A Scene from Qiyāmah
Mln. Ahsan Syed
The Prophet ﷺ is the final messenger of Allah sent to mankind to guide them. Being a prophet and a messenger entails access to certain divine knowledge. This does not mean he has access to all divine knowledge (ʿilm al-ghayb). Allah mentions in the Qur’ān, “Say [to them O Muhammad]: I do not say to you that the treasures of Allah are with me, nor that I know the unseen. Nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.” (Qur’ān 6:50) But that knowledge which Allah does give a prophet access to, cannot be directly accessed by us. That knowledge includes how to attain Allah’s pleasure (which we recognize as the sharīʿah), knowledge of the life after death, the Day of Judgement, paradise, hell, and so on.
The Prophet ﷺ said the following when describing a scene from Qiyāmah:
غن الْمِقْدَاد بْن الأَسْوَدِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلّى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ” تُدْنَى الشَّمْسُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنَ الْخَلْقِ حَتَّى تَكُونَ مِنْهُمْ كَمِقْدَارِ مِيلٍ”. قَالَ سُلَيْمُ بْنُ عَامِرٍ فَوَاللَّهِ مَا أَدْرِي مَا يَعْنِي بِالْمِيلِ أَمَسَافَةَ الأَرْضِ أَمِ الْمِيلَ الَّذِي تُكْتَحَلُ بِهِ الْعَيْنُ. قَالَ “فَيَكُونُ النَّاسُ عَلَى قَدْرِ أَعْمَالِهِمْ فِي الْعَرَقِ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَكُونُ إِلَى كَعْبَيْهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَكُونُ إِلَى رُكْبَتَيْهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَكُونُ إِلَى حَقْوَيْهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يُلْجِمُهُ الْعَرَقُ إِلْجَامًا”. قَالَ وَأَشَارَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِيَدِهِ إِلَى فِيهِ. (رواه مسلم والترمذي)
Miqdād ibn al-Aswad reports, “I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say, “On the Day of Resurrection, the sun will come so close to the people that it will only be one mīl”. Sulaym ibn ʿĀmir said, “By Allah, I do not know whether he meant by “mīl”, the distance of a mile or the measure of a needle stick used for applying antimony (kuḥl) to the eye”. [The Messenger of Allah ﷺ, however,] said, “The people then will be submerged in perspiration according to their deeds, some up to their ankles, some up to their knees, some up to their waist and some will have the bridle of perspiration (reaching their mouth and nose),” and while saying this the Messenger of Allah ﷺ pointed to his mouth with his hand”.
This is one of many narrations reported from the Prophet ﷺ about the Day of Judgement. Any individual who reads this sincerely will be gripped with fear. It is the belief in Allah and the belief of the Day of Judgement that gives us perspective in this life. The combination of these two points of creed: knowing that Allah is aware of everything we do and knowing that for every deed we do, good or bad, we will be rewarded or punished accordingly that restrains us from sin. When a Muslim hears the words of the Prophet ﷺ he should ask himself, what should I do to protect myself? And because the Prophet ﷺ is sent as a guide, he gives us guidance regarding this distressing time. He ﷺ said,
عن أبي هريرة t قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ”سبعة يظلهم الله في ظله يوم لا ظل إلا ظله: إمام عادل، وشاب نشأ في عبادة الله، ورجل قلبه معلق في المساجد، ورجلان تحابا في الله، اجتمعا عليه، وتفرقا عليه، ورجل دعته امرأة ذات منصب وجمال، فقال: إنى أخاف الله، ورجل تصدق بصدقة فأخفاها حتى لا تعلم شماله ما تنفق يمينه، ورجل ذكر الله خالياً ففاضت عيناه”. (متفق عليه)
Abū Hurayrah t reports that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “[There are] seven whom Allah will shade under His Shade on the Day when there will be no shade but His shade. [They are] a just ruler, a young man who grew up in the worship of Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the mosques, two men who love each other, they meet and depart from each other for the sake of Allah, a man whom a woman of status and beauty seduces, but he [rejects and] says: ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left hand does not know what the right has given, and a man who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes become tearful”.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ mentioned seven categories of individuals who will be under Allah’s shade. After reading this, a Muslim should strive to be from among them.
The first mentioned is the just imām. An individual in power has a degree of control and sway over others. This power can delude a person and corrupt him. Using his power, he can do whatever he wishes. Take Firʿawn for example. His power and authority over the Children of Israel caused him to subjugate and enslave them. In fact, he went to the extent of declaring himself the supreme lord. Also, justice isn’t limited to the courts. Rather, a just leader is one who fulfills the rights and responsibilities placed over him. If with this power and authority, a leader carries out his duties to Allah and to the people, he is just and he will be protected under Allah’s throne.
