Over the course of the past several months, we have discussed the notion of covenants in the Quran, whereby humankind promised its obedience to Allah and acknowledged Allah’s unicity. We studied the content of this covenant and how we might fulfill it through zikr, that is remembrance.
Today, we will continue this exploration by asking ourselves: What might happen if we ignore the promises we have made? In particular, how does the Quran speak of the Day of Judgement and the notion of accountability?
Numerous verses in the Quran elaborate on both the wonders and terrors of the Day of Judgement. In Surah al-Infiṭār verses 1 through 5, Allah uses descriptive language to communicate the chaos of that moment:
"When the sky is cleft asunder and when the stars are dispersed, when the seas are burst forth and when graves are turned inside out, then shall each soul know what it has sent forth and what it has left behind."1
Surah Waqi’ah verses 1 to 6 add to this description by also telling us that one day, humans will be separated into categories:
"When the Event befalls, none shall deny its befalling, abasing, exalting. When the earth is shaken violently, and the mountains are pulverized to powder, such that they become scattered dust…"2
These verses give a sense of a time when humankind will become keenly aware of its doings – both the good and the bad. Hazrat Ali (alayhi-s-salaam) explains to his followers that there will be different judgements for different people:
“He [God] will set them apart for questioning about hidden deeds and secret acts. He will then divide them into two groups, rewarding one and punishing the other. As regarding obedient people, He will reward them with His nearness and will keep them forever in His house...fear will not overtake them, ailments will not befall them...As for people of sins, He will settle them in the worst place."3
How might we prepare for al-Akhira or the Hereafter? Perhaps one way is to remember the promise we made to our Lord at the time of creation–that we will remain obedient and worship Allah.
Let us pray for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness as we continue to strive for our final abode.
1 Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, The Study Qur’an, Harper Collins, 2015, p. 1485.
2 Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, The Study Quran, Harper Collins, 2015, p. 1320.
3 Ali-Jibouri, Yasin T. (2009). Peak of Eloquence (Nahjul-Balagha). Sermon 108, pp. 483-4. Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc.