The Consequences Suffered by Those Who Do Not Fear Allah
Consequences experienced on Earth
Allah will make those people who do not fear Him and who are not cautious of Him suffer both physical and spiritual distress in this world. In reality their lives will be reduced to one long series of physical and emotional disasters.
In spite of all their wrong actions some of them allow themselves to be deceived by the fact that they may have been blessed with gifts such as wealth or good looks. Hence they persist in their excesses, fooling themselves that things could not be better. However, they are unaware that everything they do is being recorded second by second, and that in Hell, Allah will present them with it all as a source of endless punishment. Allah describes their situation in the Qur’an:
So leave them in their glut of ignorance for a while. Do they imagine that, in the wealth and children We extend to them, We are hastening to them with good things? No indeed, but they have no awareness! (Surat al-Muminun: 54-56)
However, it is not the same for all of them. Some will experience their punishments on Earth. They will be in a state of constant loss as they go through sickness, accidents, disabilities, financial crises and loss of loved ones. Because they do not reflect on these incidents as tests from Allah, the distress they face becomes a form of punishment for them. Allah will never allow anything to go right for these people. They will constantly experience shortages and setbacks. No matter what they are engaged in big or small, it will result in material or spiritual loss. Subsequently, Allah concludes in the Qur’an that their reward will be a life of distress:
"But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one and on the Day of Rising We will gather him blind." (Surah Ta Ha: 124)
The state of spiritual darkness experienced by people who do not fear Allah is reflected in their faces. When this lack of spiritual light is coupled with their distorted speech, the troubled nature of their existence is obvious. They are the physical embodiment of spiritual decadence and corruption. Allah has referred to this in the Qur’an as “debasement”:
But as for those who have earned bad actions—a bad action will be repaid with one the like of it. Debasement will darken them. They will have no one to protect them from Allah. It is as if their faces were covered by dark patches of the night. Those are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surah Yunus: 27)
Another loss these people are made to suffer is the subtle withdrawal of their intellect and ability to comprehend. They cannot comprehend even the most basic of realities. For example, they are unable to see the reasons behind their state of unhappiness, fear, anxiety and frustration.
The range of punishments inflicted on those who do not fear Allah is endlessly varied. Allah created man and is perfectly aware of what will produce the greatest agony. Therefore, one can only try to imagine the pain and suffering occasioned by Allah’s detestation:
… Allah’s hatred of you, when you were called to faith but then chose disbelief, is even greater than your hatred of yourselves. (Surah Ghafir: 10)
Needless to say, nobody in their right mind would lay claim to behavior and attitudes which would lead them to the punishment of Allah. Man’s inability to cope even with ordinary, everyday afflictions is clear proof of his weakness. For example, it is quite understandable that someone should find excruciating pain absolutely unbearable. However, it is also true that having to hear, even from a distance, the screaming of someone in agony is enough to cause indescribable distress. This is because mankind has not been created to endure spiritual and physical pain, fear or tension. We cannot withstand for long being enclosed in tight spaces, or being exposed to offensive odors, or the pain of a bad stomach ache or toothache. Let us bear in mind, these are not types of punishment but rather, ordinary afflictions which form a part of everyday life.
Despite these obvious realities, people in general lead a life far removed from fear of Allah due to their state of heedlessness and thoughtlessness. However, the spiritual and physical pains which are experienced on Earth are but a small example of the punishment they will face in Hell and serve only as an example and a warning. These people do not have any regard for Allah’s infinite power and strength, however, when death reaches them, they will sense Allah’s greatness with all its violence and severity and be gripped by a fear which is indescribable and incomparable to anything experienced on Earth.
Apart from individual punishments, the Qur’an is full of examples of groups of people who have perished under the punishments sent by Allah. These people perished in an instant due to their rebelliousness and non-compliance with Allah’s limitations.
