The Second Part of Life: What It Means and How to Attain Its Bliss

The Second Part of Life - GSalam.Net

Outline

Introduction

Alhamdulillah… Infinite praise and thanks are due to the Almighty Allah, who has shown us the clear paths of living the first part of life (Dunyā), to attain the joy and bliss of the second part of life (Ākhirah). Complete blessings and salutations are upon our master and leader in the first part of life; our intercessor in the second part of life, Sayyidinā Muhammad, his household, his companions, and all those who follow his guided path till the end of time.

It’s all about life; the life that comes in two parts. By the grace of Allah, you are living the first part of your life on earth (See: The First Part of Life: What it Means and How to Live It). You are given all the tools you need to make the best of it. This will help you determine how your second part of life will be. Thus, you are in-charge.

You’ve already known that the first part of your life is temporary, and that your second part of life is eternal. However, after your passing (death), there will be two parts of you. The part of you which you will leave behind–your legacy; the good and the bad (stay tuned for our next article, inshā Allah). The other part is the part of the real you in the next life. You won’t know what those you are going to leave behind will be doing after your departure. Neither will they know what you will end up in, in the second part of life.

This article discusses the second part of life which is part of everyone’s life. It complements our previous article, The First Part of Life: What It Means and How to Live It. This highlights the second part of life, and then suggests how to attain the good side of it. For in the Hereafter, mankind will be divided into two groups. Two and only two.

فَرِيقٌ فِى ٱلْجَنَّةِ وَفَرِيقٌ فِى ٱلسَّعِيرِ

“A party will be in Paradise and a party in the Blaze” (Sūrah al-Shūrā, 42:7).

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Life and the Second Part of Life

In our previous article, we defined life in the context of our discussion and in the context of that which matches what Islam says about life in general. Please refer to  The First Part of Life: What It Means and How to Live It.

After you pass on to the Hereafter, there will be two parts of you. The You, whom you leave behind, in the form of legacy, and the real You, whom you find yourself as, in the second part of life.

Life in the womb and life on the earth make up the first part of life. And life in the grave, life after resurrection, life during judgement and life after judgement make up the second part life. The former is referred to in Arabic Language as Dunyā and the other is Ākhirah.

We have agreed in our previous article, that our life is eternal, but with various points of transit. These include life in the womb, life on the earth, life in the grave, life after resurrection (before judgement), life during judgement and, ultimately, life either in Heaven or Hell.

The process of moving from life on the earth to life in the grave is called death. But the truth is that anytime you go to sleep, you experience a form of death. Your soul is taken away, until the time you need to return awaken. This is understood from Sūrah al-Zumar’s verse 42:

ٱللَّـهُ يَتَوَفَّى ٱلْأَنفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَٱلَّتِى لَمْ تَمُتْ فِى مَنَامِهَا ۖ فَيُمْسِكُ ٱلَّتِى قَضَىٰ عَلَيْهَا ٱلْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ ٱلْأُخْرَىٰٓ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

“It is Allah who takes away men’s souls upon their death and the souls of the living during their sleep. Then He withholds those for whom He has ordained death and restores the souls of others for an appointed term. There are certainly signs in this for those who reflect.”

Here, it’s worth indicating that when you are asleep, you live a different life in the form of dreams, and some of them make sense. Similarly, the Hereafter is a life, which is real and doesn’t have to be exactly as we are familiar with.

Human nature is attached to the first (worldly) life. Simply because it is what he’s familiar with. It’s not uncommon that man is afraid of the unknown. He’s afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone. Thus, although many believe in the Day of Judgement and the life in the Hereafter, they hardly establish psychological readiness for the second part of life. This leads many to the fear of death, more than they fear Allah Himself.

The good news is that, the Qur’an emphasizes how the second part of life is better. It’s better, but for the believing folks. It’s better because it’s eternal. It’s better because, justice will be duly served there, and only there. It’s better because no trials will ever exist there. Furthermore, it’s better because over there, if you make it to Heaven, anything you desire for, shall be granted.

بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ ٱلْحَيَوٰةَ ٱلدُّنْيَا * وَٱلْـَٔاخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰٓ

“But you prefer the life of this world, (16) although the Hereafter is better and more lasting” (Sūrah al-A‘lā, 87:16-17).

Thus, no matter how we embrace this worldly life, no matter how much good it throws at us, and no matter how sweet and adorable it seems to us, the Hereafter–the second part of life–is better and worthy of all sacrifice and devotion.

وَلَلْـَٔاخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَّكَ مِنَ ٱلْأُولَىٰ

“And the Hereafter will indeed be better for you than the present life” (Sūrah al-Ḍuḥā, 93:4).

The second part of life is the one which starts with no limit to its duration. The present and the future there are the same. For there’s no end to time there. For instance, any moment you spend in this first part of life gets you closer to death; the second part of life. Therefore, you are able to count your days and years here. However, in the second part, after you’ve lived a million years, that (duration) will still be the beginning. After some zillion years, it will still be the beginning. For there will be no ending.

