A Dose of Regret

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When everything’s over and time runs out, will you be happy with the work you’ve done? Or are there regrets you need to take care of before it’s too late?

I still remember that day like it had just happened five minutes ago. My grandfather, may Allah have mercy on his soul, passed away two and a half years ago. We had just spent a summer with him, knowing he was in the last stages of cancer, yet hoping he’d have more time – just a little more time with us. We had been home for a little over a month when we got the call. I remember sitting in my room when my Dad came to the door. SubhanAllah, how time seems to slow down at that moment. I saw my brother crying – and thinking he doesn’t cry like that, what’s wrong – and my Dad’s voice breaking as he attempted to relay the news. And the shock. The incomprehensible-ness. Dead? He’s dead? But we just spent a summer with him while he was alive?

Death does funny things to you. In the shock that followed as I stood there in my Dad’s arms, my thoughts turned to regret. Did I spend enough time with my grandfather? Oh, that one time I was with my cousins, I should’ve sat with my grandfather. Did I talk to him enough? I wish I had… There was no more wishing. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had called him. That was his time. He was gone, spending his first night in his grave (Ya Rabbi, widen his grave for him! Ameen). As the family friends began pouring into our house with their condolences, the tears were pouring down as well. Regret had taken a firm grip on my heart. I missed him so much already.

What does the Qur’an say about regret? If you think about, the people on the Day of Judgement who are going to have regrets will be the people of Hellfire. Why? They’ve realized the truth too late – without having done anything about it. They now see the fruit of their deeds – an eternity of torture. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah Mulk, verse ten:

”And they will say, ‘If only we had been listening or reasoning, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze.”

The commands we are given in life, the choices we are to make – do we make them thinking of the akhirah? The Day we will have to answer to the Creator? The Day when we will have to pay for what we have or have not done? Even in this verse, these people wish they had listened or reasoned. We’re alive right now – we still have the chance to change for the better. Praying on time. Wearing hijab. Being kind to others. Because death strikes like nothing else – no one expects it even when it is in plain view. Once death hits, there is no coming back.

Take a look at this scene described in Surat al-Haqqah, verses 19-37. First, the joy of those who receive their deeds in their right hand is described, and then the distress of those who receive their deeds in their left hand. Imagine the intense regret or happiness of that situation – because the result of that situation will last for an eternity. Which one would you rather have?

You know, sometimes regret comes to you even when you’ve done everything you could. You learn to get over it, because it’s out of your control. Other times, regret comes and stays because there was still something you should have done. Now with whatever commandment we are to do, think about it. Listen, reason, and act. Death doesn’t wait for you to fix yourself – it comes promptly when it was told to. On that Day when there will be no going back, I want you and me to be part of the believers, with light hearts, no regret, following the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, entering Jannah, and thinking, “Alhamdulilllah, I can now relax.”

Remember, in Surat al-Muddaththir, verses 8-10, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:

‘And when the trumpet is blown * That Day will be a difficult day * for the disbelievers – not easy.’

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make that Day easy for us, the believers, because of the deeds we have accumulated in this life! Ameen.