‘Armageddon’, ‘Deep Impact’, ‘End of Days’, the list goes on and on, all though these movies differ in a number of ways, they all have a common plot that depicts an ‘end of the world’ scenario. In the most part, skepticism and mockery play a large role in these blockbuster movies, but the fact that each movie of this nature sells so well and becomes a hit is proof that people are intrigued by the afterlife. So, what does the future hold? To the majority, ‘once you’re dead, you’re dead’ is the common belief, but is this really the case? Does life cease after death, or is it just an initial step leading to another?
Justice, equality, individuality at best can be described as hollow slogans preached by democracy, rarely implemented in Western society. These terms only attain full meaning with belief in the afterlife, for in this life, we see that crimes go unchecked, unfair judgments are handed down and criminals walk free! Even in cases were a killer is convicted of a heinous crime, he may escape the death penalty, for it is only reserved for the most ‘culpable’ offenders (such as killers and their accomplices) as was the case of Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer who terrorized America in the late 70s and early 80s. He presumably killed 30 to 100 people. His death via electric chair was quite painless in comparison to the agony he put each of his victims through. According to Christianity, regardless of this man’s ill doings, since he was a ‘believer’ in God, he will be forgiven as per the Doctrine of Atonement. But is this true justice?
In Islam, no one will go scot-free; all will be held accountable for their transgression in a higher court of law, wherein no one is wronged and all are given proper sentences. God, Almighty, tells us:
“And the Book (one’s Record) will be placed (in the right hand for a believer in the Oneness of God, and in the left hand for a disbeliever in the Oneness of God), and you will see the criminal sinners, fearful of that which is (recorded) therein. They will say: “Woe to us! What sort of Book is this that leaves neither a small thing nor a big thing, but has recorded it with numbers!” And they will find all that they did placed before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice.” (Quran 18:49)
If a person was wronged and did not see true justice or saw only partial justice, God will restore to him his rights on that Day. The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:
“The rights shall be returned to the proper individuals on the Day of Resurrection, even to the detail of the just retribution of the broken horned sheep from the two horned sheep who had hit it.” (Saheeh Muslim)
Muslims firmly believe in life after death, we are reminded time and time again of this reality by God, the Exalted. He says:
“O you who believe! Fear God and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear God. Verily, God is All-Aware of what you do.” (Quran 59:18)
Death is but a phase in a series of phases, it is the beginning of one’s journey to the afterlife. Death, or the cessation of life functions, occurs when one’s soul leaves the body. This is a very painful experience. God, Almighty, tells us:
“And the pangs of death will come in truth: “This is what you have been avoiding!” (Quran 50:19)
As the soul departs the body, the person will stare at it, and his eyes will follow it. The Prophet said:
“One will follow the path of the soul visually as it leaves his body.” (Saheeh Muslim)
The soul will then begin its journey up to the heavens; for a believer permission would be sought for the gates of heaven to be opened and the gates would be opened till it reaches the seventh heaven, whereby God says:
“Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again.” (Quran 20:55)
It would then be returned to the body. As for the non-believer, permission would be sought for the gates of the lowest heaven to be opened, but the angels refuse and it will be cast back to earth. God, Almighty, tells us:
“Verily, those who belie Our Signs and treat them with arrogance, for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle. Thus do We recompense the criminal sinners.” (Quran 7:40)
Thereafter, one will remain in either continuous bliss or punishment in the grave until the Final Hour is established.
Nearing the end of time, the trumpet will be blown and creation will cease to exist. God, Almighty, says:
“And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom God wills.” (Quran 39:68)
It will be blown a second blowing, and all creation from the beginning of time till the end of time will be resurrected. God, the Exalted, tells us:
“And the Trumpet will be blown (i.e. the second blowing) and behold! From the graves they will come out quickly to their Lord.” (Quran 36:51)
People will be standing naked, barefooted and uncircumcised. The Prophet described to us what will happen, he said: “You will be gathered, barefooted, naked, and uncircumcised (as God says):
“As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it.” (Quran 21:104)
The first human being to be dressed on the Day of Resurrection will be Prophet Abraham, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Just lately, the news was filled with stories of the war criminal Slobodan Milošević and how he ‘prematurely’ died without being served justice. Even if he were convicted of his crimes by the Hague, what just punishment could possibly be served? On the same notion, how many have been able to bribe a judge or an entire justice system? It’s just too often that we hear of a judge or attorney being arrested on corruption charges.
The Justice system of the Hereafter is flawless and absolutely just. No judgment can be overturned by a jury nor can it be influenced by any individual!
The great Companion, Ibn Abbas, may God be pleased with him, said that the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:
“You will be summoned on the Day of Resurrection bare-footed, naked and uncircumcised.”
