By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own souls and the wickedness of our actions, whoever Allah guides, there is none that can lead him astray, and whoever Allah allows to go astray, there is none that can lead him to the right path.
I testify and bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. As for what’s after:
Dear brothers and sisters! Allah Almighty says:
“Surely He (the Creator) has the power to bring him back (to life). On the Day when man’s deepest secrets shall be put to the test. He shall have no power, and no helper.” [Qur’an, 86:8-10]
Imam Qurtubi (Rahimahullah) said:
“The above Qur’anic verses signifies that Allah Who has created him (man) from a drop of seminal fluid is well able to bring him back to life after death. On the Day of Reckoning, the secrets will be tested and examined and laid bare. Man’s beliefs, his thoughts, his actions, and his motives and intentions that were hidden in this life, and no one knew about them, will be revealed and exposed in the Hereafter. Likewise, all his deeds and actions that he had done secretly, and no one was aware of them in this world, all of them will be tested and scrutinised on the Plain of Gathering and will be laid bare.”
Abdullah Ibn Umar said that:
“On the Day of Judgment Allah will disclose the secrets of all human beings. The sign of every good or bad belief and action will be displayed on man’s face, in the form of beauty or darkness or gloom [depending on each individual’s situation].”‘
Respected brothers and sisters! Wallahi, death is one of the few indisputable facts of life. Regardless of faith, race, status, age, region or tribe, we will all die. While the certainty of death is universally accepted, the question of what happens afterwards has been debated throughout history. Islam teaches that one’s life doesn’t end on earth; rather, it is followed by the eternal life of the hereafter. This sermon (Khutbah) explains how this belief has a major impact on our earthly lives, while instilling hope for healing in a perfect world where Allah’s ultimate justice will prevail.
Dear servants of Allah! Despite its inevitability, we get so absorbed in living that we forget about death. Our daily routines, the comfort of our homes and our relationships keep us so busy that we have little time left to ponder over the fleeting nature of this world.
Then, suddenly, we are forced to face the reality of our existence when a loved one is afflicted with a debilitating disease or we experience a shocking loss. Helpless, we are jolted by the frailty of life, leading us to question our priorities and reevaluate our lifestyles.
According to Islam, when confronted with a calamity, one should say:
“To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.” [Qur’an, 2:156]
This invocation is also recited when someone dies. Reminding us of our origin and our ultimate destiny, it puts the purpose of our lives in perspective. Allah clearly states in the Qur’an, the divinely revealed message from Allah to all humanity, that He has created humankind to worship Him. Since worship is a comprehensive concept in Islam, consisting of specific rituals as well as general actions that promote good, it encourages people to conduct every aspect of their lives with Allah-consciousness.
Muslims believe they will return to Allah when they die. Therefore, instead of the end, death becomes part of a continuum which stretches into eternity.
What will be the day like When Allah resurrects us? How everyone from all nations, from all generations, will be made to stand as equal in the Presence of Allah. Allah will then call each one of us to meet with us individually. There would be no translator, no interpretators – it would be just you, your Creator and your deeds!
What happens after death? Does a world exist beyond this life? Is there such a place as heaven or hell? These are common questions we ask from time to time.
After all, the enigma of death stumps us. We’ve devised various ways of killing other humans. Yet, despite innumerable technological and medical advances, we still cannot prevent an individual from dying. Furthermore, unlike life which we experience daily, we really don’t have firsthand knowledge of life after death. Aside from some near-death incidents, no one has come back from the dead to tell us what they encountered.
Due to their faith in the One Allah who created this universe and sustains it, Muslims rely on divine guidance for glimpses of a reality invisible to human eyes. Divine guidance comprises Prophetic examples and scriptural revelations. Allah sent Prophets to guide humanity, such as Adam, Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad, the final Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon all of them). Moreover, He also revealed Noble books, including the At-Taurah (Torah), Injil (the Gospel) and the Qur’an.
In keeping with the universal message of Allah, every Prophet warned of the certainty of the afterlife and each of the divine books speaks of the existence of the soul. In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty promises:
“Every soul will taste death. Then to Us will you be returned.” [Qur’an, 29:57]
On the Day of Judgment, every individual will be resurrected to account for their lives. Allah describes this event in the Qur’an:
“On that Day, people will come forward in separate groups to be shown their deeds: whoever has done an atom’s weight of good will see it, but whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil will see that.” [Qur’an, 99:6-8]
Allah Almighty will weigh everyone’s good and bad actions according to His Mercy and His Justice, forgiving many sins and multiplying the reward for many noble deeds. One who excels in goodness will be rewarded generously, but one whose evils and wrongs outweigh his virtues will be punished.
Those who fulfilled their purpose in life and lived righteously will enter an eternal paradise of pure bliss. The people of heaven will reside in beautiful mansions, no longer suffering from fatigue, disease and old age. Allah will remove animosity and pain from people’s hearts, providing supreme healing in a world of abundance and luxury, of lush gardens and flowing rivers.
In contrast, those who die in a state of transgression against Allah or oppress others will be led to Hellfire. Despite all of Allah’s blessings, they neglected their ultimate purpose of leading their lives in accordance with His Will and Guidance. The Qur’an describes Hell as a place filled with immense suffering, with extreme temperatures, unquenchable thirst and blazing flames.
