Believing in The Hereafter with Certainty
The man who comes to realise that he was brought into this world to be tested by Allah, will then move on to another stage of thought. If we are tested in this life, then death cannot be the end. There must also be a result to this test. However, there is no result in the life of this world. Amongst all the people who have lived in the past, there were tyrants, dissolute people and murderers, as well as the messengers of Allah and other people of very high conscience who dedicated their whole lives to Allah. There were also poor and miserable people who were subjected to oppression. Those in the past are now all dead and gone; both the good and the bad are buried in their graves. Today, there is nothing left of them but some skeletal remains. Allah, the Owner of Eternal Justice, would not let the life of this world be resolved in this way.
In short, man's conscience will tell him that Allah's Eternal Conscience will pay every man in full for what he has done. Since the accounts are not completely settled in this world, then there must be a place to where this is deferred.
People who think through their conscience will also find the answer in the Qur'an. Allah states in the Qur'an that He has deferred the settling of the accounts until after death, when everyone will be fully paid for the things they have done in this world:
Each and every one of you will return to Him. Allah's promise is true. He brings creation out of nothing and then regenerates it so that he can repay with justice those who believe and did right actions. Those who disbelieve will have a drink of scalding water and a painful punishment because they disbelieved. (Surah Jonah: 4)
Your Lord will pay each of them in full for his actions. He is aware of what they do. (Surah Hud: 111)
It is a fact communicated in the Qur'an and also through conscience and wisdom that the real life will begin after death, and everyone will meet different circumstances in the hereafter according to his or her conduct in this world. It does not suit people's purposes to follow their conscience in a life which they spend in joking and playing around, and by rote, without giving a thought to it at all. Everyone pursues plans they will benefit from in the life of this world, but none of these plans concern death or the hereafter. Death, however, is a reality far more absolute than all of these planned events. People, however, never take death into consideration. They try to live their lives as if they will never die.
What may then be the reason that the majority of people live by ignoring this important fact?
To answer this question, you must take a moment to think; how many times in your entire life have you thought about death? Have you ever thought that one day you will die, all your loved ones who buried you under the earth will then leave your grave and get on with their daily lives, and everything you ever had will be gone upon your death? Have you ever visualised how death takes place? Your flesh will rot under the soil, but what will your soul experience?
Man has a soul and the soul does not disappear. After man dies, a new life starts for his soul, but has he ever happened to wonder what kind of a new life awaits him? Like the majority of people, he, too, may have never thought about such things. This is because thinking about them makes people feel horrified. They try to avoid these facts as much as possible. When this subject is brought up, they try to dismiss its impact on them with jokes or flippant remarks.
Why, then, do almost all people try so strongly to escape this reality which is certain to happen one day? Will ignoring prevent it from happening? Of course it will not. The reason people avoid thinking about death and the hereafter is that it prods their conscience into action, reminding them that they are answerable to Allah and that they will give an account of their actions after death. At the moment the conscience awakes, everything that has been done until then loses its importance, and man comes to realise the subjects that are really important. When he thinks that he will die one day, what importance are the things he has done in the life of this world? Initially, it may perhaps be difficult for him to grasp this, but thinking of the exact moment of death in fine detail, will help him understand all the truths.
Death may come to you when you least expect it, and most likely you will have no chance to make any preparations. It could be now or in a few moments, or at a similar moment a few years hence.
Real conscience is felt at the moment the angels of death and the fire of hell are seen
You may have seen someone die, but what you have seen is the death of the body. There is also the experience that the soul goes through during death, which can only be witnessed by the person undergoing it. Onlookers will only see the dying of the body, which may appear very peaceful in the case of someone dying naturally in his bed, or indeed agonising in the case of a victim of a car accident or disease. However, the death of the soul, that is, what it goes through during death is very different from what it seems to be.
If the person who dies is a believer, then his soul is taken with ease and he is given the glad tidings by two angels that he will start his marvellous eternal life. This person is neither frightened nor grievous, for he possesses the immeasurable joy of knowing that he will be in happiness and peace for eternity. This fact is stated in the Qur'an as follows
Those the angels take in a virtuous state. They say, 'Peace be upon you! Enter the Garden for what you did.' . (Surat an-Nahl: 32)
The greatest terror will not upset them and the angels will welcome them: 'This is your Day, the one that you were promised.' (Surat al-Anbiya': 103)
In the case of a man who has not lived his life in accordance with Allah's approval, no matter how his body dies, what his soul experiences will be the beginning of a life full of torment. Allah warns these people in the Qur'an:
How will it be when the angels take them in death, beating their faces and their backs? (Surah Muhammad: 27)
For these reasons, trying to visualise the moment of death in your mind's eye will cause you to behave with one hundred percent sincerity and conscientiousness.
