Concept of Hereafter

Man’s Accountability

Once we have become clear in our minds that the after-life truly exists, we realize that the sole aim of our earthly existence should be to strive for success in the life to come, for, unlike the present ephemeral world, the Hereafter is eternal and real. What we understand by suffering and solace in this world cannot be compared with the suffering and solace of the Hereafter.

Man’s Trial

Man is being tested in this world to see what response he offers in certain given situations. It is man and man alone who is being tested in this way. An inanimate object, such as a stone or a piece of wood, would not find itself re¬quired to give responses to varying sets of circumstances. Man, on the other hand, is an aware, sensate being, who is stirred by the situations he faces in life, and who reacts to them mentally and physically, in word and in deed.

Life after Life

There are many instances in Hadith literature of the unerring justice of divine retribution for, in the life after death, man will be rewarded or punished strictly in accor¬dance with the virtues or vices of his deeds in this world.

Hereafter of Tomorrow

Now let us look at the Hereafter from another point of view. I once had occasion to visit a senior official, and as we sat on the lawns of his palatial bungalow, he suddenly exclaimed, “Maulana Sahib, you don’t know how bad our life is! Tomorrow I have to be at the airport before sunrise to welcome a foreign dignitary, and not only shall I have to deprive myself of sleep, but I shall have to welcome him with smiles — and that in spite of the fact that he is somebody I despise!” This simple anecdote shows there are two sides to the lives of those in high office.

Perceiving the Hereafter

Although, we cannot see the hereafter around us, we have innumerable signs, which can help us, by analogy, to understand and appreciate the nature of the world to come. Imagine a room, which ostensibly consists of four walls, furniture, a few material objects and some human occupants. To all outward appearances, that is what the room adds up to. But the moment we switch on the TV set, we are introduced to a hitherto unsuspected world of colour, movement, and highly vocal human activity. This world, with its scenery and very alive human beings had existed all along.

World Hereafter

Sir James Jeans once observed that the Creator of the universe must have possessed a mathematical mind. Here, I must add that the very meaningfulness of the universe is a proof that its Creator must have had a deep sense of purpose. Such a purposeful Creator could not have created a world, which was imperfect—and therefore meaningless—if this objective was to be fulfilled.

The Parallel World

Now, let us come to an understanding of the basic framework of this parallel world. Within this framework, the concepts of “Paradise” and “Hell” will also become clear. Paradise is a resting place for sincere and truth-loving people, while hell is a place for the insolent and the false.

Man and his Desires

Every individual has desires embedded deep within him. One can in fact conclude that man is a ‘fulfillment-seeking animal.’ But experience shows that human desires are seldom if ever fulfilled.

A Ray of Hope

Billy Graham, a well-known American missionary, writes that he once received an urgent message from an American billionaire who wanted to meet him without a moment’s delay. On receiving this message, Billy Graham cancelled all his other appointments and immediately set out to meet this man.

Contradiction in the World

The world of nature is a ‘zero defect’ world. In it, there are all kinds of activities, but they do not produce any noise pollution. It has ‘factories’ operating round the clock but they do not produce any environmental pollution. There are many great industries, but they do not sully the water. The world of nature has been functioning for millions and millions of years, but without causing any deterioration or any accidents. All its parts are ‘active’, but we do not find anywhere that they have such a thing as a labour problem.