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Hanging by a moment

I’ve been looking back at my basketball days and thinking how much similar life is to team spirit. Anyone who has ever played any sort of sport at some point in his life would be familiar with the drill all too much. Focus! Don’t let your guard down. Practice till you drop. Close in and score! Keep aside those personal differences and work on it together. We are a team! It’s not a one-man show, we’re all in this together.

It’s tough- people with their psyche poles apart work together for one cause. If you’ve ever been a part of any group (sports or any project you got yourself in), you’ll agree it’s one heck of a job to pull. If you’ve never been a part of it, ask someone who has been through it all. He’ll give you the real insider account. The times he had to smother his ego for the team’s good, had to let go of his place and make room for the other, stand back and watch the better ones take his limelight… those moments when he had to eat it every time life turned unfair, or just that saintly feeling when he backed up his mate and helped improve his weaker points. All for the win. Believe me this is what that makes a team great. The reason behind their winning streaks are the players who know what sportsman spirit is all about.

I guess, life is the most dangerous game of all- and the only one we play (with) ever so carelessly. As Muslims and as humans too, we’ve got it all wrong from the beginning. The goal is not to win this rat race or survive this rat-hole as Darwin so “wisely” says in his “survival of the fittest” theory (and only the rats nod fervently when he says it). It’s not to show other people down while you hog the spotlights. The point is to work together. For what? For this life and the life after death. We tend to blow this part out of proportion though. To keep the balance in check, just keep this in mind- ‘work for this life as much as you are to stay here, and for the hereafter as much as you are to stay there.’

And worldly life is nothing but an amusement and play and the Last Abode is the real life indeed. Only if they know! [29:64]

Practice! Probably the most grueling part of anything. But this game of life which you play, practice is not about getting perfect at it. It’s about trying and not giving up, avoiding slip-ups and picking yourself up after every fall. It’s like watching your step while climbing a ladder and holding on tightly when it sways, and each day, you find yourself a step higher.

And that man can have nothing but what he STRIVES for. And that his DEEDS will be seen. [53:39-40]

The results do not matter. It’s the input quality that counts.

Work together. Instead of laughing at others, laugh with them (read this somewhere). If you see anyone falling out of place or failing to keep up with the pace, stop to help them out.

I swear by the Time, Man is in a state of loss indeed, except those who believed and did righteous good deeds, and EXHORTED each other to follow the truth and EXHORTED each other to observe patience. [103:1-3]

This is when you’ll win. And when others will win along with you. At every step you’ll need support to side-step your enemies (your nafs and sahytaan). Just like in a basketball game, when an opponent closes in to intercept the ball, your team mate signals you the way out- he takes the ball from your end and throws it back to you in perfect timing. So your team player in life too, will zap you back if you sway. Because all of you have the same goal- a better hereafter for me and everyone around me.

“When you keep your final goal in sight, you’re constantly reminded of what you’re working towards, you’re constantly planning ahead and envisioning the end. How much more are we in need of doing this for the project called “life”! How much do we need to do to win this game called “life”?

Keeping the hereafter in mind changes the way we live this world, and makes this experience – with all it’s pain and joy, struggles and hopes, trials and triumphs – worth it, by the will and mercy of Allah.”

Where are the bright ones, the handsome-looking ones, and where are those who took pride in their youthfulness – where have they gone? Where are the great kings who built cities and castles and fortified them with towering walls? What happened to the lionhearted valorous ones who made their enemy suffer humiliation in the battlefields? Time waned under their feet and they ended inside dark graves. Think of it and take heed.
— Abu Bakr as-Sideeq

We’re all hanging by a moment on this court. The thrill of the game is- we don’t know for how long we’ll be playing it. Any second, time-out will be flashed and we’ll be called in for the Marking. So you know what any wise player would do? He’ll make sure the scoreboard always reads in his favour- that he exits the arcade a winner. The timer is ticking. I know we can still turn the score around. Let’s work on it!

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