There was a time when much of the world was unknown to us and our ancestors needed to make bald steps of courage and more importantly, an indeffable curiosity to seek out the truth.
The Qur’an tells us that:
Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction. – Qur’an 4:78
When faced with difficulty (or in the case of the people of Medina, death) it is a natural reaction to want to save oneself from danger, to establish a place of security. While this is not in and of itself a bad thing after all as such an instinct can indeed protect us from harm, however it can also be a hindrance toward fulfilling a great purpose. From doing the right thing when you may be at risk or even doing what you want to do.
Faith, i feel requires a need to ‘take a chance’ so to speak, not that it is unreasonable but rather it requires to give of themselves completely to something and to stay there. To endure hardship because it will initiate backlash from the world. Because it is in many ways antithetical to the natural state of man. It does not guarantee security and without security there is an uncomfortable anxiety.
St Paul in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 presents a fascinating dual passage wherein you have on the one hand an exhortation to build a home and a family though hard work while showing kindness to ones neighbours. The next section then telling us to prepare for the return of Christ which he presents with an intense immediacy. In this way he follows the words of Jesus when he tells us:
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Despite what we are led to believe and what we expect, life does not go on forever and we are not invincible even though i am a young man (24) i have already been exposed to this reality more than once, in doing so it has shown my vulnerability but also it lights a fire inside me as well. A fire that demands I succeed in life and not waste time in ‘philosophical speculation’ as Srila Prabphupada used to say, but rather to actually get out there and live the dream (whatever that may be). Since one day such an opportunity will no longer be available to me.
In conclusion the lesson the hypocrites on Medina is rather clear (to everyone apart from them) is that such an attempt to gain a life of absolute ease and protection is doomed to failure because that is not who we are and that is not our life. Our lives are short, painfully so and therefore the time that we have is precious (i apologise for my use of a lame cliche). Maybe life needs to be travelled with ‘one foot in the grave’. With a deep sense of imminence toward our actions just as St Paul demonstrated? I hear he had quite the productive life…