A few years ago I met an Asian man with a high spirited attitude. We had a brief conversation and he talked to me about his career and how he is a martial artist sensei. He even showed me a couple of moves. Along the course of our conversation he expressed how he admires my positive attitude and my high expectation in life. He then started telling me how important it is to focus in life. He gave me the example of a waterfall. He said, “when water keeps falling onto one spot of the rock, it will eventually create a groove in that rock. And if it keeps falling in that same spot long enough, it will eventually create a hole in that rock” This is common sense, but I have never looked at it that way. Even water, something extraordinarily delicate compared to a rock, can create a groove and sometimes even break huge boulders!
Ever since then, the concept of focusing lingered within me. If a person aims for a good education in life, he/she must go through the hassles of getting that education. If he/she wants a bachelor degree, a M.A. , or a Ph.D., He/she must focus on schooling and on all the means and tools that would facilitate reaching for that goal. If the focus starts to decrease, the interest gradually diminishes, and the grades could start falling. Eventually, she/he might drop out of school if the focus is totally lost. This same exact concept applies to our spirituality and purpose of life. We must stay focused on why we are here and the goal we are trying to achieve after this life on earth. If we lose the focus, we miss the goal, and reach another destination. We are here for a very specific reason and this earthly life is our final chance to redeem ourselves and attain salvation. Let’s not stop focusing on this ultimate goal:
[19:66] The human being asks, "After I die, do I come back to life?
[19:67] Did the human being forget that we created him already, and he was nothing?
[19:68] By your Lord, we will certainly summon them, together with the devils, and will gather them around Hell, humiliated.
[43:5] Should we just ignore the fact that you have transgressed the limits?
[7:172] Recall that your Lord summoned all the descendants of Adam, and had them bear witness for themselves: "Am I not your Lord?" They all said, "Yes. We bear witness." Thus, you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, "We were not aware of this."
[33:72] We have offered the responsibility (freedom of choice) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they refused to bear it, and were afraid of it. But the human being accepted it; he was transgressing, ignorant.*
We must focus on who our god is!
[2:163] Your god is one god; there is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
The Quran sets a beautiful example of a blessing that was given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They all earned the blessing of being aware of the Hereafter. This gift kept them focused as to why they are here on earth and who their god is! It also helped keeping them from losing their righteousness or falling into the category of disbelief.
[38:45] Remember also our servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were resourceful, and possessed vision.
[38:46] We bestowed upon them a great blessing: awareness of the Hereafter.
Prophet Abraham questioned the divinity of the statues that his tribe made up (37:86), he was even thrown into the fire (21:69) for breaking those statues. He went through persecution but steadfastly persevered and stayed focused on God and the Hereafter. The following verses briefly symbolize Abraham's absolute devotion, focus, and certainty about the Hereafter:
[26:78] "The One who created me, and guided me.
[26:79] "The One who feeds me and waters me.
[26:80] "And when I get sick, He heals me.
[26:81] "The One who puts me to death, then brings me back to life.
[26:82] "The One who hopefully will forgive my sins on the Day of Judgment.
[26:83] "My Lord, grant me wisdom, and include me with the righteous.
[26:84] "Let the example I set for the future generations be a good one.
[26:87] "And do not forsake me on the Day of Resurrection."
Similarly, Jacob lost his son, Joseph, and he grieved about that for the longest time. His eyes turned white because he was so saddened by this loss (12:84). But through all the struggle and grief, what did Jacob say?
[12:87] "O my sons, go fetch Joseph and his brother, and never despair of GOD's grace. None despairs of GOD's grace except the disbelieving people."
Jacob kept his focus on God the whole time, he never despaired! He was focused on the Hereafter despite his grief and when he wanted to complain about his loss, he complained to God, and no one else:
[12:85] They said, "By GOD, you will keep on grieving over Joseph until you become ill, or until you die."
[12:86] He said, "I simply complain to GOD about my dilemma and grief, for I know from GOD what you do not know.
Prophet Joseph, himself, was suffering from the jealousy and hatred of his brothers. They threw him into the well in order to get rid of him. He was then found and sold through slavery. Then, he was thrown into the prison because the governor’s wife schemed against him. But things turned around for him and he did not lose focus on God. Eventually, Joseph was working for the king and he brought his whole family to Egypt . Joseph said:
[12:100] He raised his parents upon the throne. They fell prostrate before him. He said, "O my father, this is the fulfillment of my old dream. My Lord has made it come true. He has blessed me, delivered me from the prison, and brought you from the desert, after the devil had driven a wedge between me and my brothers. My Lord is Most Kind towards whomever He wills. He is the Knower, the Most Wise."
Jesus spoke as an infant from the crib and proclaimed that he will focus on God and lead a righteous life for as long as he lives!
[19:30] (The infant spoke and) said, "I am a servant of GOD. He has given me the scripture, and has appointed me a prophet.
[19:31] "He made me blessed wherever I go, and enjoined me to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat) for as long as I live.
Job went through a severe phase of sickness. He was being tested to see whether he will lose focus on God or not. Despite his illness, Job said:
[21:83] And Job implored his Lord: "Adversity has befallen me, and, of all the merciful ones, You are the Most Merciful."
Job did not rebel. He did not say “God, why are you doing this to me?” He did not lose his focus trying to heal himself. No! He put his trust in God to be healed (21:84). He turned to God complaining about his illness. He did not lose focus on who his god was! He knew that he will ultimately return to God because he was a submitter.
Prophet Solomon almost lost his focus on God by paying too much attention to one of his material passions in life, and as soon as he realized that, he repented and God rewarded him for his superior submitting qualities:
[38:30] To David we granted Solomon; a good and obedient servant.
[38:31] One day he became preoccupied with beautiful horses, until the night fell.
[38:32] He then said, "I enjoyed the material things more than I enjoyed worshiping my Lord, until the sun was gone.
[38:33] "Bring them back." (To bid farewell,) he rubbed their legs and necks.
[38:34] We thus put Solomon to the test; we blessed him with vast material wealth, but he steadfastly submitted.
[38:35] He said, "My Lord, forgive me, and grant me a kingship never attained by anyone else. You are the Grantor."
[38:36] We (answered his prayer and) committed the wind at his disposal, pouring rain wherever he wanted.
[38:37] And the devils, building and diving.
[38:38] Others were placed at his disposal.
[38:39] "This is our provision to you; you may give generously, or withhold, without limits."
[38:40] He has deserved an honorable position with us, and a wonderful abode.
All of these prophets never lost focus on who their god was or drifted away from their real goal in life. We must all learn from these examples and heed the guidance. Irrespective of our adversities and persecution, or our prosperity and success on this earth, we should never lose focus on what we are here for in order to be able to seek all the ways and means of reaching our ultimate goal ; attaining salvation. Never lose focus on God. Let us not end up like those who are not aware of their return to God, and forgot who their god is, and what they are here for!
[45:34] It will be proclaimed: "Today we forget you, just as you forgot the meeting of this day. Your abode is the hellfire, and you will have no helpers.
[45:35] "This is because you took GOD's revelations in vain, and were preoccupied with the first life." Consequently, they will never exit therefrom, nor will they be excused.
[7:51] Those who do not take their religion seriously, and are totally preoccupied with this worldly life, we forget them on that day, because they forgot that day, and because they spurned our revelations.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.