Significance of Iman on The Day of Final Judgment
“On that Day (Day of Final Judgment), people will come forward in separate groups to be shown their deeds, whoever has done an atom’s weight of good, will see it and whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil will also see that.” (Quran 99:6-8)
“(In the Day of Judgment, Allah will ask)
Read your Book and today you are quite sufficient to take your own account.” (Quran 17:14)
“(Surprised by seeing record, people will say) Ah! woe to us! What a Book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great but takes account thereof!” (Quran 18:49)
The Islamic way of life of a believer revolves around three fundamental subjects: Tawhid, Risalah and Akhirah. ‘Tawhid’ means belief in the absolute oneness of Allah, Sovereign Authority of Allah, total Submission, and Obedience to His Command. We have discussed this subject in detail under the title ‘Significance of Iman in Allah’. Faith in the ‘Risalah’ means faith in the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), accept him as a Role Model and follow him in all affairs of life. We have discussed this also in detail under the title ‘Significance of Iman in Prophets of Allah’.
In this chapter we are going to discuss various aspects of ‘Akhirah’, which refers to the ‘Afterlife’. Muslims believe that death is not the end of life. After death, people will be brought back alive again. Their actions on Earth will be judged by Allah. Based on their actions, they will start an eternal life of peace in heaven or a life of sufferings in hellfire. Faith in accountability to Allah on the Day of Judgment for activities in this world and its consequences in the afterlife is a fundamental attribute of Iman.
Conviction in the accountability on the Day of Judgment has a tremendous positive effect on the peace and prosperity of life on Earth. Despite that, there are some people who say: “we are not sure about the existence of God, Life after death, the Final Day of Judgement, Heaven and Hell. That is why we neither believe nor disbelieve in them.” There are also people who think that there is a Creator but not sure about Life after death. Allah has discussed in the Quran the views of the type of people mentioned above. He has given many convincing reasons and examples for people to understand and believe in Life after Death and the Final Judgment. This is so detailed that almost one third of the Quran is dedicated to this subject. Without referring to the logic stated in the Quran, some people argue that the reason of their disbelief in the Creator, Life after death, Heaven and Hell Fire is because they do not see, hear nor discover these by any instrument. There are many things in this world that people do not see, hear, nor feel physically. However, they believe in their existence. Let us take examples of “love” and “sadness” in our lives. Can anyone see, hear, or touch them? Is there any instrument to measure them? The answer is no, yet we know that they exist, and no one denies their existence. Many things we see today were not available in the past. Fifty years ago, cellular smart phones, tablets and laptops were non-existent. At that time, if someone told people that there would be such items in the future that allowed people to see and talk to each other from thousands of miles away, they might not have believed that person. However, today these things are a reality. This analogy can be applied to life after death. Today people do not see a dead person walking on Earth; however, a day will surely come when everyone will be alive after death and gathered before God on The Day of Judgement.
The case of life after death, The Day of Final Judgment, Heaven, and Hell is not unheard of. Allah has shown Life after Death, Heaven and Hell to many Prophets. Muhammad (PBUH) had the opportunity to talk to Allah. He met many Prophets of the past. He had seen Heaven and Hell and informed of these to the people of his time with proof. Jews and Muslims believe that Allah spoke with Musa (AS): “O Moses! Verily I am Allah the Lord of the world” (Quran 28:30). Christians and Muslims believe that Allah gave miraculous power to Prophet Jesus (Essa A.S) to make the dead alive again (Quran 3:49). Prophet Ibrahim (AS) brought dead birds back to life by the Order of Allah (Quran 2:260). To avoid any doubt about life after death, people should think on the logic that Allah has stated in the Quran on the subject. Simply disbelieving this without thinking is mere ignorance.
The Day of Resurrection is certain to come. Faith in it is one of the most important pillars of Iman. It is so important that Allah has discussed this 150 times in 80 chapters of the Quran. Those who read, understand, and think on the logic discussed in the Quran and Hadith about ‘The Day of Resurrection’ will recognise it without any doubt. They believe this firmly and lead life on Earth with a sense of accountability for ‘The Day of Judgement’. Their actions on Earth are as follows:
- A believer in the religion of Islam has a firm faith that death is not the end of life. After death, everyone will have a new and eternal life. We are all on the road to the final destination of eternal life. We are proceeding on the road to this destination everyday, week, month, year and at the end we will reach death; the first stopover towards the final and eternal destination. After this stopover, we will be alive again and start the journey towards eternal life. In this journey, we will face a check post, The Grand Assembly Center – Hashr. The day is called the “Day of Final Judgement”. On this day, Allah will Judge our performances of this worldly life. After Final Judgment, whoever obeyed Allah, will be directed to their final destination “Paradise”. Those who were found disobedient to Allah will be directed to their final destination, “Hellfire”.
