Islamic Perspectives

Abu Bakr to Umar on his deathbed

When the first Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq was on his deathbed, he called Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, and said:

Fear Allah O Umar, and know that Allah has deeds to be done for Him in the day which He will not accept if done at night, and He has deeds to be done for Him at night which He will not accept if done during the day. He will not accept extra (nafilah) deeds unless you fulfill the obligatory (fard) deeds. The scales of those whose scales will be weighty on the Day of Resurrection will only be weighty because they followed the truth in this life and it was weighty to them. And scales in which the truth will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be heavy. And the scales of those whose scales will be light on the Day of Resurrection will only be light because they followed falsehood in this life and it was a light matter to them. And scales in which falsehood will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be light.

Allah, the Exalted, has mentioned the people of Paradise and mentioned them in the context of their best deeds, and overlooked their evil deeds, so when I remember them I say to myself: I fear that I will not be included with them. And Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Hell and mentioned them in the context of their worst deeds and rejected their best deeds, so when I remember them I say: I hope I won’t be amongst them. Allah’s worshippers should always be in a state of hope and fear, they shouldn’t wish flimsy wishes about Allah and neither should they despair of Allah’s mercy.

If you keep to this advice of mine, no one who is not with you now should be more beloved to you than death - and it is sure to come to you. But if you disregard this advice, no one who is not with you now should be more hated to you than death - and you cannot escape it.

(Abu Nu’aym, Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 1, p. 18;
Ibn Al-Jawzi, Sifah Al-Safwah)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 August 2015 on page no. 20

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