THE DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE

THE DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE


In the Qur'an, it is stated that apart from all the created beings, the universe will also confront death. It is not only man who is mortal. All animals and plants die. Even the planets and stars die. Death is the destiny common to all that has been created. In God's presence, on a predestined day, all people, all living beings, the world, the sun, the moon, the stars, in brief, all the material world will disappear. In the Qur'an, this day is called the "Day of Resurrection". This is "...the Day mankind will stand before the Lord of all the worlds" (Surat al-Mutaffifin: 6)

Just as the death of man is terrifying, so is the death of the universe. On the Day of Resurrection, those who did not have faith previously, will, for the first time, have an intense feeling of God's greatness and might. That is why the Day of Resurrection is a day of grief, torment, regret, pain and great confusion for disbelievers. A person witnessing the Day of Resurrection will be seized by some grave fear. This undefinable fear is hundreds of times more intense than all the fears one is likely to experience in this world. The Qur'an provides a detailed account of each phase of the Day of Resurrection. How this great event will happen and what will happen to people on that day are all described in a striking way.

The First Blast of the Trumpet


The Day of Resurrection begins when the Trumpet is blown. This is the sign of the total destruction of the world and of all the universe and the beginning of the end. This is the point of no return. This is the sound declaring that the life of the world has come to an end for all and that the real life has begun. This is the initial sound arousing an uninterrupted fear, terror and confusion in the hearts of disbelievers. This sound heralds the beginning of the difficult days for disbelievers which will extend to eternity. In Surat al-Muddaththir, the Day of Resurrection is thus referred to from the point of view of disbelievers:

For when the Trumpet is blown, that Day will be a difficult day, not easy for the disbelievers. (Surat al-Muddaththir: 8-10)

The sound of the Trumpet will surely create a great dread and unrest among disbelievers. An imperceptible, non-definable vibration with no apparent source will permeate the entire world and hence all people will acknowledge that "something" is beginning. The unrest felt by disbelivers soon turn into panic and horror. The consecutive events following the sound of the Trumpet will raise this horror to an unimaginable level.

The Destruction of the Universe


A great tremor and a "deafening blast" follows the sound of the Trumpet. At this moment, people recognise that they are face to face with a horrible disaster. It is obvious that the world and life is about to cease to exist. That is why, everything on earth loses its value in just a few moments. Even the sound of the Day of Resurrection will suffice to break all worldly relations among people. No thoughts can occupy the minds of people other than escaping and rescuing themselves. Fear is rife and, on that day, everyone is concerned only about himself:

When the Deafening Blast comes, the Day a man will flee from his brother and his mother and his father, and his wife and his children: on that Day every man among them will have concerns enough of his own. (Surah 'Abasa: 33-37)


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After an intense shake, the earth throws up all its treasures and discloses all its secrets, none of which will have any value at all from then on:

When the earth is convulsed with its quaking and the earth then shakes off its burdens and man asks, 'What does this mean?'-on that Day it will impart all its tidings because your Lord will have inspired it. (Surat az-Zalzalah: 1-5)

A terrifying noise followed by an intense tremor and sudden underground explosions ravage everything to which people formerly attached a great deal of importance. For instance, people treasured their houses, offices, cars and fields. Some people held a house to be the main target of their lives. Yet, the vanity of such goals surfaces at the very moment of the Day of Resurrection. Material wealth, to which people devoted all their lives, will disappear in a second. The goals of one who makes getting promoted in the company his main ambition become worthless. Another who devoted all his life to seizing power in his country experiences the same terrifying situation. He bitterly witnesses the disappearance of that country...Everything loses its significance...except everything done to earn God's approval. As God states in the Qur'an: "When the Great Calamity comes: that Day man will remember what he has striven for and the Blazing Fire will be displayed for all who can see." (Surat an-Nazi'at: 34-36)

The Crushing of Mountains


The calamities which will occur on that day are beyond one's imagination. Mountains, the most awe-inspiring, unshakeable structures of the earth, are set in motion; they are lifted from their roots and crushed. Even a minor earthquake spreads terror into the hearts of people and inspires in them feelings of insecurity. It makes them leave their homes and spend the whole night out on the streets. This being so, the type of disaster so dreadful as to cause the mountains to shift proves to be unbearable. In the Qur'an, the mountains on that day are depicted as follows:

So when the Trumpet is blown with a single blast, and the earth and the mountains are lifted and crushed with a single blow,-on that Day, the Dread Event will come to pass. (Surat al-Haqqah: 13-15)

