Writers' Articles

Stopping in Time

Final check.  Okay got a red light. Plug it in. Trring... green light flashing... Trring Trring.  It just never seems to stop.  It's late, and he's had enough.  Finally, he let's his weary head rest on the pillow deciding to ignore the incoming emails on his work cell phone. 

The alarm goes off, and he wakes to another day in a grueling month of constant international visitors.  Out the door before the kids are even up for school, he hurries off to pick up the most recent visitor and make it to the first appointment in a marathon of meetings with customers.  After two long meetings, lunch isn't even a real moment of downtime because that too is a meeting.  With no time to digest, he slips away from his guest just long enough to squeeze in the noonday prayer before rushing off to fight the traffic in the hope of making it to the next customer on time.  He attends two more two or three hour meetings, squeezes in the prayers at the last minutes, and then goes back across town to have a late dinner with the visitor and drops him off at his hotel.  Once more he suffers through the traffic all the time wanting a moment of relief but knowing that even when he gets home the work will continue because he has to write the reports about the five meetings he attended today.  Unfortunately by the time he finally gets home and is happily greeted by his waiting family, he doesn't have the time or energy to complete three reports, much less five.  The work piles up for the next day, which will be the same intense routine as today up until he sends this visitor off to the airport in the afternoon. 

Trring... trring... his sleep is cut short by the sound of incoming emails.  The adhan hasn't even read, and he is turning on the lights and writing replies.  He's conscious of the extreme imbalance in the activities in his life, but pushes on in the hopes that after today he can get some rest and the pace of work will mellow out to something manageable.  

Finally, the last meeting ends.  He says his farewell shaking the hands of his very pleased visitor and customer.  Making it back to his car, he at last stops to take a deep breath knowing that tomorrow will be different.  He starts the car and makes off to get home before the traffic starts.  Just as he is about to reach the road to the highway, he sees a masjid and remembers that he hasn't prayed the late afternoon prayer yet.  Judging that he has plenty of time left to catch the prayer, he continues on toward the comfort of home where he intends to pray. 

The early start had yielded the easy traffic he had anticipated.  Just one more exit and ten minutes later he'll be home.  Smoothly changing lanes, nothing like the past months of speed, maneuvers, and aggressive driving, he prepares to exit.  What's that! A man in the road! HONK!! HONK!! Evasive maneuvers! Why is the man running toward my lane?!!! Evasive maneuver!  The front of the car passes.  Nothing.... IMPACT!!!!  The windshield on the passenger side caves... glass everywhere!  Legs whirl upward into the air.  THUD!! The roof of the car resounds with a passing weight.  Tires screech to a long stop after the speed from the flow of traffic on the highway.  He flies out of the car.  "Where is the body?" he thinks.  Nothing's in the road but a shoe.  He runs way back finding a young man sitting slumped over on the curve.  Other than being a bit dazed, he seems fine.  The police and an ambulance arrive.  The shoeless fellow is off to the hospital, and he is off to the police station.   He calls home to say he'll be late not indicating what just happened.  Taken to the hospital for a breath test, he finds the chance to ask about the young man.  His heart goes out to him, and he hopes he's okay.  He slips a good sum of money into the jacket pocket of this penniless fellow that was foolishly crossing the highway on his way to another city for work.  Escorted back to the police station to wait for the completion of the paperwork, he lingers in the shock of it all. 

"How could this happen? Why couldn't I stop in time?" he reflects upon how hard it is to believe that it occurred and all the things that would have to line up for all the factors of that moment to meet in one place and time.  But there's no denying the dent in the hood of the car, the broken windshield, the person in the hospital, or the police report being filed. 

It's dark outside now.  From all the chaos, he hadn't even heard the adhan.  A cold chill pours over him. "Why didn't I stop in time?" he whispers to himself as he remembers that he never prayed the late afternoon prayer.  He drove right by that masjid.  He could have done it then and there.  He might have avoided all this.  He was so sure he had time.  He was going to pray when he got home.  Oh... what a dreadful choice that was!  Hastily he gets to his feet and takes permission to catch the evening prayer and make up for the one he already missed.  Full of regret, he humbles himself before his Lord and asks for forgiveness intending never to make that mistake again. 


As recorded in Tirmidhi, Abu Hurairah related that Rasulullah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: 

The first item in respect of which a person shall be called to account

on the Day of Judgement is


If that is found in order, he would be successful and prosper,

but if that is not in order, he shall be ruined and lost.

In case of shortcomings in his obligations the Lord of Honor and Glory will say,

"Look, if among the voluntary actions of my slave there is anything that would make up the shortcomings in respect of his obligations."

All his obligations shall then be checked in that manner.  




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