Jesus went into the wilderness beyond Jordan with his disciples, and when the midday prayer was done he sat down near to a palm-tree, and under the shadow of the palm-tree his disciples sat down. Then Jesus said: 'So secret is predestination, O brethren, that I say to you, truly, only to one man shall it be clearly known. He it is whom the nations look for, to whom the secrets of God are so clear that, when he comes into the world, blessed shall they be that shall listen to his words, because God shall overshadow them with his mercy even as this palm-tree overshadows us. Yes, even as this tree protects us from the burning heat of the sun, even so the mercy of God will protect from Satan them that believe in that man.'
The disciples answered, "O Master, who shall that man be of whom you speak, who shall come into the world?" Jesus answered with joy of heart: 'He is Muhammad;, Messenger of God, and when he comes into the world, even as the rain makes the earth to bear fruit when for a long time it has not rained, even so shall he be occasion of good works among men, through the abundant mercy which he shall bring. For he is a white cloud full of the mercy of God, which mercy God shall sprinkle upon the faithful like rain.'
Reference: The Gospel of Barnabas, Chapter 163
"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people;
if you had been stern and harsh-hearted, they would have dispersed from round
about you" The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):159
Even with all of his concerns and obligations, Muhammad (s.a.a.w.)
never became unmindful of his people. He had a special place in his heart for
each one of them and he was known among them for his soft-spokenness, his
generosity, his tolerance, and his friendliness.
He would joke with his companions, sit and talk with them,
play with their children and sit them on his knee. He would respond to the call
of the free man or the slave, or the young girl or the poor. He would visit the
sick on the opposite end of the city and he would attend their funerals. He
would accept the people's apologies and their excuses, and he was the most
humble among them.
Abdullah ibn Al-Haritha narrated:
"I have never seen anyone who smiled more continuously than
the Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.)" (Narrated by Al-Tirmathi)
Usamah ibn Zayd narrated:
"The daughter of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) sent (a messenger) to
the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) requesting him to come as her child was dying. However, the
Prophet (s.a.a.w.) returned the messenger and told him to convey his greeting to her
and say: "Whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives is for Him.
Everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world) and so she should
be patient and hope for Allah's reward." She again sent for him, swearing that
he should come. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) stood up, and so did Sa'id ibn Ubadah, Mu'ath
ibn Jabal, Ubay ibn Ka'ab , Zayd ibn Thabit and some other men. [When he
arrived,] the child was brought to Allah's Apostle (s.a.a.w.), his chest heaving. On
that the eyes of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) began shedding tears. Sa'd said, "O Allah's
Apostle! What is this?" He replied, "It is mercy which Allah has lodged in the
hearts of His slaves, and Allah is merciful only to those of His slaves who are
merciful (to others)." (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
Ibne Malik narrated that
"the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) used to mix with us (the children) to
the extent that he would say to a younger brother of mine, 'O abu-Umayr! What
did the Nughayr (a kind of bird) do?' " (Narrated by
Abu Dawood narrated that the Messenger of Allah would say:
"Let none of you transmit to me [evil news] about my
companions, for I like to meet with you with a pure heart"
Ibn Masood narrated that Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) said to a group he sent to teach and advise:
"Be lenient and do not make [this religion] difficult.
