Fruits for the Week

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People are reminded many times of the existence of the Garden and the Fire and that they have to get prepared for the afterlife. Yet disbelievers turn a deaf ear to these reminders. Upon facing death, one of the main sources of their regret is the fact that they have led themselves to their destruction. No body force them; they, by their own will, choose this dreadful end for themselves. By the moment of death disbelievers start to suffer from grief. The dreadful fear felt at the time of death is the initial grief of this torment, which Allah illustrates in the Qur’an as follows: “And one leg is entwined with the other: that Day he will be driven to your Lord. He neither affirmed the truth nor did he pray, but rather denied the truth and turned away and then went off to his family, swaggering. Woe to you and woe. Then woe to you, and woe.” (Al-Qiyamah: 29-35)  

Yet, one needs to keep in mind that only disbelievers suffer from this fear. Believers spend all their lives working to gain the good pleasure and love of Allah. For this reason, they are full of hope. Disbelievers, on the other hand, experience great belated regret when death overpowers them. Nevertheless, this regret by no means keeps them safe from the punishment because it is too late. In the Qur’an, it is stated that at the moment of death, the soul of disbelievers are taken with a great suffering and difficulty. Allah said: “If you could only see wrongdoers in the overwhelming pangs of death when the angels are stretching out their hands, saying,” Discharge your own souls! Today you will be repaid with the punishment of humiliation for saying something other than the truth about Allah, and being arrogant about His signs.” (Al-An’am: 93). Allah further said: “How will it be when the angels take them in death, beating their daces and their backs?” (Muhammad: 27)

It is surely unlikely to fully comprehend what disbelievers experience at the time of death. However, Allah depicts this situation so that man can contemplate and avoid meeting such an end. The angels of death, as the verses suggest, will take the souls of disbelievers whilst smiting their faces and their backs. By that moment, disbelievers will suffer physical pain accompanied by a deep regret since they will know they have no opportunity to return back.

At the moment of death, man experiences what befalls him with a very open conscious. This is the beginning of his eternal life. Death is only a transitional phase; it is actually the departure of soul from the flesh.

Due to the torment of they suffer at the time of death, disbelievers grasp that they will be subjected to a great penalty that will last for all eternity-unless Allah wills otherwise. Those who lived all their lives distant from the religion of Allah start to earnestly implore Allah’s forgiveness and safety. They plead to be sent back to the world, to do good deeds and to make up for what they have lost. But their wishes are not acceptable because they were “given a life long enough so that they would receive admonition” as Allah maintains in the verse. They were given glad tidings of the gardens of Paradise and also warned against the fire of Hell, but they wilfully turned away from all these truths.

Allah states in the Qur’an that they will again tend to denial upon another chance: “When death comes to one of them, he says,’ My Lord, send me back again, so that perhaps I may act rightly regarding the things I failed to do!’ No indeed! It is just words he utters.” (Al-Mu’minun: 99-100)

Disbelievers knowingly did not prostrate before Allah, nor fulfil His orders, nor conform to the sublime morality. Allah says in the Qur’an that the time of death, they would not even be able to simply prostrate: “On the Day when legs are bared and they are called on to prostrate, they will not be able to do so. Their eyes will be downcast, darkened by debasement; for they were called on to prostrate when they were in full possession of their faculties.” (Al-Qalam: 42-43)

There is another point that adds to the regret of people who, at the moment of death, comprehend that Allah’s promises are all true. Believers, to whom disbelievers did not trust and take seriously in the world and even of whom they made fun, suffer none of the grief disbelievers go through on that day. They are eternally rewarded with the best of reward because they spent all their lives sincerely to attain the consent of Allah. Unlike disbelievers, their souls are drawn out ‘gently’ without any pain. As Allah describes in Surah An-Nazi’at verse 2, the angels greet the believers and give the good news of the Garden: “Those the angels take in a virtuous state. They say, ‘Peace be upon you! Enter the Garden for what you did.’” (An-Nahl: 32)

The way to be saved from regret and win eternal bliss is to reflect on death and the Hereafter and comply with the way of Allah, the Creator of man.

by Harun Yahya