There is a difference between what the believers, who spend their lives obeying Allah's commands, receive in return for their obedience, and what the unbelievers, who spend their lives chasing their desires, forgetting Allah and the Day of Judgment, receive in return for their rejection. This difference makes itself known at the moment of death. Whereas the angels take the lives of believers nicely, they take the unbelievers' lives in a most agonizing manner. The angels greet the believers and give them the good tidings of Paradise and gently draw out their souls. All believers come face to face with the gateway to the eternal life (death), having prepared for it throughout their lives, knowing its inevitability.

On the other hand, the unbelievers meet death with overwhelming pangs of regret, having tried to evade it all their lives, having known its existence and yet still having ignored its reality. The Guards of Hell reach out for them, striking their faces and their backs, plucking out their souls harshly, which causes much pain, and then send them to a humiliating and burning punishment. One verse says:

If only you could see when the angels take back those who did not believe at their death, beating their faces and their backs: "Taste the punishment of the Burning!" (Surat an-Anfal, 50)

The believers have prepared for this Day all their lives, and have prayed to Allah that He may not disgrace them, as the following verse indicates:

[Those who remember Allah say:] "Our Lord, give us what You promised us through Your Messengers, and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. You do not break Your promise." (Surah Al ‘Imran, 194)

The events of the Day of Judgment increase the believers' awe of Allah, but He reveals that He will protect them from the evil of that hard Day, for:

"Truly We fear from our Lord a glowering, calamitous Day." So Allah has safeguarded them from the evil of that Day and has made them meet with radiance and pure joy. (Surat al-Insan, 10-11)



Their Physical Condition

On the Day you see the men and women of the believers, with their light streaming out in front of them, and to their right: "Good news for you today of Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever. That is the Great Victory." (Surat al-Hadid, 12)

The believers will be protected against the fear of this Day, and their faces will be radiant with the joy and trust of receiving their reward. They will be "laughing, rejoicing" (Surah ‘Abasa, 39). The Qur'an describes the different facial expressions of the believers and the unbelievers, as follows:

Those who do good will have the best and more! Neither dust nor debasement will darken their faces. They are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, forever. But as for those who have earned bad actions—a bad action will be repaid with one the like of it. Debasement will darken them. They will have no one to protect them from Allah. It is as if their faces were covered by dark patches of the night. Those are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, forever. (Surah Yunus, 26-27)

The unbelievers will beg the believers for some of the light, although they had fought them while alive. The meaning of this light is illumination, safety, and joy. This light radiating from those who have earned Paradise will not benefit the unbelievers, regardless of how much they want it. As its source is the good deeds done on Earth, the unbelievers, who have no store of such deeds, will not have any of it. For this reason, they will be told to go back to Earth in order to find some. The Qur'an informs us:

That Day the men and women of the hypocrites will say to those who believe: "Wait for us so that we can borrow some of your light." They will be told: "Go back and look for light!" And a wall will be erected between them with a gate in it, on the inside of which there will be mercy, but before whose exterior lies the punishment. (Surat al-Hadid, 13)

The believers will receive the reward for their efforts to win Allah's good pleasure while alive, and they will be well-pleased with it (Surat al-Ghashiya, 9). Allah will respond to their efforts most generously. That was what they were hoping and expecting, and they will be grateful for it and say: "... Praise be to Allah Who has fulfilled His promise to us and made us the inheritors of this land, letting us settle in the Garden wherever we want…" (Surat az-Zumar, 74).


