Sunday, 16 June 2024 / 9 Dhu-al-Hijja 1445 H *

Sunday, 16 June 2024 / 9 Dhu-al-Hijja 1445 H *

National Projects

Oh I wish I were dust

8Apr 2016
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Oh I wish I were dust

This article is based on a short talk was given by Sh Mohammed Al-Hilli at a cemetery visit commemorating Mulla Ashgarali on 19 March 2016.

In our day-to-day discussion, we often use the term “I wish”. It may be in the context of a missed business opportunity, an item to purchase, a meeting with an individual, or any other once-in-a-lifetime chances. We may sit there and reflect on a chance that has passed.

Of course the most regretful situation that a human being will face is the Day of Judgement. In fact, one of the names of the Day of Judgement mentioned in the Holy Quran is “Yawm Al-Hasra” (The Day of Regret).

The Arabic phrase for “I wish” used in the Quran is “Ya Laytani”. The phrase is mentioned on 9 occasions in the Quran. For example (Sahih International Translations):

Al-Furqan (25):27 “And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way.””

An-Naba (78):40 “Indeed, We have warned you of a near punishment on the Day when a man will observe what his hands have put forth and the disbeliever will say, “Oh, I wishthat I were dust!””

How powerful their feeling of regret must be, if the wishful thinking of this person is that they wish their creation was inanimate dust or soil rather than a human being with life. In another verse we are told:

Al-Fajr (89):21-24 “No! When the earth has been leveled – pounded and crushed. And your Lord has come and the angels, rank upon rank. And brought [within view], that Day, is Hell – that Day, man will remember, but what good to him will be the remembrance? He will say, “Oh, I wish I had sent ahead [some good] for my life.”


This excerpt in Al-Fajr tells us that the human being – when Hellfire is brought within view and they will see it – will collectively have an overwhelming realisation and will ‘remember’, as if we had known about it all along, but we just didn’t believe in it or we chose to forget it.


There is a linguistic delicacy in the final phrase used in Verse 24 of the above; the Quran doesn’t say the human being will say “I wish I prepared something for my akhira (hereafter)”. The Quran says we will actually say “I wish I had prepared for “my life””. In scholars’ exegesis, they say that in these verses Allah (swt) is saying the real life is actually akhira… i.e. our real existence is on the Day of Judgement.

This view is supplemented by other verses in the Quran that describe dunya (this life) as amusement and play, and the akhira as the hayawan (the real or true life).

Al-Hadid (57):20 “Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion… And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.”

Al-Ankaboot (29):64 “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.”

Numerous other Quranic verses talk about the shortness in the duration of dunya compared to akhira as well.

So reflecting on the above verses brings us to an important conclusion:

  • In the dunyathat we are currently in, we will face countless opportunities – but there are always ways that we can rectify what we may have missed/enact change.
  • However according to the Quran, on the Day of Judgement, it will not be possible to rectify.
  • Instead we will only be able to stand there and say “Ya Laytani” (I wish), but any attempt to rectify will be fruitless.

Many of us know this already, but we forget. We forget that in this world we have the chance to erase our wrong actions that we will later regret and to enact change – to press the proverbial “delete” button – but in akhira we will unfortunately not.

This afternoon we are gathered to remember and honour a great individual who has touched the lives of thousands of people. Mulla Asghar was somebody who needs no introduction. If you listen to his  speeches, you’ll come to the understanding of his great contribution and passion towards the Quran and the Ahlulbayt (a.s).

So many key aspects of his life are very valuable for us to take on board and be inspired by. For example, his:

  • Service to the community
  • Desire to tirelessly and continuously work to provide for the needy
  • To build the infrastructure and capacity of the community for future generations to come
  • One particularly special quality he had was his attention to time, and the capitalisation of every opportunity. When he was presented with the opportunity to serve, he would grab it; he would make sure not miss that opportunity.

His legacy still remains for us to know, understand, and apply inshAllah.

Written by Hassan.
Hassan is a mechanical engineer in the energy sector. He regularly blogs about faith, community and current affairs at This article was originally published on

Note: This event was organised by IUS; cemetery visits are organised for brothers and sisters. To see if we have an upcoming cemetery visit, please check the website’s events section or our Facebook page.

Prayer Time Table Sunday 16 Jun 2024

Newsletter Signup


About Us

The Islamic Unity Society is a registered UK charity.
Registration number: 1066910

Islamic Unity Society
Unit 132,
6 Wilmslow Road,
M14 5TP


Please note that IUS does not necessarily agree with what is discussed and presented by the speakers, co-organisations and any umbrella organisations it is associated with.

Privacy Policy

Wallplanner London 2022

Wallplanner Manchester 2022