“Every living being has to taste death and we are putting all of you to trial by passing you through good and bad conditions and ultimately you shall return to us.” (Quran 21:35)
“In this there is, certainly, a lesson for those who fear the torment of the next life in which all people will be gathered together.” (Quran 11:103)
- Judgment will be purely based on obeying or disobeying Allah and his Prophet (PBUH) in all activities throughout one’s life. Those who believe and obey Allah and His Prophet (PBUH), as is ordered in the Quran and Hadith, will be rewarded and those who disobey will be punished. This was discussed in the chapters related to ‘Iman in Allah’ and ‘Iman in the Prophets’. On the Day of Final Judgement, these good and bad deeds will be assessed. The Prophet (PBUH) explained the key points of Judgment as follows: “Man’s feet will not move on the day of Final Judgment before he is asked about the following:
- His life, how did he spend?
- His knowledge, what did he do with it?
- His wealth, how did he earn it and how did he spend it?
- His body, for what he did use it?” (Tirmidhi).
A believer, who sincerely believes in the Judgement on above- mentioned points, will always work in a way such that he can give a satisfactory answer. Due to firm faith in accountability regarding the four points mentioned above, a believer is obliged to use these to do good deeds. They never use these for wrongdoing. In this way, faith in the Final Judgment brings positive change in life.
When people start to use time, knowledge, wealth and all their organs for doing good deeds and not for any harmful actions, only then will they start to enjoy a good life on Earth. This is the benefit in this world the believers get for faith on ‘The Day of Final Judgment’. Because of a sense of accountability, they obey every order of Allah in this world. As a result of their actions, they will have peace and safety in this world. Ultimate success comes after death. In the afterlife, they get protection from Hellfire and enjoy happiness in Paradise. On the other hand, one who does not believe in an accountability after death bases his actions on his wishes and does not take into consideration if those actions are right or wrong. Wrong actions destroy peace in this world. Therefore, wrong actions deserve punishment in this world and in life after death as Allah wishes.
- Procedure of Judgment:
a) As a first step towards Judgment, Allah has prescribed duties on everyone through the Quran and Sunnah. Everyone is well informed about what is lawful and what is unlawful. Everyone is given free will to do right or wrong as he or she wishes. He has also made consequences of each action clear to every human being. Therefore, there is no scope for any excuses on the Day of Judgement.
b) Angels are recording every deed of every person for presentation on the Day of Final Judgment. This is explained in the chapter, “Iman in Angels”.
c) For the sake of fair Judgment, the organs of every person will be given the power to talk and bear witness about where and how they had been used. Allah says: “Their ears, their eyes, their very skin will bear witness against them, concerning what they had been doing in the world. They will say to their skins: ‘why do you bear witness against us?’ They will reply, ‘the same God who has given speech to everything has given us speech. He created you in the first instance and now to him you are being brought back. When in the world you hid yourselves while committing crime; you never thought that your own ears, your own eyes, and your own skins would ever bear witness against you’” (Quran 41: 20-22).
Our conscious belief in the situation stated in the verse referenced above will bring a positive change in our life. With every action we commit in this world, we will see with our inner eye a picture of how our own organs will bear witness to our actions on the Day of Judgment. This conscious state of mind should start to control our actions according to the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. By doing so, we can ensure that nothing wrong is done by our body in this world. If a wrong action is done by our body due to the enticement from the whisper of devil, we will correct ourselves and seek forgiveness. This way, our body, mind, and soul will maintain purity to pursue good work and avoid wrong. In fact, whatever strength people have in their body in the form of intellectual, spiritual, and physical power influences whatever good or bad is happening in this world. Therefore, it is in the best interest to keep these faculties in a pure state, fear accountability in their use and finally use them to do good deeds by obeying the Order of Allah.
Unwavering belief in the Day of Final Judgement will motivate our body and organs like the hands, mouth, eyes, ears, feet, brain etc. to fear Allah at the time of thinking and doing something wrong in disobedience to Allah. Strong belief in the Day of Final Judgement will direct us to fear Allah as He should be feared, by obeying the Rules and Regulations of the Quran and the teachings of Mohammad (PBUH). It will inspire us to use our physical, intellectual, and spiritual strength to do good deeds as much as we can. It is needless to mention that if there is no Final Judgment after death, the strong will oppress the weak, the rich will deprive the poor, powerful nations will oppress weaker nations without fear. This situation is quite common in the world we live in today. The only solution to this injustice is to educate people to fear the Final Judgment of Allah, for everything they do in this world. This fear will help them to obey the order of Allah and stop injustice. It is also important that the believers should not support those people as leaders, who do not fear Allah for what they do. Otherwise, it will not be easy for a believer to obey the order of Allah under their tyranny.
