10 Nov Belief in The Hereafter: Part 7
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF BELIEF IN THE HEREAFTER FOR THE SOCIETY AND INDIVIDUALS? (Part 1)
Belief in the Hereafter is one of the essentials of Islamic creed. According to Islam, there is a Day of Judgment when everyone is going to be called to account for their good deeds and evil deeds in a divine court where they are going to be either punished or rewarded. The twenty-eighth verse of surah al-Baqarah says:
“How can ye reject the faith in Allah?- seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye return.”
Belief in the Hereafter is the first condition of living a peaceful and happy life in worldly life. Those who do not believe in the Hereafter are poor people who do not recognize any moral values and disturb individuals’ and society’s peace and safety. In societies in which people do not have faith or have weak faith, all kinds of evil works such as lying, theft, fornication, murder and immorality can be performed freely; and eventually these societies collapse.
Humankind desires immortality and wants reach eternity with their beloved ones, beauties and good deeds. We see that spirit seeks eternality and can satisfy its thoughts and imagination only with it. It provides joy of life for a person who lost a beloved one to think and believe that he is going to live with him eternally one day. One can find strength to endure the pains of all negative incidents, unfairness, cruelties and injustice, incurable illnesses and disorders he comes across in worldly life only by believing in the Hereafter. When a person is wronged, it is the biggest consolation for him to think that everyone is going to be punished for what they have done. It is a great haven for those who are disabled from birth to think that enduring it with the help of belief in the Hereafter is going to be rewarded.
Yes, one who believes in the Hereafter knows that he is going to be called to account for his deeds whether big or small, and he is going to be either punished or rewarded in the end. And thus, he leads his life in accordance with this.
In Risale-i Nur Collection, only four of the hundreds of proofs that belief in the Hereafter is the most important essential of social life and individual life and the basis of happiness and perfection are stated as follows:
The First Proof: It is only with the thought of Paradise that children, who form almost half of the mankind, can endure all the deaths around them, which appear to them to be grievous and frightening, and strengthen the morale of their weak and delicate beings. With the thought of Paradise, they find hope in their vulnerable spirits, prone to weeping, and may live happily.
For example, thinking of Paradise, a child may say: “My little brother or friend has died and become a bird in Paradise. He is flying around Paradise and living more happily than us.” The frequent deaths before their unhappy eyes of other children like themselves or of grown-ups will otherwise destroy all their resistance and morale, making their subtle faculties, such as their spirits, hearts, and minds, weep together with their eyes; they will either decline utterly or become crazy, wretched animals.
Second Proof: It is only through the life of the hereafter that the elderly, who form half of mankind, can endure the proximity of the grave, and be consoled at the thought that their lives, to which they are firmly attached, will soon be extinguished and their fine worlds come to an end. It is only with the hope of eternal life that they can respond to the grievous despair they feel in their emotional child-like spirits at the thought of death. Those worthy, anxious fathers and mothers, so deserving of compassion and in need of tranquility and peace of mind, will otherwise feel a terrible spiritual turmoil and distress in their hearts, and this world will become a dark prison for them, and life even, grievous torment.
Third Proof: It is only the thought of Hell-fire that checks the turbulent emotions of youths, the most vigorous element in the life of society, and their violent excesses, restraining them from aggression, oppression, and destruction, and ensuring that the life of society continues tranquilly. If not for fear of Hell, in accordance with the rule ‘Might is right,’ in pursuing their desires, those drunken youths would turn the worlds of the wretched weak and powerless into Hell, and elevated humanity into base animality.
If we have a look at the world today, how can we explain the terrible and formidable situation humanity has fallen into? Will the world not be a more livable place if people think that they will be accounted for what they do while there are wars, wrongdoings and injustice everywhere and if belief in the hereafter helps them? Then, the communities that want security, peace and clam should make belief in the hereafter dominant in the community.
Fourth Proof: The most comprehensive center of man’s worldly life, and its mainspring, and a paradise, refuge, and fortress of worldly happiness, is the life of the family. Everyone’s home is a small world for him. And the life and happiness of his home and of family are possible through genuine, earnest, and loyal respect and true, tender, and self-sacrificing compassion. This true respect and genuine kindness may be felt due to the idea of the members of the family having an everlasting companionship and friendship and togetherness, and their parental, filial, brotherly, and friendly relations continuing for all eternity in a limitless life, and their believing this.
One says, for example: “My wife will be my constant companion in an everlasting world and eternal life. It does not matter if she is now old and ugly, for she will have an immortal beauty.” He will tell himself that he will be as kind and devoted as he can for the sake of that permanent companionship, and treat his elderly wife lovingly and kindly as though she was a beautiful houri. The wife will think about the same things for her old husband and shows him respect sincerely and loyally.
A companionship that was to end in eternal separation after an hour or two of brief, apparent friendship would otherwise afford only superficial, temporary, feigned, animal-like feelings, and false compassion and artificial respect. As with animals, self-interest and other overpowering emotions would prevail over the respect and compassion, transforming that worldly paradise into Hell.
We cannot appoint a guard for everyone but we can place guards of consciousness full of belief in the Hereafter in people’s hearts. Then instead of anarchy, despotism and cruelty, obedience, respect and justice will rule in the society. Individuals, families, constitutions, communities and even the whole world will live in peace.