By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
14 January 2022
The Concept That Life and Death Are Trials Is An Opportunity For The Believers To Be The Best in Conduct
1. Muslims' perspective of death and the hereafter is based on the holy Qur'an.
2. God Almighty Created Life and Death To Test Who is a Good Human Being.
3. Islam prefers the quality of deeds to the quantity of deeds.
4. Remembering that we will be held accountable to our Lord after death Must Enable Us to Do Good acts and speak good words.
5. Fulfilling human rights should be founded on honesty and sincere faith rather than guile and deception, as has been the case with many so-called devotees of God Almighty.
The entire life for the faith of a Muslim is a trial and test, which determines his ultimate fate. For him, death represents the soul's return to its Creator, God. His views about death and the Afterlife are never far from his mind. This seeks to help him put his life and deeds into balance as he strives to live in expectation of what is to come, as a result of good deeds. Muslims' perspective of death and the hereafter is based on the holy Qur'an.
Our search for the meaning of life and death will be inadequate unless we examine divine revelations. Why did Allah Almighty create death as well as life? Life is full of ups and downs, with people being either happy or miserable at times. Despite the fact that they like life, they find it difficult to contemplate death. Death is unavoidable; it comes to everyone, without exception, in an unexpected way. But what is the purpose of life and death? Is there a specific reason for death and life?
The Holy Qur'an provides a clear answer to this question: “He Who has created death and life (so that) He may test you as to who of you is best in conduct. And He is Almighty, Most Forgiving” (67:2)
From the foregoing, it is apparent that Allah Almighty created both life and death solely to test the believers to see who the best in conduct is. According to the Qur'an, life is a test, and we will get the results of our actions after death. The experiences of life teach us that this test is not to be taken lightly. It's impossible to conceive a test without difficulties. To achieve the position of being the finest in conduct, we are bound to face challenges such as grief, worry, starvation, devastation, oppression, corruption, loss of possessions and life, and so on.
People who are constantly considering their mortality have a proclivity to do more and more good things. Without a doubt, every step of one's existence reminds him of his own weakness and helplessness in comparison to Allah's absolute strength, instilling in him the desire to live righteously. On the other side, the fear of death is the most effective technique of reforming one's behaviour, only when he believes that he will have to be accountable to his God on the Day of Judgment and that it would be a bad idea to observe the displeasure of his God on that Day.
Death is an unavoidable reality of existence. When a person considers death, he must worry about his acts, for which he will be held accountable before God. If his actions are sinful, standing before God in the afterlife will be a humiliating experience for him. If his faith is sincere and his behaviour is pious, then the notion of death will not bother him. It's also critical to avoid pride, which is forbidden in Islam even for great accomplishments and pious deeds because God's reward for good deeds is fundamentally God's kindness. That we have been given the opportunity to do good deeds in this worldly life is definitely one of the blessings of God Almighty.
According to a Prophetic Hadith, “death is adequate as a preacher, and assurance is sufficient as a cause of being free from needs.” [Tabarani]
This hadith suggests that visiting the death moment or event of friends and family is adequate preaching. If that doesn’t work, then nothing else will. Witnessing the death, he must realize that everything will pass by his journey of life one day and that now is the moment for him to begin doing good deeds in order to create a pure relationship of love with God Alone.
It's worth noting that Allah didn't say in the verse mentioned above, “Who of you commits more deeds,” but rather, “who of you is best in conduct”. This shows that it is the quality of deeds, not the quantity that counts. That is why, on the Day of Judgment, man's activities will be weighed rather than counted. In some cases, the weight of a single action is more than the weight of a thousand actions.
What Is A Good Action?
The Holy Prophet once recited this verse, and when he got to the words “best in conduct,” he stopped and clarified that this refers to the individual who abstains the most from the things Allah forbids and is always ready to obey Him, according to Hazrat Umar. [Qurtubi]
What are the things that Islam wants us to refrain from is a topic on which we will not go into detail here. In short, we can better comprehend the division of rights in Islam between the rights of God and the rights of human beings. Along with fulfilling God's rights, we must also fulfil human rights with complete honesty. From an Islamic perspective, fulfilling human rights should be founded on honesty and sincere faith, rather than the cunning and dishonest attitude that has characterised many so-called devotees of God Almighty. So-called rights of justice, benevolence, peace, equal treatment and all other human rights must take their actual form. The reason for this is that Allah Almighty has forbidden humans from deceiving human beings by concealing hypocrisy in faith, love, peace, human rights, or anything else. So we can pass our exam and trial by abstaining from the prohibited deeds [Haram and Najayez].
The Quran reveals how Allah Almighty puts us to the test in the following way:
“And We will most certainly test you somewhat by means of fear and hunger and a certain loss of wealth and lives and fruits. And, (O Beloved,) give glad tidings to those who observe patience” (2:155)
Glad tidings are only given to those who exercise patience in all kinds of problems, such as those briefly outlined in the verse above. Those who prepare to conduct all possible bad activities, such as killing innocent people, bombing, destructing, stealing, and oppressing the helpless and minority, and so on; in order to satisfy selfish goals fail the test.
In the two divine passages that follow, it is mentioned how individuals who are given good tidings exercise patience:
“(They are the ones) who, when afflicted with some distress, say: ‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return” (2:156)
“It is they upon whom are bestowed successive blessings and mercy from their Lord. And it is they who are the guided ones” (2:157)
Individuals who do not show patience in the face of adversity and engage in wicked actions will not obtain blessings or mercy from their Lord after they die, according to the previous paragraphs. They're the ones who've fallen from grace.
There are two types of consequences. One can either succeed or fail during one's probationary period. Both types of consequences are well-mentioned by Allah Almighty in the Holy Qur'an: “Indeed, We have created man in the best constitution” (95:4) “Then We returned him to the lowest state of the low (95:5)” “Except for those who believe and do good works. For them is an unending (i.e., everlasting) reward (95:6).
First Allah Almighty created all human beings in the best constitution [Ahsane Taqweem], and then He gave their self (Nafs) insight between good and evil (91:8). Following that, a person who believes in Allah Almighty, His Prophets, Angels, Messengers, and Books, and behaves in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah, has retained natural virtue and the best constitution and has passed the test. And if someone acts in a way that contradicts all of these characteristics, he will degrade his natural position and fall from the ranks of mankind, going from the best constitution to the lowest state of the low.
Allah Almighty also says,
“Indeed, the one who purifies his (ill-commanding) self (from all vain and vicious desires and cultivates in it virtue and piousness) succeeds” (91:9) “But the one who corrupts himself (in sins and suppresses virtue) is doomed indeed” (91:10)
It is now apparent that Allah Almighty created life and death in order to put a man to the test. This entire world is a test in which we encounter both good and bad deeds; but, when we perform good deeds, our Lord will be happy, whereas when we do wicked deeds, our Lord will be displeased. Many people today are unable to control their inner demons. The reason for this could be that they are negligent of God, forgetting that they will have to answer to Him on the Day of Judgment.
Take for an example; many people over the world are frightened to conduct numerous criminal acts because they are afraid of breaking international or national law. Crime will rise if there is no legislation. Similarly, many people would not have abstained from doing good deeds in this world if God had not established the law of punishment in the Hereafter. There are many things to think about and understand, but in order to do so, we as Muslims or believers must remember that we will be held accountable to our Lord after we die, so we must consider our acts and words so as not to commit any violation.
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.
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