The World And The Hereafter
Say: "Shall I give you glad tidings of things far better than those? For the righteous are Gardens in close proximity to their Lord, with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternal home; with companions pure and holy; and the good pleasure of Allah." Allah is watching over His servants. (Surah Al 'Imran: 14-15)
In fact, all these perversions described so far stem from people's inability to comprehend the fact of the hereafter.
As is stated in the Qur'an, Allah has created the World as a temporary home for people. It is for putting believers to the test, having them purified, letting them become worthy of heaven and bearing witness against the unbelievers.
However, one of the main features of the society of ignorance is that it disregards this reality and holds on to the world alone as if it will never end. This twisted mindset gives rise to the moral values of the society of ignorance which we have tried to explain throughout this book. According to this superstitious mindset, summed upo in the words, "We only come round once," death is the end. That being the case, "we must enjoy life" while we are still here. One can experiment with all things to that end. Because it has been declared in the society of ignorance that everything that pleases a person is legitimate. But the facts are very different.
Members of the society of ignorance never use their intelligence in the slightest. It is clear that death is an unavoidable end for everyone. Yet, the ignorant disregard this fact and keep it out of the agenda as much as possible. They sedulously avoid thinking about it and prevent people from talking about it. Many people lead their lives as if they will never die, although most people do not deny the existence of Allah. When they are asked, they claim they do believe in the afterlife as well. But slightly closer examination shows that there is no real belief in the hereafter there. The psychology is question is emphasized as follows in verses:
"As to these, they love the fleeting life, and put away behind them a Day that will be hard." (Surat Al-Insan: 27)
"You will indeed find them, of all people, most greedy of life,-even more than the idolaters: Each one of them wishes He could be given a life of a thousand years: but the grant of such life will not save him from (due) punishment. For Allah sees well all that they do." (Surat Al-Baqara: 96)
"Ah indeed! Are they in doubt concerning the Meeting with their Lord? Ah indeed! It is He that doth encompasses all things!" (Surah Fussilat: 54)
Since they think their death will be an ultimate end for their being, their desire to live forever is fulfilled in another way. Most of the ignorant want to leave behind them something to make people remember them after their death. They think, by doing so, they will be living in people's minds. They are unaware of how unreasonable this way of thinking is. Instead of doing some good deeds for their afterlife, they try to make a "name" for themselves in the world so as to be "unforgettable" after their death, none of which activity will bring them any benefit. Of course it is a good thing for someone to leave behind him good works that will benefit others; but what is being criticized here is that it is done with a very different purpose and ambition. This twisted logic of people who spurn religious moral values is also set out in the Qur'an as follows:
"Behold, their brother Hud said to them: 'Will you not fear Allah?
I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust:
So fear Allah and obey me. I ask no reward of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the worlds.
Do you build a landmark on every high place to amuse yourselves?
And do you raise up for yourselves fine buildings in the hope of living in them for ever?'" (Surat Ash-Shu'ara': 124-129)
"... who piles up wealth and lays it by, thinking that his wealth would make him last for ever!" (Surat Al-Humaza: 2-3)
The belief in the hereafter in the society of ignorance is a most distorted one. People in the society of ignorance, do not possess a belief with certainty in the hereafter. Even those that seem to be the most faithful among them still go no further than the ugly logic of "what if?" Moreover, those who hold such distorted ideas are quite certain that they themselves are destined for heaven.
"Set forth to them the parable of two men: for one of them We provided two gardens of grape-vines and surrounded them with date palms; in between the two We placed corn-fields.
Each of those gardens brought forth its produce, and did not fail in the least therein: in the midst of them We caused a river to flow.
When their ones had gathered in his harvest, he said to his companion, in the course of a mutual argument: 'I have more wealth than you, and more honor and power in my following of men.
He went into his garden in a state of mind unjust to his soul. He said, 'Surely this will never perish!
Nor do I believe that the Hour of Judgment will ever come: Even if I am brought back to my Lord, I shall surely find there something better in exchange.'
