On the Judgment Day Everyone will be Recompensed
Outlining man’s erroneous concept of success and failure, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala then informs us of what will happen on the Day of Judgment.
The total destruction of all that is on earth and its systematic leveling is one of the upheavals that overwhelm the universe on the Day of Resurrection. Entire mankind will be raised from its graves for its accountability before Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala will appear before His creation along with His angels. That is when His power and majesty will be actually manifested before mankind. This is a moment when His slaves will be filled with reverence, awe and fear. This is similar to a king’s coming to his court which is awe-inspiring for the viewers and yet frightening.
Hell on that day will be very close to its prospective dwellers. What actually happens and how it happens is part of the divine knowledge Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has chosen to withhold until that day.
These ayaat, with their captivating rhythm portray a scene which strikes fear into people’s hearts, and makes it apparent in their eyes. The earth is being systematically leveled; Allah Almighty judges everyone; the angels stand there rank on rank, while hell is brought near and set in readiness.
At that moment “man will remember.” Man, who lived unaware of the wisdom behind the trial with worldly riches or with deprivation; who devoured the inheritance of orphans greedily; who craved for money and did not care for the orphans or the needy; who tyrannized, spread corruption and turned away from divine guidance, will then remember the truth and take account of what he beholds.
But alas! It is too late: “…what good to him will be the remembrance?” [89: 23] The time for remembrance is over, so remembrance on the Day of Judgment and reward will not profit anybody. It serves merely as an act of grief for a chance given but not taken in this present life.
When man is fully aware of the true nature of his situation he says despairingly, “Oh, I wish I had sent ahead [some good] for my life!” [89: 24] For the true life is indeed the life hereafter. It is the one which is worth preparing for. “Oh, I wish I had…” is a sigh of evident regret and grief, but it is the most a man can do for himself then.
The Surah goes on to portray man’s fate after his desperate sighing and useless wishing. On that Day Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala will severely punish those who disobeyed Him. They are the ones who did wrong and committed crime on the earth.
These ayaat serve as an address to the Prophet and the believers, reminding them that their Lord will punish and chain those who tortured and chained others. But the two kinds of punishment are entirely different. Meager is the torture that any creature can administer, but great is that inflicted by the Creator. Let the tyrants continue with their punishment and persecution; they will have their turn and be the sufferers of a punishment which is beyond all imagination.
Amidst all this unimaginable horror comes an address to the believers, “O soul at peace! Return to your Lord, well-pleased and well-pleasing. Enter, then, together with My [righteous] servants! Enter My paradise!” [89: 27-30]
It is a tender, compassionate and reassuring address, “O soul at peace!” It speaks of freedom and ease. “Return to your Lord,” after your alienation on earth and your separation from the One you belong to return now to your Lord with Whom you have strong ties, “well-pleased and well-pleasing.” It is a gentle address which spreads compassion and satisfaction.
The believer’s is a soul at peace with its Lord, certain of its way, confident of its fate. It is a soul satisfied in all eventualities, happiness or affliction, wealth or poverty. It entertains no doubts; it is free from transgressions. These ayaat instill a feeling of intimacy and peace.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu concerning Allah’s statement: “O soul at peace! Return to your Lord, well-pleased and well-pleasing, that he said, “This Ayah was revealed while Abu Bakr was sitting (with the Prophet). So he said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! There is nothing better than this!’ The Prophet then replied,
أَمَا إِنَّهُ سَيُقَالُ لَكَ هَذَا
“This will indeed be said to you.”
May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala help us recognize the reality of this life, and bless us with nafs-mutma’ina and may we be among those who will be given glad tiding of Jannah at the time of their death, aameen.
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