Why does Allah emphasise on After life in Qur’an?
1-Allah is Just, but this world clearly has a lot of injustice, so this leaves the need for an after life where justice will be fully served. The injustice in this world is balanced with the justice of after life
2- رب is an absolute authority. An authority assigns certain tasks or sets certain limits that must be followed e.g. government, teacher, employer, parents etc. After an authority assigns a set of rules, it holds the people accountable and ensures that the rules are followed. The fear of accountability and questioning often drives people to fulfil their responsibilities. The majority of people need the presence of an authority, in order to fulfil even their basic responsibilities. There are very few people who fulfil their responsibilities and do good on their own, without any incentive. e.g. if the traffic police had not set rules for driving, people would not have observed traffic regulations, even if they know that their driving can be potentially harmful for others. Allah has defined some principles for life and given us freedom to live in the dunya, but it is only fair that Allah will question us on an assigned day.
3- The life given to us is a gift from Allah. When someone gives us a gift, they have the right to ask us if we valued the gift. If we waste the gift, that reflects ingratitude and a lack of appreciation for the gift. e.g. if our parents worked hard to earn enough money to buy us a new car, they have the right to ask if we are taking care of the car, or using it recklessly
Some people argue: I did not ask to be created. I did not choose my circumstances. Why will I be questioned? It is true that we did not choose to be created, but Allah has given us a choice after creating us. Allah is our Master and our Creator, and He has made us with His infinite wisdom. We should value the gift of life as Allah has given us immense favours and blessings in dunya. Gratitude is the foundation of our faith, and we need to internalise that we are constantly being showered by the rahmah of Allah.
4-The life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) itself is also an evidence of the Day of Judgement. His life is a testimony to the fact that he was the most truthful. He warned about the Day of Judgement, and there cannot be anything but truth in his statement.
Why is the description so graphic?
Allah describes Hell very explicitly and graphically. All Prophets described after life to their people, but the description of after life is the most graphic in the Qur’an. The purpose of the description was to warn us and make our heart soft and fearful. If Allah had not described the outcome of the paths we choose, we would not have prepared for the after life. It is Allah’s mercy that He described hell to us so that we do not have to see it or suffer in it. Allah has described Hell so clearly that we cannot dare to make a mockery of it. People of other religions e.g. Bani Israel had begun to take hell as a joke, and their hearts had hardened. They even eliminated the mention of after life from their scriptures.
This description does not imply that Allah wants to punish and torture us. Shaytan tries to put wasawis in our minds by making us believe that Allah loves to punish us. Allah loves us more than our mothers and there is no comparison to His rahmah. Allah wants Jannah for us, and He provides us countless opportunities to earn Jannah. Allah loves to forgive us and looks for opportunities to multiply our rewards. It is also a gift from Allah that Allah described Hell, because he wanted us to take heed make the best choice for ourselves.
فَأَنذَرْتُكُمْ نَارًا تَلَظَّىٰ – 92:14
لَا يَصْلَاهَا إِلَّا الْأَشْقَى – 92:15
So I have warned you of a Fire which is blazing. None will [enter to] burn therein except the most wretched one.
What should be our response?
Imagine if you are told that a tornado, storm or volcano is coming. What will be your response?
1. I hate tornados. Forget it. Why would even a tornado come. I don’t believe it. What did I do to deserve a tornado?
2. Take the warning, pack your bags and do everything to escape it.
Our denial of after life won’t change the reality. The fact is that after life is haq and is bound to occur. It might give us temporary happiness if we live in denial and deception, but eventually we will be in loss.
لَا أُقْسِمُ بِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ – 75:1
I swear by the Day of Resurrection
The Surah begins with لا because all of the ideas the disbelievers had about judgement day were incorrect, so Allah first negated their beliefs. Then, Allah swore by the Day of Resurrection to place emphasis upon it. If the thing that is being sworn about is something that is being negated, then it is permissible to use the word “La” (Nay) before the oath to emphasize the negation.
وَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالنَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَةِ – 75:2
And I swear by the reproaching soul [to the certainty of resurrection].
Then Allah swears by the نفس لوّامة. It is the inner self that blames us and makes us feel guilty after doing something wrong. It also makes us feel regret if we do not fulfil our obligations in a perfect manner, or if we do not perform enough good deeds. Guilt is not an acquired feeling, but it is a natural feeling placed inside all of us. Our conscience makes us feel bad the moment we cross a line. It is a built in fire alarm placed within all of us to warn us of danger. We may eventually manage to suppress it by repeated negligence, but it was placed inside our fitrah. This system is a gift from Allah, as this warning saves us from bigger dangers. This gift is also a proof of the after life, as whenever we wrong ourselves, we feel sorry, and this reminds us what our biggest regret will be on the Day of Judgement: We will be sorry for the bad deeds we committed and the good deeds that we missed.
Three kinds of Nafs
1.The first stage is called] An-nafs-ul-ammarah ‘the self that tempts (to evil)’ as said by the Holy Qur’an:
ۚ إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ – 12:53
Indeed, the soul is a persistent enjoiner of evil, except those upon which my Lord has mercy. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.”
2. The second stage of development is called An-nafs-ul-lawwamah ‘the self that blames’ -‘the self-reproaching conscience.
3. The third and highest stage of development is called An-nafs-ul-mutma’innah ‘the self at peace’.
The first stage is developed into the second stage when the traveler perform righteousness, and exerts himself in riyadah and mujahadah ‘spiritual struggle’. This Self is conscious of its own imperfections. It regrets its evils and shortcomings, but it is not completely cut off from the evils. This self develops into the third stage when it progressively performs righteousness and attains Divine nearness and applies the sacred laws of Sharl’ah so rigorously that Shari’ah becomes his nature and develops a natural hatred for anything contrary to Shari’ah . The title of the self at this stage is mutma’innah
If we make Istaghfar, how can we be sure that Allah has accepted it? How do we reassure ourselves? If we genuinely ask for an apology, its a fact that its accepted, without doubt. e.g. recall the example of Musa AS when he accidentally killed a man. He asked for forgiveness and Allah responded by saying that He forgave him, and Allah is undoubtedly forgiving. Musa AS immediately believed that he was forgiven and thanked Allah for the favour.
قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَغَفَرَ لَهُ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ – 28:16
He said, “My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me,” and He forgave him. Indeed, He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.
قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَا أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ فَلَنْ أَكُونَ ظَهِيرًا لِّلْمُجْرِمِينَ – 28:17
He said, “My Lord, for the favor You bestowed upon me, I will never be an assistant to the criminals.”
He was not even a Prophet yet, yet he had complete faith that his apology was accepted. Murder is one of the biggest sins, so why do we think that Allah cannot forgive our sins?
أَيَحْسَبُ الْإِنسَانُ أَلَّن نَّجْمَعَ عِظَامَهُ – 75:3
Does man think that We will not assemble his bones?
بَلَىٰ قَادِرِينَ عَلَىٰ أَن نُّسَوِّيَ بَنَانَهُ – 75:4
Yes. [We are] Able [even] to proportion his fingertip
Now, Allah asks some rhetorical questions. Does man think that we cannot assemble his bones? Rather we are completely capable to assemble him, down to every detail, and even proportion his fingertips. Allah is able not only to raise man’s dead body again, but also to reconstruct every part of his body perfectly up to the minute detail of the very delicate fingertips and individual fingerprints. Man will be given the
same body as he had in his worldly life without the slightest difference. He will be raised with the same face, shape and size, and with the same distinctive features, so much so that his fingertips and fingerprints will be reshaped as they were in the first instance of his creation.
Allah has characterized every human body with some identification marks through which one person could be distinctly recognized and
distinguished from the other. No two thumbprints or fingerprints are alike. Fingertips look alike, but the fingerprints are different. There are zillions of human beings, but the patterns of lines on the skins of the fingers is distinctly recognizable.