The Believers' Reward

To those who do not believe, the life of this world is painted in glowing colors and they laugh at those who believe. But on the Day of Resurrection, those who do their duty will be over them. Allah provides for whoever He wills without any reckoning. (Surat al-Baqara, 212)

As we can see from the verses, the believers who fulfilled their duty to their Lord without seeing Him, who waited for the judgment in apprehension will be under His protection. Another verse that gives the good news of the believers being protected on that Day is the following:

… 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)

Whereas the unbelievers will be debased as never seen before, the believers will know no fear. They will live the joy and pleasure of receiving what Allah has promised them, and will be given their books in their right hands and wait in peace to be directed to Paradise. Allah responded to them with endless rewards, took their lives pleasantly, and protected them from the Day of Reckoning. Allah reveals that He gives blessings and prosperity to the believers in particular, for:

Say: "Who has forbidden the fine clothing Allah has produced for His servants and the good kinds of provision?" Say: "On the Day of Resurrection such things will be exclusively for those who believed during their life in this world." In this way We make the Signs clear for people who know. (Surat al-A‘raf, 32)

Once judgment has been passed and Hellfire has been shown to them, the believers will be directed to Paradise:

And those who have heeded their Lord will be driven to the Garden in companies. When they arrive there, finding its gates open, its custodians will say to them: "Peace be upon you! You have done well, so enter it timelessly, forever." (Surat az-Zumar, 73)

The Qur'an details the rewards that the believers will receive in the eternal life of the Hereafter. One example is given below, as follows:

The heedful will be in Gardens of Delight, savoring what their Lord has given them. Their Lord will safeguard them from the punishment of the Blazing Fire: "Eat and drink with relish for what you did." They will recline on couches ranged in rows, and We will marry them to dark-eyed maidens. We will unite those who believed with their offspring, who followed them in faith, and We will not undervalue their own actions in any way. Every man is in pledge for what he earned. We will supply them with any kind of fruit and meat that they desire. They will pass around there a drinking cup to one another with no foolish talk and no wrong action in it. Circulating among them there will be youths like hidden pearls. Some of them will come up to others and they will question one another. They will say: "Beforehand we used live in fear among our families. But Allah was gracious to us and safeguarded us from the punishment of the searing wind. Beforehand we certainly used to call on Him because He is the All-Good, the Most Merciful." (Surat at-Tur, 17-28)


The Trial of the Two Groups

The trial of the unbelievers, who did not follow Allah's path and pursued either their own desires and cravings or the twisted values or beliefs of their societies, will be very hard indeed. On that Day, there will be no mercy or compassion for them, and no power will be able to end their suffering. The main reason for this is that they did not respect Allah's boundaries, even though they were sent reminders, and that they would not have done so even if they were sent back to Earth. This truth is revealed in the following verses:

If only you could see when they are standing before the Fire and saying: "Oh! If only we could be sent back again, we would not deny the Signs of our Lord and we would be among the believers." No, it is simply that what they were concealing before has been shown to them; and if they were sent back they would merely return to what they were forbidden to do. Truly they are liars. (Surat al-An‘am, 27-28)

While they are accounting for their deeds, the blazing Hell is awaiting them. They will be sent to Hell in return for what they did while alive, for:

When the Pages are opened up, when the Heaven is peeled away, when the Fire is set ablaze, when the Garden is brought up close: then each self will know what it has done. (Surat at-Takwir, 10-14)

Other verses reveal that the believers will have an easy trial:

O Man! You are toiling laboriously toward your Lord, but meet Him you will! As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will be given an easy reckoning and return to his family joyfully. (Surat al-Inshiqaq, 6-9)

The believers who have lived their lives according to the will of our Lord, Who created and guided them onto the right path, will have their sins forgiven by Allah the Most Merciful, Who has revealed that He will forgive sins and turn them into goodness for those who believe and do good. On that Day, our Lord will address the believers, who will already have received what was promised:

"O self at rest and at peace, return to your Lord, well-pleasing and well-pleased! Enter among My servants! Enter My Garden." (Surat al-Fajr, 27-30)

In this way, they will be saved from the eternal Hellfire by His grace and favor and enter Paradise full of endless reward. Their reply to "enter Paradise" is revealed in the Qur'an:

They will say: "Praise be to Allah, Who has fulfilled His promise to us and made us the inheritors of this land, letting us settle in the Garden wherever we want. How excellent is the wage of those who work!" (Surat az-Zumar, 74)