The Day of Decision is a fixed appointment: the Day the Trumpet is blown and you come in droves. The gates of heaven shall swing open and the mountains shall be shifted and become a mirage. (Surat an-Naba': 17-20)

(Each soul shall know what it has done) 'when the mountains are set in motion, when the camels in foal are neglected, when the wild beasts are all herded together.' (Surat at-Takwir: 3-5)

'On that day men shall become like scattered moths and the mountains like tufts of carded wool... (Surat al -Qari'ah: 4-5)

That day, there is an awesome and unbounded might, so powerful as to throw black mountains of stone, earth and rocks into the air like "tufts of carded wool". Now, people are well aware of the fact that this is not something which is within the "power of nature" to accomplish. They witness that "mother nature", which they once upon a time worshipped as an idol and to which they attributed their existence, cannot prevent its own destruction. Now is the time to become acquainted with the real owner of this power. Yet, this acquaintance is no longer of any benefit to them. Now, they are being surrounded by this power, about which they have never bothered to think before. They will apprehensively understand facts, which they have failed all their lives to grasp as a matter of wisdom and conscience.



The terror created by an unbounded might is never conceivable and definable until one experiences it oneself. It encloses all beings, living and non-living. This horror keeps everything under its control. Human beings, animals and nature alike are all crushed under this common fear. Mountains are no longer majestic, oceans are not boundless and heaven is not as unattainable as in the past. The sun, stars and all the universe are surrounded by the fear of the Day of Resurrection. They all submit to their Creator. As mountains crumble like sand castles, man, inexpressibly feeble next to the mountains, stars and oceans, goes through a phase of great destruction.

The Surge of Oceans


With its present faculties, it is unlikely that the human mind can conceive of the horror of the Day of Resurrection "when the oceans surge into each other, when the souls are divided into classes" (Surat at-Takwir: 6-7) and "when the seas flood and overflow." (Surat al-Infitar: 3) However, that the destruction will be in due proportion with God's might gives an idea of its dimensions.

The DestructIon of Heaven


On the Day of Resurrection, not only the earth but also space and the entire universe will be destroyed. The predetermined time of extinction will also come for the sky, the moon, the sun and the planets as well as the earth, whatever lies underground, the mountains and oceans. The Qur'an states that on that day, "what you are promised will certainly happen. When the stars are extinguished, when heaven is split open, when the mountains are pulverised..." (Surat al- Mursalat: 7-10)

On the Day of Resurrection, all beings to whom, and established orders to which people attribute eternity will collapse and will ultimately be reduced to nothing. This also holds true for the sky. From the moment one comes into existence, the atmosphere proves to be a protective roof. Yet, on the Day of Resurrection, this roof will collapse and burst into pieces. The air and atmosphere, which surround man and give him life with his every breath will become "like molten brass." (Surat al-Ma'arij: 8) and will burn with great intensity. Air will fill the lungs of a man not to revive life but to burn it up.

A comparison drawn between the fear created by disasters in this world and the horror of the events of the Day of Resurrection may provide some understanding about that day. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are the catastrophes that frighten man most. The earth crust cracked by an earthquake or a volcanic eruption dispels the tediousness of everyday life in a moment. This makes man appreciate the solid ground he steps on with confidence.

Nevertheless, despite all the pain they give, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are lived through only once. An earthquake or an eruption lasts for a certain period of time. Wounds heal, pains are forgotten and in time they become faint memories. But the Day of Resurrection is neither like an earthquake nor any other disaster. Incredible acts of destruction occurring one after another signify that everything has come to a point of no return. For instance, an event beyond one's imagination will happen: heaven will crack and split apart. This is the collapse of all the known "laws of physics" and the concepts one has trusted so far. The heaven and the earth which have remained in existence for thousands of years are crushed by the One, Who constructed them. The Day of Resurrection, as is explained in the Qur'an (Surat al-Infitar: 1-3), will be marked by the sky splitting apart, the stars being strewn about, and the seas flooding and overflowing. When the sky bursts open, it will be "hearkening to its Lord as it is bound to do!" (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 1-2)

Everything people attach importance to in this world will cease to exist. The heavenly bodies will die one after another: "When the sun is compacted in blackness, when the stars fall in rapid succession." (Surat at-Takwir: 1-2)