Bring glad tidings and do not repel"
AbuMalik al-Ash'ari said:
"The Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.) said: 'Cleanliness is half
of faith, and [saying] 'Praise be to God' fills the scale, and [saying] 'Glory
be to God' and 'Praise be to God' fill up what is between the heavens and the
earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof [of one's faith], and
patience is a brightness, and the Qur'an is a proof for or against you. All men
go out early in the morning and sell themselves, some setting themselves free
and others destroying themselves.' " (Narrated by
THE SIMILITUDE WITH WHICH ALLAH'S APOSTLE (MAY PEACE BE UPON HIM) HAS BEEN SENT WITH GUIDANCE AND KNOWLEDGE
Abu Musa reported Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: The similitude of that guidance and knowledge with which Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, has sent me is that of rain falling upon the earth. There is a good piece of land which receives the rainfall (eagerly) and as a result of it there is grown in it herbage and grass abundantly. Then there is a land hard and barren which retains water and the people derive benefit from it and they drink it and make the animals drink. Then there is another land which is barren. Neither water is retained in it, nor is the grass grown in it. And that is the similitude of the first one who develops the understanding of the religion of Allah and it becomes a source of benefit to him with which Allah sent me. (The second one is that) who acquires the knowledge of religion and imparts it to others. (Then the other type is) one who does not pay attention to (the revealed knowledge) and thus does not accept guidance of Allah with which I have been sent. (Muslim, Book 030, Number 5668)
Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari
by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley
1. Honouring Parents: The Words of Allah Almighty: "We have instructed man to honour his parents." (29:8)
1. Abu 'Amr ash-Shaybani said, "The owner of this house (and he pointed at the house of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud) said, "I asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, which action Allah loves best. He replied, 'Prayer at its proper time.' 'Then what?' I asked. He said, 'Then kindness to parents." I asked, 'Then what?' He replied, 'Then jihad in the Way of Allah.'" He added, "He told me about these things. If I had asked him to tell me more, he would have told me more."
2. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "The pleasure of the Lord lies in the pleasure of the parent. The anger of the Lord lies in the anger of the parent."
2. Dutifulness to One's Mother
3. Bahz ibn Hakim's grandfather said, "I asked, 'Messenger of Allah, to whom should I be dutiful?' 'Your mother,' he replied. I asked, 'Then whom?' 'Your mother,' he replied. I asked, 'Then whom?' 'Your mother,' he replied. I asked, 'Then whom?' 'Your mother,' he replied. I asked, 'Then to whom should I be dutiful?' 'Your father,' he replied, 'and then the next closest relative and then the next.'"
4. 'Ata' ibn Yasar said that a man came to Ibn 'Abbas and said, "I asked a woman to marry me and she refused to marry me. Another man asked her and she agreed to marry him. I became jealous and killed her. Is there any way for me to repent?" He asked, "Is your mother alive?" "No," he replied. He said, "repent to Allah Almighty and try to draw near Him as much as you can."
'Ata' said, "I went to Ibn 'Abbas and asked him, 'Why did you ask him whether his mother was alive?' He replied, 'I do not know of any action better for bringing a person near to Allah than dutifulness to his mother.'"
3. Dutifulness to One's Father
5. Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet was asked, 'Messenger of Allah, to whom should I be dutiful?' 'Your mother,' he replied. He was asked, 'Then whom?' 'Your mother,' he replied. He was asked, 'Then whom?' 'Your mother,' he replied. He was asked, 'Then whom?' 'Your mother,' he replied. He was asked, 'Then whom?' He replied, 'Your father.'"
6. Abu Hurayra reported: "A man came to the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked, 'What do you command me to do?' He replied, 'Be dutiful towards your mother.' Then he asked him the same question again and he replied, 'Be dutiful towards your mother.' He repeated it yet again and the Prophet replied, 'Be dutiful towards your mother.' He repeated the question a fourth time and the reply was, 'Be dutiful towards your mother.' Then he put the question a fifth time and the Prophet said, 'Be dutiful towards your father.'"
4. Dutifulness to Parents, even if they are unjust
7. Ibn 'Abbas said, "If any Muslim obeys Allah regarding his parents, Allah will open two gates of the Garden for him. If there is only one parent, then one gate will be opened. If one of them is angry, then Allah will not be pleased with him until that parent is pleased with him." He was asked, "Even if they wrong him?" "Even if they wrong him" he replied.
