Sunday, December 23, 2007

...Death and the Afterlife (continued)

The Traverse

Mankind, after the terrors(mentioned previously), shall be drive to the Traverse, which is a bridge stretched over the gulf of Hell, sharper than a sword and thinner than a hair. Whosoever has in the world kept upright upon the Straight Path (al-sirat almustaqim) shall bear lightly upon the Traverse (sirat) of the Afterlife, and will be saved. But whosoever deviates from uprightness in this world, and weighs down his back with burdens, and disobeys his Lord, shall slip upon taking his first step on the Traverse, and shall go to perdition.

Now mediate upon the terror which shall alight upon your heart at the time when you behold the Traverse and its slenderness, and when your eye then falls upon the core of the Inferno beneath you as your ears are assailed by the moaning and raging of Hell.

You are obliged to walk over this Traverse, despite your weak condition, your palpitating heart, your quaking feet and the burdens which lie so heavily upon your back that you would be incapable of walking upon the flat earth, let alone the sharpness of the Traverse. How shall you fare, then when you have set one of your feet upon it and felt its sharpness, and are compelled to lift your other foot up, while all the time people before you are staggering and slipping off, to be caught by the Angels of Hell with hooks and grapples. You shall watch them toppling over and falling head first towards Hell, with their feet uppermost.

O, how foul is that scene, how difficult that slope, and how narrow that crossing-place!
Look to how your condition shall be when you crawl and ascend upon it, weighed down by the burdens which lie upon your back, glancing to your rightand left at other men as they tumble into Hell. And the Emissary (s.a.w) shall be saying, 'O Lord! Deliver! Deliver!' while shrieks of woe and suffering rise up from the bottom of the Inferno (for many there are who have already slipped from the Traverse). How, then, shall you fare, when your own foot slips, and your contrition avails you not, and you cry in woe and sorrow, saying, 'This is what i used to fear!
Would that I had sent before me something for my ow life! would that I had taken a path with the Emissary! Woe is me! Would that I had never taken so and so as a friend! Would that I were dust! Would that i were forgotten, forgetting! Would that my mother had never begotten me!'....

How do you view your thinking now, when these perils are in front of you? Should you not believe in this, then how prolonged will be your abiding with the unbelievers in the Inferno's depths! Should you believe in it, however, but be heedless thereof and of making preparations for it, out of indifference, then how much have you lost, and how great is your sin! of what use to you is your faith if it does not spur you on to the diligent quest for the satisfaction of God through obedience to Him, and to abandoning acts of rebellion against Him. were there to lie before you no terror save that of the Traverse alone, and the dismay felt by your heart at the peril of crossing it, then even should you receive deliverance it would provide such horror, fear and panic as would always suffice you.... (to be continued)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife

I'm currently reading this book by Imam Ghazali r.a under his series of Ihya ulum al-din.... (Revival of Religious Sciences). There are two parts in this book.

1st part covers - Merit in the Remembrance of Death, Lengthy and Brief Hopes, Agonies and Violence of Death, the death of our Prophet saw and the 4 caliphs and their sayings, Sayings of the saints at funerals and cemeteries, the true nature of death and what the dead man undergoes in the grave and lastly the states of the Dead....

2nd part(which was enjoyable yet frightening) covers - Matters concerning the circumstances of the man deceased from the time when the Trump is blown to his Final Residence in Heaven or in Hell, together with a detailed account of the hazards and terrors which shall confront him.
The Trumpet Blast
The Land and People of the concourse
The Perspiration of the people of the concourse
The Length of the Day of Arising
The Day of Arising, and its Calamities and Names
The Inquisition of Sins
The Scales
The Adversaries, and the Restoration of Wrongs.
The Traverse ('Thread-like Bridge')
The Intercession
The Pool
The Inferno,its Terrors, Torments, Snakes and scorpions.

followed by Heaven and the Varieties of its bliss and many other descriptions...

I would like to share more details on the topic - The Scales

Be not heedless of the Scales. Think upon the flying of the Books to their left and right sides. For after the Inquisition mankind shall be in three parties. One party will be composed of those who have not a single good deed to their credit. In their case there shall emerge from Hell a black creature, which shall snatch them as a bird pecks at grain, and grasp them and pitch them into Hell, which engulfs them. A voice calls out to them,'Sorrow, never to be followed by any joy!"

Another party is composed of those with not a single transgression to their discredit. A voice calls out, saying,'Let those who did praise God abundantly in every state arise!' and they stand up and hasten to Heaven. Then this is done with regard to people who used to stand in the night vigil, and then with those whom no worldly commerce or sale distracted from the remembrance of God. A voice calls out to them, saying,'Joy, never to be followed by any sorrow!'

But a third party, which constitutes the greater part of mankind, still remains. They have mingled good works with ill, and although it may not be plain to them, it is plain to God which of them are those whose good or evil deeds predominate. God, however, demurs from not giving them to know of this, that He many manifest His generousity in pardon, and His equity in chastisement.

So the books and scrolls which contain the good and evil deeds fly up, and the Scales are erected, and all eyes are upturned towards the books: shall they fall into the left scale or the right? Then they look to the Scales themselves: shall they tip in favour of the evil actions or in favour of the good? This state is fearsome indeed, and dazes the minds of all creatures.

Insya allah, next time i'll share some on the topic - The Traverse

P.S: You can get the book at Darul Arqam bookstores or click onto the Wardah Books link on the right side of the blog.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cyberspace Power

I received an email from a friend before lunch today. It shocked and disturbed me so much that i forgot to take lunch.

The initial email was probably sent out by a non-muslim who could have some prejudices against Islam and it has been circulated in the big big world of cyberspace. I don't know how long that email has been circulated but i could imagine the damage done to the image of Islam would definitely be humongous if it continued to be circulated amongst people who do not know the entire picture of what happened.

The email would not be linked or pasted here as I do not want to continue this mayhem.But i'll give a brief description of what was it about.From the picture, there was a small boy who positioned his hand near the wheel of a vehicle. Below the arm was a towel and near the boy stood another man who seemed to be holding a whistle in his mouth. Followed on, you will witness a terrible expression on the boy's face because the truck's wheel is now running over his arm.

And guess what, the pictures were narrated with the story of this boy who got caught stealing bread in a market in Iran. And his punishment in the name of islam (as it was stated) was to have his hand 'decapitated'. And the composer of the email 'instigated' everyone to pass the email on. And the purpose was to let everyone know what is happening in the name of God and the religion.

The email was forwarded from one to another and another and another.... don't even know where did it originate from. And it fell into the hands of non-muslims, which were ignorant of what actually happened to the boy. Everyone continued to forward because everyone pitied the boy. Who wouldn't? But how sure would you be, if you are the one receiving the email? Do you know the entire story? Do we always let others influence our perception of things? Are we forwarding emails responsibly?

The power of the information technology and the users that revolve around it.

Much attention has been paid to the 'religion for mankind' in this era, especially since after 9/11. This event have led to people detesting the people who were responsible for the bombing, and the religion that these people held on to and then assuming that all other believers are the same. Though it looked quite difficult to convince others that Islam is a religion of peace and love, yet the converts to Islam were on the rise after 9/11. Why?

They are curious about Islam, but they only base our religion on hearsay. Why didn't they seek clarifications from the right source? Since we are living in a multi-racial and multi religious society, shouldn't all of us learn to live in tranquility with one another?

"We the citizens of Singapore,
Pledge ourselves as One United People,
Regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society,
based on justice and equality,
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for Our nation"

Muslims are taught to respect every human being, for all creation came from Allah swt.

Respecting others means respecting yourself.