When the sun, the source of light for the earth for millions of years, is folded up, people will come to realise that it has a real owner and that it has moved until then under His control. Up till that point, people will have gone on thinking of stars as unattainable, glorious and mysterious entities. However, on that day, they will be extinguished almost like gilded toys. Giant, unshakeable mountains will be moved, boundless oceans will begin to boil. With such scenes, who the real Owner is of all beings, the one and only Possessor of might Who is above and over everything, will become most apparent. The predestined time will be over and thus human beings will be bitterly awoken from the heedlessness they have indulged in. The reason for this heedlessness is man's failure to appreciate the might of his Creator while he was still in the world. On that day, however, the identity of the real owner of the universe and life will be made explicit:

They do not measure God with His true measure. The whole earth will be a mere handful for Him on the Day of Resurrection, the heavens folded up in His right hand. Glory be to Him! He is exalted above the partners they ascribe! (Surat az-Zumar: 67)

The Situation of the People


All this fear, dread and confusion of the Day of Resurrection will be caused by the disbeliever's heedlessness. The more heedless a person is, the more his dread will be on that day. The feeling of fear and horror which begins with death never ends for all eternity. Each event becomes a source of fear for him. Every hideous event he confronts will also nurture his future fears. This fear will be so intense that it will even turn children's hair grey.

How will you safeguard yourselves, if you are disbeliever, against a Day which will turn children grey, by which heaven will be split apart? His promise will be fulfilled. (Surat al-Muzzammil: 17-18)

Those who assumed God to be unaware of their deeds realise at that moment that God postponed their judgement until the Day of Resurrection. This is explained as follows:

Do not consider God to be unaware of what the wrongdoers perpetrate. He is merely giving them respite till a Day on which their gaze will be transfixed. (Surah Ibrahim: 42)

In another verse, the fear felt by disbelievers is described as follows:

The Crashing Blow! What is the Crashing Blow? What will convey to you what the Crashing Blow is? It is the Day when mankind will be like scattered moths and the mountains like tufts of carded wool. (Surat al-Qari'ah: 1-5)


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The strongest bond in this world is the love and feeling of protection a mother feels for her child. The intensity of the Day of Resurrection will break even this strong bond, however. Dread keeps everything under its control. That great shock will make people lose their consciousness. Confused and panicked, they will run about like drunks. What makes them lose their consciousness is the intensity of God's wrath:

Mankind, have fear of your Lord! The quaking of the Hour is a terrible thing. On the day they see it, every nursing woman will be oblivious of the baby at her breast, and every pregnant woman will abort the contents of her womb, and you will think people drunk when they are not drunk; it is just that the punishment of God is so severe. (Surat al-Hajj: 1-2)

Apart from fear and dread, another grievous feeling people will experience on that day is desperateness. Mankind takes necessary precautions against all possible disasters; against the most lethal calamity, the most powerful earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or the most horrible nuclear war. Man finds ways to protect himself and builds shelters. However, on that day, there will not remain a single secure place where one can take refuge. He will receive no help from God. There will also be no other person or authority who could provide help. In the past, man sought assistance and guidance from science and technology. But now, all the laws of science will have collapsed. Even if advanced technology could enable one to flee to the remotest point of space, God's wrath would find him there.

That is because the Day of Resurrection pervades the entire universe. Not only the earth he lived on securely but also the remote stars will submit to the will of God, with the sun, "compacted in blackness," and the stars "falling in rapid succession." (Surat at-Takwir: 1-2)

The despair into which human beings will fall on that day is described as follows:

...and the moon is eclipsed, and the sun and moon are fused together. On that Day man will say, 'Where can I run?' No indeed! There will be no safe place. That Day the only resting place will be your Lord. (Surat al-Qiyamah: 8-12)

 
The Second Blast Of The Trumpet And Raısıng Of The Dead


When the trumpet is blown for the first time, heaven and earth will be crushed and the whole material world will come to an end. Not a living soul will be left. In the words of the Qur'an: "On the Day the earth is changed into a different earth, and the heavens likewise, mankind shall stand before God, the One who conquers all." (Surah Ibrahim: 48) This new environment prepared for the Last Judgement is described as follows:

They will ask you about the mountains. Say: 'My Lord will scatter them as dust. He will leave them as a barren, level plain on which you will see no dip or gradient.' (Surah Ta ha: 105-107)

This is the point at which people will rise from dead, gather and wait to give an account of their deeds. This is also the place where they will learn where they are heading for. The time has come for people to be raised from the dead and presented to God, the al-Qahhar (The Subduer). And then the trumpet will be blown for a second time. Those who denied the hereafter and resurrection in the world will be raised from their graves. This will be something they never expected. The Qur'an gives an account of these happenings as follows:

