Now – The Gateway of Eternity
Allah’s protection and care is forever covering us. It is only we who go to the past and resurrect the dead. That is why the true mu’min regrets at the time, asks Allah’s forgiveness and moves on. We don’t constantly go and visit the scene of the crime. Expect the best of Allah and remember that one of His qualities as it is described in the Qur’an is al-‘Afuw. It is from the word ‘afā. It means effacing, obliterating, or wiping out, and hence, to pardon. From the same root ‘afuw comes ‘āfiyah, meaning wellbeing. The past doesn’t exist anymore because time, in reality, doesn’t exist. It is only as part of His ‘catchment’, so that we are in time and space yearning for non-time and non-space.
Though in reality the past does not exist, we are the product of it. In so far as we are the evidence it is relevant, but no more. The rest is mental sickness and the emotional stupidity of going back and forth in time – which robs us of presence. That is why one of the main conditions of a salāt that truly energizes us is hudūr (presence) of our hearts. That is why when we do wudu we stop connecting with the world and are now totally and utterly connected through our hearts and our rūh to our Creator – this helps us be present. All the ritual practices of Islam enhance our presence; they make us reflect and available totally. The only contact we have with Allah is now. Yesterday is of no use and we don’t know if we will be here tomorrow or not. The only gift we have is the present moment. If the moment is fully and utterly treasured then we are at the gateway of eternity.
By Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri from the book “Friday Discourse - Jum'ah Talks at the Rasooli Centre”