His companion said to him, in the course of the argument with him: 'Do you deny Him Who created you out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned you into a man?
I think for my part that He is Allah, My Lord. and none shall I associate with my Lord.
Why did you not, as you went into your garden, say: 'Allah's will be done! There is no power but with Allah!' If you see me less than you in wealth and sons, it may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden, and that He will send down on your garden thunderbolts by way of reckoning from heaven, making it but slippery sand!
Or the water of the garden will run off underground so that you will never be able to find it.'
So his fruits (and enjoyment) were destroyed, and he wrung his hands over all that he had spent on his property, which had now tumbled to pieces to its very foundations, and he could only say, 'Woe is me! Would that I had never ascribed partners to my Lord and Cherisher!'
He had no one to help him against Allah, nor was he able to deliver himself.
In such ordeals the only protection comes from Allah, the True One. He is the Best to reward, and the Best to give success." (Surat Al-Kahf: 32-44)
In another surah of the Qur'an, this ignorant mindset that wonders "what if?" and declares itself predestined for heaven is set out as follows:
"When we give him a taste of our Mercy after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say, 'This is due to my own merit: I do not think that the Hour of Judgment will ever come; but if I am brought back to my Lord, He will surely reward me well. But We will show the unbelievers the truth of all that they did, and We shall give them the taste of a severe Penalty." (Surah Fussilat: 50)
Note that in the above verse, Allah states that the people who say this in the same position as deniers.
If someone believes in Allah, then he inevitably comes to the conclusion that the hereafter must also exist. Allah creates the human being, lets him live his life, gives him countless blessings and shows him great compassion and mercy. And of course those who give thanks for this and behave properly will not be regarded the same as those who are ungrateful. That is because Allah is infinitely affectionate and merciful toward His servants.
As the verse "Every soul shall have a taste of death" (Surat Al-Anbiya: 35) makes clear, everyone will inevitably depart this world after a short time. Allah ends one's life after allowing him to live for a certain period of time. This period is described in the verse "Did We not give you long enough life so that he that would should receive admonition? And (moreover) the warner came to you." (Surah Fatir: 37). Human beings do not cease to exist with death, but start their real lives.
It is very obvious to the thinking person that life in this world is temporary and simply a sample of the real life. All the beauties in the world are temporary and have many deficiencies. The most good-looking human being can keep his good appearance only for one or two decades. As he gets older and older, his physical appearance changes, his skin becomes puckered, his body loses its shape and he starts to suffer many kinds of illnesses related to aging. It is not necessary to get older to witness the shortcomings of the life of this world. His body mechanisms are built with many weaknesses. If he does not take a shower for a few days, his body will begin to smell very unpleasant. No matter how attractive and charming he might look, he will live through the biggest weakness and use the lavatory as every human being does.
Since the great majority of people are used to all of this, they are usually not aware that these weaknesses have been given to them on purpose. However, Allah's creation is perfect. So, if Allah had willed, nobody would ever fall ill, smell bad or be weak. But all these deficiencies are to remind people of the fact that they stand in need of Almighty Allah. They are also to remind people that, the life in this world is only an example of the real life in the hereafter, which is free of all deficiencies. One verse from the Qur'an about this world and the hereafter sets this out in the best way possible:
"Know that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, in rivalry among yourselves, riches and children. It is like the plants that flourish after rain, delighting the hearts of the tillers; but soon they withers; you will see them grow yellow; then become dry and crumble away. But in the hereafter there is as severe Penalty for the devotees of wrong. And Forgiveness from Allah and His Good Pleasure for the devotees of Allah. And what is the life of this world, but the goods and chattels of deception?" (Surat Al-Hadid: 20)
Then, one may ask, "What is the real life like?" It is known to all that, there will be two different abodes in the hereafter, one for the believers, paradise, and the other for the unbelievers, hell. However, the society of ignorance has not stopped short of producing tales about paradise, and hell. Therefore, we again need to refer to the Qur'an to understand the true nature of the hereafter.