Allah has sent whirlwinds against some, which have ripped their homes apart, to others, he has sent a squall, which has levelled their cities to the ground. Concerning earthquakes, so many groups of people have been buried with all their wealth, whilst others have been drowned, and others still have been turned to stone when encased in hot lava. (For further information, please see Perished Nations by Harun Yahya, Taha Publishers, London, 5th edition 2003)
Their Situation in the Hereafter
People have a very limited time on Earth of approximately sixty to seventy years. In the blink of an eye, fifty years of one’s life have passed: one has finished school, found a proper job, bought a decent car, got suitably married, bought a house, had a couple of children and one’s body is covered in wrinkles. With approximately five to ten years remaining, one senses the approach of death. However, what is striking is that some people will continue to deny its inevitability and become determined to lead the few years they have remaining without thinking about death. Allah cautions people who are in this situation:
ow clear will be their hearing, how perfect their sight, on the Day they come to Us; whereas today the wrongdoers are clearly misguided. Warn them of the Day of Bitter Regret when the affair will be resolved. But they take no notice. They have no faith. (Surah Maryam: 38-39)
At the end of their prodigal lives these people assume they will gently surrender their souls to rest in eternal peace, but they are in for a rude awakening. Instead, when they least expect it, they will find themselves face to face with the angels of death assigned to them. These angels act on Allah’s orders and are impervious to the begging and the pleading of their charges. When the angels of death come to take their souls with the violent shock of harsh blows to their backs and the searing pain, they will be perfectly aware of what is happening to them:
If only you could see when the angels take back those who disbelieved at their death, beating their faces and their backs [saying]: “Taste the punishment of the Burning!”If only you could see when the angels take back those who disbelieved at their death, beating their faces and their backs [saying]: “Taste the punishment of the Burning!” (Surat al-Anfal: 50)
The crime committed by the disbelievers is a grievous one and their punishment will endure for all time. There will be no possibility of escape or release in death; in short, there is no means of rescue or salvation. This is because they have rebelled against Allah Who has created everything from nothing, the true Owner of everything, the Possessor of infinite power and knowledge, the Lord of the universe.
These people did not fear Allah whilst on Earth, so in the Hereafter He will subject them to fears the like of which they have never experienced or been faced with: they will be surrounded by fear, terror, and stress forever:
You will see the wrongdoers afraid of what they have earned, when it is about to land right on top of them… (Surat ash-Shura: 22)
These people who have led their entire lives heedlessly and whose end is fast approaching, will be assailed by a never ending fear and terror. Their lives are simply a drawn out prelude to the horrors to come at Allah’s hands, Who has until then been “merely deferring them to a Day on which their sight will be transfixed.” (Surah Ibrahim: 42) The fear they will endure on the Day of Judgment will be combined with bewilderment, as described in the Qur’an:
On the Day the Trumpet is blown and everyone in the heavens and everyone on the Earth is terrified—except those Allah wills, everyone will come to Him abject. (Surat an-Naml: 87)
On the Day of Judgment whilst people are in a state of panic, pregnant women will abort their babies because of this fear. The terror of the punishment they will be subjected to will render people mindless:
Mankind, fear your Lord! The quaking of the Hour is a terrible thing. On the day they see it, every nursing woman will be oblivious of the baby at her breast, and every pregnant woman will abort the contents of her womb, and you will think people drunk when they are not drunk; it is just that the punishment of Allah is so severe. (Surat al-Hajj: 1-2)
This is only the beginning. They will experience punishments which are beyond the power of imagination. Allah the Possessor of infinite power and justice will take revenge, bringing to bear His attribute of the Avenger (Muntaqim). Neither crying, begging, yelling, struggling, feeling remorse or imploring forgiveness will have any effect. Nobody will be able to assist the disbelievers. No matter what they do, it will not make any difference; whether they accept their sins and repent or not, whether they are steadfast or not, it is all too late. Allah has drawn attention to this hopeless struggle:
“Roast in it! And bear it patiently or do not bear it patiently. It makes no difference either way. You are simply being repaid for what you did.” (Surat at-Tur: 16)
There is no way out for people who have reached this stage. Whilst they were on Earth they were constantly reminded throughout their lives with endless advice and fearsome warnings. Furthermore, they were given countless means and resources, whereas the only thing required of them was that they should heed their consciences, fear Allah, and act with care.
They will plead for Allah’s mercy, even though while they were on Earth their haughtiness and their pride prevented them from doing so, and also prevented them from preparing for their death and the accounting of the Hereafter. Therefore, on the Day of Judgment they are dragged along on their faces down to their place of punishment, where they will experience both physical and spiritual pains, the intensity of which they could never have imagined.
When the disbelievers are resurrected they will find their haughtiness has entirely evaporated and will be in a broken and sorrowful state. They will be driven into Hell and its doors will be closed behind them, and there they will be confronted with a scenario of pain and terror that defies any attempt at description before being thrown into the Fire itself. No pain on Earth could ever be compared with the agonies of Hell, since Allah has produced it as a punishment exceeding all punishments:
That Day no one will punish as He punishes and no one will shackle as He shackles. (Surat al-Fajr: 25-26)
Excruciating physical pain on the one hand, and unbearable spiritual agony on the other, will torture their victims. They will be constantly ill-treated, disgraced, degraded and belittled. The sense of hopelessness, of knowing that they will never ever emerge from Hell, will envelop their entire souls as they face an eternity of fear, terror and endless torment.