Shaykh Nabeel Al-Awdhi
The Companions of our Prophet Muhammed (SAW) used to gather to remember death so that they would benefit their souls by increasing in fear of Allaah and strive to gain His pleasure. If this was the case of the Sahaabah and they were the best of generations, the most pious and God-fearing of this ummah, then what about us? Surely, it means that we need to engage in the remembrance of Allaah(SWT) even more. After all, we are in far more need of this act of worship than they were.
Let us begin at the end of a man’s life, in his last moments. He is lying on his death bed and his family are at his side. His father is calling for the doctor. His wife asks him: “To whom are you leaving us?”. The man’s little daughter asks him, “Why do you not answer me?”, and his small boy cries but nobody responds to him. This is the situation Allaah, The Most High and The Most High, has informed us about:
“Nay, when the soul reaches the throat, and it is said: “Who will cure him now?”. The dying person concludes that this is the time for departing. The leg joins the other leg.” [Al-Qiyaamah: 26-29]
They place him in his shroud, his leg joins his other leg. Then he is carried upon the shoulders and taken to a dark hole. If he was a transgressing criminal he cries out: “Woe to it! Where are you taking it?”
“The drive that day will be to your Lord” [Al-Qiyaamah: 30 ]
Then he is lowered into this ditch and dirt is thrown upon him until he is sealed in it. If he was a criminal, Allaah – The Most Perfect and The Most High – says:
“So he neither believed nor did he pray. Rather he belied and turned away” [Al-Qiyaamah: 31-32 ]
This trangressor will remain in his grave alone, there will be no one to sit with him and no one to keep him company. He will feel the heat of the fire, smell its foul odour, and be tortured therein. This man’s grave will squeeze in upon him so much so that the bones of his rib cage will cross each other. Despite all this punishment and all this torture and pain, he will hope that the hour will never be established. For this man knows that the hour is far worse and of he will be in greater loss on that Day.
The man hears ‘As-Saakhah’ from within his grave, and what is ‘As-Saakhah’? It is the second blowing of the trumpet. This is when all that is in the graves shall be raised and resurrected.
So the criminal will cry: “Woe to us, who has woken us from our resting place?” It will be said: “This is what the Ever-Merciful promised and the messengers where truthful” [Yasin: 52]
The earth will be torn away from above him. This man will see the heavens being cleft asunder, the stars falling and being scattered, the oceans in their greatness bursting forth, burning, the graves will at that time bring forth their contents. Every person shall know what he has sent forth of good and bad deeds at that moment. [Al-Infitaar: 1-5]
Then he will raised up and driven to the crowding place: ‘Al-Mahshar’. That day, the mother who is nursing her child will become careless of it, the mother who is carrying her child will drop her load. That day, mankind will appear as if they are drunk yet they they are not drunk. Indeed the punishment of your Lord is great. [Al-Hajj 1-2]
The mother will come to her son and say: “Oh my son, my breast was a container for you, my womb was a container for you. Oh my son I seek from you a hasanah (merit) that I may approach Allaah with. My son, do not be greedy towards me”. In the world this son would have sacrificed his life, rather many lives for merely the happinness of his mother so how does he treat her now? He responds to her plea: “Get away from me! Leave me! Indeed I am in need of this merit more than you.”
“So when ‘As-Saakhah’ comes. That day a man will flee from his brother, from his mother and his father, from his wife and his children. That day every man shall have enough to make him careless of others.” [Al-Abasa: 33-37]
So mankind will wait in this crowding place for 50,000 years, after which Allaah, The Most Perfect and The Most High, will come to judge them. So He will call the criminal and say to him, “Oh so and so, did I not give you of the cold water to drink? did I not give you a healthy body? Did I not give you many bounties? What have you done with all that which I bestowed upon you?”
So the man replies, “I have done nothing my Lord.”
So he lies to his Lord on that day. Allaah says: “Where are the witnesses!”. So the Angels come and bear witness that this criminal did not pray in those moments of prayer, he drank, fornicated, lied, cursed and insulted. He turned away from belief and was proud and arrogant. So the criminal says to his Lord, “I do not acceptaccept a wintness except one from myself.”
His Lord replies to him, “And you have that?”
“The day when we shall seal their mouths, there hands will speak to us and their legs will bear witness to that which they used to earn” [Yasin: 65]
So he turns to his skin and says to it: it was only for you that I was arguing.
“Nay, when the earth is shaken a true shaking and your Lord comes with the Angels in rows. That day the Fire will be brought near. That day man will remember but how will that remembrance avail him? He will say, ‘Woe to me! Would that I had put forth something for this life.’ “ [Al-Fajr: 21-24]
This man then remembers. This criminal remembers that when he heard the call for prayer and he did not respond to it. He remembers when he woke and the sun had already risen yet he had not prayed al-fajr. This man remembers when he abused this one, when he slandered that one, when he earned that unlawful wealth, when he struck this one and killed that one. This criminal remembers every sin with which he disobeyed Allaah with.That day all his remorse and regret amounts to nothing.
