Anytime I recite the “Salatul Ibrahimiyyah” which is recommended as the best way to send salutations and prayers upon the Holy Prophet of the Whole World Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) my mind runs to the blessed place
where his blessed body rests beside his beloved family and honoured disciples.
And often my mind goes to the fact that the best of creation is gone and so are his closest friends and family. And when I recite the part of the prayer where we ask Allah to bless and send peace on Muhammad just like he did for the patriarch of his forebears, Prophet Abraham, (peace be upon him) I remember, for sure, that death is inevitable; and surely the Day of Judgement is near, as prophesied by all illumined souls sent by Allah as warners to humankind.
In multiple Quranic verses, Allah reminds us about the closeness of the hour. The Day of judgment is mentioned so often in the Quran that it scares me daily. And from the Quran to the Hadiths of the Prophet (SAWS) it is always emphasised that we do not have time. The hour for the whole of creation to come before the Creator is not far away. The first three verses of Surah Qamar come to mind: “The Hour (of judgement) has come near, and the moon has split [in two]. But if they see a miracle, they turn away and say, “Passing magic.” They reject (the warning) and follow their (own) lusts but every matter has its appointed time.”
Despite these powerful reminders, mankind continues to revel in our delusion. This age of distraction, fuelled by the Internet, has worsened our forgetfulness about the inevitable moment and yet its imminence and obviousness is unmistakable.
With strong onomatopoeic cadence Allah alerts us in the first verse of the 22nd chapter of the Holy Quran, Surah Hajj “Inna zalzalata’sa’ati shai’un atheem” (Verily the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgment) will be a thing terrible!). Allah goes further to give us some window into this inevitable moment in the subsequent verse of the same Surah, “The Day you shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling-babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): thou shalt see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah.”
If you are like me, then, you have lost at least one parent, friends, close relatives and some colleagues. They have all gone into that long ‘sleep’; into that inevitable abode we shall all share one day, the graveyard. From there our next moment of wakefulness, out of that enclosure, in our physical dimension shall be the Day of Judgement. Yet as a preacher once said “if you should state here that a year from today, some of us in this crowd would have been dead, then each person would assume that the one to join the dead would be the next person sitting beside him.”
One wise man has put it in a very smart way: why should we worry about how many hundreds or thousands of years far away is the Day of Judgement? The Day of Judgement happens upon us the day we die and leave this world. The moment we go to sleep in our graves is the very hour of the Day of Assembly before our Creator because the next step we take would be the day of Judgement.
A whole chapter, Surah Al-Qiyama, is named after this day. Moreover, in the Quran Allah tells us that His Holy book itself is sent as an admonition about the Day of Judgement as clearly stated in Surah Shura, verse 7, “And thus We have revealed to you an Arabic Qur’an that you may warn the Mother of Cities [Makkah] and those around it and warn of the Day of Assembly, about which there is no doubt. A party will be in Paradise and a party in the Blaze.”
In Surah Yasin, which is considered the heart of the Quran, one of the key themes is about the subject of this essay. And if that chapter is the heart of the Quran then, shall we not take heed? The Day of Resurrection and judgement is at the very heart of the Holy Book of the Muslims. In this Surah Allah tell us in verses 51-52 : And the trumpet shall be blown, when lo! from their graves they shall hasten on to their Lord. They will say, “O woe to us! Who has raised us up from our sleeping place?” [The reply will be], “This is what the Most Merciful had promised, and the messengers told the truth.”
Elsewhere in the same Surah Allah answers the doubters who question the possibility of resurrecting the dead “when they would have become mere bones”. In verse 79 He proclaims: Say, “He will give them life Who created them for the first time! for He is Well-versed in every kind of creation!
Allah then goes ahead to conclude the Surah with an emphatic blow to the doubters after having earlier stated the similitude of the dead earth which is brought back to life with green foliage. In verse 81, He asserts with a rhetorical question “Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yea! and He is the Creator (of all), the Knower.”
Therefore, doubtless, the Hour will come and none knows it’s specific moment but Allah. Shall we not then be mindful of the multiples warnings He has sent us? The alarm bells are ringing constantly. And as the poet John Donne states “never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
The only barrier between us and this day is death and death is certain, none can deny that. And as the Holy Quran poignantly assures us in verse 8 of Surah Jumuah:
“Say: (As for) the death from which you run away, that will surely overtake you, then you shall be sent back to the Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will inform you of that which you did.