The End Awaiting Those Who Deceive Themselves
At the beginning of this book we said that Prophet Ibrahim (as) realized the existence and greatness of Allah and immediately understood the necessity of serving Him through the use of his own conscience, without having to be taught. You should know that everybody has the same conscience. What distinguishes people regarded as having no conscience from those whose conscience is strongly developed is that the former close their eyes and stop up their ears against what they know to be true, while the latter do not.
People who heed the voice of their conscience at every moment like Prophet Ibrahim (as), a prophet praised by Allah in the Qur'an, lead beautiful and tranquil lives because such people possess the spiritual ease which comes with conformity to what is right and hoping for a fine reward in the Hereafter. The exact opposite is true of people who do not heed their consciences. These people suffer the secret pain, the hidden torment of the conscience, of knowing that their failure to conform to what is right and true will bring them serious punishment in the Hereafter. Wherever they go, whatever they do, this pain never lets them alone. Even if they own the biggest fortune in the world and travel around from one country to another, they are never spared this spiritual pressure.
The truth is that this tormented conscience is a warning from Allah to these people to turn back from their wrongdoing. For this reason, to the faithful it is a great blessing because it encourages people to come to their senses, repent and correct their behavior. However, for people who have abandoned religion and sincerity, it is torture in the full sense of the word. Although they know the reason for this torment they experience, they ignore its cause instead of taking steps to rectify it. As a result of the tension brought about by this contradiction in their lives, they can never be truly happy and at peace.
So, as we said at the beginning of this book, people who deceive themselves by ignoring and refusing to understand the truth even though they know it, live their entire lives in spiritual torment. While their consciences are under this spiritual pressure and suffering this torment, they try to ease their discomfort with artificial pleasures, but they can never succeed because the only way of easing a tormented conscience is to repent and submit to Allah.
If, instead of listening to your conscience, you too deceive yourself with various excuses and follow your own selfish desires and passions, you too will experience an inner torment against which you can never defend yourself. However, the gravest consequence of this form of self-deception is that the pains you suffer are not solely limited to the life of this world because Allah tells us that people who deceive themselves in the life of this world and ignore the Day of Judgment will be met with great pain and sorrow in the Hereafter. In fact in the Qur'an, the Day of Judgment is referred to as the "Day of Profit and Loss":
On the Day He gathers you for the Day of Gathering – that is the Day of Profit and Loss. As for those who believe in Allah and act rightly, We will erase their bad actions from them and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever and ever. That is the great victory! But as for those who are unbelievers and deny Our signs they are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. What an evil destination! (Surat at-Taghabun: 9-10)
The "loss" described in the verses begins with the unbeliever's death and continues with their resurrection and calling to account after which they find their true home by being sent to Hell. The Qur'an tells us of some of the things which people who are deceived by Satan's promises and who deceive themselves with excuses in the life of the world will encounter in Hell:
The throes of death come revealing the truth. That is what you were trying to evade! The Trumpet will be blown. That is the Day of the Threat. Every self will come together with a driver and a witness: "You were heedless of this so We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp."