“Every soul will taste death. Then you will be returned to Us.”
(Qur’an, 19: 57)
Yet most of the time man forgets all this, and imagines that he is eternal. He lives in pride and arrogance.
He forgets that he is a helpless creature created by God, that he will one day die and have to account for his deeds in the sight of God. Furthermore, he becomes passionately attached to this world, which is smaller than a grain of sand in the grand scale of the universe.
And yet every person will soon die and be buried in a tiny corner of this world..
God will certainly show him how powerless he really is before he proceeds to the life of the hereafter.
Unless a person dies young, the worst example of helplessness in the life of this world is old age.
Most people spend their lives wrapped up in rushing to and fro.
As time flows quickly by.
Days, months and years rush by in the blink of an eye.
Yet for some reason people try to ignore this fact. It is as if they think they will never grow old.
Yet the days of youth, that they so fondly imagine will never end, are really very short.
Almost everyone realizes that he will grow old one day. Yet young people always feel that those days are very far off.
They refuse to accept that they will one day be old, weak and helpless.
Time destroys everything. That is a law of the world.
Human beauty also fades easily.
The skin, the most important component of human beauty, loses elasticity as time goes by, grows thin and starts to sag. It loses all life, like dry mud.
The hair turns white and falls out with old age.
It is not only peoples’ appearance that grows old, but their senses too. Since the nerve cells are not renewed, people suffer sensory loss as they grow older. They began to have poorer vision, and poorer hearing …
The damage and decay visible in the human body is a striking example of the transitory nature of the life of this world.
Celebrities, artists, film stars and politicians whose beauty has amazed the world in their youth are very different in old age.
They lose all that strength and beauty.
The famous people you are now watching in youth and old age are a symbol of the transitory nature of this world.
Your own skin will one day be exactly like that.
And when you look in the mirror, this is exactly what you are going to see.
THE HELPLESSNESS OF MAN
Even at a very early age, while he is still filled with plans for the future, a person can fall ill and die.
Millions of people in our time die while still young from cancer or similar incurable diseases.
There are many viruses for which no cure has yet been found. And a tiny virus is enough to end a person’s life.
Nobody can ever be certain that he will not one day fall prey to such a disease.
For instance, one of the vessels in the brain can burst for no good reason.
Increasing blood pressure kills the brain cells, and the individual may spend what remains of his life crippled, paralyzed, or mentally handicapped.
Sickness is not the only peril lying in wait in the life of this world.
A person can die or be crippled in an accident.
And it is very probably that among those reading this article there will be young people, or people who will die at a totally unexpected moment.
You yourself could be one of them.
The helplessness that people encounter in their daily lives is nothing less than proof of the imperfect and transitory nature of the life of this world.
This body needs to be constantly cleaned, fed and cared for.
Other living things are not actually as needy as man. Flowers, for instance, are always perfectly clean and delightfully perfumed and have no concept of looking after themselves, despite having emerged from the muddy soil.
If God so wished, man could also be as clean as a flower at every moment of his life. Or else he might never fall ill, never experience pain and suffering. Yet man has deliberately been created imperfect, weak and in need of care, in order that he should recognize his own helplessness.
History is full of incidents warning that the life of this world is only transitory and that death is near.
One of these warning incidents occurred in 1912: the worst maritime catastrophe in the history of the world.
The Titanic, the largest and most luxurious liner that had ever been built, was described as the pride of the British.
Fifty-five metres high and 275 long, the ship was technically-speaking state of the art.
Many people said the Titanic was “unsinkable.” Yet it struck a giant iceberg on its first voyage and was seriously damaged.
And sank under the waters of the Atlantic in a terrifying manner.
1,500 passengers drowned in the icy waters.
Since the ship was regarded as “unsinkable,” there were very few lifeboats on it. Among those who perished were wealthy and aristocratic people from Britain.
The Titanic tragedy is a historical lesson, showing the kind of disasters that those who grow arrogant on account of their wealth and those who forget that God is the only absolute power can find themselves facing.
In Sura 57 of the Qur’an, God reminds us of the truth about the life of this world in these terms:
“Know that the life of this world is merely a game and a diversion and ostentation and a cause of boasting among yourselves and trying to outdo one another in wealth and children: like the plant-growth after rain which delights the cultivators, but then it withers and you see it turning yellow, and then it becomes broken stubble. In the hereafter there is terrible punishment but also forgiveness from God and His good pleasure. The life of this world is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion.”
DEATH is INEVITABLE
Most people try to avoid thinking about their own deaths.
They prefer not to think that the day will come when they no longer are living in this world.
And yet death is all around.
During the course of this film, some 6,000 people will die in the world.
People do not witness death in their daily lives.
Death is used to create excitement on the television and in the cinema.
Yet death is actually the inevitable end awaiting everyone.
And is the greatest truth in the life of this world.
Billions of people have so far lived and died in this world.
None of these people who lived a hundred years ago is alive today.
In another hundred years or so, all of the people you are seeing at the moment will be dead. And not just them, but everyone you know, love or dislike, and you yourself, will be dead.
Time is actually a countdown to the hour of people’s deaths.
For instance, it is already ordained how many more days, hours and minutes everybody reading this article will live.
And that remaining span is all the time drawing closer to zero.
And eventually, the inevitable moment will arrive, and the countdown will stop …
Your heart that has beaten for so many years, will cease to beat …
And you will breathe your last breath …
And death will take you away.
We must not forget that with death, a person embarks on his true life, one that will last for ever.
Every human being will be resurrected after death and have to account to God for his deeds.
Those who believe in Him with a sincere faith during their lives in this world, who truly serve Him and who repent their sins will find their reward in the endless blessings of paradise.
Man must know that everything in the life of this world is only transitory. It is God who is timeless. In one verse, God describes the life of this world in these words:
“Everyone on earth will pass away; but the Face of your Lord will remain, Master of Majesty and Generosity.”
(Qur’an, 55: 26-27)
Everyone must surrender himself to God, trust in Him and live by the values He has taught.
He must be tolerant of and modest, forgiving and helpful to others. He must behave honestly, sincerely and justly, and be willing to make sacrifices.
A person who displays these virtues will be protected from the temptations of selfish desires. Only in that way can he be saved. As God has revealed in the Qur’an:
“…It is the people who are safe-guarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful.”
(Qur’an, 59: 9)