Since there are going to be only two paths or destinations there, one needs to decide on which he wants and start or continue working towards achieving that.

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The Two Parts of You after Your Passing

Each one of us falls under one of two types of men, extracted from the following two ḥadīths. One is he, who people praise or curse for what they perceived he’s done (right or wrong). And it coincides with the acceptance of Allah for the righteous one, and the displeasure of Allah, for the evil one. This is understood from a ḥadīth authenticated by Imām al-Bukhārī and Muslim, from the narration of Sayyidinā Anas ibn Mālik raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu, he said:

مَرُّوا بِجَنَازَةٍ، فَأَثْنَوْا عَلَيْهَا خَيْراً، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “وَجَبَتْ”، ثُمَّ مَرُّوا بِأُخْرَى، فَأَثْنَوا عَلَيْهَا شَرًّا، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “‏وجبت‏”‏ فَقَالَ عُمَرُ بْنُ الخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ الله عَنْهُ‏:‏ مَا وَجَبَتْ‏؟‏ قَالَ‏: “هَذَا أَثْنَيْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ خَيْراً فَوَجَبَتْ لَهُ الجَنَّة، وَهَذَا أَثْنَيْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ شَرًّا فَوَجَبَتْ عَلَيْهِ النَّارُ، أَنْتُمْ شُهَدَاءُ الله فِي الأَرْضِ.

“Some Companions happened to pass by a funeral procession (bier) and they praised him (the deceased). The Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “He will certainly enter it.” Then they passed by another funeral procession and they spoke ill of the deceased. The Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “He will certainly enter it.” `Umar bin al-Khaṭṭāb raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu said: “(O Messenger of Allah,) what do you mean by `He will certainly enter it?” He (ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “You praised the first person, so he will enter Jannah; and you spoke ill of the second person, so he will enter Hell. You are Allah’s witnesses on earth.”

The other is the one who pleases people with his good deeds, and has successfully earned those praise, and meets Allah with zero credit of good deeds. This is understood from a ḥadīth reported by Imām Muslim from the narration of Sayyidinā Abū Hurayrah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anahu. He said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam say”:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ النَّاسِ يُقْضَى يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عَلَيْهِ رَجُلٌ اسْتُشْهِدَ، فَأُتِيَ بِهِ فَعَرَّفَهُ نِعَمَهُ فَعَرَفَهَا، قَالَ: فَمَا عَمِلْتَ فِيهَا؟ قَالَ قَاتَلْتُ فِيكَ حَتَّى اسْتُشْهِدْتُ، قَالَ: كَذَبْتَ، وَلَكِنَّكَ قَاتَلْتَ لِأَنْ يُقَالَ: جَرِيءٌ، فَقَدْ قِيلَ، ثُمَّ أُمِرَ بِهِ فَسُحِبَ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ حَتَّى أُلْقِيَ فِي النَّارِ. وَرَجُلٌ تَعَلَّمَ الْعِلْمَ وَعَلَّمَهُ وَقَرَأَ الْقُرْآنَ، فَأُتِيَ بِهِ، فَعَرَّفَهُ نِعَمَهُ فَعَرَفَهَا، قَالَ: فَمَا عَمِلْتَ فِيهَا؟ قَالَ: تَعَلَّمْتُ الْعِلْمَ وَعَلَّمْتُهُ، وَقَرَأْتُ فِيكَ الْقُرْآنَ، قَالَ: كَذَبْتَ، وَلَكِنَّكَ تَعَلَّمْتَ الْعِلْمَ لِيُقَالَ: عَالِمٌ، وَقَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ لِيُقَالَ: هُوَ قَارِئٌ، فَقَدْ قِيلَ، ثُمَّ أُمِرَ بِهِ، فَسُحِبَ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ حَتَّى أُلْقِيَ فِي النَّارِ. وَرَجُلٌ وَسَّعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ، وَأَعْطَاهُ مِنْ أَصْنَافِ الْمَالِ كُلِّهِ، فَأُتِيَ بِهِ، فَعَرَّفَهُ نِعَمَهُ فَعَرَفَهَا، قَالَ: فَمَا عَمِلْتَ فِيهَا؟ قَالَ: مَا تَرَكْتُ مِنْ سَبِيلٍ تُحِبُّ أَنْ يُنْفَقَ فِيهَا إِلَّا أَنْفَقْتُ فِيهَا لَكَ، قَالَ: كَذَبْتَ، وَلَكِنَّكَ فَعَلْتَ لِيُقَالَ: هُوَ جَوَادٌ، فَقَدْ قِيلَ، ثُمَّ أُمِرَ بِهِ فَسُحِبَ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ، ثُمَّ أُلْقِيَ فِي النَّارِ

“The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them. [ The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Quran. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Quran for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Qur’an that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man whom Allah had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I left no path [untrodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but do so that it might be said [of you]: He is open-handed. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.”

In real life, everyone has his public self and private self. After your passing, people will mourn you and pray for or against you based on your public self. Their prayers for you or against you will be effective, if they match your private self. Else, they will be invalid.  What your secret self has been will be the determinant of your final abode; Heaven or Hell.

