Ready for the Inevitable Moment?

By Harun Yahya
Muslim thinker

{Every self will taste death. We test you with both good and evil as a trial. And you will be returned to Us.} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:35)
An Inevitale Yet Forgotten
The famous Al-Baqi` cemetry in Madinah

Death is considered to be an end and a final destruction by those who do not believe in the hereafter. This is a flawed perception however because death is not an end but a beginning. For believers, it is the beginning of a perfect, eternal paradise that is free from all evil and flaws. For unbelievers on the other hand, it is a transition to a life in hell, where a great penalty is suffered.

Those who comprehend this reality live a pleasant end in the world when death meets them and a pleasant beginning in the hereafter. These two occur simultaneously. Unbelievers, on the other hand, encounter the irrecoverable regret of disregarding this reality, of which they had been previously informed. They suffer this regret at every moment for as long as Allah wills and never find respite from it.

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Although death is not a subject of profound thought for most people, it is an unavoidable end. That is because Allah creates death as the definite end of this life. So far, not a single person has avoided death. No one's property, wealth, career, or close friends have provided salvation from death. Certainly everyone will meet death. Allah relates this fact in many verses in the Qur'an:

{Wherever you are, death will catch up with you, even if you are in impregnable fortresses.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:78)

{Say: "Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible and He will inform you about what you did.} (Al-Jumu`ah 62:8)

{Allah will not give anyone more time, once their time has come. Allah is aware of what you do.} (Al-Munafiqun 63:11)

So, does avoiding contemplation over death and the life after death save one from facing this reality?

Allah will not accept repentance based on the fear of death at the very last moment.
Surely the answer to this question is "No". Since man is desperate against death, the most rational thing to do is to constantly contemplate upon death and to get prepared for the hereafter. Those who neglect thinking about the hereafter whilst being distracted by this fleeting worldly life are taken by surprise by death. Those saying "While we are young, we can make the most of our lives and think about death in the latter years of our lives" are not guaranteed to have such an opportunity. That is because death is predestined by Allah the Almighty. A person may well die before he grows old. In this case, solely making future plans and postponing the fulfillment of Allah's commands will only lead to dreadful regret.

Those who spend their lives distant from Allah and who only repent when they realize they are close to death will experience such regret. Openly being in favor of this life despite the existence of death, such people desperately strive to save themselves only when they realize death is very near. This however brings no benefit. Allah knows their insincerity, because Allah is closer to man than his jugular vein. He knows what is inside of man, including his most inner thoughts and deepest secrets. Allah informs us in the Qur'an that He will not accept repentance based on the fear of death at the very last moment:

{There is no repentance for people who persist in doing evil until death comes to them and who then say, "Now I repent," nor for people who die as an unbeliever. We have prepared for them a painful punishment.} (An-Nisaa’4:18)

It is stated in many verses that if another opportunity were granted, these insincere people would soon resume their ungrateful attitude:

{If only you could see when they are standing before the Fire and saying, "Oh! If only we could be sent back again, we would not deny the Signs of our Lord and we would be among the believers." No, it is simply that what they were concealing before has been shown to them; and if they were sent back they would merely return to what they were forbidden to do. Truly they are liars.} (Al-An`am 6:27-28)

For this reason, it would be erroneous to have a rationale based on the thought "I will repent when the appropriate time comes." This kind of thinking will not save one from the torment in hell. So if one does not want to suffer an eternal grievous penalty after death, he should live for a purpose, knowing that he will absolutely meet Allah and have to give an account of his actions.
Harun Yahya was born in Ankara in 1956. He studied fine arts at Istanbul's Mimar Sinan University and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, he has published many books on political, faith-related, and scientific issues.

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