There are various types of people on earth. Some people are honest while others are liars. Some people fear Allah and observe His limits while others revolt against Him. Surely the ends of each group will match their attitudes. Out of His infinite mercy, Allah will reward each type of people justly. This absolute promise is proclaimed in the following verse:
Or do those who perpetrate evil deeds suppose that We will make them like those who believe and do right actions, so that their lives and deaths will be the same? How bad their judgement is! Allah created the heavens and earth with truth so that every self might be repaid for what it earned and they will not be wronged. (Surat al-Jathiyah: 21-22)
The hereafter is the place where people will be rewarded justly. This is an OBVIOUS fact. Allah is aware of every incident and knows every deed, good or wicked. So, never plead ignorance about the existence of the Hereafter, the place where Allah's attribute of justice will be fully manifested and each deed will be rewarded justly. Besides, keep in mind that showing indifference to this fact, and simply saying "we shall be reduced to earth when we die", will not hinder the resurrection of man and the fact that he will be judged.
It is probable that a person may well deceive himself in this world. Avoiding grasping the fact of the hereafter, he may endeavour to "make the most of it." He may well silence the voice of his conscience. Yet, this will by no means prevent his death, which is on a predestined day in the presence of Allah, and his rising from the dead, which is also predestined. Whether he grasps it or not, every individual will definitely rise from the dead to stand before Allah; that day Allah will reward every person according to his good or evil deeds. Then, he will be sent to his true abode to receive his rewards. That day, those failing to see this obvious fact as well as those who simply try to be satisfied with this world will be sent to the hell, unless Allah forgives them out of His infinite mercy.
Allah describes the thoughts, words and states of the disbelievers who pretend not to understand the existence of the hereafter, and who deny the rising from the dead in the following verse:
Whoever Allah guides is truly guided. But as for those He leads astray, you will not find any protectors for them apart from Him. We will gather them on the Day of Rising, flat on their faces, blind, dumb and deaf. Their shelter will be Hell. Whenever the Blaze dies down, We will increase it for them. That is their repayment for rejecting Our Signs and saying, "What, when we are bones and crumbled dust, will we then be raised up as a new creation?" (Surat al-Isra: 97-98)
The answer to the question asked in the above verse is OBVIOUS: the universe in which we live abounds with evidences of the glorious creation of Allah. Surely the One Who miraculously creates everything surrounding us has the strength to create their counterparts in the hereafter at any moment. Allah, in the Qur'an, addresses people who pretend not to grasp the fact of hereafter by asking questions which have clear answers:
Do they not see that Allah, Who created the heavens and earth, has the power to create the like of them, and has appointed fixed terms for them of which there is no doubt? But the wrongdoers still spurn anything but disbelief. (Surat al-Isra: 99)
Never plead ignorance of the fact that man will be judged and accordingly rewarded for all his deeds in the hereafter, the place where Allah's attribute of justice will be fully manifest.
Some of people proclaim that they believe in the hereafter yet they fail to ponder on it deeply. They simply plead ignorance of the fact that there they will face everything they did in this world. They deceive themselves interpreting the hereafter, the Day of Judgement, the paradise and the hell in their own way rather than in the way that Allah introduces them in the Qur'an.
Allah gives a detailed account of the hereafter, the moment of judgement, the ones who deserve to attain the paradise as well as those who will be sent to hell. On the day Day of Judgement, every person will stand alone before Allah and give an account of all the moments he spent in the worldly life. Those who endeavoured to earn the good pleasure of Allah throughout their lives will attain the paradise and remain there for all eternity, surrounded by the bounteous favours of Allah. Those, on the other hand, who lived only for this world without considering the hereafter will face torment, unless Allah pardons them from His mercy.
Those stating "Allah will forgive me under any circumstances", those claiming "I do no harm to others" and hence thinking that they will attain the paradise, those assuming that only observing some particular act of worship will save them from punishment, deceive themselves although they know the facts. Allah, in the Qur'an draws our attention to this reality, the reality that man is aware of the facts despite making excuses:
That Day the only resting place will be your Lord. That Day man will be told what he did and failed to do. In fact, man will be clear proof against himself in spite of any excuses he might offer. (Surat al-Qiyamah: 12-15)
As Allah states in the verse above, man is a witness against himself. Each person is aware of the truth. Therefore, it is nonsensical to plead ignorance of the facts by making excuses. That there are many other ill-mannered people around is not an excuse that will save one on the Day of Judgement. Neither will the fact that one's parents and grandparents are religious people, nor feeding the poor, nor saying "I am a Muslim" yet failing to engage in good deeds to earn the good pleasure of Allah, will save one from the greatest grief, unless it be by the mercy of Allah. No matter what others do, every living soul is responsible for his own deeds. We will all stand alone before Allah and be judged alone. People make many excuses to deceive themselves: that they are very busy people, they have to earn their livelihoods to look after their children, they have professions dedicated to the improvement of mankind or what they do is more important than those other things done to attain the pleasure of Allah. Yet, it is important to remember that all these statements reflect one's own point of view - not the Qur'anic standpoint - and by no means ensure salvation from a disastrous end. Certainly, the Qur'an provides the most accurate information regarding how a man should spend his life to attain the paradise.
