'Earthly life is once, so why is it swamped with disparity, prejudice, lack of balance and suffering?'

Does the above question dignify a believer?   It does not, yet it keeps raising its head every so often.

Fortunes and misfortunes of life are commonly misconstrued as indications of Divine blessing for the undeserving and His wrath on the blameless.  Not just the faithless, but many who claim to be devout also find themselves engulfed by a sea of confusion during trials and tribulations, scowling and complaining of God's "inaction" or "injustice."  The bewilderment stems typically from a selective reading of the Glorious Quran, resulting in ritualistic faith that stays on the surface but seldom enters the heart.  Consequently, the repeated confirmation by God Almighty of earthly life being a "fleeting" one and the permanent life yet to come is plainly ignored.  Perhaps subconsciously, it establishes a dismissive attitude concerning the ultimate fact - the Hereafter.

"Lo! these love fleeting life, and put behind them (the remembrance of) a grievous day."  (76:27 - Glorious Quran, Surah Insan or Dahr [Man or Time]). 

The chain of reactions ensuing from this oversight are intertwined.

The Hereafter is the most vital connecting piece of REALISM between the two realms, the dismissal of which results in the absence of prioritizing our values.  Quoting the author of a Facebook note I recently read: "Life comes only once so is it just when a person is born ugly or poor and why on the other hand are some born rich and beautiful. Why do some die young and why some die so old, why are some more intelligent then the others?"

And the plight of many others can be still worse.

Be that as it may, looking at life through the prism of REALISM tells a very different story.  It reshuffles our thoughts, bringing to the forefront the very temporary nature of one's joys and miseries clear to view.  It helps to dispel the materialism and superficiality earthly notions are wrapped in, along with the Quranic ratification that human existence in this planet was never meant to be an 'earthly heaven' but a test of one's merits and demerits.   Keeping matters in perspective, one's preferences are reorganized with the realization that worldly pleasure and grief are earthbound.  Beyond that, they carry no weight.   Thereafter, what felt like affliction yesterday, feels a lot less daunting today.  This is prioritizing our values on the basis of REALISM.   Do not misread it as a psychological twist.

"Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with affliction ?"  (29:2 - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Ankabut [The Spider]).

"And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the steadfast, Who say, when a misfortune striketh them: Lo! we are Allah's and lo! unto Him we are returning."  (2:155/156  - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Baqra [The Cow]).

"Say: He is able to send punishment upon you from above you or from beneath your feet, or to bewilder you with dissension and make you taste the tyranny one of another.  See how We display the revelations so that they may understand."  (6:65  - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Anam [The Cattle]).

"And verily We shall try you till We know those of you who strive hard (for the cause of Allah) and the steadfast, and till We test your record."   (47:31  - Glorious Quran, Surah Muhammaad).

Modern Christianity ignores the existence of Hell in the Hereafter.  The altered versions of the Bible barely contain any mention of Hell nor the Day of Accountability.  Christian preachers generally consider it impolite to talk about punishment in Hell or the Day of Judgment.   At most, they may portray the concept of punishment as a 'temporary state of mind,' claiming that the mercy of God will eventually lead all good and bad people into an eternally blissful state of Paradise.  Thus, the existence and importance of justice is completely overlooked.  Some Muslims attempt to keep their views in conformity with this notion to appease their non-Muslim acquaintances or audiences as a part of the system of assimilation and diplomacy.  It's one of the causes for a selective study of the Quran leading to an attitude of snubbing the Hereafter.  Obviously, it goes without saying, there is NO room for any such wishful thinking in the Quran.   The Quran makes it clear that it's God Almighty Who sets the rules, and those who reject those rules are not upon the same level as those who don't.  The flawlessness of Divine Justice makes Salvation or Retribution (each having varying grades) incumbent.

"Or do those who commit ill-deeds suppose that We shall make them as those who believe and do good works, the same in life and death ?  Bad is their judgment!"  (45:21  - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Jathiyah [The Kneeling]).

"Is one who followeth the pleasure of Allah as one who hath earned condemnation from Allah, whose habitation is the Fire, a hapless journey's end ?"  (3:162  - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Imran [The Family of Imran]).

"The blind man is not equal with the seer;
Nor is darkness (tantamount to) light;"
(35:19-20  - Glorious Quran, Surah Fatir [The Originator of Creation]).

"There are degrees (of grace and reprobation) with Allah, and Allah is Seer of what they do."  (3:163  - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Imran [The Family of Imran]).  

