Maswood Alam Khan
Many years back Humayun Ahmed, the legendary Bangladeshi writer who just passed away, had confided to one of his friends that “life in its totality ends with death, period!” The writer continued: “Once a ‘Matir Kolshi’ (a pitcher made of earth) falls and is broken, it’s over! Don’t expect someone to pick and glue up all those scattered shards to recreate the pitcher to its original form.” I fully agree with Humayun Ahmed. But I would have been happier if he did say “we could see the pitcher back to its original form if only the time could be reversed”.
Dr Giles Barr, a physicist at Oxford University, explains that if particles travel faster than light, time could effectively be “reversed” while Albert Einstein’s law stipulated that ‘nothing can travel faster than the speed of light’. Einstein’s law has already come under threat from some recent experiments with ‘neutrinos’, some subatomic particles. Neutrinos are the tiniest quantity of reality that can ever be imagined by a human being. Experimenting with neutrinos have put into question Einstein’s concept on time and space and may prove false the writer’s idea that ‘a broken pitcher cannot be restored back to its original form’. Some force in the heaven who is controlling the time and space could do what we the tiny earthlings cannot conceive. Where is that force? The answer lies in our faith in science and in the power of the God of sciences.
Death could be a conclusion of a chapter in life in this world but it opens a doorway towards fulfillment of our eternal life in the other world. Death of course means a permanent separation in our temporal life—a separation that grieves our friends and family members—but death cannot pronounce the end of our journey. Death should not be our life’s goal; death is only a terminus for us to switch to another vehicle to carry on with our voyage.
Our goal should be to live in such a way that our lives will prove worth dying for. Fearing death is a sign of cowardice and daring to take a risk of an unnecessary death is suicide, a disease, a symptom of foolishness. Still, at one stage, especially when you are not young any more, you are a little concerned about life that starts ebbing away. At this juncture, we become eager to change our attitude towards life, death and religion; one becomes suddenly conscious of what needs to be done before it is too late, a non-believer in religion suddenly starts crying for God’s blessings and a smoker quits smoking to restore his health already damaged. It is this time when one becomes desperate to make amends for what he did to his beloved by soliciting her forgiveness. It is when one repents of his or her decision on their marital divorce. It is the time when one feels horrified realizing that his attitude towards religion was once very frosted. It is not too late to make good the sins, but it is perhaps too late to make amends for a grievous crime.
When someone of your age dies you obviously feel a little confused. But, we must not confuse ourselves so frivolously. After all, death is something that we all one day must face regardless of who we are or how old we are. The day will come when you and I have to bite the dust, whether you or I like it or not. What is needed is fulfill the purpose of our life.
Religion that offers the possibility of an afterlife brings purpose to this life on this planet. If we didn’t have faith in any religion life would have become increasingly hellish with days passing as we would be aging and inching our way towards our graves.
We should just live life as it comes and be thankful that we are still alive. Knowing that we must die, we question what life really means: Where did I come from? Who am I? Where am I going? What is life’s purpose? This is where “love” should come squarely into the picture. The one thing that can’t be taken from us, even by death, is the love we give away before we go. We should search for truer meaning in life and life becomes truly meaningful if we can accomplish something, anything that helps others, anything that pleases our creator. This anything is “love”.
Helping others to become better people is the best possible way of life. If you make a stranger on the street smile by your warm greetings your kindness will linger on for several minutes in his mind. It is a great accomplishment of your life at that particular moment while you were walking on a walkway. Thus, we can make trillions of accomplishments in our limited lifetime.
At the moment of death we will not consider our life wasted at all if we recall what we did for the welfare of those left behind. Loving God, writing a book that will please a reader as well as his creator in the heaven, raising a child well, nurturing a garden, sharing time with an infirm, teaching a student, reading a good book, listening to a music, writing a letter to a friend, making a passerby smile or giving time even for one who does not like you are activities among many more activities that are worth doing and worth dying for—if we care to see our life not tired out.
We observe that when a bird is alive it eats ants and when the bird is dead ants eat the bird! When we are powerful we believe we are indestructible. That we will one day be perished is inconceivable to us because we are living in an era when honesty is not always prized and when football is a religion and when a great religion like Islam is deemed synonymous with terrorism. In a world where the only metaphysics in which people believe is money or muscle power it is difficult for many of us to ready ourselves for death and before death to devote ourselves to an activity that does not prize us money, fame and power. “Life in its totality to many of us, tragically, ends with death.” If so, the world would have by this time been teemed only with thugs and looters and the cardinal human philosophy would have been: “Grab as much as your hand can hold before life fizzles out the way a fragile pitcher falls and is broken asunder!”