Monday, November 24, 2008

What would be ideal to you?

On Friday, I drove to university deep in thoughts. A text received in the wee hours of the morning from a dear friend of my late husband's (those in Malaysia often forget the 8 hours' difference) just seeped deep into me, and made me ponder over a question I choose to write about here today.

What would be your ideal age... to die?

Most people pray for a long life (semoga panjang umur...), and a fulfilled one, that is. Yet how long would you want to live in this world? Some live to be 90, bed-ridden and nyanyuk. Is there then meaning to life anymore?

Close family members have appeared to have short lives: my only brother had 19 years of exploration, my late mother had 36 years of excitement, while my late husband had 38 years of adventure. My late friend, Jun, had 17 years of academic success - and I'd say everyone had high hopes for her. Surely, there was Hazmin, my mother-in-law's only daughter, who departed after a month of joy. Some are even stillborn - a better life promised in a different place.
Somehow, it disturbs me to think of the last moments my late kindergarten headmaster had - being trapped in a burnt car after a collision. Imagine your deathbed; where, when and how? Would you want someone by your side - to hold your hand, even if you can't really feel it? To whisper you the shahadah, even if you can barely lift an eyelid?

So, I wonder what is the ideal age to aim for? Is dying young always a tragedy? A misfortune? A defect to the lives of those left behind?

When I was a little girl, I found growing up without a mother was not something so bad. Well, it was difficult to miss something you never really had in the first place. I was four when I became an orphan - a tad younger than my Little D was when his dad passed away. The feelings I had was just empty and lonely. The lost I felt was similar to someone who was born blind - he never had vision, so he doesn't really know what he misses; as opposed to a person who loses his sight due to an accident where his sense is snatched away by the Almighty, for a reason, of course.

What is then the ideal age? 70? When you've passed your retirement age, travelled the world, brought up the children to have careers and families of their own (perhaps a dozen grandchildren or two), and had everything on the list ticked? How much of your good deeds in the world would be deemed enough, as preparation for the hereafter? Most importantly, if you think you'd live to be 70, do you have the right to say manyana? These phrases are so familiar that they are almost cliches: 'I'll repent tomorrow', 'I'll go for my Hajj when I'm in my 40s or 50s', 'I'll pay my debts later, i.e. qada' my fasts and my salahs'.
I wish to defer. I don't want to wait for tomorrow, when it might be too late.
Ergo, ideal is subjective, don't you think? Perhaps dying young has its appeal...


Kak Elle said...

D as long as HE wants me thats how long I'll live but of course ideally I want to do things in the 5 pillars by 70 .. insya'allah.

Just me...Naz said...

Salam D,
I have been through enough episodes in my life to conclude that *today* is the best day to live my life, do good, to shower my loved ones with max affection...those things can't be postponed.
What is ideal for me?
As long as I stay true to myself,
Que sera sera...

Raden Galoh said...

Salam sis...
It's not up to us to know that ideal age to be departed from all the loved ones and what we love most on earth... I do believe minta doa panjang umur might lead to something not good if panjang umur is actually not the best for us.
As long as it is the best for us and we ask for Allah to give us the best in every ending of our matter and life, we will keep on thinking it might be tomorrow we will go so there's no reason to 'tunda' doing amal makruf...
You are right, it is too subjective... sorry, long reply, too boring in the ward...hahahha
Love, dua and my thoughts are with you sis.

cikdinz said...

tak tau bila masa nya...

Juli Herman said...
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Anonymous said...
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myheartbleeds said...

I don't mind NOW, but I have little children whose lives depend on me.

I don't mind 10 years from now, when insya-Allah my girls will be in uni, but they'd need a mother to guide them into womanhood (or so I think)

How about 20 years from now, but wouldn't my grandkids need a grandma to shower them with much love??

So I guess I don't have the ideal age for me to go. Let's not worry about that, I tell myself as it's not my business to decide, but HIS.

Having said that, there are many times I wish I'd just wither away... astaghfirullah hal'azim

D said...

Kak Elle,
May our life be stretched so that we can prepare for our hereafter, eh? :)

Yup, that's the way to go - que sera sera, total surrender to Him.

Raden Galoh,
you are most welcome to write as long a comment as you want, dear!! HeHeHe... Definitely, we've gotta be a little careful when praying, kan? Hope all's well on your end.

cik dinz,
tulah kan... macam spot check la. tak tau bila, tapi kena sentiasa ready!!insyaAllah..

oops... sorry if I deleted your entries a wee bit late dear and did not cause any harm on your part! (ps: I know who you are, of course)

as I often say, we are humans. Realising we are humans is a blessing as it should make us humbler to Him. It's a little tricky: we shouldnt simply pray for long life, unless we add the clause to worship Him more, and we're not to ask our lives to be shortened. Redha & bersedia, without procrastination. hugs to you!

Kak Teh said...

salam d, during our last tahlil at Malaysia Hall, it was announced that a 3 month old baby died in Sheffield after 4 days od meningitis. At the same time we had tahlil for an 84 year old who had suffered years from cancer. For me, death came to end their suffering. And Tuhan lebih menyayangi mereka.
The last few days, we've had gatehrings with close friends discussing impt matters such as this. To prepare ourselves for the next world. When our time is up, we go, but I pray to got, let me be a better and a more equipped person...Insyaallah I will try my best.

ummi said...

