Be informed that Allah created mankind to live forever happily. Life in the Hereafter has no end. Allah has made the life in this world like a farm wherein one plants something in order to reap its fruit in the Hereafter, basing the reward in the life to come on the deeds in this life. The servants of Allah prepare themselves for such an eternal life through their deeds in this life.1
Undoubtedly, had such a short-lived life-span, such a short time to live, been spent with adoration to the extent that Allah is not disobeyed even for a twinkling of an eye, nor is one breath spent except in obedience to Allah, it still by necessity and commonsense falls short of qualifying for such rewards. Therefore, it is by virtue of the dictates of the Divine kindness and mercy that Allah opens for His servants the gates of His generosity, thus qualifying them to be rewarded with what has no end nor diminution; each and every blessing starts from Him; each and every act of His kindness is out of His own favor.
The first manifestation of His generosity and kindness to His servants is that He does not terminate the outcomes of their deeds when their life-spans terminate. Rather, He has made such life-spans equivalent to the duration of life itself, measured by the days they are acted upon and by those who put them to action.
He did so by making one of His injunctions is that if someone starts a tradition wherein there is guidance for people, he will receive its rewards as well as the rewards of all those who implement it till the Day of Judgment. Likewise, if anyone initiates an evil tradition, he will bear its sin as well as the sins of all those who act upon it till the Day of Judgment (Waram Collection, Vol. 2, p. 236).
He also makes one of His injunctions letting parents share in the good deeds done by their offspring by virtue of the parents being the reason for the existence of the offspring, and this chain of offspring is endless.
He also made the rewards of some good deeds the creation, out of them, of angels who worship Him till the Day of Judgment, assigning the rewards of such worship to the person who performed such good deeds. Also, He opened a gate from which His mercy descends upon them, considering the rewards of a night’s good deeds equivalent to those of one thousand months: Allah, the most Praised One, has told us: ‘The Night of Destiny (Lailatul-Qadr) is better than a thousand months.’
He also has regarded one hour’s contemplation equivalent to sixty years of adoration (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 17, p. 327 where the reward is recorded as equivalent to one year) according to some narratives.2
He made the night’s stay at the shrine of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) equivalent to seven hundred years’ adoration.
He made taking care of a believer’s need equivalent to the adoration of nine thousand years during which one spends the day fasting and the night praying (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 74, p. 315).
He made the fast of three days a month equivalent to fasting for eternity.
All of these are indications of His kindness towards His believing servants, thus granting them His favors in order to qualify them to reach the station of spending all their life-span in obedience to Him so that they will yearn to such precious qualification earned through His generosity and open-handedness.
Yet all of this is still not much compared to what He wants to qualify them as a compensation for spending eternity worshipping and obeying Him, the most Exalted One, the most Great. He, therefore, completed His favors to them by opening a gate for rewarding even their intentions, making such intentions rewardable with more rewards than the actual implementation thereof. He thus decreed that the believers= intentions, had they been kept in this world for eternity, would have continued thus obeying Allah, the most Exalted, the most Great. Thus, He granted them the rewards of those who forever obey Him, making their eternal stay in Paradise the reward for such good intentions.
Likewise, had the unbelievers, because of their ill intentions, stayed alive forever, they would have forever remained disobedient to Him. He, hence, rewarded them by eternally tormenting them.
So, my Brother seeker of guidance, be informed that your actions are based on continuation, not on cessation, even if you see them as temporal, for some transmissions state that happy is one whose sins die when he himself dies. In other words, he should be happy when such sins are not emulated by others; otherwise, he will have to bear the burden of anyone who emulates him in committing them till the Day of Judgment.
A sin, may Allah shelter us from it, is serial by nature except if Allah, out of His kindness, effaces and removes it. So, beware of committing sins, for they may bear an impact on your offspring and your offspring’s offspring, and so on. Let your desire be to obey Allah. Anything intended for Allah grows. One of the signs of its growth is that it continues to bear an impact till the end of time, affecting the offspring and the offspring’s offspring and so on till the Day of Judgment. Remain, therefore, vigilant, and do not be indifferent.3
- 1. Paying attention to the brevity of one’s life-span prompts him to remain vigilant and to motivate him as he moves to do anything at all. Man naturally loves for himself what is good and desires goodness and eternity even as he confuses himself while identifying the sources of what is good and what is not, as is obvious. Thereupon, to absorb the notion that life is very brief and that the happiness or the misery of such eternity is defined by this limited life-span makes every temporary moment equivalent to perpetuity. It is well known that such a rational comparison, to which he is invited by both the Shari`ah and by transmitted incidents, changes one to a being who is very careful about each and every moment of his life. He is also concerned about doing what is best to fill this short period which will determine one’s eternal faith: either perpetual damnation in hell, or a perpetual bliss in heaven.
- 2. Some references states hat one hour’s contemplation is better than a year’s adoration. As for sixty years, rewards, it is reported about one who falls sick while performing the pilgrimage in Mecca (Al-Mustadrak, Vol. 9, p. 364) and for one who learns two ahadith or who teaches them to others, thus reaping their benefits (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 2, p. 152), for one who implements justice even for one hour (Jami` al-Akhbar, p. 119), and for one who falls sick and accepts such sickness wholeheartedly. About the latter, the Imam (‘a) has said,
‘He does not complain about what afflicted him to anyone.’ (Mishkat al-Anwar, p. 281).
- 3. Most books do not lack this piece of advice. One who is busy committing a sin, though minor, is not prepared to take this journey which requires the traveller to be accepted by his Master. Success in undertaking such a path depends on the Divine blessings which guide the servant of Allah. These cannot be earned by a servant who exposes himself to the Wrath of his Master, the One Who grants such blessings. It is well known that a sin, though minor except if we commit it against someone great, thus making such a sin quite serious, causes one to feel ashamed and frightened once he looks deeply into it. This is why it is customary for all those who tread this path to keep seeking Allah’s forgiveness in order to renew their covenant with the Lord Whom we have never come to know as He ought to be known nor worshipped as He ought to be worshipped. As for the prophets and wasis, peace be upon them, who do seek Allah’s forgiveness, they seek it in order to express their humility to Him, deeming Him Great. In addition to that, their conditions sometimes change from the highest to the high, and such a change obligates them to always seek forgiveness.