The Bargain

By: Hassaan Shahawy


“O you who believe. Shall I lead you to a bargain which may deliver you from a painful chastisement? Believe in God and His Apostle and struggle hard in Allah’s cause with all your means and your soul. That is better for you, if you but knew.” (61:10-11)


This is one set of verses in the Quran that, ever since I learnt it, has stayed with me through every issue of every-day life that I deal with. The path to heaven is simple; something that I think is singularly unique about Islam in comparison to other religions. We have no trinity, nor reincarnations, nor any great paradox of faith. Rather we have, in this verse, one sole equation to lead us to our promised happiness. Easy as the concept may be to grasp, in application it can obviously prove extremely difficult. Our lives feel so long to us that the idea of having to guide every single decision we make with the goal of furthering Allah’s cause seems painstakingly difficult. However, the brevity of this verse expresses to me something that pulls me out of these times of frustration. The mere phrasing reminds me that our lives here are humble and so short compared to what is to come. Lying ahead of us we have the trials of death, of the wait in the grave, and of the Last Day, which to some of humanity will feel like 50,000 years on this Earth. Our current life is the deep breath before the plunge. If one prepares himself and breathe in air, then he will not flounder nor drown in the depths.


This life is brutally, utterly, and devastatingly short. All I need to do is meet every challenge, one by one, and in every challenge, pray and do what I know is right. Meanwhile, I get to enjoy the constant blessings that I’m given every day, not only happiness and sadness, but pure existence. What is the occasional sacrifice compared to being spared from the abyss of nothing? I’m truly and utterly happy, even when I am sad. And I know, insha’Allah, that it won’t be so long until the end.

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