Events on the Day of Judgment: The Day Begins

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(part 1 of 3) Description:  When and how the Day of Judgment will begin. Objective ·         To understand the order of events on the Day of...

(part 1 of 3)

Description: When and how the Day of Judgment will begin.
Objective
·       To understand the order of events on the Day of Judgment and to appreciate their importance.
Arabic Terms
·       Hadith -  (plural – ahadith) is a piece of information or a story.  In Islam it is a narrative record of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.
·       Rakah - unit of prayer.
EventsOnDayofJudgment1.jpgBefore we can examine the events that Allah says will happen on the Day of Judgement we must ask ourselves just when that Day will be.  And we are not the first generation to ask that question.  Prophet Muhammad was asked many times by many people about when this Day would arrive.  The answer now, even though we have made remarkable advances in all forms of knowledge, particularly technology and science, is still the same.  Allah alone knows when the hour that starts the Day of Judgement will be.  When the angel Gabriel came to the Prophet in the guise of a well-dressed man, one of the questions he asked was about the Hour.  Prophet Muhammad answered that, “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.”
“Men ask you of the Hour, Say the knowledge of it is with Allah only, what can convey to you that may be the Hour is near.” (Quran 33:63)
“Verily, the Hour is coming and My Will is to keep it hidden...” (Quran 20:15)
Allah is concealing the date of the Day of Judgement from us.  This verse alone should indicate to us that this is nothing less than a momentous occasion of gargantuan proportions.  Although we do not know when the Day of Judgement will be, Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him) have described in detail what will happen on that Day.  In this and the following two lessons we will describe the events of the Day of Judgement as they are described to us in the Quran and the authentic ahadith

Blowing the Trumpet.

The Day of Judgment will come upon humankind suddenly.   No matter how well informed or interested someone is in the signs that will precede it, its commencement will come as a shock.  The trumpet will be blown and the people will hear a sound so horrendous that the mountains and the earth itself will crumble to dust.
“And when the trumpet is blown with a single blast, and the earth and the mountains are removed from their places, and crushed with a single crushing, then on that Day shall the (Great) Event befall.” (Quran 69:13-15)
Allah says that it will be a single shout, a long continuous sound that will not cease until everything has perished (Quran 38:15).  It will then be followed by a second blowing of the trumpet.  Behold, Allah tells us that everyone who has ever lived will find themselves standing, staring, and shocked by the events. 
“And the trumpet will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth will fall dead except whom Allah wills.  Then it will be blown again, and at once they will be standing, looking on!” (Quran 39:68)

The Standing

The trumpet is blown, the earth is rolled up like a scroll and the dead rise.  Bones and body parts join together, brains begin to work.  Truly humankind has been returned to Allah.  All of humankind were dead, those who died before the blowing of the trumpet and those who died in the cataclysmic event that levelled the earth to a plane.  The Day of Judgement has begun.  People stand in groups, staring ahead.
“Every soul will taste death.  Then to Us will you be returned” (Quran 29:57)
“ Does man think that We will not assemble his bones? Yes.  [We are] Able [even] to proportion his fingertips!” (Quran 75:3-4)
Once the initial shock of being returned to life begins to wear off, the reality of the situation begins to set in.  The veil of the physical world has been removed.  The deeds we did are set out for us to see.  “So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.  And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (Quran 99:7, 8)  Another promise of Allah’s fulfilled.  Some people are happy with their situation others begin to tremble in fear.
A person’s deeds will determine their length of the standing but all people waiting will be  barefoot, naked, and uncircumcised.  Ahadith tell us that this standing in fear and trepidation could be as long as 50,000 years[1]  but for a pious person it might be as little as the time it takes to pray two rakahs of prayer.  The people waiting will be frightened, their hearts beating like drums in their chests and ears.  They will run about as if in a drunken state and care nothing about anyone but themselves.  Parents, spouses and children will be long forgotten.  Gripped by fear they will begin to question their situation. 
“He will say: ‘O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)?’ [Allah] will say, ‘This is how it is: Our signs came unto you, but you disregarded them, and thus will you this Day be forgotten.’” (Quran 20:125)
Prophet Muhammad informs us that on the Day of Judgement the sun will be bought near to humankind.  The sun would only be a mile away and the people will perspire according to the level of their deeds.[2]  For some there will be no need for fear, they will be shaded by Allah.  Seven kinds of people will be shaded on the Day that there is no shade.   They are, a just leader, a person whose heart is attached to the mosque, a person raised to obey Allah, two people who love each other solely for the sake of Allah, a person who mentioned Allah and wept, a person who gave charity secretly and a person who was tempted to commit sin with a member of the opposite sex but resisted saying that they feared Allah.[3]
The people are left standing, there on a great open plane, and they begin to call out.  “Where is Allah to judge us?”