Then Allaah will say, “Seize him and fetter him. Then throw him into the blazing fire. Then put a chain which is 70 cubits long through him. Indeed he did not used to believe in Allaah, The Most Perfect,The Most High.”
The Angels will then drag him upon his face into the fire.
As he enters it he will see his friends from the world already present.
“Every time a nation enters it curses it sister nation” [Al-a’araaf: 38].
So he is greeted with curses and given a wretched abode in which to abide. The fire encompasses him from all sides roasting, burning his skin completely,
“Whenever their skins have been done (burnt away) we replace them with new skins so that they may taste of the punishment” [an-Nisaa: 56].
Their food in the fire is Ad-Daree’ (a thorny plant).
“No food will they have except Ad-Daree’. It neither nourishes nor removes hunger” [Al-Ghaashiyah: 6-7]
When they eat it they choke due to the thorns. So when they are choking they ask to be rescued with water, so they are rescued with an intensly boiling water which grills their faces when they appoach it. When they drink from the water, due to its heat, it cuts their intestines and causes them an increased pain.
They eat from Az-Zaquum. They eat a bitter fruit which cannot be tasted.
“Indeed the tree of Zaquum will be the food of the sinners. Like boiling oil, it will boil in the belies, like the boiling of scalding water. It will be said : Drag, sieze him and drag him into the midst of the blazing fire. Then pour upon his head the torment of boiling water. Taste! You were pretending to be the Mighty the Generous” [ad-Dukhaan: 43-49]
Due to this intense pain, suffering and anguish they are experiencing they call upon the guardian of hell-fire,
“They call, Oh Maalik let your Lord destroy us” After many years he responds to them with two words “You are staying” [43:77].
After all of this, they have one last chance and they call upon their Lord, “Oh our Lord we were indeed astray! Oh our Lord we were indeed misguided, we did fall short. Return us to the world so that we can do good instead of that which we used to do.”
Allaah replies to them, “Rot in it and do not speak to me. After this they do not speak nor do they utter.”
They are then called from afar, “Oh dwellers of the fire, do you know what this is?” They reply, “Yes that is death in the form of a ram.” Death is then slaughtered in a place between Al-Jannah an An-Naar. It is said to the dwellers of the fire, ever-lasting life without death.
As for the other group, the ones who obeyed their Lord in this world, let us describe briefly their fate:
When he is placed into his grave it is widened and made spacious for him. He smells the sweet fragrance of Al-jannah and feels some of its comforts. He sleeps in his grave like a bride on her wedding night who no-one shall awaken except her beloved. When the cry comes he is gathered to the crowding place and waits there for 50,000 years. This time passes as if it were the time between Zohar and Asr. Then the Lord of the worlds comes to make judgement, so He calls His slave saying, “Oh my slave, do you not remember that sin, do you not remember this sin.” So the slave replies, “My Lord I have perished!” So Allaah replies to him, “I hid it in the world fo you and this day I forgive it.”
This good man is handed his book in his right hand. Due to his happiness he runs to the people and says “Take it; read my book. Indeed I used to think I would meet my accounting.”
“So he will be in a content life” [Al-Haaqah: 19-21]
Then he will be crowded from a group of al-jannah.
The Jannah has eight gates and between each gate is a distance that would take 40 years to traverse. There comes a day when the gates are crowded. So as this slave of Allaah enters Al-Jannah he is greeted with salaam (peace). He sees before him 4 rivers:
“… In it are rivers of water, the taste and smell of which are not changed. Rivers of milk of which the taste never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those wo drink and rivers of clear and pure honey …” [Muhammad: 15]
He has therein a house and he knows this house as he knows his dwelling in this life. His house is made from bricks of gold and silver. In it he has wives from the Hoorul-‘een.
“And Hooron ‘een, like untouched, unseen, precious pearls. A reward for what they used to do.” [Al-Waaqiah: 22-24]
“Indeed we have created them a special creation, made them virgins, loving only their husbands of equal age.” [al-waaqiah: 35-37]
Every time they cohabit with their husbands they return to being virgins.
Outside this house he has a tent, in it he has wives. When he goes to one of them, the other does not see him.
In Al-Jannaah the righteous slave has everything he desires, wishes and wants. He neither feels extreme heat nor the bitter cold:
“They will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun nor the bitter cold.” [Al-Insaan: 13].
There is not a tree in Al-Jannaah except its trunk is made of gold. When he requires its fruit he does not need to get up from his place, since it comes to him:
“The bunches of fruit thereof hang low, within reach” [al-insaan: 14].
“They are served by youthful boys who never age. If you were to see them you would think them scattered pearls” [al-Insaan: 19]
So he resides therein, tranquil and at ease. No pain, no ill feeling and no foul speech. Life without death, lasting with no end.
These are not mere stories that we tell to amuse ourselves or scare one another, rather they are the destinies of the ones who obey Allaah and those who disobey. Allaah calls His slaves to repentance many times in every day so avail these opportunities. Repentance has only three conditions, that you be sincere to Allaah, that you leave the sin and that you make a firm resolve that you never return to the sin.
So be the children of the Hereafter and not the children of this life; a party in Paradise and a party in the Hell-fire.