Those embracing ways of life other than that which is seen as good by the Qur'an, those who lose time waiting for the latter years of life to worship Allah, those who deceive themselves as well as other people by making excuses, should all keep in mind that their pretexts will not save them in the hereafter. Allah will not accept lies. Moreover, these people will not be allowed to talk on the Day of Judgement. On that day, those people who ignore the facts, abuse the bounties of Allah and do not obey the commands of Allah will express their sincere regret thus:
And 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)
The scenes that will take place on that day are the ultimate manifestation of the eternal justice of Allah. On that day, those following the voices of their consciences and those who do not will be distinguished from each other. So, to avoid such regret, prepare for the hereafter and never forget that you will encounter your efforts there. Never plead that you do not grasp these facts. Do not waste your life in vain and meaningless efforts.
This fleeting life is incomparably worthless next to the hereafter. Stately mansions, ostentatious houses surrounded by gardens, powerboats, yachts, brand new cars, night-clubs, luxury hotels, honourable professions, healthy children, beautiful and esteemed spouses…such favours granted man in this life have certainly an allure. A life may be devoted to getting possession of them. Nevertheless, even if one possessed all of them or a few of them, he would still reach the hereafter on that predestined day, leaving behind everything he had been granted.
Maybe you are also one of those who has devoted his life to possessing these favours. However, never plead that you did not understand these favours will not save you in the Hereafter.
At the moment when the angels assigned to take your spirits will meet you, you will depart from this world, leaving behind all your possessions. There will be no turning back and you will have no chance to see them again. Once you are resurrected, you will be judged in a totally different place, in the presence of Allah. Keep in mind that, at that moment, you will not be questioned neither about the quantity of your possessions, nor your children, nor your status, nor your education. On that predestined day, neither the most prominent statesmen, nor queens and kings that have ever lived throughout history will have superiority over other people. No close friend will search for his friend. Furthermore, disbelievers will offer their worldly goods as a ransom for their own salvation:
No good friend will ask about his friend even though they can see each other. An evildoer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment of that Day, by means of his sons, or his wife or his brother, or his family who sheltered him, or everyone else on earth, if that only meant that he could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze, Stripping away the limbs and scalp, which calls for all who drew back and turned away, and amassed and hoarded up. (Surat al-Ma'arij: 10-18)
So, ponder these facts related in the verse and never plead ignorance of the fact that the grief of that day will be great, so great that anyone will try to rescue himself by offering all he has in this world as ransom.
In the following verse, Allah relates that disbelievers would like to give all that is in the world - if they ever had - just to avoid the torment in hell:
If those who did wrong owned everything on earth, and the same again with it, they would offer it as a ransom to save themselves from the evil of the punishment on the Day of Rising. What confronts them from Allah will be something they did not reckon with. (Surat az-Zumar: 47)
In fact, just a brief reflection would bring any man with a sound mind to the evident conclusion. Nobody, for instance, would decline a proposal offering an immediate life in paradise provided that they give whatever they possess in this world. Without a moment's hesitation, everybody would leave his possessions, sons, and status behind and would try to attain the paradise. This is, in fact, the sole responsibility of man: offering his possessions and self to Allah, not being seized by unnecessary ambitions in this life, living for the good pleasure of Allah and in return attaining the paradise. Yet something deceives man. The short span of his life in this world is perceived as a long one. That is why some people unwisely prefer this life, which is rather short and temporary, to an eternal paradise.
On one hand, a fleeting life limited to six or seven decades and, on the other, a life that will last for all eternity.
On one hand, an endless, unprecedented and beautiful life where everything desired will be there without any effort at all, on the other hand, a short, temporary life where everything is doomed to be imperfect. No matter how young and beautiful you are, this is a life you are eventually destined to lose in a few decades or tomorrow. A life which is surely an inappropriate arena in which to satisfy any desires.
So, never ignore this fact. While you still have the opportunity to attain the matchless favours of the paradise, never silence the voice of your conscience just to have the imperfect and temporary possessions of this world. Never plead ignorance about what some people lose in eternity for the sake of a short life just because they do not think.
One of the main reasons why some people ignore the existence of the hereafter is the fact that the majority of the people adopt such a standpoint. However this is, no doubt, the secret of the test. This is the way Allah puts people to the test. That is why Allah warns his servants against following the majority:
If you obeyed most of those on earth, they would misguide you from Allah's Way. They follow nothing but conjecture. They are only guessing. (Surat al-An'am: 116)
That the majority of people do not follow the path of Allah should by no means affect you negatively since everyone is responsible for himself. Such a state is surely not a pretext for conscientious people but a reason to feel more fear of Allah. That is why you must never plead ignorance thinking that, "the majority of people are doing the same." Even if you are left all alone in your efforts, start to prepare for the hereafter, being aware that you are responsible only for yourself.
Allah, in the Qur'an, describes to us the kind of effort one has to undertake for eternal salvation. On the Day of Judgement, people will be judged by their devotion to Allah, their fear of Him and the conduct this fear brings. Only a sincere devotion to Allah will secure the salvation of man in the hereafter. Allah states that neither possessions nor sons are ways to feel closer to Allah and only those who believe and engage in good deeds will attain the paradise:
It is not wealth or your children that will bring you near to Us - only in the case of people who believe and act rightly; such people will have a double recompense for what they did. They will be safe from all harm in the High Halls of Paradise. (Surah Saba: 37)
Allah relates that only taqwa, the "Fear of Allah", is worthy in His presence:
Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah's sight is the one with the most taqwa. Allah is All-Knowing, All-ware. (Surat al-Hujurat: 13)
For this reason, never plead ignorance that what will bring you eternal salvation is taqwa, and that sons, possessions and the lure of this world will be worthless in the presence of Allah. And never forget the following verse:
That abode of the Hereafter - We grant it to those who do not seek to exalt themselves in the earth or to cause corruption in it. The successful outcome is for those who have taqwa. (Surat al-Qasas: 83)