بَلْ يُرِيدُ الْإِنسَانُ لِيَفْجُرَ أَمَامَهُ – 75:5
But man desires to continue in sin.
فجر means to crack open/ explode. It is used for the Fajr prayer because the rays of morning light explode through the darkness. امام is used for the future or that which is ahead.
فجور is used for those people who have no self control, and they just explode into doing whatever they want to do. They are impulsive and don’t know how to hold themselves back. They don’t think about the consequences of their words or actions. They do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it. They desire to continue and persist in this attribute even in the future. This makes them similar to animals, because animals also follow their natural instincts without thinking. We have been given laws and moral regulations to control our animal instincts, and prevent us and others from harm.
يَسْأَلُ أَيَّانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ – 75:6
He asks, “When is the Day of Resurrection?”
فَإِذَا بَرِقَ الْبَصَرُ – 75:7
So when vision is dazzled
وَخَسَفَ الْقَمَرُ – 75:8
And the moon darkens
وَجُمِعَ الشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ – 75:9
And the sun and the moon are joined
When the Day of Judgement arrives, the light of the Sun and moon will extinguish and the sun and moon will be rolled up. The eyes will be dazzled, humbled, diminished, and humiliated on the Day of Judgement due to the severity of the horrors and the greatness of the matters that they will witness on that Day.
يَقُولُ الْإِنسَانُ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَيْنَ الْمَفَرُّ – 75:10
Man will say on that Day, “Where is the [place of] escape?”
كَلَّا لَا وَزَرَ -75:11
No! There is no refuge.
When the people will see the Qiyamah approaching, they will want to escape and find refuge.
وزر was used for a barrier/bolt made of heavy weight i.e. a secure vault/place to hide. Allah emphasises that there is no place of refuge on that day.
إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْمُسْتَقَرُّ – 75:12
To your Lord, that Day, is the [place of] permanence.
يُنَبَّأُ الْإِنسَانُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِمَا قَدَّمَ وَأَخَّرَ – 75:13
Man will be informed that Day of what he sent ahead and kept back.
Man will be informed of all of their priorities, whatever they did immediately, and whatever they delayed for later, whatever they did for dunya, and whatever they did for akhirah, whatever good deeds they sent ahead, and whatever example/customs they left behind for others to follow.
In worldly life, we are always prioritising things. Practically, the difference between a believer and disbeliever is the difference in priorities. The believer suppresses his urges and keeps the consequences of his actions in mind. He has foresight and looks for benefit in akhirah. Disbelievers do whatever they like as they are only focused on what is immediate. Our most valuable asset is time. In any business, we have to decide how to prioritise tasks and split time, on a daily basis. We have to decide how to balance between work, family and other responsibilities. If we don’t have a good sense of balance, we might give priority to one thing at the expense of other things. Our ability to prioritise and balance determines the level of productivity in our lives.
We must remember the concept of ‘return of investment’: In every situation where we are faced with a choice, we must think ‘Is it worth it? Is it worth my time? Is the price too high? Why should I do this? What will I get out of it?’ Apply this thinking to every situation you face on a daily basis. If you want to do something, think of its pros and cons, and its short and long term benefits and consequences e.g. watching a movie when you have an exam the next day, going to a party, interacting with the opposite gender etc.
بَلِ الْإِنسَانُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ بَصِيرَةٌ – 75:14
Rather, man, against himself, will be a witness,
وَلَوْ أَلْقَىٰ مَعَاذِيرَهُ – 75:15
Even if he presents his excuses.
The word بصيرة means sight, evidence, roof, argument, witness, insight. One meaning is that the humans will witness their own deeds on the day of Qiyamah in an actual form, whether they were good or bad.
