Rays of Splendour

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What would you do if you found out you have only 6 months left to live?

These past few months, I have experienced situations whereby either my friends, acquaintance, or friend of a family knew of someone who was recently diagnosed with a life threatening illness. The recent one was when a friend shared how her grandmother had been diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer last week and has approximately 6 months left to live.

Hearing all these news is like a stark reminder for me of the sure reality of life – death.

It is also a wake up call for me to live life more purposefully. While living a purposeful existence has been something I actively strive daily, I do admit that there were times when I got sucked in by the hustle and bustle of work or simply lulled by life’s daily routine that I forgot to do just that – to live meaningfully.

But you see, the thing with life is that no one expects themselves to be struck with a life threatening illness. We may recognize at the back of our minds that we may not be healthy forever however hearing news of yourself actually being ill – and to be told that you do not have long to live – would still be shocking nonetheless.

I was thinking to myself – what if I’m in that position? What if I were to find out someday that the sharp pain at my abdomen which I experienced from time to time is actually a tell-tale sign of something more harmful and would decimate my lifespan? Or what if that fainting spell I had recently was not due to a low sugar level but an indication of the body physically weakening and heading towards death?

Morbid thoughts but isn’t that how life is? Just how many people throughout history went through the route of suddenly finding out that the physical ailments they perceived to be nothing turned out to be the reason for their deaths? Not one or two but millions of them in this world has gone through that.

So back to this question: What would you do if you found out you have 6 months left to live? I found that like a pandora box, this single question opened up a host of other questions for me.

Would you continue working till you die? Would that work which had once consumed more than 12 hours of your daily existence still matter?

Would you argue less? Would winning that argument and having the last say be something you still seek?

Would you reach out more to those who matter? Would you be kinder to them? Would you spend more time with them?

Would you be less stubborn?

Would you be more forgiving?

Would you write a will?

Would you travel more?

Would you still buy that top, pants, mobile phone or whatever you have been planning to buy with next month’s pay cheque?

Would you sleep less in order to utilize all the waking hours you have left?

Would you seek treatment all the way and fight for a chance at living?

Would you accept that you only have 6 months left?

Would you be more present in worship? Would you be more present to life in general?

Would you smile more?

Would you laugh more?

Would you love more?

And… Would you live more?

Would you know how to live more?

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Of intentions

“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and His Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gains or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.”

Hadith 1, Related by Bukhari and Muslim


They’re like the seed to any action.

They’re also the driving force which motivates one to pursue an act or decision in life.

In Islam, intention is an important aspect of our faith. Every single thing we do should be guided by an intention.

Intention itself can be classified as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and in between, it has different degrees of purity. The best and purest of intentions is one done for the sake of Allah swt. By doing so, one is implicitly¬† acknowledging his/her status of slavehood before Allah swt and how we are merely a conduit through which His greatness as well as countless mercy and blessings towards mankind are brought forth. Essentially all this goes back to a simple but core concept of existence: that everything in this world happens due to Him and goes back to Him.

As the start of my postgrad studies (insyaAllah) draws nearer, I find myself dwelling on the intention for doing this.

Frankly speaking if someone were to ask me say, three to four years ago why I would like to pursue postgrad studies, I would be able to provide an affirmative answer. It was this answer itself which prompted my first foray into postgrad studies back in 2011. This answer – which also clearly communicates my intention loud and clear – would be because I strongly believe that God has created a world replete with knowledge and I would like to commit a part of my life towards acquiring just a bit of that under a formal school setting and hopefully in the process, to be awed by the Creator of this knowledge.

However I find that my perspective of the world shifts with each addition in year to my age.

While I am still floored by the abundant knowledge God has blessed the world with and would like to glean some of that, I am also aware that I can achieve those from an informal school setting.

Then, there are also times in which I will wonder why I am choosing to spend two years doing this instead of pursuing other things which have been on my mind. Why choose to spend all the time, effort and money doing this instead of opting for other paths which would require lesser resources to make the journey work and bring even better benefit to perhaps, professional or personal development, in the long run? Afterall, I do know for sure that I’m not studying again because I want to earn a qualification that will open doors to more career options. Strangely enough, this hasn’t been a matter of consideration for me this time. So again, why this path?

Importantly, how would choosing this path instead of others improve my Islam and my relationship with Him?

At the end of the day, all this boils down to the question of intention. Somehow at this point, that intention is still pretty fuzzy and I’m unable to make out the signpost. I do firmly believe that the impetus to do this was sparked by Him. However it seemed like at this point in time, I am still unable to recognize that bigger purpose – preferably one that is beyond myself – for doing this.