Wednesday, August 26, 2009
THE DAY OF JUDGMENT IS APPROACHING
And the Hour is coming without any doubt, and Allah will raise up all those in the graves. (Surat al-Hajj, 7)
Death is coming closer by the day. Whether you are young or old, death is a little closer to you every day, even every minute. You cannot resist time or prevent death's approach. Nothing you do can change the fact that you and those close to you are only "temporary" beings. Like every other living being, you are advancing toward the Day on which your life will end.
Humanity is not the only part of creation that is subject to death. All other creatures, Earth itself and the whole universe, have a day of death fixed for them. The Day of Judgment is a day of terror and unimaginable fear. But at the same time, it is most wondrous. Everything on Earth will be flattened, the stars will be extinguished and fall in rapid succession, and the Sun will be wrapped up in darkness. All human beings who have ever lived will be gathered and made to witness this Day. This Final Day will be dreadful for the unbelievers, and its Lord will be Allah, Who owns all that exists.
The Day of Judgment, contrary to many people's belief, is approaching; it is not in the distant future. When it arrives, Earth and everything belonging to it will be destroyed. Ambitions, desires, anger, expectations, lusts, enmities, and pleasures will cease. Plans made for the future will become meaningless, for those who had forgotten that they will be returned to Allah, preferring this world over the eternal life and its misleading wealth, beauty, and pleasures, will have met their end. On this Day, everyone will witness clearly Allah's existence and will come face to face with the death that they had tried so hard to forget. Their attempt to forget Allah and the Hereafter is finished, and a new beginning, one which will be eternal and bring no happiness to the unbelievers, is awaiting them. From the very first moment of this eternal life, the punishment is so fearsome that those who experience it will beg for "death" and "annihilation." The beginning of this life is the Day of Judgment and, "the Hour is coming without any doubt."
LIFE ON EARTH IS TEMPORARY, AND DEATH IS A CERTAIN REALITY
From your earliest childhood onwards, you head for certain goals or are guided by others. You probably will have a family and a job, try to earn more in order to have a better life, educate your children, and hope that they will have a better life than you did. Once a week you meet the other members of your extended family. You take vacations, go to work, and spend the rest of your time at home. Except for a few hiccups on the way, your life progresses orderly and you usually encounter nothing outside the ordinary.
Everything in your life seems to be premeditated, and everyone's life is like everyone else's. You need to work to realize these goals, and you need to have a family to continue your lineage. According to this worldview, what else could you possibly want besides "a good job" and "a nice family?" Having achieved these goals, you expect to lead a happy life. In this way, everything is wonderful and you will live happily ever after.
However, some important changes are happening in your body and environment. Many cells with diverse functions fulfill their purpose and die. As you age, it becomes harder to replace them. Your body is ageing visibly, as seen through your illnesses and weaknesses. Time moves fast, and the impossibility of reversing it becomes clearer every day. Thinking that you were going to live happily and comfortably forever, you are nevertheless nearing death. Thus, this worldly life can never give the sense of contentment and peace you expect. When this "satisfying" life ends, you will come face to face with the real truth. Given this fact, none of your life ambitions should become your true purpose in life. This life is a temporary trial to separate the righteous from the evildoers. Allah reveals this reality in the following verse:
He Who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk, 2)
The true purpose of life is not a decent job and a nice family. Rather, everybody has been created for one purpose: to serve Allah. We become attached to our children, rank, and status but with the first instance of death, these worldly pleasures lose their value and importance. Everybody knows this, but many choose to ignore it. And so such things should not be the ultimate goals of life. We must reflect carefully and realize what is the real purpose and the true gain. Allah reveals the true purpose of our creation, as follows:
I only created jinn and man to worship Me. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 56)
Only by fulfilling this responsibility can we expect the gifts of the Hereafter. Most people have some unfounded expectations and comfort themselves with them. But this is a great error. If one has nothing to expect from the Hereafter, there is only one possibility left: To become nothing with death, a possibility that is scarier than all the others. The unbelievers develop various methods of forgetting this possibility, because they fear it so much. Among these methods are not talking about, discussing, or remembering death, even though it is a certainty for everyone. Everybody acts as if it does not exist. That most people behave in such a way might be reassuring to some extent, but in reality they are all misguided. People know about death, the Last Day, and the Hereafter, but refuse to ponder them. They are satisfied with this worldly life, or at least make themselves believe that they are. However, Allah reveals that death will find everyone:
Say: "Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, and He will inform you about what you did." (Surat al-Jumu‘a, 8)
The universe and all of its contents, not just humanity, will die on the Day of Judgment, for on that Day the trial will end. Many people will recognize its coming by its signs, and the events leading up to the universe's death will be literally hair-raising. Finally, on that Day, Allah will raise up all those in the graves and all people on the Earth will be called to account. Those who did not expect to experience such a Day will no longer be able to deny it, and so will bow to Allah's will whether they want to or not. Allah has prepared a spectacular end for the universe, and despite most people's attempts to deny this reality, the Day of Judgment will come at its appointed time.