Now, let’s elaborate on this in the following two sections.

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The You, Whom You Leave Behind

After your passing, there will be two parts of you. The You whom you leave behind, and the You whom you meet in the second part of life (Hereafter).

The You, whom you leave behind in the form of legacy comes in three categories: 1) your children, 2) your physical wealth and 3) your intellectual wealth. Your whole life, in the first life evolves and revolves around these three. Your pious self isn’t, but to safeguard them for good. Your evil self isn’t, but to protect them.

Your humility isn’t but to safeguard them. Your ego and arrogance aren’t but to present them to the world. Your choice to keep a low profile is not but to discipline them. Thus, the spirit with which you fight for them and protect them are the same that will safeguard them after you depart.

After your departure, people will have two stances pertaining to you. One stance will be in sympathy with you, and the other will be hostile towards you. Worry not, for none of them are honest, and none of them will affect you. This is because all of them take stances based on what they have benefitted or failed to benefit from you. The only honest among them is he, who knows and then tells the truth about you, regardless, whether it pleases you or not, and regardless, whether that is in line with the benefits he attained from you or not.

You won’t believe how much your spouse and children shall weep over your passing. Some of them may even collapse. But they will recover! Even now, some can’t imagine life with you. But that’s just what they think. However, life shall continue after you. Perhaps, the mourning will take over your entire neighbourhood. Your friends from all walks of life will come to pray over your rested body. They will be full of resentment for losing you. They may make some collection of money and pass it to your family. But that will not last for more than a month. Life goes back to normal. Like you never existed.

Your spouse may get in touch with his or her secretly admired fellow. Who knows, maybe they may end up in a legal marriage. It’s permissible in Islam, anyway. Your children will distribute your wealth (if you leave any), a week after your passing. That is if not immediately after your burial. It will be fortunate if they are thoughtful enough to settle all your debts first.

Sales for your intellectual properties may soar. Your book, How to Live a Peaceful Life after Death may become the bestseller for two consecutive years. People will start to realize how much gems and wisdom are packed in your work. Some may write reviews for them. Your children and social media fans may demand your life biography to be published.

Because you are who you are–a public figure and whatnot, the news agencies will sing praises of you. With true stories as well as with faked ones. Your legacy will be featured in major TV programmes for a month or so. Your life may be lived by those who didn’t know you, and relived by those who know you. Those who never knew you will become curious and start asking about you. Google will be generous in redirecting search terms that are likely searching for you to your page on Wikipedia, thanks to the free encyclopaedia.

Whenever there’s a mention of you, those who will think good about you can’t but raise their hands and pray for your soul to “rest in peace”. Those who will mistake you for whom you are not can’t but raise their hands up and swear against you.

That will be one part of you. The you, who you’ll leave behind in the first part of your life. But the good news is, worry not; both parties–those who will sing you praises as well as those who will curse you–are wrong and will be wrong, save only ones whose prayers match the real you. So, who is the real you now?

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The Real You that You’ve Built for Your Second Part of Life

The other part of you after your passing is the You, whom you will face, when you go to meet Allah. The You is the you whom you have been in your secrets and private encounters, and in your heart. Just like none knows your secrets, none will know your real ‘you’ when you move on. Just like none knows your heart, none will know about you there. Remember the man whom the Prophet mentioned is going to Hell? None of the companions would have known about him, had the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam not revealed his secret.

Your children won’t know that all they are doing do not benefit you as much as the prayer they themselves do for you after every prayer. They may fail to realize that your books (intellectual properties) contain so much deviating elements that puts you in more trouble in your second life, and that you wish they will do you a favour and cancel all negotiations for further publishing of them.

The children won’t know that those who prayed for you pretentiously didn’t add any value of goodness to your state over there. They also won’t know that, those who swear or curse you for what you didn’t do won’t harm you a bit.

They won’t know how you wish to convey to them, that the one prayer you did in the middle of that night and broke down in repentance had earned you God’s forgiveness, and that none should trouble himself about you anymore. They won’t know when you will wish to inform them, that everyone must focus on refining and purifying his relationship with the Almighty the Creator, for there are no U-Turns to one’s first part of life, once the second part of life starts.

They don’t know that, many of those who sing your praise on social media don’t benefit you, as none matches the truth about you.

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Conclusion

Life for mankind is one life. However, it comes in two parts. Just like there was no effort is needed from your side to come into existence, your transit to the second part of life is predestined. No effort needed from your side for it to take place. However, your final abode, Heaven or Hell is not by chance. It’s based on your effort in attaining it.

فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا، وَلا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

“So let him who hopes to meet his Lord do good deeds and let him associate no one else in the worship of his Lord” (Surah Al-Kahf, 18:110).

Meeting Allah only takes place in Heaven, for those who make it there. Thus, if you really want to the have the honour of meeting and seeing Allah, then you know what to do. And it’s not too late to turn back to Allah.

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Allah knows best.
Allahu Hafiz 🙂

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