He remembered his grandmother's warning about praying on time: "My son, you shouldn't leave prayer to this late time." His grandmother's age was 70 but whenever she heard the Adhan, she got up like an arrow and performed Salah. He, however could never win over his ego to get up and pray. Whatever he did, his Salah was always the last to be offered and he prayed it quickly to get it in on time. Thinking of this, he got up and realized that there were only 15 minutes left before Isha prayer. He quickly made Wudhu and performed Salatul Maghrib. While making Tasbih, he again remembered his grandmother and was embarrassed by how he had prayed. His grandmother prayed with such tranquility and peace. He began making Dua and went down to make Sujood and stayed like that for a while.
He had been at school all day and was tired, so tired. He awoke abruptly to the sound of noise and shouting. He was sweating profusely. He looked around. It was very crowded. Every direction he looked in was filled with people. Some stood frozen looking around, some were running left and right and some were on their knees with their heads in their hands just waiting. Pure fear and apprehension filled him as he realized where he was.
His heart was about to burst. It was the Day of Judgment. When he was alive, he had heard many things about the questioning on the Day of Judgment, but that seemed so long ago. Could this be something his mind made up? No, the wait and the fear were so great that he could not have imagined this. The interrogation was still going on. He began moving frantically from people to people to ask if his name had been called. No one could answer him. All of a sudden his name was called and the crowd split into two and made a passageway for him. Two people grabbed his arms and led him forward. He walked with unknowing eyes through the crowd. The angels brought him to the center and left him there. His head was bent down and his whole life was passing in front of his eyes like a movie. He opened his eyes but saw only another world. The people were all helping others.
He saw his father running from one lecture to the other, spending his wealth in the way of Islam. His mother invited guests to their house and one table was being set while the other was being cleared. He pleaded his case; "I too was always on this path. I helped others. I spread the word of Allah. I performed my Salah. I fasted in the month of Ramadan. Whatever Allah ordered us to do, I did. Whatever he ordered us not to do, I did not." He began to cry and think about how much he loved Allah. He knew that whatever he had done in life would be less than what Allah deserved and his only protector was Allah. He was sweating like never before and was shaking all over. His eyes were fixed on the scale, waiting for the final decision. At last, the decision was made. The two angels with sheets of paper in their hands, turned to the crowd. His legs felt like they were going to collapse. He closed his eyes as they began to read the names of those people who were to enter Jahannam/Hell.
His name was read first. He fell on his knees and yelled that this couldn't be, "How could I go to Jahannam? I served others all my life, I spread the word of Allah to others." His eyes had become blurry and he was shaking with sweat. The two angels took him by the arms. As his feet dragged, they went through the crowd and advanced toward the blazing flames of Jahannam. He was yelling and wondered if there was any person who was going to help him. He was yelling of all the good deeds he had done, how he had helped his father, his fasts, prayers, the Qur'an that he read, he was asking if none of them would help him. The Jahannam angels continued to drag him. They had gotten closer to the Hellfire. He looked back and these were his last pleas. Had not Prophet Muhammad [ﷺ] "The similitude of the five (obligatory) Salat is like a river running at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day." [Muslim] He began yelling, "My prayers? My prayers? My prayers?"
The two angels did not stop, and they came to the edge of the abyss of Jahannam. The flames of the fire were burning his face. He looked back one last time, but his eyes were dry of hope and he had nothing left in him. One of the angels pushed him in. He found himself in the air and falling towards the flames. He had just fallen five or six feet when a hand grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back. He lifted his head and saw an old man with a long white beard.
He wiped some dust off himself and asked him, "Who are you?" The old man replied, "I am your prayers." "Why are you so late! I was almost in the Fire! You rescued me at the last minute before I fell in." The old man smiled and shook his head. "You always performed me at the last minute, and did you forget?" At that instant, he blinked and lifted his head from Sujood. He drenched in sweat. He listened to the voices coming from outside. He heard the Adhan for Salat-ul Isha. He got up quickly and went to perform Wudhu.
"Pray before you are prayed upon."
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