The career that I chose as a freelance public speaker obviously involves a lot of talking, more so for the past two months. I am probably home only a few days before I have to be on the road again.
I am physically exhausted by the commute from Perlis to elsewhere, emotionally exhausted by the separation from my family, and most importantly, I am spiritually exhausted by the tongue I can’t seem to put to rest.
Today I have some time to reflect, before my next talk. I am thinking about all the things that I said in the past two months and about why I said them. It is not enough for me to say good things, delivering good messages to people, if I forgot (or abandon) the point of it all.
The simpleton in me wants to simply convince me that it is okay. I am doing a good thing, therefore I don’t have to worry about anything. But the sapient in me wants to remind me not to take anything for granted. Therefore, I do have to worry.
I worry about my words. I worry whether or not I say the right things and whether or not I say them for the right reasons. The latter worries me more than the former. To say the right things is easy, but to have an honest intention in mind at the time one says them is difficult.
I am reminded by the Hadeeth that on Judgment Day, three people noble to the eyes of the people will be brought forth before Allah. Each of them lived a very impressive life. One was a scholar, another was a martyr, and the other was a charitable person.
But each was dragged to the hellfire for one common crime: they did all those good things for themselves, for their own egoistic satisfaction. They have failed themselves when they chose to abandon Allah in their intentions. That is the reason for their demise.
I wonder if it will be mine as well. It is a scary thought, one that we prefer not to think about – let alone reflect upon. But this is a question of ultimate concern. Why do we do the things that we do? Though it is important that we do the right things, but it is imperative that we do them for the right reason.
My words are my bread and butter. That is how I support my life and my family’s life. But which life am I supporting? This life? The next life? Both? The ideal should be both, but if I had to choose between the two, then I should choose the next life.
But saying that is easy. It is pure textbook. If animals can read, then I would imagine they would get the answer right as well. I would like to aim higher, because I refuse to believe that I am just an animal; living life following instincts and desires.
Allah made me a human being, with an intellect capable of reasoning and of discerning right from wrong. That is something an animal cannot do. Knowing this, it makes sense why we will be responsible for our actions, and more importantly, for our intentions.
Thinking this, my words become heavy.