When the air-raid siren sounds in wartime and proclaims in its chilling wail: “Squadrons of enemy bombers are approaching to blast this city to eternity. To the air-raid shelters at once!” everyone immediately takes the quickest route to the shelters and, in an instant, the busiest of streets are deserted. Anyone who does not react in this manner is considered idiotic, mentally deranged. The same applies to any material hazard, no matter what it may be. There is another danger, however, even more terrible and inevitable, concerning which the Lord of the Worlds has given us due warning, proclaiming his imperatives through his prophets: “Mankind! Worship Me, fulfill your obligations to one another and live in accordance with My will. I will punish those who fail to do this in a way that cannot be imagined. They will writhe forever in a torment from which they will never be able to free themselves.” Every ear has heard this declaration and every tongue acknowledges it in one form or the other, but the general attitude is to treat it as a matter of no consequence. In order to avail themselves of worldly advantages people perpetrate every form of misdemeanor. In this way life’s caravan is proceeding heedlessly towards a point of no return. People start in response to the siren screeching out from the military H.Q., but no importance is attached to the danger signal which the Lord of the Universe sounds for mankind. Far from hastening at the sound of it, no one even alters his pace.
What can the reason for this anomalous state of affairs be? It is simply that the danger about which the military headquarters’ siren warns us is of this world. Everyone perceives this and knows that its effects will be immediately felt. The danger which God has cautioned us about, on the other hand, will be felt in the afterlife. The wall of death stands between us and its realization: the eyes of the world cannot penetrate it. Neither its planes, nor its bombs, nor its engulfing fire and smoke, are apparent to us. Although people immediately respond to the air-raid siren, they remain unaffected and dispassionate on hearing of the calamity of which God has given us ample warning. The news does not impress upon them the absolute certainty of their doom and, this being so, they do not feel spurred on to atone for their sins, or to begin leading righteous lives.
God Most Sublime, however, has given us not only our two eyes with which to perceive the external world, but also a third ‘eye’ which can scan the invisible realities which lie beyond the horizons of perception. This eye is that of the intellect. People remain in a state of doubt because they do not use this third eye. They reckon that reality is what they see before their own two eyes, whereas, if they were to ponder over the matter, they would become even more certain about what remains unseen than about what is visible.
What is the one reality that everybody acknowledges? Death must be the unanimous answer to this question. Death is a reality to which everyone, big or small, has to reconcile himself. Everyone realizes that death can overtake one at any time, but whenever the thought of death occurs to people, all that concerns them is: “What will happen to my children after I die?” Before death, thoughts of life dominate their minds, but if they project their thoughts beyond death, all that claims their attention is of a domestic nature. Most of their lives is spent safeguarding their children’s future, but no efforts are made to insure themselves for the life that lies ahead. It seems from their attitude as if only their children will survive them, and that they themselves will be non-existent and so have nothing to prepare for.
People behave as if they are totally unaware of the fact that there is a life after death, whereas, in fact, the real life only commences after death. If they only realized that when they enter the grave, rather than being buried, they were being ushered into another world, they would be more worried about themselves than about their children’s future. The fact is that most people whether religiously or agnostically inclined, are not convinced that after death they do not cease to exist, but expect rather to discover a new life more consequential than the present one.
Two factors cause one to have doubts about life after death. Firstly, on dying, every human being turns into dust and all traces of his body are effaced. How then can he subsequently be revived? Secondly, the life after death is not visible to us. The world of today is an observable phenomenon, but what about the afterlife? If no one has actually seen it, how can we place implicit trust in its advent? Let us look at both these objections in turn.
To be continued…