The Trumpet will be blown and those in the heavens and those on the earth will all lose consciousness, except those God wills. Then it will be blown a second time and at once they will be standing upright, looking on. And the earth will shine with the Pure Light of its Lord...(Surat az-Zumar: 68-69)


The Emergence of the Dead From their Graves


God gives a detailed account of the situations which will take place as the dead rise again by His will. As related in the Qur'an, this great event will occur thus:

By the time the trumpet is blown for the second time, the dead will be called from the earth. Upon this call, they will rapidly "emerge from their graves with downcast eyes, like swarming locusts." (Surat al-Qamar: 7)

"(...Then, when) He calls you forth from the earth, you will emerge at once." (Surat ar-Rum: 25)



"The Day the earth splits open all around them as they come rushing forth, that is a gathering, easy for Us to accomplish." (Surah Qaf:44)

-As if hastening on to a goal, they will follow the inviter who will call them with their necks extended towards him. This call will be dissimilar to any other call hitherto heard:

... On the Day the Summoner summons them to something unspeakably terrible. (Surat al-Qamar: 6)

On that day they will follow the Summoner who has no crookedness in him at all. (Surah Ta ha: 108)

...That Day they will emerge swiftly from their graves as if rushing to rally to the flag. (Surat al-Ma'arij: 43)

Those who committed transgressions beyond the limits set by God, who did not obey God, insisted on their own ways, denied God, and remained arrogant, will suddenly become obedient and submit to Him as soon as they are raised from the dead. Without questioning, they will respond to this call. Because the test in this world will be over, they will have no other choice but to conform. Even if they so desired, they could not do otherwise. They could not even harbour such a wish. They will have no power to resist this call. That is why, they will feel deep inside that this is a "pitiless day":

With necks outstretched, eyes transfixed, rushing headlong to the Summoner, the disbelievers will say: 'This is a pitiless day!' (Surat al-Qamar: 8)

Thus the disbelievers will run forward. Everyone will display an absolute obedience. That day, the one and only important thing people possess is faith. However, disbelievers are bereft of it. That is why, their hearts are "hollow" as they rush "headlong-heads back, eyes vacant." (Surah Ibrahim: 43)

-They will head towards a certain point in the crowds:

...the Day the Trumpet is blown and you come in droves (Surat an-Naba': 18)

The Trumpet will be blown and at once they will be sliding from their graves towards their Lord. They will say, 'Alas for us! Who has raised us from our resting-place? This is what the All-Merciful promised us. The Messengers were telling the truth.' (Surah Ya sin: 51-52)

The exclamation "'Alas for us!" is the expression of great panic and disappointment. The disbeliever who witnesses his own resurrection realises that God's apostles who conveyed this message throughout his life had told the truth. He then grasps that he will be subjected to the "eternal torment" with which the disbelievers were threatened. At that moment, he sheds all doubts on the subject and comes to terms with the fact that there is just not anything like "eternal sleep". His disappointment is intensified by his diminishing hopes of salvation from the forthcoming torment.

-Disbelievers feel fear, horror and they are desperate. Their general appearance is frightening; their faces are black, dust-covered. What is more, they will be humiliated:

Some faces on that Day will be downcast (Surat al-Ghashiyah: 2)

That Day some faces will be dust-covered, overcast with gloom. Those are the dissolute disbelievers. (Surah 'Abasa: 40-42)


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On the Day of Resurrection you will see those who lied against God with their faces blackened. Do not the arrogant have a dwelling place in Hell? (Surat az-Zumar: 60)

-God will raise disbelievers on the Day of Resurrection, blind.

But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one and on the Day of Resurrection he will come before Us blind.' He will say, 'My Lord, why have you brought me blind before you when before I was able to see?' He will say, 'Just as Our Signs came to you and you forgot them, in the same way you too are forgotten today.' (Surah Ta Ha:124-126)

Whoever God guides is truly guided. But as for those He leads astray, you will not find any protectors for them apart from Him. We will bring them before Us on the Day of Resurrection, flat on their faces, blind, dumb and deaf. Their shelter will be Hell. Whenever the Blaze dies down, We will increase it for them. (Surah al-Isra': 97)

-The white part of the eye will turn to a bluish colour. This colour of the eye will intensify the frightening and disgusting appearance of disbelievers.

On the Day the Trumpet is blown, We will gather the evil-doers on that Day, their eyes dimmed (as if they were covered with a bluish film). (Surah Ta Ha: 102)

With this terrible and degraded appearance the disbelievers will be distinguished from the believers at first sight. This is the beginning of the end of this group of people who waged war against the verses of God and remained arrogant.