Footnotes:
[1] Abu Dawood.
[2] Saheeh Muslim
[3] Saheeh Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim

Events on the Day of Judgment (part 2 of 3): Before the Judgment

Description: A brief description of events before the Judgment of Allah commences.
Objective
·        To understand that Allah has given us detailed descriptions of the events on the Day of Judgement and detailed the way to avoid eternal punishment. 
Arabic Terms
·       Hadith -  (plural – ahadith) is a piece of information or a story.  In Islam it is a narrative record of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.
·       Ummah - Refers to the whole Muslim community, irrespective of color, race, language or nationality.

Waiting for what is to come.

On the Day of Judgement, after the trumpet has been blown and the bodies of all humanity have been resurrected the people stand on a wide open plane waiting for the judgment to begin.  They will be distressed and their hearts remain filled with fear and remorse.  They will be confused and in utter disbelief.   Allah tells us that this will be a time, “When sight is confounded, and the moon is eclipsed (hidden from view), and the sun and the moon are brought together.” (Quran 75:7-9).  The people are gathered under an eerie light and will be made to wait.  This is a day when the heavens will be rent asunder and the“…and the angels will be sent down, a grand descent.” (Quran 25:25)
The angels are sent down in rows, a grand descent as Quran describes it.  Both the people and the angels stand in rows waiting for the judgement and time is not behaving as the people expect.  The standing seems interminable, will it ever end?
“And the angels will be on its sides, and eight angels will, that Day, bear the Throne of your Lord above them.  On that Day you will be brought to judgement and none of your secrets will remain hidden.” (Quran 69: 17-18)
On this Day even those whose light shines through their faces will fear to stand before Allah and those who are shaded by the grace of Allah remain fearful of the momentous occasion.  The people’s distress on this Day of Reckoning will become so intense that they will run to various prophets begging for their intercession and ask Allah to begin the judgment.

The Prophets[1]

