By Khalid Baig
All through the centuries Allah sent down thousands of messengers,
dozens of books, and one Message. This central Message has three
components. 1) Allah is the Creator and the Master of the universe. He
is the One we must worship and obey. 2) He sent down guidance through
messengers and books. 3) Just as death is certain in this world, so is
resurrection in the Hereafter. Then everyone will face everlasting
consequences of their response to Allah's commands: joy forever or grief
It is this last part that can bring immediate clarity and concentration
to our minds and change the call of the messengers from "interesting" to
immensely serious and urgent. The messengers do not do philosophy or
present theories. They have News for us and it is extremely urgent. That
is why the Qur'an refers to the messengers as nadhir (warners) and
describes this as their primary mission: "We have sent emissaries
only as heralds and warners while those who disbelieve idly argue away
so they may refute the Truth by means of it. They treat My signs and
what they are warned of as a joke!" [Al-Kahf 18:56]
An unimaginably huge catastrophe is about to befall the humanity. Let it
be warned, so it can ward it off. You must drop everything and listen to
the messenger with all seriousness. Now.
This is a life-altering message. Anyone who understands and accepts it
can no longer remain the same old person who did not understand or
accept it. It says that this world is not what it appears to be. This is
not our destination; what happens to us here is not our ultimate
destiny. Any life lived here on the assumption that this life is all
there is to it will be entirely wasted.
We know there are problems in this world. The strong can get away with
murder. The weak are oppressed. We yearn for justice and don't find it.
The joys of this life are also both short-lived and mixed with sorrows.
We yearn for pure bliss and don't find it. This message tells us that
our desires for justice and unmixed happiness are not in vain. We will
get them in the eternal Afterlife. What seems to be an imperfect world
is actually a perfect testing ground. The joys and sufferings here are
meant to test how we behave under different circumstances in life. Those
who lead a life of righteousness and obedience to Allah will taste real
joy in the Hereafter. Those who lead a life of disobedience, sin, and
corruption will taste real punishment. This message gives us hope when
there is no hope. It gives us the strength to be steadfast in the face
of the forces of evil. It liberates us from the bondage to here and now.
It changes our outlook and consequently our entire life.
It is impossible for our thoughts and actions to be right and righteous
in the absence of belief in the Hereafter. How many people will resist
temptations if there are no consequences to be feared for doing so? And
for how long? How many will engage in good even though it costs and
avoid evil even though it seems to pay? Human beings are driven by
rewards and punishments. But the only perfect system of reward and
punishment is offered by the Hereafter. Therefore it is impossible to
fix this world by ignoring the Hereafter.
There is more. The Qur'an says: "Those who do not believe in the
Hereafter, call the angels by the names of females." [An-Najm 53:27]
What has the disbelief in the Hereafter to do with this act? They engage
in this conjecture about the angels whom they have not seen and have no
sure way of knowing about, because they are not serious. And they are
not serious because of their disbelief in the Hereafter. Frivolity and
vanity are a side effect of this disbelief. And when they take control
of life, the entire life is destined to ruin.
While the disbelief in the Hereafter has no legs to stand on, this world
does have the charm that can overcome that disadvantage! The result may
be that we continue to profess belief in the Hereafter, yet live as if
it does not matter. Or that we even change our beliefs too. It has
happened before. Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs, rabbi of the New London
Synagogue, writes: "Among many contemporary Jewish theologians there is
a marked tendency to leave the whole question of eschatology without
discussion, either because they do not believe in the Hereafter at all
or because they believe that the finite mind of man is incapable of
piercing the veil and it is best to leave the subject severely alone."
And while Orthodox Jews still believe in resurrection, it is with a
twist. They believe that when the Messiah (who they think will be a
person from the family of King David) comes, the righteous dead will be
brought back to life to enjoy life here again. The wicked will not be
resurrected. So the Hereafter will be here and there will be no real
punishment for the wicked.
We can now appreciate the emphasis Islam places on remembering death and
resurrection. As a Muslim wakes up, he says: "Praise be to Allah Who
gave us life after death and unto Him is the Resurrection." When he goes
to bed his prayer is: "O Allah, in Your name do I die and live." When he
begins eating he says: "O Allah, bless us in what You have provided for
us and protect us from the Fire." When he rides he says: "Glory be to
Him Who has subjected these to our (use), for we could have never
accomplished this (by ourselves). And to our Lord shall we be sent back."
[Az-Zukhruf, 43: 13-14]. So our sleep reminds us of our death and all
through the waking hours we keep on refreshing that remembrance. In
regular prayers and while reading the Qur'an it is impossible to
continue for any length of time without being reminded that this life is
temporary and our permanent abode is in the Hereafter. A beautiful dua
(supplication) further highlights a Muslim's concerns: "O Allah, do not
make this world our greatest worry, the sum total of our knowledge, and
the object of our desires."
The person who always remembers the Hereafter is like the driver who
constantly keeps his eyes on the destination. He is the only one likely
to successfully get there.
Article taken (with Thanks) from Albalagh.net
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