What should our understanding of New Year’s Day be? What should we do to question ourselves before we die?
Some people turn the New Year into the unreasonable philosophy of “just have fun and think of nothing else” screaming in joy and drinking alcoholic beverages as if they did not lose one year from their lifespan but rather added one year to it.
Maybe they are resorting to that cancellation of consciousness and reasoning in order not to ponder over one year that they have lost.
The Islamic scholars who consider time to be more precious than money never become consent with such unconsciousness. Rather, they insist that we must reckon how we spent the whole year. If you wish, we can listen to them and see what kind of an accounting we must do at the end of the year we spent.
Shibli, a great sufi, born in 334 according to Hijri calendar in Baghdad, addressed his followers in his every speech as follows:
-- O the voyagers to the hereafter that lose one year from their lifespan and come closer to their destination. Account yourself before you are called for accounting in the day of judgment.
One day a humble follower of Shibli, who begins his each sermon to people with the sentences above, asked him:
--You always suggest us to question our lives before the day of the resurrection comes. Will not we be asked to give account of our lives if we constantly question our life in earthly life?
--Yes, he replied. If someone lives always questioning his own life, he may not be asked to give an account of his life in the Hereafter. Our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says that “Question yourselves before the day of reckoning comes.” Then, the person always questioning himself may not be asked to give an account of his/her life during that great day. At least, his questioning becomes easy. Then, the man asking the query disciplines his life and begins to question his actions constantly. He tries to perform his religious duties regularly. He struggles to stay away from sins and seeks the ways to gain good deeds. That is to say, he decides not to commit deeds for which he cannot account. Then, one night he dreams of his Master Shibli riding on a white horse, and rising to heavens. He cries out after him:
-Oh my master! Please let me accompany you, he says. The answer of Shibli is so sharp: “I have managed to save myself from this prison once, and do you think I can wait here even for a moment?"
Having seen this dream, his student firstly goes directly to visit his master in order to work out the interpretation of this dream. Upon seeing the crowded people making preparations for a funeral in front of his master’s house, he immediately understands that his master has been freed from the prison called world into eternal palaces of the eternal life. And yet he grieves over the death of his master, and at that night he beseeches to his Creator so that he can see his master in his dream. Soon, he falls asleep and sees Shibli in his dream. And now he is before his master. His first question to him is the sentence always uttered by Shibli in his sermons.
-You used to live by questioning yourself, so could you become free from questioning there, what is your state now. He asks his master. Smiling slightly upon this query, his master replies: when the angels came to question me, Allah addressed them:
-“Do not ask my servant any questions because he would regularly make his accounting of his life in the world so he came completely clean here. Just look at his life pages, you can see there his accounting.” And Shibli advises his student to lead a life that is continuously questioned by yourself. Do not come here with such deeds that you cannot explain. It also can be said to you, “my servant came before me with clean pages of life. Only look at his deeds in his life pages.”
- How about making an accounting of our life at the end of the whole year we have spent and at the beginning of the year we will experience? Shall we seek repentance from the sins for which we will not be able to explain, and decide to quit all of them? Should we bother ourselves by trying to compensate for the prayers and good deeds we have missed? How about making these accountings during Christmas? Or should we repeat the same cliché “just seize the day, have fun and think of nothing else”, as if we won a year though in reality we lost one more year from our lifetime.
-Just seize the day, and think of nothing else! However, it should not be forgotten that the regret of those leading a life without thinking is becoming so great; and yet this grief is absolutely of no use. Therefore, let us take the decision in the New Year’s beginning that we will always make an accounting of our lives and contemplate over our actions. I wish you new years for which we can account.