There Exists no Friendship, Kinship and Cooperation


On that day, a person will be too occupied to worry about others. He will even abandon his own mother, father, spouse and children. The intensity and inconceivable terror of the Day of Resurrection will make everyone concern himself over his own affairs. God describes the Day of Resurrection as follows:

What will convey to you what the Day of Judgement is? Again! What will convey to you what the Day of Judgement is? It is the Day when a soul will have no power to help any other soul in any way. The command that Day will be God's alone. (Surat al-Infitar: 17-19)

When the Deafening Blast comes, that Day a man will flee from his brother and his mother and his father, and his wife and his children: on that Day every man among them will have concerns enough of his own. (Surah 'Abasa: 33-37)

And thus the most precious social bonds in this life will come to a bitter end. The terror of that day will render all close relations and kinship meaningless. The only precious thing remaining will be faith:
Then when the Trumpet is blown, that Day there will be no family ties between them; they will not be able to question one another. Those whose scales are heavy are the successful ones. Those whose scales are light are the losers of their souls, remaining in Hell timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-Mu'minun: 101-103)

Bonds and family ties break down in such a way that people would give their so-called beloved sons, spouses, brothers and even all their relatives in ransom for their own salvation:


No good friend will ask about his friend, even though they can see each other. An evil-doer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment of that Day, by means of his sons, or his wife or his brother or his family who sheltered him or everyone else on earth, if only that meant that he could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze. (Surat al- Ma'arij:10-15)

This "offer" is actually an indication of the pitiless and ungrateful nature of disbelievers which surface when their benefits are in question. This offer also warns of the vanity of this life. Often a person chases after trivial goals; for an admirable job, a beautiful house, or a woman, and for money he will work for a lifetime. However, as the Qur'an informs us, in his desperate efforts to be saved, a person will be willing to pay, not just a single woman, but all the women in the world or all possible possessions in ransom for his own personal salvation. However, these are all futile efforts. God is essentially the owner of all the possessions in the world. Salvation, on the other hand, remained behind, in the worldly life. It is too late now and, as promised, hellfire has already started burning.

The Gathering of People To Give an Account of Their Deeds


The Qur'an states the real meaning of life:

O Man! You are toiling laboriously towards your Lord but meet Him you will. (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 6)

No matter what we do in the course of our lives, we will eventually stand before God. The ultimate aim of this life is to be His servant. The most important time, on the other hand, is the Day of Resurrection, when we shall be giving an account of our lives.

Each passing day brings us even closer to that point in time. Each passing hour, minute or even second is a step taken towards death, resurrection and the moment of reckoning. Life, like an hourglass, flows continuously in this direction. There is no way to stop time or to reverse it. All people will be following this path.

Certainly it is to Us they will return. Then their Reckoning is Our concern. (Surat al-Ghashiyah: 25-26)

There are around 6 billion people on the earth today. Adding this figure to the total number of people who ever lived in the past will give some idea of the crowd that will gather on the Day of Resurrection. All people, from the Prophet Adam, the first man on earth, to the last disbeliever who will ever live in the world will be there. This horde of human beings will present an amazing picture. Nevertheless, at the same time, it is certain that it will be a fearsome one. The situation of all people in the presence of God is depicted in the Qur'an as follows:

On that day they will follow the Summoner who has no falsity in him at all. Voices will be hushed before the All-Merciful and You shall hear only the sound of marching feet.

On that Day intercession will not be of any use except for him whom the All-Merciful has authorised and with whose word He is well-pleased.

He knows what is in front of them and behind them. But their knowledge does not encompass Him.
Faces will be humbled before the Living, the All-Sustaining One. And anyone weighed down with wrongdoing will have failed. (Surah Ta Ha: 108-111)

The moment of giving accounts, which disbelievers neglected for a lifetime, while believers zealously prepared for it, has come. A glorious location is created for this great court. According to the Qur'an, on that day:

"Heaven will be split apart, for that Day it will be very frail. The angels will be gathered round its edge. On that Day, eight will bear the Throne of their Lord above their heads." (Surat al-Haqqah: 16-17)

On the Day when the Spirit and the angels stand in ranks, they shall not speak; except him who shall receive the sanction of the Merciful and says what is right. (Surat an-Naba': 38)

The Lord of the heavens and earth will demand an account of their deeds from His servants. A source of torture, suiting His might and glory, will be present. A roaring fire burns in hell. God, who creates everything in its unique fashion, has prepared a perfect torment for disbelievers. No one can inflict the type of anguish God will give on that day. In the Qur'an God states:

No indeed! When the earth is crushed and ground to dust and your Lord arrives with the angels rank upon rank and that Day Hell is produced, that Day man will remember; but how will the remembrance help him? He will say, 'Oh! If only I had prepared in advance for this life of mine!' That Day no one will punish as He punishes and no one will shackle as He shackles. (Surat al-Fajr: 21-26)


If man fails to serve His Creator in the world and to prepare for this great day, then he shall suffer a keen regret. He will then ardently wish to be reduced to earth rather than raised from dead. Yet, this regret will be of no avail. On the contrary, it will become a new source of anguish and add to the torment he will be subjected to in hell.