5. Gentle words to Parents
8. Taysala ibn Mayyas said, "I was with the Najadites [Kharijites] when I committed wrong actions which I supposed were major wrong actions. I mentioned that to Ibn 'Umar. He inquired, 'What are they?" I replied, 'Such-and-such.' He stated, 'These are not major wrong actions. There are nine major wrong actions. They are: associating others with Allah, killing someone, desertion from the army when it is advancing, slandering a chaste woman, usury, consuming an orphan's property, heresy in the mosque, scoffing, and causing one's parents to weep through disobedience.' Ibn 'Umar then said to me, 'Do you wish to separate yourself from the Fire? 'By Allah, yes!' I replied. He asked, 'Are your parents still alive?' I replied, 'My mother is.' He said, 'By Allah, if you speak gently to her and feed her, then you will enter the Garden as long as you avoid the major wrong actions.'"
9. Hisham ibn 'Urwa related this ayat from his father, "Take them under your wing, out of mercy, with due humility." (17:24)
6. Repaying Parents
10. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A child cannot repay his father unless he finds him as a slave and the buys him and sets him free."
11. Sa'id ibn Abi Burda said, "I heard my father sat that Ibn 'Umar saw a Yamani man going around the House while carrying his mother on his back, saying, 'I am your humble camel. If her mount is frightened, I am not frightened.' Then he asked, 'Ibn 'Umar? Do you think that I have repaid her?' He replied, 'No, not even for a single groan.'
"Ibn 'Umar did tawaf and came to the Maqam and prayed two rak'ats. He said, 'Ibn Abi Musa, every two rak'ats make up for everything that has happened between them.'"
12. Marwan used to make Abu Hurayra his agent and he used to be located in Dhu'l-Hulayfa. His mother was in one house and he was in another. When he wanted to go out, he would stop at her door and say, "Peace be upon you, mother, and the mercy of Allah and His blessing." She would reply, "And peace be upon you, my son, and the mercy of Allah and His blessing." Then he said, "May Allah have mercy on you as you raised me when I was a child." She answered, "May Allah have mercy on you as you were dutiful to me when I was old." Whenever he wanted to go inside, he would do something similar.
13. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr said, "A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and made a pledge to him that he would do hijra. He left his parents who were in tears. The Prophet said, 'Go back to them and make them laugh as you made them weep.'"
14. Abu Hazim reported that Abu Murra, the mawla of Umm Hani' bint Abi Talib had told him that he rode with Abu Hurayra to his land in al-'Aqiq. When he entered his land, he shouted out in his loudest voice, "Peace be upon you, mother, and the mercy of Allah and His blessing!" She replied, "And peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessing." He said, "May Allah have mercy on you as you raised me when I was a child." She replied, "My son, may Allah repay you well and be pleased with you as you were dutiful towards me when I was old."
7. Disobedience to Parents
15. Abu Bakra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Shall I tell you which is the worst of the major wrong actions?" "Yes, Messenger of Allah," they replied. He said, "Associating something else with Allah and disobeying parents." he had been reclining, but then he said up and said, "And false witness." Abu Bakr said, "He continued to repeat it until I said, 'Is he never going to stop?'"
16. Warrad, the scribe of al-Mughira ibn Shu'ba, said, "Mu'awiya wrote to al-Mughira, saying, 'Write down for me what you heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say.'" Warrad said, "He dictated to me and I wrote out, 'I heard him forbid asking too many questions, wasting money and chit-chat.'"
8. "Allah curses whoever curses his parents"
17. Abu't-Tufayl said, "'Ali was asked, 'Did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, give you something special which he did not give to anyone else?' He replied, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not give me anything special which he did not give to everyone else except for what I have in my sword scabbard.' He brought out a piece of paper. Written on that paper was: 'Allah curses anyone who sacrifices an animal to something other than Allah. Allah curses anyone who steals a milestone. Allah curses anyone who curses his parents. Allah curses anyone who gives shelter to an innovator.'"
9. Being Dutiful to Parents as long as that does not entail disobedience to Allah
18. Abu'd-Darda' said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, recommended nine things to me: 'Do not associate anything with Allah, even if you are cut to pieces or burned. Do not abandon a prescribed prayer deliberately. Anyone who abandons it will forfeit Allah's protection. Do not drink wine - it is the key to every evil. Obey your parents. If they command you to abandon your worldly possessions, then leave them for them. Do not contend with those in power, even if you think that you are in the right. Do not run away from the army when it is advances, even if you are killed while your companions run away. Spend on your wife out of your means. Do not raise a stick against your wife. Cause your family to fear Allah, the Almighty and Exalted.'"
19. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr said, "A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'I have come to make you a pledge that will do hijra although I have left my parents in tears." The Prophet said, 'Go back to them and make them laugh as you made them cry.'"
20. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr said, "A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wanting to do jihad. The Prophet asked, 'Are your parents alive?' 'Yes,' he replied. he said, 'Then exert yourself on their behalf.'"
10. The One who Fails his Parents will not enter the Garden
21. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Disgrace! Disgrace! Disgrace!" They said, "Messenger of Allah, who?" He said, "The one who fails his parents or one of them when they are old will enter the Fire."
11. Allah prolongs the life of someone who is dutiful towards his parents
22. Mu'adh said, "Bliss belongs to someone who is dutiful towards his parents. Allah Almighty will prolong his life."
12. One does not ask forgiveness for his father if he is an idolater
23. Ibn 'Abbas mentioned the words of the Almighty, "When one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say 'Ugh!' to them out of irritation and do not be harsh with them but speak to them with gentleness and generosity. Take them under your wing, out of mercy, with due humility and say: 'Lord, show mercy to them as they did in looking after me when I was small." (17:23-24) He said, "This was abrogated in Surat at-Tawba: 'It is not right for the Prophet and those who have iman to ask forgiveness for the mushrikun even if they are close relatives after it has become clear to them that they are the Companions of the Blazing Fire.' (9:113)"
13. Dutifulness towards a parent who is an idolater
24. Sa'id ibn Abi Waqqas said: "Four ayats were revealed about me. The first was when my mother swore she would neither eat nor drink until I left Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah Almighty revealed, 'But if they try to make you associate something with Me about which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. Keep company with them correctly and courteously in this worldÉ' (31:15) The second was when I took a sword that I admired and said, 'Messenger of Allah, give me this!' Then the ayat was revealed: 'They will ask you about booty.' (8:1) The third was when I was ill and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to me and I said, 'Messenger of Allah, I want to divide my property. Can I will away a half?' He said, 'No.' 'A third?' I asked. He was silent and so after that it was allowed to will away a third. The fourth was when I had been drinking wine with some of the Ansar. One of them hit my nose with the jawbone of a camel. I went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Allah Almighty revealed the prohibition of wine."
25. Asma' bint Abi Bakr said, "In the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, my mother came to me hoping (I would be dutiful). I asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 'Do I have to treat her well?' 'Yes,' he replied."
Ibn 'Uyayna said, "Then Allah revealed about her, 'Allah does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the deen.' (60:8)"
26. Ibn 'Umar said, "'Umar saw a silk robe for sale. He said, 'Messenger of Allah, would you buy this robe and wear it on Jumu'a and when delegations visit you?' He replied, 'Only a person who has no portion in the Next World could wear this.' Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was given some robes made of the same material. He sent one of the robes to 'Umar. 'Umar exclaimed, 'How can I wear it when you said what you said about it?' The Prophet replied, 'I did not give it to you so that you could wear it. You can sell it or give it to someone.' 'Umar sent it to a brother of his in Makka who had not yet become Muslim."
14. A person should not revile his parents
27. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Reviling one's parents is one of the great wrong actions." They asked, "How could he revile them?" He said, "He reviles a man who then in turn reviles his mother and father."
28. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr said, "A man's reviling his father is one of the major wrong actions in the sight of Allah Almighty."