The second meaning is that humans will be witnesses to their own actions. They will know their own reality, even if they try to make excuses. Humans tend to give justifications and make excuses whenever they are questioned. But they cannot escape their own conscience, even if they apparently make excuses. On the Day of Judgement, their own selves and their own limbs will be a witness against them. Allah has temporarily given us authority over our body, but on Qiyamah, we will have no control over our limbs. Our mouth will be sealed and our whole body will testify against us, and we will be unable to stop it. We will be shocked: ‘Why are you testifying against me?’
لَا تُحَرِّكْ بِهِ لِسَانَكَ لِتَعْجَلَ بِهِ – 75:16
Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an.
إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ – 75:17
Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation.
فَإِذَا قَرَأْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ – 75:18
So when We have recited it [through Gabriel], then follow its recitation.
ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ – 75:19
Then upon Us is its clarification [to you].
Allah commanded Prophet (ﷺ) that when the angel brings some revelation to him, he should just listen. Allah would make sure to collect it in his chest, and He would make it easy for him to recite it in the same way that it was revealed to him. Allah would explain it, interpret it and clarify it for him. So the first phase was gathering it in his chest, the second phase was recitation and the third phase was its explanation and clarification of its meaning. Allah will explain it to you, clarify it and inspire you with its meaning according to what He intended and legislated. Allah Himself took responsibility to preserve and gather the Qur’an in words and in meaning.
Before these ayahs, Allah was describing His immense power and ability to resurrect man and even proportion His fingertips. Allah is capable of everything and nothing escapes His knowledge. So, these ayahs about recitation of Qur’an are a consolation for Prophet (ﷺ) to let him know that Allah is capable of preserving the Qur’an, and He will make this task easy for him. Prophet (ﷺ) had to preserve and memorise the Qur’an in his heart, and he was nervous about the huge responsibility. Remember that the Qur’an was not arranged as a book at that time and not revealed in its entirety. Moreover, the Prophet (ﷺ) could not even read and write so he could only preserve in his heart.
The Prophet (ﷺ) was rushing to do good i.e. recite and memorise the Qur’an. This is in contrast to the previous group of فجور who were impulsively rushing towards evil deeds. When we believe in judgement day, we rush towards good. We should be eager to do good deeds but we should not be impulsive. The best deeds in the sight of Allah are those that may be few but are consistent.
كَلَّا بَلْ تُحِبُّونَ الْعَاجِلَةَ – 75:20
No! But you love the immediate
وَتَذَرُونَ الْآخِرَةَ -75:21
And leave the Hereafter.
Shaytaan offers people cash, and incites them to ‘just do it’. Akhirah is not something that is visible to people, and it is not immediately in front of them, so they forget about it. People like to focus on short term gains, and forget the long term consequences. We lack patience and hate to wait, and want results overnight. We like things that have a lot of thrill, although they may be short lived.
وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌ – 75:22
[Some] faces, that Day, will be radiant,
Some faces, on that day, will be bright and radiant. They will be splendid, fresh, glowing, delighted with goodness.Those people will be so happy that their happiness will show from their faces.
إِلَىٰ رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ -75:23
Looking at their Lord.
The believers seeing Allah in the abode of the Hereafter has been confirmed in the authentic Hadiths from numerous routes of transmission with the scholars of Hadith. It is not possible to deny this or refuse it.
