A pilot of our air force once narrated to me a personal experience of a lifetime: one that shook his imagination to the core and transformed his subsequent behaviour in life completely. He recounted:
On a routine flight, the engine of my aircraft developed some complications which I was unable to locate and correct. Frantic messages to the control tower proved fruitless. Very soon the plane was accelerating towards the ground. I was convinced that my few moments of survival were ticking away fast. As death stared at me with lustful eyes, I could see the 'performance' of my life flashing across my mind in those very last few seconds. I was a terrified and an ashamed witness to my own misdeeds. I could see no one around to soothe and comfort me – none of those assuring and reassuring heroes, friends, and relatives who used to help avoid the discomforting question of death and its consequences. The ordeal was terrible; the chances of survival nil!
… It was a new life for me when I was miraculously saved: it was incredible indeed. I forced my way out of the cockpit with some minor injuries and the most important message I could possibly learn: life is too precious to be wasted in the meaningless pursuits of self-gratification. Thereafter, my attitude has undergone a complete transformation. Now I try to make sure that I learn about the religion of God as much as I can, and practice it sincerely. I hope my Gracious Creator forgives my shameful past when my unavoidable day of meeting Him would arrive.
All of us may not experience a near-death experience before the real one. We do, however, receive enough reminders of death in the news of the departure of others. We have only two options: either to sincerely prepare for the ultimate by bowing before the message of God, or to avoid contemplating the idea of death until it actually arrives. The consequence of the first choice will be lasting happiness in the future; the second option may result in an uncertain pleasure in this world, but will result in a definite disaster in the next one. The choice is ours!
(Dr Khalid Zaheer)