Their Physical State

On the Day of Judgment, people will be raised up and re-created. The believers' faces will manifest the light and beauty unique to the faithful, while the unbelievers' faces will be made hideous:

We pursued them with a curse in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be hideous and spurned. (Surat al-Qasas, 42)

Yet many other verses relate that dust, gloom, and darkness also will cover the unbelievers' faces:

That Day some faces will be dust-covered, overcast with gloom. Those are the dissolute unbelievers. (Surah ‘Abasa, 40-42)

On the Day of Resurrection, you will see those who lied against Allah with their faces blackened. Do not the arrogant have a dwelling place in Hell? (Surat az-Zumar, 60)

Blackening the face is a metaphysical phenomenon. Those people who forsook an honorable life, one lived according to Allah's will, for one lived according to their selfish desires acquire only debasement. Thus, the resulting ugliness and dishonor is placed upon them. For this reason, they are driven to Hell in shame:

If We had wanted to, We would have raised him up by them. But he gravitated toward Earth and pursued his whims and base desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: If you chase it away, it lolls out its tongue and pants, and if you leave it alone, it lolls out its tongue and pants. That is the metaphor of those who deny Our Signs. So tell the story so that hopefully they will reflect. (Surat al-A‘raf, 176)

People who allow themselves to be ruled by their selfish desires will be debased in the Hereafter in return for their conceit on Earth. In addition to physical ugliness, they also will be disgraced, for:

Some faces that Day will be humiliated. (Surat al-Ghashiya, 2)

The unbelievers, who disregarded the verses despite the threat, did not practice them, and would not improve themselves, will experience the astonishment of being debased and helpless at an unexpected moment. They deserve this punishment, and so their situation on that Day will be very difficult. Allah will fulfill His promises, for His rule is just. The verses say:

… We will gather them on the Day of Resurrection, flat on their faces, blind, dumb, and deaf. Their shelter will be Hell. Whenever the Blaze dies down, We will increase it for them. (Surat al-Isra', 97)

He will ask: "My Lord, why have you gathered me blind when before I was able to see?" [Allah] will say: "Just as Our Signs came to you and you forgot them, in the same way you too are forgotten today." (Surah Ta Ha, 125-26)

In the Qur'an, Allah relates that the unbelievers' faces will be made humble by disgrace:

They will emerge from their graves with downcast eyes, like swarming locusts. (Surat al-Qamar, 7)

The expression in their eyes and their fear-evoking appearance will be given to them on that Day. Allah describes them, as follows:

On the Day the Trumpet is blown—and We will gather the evildoers on that Day, blue-eyed [their eyes dimmed by terror and sightless]. (Surah Ta Ha, 102)

The Qur'an also reveals that those who were in conceit over Allah's Messengers and verses will be branded on their noses:

We will brand him on the snout! (Surat al-Qalam, 16)

This is an important source of shame, for calling their noses "snouts" and being branded is enough to reveal their debasement and ugliness in the Hereafter. Whereas the believers will live in the Hereafter in comfortable environments, the unbelievers will begin a life of everlasting disgrace. The Qur'an reveals all of this, as follows:

[Some] faces that Day will be radiant, gazing at their Lord. And [some] faces that Day will be glowering, realizing that a back-breaking blow has fallen. (Surat al-Qiyama, 22-25)

There is no chance of hiding or escaping. Allah reveals that the unbelievers, who are instantly recognizable by their appearance, will be seized by their forelocks and feet and then cast into Hell.

The evildoers will be recognized by their mark and seized by their forelocks and their feet. (Surat ar-Rahman, 41)

In a hadith, our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, describes the state of the unbelievers in this way:

Anas ibn Malik reported that a person said: "Allah's Messenger, how will the unbelievers be made to assemble on the Day of Resurrection (by crawling) on their faces?" Thereupon he said: "He Who is powerful enough to make them walk on their feet, is powerful enough to make them (crawl) upon their faces on the Day of Resurrection." (Sahih Muslim)



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