The Most Important Issue

The Most Important Issue

A Chapter by Dr. Junaid Shaikh

The everyday concept of success is immediate acquisition of commodities,enjoyment of leisure & popular acclaim; while failure, to him means to be deprived of these things.

The Most Important Issue

If a group of people were asked, ‘What was the most important issue for mankind today?’ different people would have different answers. Some would say that the spread of nuclear weapons was the most important issue. Some would say population explosion, while others might say that the production and distribution of wealth were of paramount importance. Such diversity of opinions shows that people in general do not properly recognize themselves. If they did, they would all agree that the most critical issue facing mankind was man’s disregard of the reality of his existence.

Man persists in ignoring the inescapable fact that one day he must die and be called to account before his Maker. If he were to become aware of the reality of his existence, it would be to the afterlife rather than to this world that he would direct his attention. If you stand at a busy crossroads during the evening rush-hour and observe what people are hurrying towards, you will realize what today’s human-being has chosen as his fundamental issue. Why do you think there is an endless stream of traffic in the streets? Why has the merchant decorated his shop? Where are the crowds of people coming from and going to? What is the main topic of people’s conversation and the true purpose of their meeting one another? What interests them the most? To what use are their finest talents and resources put? What have people taken with them; from their homes, and what do they intend to return with? If you can answer these questions, you will also be able to deduce exactly what it is that mankind has chosen to base his life on and what he is endeavouring to achieve.

It is plain for all to see that today’s human being is simply running after the satisfaction of his own desires. It is the world rather than the afterlife that he is eager to obtain. His happiness hinges on the fulfilment of his worldly ambitions, while his grief stems from the fact that this seemingly eludes him. The everyday concept of success is the immediate acquisition of commodities, the enjoyment of leisure and popular acclaim; while failure, to him means to be deprived of these things. This is what the whole of humanity is chasing. No one cares about tomorrow; everyone becomes frantic about getting his share now, today, this very minute.

This state of affairs is prevalent not only in our big cities but even in the tiniest human settlements; wherever one goes, people seem to be similarly obsessed. Male and female, rich and poor, old and young, urbane and rustic, even the religious and irreligious all are running in this same direction. Man is even ready to sacrifice his faith and his conscience for them at the altar of worldly gain. His struggle is for worldly ends alone, and he cares not what this struggle entails. Every success gained in this way, however, is trivial and mundane and will be of no avail in the afterlife. He who is concerned with the consolidation of his worldly position at the expense of the afterlife is like the young man who does not care to save up for his old age. Eventually the time comes when his limbs fail him and he becomes unfit for further toil. Suddenly he realizes his predicament: he is no longer able to provide for himself. The same applies to our afterlife. All of us are too concerned with the consolidation of our present positions. No one gives a thought to tomorrow. Though we witness with our own eyes the death of people all around us, we are still not galvanized into action. When the air-raid siren sounds in wartime and proclaims in its chilling wail: ‘Squadrons of enemy bombers are approaching to blast this city to eternity. To the air-raid shelters at once!’ everyone immediately takes the quickest route to the shelters and in an instant, the busiest of streets are deserted. Anyone who does not react in this manner is considered insane.

There is another danger, however, even more terrible and inevitable, concerning which the Lord of the worlds has given us due warning, which we do not even give a second thought to. What is this warning? It is the warning of the Lord of the worlds. He proclaims His imperatives through His prophets to mankind, ‘Worship Me, fulfil your obligations to one another and live in accordance with My will. I will punish those who fail to do this in a way that cannot be imagined.’Although, every ear has heard this declaration and every tongue acknowledges it in one form or the other, but the general attitude is to treat it as a matter of ‘no consequence.’ In order to avail themselves of worldly advantages, people perpetrate every form of misdemeanour.

However when it comes to the advantages of the afterlife, they are not concerned enough to take appropriate action. In this way, life’s caravan proceeds heedlessly towards a point of no return. People start in response to the siren-screeching out from the military headquarters, but no importance is attached to the danger signal that the Lord of the Universe has given out for mankind. Far from hastening at the sound of it, no one even alters his pace.

What can be the reason for this sorry state of affairs? It is simply that the danger about which the military headquarters’ siren warns us is of this world and is observable by us. So, everyone perceives this and knows that its effects will be immediately felt. On the other hand, the danger that God has cautioned us about will be felt only in the afterlife: the wall of death stands between us and its realization and our eyes cannot penetrate it. Therefore, although people immediately respond to the air-raid siren, they remain unaffected and dispassionate on hearing of the calamity of which God has given us ample warning. The news does not impress upon them the absolute certainty of their doom. This being so, they do not feel spurred on to atone for their sins, or to begin leading righteous lives.

God has given us not only our two eyes with which to perceive the external world, but also a ‘third’ eye, which can scan the invisible realities that lie beyond the horizons of perception. This ‘third’ eye is that of our intellect. People remain in a state of doubt because they do not use their intellect. They reckon that reality is what they see through their two eyes, whereas, if they were to ponder over things, they would become even more certain about what remains unseen than about what is visible.

What is the one reality that everybody acknowledges? Death must be the unanimous answer to this question. Death is a reality to which everyone has to reconcile himself with. Everyone realizes that death can overtake one at any time, but whenever the thought of death occurs to people, the things that they think about are of domestic nature like: ‘What will happen to my children after I die?’ In fact, most of their life is spent in safeguarding their children’s future, but no efforts are made to insure their own life ahead. From their attitude, it seems as if only their children will survive them, and that they themselves will be non-existent and so they really have nothing to prepare for. They are totally unaware of the fact that there is a life after death.

Whereas the fact of the matter is that, the real life only commences after our death. If people only realized that when they are buried, they are actually being ushered into another world, they would be more worried about themselves rather than about their children’s future. This is because most people, whether religiously or agnostically inclined, are not convinced about the afterlife. Two factors cause one to have doubts about life after death. Firstly, on dying, every human being turns into dust and all traces of his body are effaced. How then can he subsequently be revived? Secondly, the fact that life after death is not visible to us, while the world of today is an observable phenomenon. So if no one has actually seen it, how can we place implicit trust in its advent? Let us look at both these objections in turn.

© 2013 Dr. Junaid Shaikh

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Added on December 4, 2013
Last Updated on December 4, 2013
Tags: Maulana wahiduddin khan books, thought provoking, interesting, for those who reason, self help, islam, seeker, paradise, god


Dr. Junaid Shaikh
Dr. Junaid Shaikh


I am here to Share articles of Maulana Wahidudding Khan. You can read more of his work by following wattpad link give below my name The book, 500 Most Influential Muslims of 2009 by Georgetown .. more..