Forgetting that death may come at any moment
People usually meet their death at unexpected times and places, for:
And no self knows what it will earn tomorrow and in what land it will die. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.
The moment of a personâ€™s death is determined by destiny even before he or she is born. Allah reveals in the Qurâ€™an:
It is He Who created you from clay and then decreed a fixed term, and another fixed term is specified with Him.
The fact that people do not know when they will die is one of the factors that draw them toward unawareness. If people who are aware of the Hereafterâ€™s punishments knew when they would die, they would not remain heedless of Allahâ€™s commands, be distracted by this world, or forget that they will be called to account in the Hereafter.
Not knowing the time of oneâ€™s death is a secret of the trials of this world. Believers who know this prepare for the Hereafter as if they expect to die at any moment. They obey all of Allahâ€™s commands and prohibitions with complete sincerity for as long as they live.
Unaware people live according to the desires of their egos. They know they will die, but cannot grasp the fact that death is an awakening in the Hereafter either to eternal Paradise or endless Hell. They think of it as only an eternal separation from the things and people they loved. This is why they are so passionate about what and whom they love and so uncomfortable when the subject of death is mentioned or crosses their minds. Just thinking about it depresses them and makes them worry that their lives will change. Since they do not consider that death may be right around the corner and do not reflect on its reality, they ignore Allahâ€™s commands and prohibitions, or at least postpone thinking about them, by telling themselves that they still have a lot of time to pray and will start doing so when they are older. But they really have no idea how much time they have left. They go merrily on their way, only to find that death comes suddenly, before they start living in compliance with Allahâ€™s commandments. The moment the heedless people meet death, which they regard as remote and far off, is described in the Qurâ€™an as follows:
If those who do not believe only knew of the time when they will not be able to keep the Fire away from their faces or their backs! And they will receive no help! No, it (death) will come upon them suddenly, confounding them, taking them completely by surprise, and they will not be able to ward it off. They will be granted no reprieve.
From this verse, we can clearly see that death does not listen to excuses and that the appointed time approaches quickly. Nothing can prevent its coming. Allah tells this in the Qurâ€™an:
Say: â€œDeath, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, and He will inform you about what you did.â€
A person may die at any moment; forgetting this fact or trying to escape it is a sign that a person is unaware and that he is being sucked into the whirlpool of unawareness. It is a certain fact that unawareness may lead to eternal suffering.
Not thinking about the account one will give
People who are unaware also forget that they will be called to account in Allahâ€™s sight in the Hereafter. No matter if they die alone or among many others, when the angel of death takes their souls, all of their relationships with the world and those around them are severed. When they are resurrected and go to give their accounts, each person is alone in the vast multitude, for no one will take any notice of anyone else. This solitude is not like any earthly isolation. The moment of reckoning will be the most difficult moment that an unaware person will ever face. The resulting solitude comes from the realization that it is now time to account for all that they have done, that they are completely isolated from other people, and that they are powerless in His presence. They are physically and emotionally exposed; bereft of their power, possessions, titles, position, and renown; and apart from all those to whom they were close. In other words, they are totally alone in Allahâ€™s presence:
Each of them will come to Him on the Day of Resurrection all alone.
Unaware people who do not see any immediate consequences for what they do here think that the same applies in the Hereafter. Due to this error, they persuade their friends to ignore Allahâ€™s commands and prohibitions or to put off their obedience until later, sayings things like â€œyou only live once,â€ â€œdonâ€™t worry about it,â€ or â€œIâ€™ll take full responsibility for it.â€ Such expressions clearly betray their lack of awareness, for just as a person comes into this world but once, he or she will also descend into Hell but once and suffer endless punishment there. Such people regard this punishment lightly and claim that they will take the sins of others upon themselves. This shows even more how far away they are from understanding His supreme knowledge and power:
No burden-bearer can bear anotherâ€™s burden. If someone weighed down calls for help to bear his load, none of it will be borne for him, even by his next of kin. You can only warn those who fear (and respect) their Lord in the Unseen and perform prayer. Whoever is purified is purified for himself alone. Allah is your final destination.
(Has he not been informed) that no burden-bearer can bear anotherâ€™s burden?
In the Hereafter, all people will receive a just and perfect recompense for their deeds. There will be no friends or relatives to take responsibility for their errors or help them out, as there were while they were alive. Indeed, they now begin to hate all of the friends they once respected, blaming them for making them unaware of these truths:
On that Day the closest friends will be enemies to each otherâ€“except for those who guard against evil.
â€¦ the Day when friends will be of no use at all to each other, and they will not be helped.
The false friendships of this world cease and actually turn into hostility in the Hereafter, for they were formed for some advantage and without regard for Allahâ€™s consent. While they were in the world, they made friends not with people who directed their hearts toward Allah and were loved by Him, but with insincere, unaware individuals who turned their backs on Him and denied His existence. Actually, it is quite common for the best of friends to become enemies when there is a conflict between that friendship and their own advantage. As we are told in the Qurâ€™an, friendships that last a lifetime even though the parties harm one another by leading each other into unawareness will turn into hostility in Allahâ€™s presence. This hostility begins once they gradually begin to become aware of suffering as their veil of unawareness is lifted from them. Allah reveals their sincere confessions:
(They will say:) â€œAnd now we have no one to intercede for us.â€ (The Companions of the Fire will say:) â€œWe do not have a single loyal friend. If only we could have another chance, then we would be among the believers!â€
When they are called to account, in deep sorrow, unbelievers express that they are all alone. The believers, with whom they made fun of while they were in the world are not around. When they come face to face with the truth they took so lightly, they long to return and be among the sincere believers:
It may be that those who are unbelievers will wish that they had been Muslims.
But there is now no way back.