Necessities of the afterlife

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Is the world the place where all aims and desires can be fulfilled?

If you cherish limitless desires and aims, do not be anxious for them. The world is not the place where you can realize all of them. You can realize them in another realm, and the One Who has given them to you is One other than you.’

It also says: “O man! You do not own yourself. You are one owned by One infinitely Powerful and an infinitely Compassionate One of Majesty. That being so, do not give yourself trouble by loading your being and life onto yourself, for the One Who has given you your life is He, and the One Who governs it is again He.

“Then the world has an Owner, Who is the All-Wise and the All-Knowing. Whatever He does, He does it out of compassion. Even His wrath is based on His Compassion in many respects. You are His guest in His world, so do not interfere with what is beyond the realm of your power and responsibility.

“Next, living beings like men and animals are not free, left to themselves. They are officials charged with certain duties, and controlled and favored by an All-Compassionate Ruler, Who has preferred them over most of His creatures. He is much more compassionate towards them than you.

“Furthermore, all things and events from microbes to catastrophes like plagues, floods, droughts and earthquakes which, in appearance, are hostile to you, are controlled and governed by that All-Compassionate Ruler. He is the All-Wise, doing nothing useless, and the All-Compassionate, in every act of Whom is a kind of grace.”

This world is transient but the necessities of the afterlife are obtained in it.

It adds: “This world is transient but the necessities of the afterlife are obtained in it. It is doomed to decay but it yields everlasting fruits and displays the manifestations of the Eternal Names of a Permanent One. In return for its few pleasures it causes one to suffer many pains and afflictions but the favors of the All-Merciful, All-Compassionate One are true and lasting pleasures, and its pains are the cause of obtaining many spiritual rewards. Since the sphere of the lawful is sufficient for the enjoyment and pleasures of the spirit, heart and carnal self, do not enter the sphere of the unlawful: any illicit pleasure results in numerous pains. It also causes one to lose the favors of the All-Merciful One, which are pure, lasting pleasures.

“In the way of misguidance man falls so low that no trend of philosophy, nor scientific development, no human civilization and progress can pull him up out of that deep pit of darkness. Through belief and righteous deeds, the wise Qur’an takes man out of that lowest of the low and raises him to the highest of the high. It fills up that deep pit with the steps of spiritual progress and the means of spiritual perfection.

“The way of the Qur’an facilitates man’s long, troubling and stormy journeying in the direction of eternity. It shows him the means with which to traverse in a day the distance which would normally take him fifty thousand years to cover.

“Also, by enabling man to know the majestic Being, Who is the King of Eternity, uncontained by time and space, it honors him with the position of being a dutiful servant and guest of His, and secures him an easy and comfortable journeying through the world and the mansions of the intermediate world of the grave and the Hereafter. Just as a righteous, dutiful official of a king travels in his domain in security with fast vehicles of transport like planes or trains or ships and crosses the boundaries of its provinces without encountering any difficulty, so too a man who is connected with the Eternal King through belief and shows his obedience to Him through righteous deeds, travels through the mansions, and across the boundaries, of the world and the realms of the grave and the Hereafter with the speed of lightning or Buraq, the mount of Paradise, and finds eternal happiness. The Qur’an proves the truth of this decisively and purified religious scholars and saints can see it clearly.”

The Qur’an also says: O believer! Do not use your infinite capacity of loving in favor of your carnal self, which is ugly, defective and evil, and harmful to you. Do not adore it and do not follow its desires and fancies as if it were an object of worship. Use the infinite capacity of loving given to you in favor of the One worthy of infinite love, Who does you infinite good and will make you infinitely happy in the future, Who through His favors makes happy those with whom you have connections and whose happiness pleases you; One with infinite perfection and infinitely sacred, transcendent, pure, perfect and undecaying beauty, Whose every Name radiates numerous lights of beauty and grace and the beauty of Whose Mercy and the mercy in Whose Beauty are displayed in Paradise, and Whose Beauty and Perfection all the beauty, grace and perfection in the universe which are lovable, point to and are signs of: love Him, and make Him the sole object of your worship.

Do not use your infinite capacity of loving in loving impermanent beings.

Furthermore it says: O man! Do not use your infinite capacity of loving, which has in fact been given to you to love His Names and Attributes, in loving impermanent beings. For whatever or whoever other than Him is mortal. Whereas the Divine Beautiful Names manifested on mortals are permanent and constant. Each of those Names and Attributes has thousands of degrees of favoring and thousands of levels of perfection and love. Consider, for example, the Name the All-Merciful: Paradise is a single manifestation of it, and the eternal happiness, a single radiance, and all the provisions and bounties bestowed on creatures in the world are a ëdrop’ of it.

In order to see in the language of the Qur’an the difference between the way of the Qur’an and that of the misguided, which we have so far been trying to elaborate, consider the verses,

Surely, We have created man in the fairest form and the best pattern of creation. Then We have returned him to the lowest of the low, except those who believe and do righteous deeds.

and the verse which points to the end of the misguided,

Neither the heavens nor the earth wept over their destruction.

and see in what elevated and miraculous style they express the difference!

The verse explicitly states that the heavens and the earth do not weep over the death of the misguided. Therefore, it implies that when a believer dies, the heavens and the earth shed tears over them.

Since the misguided people do not know the meaning of the heavens and the earth and do not recognize their Maker, and since they deny their duties and reduce their value, and thereby insult them and show ‘hostility’ toward them, when they die, the heavens and the earth do not weep over them, rather they are pleased with their death. But they weep over the death of believers because the believers know the duties of the heavens and the earth and affirm the reality they bear. Through belief they know the meaning they have and admit: how beautifully they have been created! how well they perform their duties! The believers acknowledge their value and pay them their due respect. They love them and the Names to which they are mirrors in the name of Almighty God. It is for this reason that the heavens and the earth are grieved for their death.

 

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