Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine


RABI-UL-AWWAL / RABI - U - THANI
MAY 2004
Volume 17-05 No : 209
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Quran Speaks To You


A Full Life Beyond Death

A Full Life Beyond Death

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Do not think of those who are killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Indeed, they are living in the
presence of their Lord and are well provided for. Jubilant are they because of what Allah has
bestowed on them of His bounty and rejoicing at the happy news that those who have joined them,
but are left behind shall have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice at the glad tidings of
Allah’s grace and bounty and that Allah will not allow the reward of the believers to be lost.
(The House of Imran, Aal Imran 3:169-171)
Commentary by Sayyid Qutb. Translated by Adil Salahi and A.A.Shamis

 

The comments given in this surah on the events of the battle of Uhud bring home to people the truth about the rules of nature, Allah’s will and purpose, death and its inevitability. When all this has been fully explained, the surah goes on to emphasise a truism of far-reaching effect. That is the fact that those who are killed, struggling for the cause of Allah are not dead. They are indeed alive and they have provisions with their Lord. They are not isolated from the life of the Muslim community. Indeed, they are influenced by events and have their own influence on them. To influence and be influenced are basic characteristics of life. The surah also links firmly the life of those who fell martyrs in Uhud and subsequent events. It then describes the attitude of the true believers who have responded to the call of Allah and His Messenger after they had a shaking setback. They chased Quraish after they had withdrawn, fearing that the polytheists of Quraish might change their minds and launch a new attack on Madinah. They disregarded all that other people said about the great force mustered by Quraish and put their trust completely in Allah, giving true credence to the concept of faith. Allah has made the true nature of death and pre-destination very clear in the minds of true believers. He has also challenged the hypocrites to prove what they said about those who were killed in order to shake the believers and confused them. They had said:

“Had they but paid heed to us, they would not have been slain.” The challenge is given in these words: “ Ward off death from yourselves if what you say be true.”

Allah wishes to reassure the believers further by explaining to them the destiny of martyrs who are killed fighting for Allah’s cause. It should be stressed here that martyrs are only those who are killed when they fight for Allah’s cause with pure and total devotion. Such martyrs, as we learn are alive, enjoying all the characteristics of life. They are “provided for” by their Lord and they are jubilant at what Allah bestows on them of his bounty and they rejoice at what they learn of the destiny of the believers they had left behind and they are aware of the events that take place here in our world. All these are characteristics of the living: enjoyment, jubilation, being concerned, influencing events and being influenced. Why should anyone then grieve for parting with them when they are still alive and they have their ties with the living and with events? But that is not all: they receive much of Allah’s bounty and grace. Why do people then establish differences between a living martyr and those who continue in this world? Why do they separate this life from the life beyond, when there are no real differences or barriers, according to believers who have to deal in all events with Allah?

This is a very important fact indeed which shapes the Islamic concept of what takes place in the universe with its different sorts and forms of life. These are inter-related which means that death is not the end, but it is merely a dividing line between what exists before it and what comes after it. This concept has a great influence on the feelings and concepts of the believers and how they deal with life and death.

“Do not think of those who are killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Indeed, they are living in the presence of their Lord and are well provided for.” This is a clear statement which instructs the believers not to think of those who have been killed fighting for Allah’s cause as dead, despite their having departed from this life and are no longer with us. It is also a clear statement that they are “ living in the presence of their Lord.” This is followed by a description of the characteristics of the life they enjoy. First they are “provided for.” Although we, in this world do not know the exact sort of life enjoyed by the martyrs, except in as much as it is explained to us in the authentic Hadiths, this true statement by Allah who knows all is to inform us about them. In this particular case, we see some of our numbers being killed. As such, they depart from life as it appears to us. But because of the fact that they have been “ killed in Allah’s cause” and that they had devoted themselves totally to Allah with absolute sincerity and their souls have established a true link with Allah enabling them to sacrifice themselves for His cause, they are not dead. This is a piece of information which is absolutely correct because it is given to us by Allah Himself. He in fact commands us not to think of them as dead, but as living with their Lord, enjoying His provisions in the same way as we do.

He further tells us about their characteristics of life: “ Jubilant are they because of what Allah has bestowed on them of his bounty.” Whatever provisions they are given make them jubilant because they know that it has come to them out of Allah’s bounty. This proves that He is pleased with them, since they had been killed in His cause. What can give them more happiness than such provisions which indicate Allah’s pleasure?

They are also pre-occupied with those of their brethren whom they had left behind. They rejoice at knowing that Allah is pleased with them: And rejoicing at the happy news that those who have not joined them, but are left behind, shall have nothing to fear and that they will not grieve. They know that for certain as they have experienced it themselves. They are perfectly aware that this is the sort of treatment Allah gives to true believers as He makes sure of rewarding them.

This means a total change in the concept of death, when it is “in the cause of Allah”. It also changes the feelings of those who fight for Allah’s cause when they meet death as well as the feelings of those who survive. It gives a wider concept of life which goes well beyond our world with all its temporary aspects to allow for a sort of life which is totally unrestrained. Nothing of the barriers we associate with the transition from one form of life to another has any real significance. It is as a result of this and similar verses that Muslim fighters have always sought martyrdom in Allah’s cause. This has brought about the sort of heroism demons-trated by Muslim heroes in all battles.

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