Next is the young man or woman who devotes his or her youth in worshiping Allah. Youth is a time when a person’s physical prowess is at its peak, but one lacks in wisdom and insight. This strength and vigor can lead a person to feel untouchable and unaccountable. It gives the impression that they can do whatever they want. And especially at this stage of life, everything draws and attracts their attention. Fashion, drugs, sex, peer pressure all pull him or her towards sin. Yet, if he or she subdues the lower-self ignoring all that pulls them toward sin, and dedicates their time to Allah’s worship and obedience, then they too shall find shade under Allah’s throne.
Third is the man whose heart is attached to the masjid. A masjid is built for prayer and worship. The word itself is derived from sujūd or prostration. Masjid is a place of sajdah. In fact, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The closest that a person can be to his Lord is when he is prostrating”. It is the love of Allah that draws him to prayer, and the love of prayer that draws him to the masjid. Abdullah ibn Mas’ūd t reports that during the Prophet’s ﷺ time, everyone would pray in the masjid. Only a hypocrite whose hypocrisy was known would leave prayer in congregation. If a person could not walk himself to the masjid, he would be carried by others just to participate in the congregation. The heart being attached to the masjid also means that he is always thinking about prayer. He schedules and plans his day around the prayer.
Then we have the two people who meet for the sake of Allah. Their love for each other is due to faith. It is Imān and Islām that connects them. They get together for Allah’s sake and part ways for Allah’s sake. The Prophet ﷺ mentioned that once there was a man who set out to visit his brother (in Faith) who lived in another town. While he was on his way, Allah sent an angel to him disguised as a man. The angel asked him, “Where do you intend to go?” He said, “I intend to visit my brother in this town”. The angel asked, “Have you done any favor to him [for which you are now going to get payment or reward]?” He said, “No, I have no desire but to visit him because I love him for the sake of Allah, the Exalted, and Glorious.” Thereupon the angel said, “I am a messenger to you from Allah (to inform you) that Allah loves you as you love him (for His sake)”.
The fifth individual is one who is enticed by a woman. Allah mentions in the Qur’ān that love of women has been adorned for you. It is part of a man’s natural and primordial disposition that he is attracted to women. If he were to find himself in a situation where a woman of beauty, wealth, and power seduces him or entices him towards sin, it will require a great amount of courage and self-restraint to refrain from it. We never ask Allah to put us in this type of situation or any other difficult test. One who asks Allah for these types of difficulties is in a way challenging Allah. We don’t know how we will react in these types of situations. We always ask Allah for ʿāfiyah. If, however, a person finds himself in this situation and turns away from sin due to the fear of Allah, Allah will shade him under His throne.
One of the easiest manners in which a person can attain Allah’s pleasure is charity. In this world, everything is gauged by its monetary value. The epitome of success in the material world is judged by the amount of wealth one possesses. Every so often, magazines and articles are published listing the top wealthiest people in the world. Money and wealth have become the goal in life. Mankind was not created for the material realm. Mankind was created for Allah. This next type of person is one who spends from the wealth which Allah has given him in charity. It’s not just the fact that he gives charity which in itself has tremendous reward, it’s the manner in which he gives it. He gives it in a way where his left hand doesn’t know what his right hand gave. This can have two possible meanings. Either he gives wealth in charity in a manner where he doesn’t care how much he’s giving, or he gives it so secretly that his own limbs have no idea how much he gave which also implies that he is not giving it to show off. This is a sign that he loves Allah and prefers Him over the dunyā.
The last and final person mentioned in the ḥadīth is one who remembers Allah in solitude and tears overwhelm his eyes and flow down his cheek. This person loves Allah and fears Him equally. His crying can be out of repentance for a sin he committed, or it can be out of longing and yearning for Allah. His crying in solitude indicates that its genuinely for Allah’s sake. Otherwise, when a person cries in front of others, it can spoil one’s sincerity. It is reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “There is no believing slave who sheds tears, even if the tears are like the head of a fly [in size], due of the fear of Allah, and they roll down his cheeks, except that Allah will forbid him from the Fire.”
Truly, some of the narrations about the Hereafter are frightening. Yet, there are others that give us hope. We should never become despondent of Allah’s mercy, and likewise continue to work for His sake and pleasure. This is a mere glimpse of the Day of Judgement, a reality as real as the world that surrounds us. The intelligent one will strive to secure a seat under Allah’s throne.
“Whoever desires this [life of] haste [over the everlasting Hereafter], We shall hasten for him therein whatever [of the world] We so will, for whomever we intend. Then We shall appoint for him Hell. He shall enter it condemned, [forever] banished. But whoever desires [the reward of] the Hereafter and [duly] strives for it with the striving [rightfully] due for it, while being a believer, then such as these shall [find] their striving forever appreciated [by their Lord]. (Qur’ān 17:18-19)
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