Death may come to you while driving, or doing something that you do routinely. Suddenly the sight in front of you will change and you will meet two angels of death. Angels of death may assume a horrifying appearance to those who have not lived their lives in accordance with Allah's good pleasure and ignored death and the hereafter. In the Qur'an, it is told that they stretch out their hands to the person whose life they have come to take away, pull him close to themselves and declare to him a degrading, endless torment, while beating his face and back. Separation of the soul from the body causes great pain. At that point, the man realises what is to happen next. This moment is described in Surat al-Qiyama:
Faces that Day will be glowering, realising that a back-breaking blow has fallen. No indeed! When it reaches the gullet and he hears the words, 'Who can heal him now?' And he knows it is indeed the final parting, and one leg is entwined with the other: That Day he will be driven to your Lord. He neither affirmed the truth nor did pray. But rather denied the truth and turned away. (Surat al-Qiyama: 24-32)
You too will certainly experience the moment of death. What will become important, and what will become meaningless to you? What will you regret having done or not having done? Whose advice will you wish you had taken? Whom will you wish you had never met? How concerned will you be about the details of your job? Of what importance is a dress you will wear to a party, or other people's opinions about your appearance, in comparison to the fact of the hereafter?
Those who answer these questions in full sincerity can come to terms with what their conscience tells them. If a person has not heeded Allah's good pleasure throughout his life and has not done his best to gain Allah's approval, the greatest feeling he will experience in addition to the fear he will feel at the moment of death, will be an irrecoverable remorse. Statements of remorse such as 'I wish I hadn't listened to such and such a person, I wish I had kept regular prayers, I wish I had lived for Allah,' etc. will keep crossing his mind.
Meanwhile, the impact of the moment of death will become more intense, for these two angels will drag man to hell, as they humiliate him. Before entering hell, everyone is questioned one by one and they see why they are to enter hell. At this moment, man will feel unspeakable horror because all the things he has done and thought in his entire life will be displayed to him one by one. The thoughts he supposed no one knew, and many other events even he himself had forgotten will be brought in front of him.
That Day people will emerge segregated to see the results of their actions. Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it. Whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it. (Surat az-Zilzala: 6-8)
Think what will make you feel regret when your entire life in this world is brought right in front of you in such a manner. For what kind of things will you say 'I wish I had not done it' or 'I wish I had done it'? The irreparable regret on that day is expressed in a verse in the Qur'an:
That is the True Day. So whoever wills should take the way back to his Lord. We have warned you of an imminent punishment on the Day when a man will see what he has done and the unbeliever will say: 'Oh, if only I were dust!' (Surat an-Naba': 39-40)
Furthermore, people will feel great anger and repugnance against themselves for what they have done in the life of this world. Yet, the anger and resentment that Allah will feel for them will be even greater:
The unbelievers will be addressed: 'Allah's hatred of you, when you were called to faith but then chose to refuse, is even greater than your hatred of yourselves.' (Surah Ghafir: 10)
In the Qur'an, it is said that regret and remembrance on that day will be of no use. By that time, everything will have ended; no longer will it be possible to make up for what has been done in the past. The gates of hell will be locked behind man forever:
That Day Hell is produced, that Day man will remember; but how will the remembrance help him? He will say, 'Oh! If only I had prepared in advance for this life of mine!' That Day no one will punish as He punishes and no one will shackle as He shackles. (Surat al-Fajr: 23-26)
All men, even the most astray ones, will be able to see very clearly everything that their conscience tells them at the moment of death and while giving account, but since return is no longer possible, they will not be able to correct their situation by following their conscience. The purpose of this book is to reveal to people their conscience while there is still time, and to invite them to live a life by which they can make up for their past and feel no regret in the hereafter.
The difference between people who always follow their conscience and people who do not, is the power of faith the conscientious people have in Allah and the hereafter. A conscientious man always acts as if he is being questioned on the brink of hell. By example, Allah tells us about some of his messengers, who always remembered the hereafter:
And remember Our slaves Ibrahim, Ishaq, and Ya'qub, men of true strength and inner sight. We purified their sincerity through sincere remembrance of the Abode. (Surah Sad: 45-46)