Rabbee Zidnee

"And convey to my servants that surely I am the Ghafoor (the Forgiving) and the Raheem (the Merciful)". -- Suratul Hijr, Verse 49

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Being with the King

The Qur'an establishes without a doubt that everyone will meet Allah in the hereafter. In order to help us better understand what sort of meeting this might be, Marhum Sayyid Qadi Tabatabai, the spiritual mentor of the late Allamah Tabatabai and the contemporary Ayatullah Behjat, gives an example of a great king who presided over a vast land.

One day the king wished to invite some people to a banquet at his castle. He dispatched his most elite messengers to personally invite the guests to attend the banquet. When the messengers arrived at the guests' homes to convey the invitations, they brought peace and happiness and spoke in gentle and polite tones. For the convenience of the guests, the messengers provided all amenities to escort the guests in luxury to the king's palace. At the time of the appointed banquet, the guests arrived in grand splendor, and the king welcomed them with pleasure. The guests spent time in the king's presence and were in every way satisfied and pleased with the event.

Another day the king received word that a certain denizen of his land had committed a heinous crime. The king commanded his dreadful, awesome guards to seize the criminal. The guards stormed the criminal's home and without warning, they cast him into chains and dragged him away from whatever he was occupied with. He was taken into the king's presence, where he only had a brief glance at the king before the king passed his judgment and ordered the criminal to be sentenced for his crime.

Everyone will meet Allah (swt) in the hereafter and realize, if they have not already done so, the truth of His Existence and Kingship over this world. There are the special friends of Allah (the awliyaa) who will meet Allah and from that then on Allah will not wish them to leave His presence for even a moment. Others will perceive Allah for some time and may be spoken to directly by Allah, and then be led into heavenly dwellings of gardens, rivers, and pleasures they could never have fathomed previously. And others will be graced with only a moment of being able to perceive the Truth, after which they will enter the fire that they have created for themselves as a result of their action (or lack thereof) in this world.

Given the numerous means we have at our disposal these days to keep us busy and entertained, we often forget about the hereafter, and if we do think of it, it is as if the hereafter is a great fictional tale. We hear about events that *will absolutely most definitely happen to us*, like the interrogation of munkir and nakir. We will face this interrogation, but how certain are we that it will happen to us?


Note that the story is but an example and let us not read too deeply into it, because although from one angle it helps us understand, from another angle obviously Allah is not comparable to a human king and "seeing" Allah with your eyes is not possible.

-- From a lecture about the hereafter by a teacher of the howza, February, 2005