Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lasting Impressions

Check out my friend's motivating article in the latest edition of Sisters magazine:

Have you ever stood by a pond and thrown a pebble into it? Didn't it create an infinite number of ripples? Similarly, over the span of our lives, every one of us is constantly creating a series of unending ripples by our words, actions, presence and personality.

This ripple-effect stays long after we are gone or our action is over, in the form of traces and impressions, and continues to influence and inspire others. Thus, the chain continues.

Allah (SWT)states:

"... We record whatever deeds they have sent ahead, and the traces (aathaarahum) which they left behind; for of all things do we take account in a clear record." (Surah Ya-sin 36:12)

We know that Allah (SWT) is meticulous in His Accountability and fair in His Judgment. Thus, He informs us that His recording includes everything big and small, exposed or concealed, good and bad with numerical clarity. He (SWT) records not just deeds but also the traces, impact and impressions of those deeds, with precision.

"Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it. Whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it." (Surah az-Zalzalah 99: 7-8)

Everyday, whatever we do is presented to Allah (SWT). What remains are the impressions, and these we will find in our Book on the Day of Accountability. Therefore, with the right intention, knowledge and actions we can strive to leave impressions that just might play an important role in tipping the scale in our favour.

The Arabic word,'Aathaar' cannot be translated into one word in English as it encompasses various sublime concepts depending on the context in which it is used:

1. Impression of a deed on one's body - for example, tasbeeh on fingers. The Prophet (SAW) said, "Count on your fingers, for they will be asked, and will be made to speak."

2. Impression of our body on the environment - for example, footsteps on the way to the masjid. The Prophet (SAW) said, "...And your footsteps will be recorded." [Bukhari]

3. Effects of direct instruction or imparting knowledge. "When the son of Adam dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: knowledge which is beneficial to others, a righteous child who prays for him, or an ongoing charity which he leaves behind." (Muslim)

4. Effects of setting an example or through inspiring others. "Whoever starts (or sets an example of) something good in Islam, will have a reward for it. And a reward equal to that of everyone who does it after him, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest..." [Muslim]

5. Direct impact of a deed performed and its continuation. "...An ongoing charity which he leaves behind." [Muslim]

Continue here for tips on things to do to leave lasting impressions.

No comments: