Deciding the final abode
Each man and woman enjoys the full freedom to select any one of the two final destinations -one in heaven and the other in hellfire. There is no third endpoint. Each of these two final abodes has its own distinctive roadmap. The life that ends in hellfire meets the ultimate failure. And the life that takes to heaven brings the ultimate triumph. This is the most important truth in life. Freedom is always tagged with responsibility; and demands the highest level of wisdom for its rightful exercise. Moreover, there is no trial-free and struggle-free route for success in life. And the most crucial test of human wisdom and knowledge is not in passing the school exams or professional success or making scientific discoveries, but in discovering the Truth. The success or failure of the whole survival in fact, depends on correctly exercising the freedom. The most basic test of humans’ intelligence indeed starts here. The human wisdom can only deserve any meaningful reward if it shows the success in discovering the Truth and following the right road map. The ultimate abode in the hereafter, in hell or heaven, entirely depends on it. In fact, no other success in life can undo the disastrous consequence of failing this most fundamental test.
Hence, the most important issue in life is not the length and the strength of the survival, rather pursuing the right goal and the right roadmap of the survival. Even many animals may possess strong body and long life. But such strong and long sustenance on earth doesn’t add any greatness to these creatures. Greatness comes only from greatness of aim of one’s survival. Only such greatness of aim glorifies his or her existence on earth and fulfils the noble purpose of the creation. The aim of humans’ survival is not to be invented: it is the sole domain of the Creator. It needs only to be discovered in its right form –as revealed in all Divine Books. The sole reason for humans’ presence on earth is the servitude to the Creator -Allah Subhana wa Ta’la -as has been intended by Him even before the creation. The holy Qur’an reveals: “Wa ma khalaktul jinna wal insana illa li’yabudun” (And We have not created the jin and the man other than that they should worship Me”. And worship has its special connotation. It entails full and exclusive submission to Him and total obedience to all of His orders that has been revealed in the holy Qur’an.
The word “Muslim” is itself the subject of the verb “asalama” meaning an act of submission. The object of such submission in none else but Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la. Such all-time and full-time servitude is called ibadah in Islam. With such servitude a Muslim becomes a full-time slave (abed) of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la. Any noncompliance or incomplete compliance with the Divine order makes him a complete kafir or non-Muslim. The Qur’an repeatedly reveals how a single act of noncompliance of Iblis made him a full devil (Shaitan). Such non-compliance only earns the curse of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la’ and takes down the way towards hellfire; no amount of supplication help rescue from such a consequence. In ibadah, a Muslim does not possess any choice to invent his or own way: rather needs to be pursuing the Qur’anic sharia and the prophetic Sunnah (tradition). It is indeed the only Divinely prescribed roadmap (siratul mustaqeem) to heaven. Any innovation can only deviate directly to hellfire. It is so crucial to follow the right roadmap that Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la needed to send more than a hundred thousand prophets to show it directly. It was also the part of the same Divine strategy to teach people how to be fully compliant with such a roadmap.
All’s well that ends well
“All’s well that ends well” - holds true in all ages and for all humans. What can be more disastrous if all successes in professional life, at the end, lead one to an eternal place in hellfire? While on a journey, one needs to be fully focussed on his final destination. Even an excellent piece of driving can take one to the wrong end if the driver forgets his destination and the right roadmap. For a Muslim, Jannat is the final endpoint and siratul mustaqeem –as shown in the holy Qur’an is the right roadmap. Hence it is crucially important to stick to this Divine roadmap (Qur’an) in every step of the journey. Otherwise, deviation from the roadmap and missing the final goalpost in Jannah becomes the ultimate outcome. Such constant remembrance of the final endpoint and all-time adherence to the roadmap is the lifelong zikr of a believer. The sole purpose of all religious rituals like recitation of the holy Qur’an, five times prayer, month-long fasting, haj, zakat and jihad is to keep such zikr always alive in the Muslim mind.
Living with zikr is so important that Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala made the emphasis by repeated admonition in the holy Qur’an. It was revealed 4 times in the same chapter of Sura Qamar with the same narrative: “And certainly We have made the Qur’an easy to keep zikr (remembrance) alive, but is there anyone to pursue such remembrance (of Allah and his or her own duties and obligation unto Him). Any distraction from such remembrance can only cause deviation from siratul mustaqeem; it is indeed an act of a revengeful devil. Whatever institutions or activities distract people from such remembrance are indeed the tools of Shaitan. There exist numerous state and non-state agents and institutions in every society and state to cause such distractions. Muslims need an Islamic state not only to have full practice of sharia but also to demolish such Satanic institutions and their agents. As an individual, a Muslim needs to be fully and constantly alert to get protected from such distractions: as he or she needs to be all-time alert while driving on a motor way. Sightseeing, amusements or other acts of distraction can only cause disasters to a driver. The same is true for a believer. He or she must avoid such distraction while making the journey in a way riddled with so many diversions and crossroads. Such constant alertness is called taqwa of a true believer.
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