One of our fundamental beliefs as Muslims, amongst other things is the belief in the Day of Judgment. But what does this belief actually entail? And how should it impact our behavior and our actions? These are the few things that we would like to discuss insha Allah.
We the human race are generally under the perception that we belong here to this world. Yet the fact is that as time is passing by, it is ripping away and tearing apart from our very own existence. This is very much in line with the tradition of the Prophet (PBUH) wherein he said:
Kun fid duniya kannaka aabirin sabeel
Be in this world as if you’re a traveler
Essentially implying that we as a people do not belong here to this world and we need to prepare ourselves for the actual life which by its very nature is eternal. Now what exactly is the importance of the Day of Judgment? This could be clearly understood from a statement attributed to Aisha (RA). She said:
Lauw anna awwala maa nazala minal quran la tashrabul khamr, laqalu la wallahi la nutrikul khamra abada
If the first thing revealed in Quran was do not drink, the people would have said we are never going to stop drinking
Lauw anna awwala maa nazala minal quran la taznu, lagalu la wallahi la natrukuz zina abada
And if the first thing that was revealed in Quran was do not commit fornication and adultery, the people would have said we are never going to stop committing fornication and adultery
Walaakin kana awwala ma nazala minal quran surah mufassal feeha zikrul jannatati wannaar hatta izaa thaabatil quloobu ilaa rabbiha nazalal halalu walharaam
But the first thing that were revealed in Quran were the surah al-mufassal which talk about and mention hellfire and paradise until the hearts were attached to Allah then the orders of halal and haraam came down.
Now if we ponder upon this hadith we can understand the centrality of the belief in aakhirah in our lives. So we see that most of the rulings were given in Medina while in Makkah it was the preparation to fill the hearts with Iman until all the veils and darkness were lifted from the hearts.
We are not suffering from the problem of ignorance only. Everyone knows that alcohol is haraam, why do people drink it? Everyone knows the benefit of praying Salah with Jama’ah why don’t they do it? A major problem is insufficient iman. Our hearts are rough & hard and what could soften these hearts is al-Akhirah because Rasulullah says:
Lauw ta’lamuna ma a’lam ladahiktum qaleela wala bakaytum kaseera
If you know what I know you would laugh little and cry a lot (i.e. if you know the reality of Akhirah)
Now coming back to this issue of social and individual change, in the US in 1920, the US Congress decided to ban the consumption of alcohol what is now known as ‘The Prohibition’. During the days this ban was enforced, about half a million people were thrown in jail. Millions of dollars were spent to enforce the law yet the consumption of alcohol did not change. Instead the number of industries setup to manufacture alcohol grew exponentially because people started manufacturing alcohol in their own houses and because the process of making khamr is so unhygienic and dirty, diseases were spreading. After 13 years of misery, the United States government repealed the law. Now lets go 1400 years earlier. Jibreel came to the Prophet revealing the verse that
Ya ayyuhal lazeena aamanu innamal khamru walmaysiru walansaabu wal azlaamu rijsum min amalish shaitani fajtanibooh
Believers, intoxicants, games of chance, idolatrous sacrificesat altars and diving arrows are all abominations, the handwork of Satan. So turn wholly away from it.
So Rasulullah recited this ayah to the sahaba and the sahaba went out on the streets passing this on to others. Anas bin Malik said I was serving alcohol to some of the sahaba and we heard the announcement in the street that alcohol is now prohibited. He said I threw the jug from my hand and some of the sahaba had the cups in their hand and they threw it. And some of them had alcohol in their mouth they spit it out. And some of them went as far as inducing vomit to bring out whatever was there in their stomach. And it was described that the streets of Medina were flowing with alcohol; immediate obedience. Without law enforcement, without the congress, without throwing any person in jail, the law was immediately followed and enforced.
We need to prepare ourselves by remembering death frequently as rasulullah said:
Aktharu min zikri haazimil lazzaat
Frequently remember death, the destroyer of pleasures
Hasan al-basri said:
Maa raaytu yaqeenan laa shakka feeh. Ashbaha bishakkilaa yaqeena feehi minal maut
I have never seen anything that is certain with no doubt in it but people deal with it as if it is doubt with no certainty like death.
We are all certain about death muslim or non-muslim but the way we are dealing with it is as if it is something doubtful.
Isaac Asimov, who’s known as an exceptionally prolific science fiction writer, he was once asked what do you think would happen to you after death. He said nothing. His knowledge, all his intelligence, and the books he wrote don’t make him any different than the most ignorant non-believer in Makkah 1400 years ago, munkireen of al-ba’ath. His knowledge did him nothing, didn’t move him one notch above the mushrikeen.
When a person is dying, they go through this period of time before death called ihtizaar, and this is a stage in between where a person is going through the change from duniya to akhirah. Sleep – minor death (Al-Wafaatus Sughra) Rasulullah described this period in a long hadith:
If the believing servant is leaving this world and moving into al-akhirah, angels would descend from the heavens, white bright faces like the sun, they have with them a coffin from paradise and incense from paradise. So we could see them then the angel of death would descend and he would sit to his side. He would say, O you pure soul, come out to the forgiveness of Allah and His pleasure. This soul would come out smoothly like a drop of water flowing down from a jug. As soon as the angel of death takes the soul, all of the angels come forward each of them trying to take the honor of holding that soul and wrapping it in the coffin. Then they would carry it up in the heavens. Whenever they would carry it past a group of angels, the angels would smell this beautiful scent and they would ask who’s soul is this? The angels would tell them that this is the soul of so and so and they would call them by the best of names. And then they would reach the gates of the heaven and seek permission so the gate of that heaven would open up. And whenever that soul is being carried through a heaven the angels of that heaven would accompany it till the next heaven. And angels are surrounding this soul all the way up until it reaches it Allah. Then Allah would deliver the promise of Jannah to that soul and would say that take this soul back to earth because that is where I created them from and that is where they would return and that is where they would b resurrected from. So the soul would descend downward on earth.
And the nonbeliever is leaving this world and approaching akhirah, then dark angels would come down and they are carrying with them coffins made out of coarse material, then the angel of death come down and sit next to him, and he would say: O you evil soul come out to the anger of Allah and His wrath. So the soul disperses in his body. Then the angel of death would grab the soul and pull it out like a branch with many thorns and branches being pulled out of a ball of wet wool.
Imagine you have a branch of thorns and wrapped around it is wet wool. So if we try to pull this branch, it will tear the wool apart, suffering in pain.
As soon as that soul comes out all the angels would jump and would wrap it up into the coffin from hellfire and then they would carry it up. Rasulullah said that this soul would have a stinking rotten smell and whenever this soul would pass next to angels they would start cursing it and they would say who’s soul is this? So the angels would call it with its worst names. Then the angel would carry it to the first heaven and they would seek permission to enter but the door of that heaven would not open.
La tufattahu lahum abwaabus samaa (the doors of the heavens would not be opened for them)
And Allah would say throw that soul to the lowest earth so that soul would be thrown down with a disgrace from Allah Subhanahu wa Taala.
For the disbeliever and evil doer Allah says:
Wa lauw tara iz yatawaffawna lazeena kafarul malaikatu yadriboona wojoohahum wa adbaarhum wa zooqu azabal hareeq. Zaalika bima qaddamat aydeekum wa annalaha laysa bizallamil lilabeed.
And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve, they smite their faces and their backs saying face the punishment of the blazing fire, this is because of that which your hands had forwarded and verily Allah is not unjust to His slaves.
During this stage, even for the believer there could be some anxiety so Allah provides comfort to the believer glad tidings.
Innalzeena qalu rabbunallahu thummas taqaamu …
Verily those who say our Lord is Allah and then they stay firm, on them the angels would descend saying fear not nor grieve but receive the glad tidings of paradise which you have been promised.
Abdullah ibn Imam Ahmed narrated that his father while on his death bed and in the state of naza’ said Laa ba’th laa ba’th (not yet, not yet), which left him concerned. When Imam Ahmed regained consciousness and Abdullah asked him why he said that, Imam Ahmed replied that Shaitan was standing right next to me biting on his fingers saying O Ahmed you have slipped out of my hand so I was telling him no not yet not yet, not until I die.
So Shaitan was clearly upset that Imam Ahmed had slipped his hands. And Subhanallah this is the life of believers that we continue to struggle against Shaitan until we die because he would never give up.