He then read the words of God:
“As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. [That is] a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.” (Quran 21:104)
“The first person to be dressed on that day will be Prophet Abraham.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Aishah, the Mother of the Believers, exclaimed: “Men and women both! Won’t they all look at each other?” The Prophet said:
“The situation they are in is so grim that they would have no time for this!” (Saheeh Muslim)
As humankind awaits the decree of Almighty God, they would be standing under the sun, which would be brought close to them. Al-Miqdad b. al-Aswad, one of the Companions, said: ‘I heard the Messenger of God saying:
“The sun will be a distance of a mile from the creation on the Day of Resurrection. People will sink in their perspiration according to their deeds. Some would sink in their perspiration till their ankles, while others would sink in it to their thighs and waists; yet others, would sink in it till their mouths!”‘ (Saheeh Muslim)
If anyone of us, today, was to sweat on a sunny day, they wouldn’t be able to wait to hit the showers… the Day of Resurrection will be 50 000 years long. The Prophet said:
“That day will be 50 000 years long, after which a person will be admitted into Paradise or cast into Hell.” (Abu Dawood)
Peoples’ hearts will be pounding, not knowing what would become of them. God describes to us the horrors of that day. He says:
“On the Day you see it every nursing mother will be distracted from that [child] she was nursing, and every pregnant woman will abort her pregnancy, and you will see the people [appearing] intoxicated while they are not intoxicated; but the punishment of Allah is severe.” (Quran 22:2)
Even the believers who believed in truth will be severely worried. God says:
“And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord.” (Quran 23:60)
Aishah, may God be pleased with her, said: “Are they those who drink liquor, and steal?” The Prophet answered:
“No, Aishah, they are the ones who fast, pray and give out in charity, but are fearful that their deeds would not be accepted from them.” (Saheeh Muslim)
As humankind waits, some would exclaim, ‘Let us ask somebody to intercede for us with our Lord!’ The people would then go to Adam and say:
‘You are the father of all the people, and Allah created you with His Own Hands, and ordered the Angels to prostrate to you, and taught you the names of all things; so please intercede for us with your Lord, so that He may relieve us from this place of ours.’
He would say: ‘I am not fit for this (i.e. intercession for you).’
Adam would remember his sin and feel ashamed thereof. He would then say, ‘Go to Noah, for he was the first Messenger, God sent to the inhabitants of the Earth.’
He would say: ‘I am not fit for this undertaking!’
He will remember his appeal to his Lord to do what he had no knowledge of, then he will feel ashamed thereof and would say,
‘Go to the Khalil ur-Rahman (i.e. Abraham, the One whom God chose for His love).’
They will go to him and he will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking. Go to Moses, the slave to whom God spoke (directly) and gave him the Torah.’
So they will go to him and he will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking,’ and he will mention (his) killing a person who was not a killer, and so he will feel ashamed thereof before his Lord, and he will say, ‘Go to Jesus, God’s Slave, His Messenger and God’s Word and a Spirit coming from Him.’
Jesus will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking, go to Muhammad the Slave of God whose past and future sins were forgiven by God.’
Prophet Muhammad then said: ‘They will come to me and I will proceed till I will ask my Lord’s Permission and I will be given permission. When I see my Lord, I will fall down in Prostration and He will let me remain in that state as long as He wishes and then I will be addressed.’ [Muhammad!] Raise your head. Ask, and your request will be granted; say, and your saying will be listened to; intercede, and your intercession will be accepted.’
I will raise my head and praise God with a saying (i.e. invocation) He will teach me, and then I will intercede. He will fix a limit for me [to intercede for] whom I will admit into the Paradise. Then I will come back again to God, and when I see my Lord, the same thing will happen to me. And then I will intercede and God will fix a limit for me to intercede whom I will let into the Heavenly Abode, then I will come back for the third time; and then I will come back for the fourth time, and will say, ‘None remains in Hell but those whom the Quran has imprisoned [in Hell] and who have been destined to an eternal stay in Hell.’” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
After the agonizing wait and the Prophet’s intercession, people’s records of deeds will be handed out. God says:
“Then as for he who is given his record in his right hand, he will be judged with an easy account and return to his people in happiness. But as for he who is given his record behind his back, he will cry out for destruction and [enter to] burn in a Blaze.” (Quran 84:7-12)
This is further clarified by God in the following verses:
“So as for he who is given his record in his right hand, he will say, ‘Here, read my record! Indeed, I was certain that I would be meeting my account.’ So he will be in a pleasant life – In an elevated Garden, its [fruit] to be picked hanging near. [They will be told], ‘Eat and drink in satisfaction for what you put forth in the days past.’ But as for he who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, ‘Oh, I wish I had not been given my record And had not known what is my account. I wish it [i.e., my death] had been the decisive one. My wealth has not availed me. Gone from me is my authority.’ [God will say], ‘Seize him and shackle him. Then into Hellfire drive him. Then into a chain whose length is seventy cubits insert him.’ Indeed, he did not used to believe in God, the Most Great, nor did he encourage the feeding of the poor. So there is not for him here this Day any devoted friend. Nor any food except from the discharge of wounds; none will eat it except the sinners.” (Quran 69:19-37)
Everyone’s deeds will be weighed in actual scale and if the good outweighs the evil, they will be successful but if the opposite happens they will be among the losers.
God says: “And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant.”
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