Many of us consider our personal life on the planet to be eternal. When we consider all the things people do and the disregard they have for Divine Instructions, then it is quite clear that they do not consider that their lives are ever going to end. Humanity has a strange belief in its immortality. In fact the belief here is not strange, it is false. We can see how false this belief is by visiting any of the graveyards. These graveyards have their own stories to tell, on the personal histories of all its inmates.
On numerous occasions people come to me, especially women, and describe to me the abuse they have to undergo on almost a daily basis, and the violence they have to suffer. I know, that according to available statistics most violence is perpetrated against men, what we call men-on-men violence. You see women and children are extremely vulnerable and this makes the violence against them even more horrendous. Perhaps men can defend themselves but women and children are very seldom capable of doing that. Perhaps this is the reason why violence against women and children, and also old people, is highlighted in our newspapers. When these women come to me and describe the violence against them, then I think by myself that these husbands are another category of people that believe in their own eternity.
So many times I’ve mentioned in my talks that “one day” we are going to appear in the Divine Court then our titles, or our cheque books, or our masculinity, or whatever the case might be, are going to count nothing, are going to be of very little value. Of course, all the different groups to which we belong on this planet will also mean very little. Each one of us, whoever we might be will have his or her obedience to Allah Almighty measured in the Scale. Do we think that if we say: “Oh my Lord, I’m a Naqshbandi” that that is going to take us into Paradise? No, what is written in our Records and what is in the Treasure Houses of our Lord that belongs to us will now be on public view, and in many cases on private view; only between one and one’s Lord. The Scale will then measure the extent to which our beliefs and our actions were according to Heavenly Instructions. And then our Lord will decide about us and His Mercy will prevail for us and the intercession of His Prophet (ﷺ) will come into operation for us.
That there is eternity for anyone on this planet is just imagination or a dream. I read this morning about a young man, the son of one of our murids, who drowned at the age of 27 years. He has left his wife and three children behind. For him, life was extremely short, but who knows. Perhaps it was better this way. Every day we read in the newspapers of how short life is, and every day we spend most of our time in activities that have nothing or very little to do with the Hereafter.
We are not thinking. In fact, it appears from our activities and our concern with our activities on this planet that our thought processes have ceased. Most of us, once we are in the Hereafter, are going to regret our negligence. Some of us are fortunate enough to have come to regret our negligence on this planet and have changed the direction of our lives.
Allah Almighty has decreed for them, has willed differently for them. They are indeed grateful for the new direction of their lives. I sometimes think, although I do not know, that many of those who see their existence as an immortal one on this planet and in whose lives there is no change in direction; I feel that our Lord has decreed differently for them. So perhaps it is like that. Perhaps at the beginning of time our Lord had decreed that they would be the heedless ones or the negligent ones or whatever the case might be. Perhaps in the final analysis, they have little say in their direction, because what has to be said about that direction has already been said. Nothing can be added or subtracted from what has been said. The understanding of this is, of course, beyond us, although du’a can change their situation. Sometimes I think or perhaps I know that it is just like that. Our Lord had decreed at the “beginning of time”, as I always say, each one’s path and the direction of each path. I truly believe this. Others might have different views but my experience with human beings has provided me with indications that it is like that. So those, despite the existence of the graveyards, who see their lives on this planet as being without end; perhaps that is how it is for them. You see, now in my senior years, I’ve come to understand that our Lord is in charge of all matters and all circumstances, from whenever to whenever. All the fancy ideas that I had, and my word they were fancy, my Lord has taken out of my brain box and replaced with a simple understanding of the Divine Decree and the Divine Function. I rest my case on these matters.
On many occasions when very poor people in the townships declare the Testimony of Islam in our presence, then we come to understand how the Divine Decree works. And we push aside not only the fancy ideas but we also push out of our space, our very personal space, those individuals whose only interest in this world is the activities of this world. They have no thought or no lasting thought of the Hereafter.
We must come to understand that Allah Almighty sent Divine Religion for us to instill in our souls the importance and everlasting nature of the Hereafter, not of this planet. The Prophets (a.s.) were sent to bring this message to us and to instill it in us but the vast majority of us are still disobedient. We ask our Lord that when we leave this planet, we leave it in a state of belief of Him, of His Message and of His Messengers, amin.
You see, although my views appear fatalistic, Allah Almighty is Most Generous and Most Merciful, and He spreads His Absolute Mercy through His Absolute Generosity. Our dependence of this for our personal salvation must not be under-estimated. When Allah Almighty spreads His Mercy on the Day of Judgment who knows who will fall under the blanket of that Mercy? And so we do not predict the final destination of people because this is our Lord’s prerogative. He decides, not us. And it does not matter how a person had led his life, the decision with regard to his final destination rests with our Lord. I know about Divine Decree but I also know about my Lord’s Mercy and Generosity. And so, all the time we raise our hands in supplication pleading and pleading despite our transgressions; knowing all the time that our Lord is capable of converting our transgressions into virtues and when we raise our hands in supplication, such raising is based on our hope that He will let His blanket of mercy also cover us on the Day of Judgment. The only definitive thing on that Day is that our Lord will be in charge and because of His Generosity and His Mercy we have all the hope in the world that He will forgive us despite our transgressions, amin.