Pearl of Wisdom
took three sticks and set one of them in front of him, another one next to it, and the third far away from the two. He then asked, 'Do you know what this is?' to which they replied, 'Allah and His Messenger know better.' He said, 'This one is man, and this is death [next to it], while that one is expectation, which man entertains [about his long life], but death falls upon him prior to his expectation.'
Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa [sawa]
Tanbih al-Khawatir, v. 1, p. 272
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"Man shall on that Day be informed of what he had sent forth before and of what he had put off" (Qur’an, 75:13).
Al-Mu'akhkhir causes the polytheists to lag behind while raising the ranks of the believers. He delays the disobedient ones and grants His guidance to those who obey Him. He postpones the penalty of the oppressor because He is Compassionate and Merciful.
Whenever your heart is exposed to a glimpse of the light of His Attribute "al-Mu'akhkhir," you will be managing your affairs very well, postponing what the Legislator has decided must be postponed, and looking down at what the Wise Lord has Himself looked down upon. In Surat Ibrahim (Abraham), we read the following verse: "And do not think that Allah is heedless of what the unjust ones do; He only grants them a respite till a Day on which the eyes shall be fixedly staring (being horrified)" (Qur’an, 14:42).
He has forewarned people regarding the Day when His chastisement will approach them, so those who have wronged their own souls will plead to thus: "Lord! Grant us a respite till a near term so that we may answer Your call and follow the messengers" (Qur’an, 14:44) but they will be told: "Did you not swear before now that there would be no passing away for you?!" (Qur’an, 14:44).
The Messenger of Allah used to supplicate by saying, "Lord! I plead to You to forgive my sins, my ignorance, my extravagance, and to grant me that which You know to be better for me. Lord! I plead to You to forgive my (unintentional) sins, my deliberate sins, my ignorance, when I am serious and when I am not, and I am guilty of all of that. Lord! I plead to You to forgive what I have advanced and what I have postponed, what I have revealed and what I have declared, for You are al-Muqaddim, and You are al-Mu'akhkhir, and surely You can do whatever You please."
Both Attributes "al-Muqaddim" and "al-Mu'akhkhir" are not mentioned in the text of the Holy. The discussion of advancing something and postponing something else has been dealt with in the Holy Qur’an with reference to mankind in verses such as these:
Man shall on that Day be informed of what he sent forth before and what he put off. (75:13) Surely We know those of you who have gone before and We certainly know those who shall come later. (15:24) And We do not delay it except till an appointed term (11:104).
One of the signs of a believer's good conduct with regard to both of these Attributes is that he should take a middle course between fear and excessive hope, and to always be on his alert.