It was during a recent trip to a mountainous area for Eid vacations. We were to walk on absurdly rutted, bumpy and very steep roads in pitch darkness. Massive mountains were hovering above us and on the other side were deep valleys. Those of us having torches in their mobile phones switched them on so that we could find the way easily, without tripping or bumping into anything.
This reminded me of the darkness on the Day of Judgment and the passage in the Quran that talks about the righteous who will be given light on the day of Qiyamah. It is mentioned in Surah Hadid wherein Allah has said:
“On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], “Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally.” That is what is the great attainment.
On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light.” It will be said, “Go back behind you and seek light.” And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment.
The hypocrites will call to the believers, “Were we not with you?” They will say, “Yes, but you afflicted yourselves and awaited [misfortune for us] and doubted, and wishful thinking deluded you until there came the command of Allah. And the Deceiver deceived you concerning Allah
So today no ransom will be taken from you or from those who disbelieved. Your refuge is the Fire. It is most worthy of you, and wretched is the destination.” (Surah Hadid 57: 12-15)
Piety, good character and charity of the righteous will turn into light. This light (Noor) will not be according to the status, wealth, beauty or fame of a person in this world. It will be given to the believers according to the level of their good deeds. The more the hasanat, the more the light Allah will give them. It is reported that Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said about the ayah (their light running forward before them): “They will pass over the Sirat according to their deeds. Some of them will have a light as large as a mountain, some as a date tree, some as big as a man in the standing position. The least among them has a light as big as his index finger, it is lit at times and extinguished at other times.” Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir collected this Hadith. (Ibn Kathir)
Imagine being in complete darkness. Now, you have to pass over the Siraat (bridge) with the hell fire and its angry flames below you. How can we make through without light? Our best friends and close relatives who share our losses and fears in this dunya will not accompany us on that path. Everyone has to tread it alone. Everyone has to have their own light. Where do we get that from? Will it be available from a superstore or something? No, we have to prepare for our individual light in this world. For the Sirat is not an easy path, it is dark and thorny with obstacles on it. Prophet Muhammad once said:
“Amanah and ties of relationship will be sent forth and will stand on the sides of the Sirat (that is, the Bridge set over Hell-fire) right and left, and the first of you will pass like lightning.” I said (that is Abu Hurairah “:I ransom you with my father and mother, what is like the movement of lightning?” The Messenger of Allah replied, “Have you not seen how the lightning goes and returns in the twinkling of an eye? Next (group will pass) like the passing of the breeze, next like the passing of a bird, and the next with the speed of a running man, according to the quality of their deeds. (During all this time) your Prophet will remain standing on the Bridge saying: `O my Rubb, keep (them) safe, keep (them) safe,’ till a man’s deeds are so weak that a man comes who will be able only to crawl. On both sides of the Bridge pronged flesh hooks, placed under command will be hung and will seize those about whom they receive command, some people being lacerated and escaping and others being thrown violently into Hell.” (Muslim)
In another hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah the Prophet said: “Allah will call them, and As-Sirat (a bridge) will be laid across Hell and I (Muhammad) shall be the first amongst the Apostles to cross it with my followers. Nobody except the Apostles will then be able to speak and they will be saying then, ‘O Allah! Save us. O Allah Save us.’ There will be hooks like the thorns of Sa’dan in Hell. Have you seen the thorns of Sa’dan?” The people said, “Yes.” He said, “These hooks will be like the thorns of Sa’dan but nobody except Allah knows their greatness in size and these will entangle the people according to their deeds; some of them will fall and stay in Hell forever; others will receive punishment (torn into small pieces) and will get out of Hell, till when Allah intends mercy on whomever He likes amongst the people of Hell, He will order the angels to take out of Hell those who worshiped none but Him alone.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Likewise, the Quran is a light. Amidst the darkness of the world it guides us to the straight path. Without it, anyone can hold our hand and claim to guide us. Without it, we can bump into shirk and apostasy. Without it, we can fall prey to any Dajjal and become astray. Without our own light, our own relationship with the book of guidance, we can easily get lost. To have Noor in this dunya, we must understand the Quran in light of authentic knowledge, and the resulting deeds and acts of charity will account for the light on the bridge of Sirat.
Prophet Muhammad () said:
“The Book of Allah contains right guidance, the light, and whoever adheres to it and holds it fast, he is upon right guidance and whosoever deviates from it goes astray.” (Sahih Muslim)
Today, someone else may shine their torch in front of me for my convenience; however, for that day I have to prepare my own light. Void duas will not suffice; we have to start acting upon the Quran. Self-delusion, delaying good deeds and long empty desires for Jannah will not do any good. These are the characteristics of hypocrites who will be deprived of light on the day. We seek Allah’s protection from becoming like them. May Allah make us of the people who will pass the bridge with the speed of lightning.