And the Moon is eclipsed, and the Sun and the Moon are fused together, on that Day man will ask: "Where can I run?" No indeed! There will be no safe place. That Day, the only resting place will be your Lord. (Surat al-Qiyama, 8-12)
Consider the people and events that shape your life. You are working hard to get somewhere, trying to find your place in the struggle for a good life. You are very attentive to some matters and reflect deeply upon them. At the same time, you carefully avoid thinking about other matters and, as it happens, many people close to you do the same. Everyone knows what subjects to avoid in conversation and thought. Death is one of these, perhaps the most important one. For them, death is an end to which there is no solution.
The Day of Judgment, which will bring "death" to the universe just like the death of people, is a matter that people do not like to think about; rather, they consider it as a remote and distant matter. They have a vague idea of what will happen on that Day, but since the thought of it scares them, people are inclined to forget about it. Rather than facing up to it, they just get on with their lives instead.
People are most affected by the final day aspect of this Day for all beings, whether living or non-living. The Day of Judgment is the final day of life on Earth and for the universe. But at the same time, it is the beginning of the eternal life in the Hereafter. On that Day, people will be resurrected, created anew. Believers in Allah and the Hereafter will be hosted in Paradise, whereas unbelievers will be driven to Hell. Therefore, for those who expect such a Day, fully aware of what this event means, it is meaningless to run away from death, the Day of Judgment, and the Hereafter. To the contrary, the reality of death and the events of that Day will lead people to do good in the cause of Allah, direct them to believe in the Hereafter, and bring them closer to Allah. Only the believers will be spared the great fear on that Day, on which previously unseen events will take place, for Allah reveals that they will have no cause for fear or sadness, for:
Not so! All who submit themselves completely to Allah and are good-doers will find their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and know no sorrow. (Surat al-Baqara, 112)
Those who believed in this Day and in the Qur'an, as well as that the real life is in the Hereafter, while alive and lived accordingly will be safe. They did not disregard the existence of death and were not too vain to worship Allah. Such people will be received in the most pleasant way in the Hereafter, and Allah's guiding light will be with them on the Day of Judgment. The faithful are given the good news in the Qur'an, as follows:
… on the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed along with him. Their light will stream out ahead of them and on their right. They will say: "Our Lord, perfect our light for us and forgive us! You have power over all things." (Surat at-Tahrim, 8)
This book reveals the Day and its events, and warns of its difficulties. What matters most is that the Day of Judgment is a reality for all people and, as such, should not be ignored. This book will help you to think about its existence and reality in the light of the Qur'an's verses.
The purpose here is to warn you of a Day on which you will meet whatever happens, and to guide you to safety and the eternal life in Paradise. The reality of this Day's mind-blowing events is an important factor in driving people to reflect upon it. For this reason, throughout this book we will describe the details of the time leading up to the Day of Judgment and investigate its reality.
THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT IS APPROACHING
And the Hour is coming without any doubt, and Allah will raise up all those in the graves. (Surat al-Hajj, 7)
Death is coming closer by the day. Whether you are young or old, death is a little closer to you every day, even every minute. You cannot resist time or prevent death's approach. Nothing you do can change the fact that you and those close to you are only "temporary" beings. Like every other living being, you are advancing toward the Day on which your life will end.
Humanity is not the only part of creation that is subject to death. All other creatures, Earth itself and the whole universe, have a day of death fixed for them. The Day of Judgment is a day of terror and unimaginable fear. But at the same time, it is most wondrous. Everything on Earth will be flattened, the stars will be extinguished and fall in rapid succession, and the Sun will be wrapped up in darkness. All human beings who have ever lived will be gathered and made to witness this Day. This Final Day will be dreadful for the unbelievers, and its Lord will be Allah, Who owns all that exists.