When should pray as it's our last prayer. And we need to make sure we forgive and forget before we go to sleep and says shahadah in case we never wake up. coz sleep means temporarily die.

As others said, it's not up to us to say when. But of course we have the right to plan but not depends on our plan altogether.

As you said, many of us especially in malaysia do think that we will go to hajj hen we reach 4o, 5o and so on. We do forget that when the time come, and we already go around the world,do have enough money, keep holding our hajj and didn't make intention to go hajj ( di mana kita sebaiknya berniat setiap kali musim haji datang), didn't even want to make any plan yet, coz we still have time, than may be we a little forget that when the tie come, never will it be one minute before or after. It's complicated as it's every body point of view.

But, what I see and hear now, lots of good people die young as life now is tough in term of to get hold on real deen. Lots of pious people I know, Allah took their life one by one. As we are in the time of fitnat, life now and in the future is not going to be easy unless we can hold on to our iman.

Sebab makin pnjang umur, may be makin banyak boleh buat amal dan pahala, tai tak lari dari dosa jugak. Kerna tu banyak orang alim sekarang banayk doa untuk mati cepat dari menangung ujian terhadap imaan yang semakin mencabar.

Anonymous said...

dear D;

as a person, i want to do so many things and achieve it before i die. as a parent, i'd love to see my kids grown up, get good jobs and become parents themselves before i die. as a muslim, i want to accomplish all the 5 pillars of being a muslim but if i should die earlier, then let me die in iman and taqwa intact...insyAllah!

KC lah who else...

Anonymous said...


Sister I am confused. It seems that while I have learnt so much from you through your blogs, I fear your recent post has left me thinking why do we dare ask when is the ideal age to die. A decision only known and made by Our Creator.

We are never promised tomorrow so why even ask when we are returning to Him.

Should it not be that we hope and pray to return to Him in the best of circumstances - completion of the 5 pillars of Islam with our faith intact til the last breath when we are still able to finish the khalimah?

Perhaps dying young is appealing?
Again sister I do not feel that we as His subjects should dwell on the ideal age rather pray for the ideal circumstances.


nanrfz said...

I pray Allah swt will call me only when HE knows I'm ready and only when HE has reserved a good place for me beside HIM and HIS loved ones. Until then, I hope Allah swt will let me live every second of my life doing whatever I need to do to get there.

Oldstock said...

Salam D,

I'm assuming the question is being asked rhetorically, right? Anyway, as you said, ideal is subjective. Human beings, being the insatiable creatures that we are, are never ever satisfied with what we have. We always want something more.... so whatever we have or whatever situation we are in now, it is still not ideal.

I used to worry that if I die now, have I done enough to provide for my family? Nowadays, I don't think of this anymore. Insyaallah, God is the ultimate provider.

When my time comes, it will be the ideal time, whenever that may be. My only wish is that at that particular instant, I'm still in iman.

Thanks for jotting down this reflection. And thanks too, for the link. Will link you back soon.

D said...

dear kak teh,
yes, all happens in hikmah. and InsyaAllah, we will return to Him equipped (if only i'd stop procrastinating!)

thank you for sharing. you're definitely spot on! again, the question is - what is young? 10/ 20? 30/40? some even consider 50 young. hehe... my entry is just a provocation, each of us know the answer to it, insyaAllah.

kc (ye lah, who else??!)
yup, a lifetime is definitely a life-time! funny la, somehow, i have never really 'longed' to live to see my children with their children. entah, tak sayang anak ke hapa ek? dunno why. i do imagine how they'd be but.. entah, dunno how to explain. probably partly because i've never had a mom kot? so i never really think it's so big a deal. kalau ada, ada la. kalau tak, tak de..wallahu'alam.

dear anonymous,
thank you for sharing your thoughts. what i have written is, as oldstock noted, is just a rhetorical question - a question that does not really have an answer or needs to be answered. It's a provocation for us (me in particular) to think of our life span. why is there always a note of regret if someone dies before the age of 60 (some consider 50 relatively young!)? why does everyone want to live beyond 70? nothing wrong both ways, of course. it's just a number. perhaps i was too vague... certainly, the ideal circumstances is the most important. thanks!

yes, we pray and we have to commit ourselves to Him. thanks & good luck to us all!!

thank you to you sir as you read my mind perfectly well! I have to link you before I miss any of your wonderful and insightful observations.

Anonymous said...

Well Allah know the best
Hopefully when time come
kita kembali dlm keadaan kita redha (bersedia) dan Allah Redha dengan kita

Madam Markonah said...


Though I hate to think about my own death, I find my mind drift towards it many, many times. It is very scary to think that I am far from being a good servant to Allah, what will my life in the hereafter be? Despite that, i still find it hard to carry my duties as a muslim... I am so pathetic. I know I have sinned yet I couldn't bring myself to improve.

Thanks for the post. It helped me once again to reflect and INsyaAllah, repent.

May I link?

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