The GIVING OUT OF the Books and Just Balances


Before having the chance to overcome the bewilderment caused by resurrection, the human being becomes struck with fear and grief. This is because he will give an account of his deeds in the presence of God. All his deeds he engaged in throughout his life and all his thoughts will be disclosed. No minor detail is forgotten. The following verse explains this clearly:

'... even if something weighs as little as a mustard-seed and is inside a rock or anywhere else in the heavens or earth, God will bring it out. God is All-Pervading, All-Aware. (Surah Luqman: 16)

This is the moment closest to paradise and hell. People will see what they had presented for their eternal life. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:

That Day people will emerge segregated to see the results of their actions. Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it. Whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it. (Surat az-Zalzalah: 6-8)

As mentioned in the Qur'an, disbelievers will receive their books from their left, while believers will receive theirs from their right. The experience of the people of the "right" is described as follows:

On that Day you will be exposed-no concealed act you did will stay concealed. As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will say, 'Here, come and read my Book! I counted on meeting my Reckoning.' He will have a very pleasant life in an elevated Garden, its ripe fruit hanging close to hand. 'Eat and drink with relish for what you did before in days gone by!' (Surat al- Haqqah: 18-24)


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Contrary to the happiness and joy of believers, disbelievers will have an acute feeling of malaise. They would like to die, even to disappear. Their desperate mood is indicated as follows:

But as for him who is given his Book in his left hand, he will say, 'If only I had not been given my Book and had not known about my Reckoning! If only death had really been the end! My wealth has been of no use to me. My power has vanished.' (Surat al-Haqqah: 25-29)

But as for him who is given his Book behind his back, he will cry out for destruction, but will be roasted in a Searing Blaze. He used to be joyful in his people. He thought that he was never going to return. But in fact his Lord was always watching him! (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 10-15)

The deeds recorded in the Books are measured by just balances. Today, in the presence of God's justice, no one is unjustly treated:


We will set up the Just Balance on the Day of Resurrection and no soul will be wronged in any way. Even if it is no more than the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, We will produce it. We are sufficient as a Reckoner. (Surat an-Anbiya': 47)

Every deed engaged in in this life, even of a minor nature, is placed in this balance. The indicator of this balance determines whether one will be sent to eternal torment or to eternal bliss and salvation. If the balance is well weighed down with good deeds, the person being judged is sent to paradise. If not, he will be destined for hell. No one, no power can help him:

As for him whose balance is heavy, he will have a most pleasant life. But as for him whose balance is light, his motherland will be the Abyss. And what will convey to you what that is? A raging Fire! (Surat al-Qari'ah: 6-11)

Then, all men created since the creation of the earth give their accounts one by one. Here, positions and ranks in the world lose their meanings. A president of a country or an ordinary person are both the same; they receive the same treatment in the presence of God. Here, they are subjected to arduous questioning as to whether or not they served their Creator and obeyed His commands. All sins, wicked deeds, and inner thoughts of a disbeliever are disclosed:

...on the Day when the secrets are sought out and man will have no strength or helper. (Surat at-Tariq: 9-10)

This process is grueling for those who did not live by the laws of God but by their own desires or by the distorted values, beliefs and principles of their society. In the following verse, God gives an account of this great day:

When the baby girl buried alive is asked for what crime she was killed, when the Pages are opened up, when Heaven is peeled away, when the Fire is set ablaze, when the Garden is brought up close: then each soul will know what it has done. (Surat at-Takwir: 8-14)

The servant has no chances to deny what he engaged in in the presence of God. All his deeds, good and wicked, are disclosed. Even if he denies anything, there are witnesses to tell the truth. People who witnessed him during the course of his life are also brought to the fore to testify:

And the earth will shine with the Pure Light of its Lord; the Book will be put in place; the Prophets and witnesses will be brought; and all will be judged with fairness; none shall be wronged. (Surat az-Zumar: 69)

