AL-AKHIRAH (THE HEREAFTER)
Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (raa) narrates that Rasulullah (saws) recited this verses, ‘That person whom Allah intends to guide, Allah grants him satisfactions of the heart for Islam.’ Then Rasulullah (saws) said, ‘When Noor (light) enters the heart, it (the heart) open up.’ Rasulullah (saws) was asked, ‘If there any sign (of the heart opening up) that can be recognized.’ He said, ‘Yes, distancing oneself from the house of deception (world=duniyah) and turning towards the permanent house (hereafter=akhirah) and preparation for death before it decends.’ (Mishkaat pg.446; Qadeemi)
THE WORLD AND THE HEREAFTER
By Shaykh Fadhl Elahi
Translated by Abu Taymiyyah
After Praising Allaah and sending the salutations upon the Messenger the Shaykh starts with the following: “And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement. But far better is the house in the Hereafter for those who are al-Muttaqoon (the pious). Will you not then understand?” (6:32)
In order for man to become successful than there are certain things that he must comprehend fully, once success has been achieved in their understanding than Allaah will bless him in this world as well as the next. His character will become like those that are on the path of good, he will yearn to do that which has been legislated and avoid that which has been forbidden by Allaah and His Messenger – However if success is not achieved in its understanding, than he will be at a loss both in this world and the next.
The article that must be fully understood for a Muslims survival is that he must comprehend the reality of this world and that of the hereafter. The benefits of this understanding will flow through to his actions and they will conform to what has been legislated by Allaah and His Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Imaam Muslim narrates in his collection on the authority of Mustaurid (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) that Allaah’s Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ”By Allaah, this world (is so insignificant in comparison) to the Hereafter that if one of you should dip his finger (and while saying this he pointed with his forefinger) in the ocean and he should see as to what has stuck to it.”
Look at the parable that the Messenger is bringing here. At one end you have the ocean (in its vastness and depth) and at the other end you have a few droplets. Play close attention to the difference and vastness of these two objects. How can a few droplets compare to the entire ocean? If someone was to focus his entire attention on the few droplets and ignore the ocean, than he would be considered a fool. Then what would a person, who focuses on this world and ignores the hereafter, be considered? The reality of this world compared to that of the hereafter has been articulated by the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on an abundant number of occasions so that it can fuse into the hearts and minds of his Ummah.
Imaam Muslim also narrates in his collection on the authority of Jabir (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) that: Allaah’s Messenger was travelling in the market place when he passed by a carcass of a baby goat. Lifting it up by its ears he asked: “Which one of you would like to purchase this dead animal for one dirham.” We responded: “We wouldn’t like to take it even if it was offered for free.” The Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “I swear by Allaah the reality of this world compared to the hereafter is the same as of this dead animal.”
Look at the allegory that is being established by the Messenger of Allaah(sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), that the existence of this world does not even hold as much value as the carcass of a dead animal. Close attention must be paid to the severity of this truth, which has caused the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to swear upon his Lord. The clouds can be set ablaze, the mountains can be uprooted from their positions before a single doubt can be raised about the oath of the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
In another hadeeth collected by Imaam Ahmad, Imaam at-Tirmidhee, and Imaam ibn Maajah on the authority of Sahl bin Sa’ad (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If the standing of this world in front of Allaah was even equal to the size of the wing of a mosquito, than Allaah would not have given the disbeliever even a sip of water to drink.”
The world with its entire glamour is not even equal to the wingspan of a mosquito. Compared to this, what can the reality of the hereafter be in the Sight of Allaah; the same hereafter that we are quick to sell for the slightest amount of profit. We relinquish the hereafter from our eyes, and focus our sight on this world, on its false fame and glamour, on its dreams and desires neglecting the comparison of this world to the hereafter. May Allaah bless our beloved Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who has spared no effort in notifying his Ummah to the truth of this world, and that of the hereafter.
Imaam al-Bukhaaree narrates in his collection on the authority of Sahl bin Sa’d al-Sa’id (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A place in Paradise equal to the size of a lash is better than the whole world and whatever is in it.”