The people will be gathered together in groups or individually, caring nothing for those around them.  “Who will help us!” they cry and turn to the prophets.  They will rush to Adam, the father of humanity and beg for his intercession on their behalf but Adam is also afraid.  They will say, “Please Adam you are the one to whom the angels prostrated”, but Adam, peace be upon him, will reply “Myself myself” and he tells the people that his Lord is angry like never before, go to Prophet Ibrahim.
The people will go to Ibrahim and beg, “You are the one who is beloved by Allah, please ask Him to start judgment”.  Ibrahim will reply just as Adam did, “Myself, myself.  Today my Lord is angry like never before, go to Musa”.  Then they will go to Prophet Musa, begging for the judgment to start.  In mental and physical pain, sweat dripping down their bodies, hearts thumping, the people will continue in the same vein and Musa will send them to Prophet Isa.  Each Prophet is fearful of Allah and concerned about his own punishment. 
The people will then surge to Prophet Isa begging for his help.  “You were created by Allah’s command; you talked to people from the cradle, intercede for us before your Lord!” Prophet Isa will respond in exactly the same way as the others.  Even though he is the slave of Allah, and even though he ascended to Allah after his time on earth, Prophet Isa too will be concerned for his own judgment.   “Myself, myself.  Today my Lord is angry like never before so go to Muhammad, the final prophet”. 
The people will rush to Prophet Muhammad, and say to him, “you are the last of the prophets and our final hope, please ask Allah to start judgment!”  He replies, “I’ll go, I’ll go”. 
What happens next can be found in an authentic hadith.   Prophet Muhammad goes to his Lord, Allah.  “Then I will ask my Lord for permission and He will give me permission, and He will inspire me with words of praise with which I will praise Him, words that I do not know now.  So I will praise Him with those words of praise and I will fall down prostrate before Him.  He will say, ‘O Muhammad! Raise your head; ask, for it will be given to you, and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.’ I will raise my head and say, ‘My Ummah, O Lord! My Ummah, O Lord!’ …”[2]
This is what is known as the greatest intercession, it is  al-maqaam al-mahmood, Prophet Muhammad intercedes for the people that Allah might relieve them of the horrors and begin the judgement.
“...  so that your Lord may raise you to Maqaam Mahmood (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection)” (Quran 17:79)

Hell and Paradise are bought close.

Before Judgement commences however, Hell must be bought forth.  The angels and all of humanity are standing, waiting, becoming increasingly distressed, worried only about themselves, pleading for help and Hell is brought close.  The people are already distressed to the point of hysteria but those who are beginning to realise just how many sins they have committed faint at the sights and sounds that emanate from the Hell fire.
“And Hell will be brought near that Day.  On that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance (then) avail him?” (Quran 89:23)
The Prophet said, “Hell will be dragged forth on that Day before people with seventy thousand reins, each of which will be held by seventy thousand angels.”[3]
“And the (Hell) Fire will be placed in full view of the erring.  And it will be said to them, ‘Where are those (the false gods) that you used to worship instead of Allah? Can they help you or (even) help themselves?’” (Quran 26:91-93)
To temper the fear of those who have nothing to fear, the righteous believers, Allah also orders Paradise to be bought close.  Close enough for the people to see and hear the sounds and sights waiting to delight those who deserve eternal bliss.
“And Paradise will be brought near to the pious, not far off.  (It will be said): “This is what you were promised - (it is) for those who were oft-returning (to Allah) in sincere repentance, and those who preserved their covenant with Allah.” (Quran 50:31-32)


Footnotes:
[1] Based on the hadith from Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[3] Saheeh Muslim

Events on the Day of Judgment (part 3 of 3): Judgment Begins

Description: What happens when each person finally stands before Allah.
Objective
·       To be familiar with what we know about the events on the Day of Judgment and to understand that each person is able to predict the outcome.
Arabic Terms
·       Hadith -  (plural – ahadith) is a piece of information or a story. In Islam it is a narrative record of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.
·       Sirat -  means path or road. In reference to the Day of Judgement, it refers to a long narrow bridge that everyone will cross before entering either Paradise or Hell.
·       Sunnah -  The word Sunnah has several meanings depending on the area of study however the meaning is generally accepted to be, whatever was reported that the Prophet said, did, or approved.
Your new everlasting life is about to begin.  This is the Day of Judgment.  All of humanity will be judged by Allah according to their beliefs and deeds. This is the culmination of the message of all the prophets.  Worship One God and know that you will one day be accountable for all that you say and do. This day has arrived. It is a shock, all of humanity are standing together in awe. What happens now?
 “Verily, We have warned you of a near torment, the Day when man will see that (the deeds) which his hands have sent forth, and the disbeliever will say: ‘Woe to me! Would that I were dust!’" (Quran 78:40)

