Islamic Perspective

Concept of ‘Worldly Life’ & ‘Life Hereafter’ in Quran & Sunnah

Almighty Allah bestowed the human beings with a lot of Blessings, gifts, skills etc and bestowed him the title “Ashraf al-Makhlukat” (The Supreme Creature or the crown of the creations). Allah revealed His last revelation (holy Quran) to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the ‘Seal’ of the prophets. Holy Quran is a comprehensive, authentic and complete book guiding man in every aspect of life, writes TAUSEEF PARRAY

Allah has bestowed mankind both with this ‘worldly life’ and with ‘life hereafter’. This ‘worldly life’, according to the Quran, is very little small and lasting as compared to the ‘life hereafter’ which is forever/ everlasting and permanent. In various verses holy Quran declares, on the one side, this ‘worldly life’ as play, amusement and past time and on the other side, the ‘life hereafter’ as everlasting, permanent, eternal life that will never end and above all that is the life indeed.
Holy Quran regards this ‘worldly life’ a brief … enjoyment (13:26); a deceiving thing (31:185); play and amusement (6:32 & 29:64) and its example is given [in (18:45)] as: “It is like the water (rain) which we send down from the sky and the vegetation of the earth mingles with its and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter” (18:45)

Worldly life

In holy Quran there are more 36 verses (19 & 17) in which there is mention of this ‘worldly life’ and ‘life hereafter’. Some of them are given below:
“Every one shall taste death…. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing)” (3:185). In this verse this ‘worldly life’ is compared with deception and it becomes clear that worldly life is non permanent, and is a deceiving thing, so one should try his utmost not to be deceived by this ‘worldly life’. Another place holy Quran declares this life as play, amusement, pastime etc. “And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement, but for better is the house and the hereafter for those who are pious, will you not then understand”. (6:32) From this verse it is clear that in comparison to the hereafter, the worldly life is nothing but an amusement and a play and in the hereafter to best house (Paradise) will be given/ bestowed to those who are pious and righteous persons, who fear Allah much and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds, which Allah has forbidden. Also in verses 64 & 37 of chapters 29 and 47 respectively, ‘worldly life’ is regarded as play, amusement and pastime and the ‘life hereafter’ is regarded as the life indeed i.e. the eternal life that will never end.
Holy Quran also warns of the ‘dire punishment’ to those who sold their hereafter for this ‘worldly life’. Holy Quran declares:
“Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the cost of price of the hereafter. Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped.” (2:86)
Holy Quran also say: “…If anybody kills a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land- it would be if he killed all mankind and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” (5:32) Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA), the Prophet of Allah (SAW) said, “the biggest of the great sins are: (i) To join others as partners in worshipping Allah (ii) To murder a human being (iii) To be undutiful to ones parents and (iv) To make a false statement or ‘to give a false witness’ (SAhih al-Bukhari, Vol 9, Hadith No. 10) also quoted in ‘The Noble Quran]
This verse (5:32) is the basis of ‘Human Rights in Islam’. It declares that a person who kills another person (without any reason) losts/ loses right to life (by killing the another).
Again holy Quran declares “Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the hereafter. But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared to the hereafter.” (9:38)
Regarding this verse (9:38) Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said:
“No body who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world, even if he were given the whole world and what ever is in it except the matyr who, on seeing and get killed again (in Allah’s cause)”. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol 4, Hadith no. 53; quoted in ‘The Noble Quran’) Thus, it is clear from the above mentionied verse (9:38) and hadith, that the value of hereafter can never be compared to this world and whatever is in it. Although human being who intends more and more (as Prophet (SAW) said, “If son of Adam is bestowed with two valleys of gold, he will inted/ desire for a third one”) after being rewarded good in the hereafter will never wish to come back to world. This clearly shows the value of ‘worldly life’ as compared to hereafter. This is understood only by those who know, who understand, who think, who parder, who reflect and who are the men of wisdom, understanding and reason. There is also a “lesson” in it for men of understanding rather for true believers.
Holy Quran also says that those people who are polytheists and wrong-doers (al-zalimun) will not be successful because they keep themselves busy in this world, forget this Lord, their religion and its teachings and deceive themselves by thinking and by remaining busy with this world. Regarding these people holy Quran declares: “Say (O Muhammad (SAW), ‘O my people! Work according to your way, surely, I also am working (in my way) and you will come to know for which of us will be the (happy) end in the hereafter. Certainly, the zalimun (polytheists and wrong doers) will not be successful”. (6:135)

Life hereafter

About ‘life hereafter’ holy Quran says:
“…. They will say, “we bear witness against ourselves”. It was the life of this world that deceive them. And they will bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers” (6:130). In verse 33-35 of chapter 43 and 169 of chapter 7 holy Quran says that ‘life hereafter’ is better only for those who are al-Mutaqqin (the pious). They will be provided with silver roofs, elavators door (of silver) and thrones (of silver) and adornments of gold (which is only an enjoyment) in the hereafter.
Once again in verse (28:83) holy Quran declares that those who rebel against the truth, do oppression and mischief for them is Hell (painful torment) and the home of the hereafter (paradise) is assigned to those who ‘rebel not’ against the truth, not do oppression and mischief in the land i.e. ‘good end is for those who are pious and righteous,. Quran also clearly declares that disbelievers love this ‘worldly life’ more and they forget hereafter. “Verily, these (disbelievers) love the present life of this world, and put behind them a heavy Day (that will be hard)” (76:27). “But the disbelievers prefer this worldly life, although the hereafter is better and more lasting” (87: 16,17). Also (93:4) declares: “And indeed the hereafter is better for you than the present life of the world)”. If any body is punished by Allah in this world, that punishment is very small/ little in comparison to the punishment of hereafter, as holy Quran says: “Such is the punishment (in this life), but truly the punishment of the hereafter is greater if they but know”. (68:33)
So, keeping in view these Quranic verses and ahadith, this ‘worldly life’ is nothing but a brief enjoyment, a valueless thing, a play and amusement, past time, a deceiving thing, non permanent, non eternal, an abode for sometime etc. Every Muslim should try his utmost not to remain busy with this ‘worldly life’ as the life of hereafter is far better, external, a reward, more lasting, better than present etc. for those who are pious, righteous- who fear and love Allah much, abstain from all-kinds of sins and evil-deeds.

Conclusion

To conclude, we (the Muslims) should always live and life of humbleness and without pride and arrogance as Prophet (SAW) said:
“Whosoever has pride in his heart equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall not enter paradise…. Pride is to completely disregard the truth, and to scorn (to look down on the people)”. (Narrated by Abdullah bin Masud in Sahih Muslim, vol 1, hadith no. 164, also quoted in ‘The Noble Quran’). (Writer is a Ph.D Research Scholar, (Islamic Studies) AMU, Aligarh. E-mail: tauseef.parray21@gmail.com)