How do you define human perfection and success? This question leads to another vital question. What is the goal of human creation? Thus, human perfection is achieved when its goal of creation is achieved. The process of perfection starts by looking matters and putting things in their right perspectives. The perfection is achieved when the ultimate aim is achieved. In Islam, a person achieves the stage perfection when she or he is completely happy with the Creator of this world and the creator is completely happy with the person. At this stage, a person exactly knows when to act on something and when to stop from something and how to behave rightly in every situation. Such a person can do the right things at the right times when he knows what the God wants him or her to do in each situation because God is the ultimate source of knowledge.
As one quotation goes, “When nobody around you seems to measure up, it's time to check your yardstick.” ~Bill Lemley.
What is the yardstick of measuring human perfection? According to Quran, those who are given the highest ranks in the Heaven are the most successful ones. According to a saying of Imam Ali (AS), the Hell is surrounded by easiness in life, in ordinate desires and love of the world while the Heaven is surrounded by life difficulties, life trials, hard life problems and struggles. Thus one way to measure up the success is to check what one is doing to be most successful in the life hereafter.
Often virtues, moral qualities and spirit of self-sacrifice mean leading the life of deprivation with simplicity and suffering hardships and difficulties. We find some consolation in the belief that on the Resurrection day these will be duly rewarded. The belief in the sovereignty of Allah consoles man that the hardship and the difficulties in this world would be duly rewarded on the Resurrection day. What is that which causes man to lay down his life or spend his money on the poor and the needy or compels him to abdicate his inordinate desires?
Naturally if there happens to be no concept of the Remembrance of Allah and of the love for meeting Him and His saints how can we pass these difficult stages of life. If there happens to be no recompense of the deeds and actions, man would not be prepared to bear hardship.
If there happens to be no punishment, which thing can prevent man from oppression and tyrannies?
If today the believers bear the mocking remarks and scoffing of the unbelievers, it is due to those assurances which we find in the Holy Qur'an. It says:
So today (on Resurrection day) those who believe shall laugh at the unbelievers. (Quran, 83:34)
The wife of Fir'aun (a past king of Egypt who proclaimed himself to be God), Asiya had no love for gold and silver in the palatial abode of Fir'aun as she has pinned her faith on some other place of abode. The Holy Qur'an says:
And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe the wife of Fir'aun when she said, 'My Lord, build for me a house with Thee in the garden and deliver me from Fir'aun and his doing, and deliver me from the unjust people'. (Quran, 66:11)
Indeed the palace of Fir'aun is just like a prison to one whose heart yearns for Paradise.
Imam Ali says, "In great loss is the man, who abandoned the Hereafter for the sake of this world".
The impact of Resurrection day on piety, trustworthiness, and many other matters, big and small, partly or wholly is not hidden from anybody. On this subject we quote some examples from the Holy Qur'an and the traditions.
Consequences of Denying the Resurrection Day
1. Avoiding Responsibilities: When someone wishes to derive some benefit from a tree or a land in a deserted place, his conscience will prick him and will prevent him from doing so because he has not obtained the consent of the owner. In order to deceive his own conscience he says to himself that actually there happens to be nobody as the owner of these trees and land and on this pretext he takes advantage of the situation and thinks he might get an opportunity to fulfill his desire. The Holy Qur'an says:
Yet man is skeptical of what is right before him. He asks: 'When will the Day of Resurrection be? (Quran, 75:5)
When he is frightened to face the tyrant, he takes an excuse and says, "We should observe dissimulation". When he feels diffident he says, "We should cooperate with the people". True, man has such a tendency of finding excuses and inventing pretexts that he himself becomes unaware of his faculties. We call such an attitude as shirking responsibilities".
2. Lack of Faith in Allah's Might and Knowledge: There is no practical reasoning with those who deny the belief in the Resurrection day. On the other hand they consider it impossible that the dead will come into life again. We give some examples here. The Holy Qur'an says:
They say. 'There is nothing but our life in this world, we live and die and nothing annihilate us but time and they have no knowledge of it; they only speculate. (Quran, 45:24)
The unbelievers claim that they will not be raised again. Tell them. 'Why not? By my Lord, you will certainly be raised again, and then informed of what you had done. That is easy for Allah'. (Quran, 64:7)
But they say: 'When we have reduced to dust, how can we be created all anew? In fact, they deny the meeting with their Lord. (Quran, 32.10)
Similarly in many other verses of the Holy Qur'an it has been mentioned that those who do not believe in the Resurrection day, because they say as to how it could be possible that after death when they had been reduced to dust would come back to life again. We see that the unbelievers in the Resurrection day always are skeptical about it and question as to how it can happen and how it would happen. But the Holy Qur'an answers them in unambiguous term, which we have already referred to in our discussions on Resurrection.