The Scales of Justice

The scales of justice sometimes referred to as the balances or the scale of deeds will be set up and each deed will be weighed and tallied.
No deed even an atom’s weight will be overlooked whether it be the backbiting that was forgotten or the kind word that was said without thinking.
 “Whoever brings a good deed shall be rewarded ten times the like of it, and he that does evil shall only be rewarded the like of it, and they shall not be wronged.” (Quran 6:160).
Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, also reminded us of the mercy of Allah. He said, ‘There is nothing that will be placed in the Balance that will weigh more heavily than a good conduct. The one who has a good conduct will attain thereby the status of one who fasts and prays (a great deal).’[1]

The Book of Deeds

"‘…Woe to us! what sort of book is this that leaves neither a small thing nor a big thing, but has recorded it with numbers!’ and they will find all that they did, placed before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice. (Quran 18:49)
Each person will be given a book in either their right or left hand. Everything we do in this world has been recorded by angels. The good and the bad, things we have forgotten or never given a thought to, it is all recorded and Allah might choose to question us about each and every word. Those who are given the book in their right hand will begin to relax and feel happy and honoured.
“Then as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand, He surely, will receive an easy reckoning, And will return to his family in joy!” But whosoever is given his Record behind his back He will invoke (for his) destruction, And he shall enter a blazing Fire”(Quran 84:7-12)
 Sadly though, many will receive their book in their left hand or behind their back. And the fear rises.

The Accounting

The first thing that each person will be questioned about is his prayer. Prayer is what is known as one of the rights we owe to Allah. Each person will be asked about the quality of their prayers. This is confirmed and reinforced by the words of Prophet Muhammad.
It is recorded in an authentic hadith that Prophet Muhammad said, “The first thing the people will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment is prayer, Allah will say to His angels (even though He already knows), ‘Look at my slave’s prayers. Were they complete or not?’ If they were complete it will be written as complete. If they were not fully complete Allah will say: ‘See if my slave has voluntary prayers’, if he has them Allah will say, ‘Complete the shortage in his obligatory prayers with his voluntary prayers.’ Then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner.”[2]
The words of Prophet Muhammad help us to paint a very clear picture in our minds of what will happen to us when we stand before Allah on the Day of Accounting. He also said, “The son of Adam will be questioned by Allah about five things: how he lived his life, and how he utilized his youth, by what means did he earn his wealth, how did he spend his wealth, and what did he do with his knowledge.”[3]
We should be grateful that we are able to prepare ourselves adequately before the great Day occurs, as we even know the type of questions that we will be asked and the types of behavior that we will be questioned about.  The good believer prepares for this difficult event, so that he or she will not be among those whose body parts testify against them.   
"On the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions.” (Quran 24:24)
“And they will say to their skin, ‘Why did you bear witness against us?’ They will say ‘Allah has caused us to speak, as He cause all things to speak..."(Quran 41: 21)

Crossing the Sirat

After the questioning and accounting all people will pass over the sirat. A bridge that is sharper than a sword and thinner than a hair.[4] There will be no natural light but each person will be guided by their own light. The light will shine with a brightness dependent upon the piety and goodness of the person.
Some will cross it in the twinkling of an eye; some, like lightning; some, like a falling star; some, like a running horse. He who has very little light will creep facedown. His hands and feet will slip, and he will cling to it again. At long last, he will break free from it by creeping and creeping.[5]
The bridge has hooks that will scratch and snare people causing them to fall into Hell. Those who successfully cross the bridge will enter Paradise. The Day of Judgment comes to a close as the people are judged and make their way across the bridge. As believers we must be mindful that Allah has given us the road map to Paradise, He has shown us the pitfalls. The Day of Judgement can become an easy ordeal for a believer if they follow the guidance given in the Quran and the authentic sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.


Footnotes:
[1] At Tirmidhi
[2] Imam Ahmad and others
[3]At Tirmidhi 
[4]  Saheeh Bukhari & Muslim
[5] At Tabarani

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Jama Masjid: Events on the Day of Judgment: The Day Begins
Events on the Day of Judgment: The Day Begins
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