Surat al-Kahf, 101-110
Those who have turned a blind eye to My remembrance and a deaf ear to My warning. (Surat al-Kahf, 101)
This verse emphasizes the unbelievers' heedlessness about Allah's remembrance. In another verse, He states: "… Yet they turn away from the remembrance of their Lord" (Surat al-Anbiya', 42). They deny Allah's verses, ignore the signs of creation in every detail of the universe, and refuse to listen to the Qur'an, which Allah revealed as guidance to faith. Many verses clearly state the importance of remembering Allah and that the alternative is heedlessness:
Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening. Do not be one of the unaware. (Surat al-A`raf, 205)
People are responsible for seeking Allah's good pleasure in everything they do, and for abiding by His commands and recommendations. The importance of remembrance is mentioned in the following verse:
Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and establish prayer. Prayer precludes indecency and wrongdoing. And remembrance of Allah is greater still. Allah knows what you do. (Surat al-`Ankabut, 45)
About the believers, Allah says: "O you who believe, do not let your wealth or children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Whoever does that is lost" (Surat al-Munafiqun, 9). In other words, remembrance is more important than anything else. He also says: "Remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him completely" (Surat al-Muzammil, 8). The Muslims' determination in remembrance is revealed in the following verse:
[The believers are] not distracted by trade or commerce from the remembrance of Allah, establishing prayer, and giving alms; fearing a day when all hearts and eyes will be in turmoil. (Surat an-Nur, 37)
Surat al-Kahf 101 also maintains that the unbelievers cannot bear to hear the Qur'an being recited. They would like to see everyone else turn their backs on the Qur'an, because someone who listens to it might follow the voice of his or her conscience, side with the righteous, and begin to practice truth and advise others to do same. For this reason, the unbelievers develop various means of rejecting the calls to faith, one of which is related in: "Those who do not belive say: 'Do not listen to this Qur'an. Drown it out, so that hopefully you will gain the upper hand'" (Surah Fussilat, 26).
As the above verse reveals, the unbelievers try to drown out the Qur'an's voice, change the subject, or prevent its recitation. If all of this fails, they resort to violence and intimidation, and apply all kinds of pressure to silence the believers. The only reason for them to do so is their fear of being influenced by the truth, that their consciences might be touched and cause them to realize how mistaken they are. Their fear is visible in their facial expressions, behavior, and panic when they hear the Qur'an being recited or the truth of creation being told. Surah Ya Sin reveals that the unbelievers will not listen to the voice of truth, although adhering to the Qur'an's values is their only route to salvation:
They are told: "Heed what is before you and behind you, so that hopefully you will have mercy shown to you." Not one of your Lord's Signs comes to them without their turning away from it. (Surah Ya Sin, 45-46)
However, those who shut their ears to the Qur'an must know that they will feel great remorse on the Day of Judgment, a day on which they will seek only for death to finish them off. The Qur'an says:
But as for him who is given his Book in his left hand, he will say: "If only I had not been given my Book and had not known about my Reckoning! If only death had really been the end! My wealth has been of no use to me. My power has vanished." (Surat al-Haqqa, 25-29)
Do those who do not believe imagine that they can take My servants as protectors instead of Me? We have prepared Hell as hospitality for the unbelievers! (Surat al-Kahf, 102)
In other words, some people forget Allah and take others instead of Him as friends and protectors. They believe, mistakenly, that when they need some help, their protectors will help them and take care of their troubles. It is a great mistake to hope for salvation and assistance from people, because no one can help anyone else unless Allah wills it, for everything that exists is part of His creation. They came into being only because Allah wills it, and continue to exist only by His will. Only Allah clears away hardship and brings about ease, provides health and nourishment, and causes laughter as well as tears. In short, every other being is infinitely helpless, poor, and dependent. They have no power or means, and even lack the power to help themselves. Therefore, people should have faith in, expect help from, and seek any other thing only from Allah, for there is no other deity or being who can do anything for them.
