Commanding His Prophet in the Qur’an, Almighty Allah says
(And warn them of the Day of regret, as the Command is decreed, and they are in a state of heedlessness, and they do not believe.) (Maryam 19:39
On that day, horrors of unspeakable scale will be seen, no way of escape will be found, and all hopes for salvation will be dashed. That will be the condition of the disbelievers who led their lives in this world in denial and heedlessness of Allah’s religion and far removed from His obedience. All sources of trouble and pain in this world pale in comparison to one moment spent in Hell. This can be better imagined when we think of the fact that Hell represents the boundless power and might of Allah. Can there possibly be anything more painful and dreadful? Of course, the answer is NO.
This is the most important day at all. Your graduation day is not that important nor is your wedding day. If there comes a day when you will be the wealthiest and most successful in your community or even in the whole world, that day too is not important. What is all-important is:
(The Day when the spirit and the Angels rise up in ranks, they will not speak, except him [to] whom The All-Merciful has given permission and who speaks right. That is the True Day. So whoever decides, should seek a resorting to his Lord. Surely, We have warned you of a near torment on the Day when a person will look at whatever his hands have forwarded, and the disbeliever will say, “Oh, would that I were dust!”) (An-Naba’ 78:38–40)
Despite that, the majority of people direct the most attention to this fleeting and imperfect life. They focus on this short span of life, thinking it to be so long. The main goal they pursue is to succeed in life, surpass everyone else in terms of prestige, power, and wealth. Sadly, they forget that all such things will be of no value when they are put into the soil, completely alone. Though different in faith, many people on earth are well aware that there is life after death, and that there will come a day when each individual will render account of what he or she said and did. But, surprisingly, most of them assume an attitude of forgetting or ignoring that tremendous day.
- You need to stop and think: What am I doing here?
- What are my goals and wishes? Where am I heading for?
- Who are the persons, and what are the things that I love most?
- Will they remain there forever?
- Will we not part ways one day?
- Will they leave me, or I will be the one leaving?
- Am I prepared for such departure after which there will never be a point of return?
- Is my Lord pleased with me?
- Will He admit me to His beautiful Paradise — where I will dwell in happiness, security, and tranquility for all eternity — or Hell will be my deserved abode?
Not a Game
In a Qur’anic verse, Almighty Allah says:
(And in no way did We create the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them both, playing.) (Ad-Dukhan 44:38)
This and numerous other verses inform us that the matter is so serious, that we are here for a short, yet hard, test, and that the result will be an eternal life lived either in a place of indescribable beauty or another of unimaginable horror and torment. If this is the case, then how can people fearlessly engage in all sorts of unlawful and immoral acts that incur their Lord’s displeasure upon them? How can they remain indifferent after hearing this warning from Allah the Almighty?
(O you mankind, be pious to your Lord; surely the earthquake of the Hour is a tremendous thing. On the Day you will see it, every suckling female will get distracted away from whatever she has suckled, and every pregnant female will lay down her burden; and you see mankind drunken, and in no way are they drunken but the torment of Allah is strict.) (Al-Hajj 22:1–2)
Recognizing the severity of the matter, every wise person should rush to please His Lord and draw closer and closer to Him and shun every deed He disapproves of. For example, those who deal with fellow human beings arrogantly and are so sensitive when it comes to their status and prestige should remember that worms will not hesitate to eat their lifeless bodies, without any regard to their hard-earned status and prestige. In fact, worms do not differentiate between a king who only a few hours before was obeyed by the entire population he was ruling and a beggar who led a life of humiliation and lowliness. Such a person should beware of that weighty Day when he will stand bare and all alone in front of his Lord to give his account. No guard, beloved one, influential figure, or even the most powerful army on earth can come to his aide. So, he should prepare in advance for that lest he may be among the regretful losers — at a time no regret will ever avail or loss be compensated.
When Almighty Allah speaks about this test and its result in the hereafter, He speaks in these terms:
And vie swiftly with one another for forgiveness from your Lord and for a Garden whose breadth is the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious.) (Aal-`Imran 3:133)
Regarding the worldly life, He says:
(He is [The One] Who made the earth tractable to you; so walk in its territories and eat of His provision; and to Him is the Rising up.) (Al-Mulk 67:15)
Surprisingly, most people do quite the opposite: vying for worldly things and showing indifference when it comes to their real life — the hereafter. The following hadith accounts for this conduct.
Abu Hurairah reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The [Hell] Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked and undesirable things.” (Al-Bukhari)
So, perseverance and strenuous efforts are required for passing this test. If a person aims at purchasing a luxurious house, he will spend many years of hard work to attain his goal, just to leave it behind for his descendants. What about the eternal abode of bliss and ease!
- Does it not deserve harder work and more precious sacrifices?
Indeed, it does. However, most of us are keen on populating and embellishing our worldly homes, where we are doomed to stay for only a short time, and we neglect the homes of eternal stay. We need to demolish the bridges of attachment to the allurements of this transient life and aspire for what is permanent. A believer may, and even should, make endeavors to be knowledgeable, wealthy, and powerful, yet with the aim of being a sound and a durable brick in a sound and durable Islamic building. His efforts are thus aimed at Allah’s approval and Paradise. Verily, the intention is of decisive importance.
A Way Out
To avoid this hard test and its inevitable outcome is far from possible, so long as one is a sane adult. We need, however, to turn away from our vain desires and endless aspirations. We should not even attempt to flee from this test. If passed successfully, this test will be a cause for bliss and happiness never seen before. We should instead flee to the One Who has put us to this difficult test: Allah. He alone can enable us to pass it successfully.
So flee to Allah! Surely I am an evident, constant warner from Him to you.> (Adh-Dhariyat 51:50)
Dear brothers and sisters, the matter is indeed grave. It is no game. It is either Paradise or Hell. The Day of Resurrection could be a day of glad tidings and unspeakable joy or a day of deep regret. Work hard, and give this test top priority. To act otherwise would be extremely unwise. Implore the All-Merciful Allah to guide you and make you firm on His straight path. Hold onto His religion and observe all His commands and prohibitions. Do not take a single step toward something unless you think that it will benefit you in the hereafter; otherwise, throw it far away. Be merciful to people so that the All-Merciful will be merciful to you, forgive your sins, and admit you to His Paradise, where you will live a life of bliss, tranquility, security, and serenity — a life free from any fear or sadness.
O My servants! No fearshall be on you that Day nor shall you grieve.)(Az-Zukhruf 43:68)