Hardly did a onetime American President, John F. Kennedy, know, that he was describing the Qur’an when he made the following statement in form of an assertion in the early 1960s:
“We live in a hemisphere whose own revolution has given birth to the most powerful force of the modern age-the freedom and fulfilment of man”.
Inside the Glorious Book called the Qur’an is everything about the world in which we live. Our sojourn in it and the end result of that sojourn are explicit;y analysed in that nonesuch Book.
There is nothing in the world that the Qur’an does not talk about with guidance. The message contained in that divine Book is not meant for man alone. All other creatures have their own fair shares of that message. And, the Almighty Allah confirms this fact in the same Book thus: “We did not leave out anything untouched in this Glorious Book” Q. 6:38.
THE PLANET CALLED THE EARTH
Our planet, the earth, did not come into existence by fortuity. Our primogenitors, Prophet Adam and his spouse, Hawa’u, were not created to take charge of the earth by fortuity. The divine law by which this world is governed was not enacted by fortuity. And, man’s peregrinations on earth, towards the World Hereafter, is not by fortuity. All these are a ground design of a great revolution through which the meaning of the universe becomes understood to man.
THE DIVINE SIGNATURE
The divine signature appended to the above mentioned design is what eventually came to be known as the Qur’an. That unassuming signature which stands for the seal of authority on the law that keeps the world going is not only unsurpassable but also inimitable in the grandeur of its diction and the splendour of its rendition. The real essence of the esoteric connotation and exoteric profundity of this authoritative signature is the testimonial that a true believer needs as the compass with which to find smooth path to the final abode called the Paradise.
The summary of this signature as known to the primordial and contemporary humanity is a great ‘Revolution’.
By implication, the Qur’an can be semantically defined as ‘THE DIVINE REVOLUTION’ that transformed human life from the sphere of obscurity into that of unimaginable sophistication which otherwise came to be known as civilization.
PHASES OF HUMAN GROWTH
Following his tiresome peregrinations and sojourns around the world, man gets greying, not merely because of stress cultivated from sweat or the experiences garnered from labour, but also because of the sapping occurrences which form huddles on his way through the various circumstances of life. Incidentally, some of those occurrences are invisible to us even as some are totally unknown. But, invariably, all are contained in the above mentioned divine signature (the Qur’an) which prepares us for our eventual homes.
In the same manner, it takes classes of pious intellectuals to pursue the recitation, analytical digestion and understanding of the Qur’an, to an appreciable level, before disseminating the knowledge therein to others.
THE EMPIRICAL DICTIONS
That Glorious Book is the undisputable encyclopaedia of life which thoroughly explains the essence of existence of every living thing and its coexistence with others in a given environment. That explanation simply consists of the connotations of such empirical dictions of journalism which are as follows: ‘what?’, ‘where?’, ‘when?’ ‘why?’ and how? of everything in existence. The combination of the connotations of those dictions was what cumulated in the Divine Origin of the contemporary gadgets called CCTV.
But for the Qur’an, how could we have known that every human being is closely monitored by two Angels who record his/her deeds on indelible video and audio every minute of life? These two Angels, according to the Qur’an, are called Raqib and ‘Atid.
Copies of their records are forwarded to two other Angels who, like immigration officers, interrogate every demised human being at the point of his or her entry into the Hereafter from the earth, through the transit of the grave. These latter Angels are called Munkar and Nakir. Their joint duty is to play back the recorded deeds of humans and set questions for the deceased who is seeking immigration into the hemisphere of the Hereafter, based on the video and audio that had been recorded on their activities on earth. This is done in the grave as soon as the deceased is buried.
The Almighty Allah speaks of this with emphasised clarity in chapter 80 verses 16-31 thus: “We surely created man and we know the promptings of his soul; We are closer to him than his jugular veins; we assign two keepers to guard him; one sits on his right and the other on his left; He utters no word that can escape the recording instruments of Raqib or those of ‘Atid. And, when the agony of death justly overtakes him/her, they (the two Angels) will say: “This is the fate you have striven to avoid” And, then, the Trumpet shall be blown. Such is the quivering day on which each soul shall be accompanied by two Angels (Munkar and Nakir) that will bear witness and one of them will say: “Of this you have been heedless. But now, we have removed your veil. Today, your sight is keen….”
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
It is at the point of burial that the demised Muslims are often reminded of how they should answer the questions asked in the grave by the two Angels. Some funeral officiating clerics do exclaim a reminder on what the answers should be to the deceased at the point of burial before the corpse is covered up. This is the situation that warranted the casting of the title of this article: “What should I tell them?”
Some of the questions are primary and fundamental. They include the following: Who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who is your Prophet? Who is your Imam? What is your book (of guidance)? Where is your Qiblah? Other fundamental questions are asked especially in respect of worship and personal mannerism. All these ought to have been filled into the memory of a practicing Muslim while alive. Thus, like in mundane exams, such a Muslim will have no problem in answering the questions awaiting him/her in the grave.
A CHAIN OF TRANSITS
Man’s journey from this world to the World Hereafter is interrupted by a chain of transits. And, every transit is a question which requires the guidance of Allah to answer. The period spent as mere semen in the loins of a man who came to be known as father is a transit. The period spent in the womb of a woman who later becomes mother is a transit. The period spent between birth and attainment of adolescence is a transit. Man’s life from puberty to middle age is a transit. And, the period between middle age and death is another transit. Each of these transits forms a chapter in the life of man, a part of which will be accounted for and a part of which will be treated as one of innocence. Through this process, it becomes clear that human beings constitute the central focus of the Great Message which the revealed Sacred Book called the Qur’an brought to mankind.
YARDSTICK FOR JUDGMENT
As human beings, we shall not be judged by our actions as much as by the intentions upon which those actions are based. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) emphasized this in his Hadith thus: “Every action shall be judged according to intention. And, every person shall reap the fruit of his intention. Whoever migrates for the sake of Allah and His Apostle shall be judged accordingly. And, whoever migrates because of a hidden agenda, not disclosed, shall equally be judged accordingly…”
If what to tell the two Angels (Munkar and Nakir) in the grave is a bothering question, the answer had been provided before death. What to tell those Angels is just a recast of what had been done or left undone while alive. And that alone is enough to arouse our consciousness and put us on a permanent alert. Whether we like it or not, death is around the corner. We are all from Allah and to Allah, we shall all return.
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