The Day of Judgment, contrary to many people's belief, is approaching; it is not in the distant future. When it arrives, Earth and everything belonging to it will be destroyed. Ambitions, desires, anger, expectations, lusts, enmities, and pleasures will cease. Plans made for the future will become meaningless, for those who had forgotten that they will be returned to Allah, preferring this world over the eternal life and its misleading wealth, beauty, and pleasures, will have met their end. On this Day, everyone will witness clearly Allah's existence and will come face to face with the death that they had tried so hard to forget. Their attempt to forget Allah and the Hereafter is finished, and a new beginning, one which will be eternal and bring no happiness to the unbelievers, is awaiting them. From the very first moment of this eternal life, the punishment is so fearsome that those who experience it will beg for "death" and "annihilation." The beginning of this life is the Day of Judgment and, "the Hour is coming without any doubt."
LIFE ON EARTH IS TEMPORARY, AND DEATH IS A CERTAIN REALITY
From your earliest childhood onwards, you head for certain goals or are guided by others. You probably will have a family and a job, try to earn more in order to have a better life, educate your children, and hope that they will have a better life than you did. Once a week you meet the other members of your extended family. You take vacations, go to work, and spend the rest of your time at home. Except for a few hiccups on the way, your life progresses orderly and you usually encounter nothing outside the ordinary.
Everything in your life seems to be premeditated, and everyone's life is like everyone else's. You need to work to realize these goals, and you need to have a family to continue your lineage. According to this worldview, what else could you possibly want besides "a good job" and "a nice family?" Having achieved these goals, you expect to lead a happy life. In this way, everything is wonderful and you will live happily ever after.
However, some important changes are happening in your body and environment. Many cells with diverse functions fulfill their purpose and die. As you age, it becomes harder to replace them. Your body is ageing visibly, as seen through your illnesses and weaknesses. Time moves fast, and the impossibility of reversing it becomes clearer every day. Thinking that you were going to live happily and comfortably forever, you are nevertheless nearing death. Thus, this worldly life can never give the sense of contentment and peace you expect. When this "satisfying" life ends, you will come face to face with the real truth. Given this fact, none of your life ambitions should become your true purpose in life. This life is a temporary trial to separate the righteous from the evildoers. Allah reveals this reality in the following verse:
He Who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk, 2)
The true purpose of life is not a decent job and a nice family. Rather, everybody has been created for one purpose: to serve Allah. We become attached to our children, rank, and status but with the first instance of death, these worldly pleasures lose their value and importance. Everybody knows this, but many choose to ignore it. And so such things should not be the ultimate goals of life. We must reflect carefully and realize what is the real purpose and the true gain. Allah reveals the true purpose of our creation, as follows:
I only created jinn and man to worship Me. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 56)
Only by fulfilling this responsibility can we expect the gifts of the Hereafter. Most people have some unfounded expectations and comfort themselves with them. But this is a great error. If one has nothing to expect from the Hereafter, there is only one possibility left: To become nothing with death, a possibility that is scarier than all the others. The unbelievers develop various methods of forgetting this possibility, because they fear it so much. Among these methods are not talking about, discussing, or remembering death, even though it is a certainty for everyone. Everybody acts as if it does not exist. That most people behave in such a way might be reassuring to some extent, but in reality they are all misguided. People know about death, the Last Day, and the Hereafter, but refuse to ponder them. They are satisfied with this worldly life, or at least make themselves believe that they are. However, Allah reveals that death will find everyone:
Say: "Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, and He will inform you about what you did." (Surat al-Jumu‘a, 8)
The universe and all of its contents, not just humanity, will die on the Day of Judgment, for on that Day the trial will end. Many people will recognize its coming by its signs, and the events leading up to the universe's death will be literally hair-raising. Finally, on that Day, Allah will raise up all those in the graves and all people on the Earth will be called to account. Those who did not expect to experience such a Day will no longer be able to deny it, and so will bow to Allah's will whether they want to or not. Allah has prepared a spectacular end for the universe, and despite most people's attempts to deny this reality, the Day of Judgment will come at its appointed time.
THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT IS A CERTAIN REALITY
People who are satisfied with this world's temporary values and pleasures do their best to ignore such facts as their eventual death, which is just around the corner, and the Day of Resurrection. By not reflecting upon such truths, they tell themselves that they can live only for themselves and forget about their duties to Allah.
