Death: The Moment When Worldly Pleasures End
Everyone attached to this world knows, but would prefer to forget, that every one will die one day. Death will wipe out all that they have done to establish a life based upon this world’s values. Death will undo long years of amassing possessions and gaining other people’s admiration. An individual may be rich, attractive, respected and well-known, but he will lose all his material wealth in a moment. In a short time his body will deteriorate to the point where no one wants to come near him; then it will be interred in the ground to rot away. This is the final end for which a non-believer spends decades of effort towards his achievements in this world. Living a life filled with earthly desires and straining to taste every pleasure to the fullest will do nothing to alter that person’s final end. Death will erase all these pleasures. Death will be a moment in which all the desires and passions of a person who denies Allah will come to an end; at that moment he will begin an eternal life of hardship and sorrow. Allah informs us of what they will experience:
How will it be when the angels take them in death, beating their faces and their backs? (Surah Muhammad: 27)
If you could only see the wrongdoers in the throes of death when the angels are stretching out their hands, saying: “Release your selves! 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.” (Surat al-An‘am: 93)
. . . and one leg is entwined with the other: that Day he will be driven to your Lord. He neither affirmed the truth nor prayed; rather, he denied the truth and turned away. And then went off to his family, swaggering. It is coming closer to you and closer. Then closer to you and closer still. (Surat al-Qiyama: 29-35)
From this, we can see that death is an undeniable reality and, unless Allah wills otherwise, it will be the beginning of eternal agony for all those who deny Him. But some people try to think as little about death as possible while they are alive; they want to forget it and try not to mention it. That is, until death comes . . . Finally realizing that they have spent their whole lives suppressing their conscience and denying death’s reality, they immediately take refuge in Allah, hoping to find salvation. But they are too late, for:
And your Lord arrives with the angels, rank upon rank. And that Day Hell is produced, that Day humanity will remember; but how will the remembrance help people? They will exclaim: “Oh! If only I had prepared in advance for this life of mine!” (Surat al-Fajr: 22-24)
Allah gives people a lifetime to see the true path and to know His mercy. Those who refuse to take advantage of this will regret their decision:
They will shout out in it: “Our Lord! Take us out! We will act rightly, differently from the way we used to act!” Did We not let you live long enough for anyone who was going to pay heed to pay heed? And did not the warner come to you? Taste it then! There is no helper for the wrongdoers. (Surah Fatir: 37)
People should know that Allah will not accept the entreaties of those who make only a death-bed repentance. For this reason, everyone should heed Allah’s reminders while there is still time and submit to Him before that inevitable, irreversible moment arrives. If a person makes it his goal to enjoy the pleasures of this Earthly life, he must consider, even if he does not want to, that one day these things will definitely come to a close. When the span of life that Allah has given an individual comes to an end, all the pleasures he pursued will lose their value; they will rot along with his body in the earth. This is a plain truth that everyone must understand. In addition, they should realize that denying Allah only brings unhappiness in this world, regret at the hour of death, and agony in the world to come, whereas belief brings a depth of spirit that enables them to enjoy this world’s pleasures to the greatest extent and abundant pleasures forever in the Hereafter. People must see the difference between these two states and must submit to the Divine light of belief to escape the darkness of denial.
In this book on the unbelievers’ emptiness and unhappiness, their consumption of pleasures, and the meaninglessness of their lives, we have provided the means for them to search for the truth and submit to Allah. Hopefully, they will follow the Qur’an’s morality before they face death. Allah tells us that the unbelievers will wish they had believed. But after death, this is no longer a possibility.
It may be that those who disbelieve will wish that they had been Muslims. Leave them to eat and enjoy themselves. Let false hope divert them. They will soon know. (Surah al-Hijr: 2-3)