Now at this place we quote a tradition of the Holy Prophet who says: "Whenever you happen to witness the spring season, revive your belief in coming back to life again after death". (The Eternal Life, p. 45 by Murtaza Mutahhery)
The Holy Qur'an also quite often stresses that coming of the dead to life again is just like the land and the trees coming back to life again. In this context we quote the gist of two couplets of Mathnavi of Maulana Rum:
"After the autumn, the spring is the proof of the coming back to life again.
In the spring the mysteries of nature are unraveled and whatever the earth has consumed becomes evident".
The reasoning of denying the Resurrection is based on the disbelief in the Power of Allah and that is why the Holy Qur'an gives many examples of the Divine Power as for instance it says that Almighty All-Powerful Lord Who first created us would again bring back to life after we have been reduced to dust particles. It is easier to reduce something to dust than to create in the first instance.
It is He Who first creates and then reverts it. This is easy for Him. (Quran, 30:27)
There is nothing which Allah is not able to do. Allah has Power to do all things.
Another pretext of those who do not believe in the Resurrection was the question as to when the Resurrection day will happen? In the following Qur'anic verse, it is mentioned that after hearing the explanation given by the Holy Prophet the unbelievers scoffed in surprise and asked when it would happen. The Holy Qur'an says:
Or some other created things which may seem to you most difficult to create. They will then say. 'Who will revert us back?' Say: 'He Who created you in the beginning'. Still they will shake their heads at you and say: 'When will it be? Say: 'In the near future'. (Quran, 17:51)
These people do not know that the exact time of the Resurrection day is known only to Allah but having no knowledge of the time of happening should not be the excuse for denying the Resurrection day. It is like that when a man does not know the time of his death himself can he deny the fact of his dying one day? There was another excuse as they said if Allah would reproduce the dead back to life the Holy Prophet should bring their dead ancestors to life again. In this connection the Holy Qur'an says.
And when our clear revelations are recited to them, they have no other argument but to say: 'Bring our ancestors back if you are truthful' (Quran, 45:25)
How strangely these people behaved and placed impossible demands and raised funny questions! However if one is not unreasonable and obstinate, his believing in the Resurrection will be based on the proof of his sleeping, waking, and the reappearing of fresh leaves from the trees, but if one is adamant the coming back of his dead father to life would not convince him still and he would say: "Bring back my forefathers to life again, bring my youth again, or would demand the demolition of the whole system of Universe but would never believe in the Resurrection day.
Is it not in the Holy Qur'an that some people came to the Holy Prophet and said, "If you wish that we should believe in you, bring down the planets on the earth, produce Allah in human shape before us, break the moon into two halves, and produce a live camel out of this mountain now and at once"
But unfortunately these people are quite unaware of the fact that the work of the Prophets is to show the signs of Allah, to provide proofs of them and guide the people towards prosperity and perfection, and that this world is not a show-room or an industrial home.
Had they not said after having seen the moon split into two parts that it was all sorcery?
Did Prophet Jesus who used to raise the dead back to life convince the people of Allah's Power?
Can for the sake of converting a few to belief, the entire system of nature be reversed? Does Allah possess form and shape so as to appear before such stupid fools?
We close this discussion on a Qur'anic verse. Allah in reply to those who consider the coming back of the dead to life again impossible says:
Do they not perceive that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, has the power to create the like of them? There is no doubt that He has fixed a term for them. But the wicked disdain everything but unbelief. (Quran, 17.99)
In short if the people need some miracles in support of bringing their belief, miracles have been performed by the Prophets already, but if some of them will make it a precondition of the demolition of the system of the universe, the Prophets would never yield to such demands.
Death Is a Divine Law
Does it mean that after death the Divine Power will cease to exist and death will prevail upon the Will of Allah? Not at all; because this dying itself is subservient to the Will of Allah. This is one of such things as have been predestined. The Holy Qur'an says.
We have ordained death among you and We are not to be overcome. (Surah Waqiyah, 56:60)
The interesting thing is that in the Holy Qur'an "dying" is mentioned fourteen times with the word tawaffa which means "entrusting". That is to say after death one will not be perished but that Allah will take His thing back without increase or decrease and Who will entrust it to His appointed workers.
Is dying actually means being destroyed ultimately? No. It is because destruction does not wish to be reproduced. The Holy Qur'an says:
Who created death and life in order to try you, which of you is best in deeds and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving. (Quran, 67:2)
From this it is proved that death is not destruction but it leads to another place where one is transferred. That is "dying" is attributed to the word tawaffa. The interesting point is that similar meaning is found in the sayings of the Holy Prophet as for instance he said, "Do not consider that death will annihilate you but consider that you will be shifted from one house to another house". (Biharul Anwar, Chap. on Purgatory)
Muhsin Qara'ati , Lessons From Qur'an , Publisher: Islamic Seminary Publications, ISBN 0-941724-51-4