Descriptions of The Hereafter
As we journey our way through The Book of Allah we will have already read detailed descriptions of the two destinations of The Hereafter. We will have learnt about those good actions that Allah loves that leads people to Paradise and we will have been told by Allah about those actions He dislikes that can lead someone to Hell. We will have realised that Allah is All- Merciful and Most Forgiving and that mankind is prone to sin. But our repentance can take us to Paradise and divert us away from the anger of Allah.
Our true home
Allah has told us is many places that the reason we are put on this earth is to work hard and strive for His Pleasure so that He will reward us with His Paradise. In Juz 23 Allah describes a scene that ought to make our hearts yearn to be there. Let us reflect;
“Except the chosen slaves of Allah. For them, there will be a known provision. Fruits; and they shall be honoured. In the Gardens of Delight. Facing one another on thrones. Round them will be passed a cup of pure wine – white, delicious to the drinkers. Neither will they have any infliction (headache, sickness etc) from that nor will they suffer intoxication from it” (37:40-46)
Then Allah describes how these noble companions of Jannah will be sitting together and talking and discussing. Perhaps they will be talking about their lives on the earth because Allah tells us about a person from among them who reflects on how he was almost lost and how they escaped from going astray. What this man says should make us really think;
“A speaker of them will say: “Indeed, I had a companion, who used to say: “Are you among those who believe? That when we die and become dust and bones, we shall be raised up to receive a reward or a punishment?” The speaker said (to his companions in Jannah): “Will you look down?” So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire. He said: “By Allah! You have nearly ruined me! Had it not been for the Grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell)”. (37:51-56)
We must consider this. I have lost count of the number of times Allah has mentioned the importance of good companionship in our Journey through the Qur’an. Our friends may be a part of our journey to Paradise, or our journey to Hell. Bad friends may not explicitly tell us to deny the Day of Judgement. We might not have conversations on that topic. However, our actions can be a denial in themselves. For the one who does not deny it with their hearts is the one who stays away from sins, in the hope of the reward. The one who denies the Last Day, and accountability for our actions, is the one who is lost in sin.
Allah then describes in the following verses that these people of Jannah will be informed that they will be in Paradise forever. This is the true home. This is where we belong!
“Truly, this is the supreme success! For the life of this, let the workers work” (37:60-61)
Whenever Allah mentions Paradise, He also mentions Hell Fire. Whenever He mentions sinfulness, or His Punishment, He also mentions His Mercy and Forgiveness. This is because Allah hopes for us to balance our faith in him with fear and hope together.
Hell Fire and its Punishments
The tree of Zaqqum: “Truly, We have made it a trial for the wrong-doers. Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-Fire, The shoots of its fruit stalks are like the heads of devils. Truly, they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith. Then on top of that they will be given boiling water to drink so that it becomes a mixture. Then thereafter, verily, their return is to the flaming fire of Hell.”
Just like we need to imagine Jannah in order to want to enter it, we must also imagine Hell so that we can avoid the sins that will lead to it. The people of the Fire will be hungry like never before. But nothing will take away their hunger and the only food available adds to the punishment. What a terrible place.
The Prophet (pbuh) said about the tree of Zaqqum:
“If one drop from the tree of Zaqqum were to fall into the seas of the world, it would turn the life of everybody upside down. What about the state of those who will eat Zaqqum?” (Tirmidhi, Jahannam, 4; Hakim, al-Mustadrak, 2/294)
We cannot imagine the anguish and distress of the ones who are made to eat from this tree, nor the ones who try to attain relief from boiling hot water. May Allah save us from it!
“So see what was the end of those who were warned but did not listen” (37:73)
Follow the Quran and sunnah and focus on Paradise
Allah has provided us with the guidance and direction. We just need to follow it. We are blessed, as Muslims, to have in our possession the unchanged Word of God. No other religion was blessed to have this amazing gift. We must cling to it in order to stay on The Straight Path and make it to Jannah insha’Allah!
“The revelation of This Book is from Allah, the All-Mighty, The All-Wise. Verily, We have send The Book to you in truth. So worship Allah by doing deeds sincerely for Allahs sake alone ” (39:1-2)