It was narrated that Jarir bin ‘Abdullah said:
“We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah. He looked at the moon, which was full, and said, ‘Indeed, you will see your Lord as you see this moon. You will not feel the slightest inconvenience and overcrowding in seeing Him. (Ibn Majah)
Abu Hurairah said :
The people asked : Messenger of Allah! Shall we see our lord, the Exalted, on the Day of resurrection? He replied : Do you feel any trouble in seeing the sun at noon when it is not in the cloud? They said: No. He asked : Do you feel any trouble in seeing the moon on the night when it is full and not in the cloud? They replied: No. He said: By him in whose hand my soul is, you will not feel any trouble in seeing him except as much as you feel in seeing any of them. (Sunan Abi Dawud)
It was narrated that Suhaib said:
“The Messenger of Allah recited this Verse: ‘For those who have done good is the best reward and even more.’ Then he said:
إِذَا دَخَلَ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ الْجَنَّةَ وَأَهْلُ النَّارِ النَّارَ نَادَى مُنَادٍ يَا أَهْلَ الْجَنَّةِ إِنَّ لَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مَوْعِدًا يُرِيدُ أَنْ يُنْجِزَكُمُوهُ . فَيَقُولُونَ وَمَا هُوَ أَلَمْ يُثَقِّلِ اللَّهُ مَوَازِينَنَا وَيُبَيِّضْ وُجُوهَنَا وَيُدْخِلْنَا الْجَنَّةَ وَيُنْجِنَا مِنَ النَّارِ قَالَ فَيَكْشِفُ الْحِجَابَ فَيَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْهِ فَوَاللَّهِ مَا أَعْطَاهُمُ اللَّهُ شَيْئًا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّظَرِ إِلَيْهِ وَلاَ أَقَرَّ لأَعْيُنِهِمْ
‘When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, and the people of the Fire enter the Fire, a caller will cry out: “O people of Paradise! You have a covenant with Allah and He wants to fulfill it.” They will say: “What is it?” Has Allah not made the Balance (of our good deeds) heavy, and made our faces bright, and admitted us to Paradise and saved us from Hell?” Then the Veil will be lifted and they will look upon Him, and by Allah, Allah will not give them anything that is more beloved to them or delightful, than looking upon Him.'” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
وَوُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَاسِرَةٌ – 75:24
And [some] faces, that Day, will be contorted,
تَظُنُّ أَن يُفْعَلَ بِهَا فَاقِرَةٌ – 75:25
Expecting that there will be done to them [something] backbreaking.
Other people will have faces that reflect gloom, grief and anxiety. They will be aware that they are going to be given a backbreaking punishment. Imagine that you are in the middle of the road and you suddenly realise that a car is going to hit you, and you cannot escape. They will have such an expression on their face because they will be aware of the approaching calamity, and there will be no escape for them.
Some faces that Day will be bright. Laughing, rejoicing at the good news. And other faces, that Day will be dust-stained; darkness will cover them, such will be the disbelieving, wicked. (80:38-42)
(Some faces, that Day will be humiliated. Laboring, weary. They will enter in the hot blazing Fire.) (88:2-4)
((Other) faces that Day will be joyful. Happy with their endeavor. In a lofty Paradise.) (88:8-10)
كَلَّا إِذَا بَلَغَتِ التَّرَاقِيَ – 75:26
No! When the soul has reached the collar bones
If we make the word “Kalla” negative, then this Ayah means, `O son of Adam! You are not able to deny that which I informed you of at that time (death). This will become something witnessed by you with your own eyes.’
If we consider the word “Kalla” to be a word of affirmation, then it would mean that it is certainly true when the soul reaches the collarbones – meaning, `your soul will be pulled out of your body and it will reach your collarbones.
(Then why do you not (intervene) when (the soul of the dying person) reaches the throat And you at the moment are looking on, but We are nearer to him than you, but you see not, then why do you not if you are exempt from the reckoning and recompense, bring back the soul, if your are truthful) (56:83-87)
وَقِيلَ مَنْ ۜ رَاقٍ – 75:27
And it is said, “Who will cure [him]?”
There is a sukoot between من and راق. We pause here because the person is dying, and the soul is about to leave the body. The person is trying to utter his last words for help, but he is choking so he is unable to even form the word properly. راق is someone who can cure the person, or help him, or recite something upon him, or save him.
وَظَنَّ أَنَّهُ الْفِرَاقُ – 75:28
And the dying one is certain that it is the [time of] separation
Now the person realises that the time for separation has come i.e. the time for the Ruh to separate from the body. When the Ruh is pulled out of a good person, it is as if water is being smoothly poured out of a container without any turbulence. As for a bad person, the soul will be taken out as though a piece of wool was stuck in thorns and you try to pull it out, resulting in tearing. The person who is most attached to the world will have most difficulty getting his soul taken out.
