They say that nothing lasts forever and this is true for as believers with eemaan we know that this world, ourselves and life in every form will cease to exist one day when we all stand bare before Allah, our Master, our Everything, the One who created us from ‘nothing’ and the One who will resurrect us from ‘nothing’. Every evening, the sunset teaches me this very lesson, nothing lasts forever and then with the break of dawn I learn how the breath of change is sometimes what we need more.
So, what is meant by the term nothing lasting forever, is it only about death or is there more to the meaning of this proverb?
Perhaps it runs deeper than the surface of life and existence itself. Perhaps there are many more nothings, significant or otherwise, that exist like little ponds throughout life, ponds which all run into the deeper ocean of life itself. Perhaps each person, each intellectual would derive from this term what suits him or her best. So here is my interpretation of what nothing lasting forever means to me.
The basic fundamental and principal to life is that we exist to one day stop existing, so I am aware that my soul will one day step into another realm and I will no longer exist in ‘this’ world. I know that my husband, my children and every loved one will sooner or later follow this path and that life itself is only temporary and transitory. I understand that if life is temporary I cannot expect anything to be permanent. But even though we are aware of this reality, why do we treat the little ponds like permanent fixtures. Why do we become so attached to our homes, our jobs, our relationships, our vehicles, our ideas, our desires, our accomplishments, our love, our hate, everything about us, about life is temporary. Why do we attach ourselves to the temporary things knowing that they’re not promised to us? Is it because we are so accustomed to the familiar? Why do we get disheartened when relationships or friendships end or when we lose our position at work? How do we know that this is not for the better? If a car is stolen or destroyed in an accident, why are we filled with horror, shock or sadness when life itself could end at any second? Why do we treat these stepping stones in this journey of life as permanent fixtures and why do we find it hard to let go? How can they or anything be permanent when life itself is not permanent? Why do we expect people and situations to never change when the sky itself changes everyday as Allah paints a new hue of blue, as He arranges the clouds in a different pattern, some days He hides the sun by clouds, other days he erases the clouds themselves, SubhanAllah. Who promised us tomorrow, who promised us forever, who promised us each other?
A man once sat outside his home enjoying the beautiful spring breeze. He waved and nodded at me as I pulled into my driveway. It was around 5:00 pm. The next day, at the same time, his home was emptied of its furniture and filled instead with mourners as everyone came to stare the stark reality of nothing lasting forever in the face, yet again.
But still, we move on from these reminders all too quickly. Reminders of life ending, reminders that nothing is permanent, only to again attach ourselves to people, to places, to hopes and to dreams. And when circumstances change, when the tide brings in new experiences, we are sometimes paralyzed with fear and apprehension, with uncertainty, debilitated by the idea of something new. We feel sad at change and its as though we’re mourning an actual loss. But change is inevitable, you can never touch the same flow of water twice, so too with life can you not experience the same moment again. We belong to Allah and nothing do we own. Not our children, not our partners nor our friends. We do not own our homes or our employment, not our rizq, not our lives and certainly not our death. Every moment comes to transport you to the next moment and like that each moment will carry you along the stream of ponds, of where you need to be, with whom you need to be with, doing what you need to be doing. Life will change and we won’t get to do the same thing everyday for the rest of our lives, sometimes we’re awarded new experiences so that we may learn, prosper and grow as people and when life is done teaching and morphing us, then we too will cease to exist. Allah is Al-Adl( The Most Just) and His justice prevails in everything, even in the little things. He changes times, He changes hearts, He changes life and only He knows why. We should not treat anything nor anyone as permanent. I guess we shouldn’t even treat the next moment as that because today we might be here doing something for the benefit our worldly existence while tomorrow we could lay beneath this very earth having entered a whole new dimension of living, of thinking, of being…
So you lost a friendship and Allah knows why. Your car packed in and Allah knows best. Your heart breaks because you lost a loved one, innalillah wainna ilayhi rajioon, only to Allah do we return. Your life might have changed so much, in so many aspects; new faces, new places, new experiences, but Allah knows better than we do. He knows what brings us closer to Him and He protects us always. Nothing was meant to last forever, not your name, not your title, not your profession, not your legacy, not any of your possessions. Perhaps only the soul was created for eternity and in eternity is where it must exist. But the world is not eternity, it is merely a pond of nothing that leads to this sea ….