Imam ibn Taymiyyah has said that the reason this happens is that this is the last chance that Shaitan has with you, so if he misses you in the last moment, he’ll never have a chance with you again. That is why Shaitan puts great emphasis and gives special attention to the last moment of our lives. So if we put a criteria to ourselves and think about it, if we are losing to Shaitan now when the battle is easy what would happen to us when we approach our death when things get tough. These are the fitan and that’s why we say in our Salah
Ibnul Qayyim said that we don’t expect that Allah would mislead anyone who was on the straight path. But we should always pray to Allah seeking His guidance.
Allahumma inna na’oozu bika min fitnatil mahyaya wal mamaat
We seek refuge in you from the fitnah of life and death. This is the fitnah of death.
In a hadith narrated by Bukhari, Rasulullah said: Every prophet before he dies is shown his place in paradise and then he’s given the choice to stay in this world or to die. Now this hadith is narrated by Ayesha (RA). She says when Rasulullah was dying, he had his head on my lap and then he fell unconscious and then he woke up. And he started staring at the sky and then he said allahummar rafeeqal a’laa allahummar rafeeqal a’laa O Allah the highest companion O Allah the highest companion meaning I want to be with the highest companion which is Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Ayesha said I knew that Rasulullah at that moment was being given the choice and that he was not choosing us. And those were the last words Rasulullah said.
Asbaab Soo’al Khatima – Reasons of Evil Ending
Man maata a’la shaiyin bu’itha a’laiyh
Whoever dies on something would be resurrected on it
If you die in hajj in ihram making talbiyyah Rasulullah said you would be resurrected reciting the talbiyyah. If you die as a Shaheed on the battlefield Rasulullah said you would come out on qiyamah with your wounds and injuries bleeding. That is why the most important stage of our life is the khawateem.
Allahum aj’al khaira a’malee khawateemaha
O Allah make the best of my deeds the last deeds
1. Weak Iman (Da’ful Iman)
Sulaiman ibn Abdul Malik visitied Makka & Medinah and he was asking is there anyone here who has met the companions of the messenger. They said yes Abu Hazim, he said call him. So they brought Abu Hazim. Sulaiman ibn Abdul Malik asked him a question. He said how come we dislike death? Ibn Hazim said:
Li annakum ammartumud duniya wa kharrabtumul aakhirah, fa takrahoonal khurooja minal amranee ilal kheraab
Because you have built and established this world and you have destroyed your aakhirah so you hate to go from what is established to what is destroyed.
And this is a natural consequence; if we are not preparing for the aakhirah, why would we want to go there. What is the cause of da’ful iman, the love of this world.
2. Insistence on sinning (Israar alal ma’asi)
A person might be committing a small sin but the scholars say that insisting on a small sin makes it a major sin. When you keep on doing it again and again, it becomes at par with major sin.
3. Divergence from the Straight Path (Al-U’dool Anil Istiqaama)
The deviance might appear very small in the beginning yet gradually it distances ourselves from the straight path. Iblees started off as pious jinn who was elevated and brought together with the angels. Yet once he arrogated by not making sujood on Allah’s command
You submit to Allah even if it is against your own will, even if it is against our very own desires. We want to follow our religion according to our convenience and to our spare time. No, we do not custom make Islam to serve us, we change ourselves to fit in Islam. We change our character because this is the meaning of Islam, complete submission.
Alam ya’ninillazeena aamanu an takhsha’ quloobohum lizikrillah
Isn’t it time for those who believe that their hearts would soften with the remembrance of Allah
When we read Quran, we find that the majority of verses that speak about the screaming of the people of hellfire, if we look at the reason why they are screaming, it is because of At-Tasweef, i.e. procrastination. O Allah take me back to that so I would spend, O Allah take me back to that so I would do good. It’s all because of their procrastination of doing good deeds.
Let us pray to Allah that we are able to use this time in a manner which is most pleasing to Allah, to seek knowledge that would bring us closer to Him, to repent to Him on our wrongdoings and to have the Will and the strength to do good deeds.
Allahumma ya zaljalali wal ikraam, ij’al ahsana a’maalina khawatimaha wa khaira ayyamina yawma nalqaak.