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Bygones Are Bygones…Today Is All You Have

The greatest expectation and the ultimate hope of all people in this world is to lead a happy easy life.

Indeed, seeking happiness has occupied most of the philosophers’ and thinkers’ minds but, actually, very few are those who have reached this happiness and achieved comfort in life. Therefore, this is a good recipe for leading a happy life, enjoying contentment and peace of mind.

The Past is Gone Forever

By brooding over the past and its tragedies, one practices a form of insanity; a kind of sickness that destroys our resolve to live for the present moment. Those who have a firm will have thrown away and forgotten occurrences of the past, which will never happen again.

Episodes of the past are bygone, sadness cannot retrieve them, melancholy cannot put things right, and depression will never bring the past back to life. This is because the past is non-existent, let bygones be bygones.

Do not live in the nightmares of the past or under the shade of what you have missed. Save yourself from the ghostly apparition of the past. Do you think you can return the sun to the east, the baby to its mother’s womb, milk to the udder, or tears to the eye? Do you think you can reverse the wheels of history?

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By constantly dwelling on the past and its happenings, you place yourself in a very frightful and tragic state of mind. Reading too much into the past is a waste of the present. When Allah mentioned the affairs of the previous nations, He, Almighty said, {Those are a people who have passed away} (Al-Baqarah 2:134)

Past days are gone and done with, you will benefit nothing by carrying out an autopsy on them. The person who lives in the shade of the past is like someone who tries to saw sawdust. In the past it was said: “Do not remove the dead from their graves.”

Our tragedy is that we are incapable of dealing with the present; neglecting our beautiful castles, we wail over dilapidated buildings. If every man and every jinn were to try jointly to bring back the past, they would most certainly fail. Everything on earth moves forward, prepares for a new life, and so should you.

Today Is All That You Have

When you wake up in the morning, do not expect to see the evening. Live as if today is all that you have got. Yesterday had passed with all its good and evil, while tomorrow has not arrived yet.Let the span of your life be but one day, as if you were born in it and will die at its end. With this attitude, you will not be caught between an obsession over the past, with all its anxieties, and the hopes of the future, with all its uncertainties.

Live for today and during this day you should pray with a wakeful heart, recite the Qur’an with deep understanding and remember Allah with sincerity.

During this day you should strike balance between your affairs, get satisfied with your allotted portion, and be concerned with your appearance and health.

Live today free from sorrow, bother, anger, jealousy, or malice. Organize the hours of this day, so that you make years out of minutes and months out of seconds. Seek forgiveness from your Lord, remember Him, prepare for the final parting from this world, and live today happily and in peace. Be content with your sustenance, your wife, your children, your work, your house and your life.

{So hold that which I have given thee, and be among the thankful.} (Al-A`raf 7: 144)

You should engrave in your mind one phrase: “Today is my only day”. If you have eaten fresh bread today, then what do the dry rotten bread of yesterday or the anticipated bread of tomorrow matter?

If you are truthful with yourself and have a firm, solid resolve, you will undoubtedly convince yourself of the following: Today is my last day to live. When you reach this attitude, you will benefit every moment of your day, by developing your personality, expanding your abilities, and purifying your deeds.

Then say to yourself:

  • Today I will be refined in my speech. I will utter neither evil nor obscene speech. Also, I will not backbite.
  • Today I will organize my house and my office making them ordered and neat.
  • Today I will be particular about my cleanliness and appearance. I will be meticulous in my neatness and balanced in my walk, talk and actions.
  • Today I will strive to be obedient to Allah, pray in the best possible manner, do more voluntary jobs of righteousness, recite the Qur’an and read useful books. I will plant goodness into my heart and extract the roots of evil from it, such as pride, jealousy, and hypocrisy.
  • Today I will try to help others; visit a patient, attend a funeral, guide someone who got lost and feed a hungry person. I will side with the oppressed and the weak. I will pay respect to the scholar, be merciful to the young and respectful to the old.
  • O past that had departed and is gone, I will not cry over you. You will not see me remembering you, not even for a moment, because you departed from me never to return.
  • O future, you are in the realm of the unseen, so I will not be obsessed by your dreams. I will not be preoccupied with what is to come because tomorrow is nothing and has not yet been created.
  • “Today is my only day” is one of the most important statements in the dictionary of happiness for those who wish to lead a happy life in its fullest splendor and brilliance.

Leave the Future Sorrows Alone

Thinking about prospective sorrows is something and attaining knowledge, skills and cleverness for your future is something else; while the former is hated in Islam, the latter is much encouraged—do your best in every thing and leave the consequences to your Lord:

{The commandment of Allah will come to pass, so seek not ye to hasten it. Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate (with Him).}( An-Nahl 16: 1)

Be not hasty and rushed for things that have not yet come to pass. Do you think it is wise to pick fruits before they ripen? Although you should plant them. Tomorrow is non-existent, so why should you have apprehensions about prospective disasters? Why should you be engrossed by them, although you do not know whether you will even live until tomorrow or not?

The important thing to know is that tomorrow is unseen, it is like a bridge that we should not cross until we reach it. Who knows, perhaps we might never reach it, it might collapse before we reach it, or we may actually reach it and cross safely.

For us, as Muslims, to be engrossed in fears, sorrows or expectations about the future is looked down upon in Islam, since it leads to a long-term attachment to this world; an attachment that a good believer shuns.

Many people in this world are unduly fearful of future poverty, hunger, disease, and disasters. Such thinking is inspired by Satan, Almighty Allah says,

{The devil promiseth you destitution and enjoineth on you lewdness. But Allah promiseth you forgiveness from Himself with bounty.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 268)

Many are those who cry because they expect starvation tomorrow, fear to fall sick after a month or panic that the world will come to an end in a year.

Someone who does not know at all when he will die, (all humans are of this kind) should not bother himself with such thoughts.

Since you are absorbed in the toils of today, leave tomorrow until it comes. Beware of becoming unduly attached to future prospects in this world.

This article has been taken with modifications from the author’s book ‘Do Not Be Sad‘.