You slam on your breaks, your car stopping abruptly at an unexpected dead end, throwing you back against your seat from the sudden halt. “You have arrived,” your GPS chimes loudly from the little screen that you paid a good penny to install in your car. You look at it in frustration, jabbing the screen furiously, as it continues to chime that you’ve arrived, unmoved by your now swelling fingers. You huff in frustration and savagely turn off the engine, fighting with the seatbelt for release, as it tries to imprison you. You open the door and manage to slam it behind you, stumbling out not-so-gracefully and catching your fall with the palm of your hand scraping against an angry rock before you. You stand up, wiping off your knees with your throbbing palms. The sun is raging above you, intent on making you it’s victim, as you cover your eyes, tasting the heat, almost as if it were a solid, nearly suffocating you as you look behind you, aghast, as there is more than one route.
You’re not even sure which one you came from.
The GPS took you to the wrong location.
You sigh heavily, opening the car door, and slump in; the GPS is now silent. You take a deep breath, reminding yourself that it’s just a gadget, as you inspect the coordinates you entered.
Yet you’re at a dead end.
Suddenly, you remember a map your mother had given you last year “just in case” that you had promptly shoved into the glove box. Your hands shake as you reach for it; there’s hope, or at least you pray so. You pry it open, grabbing the neatly folded map and undo it with the gracefulness of a toddler as you spread it over your steering wheel, trying to pinpoint exactly where you are.
Sweat beads around your temple, trickling down your face. You wail in frustration as you realize that you’ve never really read a map. You lean back bitterly against your seat, tears stinging your eyes. You take a deep breath, determined not to give up as you look at the map again, batting down the desperation that threatens you, as your eyes scan it once more. You groan, banging your head against the back of the seat when you realize that you had been given an outdated map from 1993.
When thinking about dunya’a, worldly life, this story illustrates the significance of having accurate guidance in order to get where one needs to go. Likewise, this is additionally imperative when thinking about our journey to Akhirah, afterlife. We were not put on this Earth without direction. Contrary to what some philosophers believe, the pieces of the ‘map’ are not strewn across various religions in every corner of the globe. “…‘Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]…’” Aal-Imran (3):191
Rather, Allah, Exalted is He, in His Mercy and Wisdom, sent us both messengers and a book of guidance as our ‘map’ for the ultimate abode in the Akhirah. “This [Qur’an] is enlightenment for mankind and guidance and mercy for a people who are certain [in faith].” Al-Jaathiya (45):20
Unfortunately, many people go through life aimlessly, unsure or unaware that the accurate map is easily accessible. This leads to getting lost; making most of their efforts go to waste. Outwardly, things may seem to be going good in your life. Perhaps you have a good job, a significant other, but certain questions will never go away.
Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? What happens when I die? Is there life after death and if so, what should I be preparing?
If you don’t have a satisfactory answer for these questions, as you’re unsure where to look, they will continue to gnaw at your heart, no matter what other trappings of success you may achieve. Without this accurate map, the Quran and the Sunnah, a person may make choices that he will only realize were wrong after he dies, at a point where it is too late.
Don’t allow yourself to become lost, in a maze, confused and desperate whilst following an inaccurate source of guidance. There is no guidance except with Allah, Exalted is He. Realize that choosing to follow anything else is a guarantee of failure. Allah, Exalted is He, has sent the perfect GPS with the pages of Qur’an as our Guidance, sayings of the Prophet as our clarification, and Sunnah, the living example of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, as our example.
“…And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy…” An Nahl (16):89