Enveloped by the hustle and bustle of 21st Century life and a culture where inactivity is akin to sloth and idleness and contrary to the notion of productiveness, it can seem somewhat alien a concept to many of us to simply stop, pause and take stock.
The root ‘Waw’ ‘Qaaf’ and ‘Faa’ in Arabic, commonly refers to standing as is used in Wuqoof ‘Arafah i.e. the standing on Mount ‘Arafah. It also carries the meaning of stopping or pausing. Whilst the former is unattainable for all those who did not make the pilgrimage this year, the latter is an altogether more attainable concept.
Enveloped by the hustle and bustle of 21st century life and a culture where inactivity is akin to sloth and idleness and contrary to the notion of productiveness, it can seem somewhat alien a concept to many of us to simply stop, pause and take stock.
However Allah (Glorified and Exalted Is He) says;
“O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.”
“An hour of pause and reflection is superior to a year’s worth of worship,” a statement of profound consequence, attributed to some of the Salaf (early generation).
Similarly the Prophet (Sallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) said: “There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: ….. A man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.”
A waqfah represents an introspective journey, through which the individual seeks to become more aware of his or her place both in the transiency that is this Dunya and in the Aakhirah.
“And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew.”
A waqfah reinvigorates sincerity in our actions, it encourages repentance and it enlightens the path ahead. It demands contemplating upon the past, planning for the future as well as provide an honest assessment of the present. It may include a reflection upon the creation of Allah or a reaction to the trials of life and death. If it does nothing else but provide a moments worth of remembrance of Allah, than that is something significant indeed.
It is reported that Imam Al-Shafi’i said, “Think before you decide, and contemplate before you execute”.
`Umar ibn Abdul-`Aziz said “reflective contemplation is from the most virtuous acts of worship”.
Perhaps some of us are reaching the ‘twilight years’ of our lives without once having stopped and taken stock of where we stand. Indeed, we have all clocked hundreds of thousands of hours and millions of minutes in our short lives. By simply diverting a few minutes for reflection, can mean the difference between the routinised life that we seem to be passive spectators of and an altogether more thought out focused alternative.
The unrelenting ticking time bomb that is fast running down to zero, perhaps is a suitable modern day similitude for ‘life’ that one can envisage. What is impossible to visualise is what the timer was initially set to countdown from, or for that matter what remains on our own individual timers now.
In an age of retina displays, perhaps the irony of being too close to the screens that we are all so addicted to, is causing the blurry eyed vision we suffer in regards to our hereafter. And simply taking a momentary step away, will allow for those same eyes to readjust to the reality of what is, and what will be. A reflective pause merely allows us an opportunity to take stock, to reassess and to change trajectory if we were distracted.
A working mind not only appreciates the need for pause and retrospective reflection, but is damning in its appraisal, always erring on the side of caution. After all, none of us truly knows if Allah has accepted any of our actions.
So, on this, the most holiest of days in the year, as you view the pilgrims standing on Mount ‘Arafah, take a waqfah of your very own private, personal and contemplative lapse from time.
This article was originally posted in 2013 al-Quran 59:18  Al-Bukhari & Muslim  al-Quran 29:64