One day I woke up at 08:00 o’clock in the morning. I was shocked. By that time, I should have been in the college on duty.
I, as a flash of light, sprang out of bed, got ready and flew out to college without even having a glass of water.
When I entered the college, I could see my students strolling leisurely on the campus having been disappointed by my absence.
I hurriedly moved upstairs to my lecture theatre while students followed me like a line of train behind.
We settled in the classroom and then I began: ‘I am sorry to be late. It still puzzles me how it has happened to be so.’
Students listened to me with rapturous attention and pensive mood. I continued: ‘All the while I was driving to college I was thinking…not about being why I was late, but about what if my eyes had not opened at all, what if God had sealed the light of the world upon me forever!’
I paused. There was a moment of defining silence in the classroom.
I resumed: ‘Sometimes it is noticed that some people live normally, work as usual, yet when they sleep they never get up from bed.’
This reminds us of a verse in the Holy Quran’. ‘Allah takes away men’s souls upon their death, and the souls of the living during their sleep. Those that are doomed He keeps with Him and restores the others for a time ordained. Surely there are signs in this for thinking men’. [39-42 Al-Zumar]
The Surah Al-Qasas further enlightens: ‘Say: ‘Think! If Allah should enshroud you in perpetual night till the Day of Resurrection, what other god could give you light? Have you no ears to hear with?’ [28:71]
Islam refers sleep to as “half-death”…a fact which science defines it as suspension of consciousness being different from coma and hibernation.
Sleep is one of the signs of the creation of God (Allāh). “And among his signs is your sleep by night and by day and your seeking of His bounty, verily in that are Signs for those who hear” [Al-Rum 30.23].
Leonardo da Vinci, an Italian thinker, aptly expresses:
“O sleepers! What a thing is slumber! Sleep resembles death. Ah, why then dost thou not work in such wise as that after death thou mayst retain a resemblance to perfect life, when, during life, thou art in sleep so like to the hapless dead?”
Truly there is a lesson for all of us to value every breath of our existence. We should never forget our primary purpose why we are created in this world. Every breath heralds a new life. We are indebted to every breath by Allah, the Almighty. He has granted us reprieve to stay for a while. The provision can be withdrawn from us any moment of our continuing journey.