Day 6 & Day 7 – THE PATHS YOU CHOSE, THE FRIENDS YOU KEEP
And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way.
Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend.
He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.”
And the Messenger has said, “O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’an as [a thing] abandoned.”
These four verses hit hard. From the poignant and thought-provoking Chapter 25, Surah al-Furqan (Furqan meaning the Criterion), these verses are drawing a scenario of the Day of Judgment. The first three verses (27, 28 and 29) embody the themes of regret and the foreboding sense of loss a person condemned to hell for eternity will feel. On that Day when bare truth will be in front of our eyes and nothing shall be hidden or ambiguous, each one of us will know where they are headed for eternity. That is when each one of us will reflect upon why they landed in Paradise or Hell, and what they did to deserve it.
The character uttering these words in remorse is realizing where he/she went wrong. So severe is his sense of regret that he bites his hands owing to the grief of never ending torment that is to follow.
The first regret is that he let himself be misled from the path of the Prophet (saw). It, in essence, means the path of any of Allah’s Prophets sent on earth with guidance. Every day of our lives, as Allah’s supreme creations, we have hundreds of choices we make….to be kind or unkind, forgiving or malicious, generous or stingy, thankful or thankless….to be selfish and one who just “takes” or someone selfless who also “gives”….how to react to situations, which thoughts to act upon, which words to utter….hundreds of choices. And intrinsic to all these choices is choosing which path we take as our life’s direction, for that determines the following choices.
Imagine being at a point of no return, and not being able to undo what one has done.
In verse 28, he gets to the details and realize that bad company, the wrong friends, and moving around in the wrong circles was the core reason. That is true for all of us – we are known by the friends we keep and we become the friends we have. Inch by inch, moment by moment, we absorb unknowingly the beliefs and lifestyles of those around us. Friendships, companionships, and even partnerships for life, have to be carefully thought out choices, for they lead or mislead us. He regrets in verse 29 how his friend distracted him from the remembrance of Allah. And this is how it is, isn’t it? The friend could be a metaphor for what we stay busy with or spend time with or are focused on – friends, money, entertainment. love – they can either make you a better Muslim, a better human, or make you a distorted version of who you were or could have been. If we look inward closely, we can see what anyone’s company does to us….but for that we have to stay in touch with ourselves, and with Allah, otherwise we don’t even realize how we are altered forever, sometimes for the better and at other times not.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) said: “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 314)
Verse 30 is an expression of deep grief and is the words of the Prophet (saw) on that Day. The Prophet (saw) when he sees his people being punished will feel pain and sadness, and will cite the reason: these people let go of the Quran, migrated from it, gave up on holding on to the Quran. Once the source of guidance was taken away, nothing could be done.
These verses of the Quran are extremely hitting and deep, and that depth is of course somewhat lost in translation. But we get the point, hopefully.
May Allah (swt) not make us feel regret on the Day of Judgment, and may we follow the path of our Prophet (saw).