Even with clear warning from the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) you will see many selling the hereafter for a small gain in this world. When they are reminded about as to what they are transacting in reality, they will say: “Yes that is true, but what can you do, we have to stay alive in this world don’t we.” What a shameful thing that they will utter, don’t they realise the depth of their transaction? What are they receiving and what are they giving up in return? Even if they were to receive the entire benefits of this world, and be left out of paradise, than will they be successful in that transaction? No, but rather they will be the loser. Do the words of the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) have no affect on them, do they not know what they are giving up in order to receive the false fame and glamour of this world.
They take this rule (what is being given up and what is being received) into consideration during all their worldly activities. When they go out to the market place to purchase groceries, or go shopping for other things, close attention will be paid to the value of the object that is going to be acquired. If it were found that what is going to be received is lesser in value compared to the price that is going to be paid for it, than would any sane mind conduct this transaction. What a foolish being man is, he can understand this concept when it comes to his worldly transactions, but when he leaves the hereafter for this world, this concept escapes his mind. Doesn’t he know that what he is leaving, it’s greater in value than what he is receiving. Its place, the size of a lash, is better than the entire world with all its glamour and fame.
In another hadeeth narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allaah will ask the person with the lowest status in paradise to request whatever he wishes. That person will request and request. And than Allaah will say: ‘Are you done with your requests.’ The man will answer: ‘My Lord, I have requested for all that I had thought off.’ Allaah will say: ‘Oh, man whatever you had requested you have been granted, and much more’.”
Whenever we are asked to request something do we leave any thing out? Paradise is such that whatever one requests, than that shall be granted. Here the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) tells us off that man, who will have the lowest status among all the inhabitants of paradise. Now if his status is of this calibre and he has received all his desires than what will be the outcome of those, whose status is in a higher degree to this man?
What is to be said about the person, who conducts the transaction of this world in exchange for the hereafter? What will happen to that foolish person, who falls for the false glamour of this world, and lands himself in the fires of hell? What will his status be? The Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to his Ummah has conveyed this severity in numerous narrations.
Imaam al-Bukhaaree has collected that Nu’man b. Bashir (radee Allaahu ‘anhu reported that the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily the least suffering for the inhabitants of Fire would be for him who would have two shoes and two laces of Fire (on his feet). And these would boil his brain as boils the cooking vessel, and he would think that he would not see anyone in a more grievous torment than him, whereas he would be in the least torment.”
Man is in a constant battle between the world (with all its glamour and fame) and the hereafter (with all its beauty and eternity). Should his attention be more on the hereafter or on this world? On normal circumstances, with surety it can be said that more attention is paid to this world than the hereafter. The common theme seems to be to focus all the attention on this world now and think about the hereafter later, preferably in their old age. However this is not how one should live, rather he should constantly focus on what he is trading for the luxuries of this world, then with the grace of Allaah he will constantly scrutinize every transaction that will compromise his hereafter for this world.
And in another hadeeth collected by Imaam Muslim, Anas b. Maalik (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) reported that: Allaah’s Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that one amongst the denizens of Hell who had led a life of ease and plenty amongst the people of the world would be made to dip in the Fire only once on the Day of Resurrection. And then it would be said to him: “O, son of Adam, did you find any comfort, did you happen to get any material blessing?” He would say: “By Allaah, no, my Lord.” And then that person from amongst the persons of the world would be brought who had led the most miserable life (in the world) from amongst the inmates of Paradise. And he would be made to dip once in Paradise and it would be said to him: “Oh, son of Adam, did you face, any hardship? Or had any distress fallen to your lot?” And he would say: “By Allaah, no, oh my Lord, never did I face any hardship or experience any distress.”
These men will be those from the time of Adam to the time of the Day of Judgement. How great would the status of the person be in this world that received its greatest blessings, and what would the status be of him who received the greatest hardships? This hadeeth is being mentioned to us by the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and it is not through his own will, but rather it is guided by his Lord, The Master of the Throne. The first person received the benefits of this world, which made him heir to the hellfire, benefits that would vanish once the fury of the fire is felt. Knowing that the luxuries and comfort of this world will be forgotten once a touch of the fire has been felt, now one who would trade the hereafter for the benefits of this world, wouldn’t he be considered foolish. And on the other end, he who received the least amount of comfort from this world, why, because his attention was focused on the hereafter, will forget all his misery and hardships once he has felt the touch of paradise.
