and messages that are intended to influence what we want, often without any regard to their morality or true benefit.

A Muslim’s wishes, therefore, should be elevated and guided by faith. The Prophet (PBUH) said:  “You do not fully believe unless your desires are subordinate to what I have brought,”[1] that is, inspired and directed by his teachings as found in the Quran and Sunnah.  It’s important to remember that all the teachings of the Prophet (SAAW) are meant to provide us with true benefit. We really need to remind ourselves of that very often. As long as our wishes are wholesome and lawful, there is no harm in harboring them or in pursuing them. But when we permit forbidden wishes and desires to enter our hearts, we invite imminent danger. The Prophet (SAAW) said: “If someone wishes for something, let him think carefully about what he wishes for because he does not know what would be written of his wishes.[2]

I want to share with you two types of wishes:  Wishes of people we look up to, and wishes of people who traveled into the Hereafter.

When Omar Ibn Al Khattab asked people what they wished for, some said gold, and others said wealth to be spent for the sake of Allah. Omar Ibn Al Khattab said, “I wish for more men like Abu Obaidah Ibn Al Jarrah, Muaz Ibn Jabal, and Salem the servant of Huzthaifah to raise the name of Allah high.”  Omar knew that the best investment was in people, and that righteous leadership is the best thing to wish for.

There is a true story of four men (three of whom were brothers), Abdullah Ibn Al Zubair, Musaa’b Ibn Al Zubair, Urwah Ibn Al Zubair, and Abdel Malik Ibn Marwan. They each had desires to accomplish something. Abdullah, Musaa’b, and Abdel Malik wished to govern lands, but Urwah said, “I wish to be a scholar so people could learn their religion from me and so that I will be granted Paradise in the Hereafter.”  Urwah managed his wishes very well. He understood that the rule of knowledge tops any other type of rule, for knowledge is the badge of honor in this life and in the Hereafter. Allah (SW) said: {Allah shall raise in station those among you who sincerely believe and who comply; and He shall raise greatly in rank those who have sought and been given knowledge.} (Quran, 58:11).

It has been narrated by Ibrahim Ibn Yazid Al A’bdi: the scholar Riyah Al Qaisi said, “Let us visit people of the Hereafter.” When we sat next to the graves, he said, “What would you think these people would wish for if given a chance?” I said, “For Allah to bring them back to life to correct what was wrong!” Riyah said, “My brother, you and I are still in this life, shall we start to correct what is wrong?”

Evildoers who have died wish dearly to come back to life so they could acquire good deeds and ask Allah (SW) for forgiveness. Allah (SW) said: {People disbelieve until when death comes to one of them, he says [in regret]: My Lord! Return me [to life in the world], so that I may do righteousness [and believe] in what I [previously] left behind.} 23:99. When we learn for a fact these are the wishes of people who neglected doing good deeds in this life, we then should be more eager to do what is right every single day of our lives before we inevitably die.

The Prophet (SAAW) once passed by a grave and said: “Whose grave is this?” The companions replied, “This is the grave of so and so.”  The Prophet (SAAW) said, “A prayer of two Rak’at is more beloved to him now than all this life.”[3]

People of righteous deeds have dramatically different wishes in their graves. They wish for time to pass by quickly so they could enter Paradise sooner. This is because they have experienced something of the bliss of paradise in their graves and want it with even greater hope and anticipation. The Prophet (SAAW) described what happens to the believers in their graves, “The grave will be spacious as far as their eyes can see. And a handsome looking, well dressed and well fragranced person would visit them in their graves. This person will say, ‘Be happy! For this day, you will be pleased; this is the day you were promised.’ The believer will say, ‘Who are you? Your face brings glad tidings!’ That person will say, ‘I am your good deeds.’ The believer will say, ‘O Allah, start the Day of Judgement, O Allah, start the Day of Judgement.[4]

Now, even when speaking about wishes, let us not forget that they remain merely wishes when one does not act upon them.  The Prophet (SAAW) said: Clever is the one who holds himself responsible and acts for the life after death.  Heedless is the one who surrenders to his inner desires and [irresponsibly] has vain wishes for things from Allah.”[5]

Let us wish for righteousness to accompany us and our families. Let us wish for Allah’s guidance along the path. Let us wish for Paradise to be our destiny. Let us wish for peace, safety, and justice not only for ourselves, but for all.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha

 

[1] Narrated by Al-Tabarani

[2] Narrated by Ahmad

[3] Narrated by Al-Tabarani

[4] Narrated by Ahmad

[5] Narrated by Al-Hakem