15. The punishment for disobeying parents
29. Abu Bakra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is no wrong action more likely to bring punishment in this world in addition to what is stored up in the Next World than oppression and severing ties of kinship."
30. 'Imran ibn Husayn said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'What do you say about fornication, drinking wine and theft?' 'Allah and His Messenger know best,' we replied. He stated, 'They are acts of outrage and there is punishment for them, but shall I tell you which is the greatest of the great wrong actions? Associating with Allah Almighty and disobeying parents.' He had been reclining, but then he sat up and said, 'and lying.'"
16. Making Parents weep
31. Ibn 'Umar said, "Making parents weep is part of disobedience and one of the major wrong actions."
17. The Supplication of Parents
32. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Three supplications are answered without a doubt: the supplication of someone who is oppressed, the supplication of someone on a journey, and the supplication of parents for their children."
33. Abu Hurayra reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "No human child has ever spoken in the cradle except for 'Isa ibn Maryam, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the companion of Jurayj." Abu Hurayra asked, "Prophet of Allah, who was the companion of Jurayj?" The Prophet replied, "Jurayj was a monk who lived in a hermitage. There was a cowherd who used to come to the foot of his hermitage and a woman from the village used to come to the cowherd.
"One day his mother came while he was praying and called out, 'Jurayj!' He asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He concluded that he should prefer the prayer. She shouted to him a second time and he again asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He thought that he should prefer the prayer. She shouted a third time and yet again he asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He again concluded that he should prefer the prayer. When he did not answer her, she said, 'Jurayj, may Allah not let you die until you have looked at the faces of the beautiful women.' Then she left.
"Then the village woman was brought before the king after she had given birth to a child. He asked, 'Whose is it?' 'Jurayj's,' she replied. He asked, 'The man in the hermitage?' 'Yes,' she answered. He ordered, 'Destroy his hermitage and bring him to me.' They hacked at his hermitage with axes until it collapsed. They bound his hand to his neck with a rope and took him along to the king. When he passed by the beautiful women, he saw them and smiled. They were looking at him along with the people.
"The king asked, 'Do you know what this woman claims?' 'What does she claim?' he asked. He replied, 'She claims that you are the father of her child.' He asked her, 'Where is the child?' They replied, 'It is in her room.' He went to the child and said, 'Who is your father?' 'The cowherd,' he replied. The king said, 'Shall we build your hermitage out of gold?' 'No,' he replied. He asked, 'Of silver?' 'No,' he replied. The king asked, 'What shall we build it with?' He said, 'Put it back the way you found it.' Then the king asked, 'What made you smile.' 'Something I recognised,' he replied, 'The supplication of my mother overtook me.' Then he told him about it."
18. Offering Islam to a Christian mother
34. Abu Hurayra said, "Neither Jew nor Christian has heard me and then not loved me. I wanted my mother to become Muslim, but she refused. I told her about it and she still refused. I went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Pray to Allah for me.' He did so and I went to her. She was inside the door of the house and said, 'Abu Hurayra, I have become Muslim.' I told the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I asked, 'Make supplication to Allah for me and my mother.' He said, 'O Allah, make people love Abu Hurayra and his mother.'"
19. Dutifulness towards Parents after their Death
35. Abu Usayd said, "We were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when a man asked, 'Messenger of Allah, is there any act of dutifulness which I can do for my parents after their death?' He replied, 'Yes. There are four things: Supplication for them, asking forgiveness for them, fulfilling their pledges, and being generous to friends of theirs. You only have ties of kinship through your parents."
36. Abu Hurayra said, "The dead person can be raised a degree after his death. He said, 'My Lord, how is this?' He was told, 'Your child can ask for forgiveness for you.'"
37. Ibn Sirin said, "We were with Abu Hurayra one night and he said, 'O Allah, forgive Abu Hurayra and his mother and whoever asks for forgiveness for both of them.'" Muhammad said, "We used to ask for forgiveness for them so that we would be included in Abu Hurayra's supplication."
38. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When a person dies, all action is cut off for him with the exception of three things: sadaqa which continues, knowledge which benefits, or a righteous child who makes supplication for him."
39. Ibn 'Abbas reported that a man said, "Messenger of Allah, my mother died without a will. Will it help her if I give sadaqa on her behalf?" "Yes," he replied.
20. The Dutifulness of someone who maintains what his father loved
40. 'Abdullah ibn Dinar reported that Ibn 'Umar passed by a bedouin during a journey. The bedouin's father had been a friend of 'Umar's. The bedouin said, "Am I not the son of so-and-so?" He said, "Yes, indeed." Ibn 'Umar ordered that he be given a donkey which was following him. He also took off his turban and gave it to him, One of the men with him said, "Wouldn't two dirhams be enough for him?" He replied, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Maintain what your father loved. Do not cut it off so that Allah puts out your light."
41. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The strongest form of dutifulness is when a man maintains relations with the people his father loved."
21. Do not cut off someone with whom your father maintained ties
42. Sa'd ibn 'Ubada az-Zurqi reported that his father said, "I was sitting in the mosque in Madina with 'Amr ibn 'Uthman when 'Abdullah ibn Salam walked by, leaning on his nephew. 'Amr left the assembly and showed his concern for him." Then Ibn Salam returned to them and said, "Do what you like, 'Amr ibn 'Uthman," (and he said it two or three times) By the One who sent Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with the Truth, it is in the Book of Allah Almighty (and he said it twice), 'Do not cut off those your father has joined so that that extinguishes your light.'"
22. Love is inherited
43. Abu Bakr ibn Hazm reported that one of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "It is enough that I tell you that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Love is inherited.'"
23. A man should not call his father by his name nor sit down before him nor walk in front of him
44. Abu Hurayra saw two men and said to one of them, "Who is this man in relation to you?" He is my father," he replied. He said, "Do not call him by his own name nor walk in front of him nor sit down before him."
24. Can a man call his father by his kunya?
45. Shahr ibn Hawshab said, "We went out with Ibn 'Umar and Salim said to him, 'Peace, Abu 'Abdu'r-Rahman.'"
46. 'Abdullah ibn Dinar said reported that Ibn 'Umar said, "But Abu Hafs 'Umar decided..."
Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:
إَنَّ الَّذِينَ لاَ يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءنَا وَرَضُواْ بِالْحَياةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاطْمَأَنُّواْ بِهَا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا غَافِلُونَ
أُوْلَـئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمُ النُّارُ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ
Surely those who do not expect to meet Us, who are gratified with the life of the world and content with it, and are heedless of Our signs,their abode shall be the Fire in return for their misdeeds. (The Holy Quran, 10:7-8)
The statement that is being made here is that rejection of the doctrine of the Hereafter necessarily entails the punishment of Hell, and the argument that is being proffered in support of it is that those who are oblivious to the Hereafter commit, because of their disbelief in it, evil deeds which can only lead to them suffering the torments of Hell. This argument is corroborated by the entire record of man's past. It is quite clear that the lives of those who do not believe that they will not be held to account by God for their deeds; who work on the assumption that life is merely confined to the span of worldly existence; who measure human success or failure only in terms of the extent of material comfort, fame and power that a person is able to enjoy; who under the influence of such materialistic notions do not even care to pay attention to those signs of God which point to reality, assume an altogether wrong direction with the result that their life is vitiated. Hence they live a totally unbridled life, develop the worst possible character traits, and fill God's earth with injustice and corruption, with sin and transgression, and ultimately end up meriting the punishment of Hell.