What is the reality of this world, compared to that of the hereafter? This world does not even compare to the carcass of a baby goat in front of Allaah. This world with all its glamour and all its fame doesn’t even hold the value of a mosquito wing to Allaah. The hereafter is of such high calibre that the entire world cannot even compare to a place the size of a lash in Paradise. He, who forsakes the hereafter for this world, will find his abode in the hellfire, where the least severe punishment will be shoes of fire that will make his brain boil. The one who will have received the greatest benefits in the world from all of mankind will forget those benefits once he has been made to feel the fire of Hell. And one who has received the greatest hardship in this world from all off mankind, once entering Paradise will forget all those.
In order to better comprehend the reality of this world and that of the hereafter, a very serious question must be asked. How long will one be staying in this world? If one, and Allaah forgive, decided to focus his attention on this world, than he must pay close attention because how long does he think that he will live to enjoy this world. There is no guarantee on how long one is going to live in this world, however that guarantee does exist for the hereafter.
Imaam Ahmed, Imaam at-Tirmidhee, and Imaam ibn Maajah have narrated in their collections on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud (radee Allaahu ‘anhu):
The Messenger of Allaah was taking rest upon a bed that had been made from the leaves from a date tree. When he got up, we could see the marks on his back form the leaves. So I said: “O beloved Messenger of Allaah, if you order us we can go and fetch for you a soft and comfortable bed to rest on.” The Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied: “What have I got to gain from the benefits of this world. My association with this world is like that of a traveller who stops on his journey to take a small rest under a tree.”
Whenever a traveller stops to take a rest on his journey he only stops for a couple of hours at the most, and then moves on to his destination. If the beloved Messenger’s (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam’s) approach to this world was like this, than how should our outlook be. He knows that he is only travelling and will be departing soon, than how can we think that we will be staying here forever, never thinking about our departure, never preparing for it.
Imaam al-Bukhaaree transmitted on the authority of Mujaahid (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) that ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar said:
The Messenger of Allaah took hold of my shoulder and said: “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveller.” The sub-narrator added that ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar used to say: “If you survive till the evening, do not expect to be alive in the morning, and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening. And take from your health for your sickness, and (take) from your life for your death.”
“Live like strangers”, this concept is understood when going abroad to work, but not when it involves the hereafter. Look at those who go to foreign lands to work. They will live in small quarters, many to a single room, so that they can work and save money and for what? To build a house or a business in their home countries, but when it comes to buying furniture, while abroad, they will buy the cheapest that they can find. Why? Because they know that they are only going to stay there for a while, and when they go back home then they will buy the expense furniture for their new home.
Oh man how foolish you are, this thing you understand, that you are going to go back home one day, so you won’t get involved with the luxuries of the host country, but rather work for those back home. But when it comes to working for the hereafter than this concept escapes your mind. You may have a contract to work this number of years in this country and then you will return, then oh foolish man, how long of a contract do you have with the Lord of the Angel of Death? How long will you live in this world? When and where death will come no souls knows. And how many are those who have not even gotten a chance to step back on the soil of their homeland. Oh evil doers, you will remain in this world but on a temporary basis, and eventually you will have to face what you have not prepared for. There are no guarantees for this life, whether we will be here from one Jumu’ah to the next. However the guarantee of eternal life does exist in the hereafter, for both good and bad.
Look at the advice that they Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) gave to ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar: “Be in this world as if you were a stranger.” And if today we have been blessed with good health, do we have any guarantee that we will stay in that condition forever. Taking one look at all those who are sick, lying in their hospital beds, asking their Lord for death, would discredit that thought. This good health Allaah has blessed us with, we must use it to remember Allaah and work towards the hereafter, before it is too late.