A lot of us frown asking one another, why do so many sinners go unpunished in this world, and why do the guiltless suffer for their innocence?   Again, the mystification arises just as much from  ritualistic faith as having no faith at all.  I wouldn't expect them be aware that God Almighty has already given the answer, referring to the Day of Judgment as "an appointed term."  He asserts that if it wasn't for the Day of Judgment (or that appointed term), not a single violator would be spared in this world.
"If Allah were to take mankind to task for their wrong-doing, He would not leave hereon a living creature, but He reprieveth them to an appointed term, and when their term cometh they cannot put (it) off an hour nor (yet) advance (it)."   (16:61 - Glorious Quran, Surah An-Nahl [The Bees]).

"If Allah took mankind to task by that which they deserve, He would not leave a living creature on the surface of the earth; but He reprieveth them unto an appointed term, and when their term cometh - then verily (they will know that) Allah is ever Seer of His slaves."   (35:45  - Glorous Quran, Surah Fatir [The Originator of Creation]).

"Deem not that Allah is unaware of what the wicked do. He but giveth them a respite till a day when eyes will stare (in terror),  As they come hurrying on in fear, their heads upraised, their gaze returning not to them, and their hearts as air."  (14:42-43  - Glorious Quran, Surah Ibrahim [Abraham]).

After the theme of Monothesim (Tawheed), the Glorious Quran speaks most on the topic of the Day of Judgment (Qiyamah) -  the accountability of all people before God Almighty, an absolute certainty without a doubt.

The assertions of REALISM in the Quran are not supposed to be accepted on the basis of 'blind faith' as is generally assumed by both traditionalists and modernists.  The Quran reiterates throughout the importance of 'investigation prior to belief' - to think carefully as you read the Divine words, reflect, ponder, contemplate and inquire from your inner self concerning every creation of God on earth and in the universe.

"Those who remember God while standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain!"  (3:191 - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Imran [Family of Imran]).   

"Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which profits men, and the water that Allah sends down from the cloud, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between the heaven and the earth, there are signs for a people who understand."   (2:164  - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Baqra [The Cow]).

There are many more Verses instructing us to be perceptive, discerning and inquiring.

Grasping the unseen by contemplating on the Divine words is not the same as searching for the unseen through dubious arguments and cynical wranglings. Skeptical analysis and a quest for tangible proofs only pushes the human mind from one block of perplexity to another.  It unravels nothing.  It cannot.  The approach is fundamentally flawed.  God has categorically commanded that He is to be accepted as the unseen without any palpable, perceptible or material portents.  This is a Divine Decree for the temporary dwellers of earth.  Thus, in a debate, if one is able to "scientifically" prove His existence, that would contradict the Quran.  But the Quran cannot be contradicted for it has no contradictions.  Therefore, as a part of the Divine Ordinance, disputes and squabbling on the discoverable or discernible existence of the Divine Power will never be conclusive.

"Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels ? Then the case would be already judged. All cases go back to Allah (for judgment)."   (2:210  - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Baqra [The Cow]).

Life transcends the boundaries accessible by humankind on earth and continues its journey far beyond the grave, deep into the unseen.  Try to envisage this infinite expanse!  It makes all earthly matters over which we either fret or relish within the span of our lives appear as trivial as a drop in the ocean.
"Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of mankind; but most of mankind know not."   (40:57  - Glorious Quran, Surah Al-Momin  [The Believer]).

If you are still wavering that this essay is delusional .... it isn't.  The delusion is embedded only within the challenging spirit of the human mind itself.

"O mankind! Your rebellion is only against yourselves."   (10:23  - Glorious Quran, Surah Yunus [Jonah]).




  1. Dynamic piece and a very enjoyable read. I've also often thought that discreet skepticism is getting a widespread problem among the so-called pious ones as well. The target is almost always the truth of the Hereafter. Even a slight subconscious oversight of Realism (Hereafter as you so rightly meant) leads to a hunch within a person that everything may end at death. A bit like putting all your eggs in one basket with notions of life on earth is the only thing you have, you lose it and everything is over. Undoubtedly there are elements of skepticism and cynical paranoia that play predominant roles in this human condition in spite of claims of belief. The great Quranic references with conforming arguments have articulated the flaws of such a condition very precisely in this article. Allah bless.

  2. Btw, this image with the beautiful Quranic lines over the clouds is breathtaking! All praise be to Allah, The Almighty!

  3. Salaam, and thank you sister Heba. You see it right. Negligence of the Hereafter is an oversight much like putting all of one's eggs in one basket. And yes, I love those Quranic lines too. Actually it's not possible to pick the best verses of the Quran because they are all so beautiful.

  4. Exhilarating post. Love it. Thanks my sis. As usual, so correctly perceived.

  5. Yeah, really memmerizing. Love this piece. Wonderfully penned Sister Zainab.



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