Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | TOI | p. 20, Oct 13, 2017
Of all the stages through which a person will have to pass, death is the most certain. Everyone who is alive now will be dead sometime in the future. One day the eyes of those who see will fade and their tongues freeze into silence. Every human being will one day be leaving this world, never to return, and entering a world which he will never leave.
No one can be sure when death will come; it might strike at any instant. The gravity of the situation lies in death not being the end of life, but rather the beginning of a new, eternal life, a world of everlasting reward or retribution.
Everyone is on a journey from life to death. Some have set their sights on the world, others on the Hereafter. Some strive to satisfy their own desires and egos, others are restless in the love and fear of God.
Both types of people appear the same in this world. But in relation to life after death, there is a world of difference between the two: those who live in God and the Hereafter are redeeming themselves, while those who live in worldly pleasures and selfish desires are condemning themselves to doom.
Death will overtake everybody; no one can escape from it. But death is not the same for everyone. Some have made God their goal in life; they speak and keep silence for His sake alone; their attention is focused entirely on the after-life. Death is for them the end of a long terrestrial journey towards their Lord.
Others have forgotten their Lord; they do not do things for God’s sake; they are travelling away from their Lord. They are like rebels who roam at large for a few days, and then death seizes them and brings them to justice.
Righteous people have a different attitude to death from the disobedient. They are concerned with what comes in the wake of death; they focus their attention on gaining an honourable position in the life after death. Those who disregard the existence of God and the Hereafter, on the other hand, are caught up in worldly affairs. Their ultimate ambition is worldly honour and prestige.
Under present circumstances, those who have consolidated their position on earth seem to be successful, but death will shatter this façade. It will become clear that those who seemed to have no base in the world were, in fact, standing on the most solid of foundations, while the position of those who had reached a high status in the world will be exposed as false. Death will obliterate everything; afterwards only that which has some worth in the after-life will remain.
We are obsessed with the world, which meets our eyes. We fail to pay attention to the call of truth. If we were to see the next life with our worldly vision, we would immediately submit the God. We would realise that if we do not submit to Him today, we will have to do so in the future world, when submission will profit no one.