By Sirajuddin Aziz
May 24, 2019
“Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveller/wayfarer.”
THIS hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) captures the essence of our lives in this world. We are advised to be as strangers, for strangers constantly long to return to their homes and are willing to do whatever possible and beneficial for returning to their origins. Like the traveller we should trek forward with our final destination in mind and stop only to replenish ourselves for the journey. We must travel light, and not let the material desires of this world serve as a luggage too heavy to carry. The concept of the Hereafter and the final destination of man is well laid out in the Quran. It clearly states the meaning of this life and the ultimate goal that we should look to achieve through this world.
“What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the Home in the Hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will ye not then understand?” (Quran 6:32)
“Then did you think that We created you in vain and that to Us you would not be returned? Therefore exalted be God, the Sovereign, the Truth; no deity is there save Him, Lord of the Supreme Throne.” (Quran 23:115-116)
The Quran is also very straightforward in detailing that for man to be successful in the Hereafter, he must truly believe in the Hereafter and look forward to this meeting with his Lord. Those men who believed in One God, His Messengers, His Books, His Angels, the Day of Judgment, and established regular prayers and charity will have nothing to fear and will look forward to this meeting.
“…Do not fear and do not grieve, but receive good tidings of the Paradise which you were promised. We were your allies in this worldly life and [are so] in the Hereafter, and you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request [or wish], as a hospitality from the Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran 41:30-32)
But those who did not practice the injunctions set out by the Quran and misused their free will; those that did not believe in this meeting with their Creator will be cast aside by their Lord just as they cast aside the warnings of the Quran.
“Such as took their religion to be mere amusement and play, and were deceived by the life of this world. That day shall we forget them as they forgot the meeting of this day of theirs, and as they were wont to reject Our Signs.” (Quran 7:51)
Our judgment on the aforementioned day and our subsequent reward or punishment must serve as inspiration for us to lead pious lives. We beseech the Almighty to guide us on the Sirat-ul-Mustaqeem in every prayer, but we must make the effort to find this path and stay on it. As travellers in this world we must equip ourselves with good companions and the right knowledge that will prevent us from straying off this path.
In addition to the doing of good being equated to “Seeking the Face of God” (Quran 2:272), the Quran provides us with a variety of vivid descriptions of the rewards for the believers and the punishment for the disbelievers. The destinations of Heaven and Hell and their abject description in the Quran should rally us towards right and enable us to shun evil. We must be clear that every deed will be recorded and big or small; we will get our just reward.
“And We place the scales of justice for Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [any deed even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We to take account.” (Quran 21:47)
It is important to note that not only will we be judged on the basis of whether we fulfilled our duties towards God, but also whether we fulfilled our duties towards our fellow men, or Haqooqul-Ibaad as they are called. Compassion for mankind and general good conduct will be of great value in the final judgment. “The heaviest thing that will be placed in a person’s Balance on the Day of Resurrection [after the testimony of Faith] is good manners, and God hates the obscene, immoral person.” (Al-Tirmidhi) The righteous are promised lush carpets, cushions, bubbling springs, pure wines, adornments, thrones, Gardens, Beautiful Companions, much rest, satisfaction and the fulfilment of their hearts desires;
“…And therein is whatever each soul desires and delights the eyes…” (Quran 43:71)
On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], ‘Your good tidings today are of gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally.’ Indeed in that is the great success.” (Quran 57:12) On the other hand, we are forewarned of the misery which awaits us if we are unable to protect ourselves from sin. Before mentioning what the Quran portrays of Hell, a frightening hadith comes to mind. The Companion, Zaid b. Thabit, narrated how, when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions were once passing some graves of polytheists, the Prophet’s horse bolted and almost unseated him. The Holy Prophet (PBUH), then said: “These people are being tortured in their graves, and were it not that you would stop burying your dead, I would ask God to let you hear the punishment in the grave which I (and this horse) can hear.” (Sahih Muslim)
The Quran further iterates the point of the torment that awaits the disbelievers and wrong-doers in their final abode. This does not begin when they are finally being judged, but from the very moment that their souls are taken from their bodies.
“And if you could not see when the angels take the souls of those who disbelieved… striking their faces and their backs and saying, ‘Taste the punishment of the Blazing Fire.’” (Quran 8:50)
“And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the overwhelming pangs of death while the angels extend their hands, saying, ‘Save yourselves! Today you will be awarded the punishment of extreme humiliation for what you used to say against God other than the truth, and that you were, toward His verses, being arrogant.” (Quran 6:93)
Wrong-doers will have no respite if they die in this state of unbelief. No matter how much they beg for another chance, their life on this world will be over and they will have nothing left but regret.
With such terrifying consequences and outright warning we must not doubt what awaits us in the afterlife and must strive to be part of the righteous and not of the wrongdoers. As travellers in this life, we must tirelessly protect our faith and endlessly battle evil so that we may reach our final destination safely. We must walk straight and take heed of the warnings given to us. Because for the righteous is the promise that they will be given due reward. “But those who feared their Lord will be driven to Paradise in groups until, when they reach it while its gates have been opened and its keepers say, ‘Peace be upon you; you have become pure; so enter it to abide eternally therein.” (Quran 39:73) During this Holy month of Ramadan, it is best, for us Muslims to resolve, that no matters what fashion we transact our everyday life, we will always keep the concept of the Hereafter, within the ambit of our intention and action. The temporal world will be outstripped by the eternal world.
Sirajuddin Aziz is a senior banker with interest in Religion.
Original Headline: Hereafter and the eternal world —18
Source: The Pak Observer