The skin has wrinkled, the bones have softened, and the hair is colored, yet the enthusiasm for sins, the pleasure of disobedience, and the neglect of the hereafter have not dwindled. This is our state – the uncles of the Muslim Ummah.

It is quite saddening to note that despite the reality dawning upon us with every passing day, we do not stop to reflect on what answer we will have when we return to Allah. Elderly Muslims today – men and women – have so much time to kill in Haraam activities than do anything useful at all.

Oh, but the television shows have to be religiously followed! The latest movies, the new controversies in the media, the year-long sports events, the celebrity news, and (how can one forget) the gossip and backbiting all need our time!

Unfortunately, we are drowned in sins. And to add to that we constantly backbite to destroy whatever negligible good deeds we have.

The companion Amr Bin Al-As said, “…I am amazed at one who spots an impurity in the eye of another but is unable to detect it in his/her own eye, or who attempts to remove a grudge from another’s heart while making no attempt to remove grudges from his/her own heart…” (Al-Bukhari, Book of Manners, no. 1295)

Just as this article is being read, innumerable number of people would be breathing their last. If today we were to be called into account for what we have done, what would be our state? How prepared are we? Are we actually worrying about our own future and working towards making Jannah our goal?

O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, so you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did).” (Qur’an, 84:6)

We must be thankful for the blessing of time that Allah has given us. It must be used as much as possible to do good deeds and to repent to Allah because once this time is taken away from us, we never will have a second chance. Does that ring a bell? We will never have another chance to do good deeds or seek forgiveness.

“And if you only could see when the sinners shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): ‘Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back (to the world),  we will do righteous good deeds. Verily! We now believe with certainty.’” (Qur’an, 32:12)

Life is Allah’s blessing. Some curse it, some are too busy enjoying it, and others make good use of it. No matter how one lives it, life in this world will come to an end. The one who curses it will also die and the one who utilizes it will also die.

The truly fortunate are those who made good use of it – those who left this world well-prepared for the long journey toward the eternal.

As for him who will be given his Record in his right hand, he surely will receive an easy reckoning and will return to his family in joy!” (Qur’an, 84:7-9)

It delights me to see those elderly who are so constant and busy in good deeds – making as much as possible with the time they have. I see extremely old men, helped with associates, in the front row of prayer, five times a day, and seven days a week. I wonder why I, with a healthier body and freer time, cannot do that.

Indeed, being guided to worship Allah is itself a tremendous blessing. This blessing is not granted to someone who is enthusiastically committing sins. Indeed, there cannot be a greater punishment than being turned away from Allah’s obedience and from the sweetness of His worship, which is the only good that this temporary world has.

So, what can people like me do? Plenty.
1. Get our life in order. The time to rise and the time to go to bed. Sleep early and wake up in the last part of the night for Tahajjud to pray with full khushoo’. If we don’t do it now, we’ll never be able to do it.
2. Be early to the prayers in the mosque. Don’t wait for the Iqamah. Be there as soon as the Adhan is given. Pray the Nawafil and wait for the prayer while doing Dhikr and Istighfar.
3. Always remember Allah is watching. So keep making du’a to Him every now and then.
4. Use your talents to benefit the Ummah. If you know Tajweed, then teach it to children. Or if you are proficient in a worldly subject, tutor children for free, for the sake of Allah. The knowledge taught to others will benefit us even after we pass away.
5. Spend time learning Islam. The Sahabah would learn the religion even though they were old. And then implement what you’ve learned.
6. Community service. If there’s some service you could organize for your community or contribute to society, then do it. Get people around, contribute, and do small projects. It could be anything from collecting food for the poor to organize a seminar or a get-together.

– By Zakir Hussain