The above analysis helps to understand the philosophy behind Iman on the Day of Final Judgment and the actions that a believer must do to confirm his or her Iman in the accountability on the Day of Final Judgement. We are summarizing these actions below for a believer’s pursuit of proof of his or her faith in the Final Judgment:
a) A believer must believe that death is not the end of life; rather it is the beginning of eternal life of the Hereafter.
b) Every man and woman will face Final Judgment by The Creator on the Day of Final Judgment. All people will be shown the record of their activities in this world and will be made accountable for whatever they have done.
c) Those who obeyed Allah, fulfilled their Purpose of life, and lived a righteous life, will enter paradise.
d) Those who disobeyed Allah will go into the Hell Fire.
e) A believer should use his body, time, knowledge, and wealth to do work as stated in the Quran. He should always remain conscious that he will be asked where, how and for what purpose he used them.
f) A believer must believe with conviction that purity in life, avoiding unlawful actions and leading a purposeful welfare-oriented life full of virtue, is simply not possible without hope of reward from the Creator for good deeds and fear of punishment for unlawful work on the Day of Judgment. Firm faith in the Day of Final Judgment is the only dynamic force that can resist any evil intention by a believer and at the same time, this is the only dynamic force that can engage a believer to promote good deeds for a useful life.
g) In practical life on Earth, human psychology is largely affected by expectations of life. Reward and punishment for every action play a major role in this regard. So, those who are conscious about reward and punishment after Final Judgment, they prepare their accounts beforehand by fine-tuning their actions on Earth according to the Quran and Sunnah. They try to engage themselves in good work and try to avoid doing any kind of illicit, illegal, and oppressive activities. They especially remember and prepare for those subjects that the Prophet (PBUH) warned. He said, “On the Day of Judgment none of the sons of Adam will be able to proceed a single step ahead without answering these five questions:
*How have you spent your life?
*How have you spent your youth?
*How have you earned your income?
*How have you spent that income?
*What knowledge you have acquired and how you have applied that knowledge?” (Abu Dawood).
h) Being mindful of death is another important thing that helps prepare for the Day of Judgment. Our common experience is that the inevitable consequence of human life is death, which is the first step towards the Day of Judgment. If any believer remembers death, reward, and punishment at death, in the grave and onward, he will move to do good deeds and avoid all sorts of bad deeds. This is the reason the Prophet (PBUH) has encouraged his followers to visit the graves of dear and near ones. This visit helps us think of where these relatives and friends are now, who were once with us. Is it not that we are moving to this destination by leaving everything like them? When we stand beside the grave and think that a day will come when relatives and friends will carry our dead body to this destination and bury us into the earth, our heart melts down. Tears start to flow from our eyes and our heart starts to cry with an appeal to ourselves to do something in the world for salvation before we face the Final Judgement.
We conclude here our discussion on ‘The Day of Final Judgement’ by stating the Last Message from Allah as recorded in the Quran: “Safeguard yourselves against a day (Day of Final Judgement) when you will return to God. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and none shall be treated unjustly” (Quran 2:281).
Imagine, how kind Allah is to human beings! He first told mankind to seek the right path for success (Quran 1:6), then he gave us the Quran as the right path of life (Quran 2:2) and ordered to follow it. Fianally, He says in the last revealed verse (2:281) of the Quran to safeguard ourselves with a warning that the result will be according to our actions on Earth. This is justice indeed! In the commentary of the above verse (Quran 2:281), Imam Sayyid Qutub writes in his great tafsir, ‘Fizilalil Quran’:
“This powerful, ‘Voice of God’ which Islam kindles in the deepest recesses of people’s minds and hearts to act as a potent guiding force in life. Thus, Islam proves yet again how vigorous, well-integrated, practical, and merciful it is, and demonstrates that its supreme aim and objective is the happiness and well-being of man as an individual, and of human society as a whole.”
Thus, Iman in the ‘Accountability to Allah’ on the ‘Day of Final Judgement’ indeed works as a great force that keeps the believers away from temptation of wrongdoing and makes life pure and righteous, which is essential for peace and happiness in the world and afterlife. This is the key objective of Iman in the ‘Day of Final Judgement’ that a believer should make all efforts to achieve.