Imaam Muslim has collected another hadeeth transmitted on the authority of Abu Sa’id (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) that he said that the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Death would be brought on the Day of Resurrection in the form of a white coloured ram. Then it would be made to stand between the Paradise and the Hell and it would be said to the inmates of Paradise: ‘Do you recognize this?’ They would raise up their necks and look towards it and say: ‘Yes, it is death.’ Then it would be said to the inmates of Hellfire: ‘Do you recognize this?’ And they would raise up their necks and look and say: ‘Yes, it is death.’ Then the command would be given for slaughtering that and then it would be said: ‘Oh inmates of Paradise, there is an everlasting life for you and no death.’ And then (addressing) to the inmates of the Hellfire, it would be said: ‘Oh inmates of Hellfire, there is an everlasting living for you and no death.” Allaah’s Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then recited this verse pointing with his hand to this (material) world: “Warn them (O Muhammad), of the Day of grief and regret, when their affairs would be decided while they would be in a state of carelessness and they believe not.” (19:39).
No matter how much wealth is acquired by an individual, it will not award him a guarantee from the aliments of this world, (e.g. sickness), let alone give him the guarantee of eternal life. However, Allaah has established this guarantee for the hereafter.
To better understand the reality of this world and that of the hereafter, two very important points were established. The first being, this world with all its glamour and fame, holds no value in the Sight of Allaah, and that the smallest place in the hereafter is better than the world and all that it contains, even if it be the size of a lash. If this reality is not understood than let him know that his end will be the hellfire, and what an evil and eternal abode that will be.
Translators Note: I came across this tape of the beloved Shaykh Fadil Ilahi who is the brother of the late Shaykh Ehsan Ilahi and is one of the Scholars of Pakistan. I found good benefit in it, and felt that it would be beneficial to translate and transcribe it for others. Any mistakes are from me and the Shaykh is free from my errors. For those who have read the books of the Shaykh, “Kindness & Gentleness” and “The Obligation of Women in commanding good & forbidding evil” then his tapes are in the same format. His lectures are very thorough and to the point and are all set up just like his books, he gives the hadeeth, the narrator and where it is found in the books of hadeeth. This lecture was given by the Shaykh in Saudi Arabia while he was there teaching. He has left Saudi Arabia and is currently giving da’wah in Pakistan. Truly many people have come to the path of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah through his tapes. I ask Allaah to add the blessing of this to the account of the Shaykh and make it beneficial for the Ummah, ameen!
EARNING FOR THE HEREAFTER
By Sa’d ibn Terab Alee
Bismillaahi-walhamdulilaahi was-salaatu was-salaamu ‘ala rasoolulillaah, wa ‘ala aalihi wa sahbihi ajma’een – ‘amma ba’d:
Know, may Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) have mercy upon you, that He has informed us of the reason why He created us and our purpose in this short worldly life. He (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) says in His Noble Book: “I have not created the jinn and the human being except to worship Me (alone).” [Surah Al-Dhaariyaat (51):56]
So this worship or Ibaadaah of Allaah is the reason why we are here. If we do this Ibaadah properly then we will earn good deeds for the hereafter and deserve the ultimate goal of every Muslim – the endless pleasure of Paradise. However, if we wrong ourselves and choose not to enter the Paradise by being ungrateful to Allaah – The Lord of Honour, our Creator, Provider and Sustainer, by turning away from being His slave and thus earning evil – then we deserve to enter The Fierce Fire that is lying in wait to feed on the transgressors.
So if our Maker (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) created us only to worship Him and doing this is our ticket to supreme success and not doing so is our ticket to complete humiliating and painful failure, then we come to realise how important it is to correctly understand the definition and concept of worship, in order to fulfil this lofty goal properly.
So worship – or ibaadah – is defined linguistically as: having a complete love for the object that is worshipped, along with complete humility and servitude.
When an object is loved, but a person does not feel humble towards it, then this is not known as ibaadah. Such an instance might occur when a father shows love towards his family and children. Likewise, when an object is shown servitude and humbleness, without any love, this too is not known as worship. Such an instance might occur with a ruler or a king. Only when these two characteristics are combined in their fullest form will ibaadah take place.
