The After Life

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Every morning when I wake up I have a feeling of nervousness: butterflies in my stomach that can’t be explained.  There is nothing planned  in the day ahead that suggests a reason for this uneasiness.  As I leave my warm duvet and make my way to the bathroom, this uneasiness disappears, yet virtually every morning there is an unexplained feeling inside me that refuses to let go.  This feeling has only made it’s presence known in the last few months – and ever since, I have been searching for an answer as to why I should wake up feeling nervous when there is nothing to be nervous about.

So here is my attempt at an explanation: Islam is a religion that puts great emphasis on the concept of the Hereafter.  How we live life in this world will decide our fate in the afterlife.  My faith has become stronger in the past few years as God continued to bless me with His guidance and light, and it is this faith and the certainty of life after death that creates the butterflies in my stomach every morning. Knowing that my choices – my use of time and how I behave towards others throughout the day will influence how my afterlife is decided makes me nervous for my first few waking minutes.  Although we should all strive to treat our fellow human beings with respect and kindness, sometimes our negative traits take over and we become spiteful and harsh towards others.  Our decisions in life should put other’s needs before our own, strengthening our character and pleasing our Lord, yet often we put our own needs first.  Striving for a peaceful afterlife means that we must dedicate our time praising God and we should always attempt to treat others the way we would want to be treated.  Whether I would have the ability to fulfil these requirements is what makes me nervous: will I be able to say my prayers with full dedication to God? Can I remain silent in the face of adversity, keeping a firm lock on negative emotions? These are important questions for a person of faith and reflecting upon them should be a daily process, enabling the development of a positive, loving character that will eventually lead to a happy after-life in shaa Allah.

The concept of the Hereafter is not an easy one to grasp.  Faith itself cannot exist without a firm hold on the concept of spirituality – a belief in the unseen.  This concept runs through the heart rather than the requiring some form of worldly evidence.  If one has faith, then the hereafter becomes the reason for that faith.  It answers the question of why we were placed on the Earth in the first place – surely we are here for a purpose, and in Islam, that purpose is to praise Allah and make a positive mark on this world which will guide us, God willing,  towards a happy afterlife.

“And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement. But far better is the house in the hereafter for those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious). Will you not then understand?” (Quran, Al-An’aam: 32)

“The life of this world compared to the hereafter is as if one of you were to put his finger in the ocean and take it out again then compare the water that remains on his finger to the water that remains in the ocean” [Sahîh Muslim (2858)].

Preparation for the hereafter is life itself.  All faiths hold this belief in some form or another.  To truly appreciate this concept, one must put aside all worldly thoughts and focus on their spirituality.  We cannot simply exist to die.  There has to be a purpose to our existence, otherwise why are we not immortal? Why DO all roads lead to death?

There are many hadiths and Quranic verses that explain in detail our fate after death, but for now, my motive is simply to confirm the existence of an afterlife. Whether one has faith or not, surely no one can feel at ease with the concept of simply not existing after they pass away – the soul is far too precious to just disappear once it’s physical form has left the earth.  What do you think?

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