Last week I was lucky enough to attend a talk by a scholar from Pakistan called Maulana Tariq Jameel. He is very popular in Pakistan and his talks are usually very well attended. This time was no exception.
I attended two of his lectures in London before and there were some specific take-away's which have stayed with me. From the first lecture was his request that as Muslimah's we hold fast to three precious things: salah (prayer), modesty and ikhlaq (excellence in your behaviour towards others).
From the second lecture I recall his message that having all of the trappings of this world: a big house, beautiful furnishings, expensive clothing is not a sign of a good life standard. Instead our quality of life is dependent on the quality of our relationships. This being the case he encouraged listeners to fulfil the rights of our spouses, family members and neighbours even at the expense of our own, to hold our tongues, to forgive and seek forgiveness.
This time the lecture was at a sister masjid to our local one . On turning up, I was told I had been designated for English translation. I ended up translating for a revert sister and room full of teenagers, who started off squirming and smirking, but after a while seemed to be quite interested alhamdulillah.
This time round the focus of the lecture was on reflecting on our purpose in this life: to recognise Allah (SWT) as our Creator. We were also reminded that this life is work and that if we do our work, once this life is over, the next life is pleasure. He spoke extensively about the pleasures of Jannah for the believer and the fact that there would never be any illness, sadness, pain or death.
He made an interesting point though, for those who love to fast, to pray through the night, to make dhikr and sujood, they would no longer be able to do those things after they die either. He pointed out that some of these things were the pleasures of this world and we would not get them again after we die, so we should make the most of them - for instance the pleasure that lies in long days of fasting for Allah (SWT) or the night prayer or the hijab we wear to obey Allah (SWT) (I have heard from sisters that wear niqab that Allah SWT places a sweetness in the heat f those who wear it).
I really liked a point he also made about suffering for the sake of Allah (SWT) and how this can become pleasure. For instance holding your tongue to avoid an argument with family members can feel humiliating, but doing it to please Allah (SWT) can feel like a pleasure. Or when we sacrifice our desires it can be painful, but when we sacrifice our desires for the sake of being obedient to Allah (SWT), then we find there is pleasure in it.
You can listen to the recording here in Urdu (dated 12th August 2015)