In the course of giving accounts, there are other unexpected witnesses awaiting the disbelievers. The senses of hearing and sight as well as human skins are endowed with the faculty of speech by the Will of God and testify against them. The betrayal of even one's own organs, which one assumed to belong to oneself for a lifetime, adds to the depression one will suffer on that day. God describes this fact as follows:

On the Day, We crowd the enemies of God into the Fire and they are driven in close-packed ranks; when they reach it, their hearing, sight and skin will testify against them concerning what they did. They will ask their skins, 'Why did you testify against us?' and they will reply, 'God gave us speech as He has given speech to everything. He created you in the first place and you will be returned to Him. You did not think to shield yourselves from your hearing, sight and skin testifying against you and you thought that God would never know much of what you did. It is that thought you had about your Lord that has destroyed you, so now you find yourselves among the lost.' If they are steadfast, the Fire will still be their residence! If they ask for pardon, they will not receive it. (Surah Fussilat: 19-24)

Disbelievers bear the great guilt of rebelling against the Creator, Who created them and made living possible for them. That is why, on the Day of Resurrection, they are even not allowed to defend themselves. No opportunity is given to them to voice their defence, despite the fact that even the most infamous criminal is granted this right in the world. Humiliated and desperate, they must expect the verdict to be given thus:

On that Day, woe to the deniers! This is the Day they will not say a single word, nor will they be allowed to offer any excuses. On that Day, woe to the deniers! This is the Day of Decision. We have gathered you and the earlier peoples. So if you have any cunning, use it against Me now!' On that Day, woe to the deniers! (Surat al-Mursalat: 34-40)

That day, the disbeliever feels an inner loathing for his own deeds and his own self. However, God's feeling of aversion is more intense.

Those who were disbelievers will be thus addressed: 'God's abhorrence of you, when you were called to the faith but then chose to disbelieve, is even greater than your hatred of yourselves.' (Surat al-Mu'min: 10)

Encountering God's wrath, the disbeliever falls into a state of profound hopelessness and sorrow. He is ashamed and wishes he would never rise from the dead. He wishes that death had put an end to his life for all eternity. He then realises that death is not an end, but only a beginning. And there is no death other than this. Their state of mind is thus expressed as follows:

"It may be that those who are disbelievers will wish that they had been Muslims." (Surat al-Hijr: 2)

In contrast to this, the way believers will give their accounts will be quite easy. After giving his account, the believer will remain in eternal bliss. After all, he lived by the principles laid down by his Creator and his sins are forgiven by God, the Merciful. He thus attains paradise, a place filled with God's boundless favours and is kept remote from hellfire.

O Man! You are toiling laboriously towards your Lord but meet Him you will! As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will be given an easy reckoning and return to his family joyfully. (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 6-9)

The Desperateness of Disbelievers


On that day, the disbeliever intends to comply with all orders, yet, he fails to do so. That is because, he no longer has any energy to accomplish anything. When he is called upon to prostrate himself, he wants to do so. However, he cannot even succeed in doing this. Just like a person having a bad dream, he wants to scream but cannot. Neither can he move his legs or hands. Fear, terror and despair leave him almost paralysed:

On the Day when legs are bared and they are called on to prostrate themselves, they will not be able to do so. Their eyes will be downcast, darkened by debasement; for they were called on to prostrate themselves when they were in full possession of their faculties. (Surat al-Qalam: 42-43)

Calling upon the disbeliever to prostrate himself serves a purpose: to intensify the regret and sorrow he feels at not having complied with the call made when he was in the world, and to remind him that this disobedience, unlikely to be compensated for, will be a source of eternal sorrow and hopelessness. It is already known to God that the disbeliever is unable to prostrate himself. It is only if God wills, that is impossible to prostrate oneself, worship and be a servant to Him. Likewise, believers are honoured with faith only by God's will and favour.

