Hereafter is a mystery to many, even to those who believe in God. Recent Novel Prize winning discovery reveals that the brain has a positioning system that creates a map of the space surrounding us to navigate our way through a complex environment. This discovery may serve as a reminder for people who do not believe in God or in the Hereafter. However, there are even people who believe in God and His scripture are not clear or confused about the Hereafter. Hence, God has repeatedly reminded us to be certain about the Hereafter removing any doubt from our hearts to navigate our way through safe and secure return to our final destination. God is merciful on us and has shown us multiple ways to think about to establish certainty in our hearts regarding the matter:
This life is short
This life is so short that we would realize that we had been for half a day. Thus, we should not get preoccupied with this worldly life. However, it’s nothing wrong to have the materials in our possessions as long as we remember our obligations to God and thank Him for those things:
[17:52] The day He summons you, you will respond by praising Him, and you will then realize that you had lasted in this life but a short while.
[23:112] He said, “How long have you lasted on earth? How many years?”
[23:113] They said, “We lasted a day or part of a day. Ask those who counted.”
[23:114] He said, “In fact, you stayed but a brief interim, if you only knew.
[79:46] The day they see it, they will feel as if they lasted one evening or half a day.
Hereafter is far better
God has informed us that the Hereafter is far better than the worldly life, then we should set our priority to make it happen to us when we will meet Him:
[4:77]… Say, “The enjoyment of this world is too little while the Hereafter is far better for those who are aware of it, and you never suffer the slightest injustice.”
[6:32] The life of this world is no more than illusion and vanity, while the abode of the Hereafter is far better for the righteous. Do you not understand?
[7:169] Subsequent to them, He substituted new generations who inherited the scripture. But they opted for the worldly life instead, saying, “We will be forgiven.” But then they continued to opt for the materials of this world. Did they not make a covenant to uphold the scripture, and not to say about God except the truth? Did they not study the scripture? Certainly, the abode of the Hereafter is far better for those who maintain righteousness. Do you not understand?
[12:109] We did not send before you except men whom we inspired, chosen from the people of various communities. Did they not roam the earth and see the consequences for those before them? The abode of the Hereafter is far better for those who lead a righteous life. Would you then understand?
[28:60] Everything that is given to you is only the material of this life, and its vanity. What is with God is far better, and everlasting. Do you not understand?
[43:45] Also many ornaments. All these are the temporary materials of this lowly life. The Hereafter – at your Lord – is far better for the righteous.
[87:16-17]Indeed, you are preoccupied with this first life. Even though the Hereafter is far better and everlasting.
[93:4] The Hereafter is far better for you than this first (life).
No rescue from punishment for sin
The Quran teaches us that there is no help, trade, ransom or intercession in the Hereafter. Now if anyone believes that there is deliverance or rescue from punishment for sin on the Day of Judgment, then how he/she can claim that he/she is certain and clear about it:
[2:48] Beware of the day when no soul can avail another soul, no intercession will be accepted, no ransom can be paid, nor can anyone be helped.
[2:123] Beware of the day when no soul will help another soul, no ransom will be accepted, no intercession will be useful, and no one will be helped.
[2:254] O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the provisions we have given to you, before a day comes where there is no trade, no friendship, and no intercession. The disbelievers are the unjust.
[3:91] Those who disbelieve and die as disbelievers, an earthfull of gold will not be accepted from any of them, even if such a ransom were possible. They have incurred painful retribution; they will have no helpers.
[14:31] Exhort My servants who believed to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and to give (to charity) from our provisions to them, secretly and publicly, before a day comes where there is neither trade, nor friendship.
[20:109] On that day, intercession will be useless, except for those permitted by the Most Gracious, and whose utterances conform to His will.
[23:101] When the horn is blown, they will have no relationship among them on that day, nor will they care about one another.
[34:23] Intercession with Him will be in vain, unless it coincides with His will. When their minds are finally settled down, and they ask, “What did your Lord say,” they will say, “The truth.” He is the Most High, the Most Great.
[39:44] Say, “All intercession belongs to God.” To Him belongs all sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, then to Him you will be returned.
[43:86] None of those whom they idolize beside Him possess any power to intercede, unless their intercession coincides with the truth, and they fully know.
