Once I came across a picture in Facebook. It was a picture taken during a tour to a foreign country. A comment below the picture said, “Life to its fullest.”
I have to admit that this phrase “life to its fullest” or “enjoy life to its fullest” has become a buzz phrase. I have seen this phrase being used in blogs and in Facebook.
When people are visiting some exotic places, enjoying their time in beautiful hotels and beaches, visiting museums and monuments -they feel that they are enjoying their life to its fullest.
Enjoying life to its fullest is not only a phrase. It is a philosophy. This philosophy depicts a utopian world where you enjoy every moment of your life. This philosophy advocates that since you only have one life to live, you must squeeze out as many moments as you can from your life to have fun. This philosophy says that you are a loser unless you can have everything your soul desires.
I once tried to introduce Islam to a German friend (Alhamdulillah, I have discovered that he became a Muslim) of mine and I began the discussion with this question, “Brother, what is the purpose of this life?” “Fun” was his answer.
Yes, you got to have fun. Unless you have fun, you cannot enjoy your life.
So what exactly is enjoying life to its fullest? From what I have observed, I have deduced that to majority of people enjoying life means having a boyfriend or a girlfriend, going out for dating, watching movies, shopping, eating out in different restaurants, touring different places every summer, being cool and popular among your own clique of friends, listening to music, owning a fancy vehicle and cool gadgets, having a fashion sense, having a great career, and doing anything that serves the desire.
Once this utopian picture of life gets drilled into the head, a person directs all his energy and intelligence to earn money. Because according to the philosophy of enjoying life to its fullest, money is the yard stick of success. Money equates to security and at the same time, money is also the means of attaining things that are necessary to have fun and enjoy life to its fullest.
Therefore, the philosophy of enjoying life to its fullest reduces the whole life into the following triangle: earn money, secure life, enjoy life.
Although the philosophy promises a perfect and secure utopian life, the philosophy has a fatal flaw that renders the philosophy to a complete failure.
The flaw is that this philosophy never talks about death, hereafter, gratefulness to Allah and accountability to Him. In fact, this philosophy actively encourages people to forget death and accountability to Allah. This deliberate absentmindedness about death and accountability to Allah is the main pillar of this philosophy. Because remembering death and accountability to Allah are the prime obstacles to worship desire and enjoy life to its fullest.
But the question is: can you overcome death and accountability to Allah?
The answer is: You cannot.
When you cannot defeat something, you can either accept it or you may forget it by living in denial.
Why do you think people spend so much of their energy and effort to make this life more attractive and more comfortable despite knowing that they can enjoy it for sixty to seventy years?
Why people always research about the next gadget or the car and think that they have to upgrade to the next model?
Why do you think Christians have invented the false consolation that God sacrificed his son for the sin of humanity which will enable them to go to heaven just by belief?
Why do you think people become atheists?
Why do you think there is no difference between the lifestyle of a Christian and an atheist today?
Why do you think people believe in incarnation and agnosticism and all sorts of non-sense ideas?
Why do you think Muslims pick and choose from their religion?
Why today 95% of the people find talk about death boring and offensive? Why cannot people gracefully accept the old age?
Why today the sovereignty of people is worshiped over the sovereignty of Allah?
All of these questions have simple answers.
To forget the fleeting nature of this worldly life.
To enjoy worldly pleasures without any restriction.
To have fun.
To worship desire.
To forget death.
To live in denial.
To forget afterlife.
To forget accountability to Allah.
However, despite all the efforts of denying death and creating a secured utopian world, everyone knows that the life of this world is never secured. Allah said in the Quran:
And put forward to them the example of the life of this world, it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything. [The Noble Quran 18:45]
The life of this world is exactly like how Allah has described it in this verse. The shadow of death, trials, and tribulations always hover over the head.
So what if you are a billionaire? Who can protect you from death? Who can protect you from a calamity like a terminal disease?
No one except Allah!
But human beings still want to forget the reality of death and accountability to Allah and enjoy this life without any restriction.
Consequently, the situation of those who cling to the philosophy of enjoying life to its fullest become like a rabbit that has discovered himself in front of a wolf. The rabbit knows that the wolf will soon kill it, but it denies the reality by closing its eyes. After closing its eyes, the rabbit thinks that there is nothing in front of him. This is a wishful thinking and it is of no avail, as the wolf will soon kill the rabbit.
Those people, to whom enjoying the pleasures of this world is the main goal of life, in their heart knows for sure that something is amiss, and despite enjoying a lot pleasures of this world, the denial of the ultimate reality of death and accountability always troubles them subconsciously and they can never be happy.
But for those who have accepted the reality of death and accountability to Allah, can they enjoy life to its fullest?
The answer is yes.
In his lecture Embracing the Inner Struggle, Abdur Raheem Green talked about how we can attain true happiness and inner peace.
If you buy an iphone today, you will be happy today. But will this iphone give you any sense of achievement or joy five years from now? The answer is no. Probably you will even forget how happy you were one day after buying this iphone.
But if you achieve something for the sake of Allah today (memorizing a juz of the Quran for example), you will continue to feel a sense of achievement and happiness till you die. Because you had struggled for the sake of Allah and for the reward from Allah, and your heart will thus continue to find peace and inspiration from this feat.
Therefore, the true way to enjoy life to its fullest is to continuously strive hard in the way of Allah to pass the test of trials and tribulations and improve as a Muslim.
So make a plan today about how you can improve as a Muslim.
Do you miss your fajr salah sometimes? Make a plan about how you can improve that.
Are you suffering from any addiction? Make a plan about how you can get rid of it.
Do you pray all your prayers in congregation? If not, make a plan how you can achieve that.
Do you behave well with your parents? If not, think of a way how you can improve your relationship with your parents.
There are thousands of areas where we can improve as Muslims. This is a beauty of our deen. It always has something for us that we can strive for.
Once you will work actively to improve as a Muslim, you will start to build a legacy with Allah that will be your source of inner happiness and peace. And you will start to feel that you are enjoying your life.
Because this continuous striving for the sake of Allah is what Allah has created us for. This is in our fitrah. And living according to our fitrah is the only way to enjoy this life to its fullest.
Inshallah, I will conclude this write-up with a story.
There was a father who would make his son worship Allah most of the time. One day the son asked his father, “O Father! When will we take rest and enjoy a little bit?” The son wanted to enjoy and relax a little bit. The father said, “We will relax and enjoy when we put our feet in the stairs of Jannah. Before we take that step, there can be no rest.”