The Qur'an also informs us about how believers and disbelievers will look on that day. The inner joy of believers is seen on their faces; their eyes shine brightly. Disbelievers, on the other hand, realise how they ungratefully and unwisely conducted themselves and start to wait for the torment they will be subjected to. Contrary to the joyful expressions on the faces of believers, disbelievers' faces are dull and gloomy:

You love this fleeting world and you disregard the hereafter. There will be faces that Day which will be radiant, gazing at their Lord. And there will be faces that Day which will be glowering, realising that a back-breaking blow has fallen. (Surat al-Qiyamah: 20-25)

Seeing Hell


It is popularly believed that only disbelievers can see hell. This is, however, only partially true. God informs us in Surah Maryam that all people, both believers and disbelievers, will be assembled around hell on their knees:

Man says, 'When I am dead, will I then be brought back to life again?' Does not man recall that We created him out of the void? By your Lord, We will collect them and the devils together. Then We will assemble them around Hell on their knees. Then We will drag out from every sect the one among them most insolent towards the All-Merciful. Then it is We who will know best those most deserving to roast in it. There is not one of you who will not come to it. That is the final decision of your Lord. Then We will rescue those who feared Us and We will leave the wrongdoers in it on their knees. (Surah Maryam: 66-72)

As we see from the above verses, on the Day of Resurrection, people will be gathered around hell on their knees. Disbelievers and believers alike will all hear the horrible noise and roar of the fire together and witness stunning images. However, believers are saved after some time and disbelievers are left on their knees. Then, they are cast into the hellfire.

Having a better grasp of God's wrath and being grateful to Him can be considered as one of the purposes of the presence of believers among the crowd gathered around hell. A believer witnessing what hell looks like comprehends how a great favour the faith granted to him is. Because hell is a terrible place, even being saved from torment means bliss for the human being.

Witnessing hell, the believer can make comparisons and thus better appreciate paradise, a place of blessings where he will reside for all eternity. Even in the world, the greatest boon is to be saved from pain. For instance, someone facing the danger of being frozen on a mountain rejoices at finding an old hut with a fireplace. He perceives this hut almost as if it were a luxury hotel room. For someone who has not eaten anything for days a loaf of bread is a feast. The end of pain is an unsurpassable reason for joy, happiness, peace and gratefulness.

A believer who sees hell at close quarters and is saved from it attains this kind of bliss. Moreover, being rewarded with paradise makes believers attain the "success" mentioned in the Qur'an. Having seen the greatest torment in hell, the believer very well understands the value of paradise overflowing with blessings. For the rest of his eternal life, he never forgets what hell looks like and hence takes greater pleasure in paradise.

On the Day of Judgement, people hear the following words of those who recognise believers and disbelievers from their faces:

There will be a dividing wall between them and on the ramparts there will be men who recognise everyone by his look. They will call out to the people of the Garden: 'Peace be upon you!' But they will not enter it yet for all their ardent desire to do so. When they turn their eyes towards the inmates of the Fire, they will say, 'Our Lord, do not cast us among these wrongdoers!'

The Companions of the Ramparts will call out to men they recognise by their mark, saying, 'What you amassed was of no use to you. Likewise your arrogance. Are these the people you swore would never earn God's mercy?' (Again turning to the blessed, they will say): 'Enter the Garden. You will feel no fear and know no sorrow.' (Surat al-A'raf: 46-49)

This is the time when believers, "the best of creatures", (Surat al-Bayyinah:7) and disbelievers, "the worst of creatures", (Surat al-Bayyinah: 6) are separated from one another. This day is described in the Qur'an as follows:

When the Messengers' time is appointed-until what day is that deferred? Until the Day of Decision. And what will teach you what the Day of Decision is? On that Day, woe to the deniers! Did We not destroy the earlier peoples, then cause others to follow them? That is how We deal with evil-doers. On that Day, woe to the deniers! (Surat al-Mursalat: 11-19)

This Day of Decision begins with death and continues with resurrection and the giving of accounts and ends when people are sent to their eternal abodes. In the Surah Qaf, the journey believers and disbelievers take to their real abodes is related as follows:

The throes of death come revealing the truth. That is what you were trying to evade! The Trumpet will be blown. That is the Day of the Threat. Every soul will come along with one who drives it on and one who testifies against it. One will say: "You were heedless of this so We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp.' His inseparable comrade will say, 'My testimony is ready to hand.' (And it is said): 'Cast into Hell every obdurate disbeliever, impeder of good, doubt-causing aggressor, who has set up another deity besides God. Hurl him into the terrible punishment.' His inseparable comrade will say, 'Our Lord, I did not make him overstep the limits. He was, in any case, far astray.' He will say, 'Do not argue in My presence when I gave you advance warning of the Threat. My Word, once given, is not subject to change and I do not wrong My slaves.' On the Day He says to Hell, 'Are you full? 'it will ask, 'Are there no more to come?' And the Garden will be brought up close to the righteous. (And it is said): 'This is what you were promised. It is for every careful penitent: those who fear the All-Merciful in the Unseen and come with a contrite heart. Enter it in peace. This is the Day of Timeless Eternity.' (Surah Qaf: 19-34)