Imagine you find yourself imprisoned in a strange land. You have been imprisoned for several weeks.
One day, two guards come to your cell. With them is a man dressed in a suit carrying a brown briefcase. They stand in front of your cell door. The man in the suit pulls out a piece of paper from the briefcase. He mentions your name, then hands you the paper. It reads:
In about one hour from reading this, you will die. It might be a bit more or a bit less than an hour, but when your time is up you will not be able to escape the punishment, Death! No one has ever escaped from this punishment except through one way. Those who have completed a single simple task. If you complete this task you will live. Indeed, not only will you live but your life will be unimaginably better than it is right now.
This task will take no more than five minutes of the one hour you have left. The task is to call your mother and tell her that she’s the only mother you have, that you appreciate and are grateful for all that she has done for you and that you should ask her to forgive you for anything that you’ve done to upset her. That’s it. You will be given a smartphone. Your mother’s number is stored on it and all you need to do is turn it on, find the number and call her. You have one hour.
Having finished reading you look up. The man in the suit hands you a smartphone and leaves with the guards. What will you do?
It may seem obvious, but what you are not told is that this phone is also connected to your text messages and social media accounts, and when you turn it on, the email, text and social media notifications start appearing on the screen, including your lawyer who has been messaging you that he can get you out.
Barely thinking you begin to flick through the messages, reading and then responding to them! The distraction is instant, yet prolonged. At the back of your mind you remember that you only have an hour, but you keep telling yourself you have plenty of time. Half an hour later a guard comes. “Did you complete the task?” he asks.
You look up confused, barely remembering why you were given the phone in the first place. The guard leaves and calls start coming from your lawyer. You answer. He’s promising he can get you out, and at the same time he’s telling you that your modest investment that you made with him is making massive amounts of money.
Everyone is talking about how rich you are, and that surely no one would dare do anything to you, you’re worth more alive…then you hear the sound of marching feet…you look up and there are the guards again. Six of them this time, dressed in black. They are holding heavy chains…
The hour is up!
This is an example of the life of this world. Your life, however long, is really like an hour of a day. A moment. In this moment that is your life you have a simple task. Acknowledge that there is only one God. To do so is natural and rational and obvious. Deep down you already know that there is great, wise and mighty being that has created you and this universe and that He provides for and controls all things. Acknowledge His blessings and ask for His forgiveness.
Thank Him and Him alone. Worship Him alone and do not make anything equal with Him. It won’t take much time in your life to do that. Not much time at all. Like five minutes of the hour that is your life. If you do this you will get an eternal life of bliss, Paradise. A place of complete peace, happiness and joy where everything you could dream of and hope for will be there and more. Things that your heart cannot even imagine, and your mind cannot even conceive.
You will never get old, or tired, or bored or hungry or thirsty or too hot or too cold. Every moment in that place will be better than the moment before it.
…but the life of the world distracts you!
It distracts you until that moment when your time is up, but by then its too late! Certainly, when you are in the grave you will come to know with absolute certainty the reality that this life distracted you from, that this life was just a test. Passing this test involved something incredibly simple, easy and natural.
To testify that there is one true source of success and happiness; the Creator, who has no equal and no rival. To ask your Creator for forgiveness for your mistakes and be thankful by trying to live your life according to the guidance that He has sent.
…but the life of the world distracts you!
Death is the reality that will confront us all. It is absolutely certain. You will not escape it.
The rich and poor, healthy and sick, young and old, men and women, black and white from the East or West, death will reach them all. So, what have you prepared for the life to come? What have you done to save yourself from its perils and trials?
Do you really imagine that you will be left and not held to account for all that you have done and for all that you have failed to do? No, certainly you will be asked. Every atom’s weight of good and ever atom’s weight of evil will be made known on a day about which there is no doubt.
This is a Day of Accounting. The Day of Reckoning. The Day of Judgment. Every injustice and every wrong will be made right, and then you will be presented with your scroll of deeds. Whoever’s scale is heavy with good will go to the gardens of delights.
Whoever’s scale of deeds is heavy with evil, for them is the burning fire of endless pain and suffering where its inhabitants will neither live nor will they die, a suffering that will only increase eternally. Death will approach them from every side, but they will not die.
“Bear in mind that the present life is just a game, a diversion, an attraction, a cause of boasting among you, of rivalry in wealth and children. It is like plants that spring up after the rain: their growth at first delights the sowers, but then you see them wither away, turn yellow, and become stubble. There is terrible punishment in the next life as well as forgiveness and approval from God; the life of this world is only an illusory pleasure. The Qur’an Chapter 57 , Verse 20
Think about it.
Where would you want to spend your eternity?