[74:48] The intercession of the intercessors will never help them.
[82:19] The day, no soul will have power (laa-tamliku) to do anything for another soul, and all-decision (al-amru), on that day, is to God.
Note: The verse 82:19 has coded a crucial significance in clarifying the anticipated event of no rescue from punishment for sin on a Day of the Judgment because of: (1) the revelation order (82) is as same as the sura number (82), (2) the sum of the revelation order and the sura number [8+2+8+2= 20] is equal to the total of digits of sura and verse number [8+2+1+9= 20], (3) the sura is composed of 19 verses and the position of the verse is the last and 19th while the verse ends with the word, allah, and (4) the word, laa-tamliku used as verb with negative particle in this verse while the word, maaliki used as noun in (1:4) having the same root dealing with a Day of the Judgment.
Criteria to ascertain the Hereafter
God has given us many well defined criteria to substantiate whether we are really certain about the Hereafter or doubtful about it:
[6:92] This (Quran) is a blessed scripture that we have revealed, confirming the previous scriptures, that you may warn the most important community and all those around it. Those who believe in the Hereafter will believe in this (scripture), and will observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) being reverent.
[6:113] This is to let the minds of those who do not believe in the Hereafter listen to such fabrications, and accept them, and thus expose their real convictions.
[6:150] Say, “Bring your witnesses who would testify that God has prohibited this or that.” If they testify, do not testify with them. Nor shall you follow the opinions of those who reject our revelations, and those who disbelieve in the Hereafter, and those who stray away from their Lord.
[23:74] Those who disbelieve in the Hereafter will surely deviate from the right path.
[27:3] Who observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and they are, with regard to the Hereafter, absolutely certain.
[27:4] Those who do not believe in the Hereafter, we adorn their works in their eyes. Thus, they continue to blunder.
[27:66] In fact, their knowledge concerning the Hereafter is confused. In fact, they harbor doubts about it. In fact, they are totally heedless thereof.
[30:7] They care only about things of this world that are visible to them, while being totally oblivious to the Hereafter.
[31:4] Who observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and as regards the Hereafter, they are absolutely certain.
[34:8] “Either he fabricated lies about God, or he is crazy.” Indeed, those who disbelieve in the Hereafter have incurred the worst retribution; they have gone far astray.
[34:21] He never had any power over them. But we thus distinguish those who believe in the Hereafter from those who are doubtful about it. Your Lord is in full control of all things.
[38:46] We bestowed upon them a great blessing: awareness of the Hereafter.
[39:9] Is it not better to be one of those who meditate in the night, prostrating and staying up, being aware of the Hereafter, and seeking mercy of their Lord? Say, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.
[39:45] When has been mentioned God alone, has shrunk in aversion hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter; but when has been mentioned those other than Him, then they rejoice.
[41:7] Those who do not give the obligatory charity and with regard to the Hereafter, they are disbelievers.
[53:27] Those who disbelieve in the Hereafter have given the angels feminine names.
[74:53] Indeed, they do not fear the Hereafter.
[75:21] While disregarding the Hereafter.
The details from God given ways: (1) this life is short, (2) Hereafter is far better, (3) no rescue from punishment for sin on the Day of Judgment and (4) criteria of making sure about Hereafter are eliminating any confusion as well as disregarding any misconception or myth of rescue from punishment for sin on that day. There is no rescue from punishment for sin in the form of help, trade, ransom or intercession on that day stated in many verses but the verse 82:19 has explicitly confirmed that any concept of rescue from punishment for sin on that day is a misconception or myth. However, what is found in the verses 20:109 and 34:23 that intercession would take place as permitted by God which acknowledges that everyone in Paradise will intercede on behalf of his or her beloved ones but this intercession will work if the person’s beloved one deserves to go to Paradise. Thus, though, intercession would take place, is utterly useless that should not confuse us.
John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser, and Edvard Moser have won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.” It may serve as a physical evidence for current and subsequent generations of people that God has not only sent down guidance but He has also given us way to interpret and follow it if we make initiatives (17:36, 27:93). Now if the Hereafter is in our radar, our guidance from God would navigate our way to reach there without being lost or confused.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.