This being so, to seek help from others or taking them as protectors; forgetting about Allah and not trusting in Him but in causes, means, and people; and considering Allah's creations as independent powers, forces, or influences constitutes a blatant association (shirk). The Qur'an reveals this serious mistake in the following terms:
They have taken deities besides Allah, so that perhaps they may be helped. They cannot help them, even though they are an army mobilized in their support. (Surah Ya Sin, 74-75)
In Hell, the ultimate place of punishment, Allah's attributes of Al-Qahhar (the Crusher, the Subduer), Al-Jabbar (the Irresistible), and Al-Muntaqim (the Avenger) will be reflected in eternity. Surat al-Kahf 102 indicates that this eternal suffering is prepared as hospitality for the unbelievers.
After accounting for their deeds in Allah's presence, the unbelievers will receive their books from the left. At this moment, these people will truly realize that they will be driven to eternal suffering in Hell. There is no way out for them. Each of the companions of Hell will be accompanied by two angels: a driver and a witness. The following verses provide more information on this subject:
The Trumpet will be blown. That is the Day of the Threat. Every self will come together with a driver and a witness. [It will be said]: "You were heedless of this, so We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp." His inseparable comrade [the angel] will say: "This is what I have ready for you." [Allah will say:] "Hurl into Hell every obdurate unbeliever, impeder of good, and doubt-causing aggressor who set up another deity together with Allah. Hurl him into the terrible punishment." (Surah Qaf, 20-26)
This is how the unbelievers will be taken to that scary place. They will be flung into Hell group by group and will hear the terrifying gasping sound of Hell's fire from afar (Surat al-Mulk, 7-8).
The verses reveal that from the very moment of their resurrection, they will be feeling what is expecting them. Their heads will be bowed from degradation and shame. In abject disgrace, friendless, and helpless, they will lose their conceit. Due to their shame, they will watch from the corner of their eyes without looking up. Our Lord says in one verse:
You will see them as they are exposed to it, abject in their abasement, glancing around them furtively. Those who believe will say: "Truly the losers are those who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Rising." The wrongdoers are in an everlasting punishment. (Surat ash-Shura, 45)
In addition, the deniers will be received at Hell's gates in the following manner:
Those who do not believe will be driven to Hell in companies. When they arrive there and its gates are opened, its custodians will say to them: "Did Messengers from yourselves not come to you, reciting your Lord's Signs to you and warning you of the meeting on this Day of yours?" They will say: "Indeed they did, but the decree of punishment is justly carried out against the unbelievers." They will be told: "Enter the gates of Hell and stay there timelessly, forever. How evil is the abode of the arrogant!" (Surat az-Zumar, 71-72)
The gates of Hell will be closed behind them. The suffering they face is described as a "severe punishment" (Surah Al `Imran, 4), a "painful punishment" (Surah Al `Imran, 21), and a "terrible punishment" (Surah Al `Imran, 176). Nothing on Earth can compare with it, as the following veses reveal:
That Day no one will punish as He punishes, and no one will shackle as He shackles. (Surat al-Fajr, 25-26)
The people destined for Hell will be cast into its fire, which is a "raging blaze" (Surat al-Ma`arij, 15), "a raging fire" (Surat al-Layl, 14), and "a searing blaze" (Surat al-Furqan, 11) Another verse says:
But as for him whose balance is light, his motherland is Hawiya. And what will convey to you what that is? A raging fire! (Surat al-Qari`a, 8-11)
The fire is only one of the physical and psychological sufferings waiting for the unbelievers in Hell. Suffering comes from every side, as the Qur'an says. In addition, they are not given the chance to defend themselves and are engulfed by all of this suffering. They cannot find a way to deflect the pain coming to them, and it will continue to come to them forever.