When the term ibaadah occurs in the texts of the Qur’aan or Sunnah it refers to all actions and statements that Allaah loves and is pleased with, whether these actions are of the heart (such as hoping the best from Allaah), the tongue (such as reciting the Qur’aan and calling others to the worship of Allaah) or the limbs (such as praying, fasting and smiling at one’s brother). So it can be seen that the term ibaadah is a very wide and vast term, since it includes all actions that Allaah commands and is pleased with.
Ibaadah has two basic pre-conditions to it, and three pillars.
The term ‘pre-condition’ signifies that every single act of worship that is performed must meet these two simple conditions in order for the act to be accepted. No act qualifies as an act of worship until these two conditions are met. The term ‘pillar’ signifies that these pillars must be present when the act is performed, in order for it to be a perfect act of worship.
The first pre-condition is that the act must be done solely for the sake of Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala). To achieve this one has to fulfil the following two requirements:
(1) Purify one’s conception of Allaah, and ascribe to Him the Most Perfect Names (Asmaa’) and Noble Attributes (Sifaat) which have authentically come to us from the tongue of the one who knows Allaah better than any other human being – Muhammad (Salla ’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). It involves negating the existence of any object or deity that has the capability of Creating, Sustaining, Nourishing or Controlling the creation except for Allaah. It involves affirming the perfect Existence of Allaah, having no partners or sons.
(2) Purify one’s actions of worship, so that none except Allaah is worshipped.
This is the implementation of the phrase: La ilaaha illa Allaah, which means ‘no one has the right to be worshipped except Allaah.’
The second pre-condition is that the act that is performed be in accordance with the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla ’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). In other words a person cannot invent an act of worship by himself for the only way to know whether a particular act is an act of worship or not is to see if the Prophet (Salla ’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded it or not.
And this is the actualisation of the phrase: Muhammadur-Rasoolul-laah which means ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.’ By affirming the Messengership of Muhammad (Salla ’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) a person affirms that only he has the right to be obeyed totally and without question. The only person who can inform us how to worship Allaah is the Prophet since he is the one with whom Allaah communicated.
So these pre-requisites are essential before a person starts any act of worship. If the first pre-condition is not met, then the act will be considered a type of shirk (giving Allaah a partner or rival), since it was done for other than Allaah. And if the second pre-condition is not met, then the act will be considered a religious innovation or bid’ah and be rejected.
At the same time, there are three essential pillars upon which all of a person’s worship is based. While he or she is performing any act of worship, all these pillars must be present in order for it to be a complete and perfect act. These pillars are in fact the ‘driving force’ for all acts of worship and are: love, fear and hope. So a person worships Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) out of a love for Him, and a fear of His punishment, and a sincere hope for gaining His reward. If any of these are not met, then the proper spirit of worship will not be present.
Some of the scholars gave an example of ibaadah and these three pillars in the form of a bird with its two wings. The heart of the bird is the love of Allaah, and ‘fear’ and ‘hope’ are its two wings. So if the ‘love’ (the heart) is not present, the ibaadah (the bird) will be completely dead. And if either ‘hope’ or ‘fear’ is absent, the ibaadah will not be able to move.
Although the evidences for each of these three pillars are numerous, Allaah combines them in one verse of the Qur’aan: “Those whom they invoke (besides Allaah) seek a means of closeness to their Lord, (striving as to) which of them would be nearest, hoping for His Mercy and fearing His punishment.” [Surah Al-Israa’ (17):57]
In this verse, Allaah describes the situation of His righteous servants who are worshipped by ignorant people. These servants are racing with one another, trying to come close to Allaah, because they love Him, whilst being hopeful of achieving His Mercy, and fearful of His punishment.
So they worship Allaah with the three pillars of love, fear and hope. So with worshipping Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) properly by fulfilling the above mentioned pre-conditions and pillars we can start to earn good deeds for the hereafter and deserve to enter Paradise.
Wallaahu a’lam – wa sallallaahu ‘ala Muhammad wa aalihi wasahbihi wa sallam
Extracts from ‘An Explanation of the Four Principles of Shirk’ reproduced with kind permission from al-Hidaayah publishers.