Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Concept of Hereafter | Al Risala, September 1988
The human desire to communicate has always been strong. But in modern times, it has been imbued with an increasing sense of urgency that the old-fashioned letter or post card no longer satisfies it, and a whole array of ‘high-tech’ devices – telephone, telex, TV, fax, mobile phone, internet, social media, etc.–have had to be brought into existence in order to expand and accelerate communications. A kind of vicious circle has now been set up in which the more such gadgetry proliferates, the more we want to communicate, and the more we have to invent new and faster means of communication. No one seems very much concerned about the content or quality of the messages conveyed. It is enough to have a shiny new mobile phone telephone in one’s hand to feel inspired to communicate with ring up our friends–even if we have nothing much to tell them.
Even if no means of communication are at hand, the urge to communicate is so strong, that people will walk miles just to convey a good, intriguing or disastrous piece of news.
It is natural for friends to share their sense of jubilation over normal human satisfactions such as a step up in-life, the birth of a son, the acquisition of a new house or car, or a happy betrothal, etc... But what has happened to the keen desire, which the true believers of former times used to have, to convey the divine message of truth? What has happened to the urge to communicate the realities of the life of trial in this world, and the consequent rewards and punishments of the afterlife? The early Muslims used to be as eager to pass on the revelations that God had made to His Prophet as people are nowadays to trumpet their acquisition of purely material things like land, gold and other property.
In the early days of Islam, believers and those who were still in quest of the truth would travel long distances to hear the sayings of the Prophet, either directly from him, or from his Companions. They were then happy to travel many more miles to convey them to others. They had none of the means of communication which we have at our command nowadays – except for the letter – but their burning desire to convey God’s message caused them to brave all hazards in reaching out to the uninitiated. In fact, they considered that their most important task in life was to make others aware of the eternal world which awaits all mankind.
If one knows that a volcano is about to erupt, or a tidal wave is about to inundate a whole coastal plain, one drops everything and sends out the news of the impending disaster by the fastest possible means. Individuals will promptly convey the news by telephone, while government agencies will broadcast the news by radio, TV as well through the internet and social media. It is regrettable that nowadays there is no parallel sense of urgency in spreading the news of an event which is much more apocalyptic in dimension–the coming of man before his Lord to be judged. Not only do present-day Muslims make no effort to spread the word of God on the subject of this awesome occasion, but they seem even to have forgotten that there will be such an event as the Last Day of Judgement.