Say: "Shall I inform you of the greatest losers in their actions? People whose efforts in the life of this world are misguided, while they suppose that they are doing good." Those are the people who reject their Lord's Signs and the meeting with Him. Their actions will come to nothing and, on the Day of Rising, We will not assign them any weight. (Surat al-Kahf, 103-105)
These verses speak of people who worked hard in their worldly lives, achieved financial success, had a career, and made works of art or scientific discoveries. But all this is wasted in the Hereafter, because they denied Allah's existence and revelation. Irrespective of how great their achievements or how important their inventions, if they deny the Qur'an's revelations they will be at a loss in the Hereafter. Their situation is explained in the following verses:
But as for anyone who rejects faith, his actions will come to nothing and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 5)
As for those who denied Our Signs and the encounter of the Hereafter, their actions will come to nothing. Will they be repaid except for what they did? (Surat al-A`raf, 147)
Like those before you who had greater strength than you and more wealth and children. They enjoyed their portion; so enjoy your portion as those before you enjoyed theirs. You have plunged into defamation as they plunged into it. The actions of such people come to nothing in this world or the Hereafter. They are the lost. (Surat at-Tawba, 69)
The verses reveal that while the unbelievers's efforts are being wasted, the believers will be rewarded in the most pleasant way for every good deed that they do. As the following verse states, none of their efforts will be wasted:
Their Lord responds to them: "I will not let the deeds of anyone among you go to waste, male or female—you are both the same in that respect. Those who emigrated, were driven from their homes, suffered harm in My Way, and fought and were killed, I will erase their bad actions and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing under them, as a reward from Allah. The best of all rewards is with Allah." (Surah Al `Imran, 195)
That is their repayment—Hell—because they did not believe and mocked My Signs and My Messengers. (Surat al-Kahf, 106)
This verse reveals that the unbelievers will suffer in Hell because they mocked Allah's Signs and His Messengers. Mockery is an often-used method to prevent the Qur'an from being heard. This character deficiency,which the unbelievers recommend to each other, is revealed by the following verses:
Not one of their Lord's Signs comes to them without their turning away from it. They deny the truth each time it comes to them, but news of what they were mocking will certainly reach them. (Surat al-An`am, 4-5)
In addition, another verse says:
But when he [Musa] came to them with Our Signs, they merely laughed at them. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 47)
The main reason for this mockery is that these people do not want to hear what is being said, because they fear that their consciences might stir, that they might begin to consider the Hereafter's existence or their responsibilities related to this life and death. Intending to mock Allah's religion, sent to us through His Messengers, they draw caricatures, write sarcastic articles, and hope to have fun by doing so. Through such means, they try to forget about the realities revealed by the Qur'an.
Mockery is the ignorant strategy of weak people who are trying to cover up their inferiority complexes, for they have no evidence to support their arguments against the truth. Those people who mock what is right will be able to do only for a while, as revealed in: "But Allah is mocking them, and drawing them on, as they wander blindly in their excessive insolence" (Surat al-Baqara, 15). They will meet with what they mocked, and "… what they used to mock at will engulf them" (Surat az-Zumar, 48). Allah also clarifies what will happen to those who mock the Qur'an in the face of Hell's fire:
No wonder you are surprised as they laugh with scorn! When they are reminded, they do not pay heed. When they see a Sign, they only laugh with scorn. They say: "This is just downright magic. When we are dead and turned to dust and bones, will we then be raised up again alive? And our earlier ancestors as well?" Say: "Yes, and you will be in a despicable state." There will be but one Great Blast, and then their eyes will open. They will exclaim: "Alas for us! This is the Day of Reckoning!" This is the Day of Decision that you used to deny. (Surat as-Saffat, 12-21)
Those who believe and do right actions will have the Gardens of Paradise as hospitality, remaining in them timelessly, forever, with no desire to move away from them. (Surat al-Kahf, 107-108)
On the Day of Judgment, sincere believers will receive their accounts, which contain all of their actions in life, from the right side. The Qur'an uses this expression for those people, destined for Paradise, who will have an easy trial. Other verses say this as well, among them:
As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will be given an easy reckoning and return to his family joyfully. (Surat al-Inshiqaq, 7-9)
Once their trial is over, the believers experience great joy, for they have found salvation. As the following verse says:
Enter them [Gardens and Springs] in peace, in complete security! (Surat al-Hijr, 46)
A believer who is told to enter Paradise will say:
If my people only knew how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honored ones! (Surah Ya Sin, 26-27)
In another verse, the believers are told:
…This is the Day when the sincerity of the sincere will benefit them. They will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them… (Surat al-Ma'ida, 119)