وَالْتَفَّتِ السَّاقُ بِالسَّاقِ – 75:29
And the leg is wound about the leg,
The feet will rub against each other due to agony, restlessness and agitation. The legs were twine into each other, because of the intense pain. This expression is also used for a camel when it completely runs out of water, and its legs lock into each other as he falls. It could also mean that his legs lose power and can no longer support the weight of his body, such that if people place his leg on top of the other, he is unable to move it.
Allah desribes death because the person used to say that Judgement Day is far away. But, Allah wants to remind us that death is not far away. It is not up to us to decide when to leave dunya. This is a red flag for us, as we need to be ready all the time.
إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْمَسَاقُ – 75:30
To your Lord, that Day, will be the procession.
The disbelievers will be taken like animals to their Lord. Their grave will be constricted for them such that their ribs will interlock, and a window will be opened for them where they can see Hellfire.
As for the believers, they can even visit each others graves. Their graves will be vast and they will be escorted by angels, and a window will be opened into heaven for them.
فَلَا صَدَّقَ وَلَا صَلَّىٰ – 75:31
And the disbeliever had not believed, nor had he prayed.
وَلَٰكِن كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ – 75:32
But [instead], he denied and turned away.
ثُمَّ ذَهَبَ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ يَتَمَطَّىٰ – 75:33
And then he went to his people, swaggering [in pride].
The disbeliever will be punished because He never believed in the truth, and it reflected in the fact that he did not pray. There was no good in him, internally or externally. Prayer is the first regret the person will have after death. He denied the truth, and he turned away in arrogance from Allah.
أَوْلَىٰ لَكَ فَأَوْلَىٰ – 75:34
Woe to you, and woe!
ثُمَّ أَوْلَىٰ لَكَ فَأَوْلَىٰ – 75:35
Then woe to you, and woe!
اولى is derived from ويل which means destruction. The meaning is:Woe to you! This is a definite warning and threat from Allah to those who disbelieve in Him and strut about when walking. Allah mentioned it four times. Why? The first time at the moment of death, the second time inside the grave, the third time on the Day of Judgement, and the fourth time in Hellfire.
أَيَحْسَبُ الْإِنسَانُ أَن يُتْرَكَ سُدًى – 75:36
Does man think that he will be left neglected?
Do human beings think that they will be left on Earth without any purpose? Do they think they will not be held accountable, and not be resurrected? This means that he will not be left neglected in this worldly life, without being commanded and prohibited. He also will not be left neglected in his grave unattended to without being resurrected. The intent here is to affirm the existence of the abode of the final return and to refute whoever rejects it from the people of deviance, ignorance and stubbornness.
أَلَمْ يَكُ نُطْفَةً مِّن مَّنِيٍّ يُمْنَىٰ – 75:37
Had he not been a sperm from semen emitted?
ثُمَّ كَانَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ – 75:38
Then he was a clinging clot, and [ Allah ] created [his form] and proportioned [him]
فَجَعَلَ مِنْهُ الزَّوْجَيْنِ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَىٰ – 75:39
And made of him two mates, the male and the female.
Allah reminds us of our humble origin. We were made from a drop of dirty fluid. Allah turned the fluid into a clot, then a lump of flesh, then he was formed and the soul was blown into him. Then he became a perfect creation with healthy limbs, as either a male or a female by the permission and decree of Allah.
أَلَيْسَ ذَٰلِكَ بِقَادِرٍ عَلَىٰ أَن يُحْيِيَ الْمَوْتَىٰ – 75:40
Is not that [Creator] Able to give life to the dead?
Allah created us for the first time. Is it harder to create something or recreate it the second time? The first creation is always harder. Then, how can we doubt that Allah is unable to bring us back to life?