The above argument about the Hereafter is drawn from human experience itself. Although in the present verse the argument is found only in an implicit form, it is spelt out at several other places in the Qur'an. The argument essentially is that unless man's character rests on the consciousness and conviction that he will have to render an account for all his deeds to God, both man's individual and collective behaviour will fail to have sound basis and direction. It would seem, therefore, to be worth asking: why is this so? Why is it that once this consciousness and conviction are altogether ended or greatly enfeebled, the human character turns to iniquity and corruption? Had affirmation of the Hereafter not been in conformity with reality, and conversely, had its denial not been opposed to it, then the evil consequences flowing from the denial of the Hereafter would not have been found with such unfailing regularity. If adherence to a proposition invariably leads to good results, and failure to adhere to it invariably leads to evil consequences, then this definitely proves the proposition to be true.
In an attempt to refute the above argument it is sometimes contended that even atheists who reject the Hereafter and follow a materialistic approach to life often lead lives that are on the whole good and decent, that they hold themselves free from corruption and injustice. Not only that but also that their actual conduct is characterized by righteousness and benevolence. However, only a little reflection will make apparent the fallacy underlying this argument. For if one were to examine any atheistic or materialistic philosophy or ideology one will not find in them any basis for righteous behaviour which draws such lavish praise from so-called 'righteous' atheists. Nor can it be established by logical reasoning that an atheistic philosophy of life provides any incentive to embrace such virtues as truthfulness, trustworthiness, honesty, faithfulness to one's commitment, benevolence, generosity, preferring the interests of others to one's own, self-restraint, chastity, recognition of the rights of others, and fulfilment of one's obligations. The fact is that once God and the Hereafter are relegated to oblivion, the only practicable course left for man is to anchor his morality on utilitarianism. All other philosophical ideas which are expounded are merely theoretical embellishments and have no relevance for man's practical life.
As for utilitarian morality - no matter how hard we might try to broaden its scope - it does not go beyond teaching man that he ought to do that which will yield to him or to his society some worldly benefit. Now since utility is the criterion of all acts, such a philosophy tends to make man cynical, with the result that in order to derive benefits, he will not differentiate between truth and lie; between trustworthiness and treachery; between honesty and dishonesty; between loyalty and perfidy; between observing justice and committing wrong. In short, a person under the spell of utilitarian ideas will be ready to do a thing or its opposite, depending on what serves his interests best. The conduct of the British is illustrative of this stance. It is sometimes contended that though the British have a materialistic outlook on life and generally do not believe in the Hereafter, they are more truthful, fairer, and more straightforward and faithful to their commitment.
The fact, however, is that the tenuous character of moral values under a utilitarian moral philosophy is amply illustrated by the character of the British.
For their actual conduct clearly shows that they do not consider moral values to have any intrinsic worth. This is evident from the fact that even those values which are held by the British to be good in their individual lives are brazenly flouted when they act as a nation. Had the qualities of truthfulness, justice, honesty and faithfulness to one's committed word been regarded as intrinsic virtues, it would have been altogether out of the question for the elected rulers of Britain to cynically violate all moral principles in governmental and international affairs and yet continue to retain the confidence of the British people. Does such a behaviour of a people who do not take the Hereafter seriously prove that they do not believe in absolute moral values? Does it also not prove that, guided by concern for material interests, such people are capable of following mutually opposed views simultaneously? (The same arguemnt can be made against the United States and many other governments and societies of today.)
Nevertheless, if we do find some people who, in spite of their not believing in God and the Hereafter, consistently adhere to some moral virtues and abstain from evil, there should be no mistaking that their righteous conduct and piety represents the continuing influence which religious ideas and practices have over them - even if unconsciously - rather than their subscription to a materialistic philosophy of life. If they possess any portion of the wealth of morality, there can be no doubt that it was stolen from the treasure-house of religion. It is ironical that such persons are now using the same wealth derived from religious sources, to promote an irreligious way of life. We consider this an act of theft because irreligiousness and materialism are altogether bereft of morality. (slightly edited version of text taken from Tafheemul Quran)