Countless gifts are awaiting the believers in Paradise, for:
They will enter Gardens of Eden in which they will be adorned with gold bracelets and pearls, and where their clothing will be of silk. They will say: "Praise be to Allah, Who has removed all sadness from us. Truly our Lord is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Thankful: He Who has lodged us, out of His favor, in the Abode of Permanence, where no weariness or fatigue affects us." (Surah Fatir, 33-35)
The blessings of Paradise are indescribable. As the verses reveal, in Paradise our five senses will experience the greatest pleasures and joys. But the greatest gift of all in Paradise is Allah's good pleasure. Real happiness is the peace and happiness of having won Allah's good pleasure, of being pleased with everything that He has given, and of being grateful for it all. Allah says of the people in Paradise:
… Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. That is the Great Victory. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 119)
Say: "If all the sea was ink to write down the words of my Lord, it would run out long before the words of my Lord ran out," even if We were to bring the same amount of ink again. (Surat al-Kahf, 109)
In this verse, Allah's infinite wisdom is described through an example. Allah has the knowledge of the heavens and Earth, of every being in between, of every law of nature and science, and of anything happening at anytime and anywhere, because He created it all. Allah's knowledge has no boundaries. He knows simultaneously the identity of every person who lives and who has ever lived, when every single leaf falls from each tree, the state of every star among billions of stars in billions of galaxies, and of all the things that we could never finish writing about in these pages. He knows everything that happens on Earth, as well as everything happening in the universe and in the genetic code of every one of the billions of people, animals, and plants, simultaneously and regardless of when they lived. Allah, Who controls every point in space, also controls everything within and without of every human being. Allah has revealed this infinite knowledge in many verses, among them the following:
Do you not see that everyone in the heavens and Earth glorifies Allah, as do the birds with their outspread wings? Each one knows its prayer and glorification. Allah knows what they do. (Surat an-Nur, 41)
See how they wrap themselves around, trying to conceal their feelings from Him! No, indeed! When they wrap their garments around themselves, He knows what they keep secret and what they make public. He knows what their hearts contain. (Surah Hud, 5)
… He knows what is before them and what is behind them, but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge, save what He wills. His Footstool encompasses the heavens and Earth, and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent. (Surat al-Baqara, 255)
He is Allah in the heavens and in Earth. He knows what you keep secret and what you make public, and He knows what you earn. (Surat al-An`am, 3)
Say: "I am only a human being like yourselves. It is revealed to me that your god is One God. So let him who hopes to meet his Lord act rightly and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord." (Surat al-Kahf, 110)
Messengers have been sent to every nation, past and present, to call them to Allah's righteous path. Messengers are blessed people who explain Allah's existence and unity to their people, invite them to His religion, inform them of what Allah expects of them and what they should and should not do, and warn them about the punishment of Hell and, at the same time, give them the good news of Paradise.
The Messengers' lives are full of valuable lessons for those believers who understand and remember. Believers should not distinguish between the Messengers, whose noble attitude, behavior, and superior character are examples to emulate, and should take their advice and warnings seriously.
The calls to faith made by Allah's Messengers are, as revealed in the Qur'an, alike. Each of them invited people to believe in Allah and to abide by true revelation, not to transgress, and not to disobey His commands. For this reason, the believers should not prefer one Messenger over the other, should believe in what has been sent down to each Messenger, and answer their calls conscientiously. The verse proclaims:
Say: "We believe in Allah and what has been sent down to us; what was sent down to Ibrahim, Isma`il, Ishaq, Ya`qub, and the Tribes; what Musa and `Isa were given; and what all the Prophets were given by their Lord. We do not differentiate between any of them. We are Muslims submitted to Him." (Surat al-Baqara, 136)
All Prophets called people to the true faith and the right path. Their calls were valid for both their own nations and for us. The basic concepts of faith and morals to which they called, as well as their superior characters, are a source of guidance for every generation, including ours. The Qur'an reveals, from many perspectives, the truths to which they called and their exemplary moral qualities. Allah commands the believers to follow the Prophets' righteous path.
They are the ones to whom We gave the Book, Judgment, and Prophethood. If these people reject it, We have already entrusted it to a people who did not. They are the ones Allah has guided, so be guided by their guidance. Say: "I do not ask you for any wage for it. It is simply a reminder to all beings." (Surat al-An`am, 89-90)
For this reason, believers must read the accounts about the Messengers in the Qur'an carefully, accept their advice, and follow the righteous path diligently.