I have a bucket list, and I think everyone else in the world should, too. Many times we live as if we will never die. But we will die. It is inevitable. Ever since we were born, we are on a path towards an ever-approaching and certain death. And most of us would like to accomplish some things before we go. Thus, the bucket list is a reminder for myself to set my priorities straight.
Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “Remember frequently the thing that cuts off pleasures– death.” (at-Tirmidhi)
I’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of Al-Ghazali’s Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife from the Ihya, but I am hesitant as I have been known to get into deep depressions when I read books about the afterlife and the Last Days. For some reason, I tend to shut down, and just cry. To many friends, I become “boring” as I don’t want to do anything “fun”. And it’s all because the temporality of life has become that much more apparent! But I believe that this is the point of remembering death…it helps you to focus on the things that matter most…
Ibn ‘Umar (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “It is not right for a Muslim who has anything to bequeath to spend two nights without having a written will in his possession.”(Bukhari and Muslim, this is the variant in al-Bukhari)
Enter bucket list! On my bucket list are a myriad of things, from learning Arabic to growing a garden to actually making a will (Hey! This is a reminder to myself first before it’s a reminder to you, dear reader! That’s why I have the bucket list!). There’s also learning how to make sushi (which I’m happy to say, I have mastered to my personal satisfaction) and learning to how to make yummy Persian/Iranian food. But most importantly, I would love to accomplish knowing by heart the entire 30th juz of the Qur’an, and the 99 Asma’ul Husna. This knowledge by heart entails memorization, understanding, and the ability to explain each ayah. I’ll probably have to enroll myself in a madrasa for this as I tend to have difficulty focusing myself in the study of Arabic without peer pressure. Once I have those down pack insh’Allah, I’m off to learning the Six Saving Surahs (you know, Al-Mulk, Al-Kahf, Ar-Rahman, Al-Dukhan, Ya-Sin, and Al-Waqiah), with a couple of my favorites as well–Al-Muzzamil, Al-Hashr, and a very special ayah from Surah Al-Nur (24:35), which is responsible for my acceptance of Allah as my Lord, Muhammad as my messenger, and Islam as my way of life.
Ibn ‘Umar (ra) said, “The Messenger of Allah (saws) took me by the shoulder and said, ‘Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a wayfarer/traveler’.” (Bukhari)
The few goals that I have presented to you so far on my bucket list (which totals about 20 things) are a matter of practice. And practice makes perfect. The other few that are equally important to me (because there are a few listed items which are trivial that made their way on the list), are successfully parenting my daughter to be a muslimah, muh’sina, and mu’minah, insh’Allah, and doing something meaningful that will give me continual reward after I’m gone. I would like to write a book or more. And if you have been paying close enough attention to my previous posts, you’ll notice that a certain Qudsiyya theme keeps coming up. Insh’Allah if I am blessed to live ’til the end of this Ramadan, you’ll find me on pilgrimmage in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam that Muslims are recommended to sojourn to by numerous hadiths.
So if you do find me a bit quiet on the blog sometimes, just know that it is because I am busy trying to fulfill some things on my bucket list, insh’Allah. I can tell you that, insh’Allah, you will be hearing a lot from me in September as I blog each day of my experience in the Holy Land for my family, friends, and other curious wayfarers to follow. I will be there for the last days of Ramadan and Shawwal insh’Allah, for a total of twenty days. Thus, in preparation for this trip and the blessed month of Ramadan that is less than a month away, I am a bit of a bumble bee. I am trying to knock out all of the books that I want to read, such as Tariq Ramadan’s In the Footsteps of the Prophet and Ibn Kathir’s Stories of the Prophets, before I completely consume myself in reading the Qur’an during Ramadan. I am journeying to the land of all of the prophets (pbut), insh’Allah. It is only befitting that I know their stories before I embark in their footsteps…
And after that, I’ll be content to make hajj and umrah in Saudi Arabia, visit the Prophet’s (saws) blessed relics in Topkapi Palace, Turkey, see the great mosques of Andalusia, Spain, and visit mi patria, Puerto Rico, for once in my life, insh’Allah.
The whole premise of this blog is to account for my life as a wayfarer on the road in seeking the pleasure of Allah, insh’Allah. It is my hope that the words that I write here and that will insh’Allah be written in books published someday will be a bequest of to you from me. Abu Hurayra (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for 3: an ongoing sadaqah, knowledge by which others benefit, and a child who prays for him/her.” So if you ask me if I’m dying, the honest answer is “yes”, and so are you. And I’m dying for you to pass on the wisdoms I’ve gleaned from the myriad of human experiences that have come before me and you. May the transparency of information-sharing on the blogosphere be a sadaqa jariya for us both. And may we fill our bucket lists with that which is wholesome and good for ourselves and others. Amin.