Live the Moment – It’s All You Have

Amazing meadow, river, mountain and sunrays

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Try to appreciate the present moment and truly live it, rather than using it up by feeling guilty about the past, or fretting about the future. Regret for the past is a waste of spirit, and worrying about the future is pointless.

Hanan Bilal, a community activist and motivator from Florida, asks, “When will we stop living in the past and longing for our future? All we really have is this moment. The question is what are we going to do right now? Our time is now!”

The Past

That’s not to say that contemplation of past and future is verboten. The Quran tells stories of the past in order to educate us. The Messenger of Allah (sws) told us many stories of past Prophets and the Bani Israa’il, for the same reason. We study world history, we study the seerah of our Prophet and the lives of the Sahabah, because it inspires and informs.

I taught a martial arts class several hours ago and I’m still reviewing it in my mind, examining what I could do better next time. That’s part of the learning process for me.

I have a sweet young daughter named Salma and I often think about my time with her, something funny that she said, or the small gifts that she likes to make for me. Yesterday she made me a card that says “I love Baba.” A few days ago we had a poetry reading at our local Muslim community center, and in between readings our host told jokes. For some reason Salma positioned herself in the front row, and every time our host told a joke I heard Salma laughing loudly, even though I’m sure she did not understand the jokes (“do vegetarians eat animal crackers?”). Crazy kid, ha ha. So yeah, I think about past moments. But I’m not stuck in the past. I think about those moments because they educate me or make me smile, so they become a part of my present and future.

On the other hand, I occasionally think about my former marriage, and those are usually not good thoughts, because I tend to dwell on the mistakes I made, and I feel sadness or guilt. I’ve already contemplated deeply on that period in my life, and I’ve learned my lessons. I don’t need to keep returning there in my mind, punishing myself. If I did, then I would indeed be stuck in the past, unable to move forward. That is the kind of pointless regret that weighs people down and burdens their spirits.

The Future

We plan for the future by having goals, getting an education, working hard, saving money, always learning and improving ourselves. We plan for our aakhirah by dedicating ourselves to Allah, worshiping, giving our money to the poor and orphans, and humbling ourselves. We build our futures step by step. But it’s not productive to sit around biting our nails and thinking, “What if I fail my exam, oh, when will I get married, what’s going to happen if I lose my job, how will I pay my bills…” You make yourself sick and it doesn’t help.

Don’t worry, plan. There’s a huge difference! Then acknowledge that you don’t control the future. That’s Allah’s province.  Trust in Him, let him be your guide, find your security in Him.

The security of the dunya is false security. Suffering is the lot of all Adam’s children, in one way or another, and death comes when we’re ready or not. The security of Allah is real and transcends this world.

The Moment

This moment is all we have, my friend. The past is gone, and the future never comes, because when we get there, we’re still in the present.

If you take this moment to breathe deeply and say, “SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi” – glory to Allah and all praise to Him – and then thank Allah for the blessings in your life, or sit down and play a game with your child, go for a walk in the sunshine, maybe take a few nature photos, call an old friend, write your spouse a love note, read a verse from the Quran and contemplate it – then you have lived! You have turned that moment into a precious gem, something to smile about and feel good about.

Let’s live the moment, be conscious of it, feel it, and give Allah the credit, and in doing so let’s turn the moment into a circle of sunshine and barakah.

P.S. Isn’t that the most amazing photo above? I absolutely love it. I want to roll around in that grass, bathe in that river, call the adhaan to the sky, and build a small house among those trees. SubhanAllah.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , , Read 265 articles by
10 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Nasreen Begum says:

    Salam,
    I read your articles very often since I discovered your website. I just enjoy reading everything you write. You write so well. I feel myself getting lost into a differet world when I read what you write. Mashallah. I wish I could write like this some day. I know what bliss it is to be able to write and how one feels after writing and pouring out a part of yourself outside. It requires courage a lot of courage and the feeling is undescribable.

    Yes indeed the picture above is the best I have ever seen. I remmeberd what Allah SUBHANA WA tAALA says in the Quran, what no eye has ever seen ,I am sorry I am unable to quote the exact aayah. May Allah Almighty forgive me. But thats just what my heart said. May be jannah will be something like this or we nevr know even more beautiful

    Subhanallah !

    • wael says:

      Nasreen, thank you for your comments. Insha’Allah you will one day write books that people will love, and that will express your innermost thoughts clearly. You already write very well.

  2. Melissa Diaz says:

    And what I like to do i that photo above is to take pray (salah) in there…specially when it is full moon. Showered with moonlights I will do a very long ruku’ and sujood. I want to become part of the nature to show submission to my Lord… SubhaanalLaah… I always have it all in my mind and always try to find any chance to do it.

  3. María M says:

    As salamu alaykum,

    Certainly, the Now is all we have, Alhamdulillah, once we learn this, past stays as past, and future turns into a neverending Now.

    When we get used to it, every single breath is such a blessing, every situation is an amazing opportunity to grow up, the taste of time enters in other dimension, it is like living timeless and we grow up in gratitude because all around turn spaceless and the feeling of being closer to what is expected from us takes shape in this material world as miracles, blessings, gifts, ….given to us for our best, Alhamdulillah.

    Our senses wake up to a reality that is beyond the veils of this dunya, we open ourselves to more sensible decisions, we find a balance between the physical, emotional and espiritual needs, developing an understanding that help us when we feel lost, Alhamdulillah.

    PS. Related to the photo, in the distance it seems that there is a fall of water, I will be there laughing loudly and screaming how cold the water is, expecting to see the sun shining behind the clouds and playing around.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Wasalam,
    María

  4. Muslimah purple says:

    What an inspiring words,,live in present and cherish every chance that Allah has given for us.

    One word I can say about the picture above “SubhanAllah”,,so beautiful place, is there really such a place in this world? If it really is then how fabulous the jannah can be..May Allah show us the right path and bless us with Jannah, amin..

  5. Kauthar says:

    The photo just makes me yearn for Jannah…May Allah swt grant us Jannah….Jazak Allah Khair for the article…this website is like an oasis of calm for me at the moment!!

  6. fatima says:

    yes , it is amazingly beautiful , may ALLAH swt unite us in Jannah. thamks for a wonderful article i love all your inspiring words i feel it enter in my soul. subhanah ALLAH , say salam for your wonderful daughter SALMA, she is so cute. i cant stop reading your article its my first time to reply i dont know how to do it ,insha ALLAH it comes to you. may ALLAH contenue to give you more blessings with kwonledge which so benneficial for everyone who read it.

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