Truly, Allah wants each one of us to be salvaged in the afterlife. He has sent guidance and left signs for those who seek Him and reflect. At the same time, He has given us the choice to freely indulge in the world around us or to abide by His laws. In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty declares:
“Why should Allah make you suffer torment if you are thankful and believe in Him? Allah always rewards gratitude and He knows everything.” [Qur’an, 4:147]
Respected servants of Allah! Belief in the soul and the afterlife gives a context to our current existence. Those who focus only on this immediate life miss out on the bigger picture. Indeed, they become heedless of their purpose in life. Allah reminds humanity:
“The life of this world is merely an amusement and a diversion; the true life is in the Hereafter, if only they knew.” [Qur’an, 29:64]
Islam teaches that this life is simply a test to determine our place in the eternal life after death. Those who understand the reality ahead of them are aware that their ultimate fate after death is based on their actions in this life. Such individuals are thankful for all the blessings that Allah Almighty has given them and humbly worship Him while promoting goodness in all aspects of their lives. When a person embraces such an Allah-conscious way of life, their purpose extends beyond merely enjoying worldly pleasures.
Their life is one of submission to Allah and they seek to positively contribute to the world around them. All of their transactions with people, even animals and the environment, are rooted in this motivation. They are guided by the certainty that they will one day return to their Creator and be held accountable for all their deeds. Although they have the freedom to live according to their whims, they limit their attachment to this brief and imperfect life, seeking an eternal paradise in the hereafter.
Dear brothers and sisters! Believing in the soul and the afterlife is foremost about having faith in the unseen. Just as our souls are intangible beings giving life to our physical bodies, the world we see around us is functioning based on an invisible system created by Allah who is Ever-Watchful and All-Aware. Muslims believe that Allah is also Just and He maintains a meticulous record of our deeds. We will be recompensed for our earthly lives in the hereafter where ultimate justice prevails.
Humans naturally seek justice in all aspects of their lives. When a person works, they expect to receive an appropriate salary. When an individual is harmed, they seek compensation. When someone helps another, they anticipate appreciation for their effort. Even though humans strive hard to establish justice, the reality is that this world will never be perfectly just. Many criminals go unpunished while the oppressed are denied basic rights. Do their lives simply dissolve without any accountability or fair dealing? Allah Almighty proclaims in the Qur’an:
“Do those who commit evil deeds really think that We will deal with them in the same way as those who believe and do righteous deeds, that they will be alike in their living and their dying? How badly they judge!” [Qur’an, 45:21]
In the afterlife, the evil doers will not be able to escape the grip of justice and victims of worldly suffering will be recompensed for their pain. People who spent their lives responsibly, avoiding temptations to commit sins, will also be rewarded. As mentioned in the Qur’an:
“Allah created the heavens and the earth for a true purpose: to reward each soul according to its deeds. They will not be wronged.” [Qur’an, 45:22]
According to Islam, one of the greatest injustices humans can commit is to deny Allah’s existence, add partners to Him or worship worldly ideals or materialistic goals. Islam teaches that Allah is the Creator, Sustainer and Nourisher of every being in the heavens and the earth. As His creation, it is His right that we worship and obey Him. He showers us with His blessings every day out of His love and mercy. Worshiping Him is an expression of gratitude to Allah, and ignoring Him or worshiping others is ungratefulness and a denial of His blessings.
If our man-made judicial systems punish people for committing injustices against other people, it is even more understandable that Allah Almighty would punish those who deny Him His rights and commit injustices against His creation. Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:
“We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least, and if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it (to account): and enough are We to take account.” [Qur’an, 21:47]
As imperfect beings, we often make mistakes and commit wrong actions. While Allah Almighty does not expect perfection from us, He calls on us to strive to the utmost to worship Him and to live righteously. Out of His Mercy, Allah pardons whom He wills in the hereafter. Allah promises us in the Qur’an:
“And those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will surely remove from them their misdeeds and will surely reward them according to the best of what they used to do.” [Qur’an, 29:7]
Muslims seek salvation in the hereafter by living an Allah-conscious and virtuous life in this world. The fear of accountability in the hereafter, along with hope in the promise of Allah’s ultimate justice, motivates them to orient their present lives around the comprehensive worship of Allah, the true purpose of human existence. In this way, they endeavour in this temporary life for eternal joy.
To the righteous it will be said:
“O reassured soul, return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], and enter among My [righteous] servants, and enter My Paradise.” [Qur’an, 89:27-30]
Respected servants of Allah! Know that true happiness does not come from material possessions. Everyone knows the phrase:
“Money can’t buy happiness.”
Fancy phones, big houses, and luxurious cars are just items, mere tangible objects of this world. We cannot find lasting happiness in the stores and online. In Islam, we are taught to find happiness through Allah Almighty. Adhering to His commands, building a close relationship with Him, and doing good (for oneself and others) with an intention to please Him—that is what brings joy to the heart of a Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Happiness is due to him who is guided to Islam and possesses provision that suffices him for his day and remains content.” [At-Tirmidhi]
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: email@example.com or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Sha’aban 17, 1444 AH (March 10, 2023).
By Fatima Sanda Usara To start with, Saudi Arabia has made its stand clear t…