The Qur'an graphically depicts the events of the Last Day, and all of the people's accompanying shock, fear, panic, and mental framework. The universe will end in the same spectacular fashion in which it was created. Planets will fall out of their orbits, and mountains will be moved. In the face of such amazing events, those who put their faith in chance and random happenings will realize that only Allah rules over everything. Allah states:
Say: "To whom does everything in the heavens and Earth belong?" Say: "To Allah." He has made mercy incumbent upon Himself. He will gather you to the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. As for those who have lost their own selves, they have no faith. (Surat al-An‘am, 12)
So when the Trumpet is blown with a single blast, and Earth and the mountains are lifted and crushed with a single blow, on that Day, the Occurrence will occur. (Surat al-Haqqa, 13-15)
THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT'S HOUR IS PREDETERMINED
As time progresses, we are speedily approaching the Day of Judgment. Most people think that this Day is in the distant future. However, they would be well-advised to remember that previous generations had the same attitude. In reality, everyone who has ever lived will witness these events and assemble in Allah's presence; no one will be able to escape. As only Allah knows when the Day of Judgment will come, there is no guarantee that it will not happen while you are making plans for the future and are busying yourselves with your everyday lives, for:
Say: "I do not know whether what you are promised is close or whether my Lord will appoint a longer time before it." He is the Knower of the Unseen, and does not divulge His Unseen to anyone. (Surat al-Jinn, 25-26)
The great order in which Allah created life will terminate at a time unknown to us. Those who doubt this fact and choose not to believe in it may consider themselves reasonable, and so this Day will be a hard and scary one for them. For this reason, it is far more beneficial and positive to believe in it, for it will be of no use to believe in it when the Hour has struck, or to feel remorse for their self-deception. One verse describes such remorse, as follows:
When the Great Calamity comes: that Day man will remember what he has striven for. (Surat an-Nazi‘at, 34-35)
The final hour and the eternal life that follows are the most important realities awaiting people. For this reason, this book has stressed the impermanence of this life. Nothing on Earth, not your career, marriage, wealth, or property, is important enough to waste your eternal life pursuing. The only thing worth pursuing and living for is Allah's good pleasure. Allah will begin the eternal life in the most spectacular way. Everyone who meets this Day will realize that this temporary life has definitely come to an end, and will comprehend the Hereafter's existence with certainty.
Before they meet this Day, every person has to remember the hour of the Day of Judgment and what it brings, even though they may never have contemplated it.
The contents of this book have been designed to help you extract yourself from your everyday occupation and desires for a while so that you can see the true purpose for your life. It seeks to inform you in advance about the Day of Judgment that you will most certainly encounter. This is an important warning, because everybody who ignores this Day and its aftermath will witness unbearable events on the Day of Judgment and experience endless hardship in the Hereafter.
You will most certainly encounter this Day, which the Qur'an describes in great detail. You will see that all of your possessions, even your body, will desert you. And then you will be created anew. You must use the opportunity given to you by Allah to obtain the reward, happiness, and peace awaiting you in the Hereafter, which cannot be compared to anything on Earth. The only thing that you have to do is to believe in Allah and the certainty of the Hereafter and be thankful for all the blessings that He gives to you. If you do not, you will experience all-pervasive regret in the Hereafter, for the Qur'an states that:
Those who deny the meeting with Allah have lost, so that, when the Hour comes upon them suddenly, they will exclaim: "Alas for what we neglected there!" They will bear their burdens on their backs. How evil is what they bear! (Surat an-An‘am, 31)
This is why you should accept that the Hereafter is a certainty and so prepare accordingly. Only then will your actions during this life have a lasting value, and will you receive an unequalled return on Earth as well as in the Hereafter. This reward will be the hospitality of Paradise, where you can have everything that you desire. Remember that on the Day of Judgment everybody will be judged alone in Allah's presence. Therefore, make the right efforts and prepare for death and its aftermath, for you will receive exactly what you deserve. However, the greatest reward is His good pleasure, for:
O you who believe! Heed Allah, and let each self look to what it has sent forward for tomorrow. Heed Allah. Allah is aware of what you do. Do not be like those who forgot Allah so He made them forget themselves. Such people are the deviators. (Surat al-Hashr, 18-19)