Ayat no. 26-27
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
It was said: Enter the garden. He said: O would that my people had known; Of that on account of which my Lord has forgiven me and made me of the honored ones! (36:26-27)
So far we have discussed upto the verse meaning that Habib Najjar, the believer, supported the messengers, admonished the people and wished well of all saying, “O negligent man! These messengers do no ask anything from you. They want from you neither wealth nor kingdom. They only remind you of God.
They have brought proofs also. Now should I not fear God Who created me and to Whom I have to return?” But, instead of hearing his words and accepting his sincere advice, they fell on him, kicked him fatally and spilled out his intestines. Then they threw him in a well and filled it up.
Some have said that they sawed his skull. His only crime was that he favored the truth and gave admonition.
Some have written that they pierced his neck and hanged him over a well to die a slow death.
Regarding this verse some commentators have said that no sooner than this supporter of the messengers was killed a voice came to his holy soul, “Enter Paradise.” The Divine Command came, “Enter the garden of God.” Of course, here what is meant is the paradise in the grave (Barzakh) not the paradise of the Hereafter after the Day of Judgment.
The paradise of the grave is from the moment of death till Qiyamat. It starts from the moment the soul departs from the body. Barzakh is mentioned in the following verse of Quran:
…and before them is a barrier until the day they are raised. (23:100)
Barzakh is the intermediary state from the hour of death till the Day of Judgment. It is not like this world where there are so many impurities. Nor is it like the Hereafter where everything is pure and fine. It is between the two.
Barzakh exists now. It is in this universe but it is veiled from this world. It is hidden from matter and feelings. This material eye cannot observe it. Now consider air, which is existent and our body too exists but yet we cannot see air because it too thin (rare).
It is the defect of our eyes that we cannot see anything except matter and material things. After being released from this body the bodies and forms of Barzakh, which are not material, can be seen. What God has promised in the Holy Quran applies to both the paradise of the Hereafter as well as to the paradise of Barzakh.
As soon as the soul gets separated from the body, a good tiding is given, “Enter the Paradise.” All the sins of a martyr in the path of God are pardoned instantly because no deed is greater than martyrdom.1
When Habib Najjar, the martyr, saw the bounties of God he said,
O would that my people had known; Of that on account of which my Lord has forgiven me and made me of the honored ones!
That is I wish my community, these neglectful people who are drowned deep in material activities and lustful passions should know what God has bestowed me with. How kind and loving behavior Almighty God shows to the faithful after their death. Would that my people knew that my Lord has included me among the rewarded and honored people.
The believer uttered this sentence and God quoted his words for you and me so that we may be inspired and we may also adopt the path of the honored ones. How does God grant honor, status and glories in the Barzakh life? It is also mentioned in narrations that as soon as the soul of a believer departs from his body, angels from the higher world greet him with flowers and lead him to the Divine Throne (Arsh).
Death is not annihilation or extinction. Why do you consider death an end to everything? Why are you fearful of death? You are a Muslim and you believe in the Holy Quran. One who does not believe in Quran should fear death as they think that it is perdition or doom. But why should believers fear death?
Why do they cry and complain so much at the demise of a near and dear one? Has he become extinct? To think so is disbelief in Quran and traditions. If he is not annihilated then why do they act so and what is all this?
This body was like an animal and yet it was riding the one who was running it. It has now become free through death. In the words of Imam Sadiq (‘a), “There was a bird in a cage. Now the door of the cage has opened and the bird became free.” In other words, it was a pearl in a box. Now it has come out of the box and has begun to glitter and shine.
The spiritual world is also in this limitless space but it is hidden from this material world.
Of course, it is human nature and relationships demand that when one departs earlier it affects the survivors. So there is no harm in being thus affected and also there is no harm in weeping. What is essential is that there must be no excessive complaints and crying.
It is necessary to understand that death is first a meeting or a union. It is the first enjoyment of fruits from the bounties promised by God. You undertook fasts for one full month of Ramadan. Now it is time to enjoy its reward. It is the period of encashing life long savings.
Every one of us after we are born is being surrounded (by our relatives). They pick us up and we become happy. We experience happiness both in the cradle and in the laps of our mothers.
Then God takes away all of the material bounties, home and life, wife and children on the last day from you. Just as you had arrived naked, they make you bare.
From your clothing, you take only the shroud with you. Muhammad (‘s) is the caller from God. O people! Do such deeds whereby your life after death may be insured. You should be pleased when they want to take you away (to the grave). Prepare your place in the Hereafter while you are yet here. How will you do it? Just hear it from Muhammad (‘s).
It is reported that the Holy Prophet said, “Most of you, O women! Are hell dwellers as you are deniers?” They replied, “We have put faith (how are we ‘disbelievers’?).” The Holy Prophet said, “You are ‘disbeliever’ of your husbands. You are not performing your duty towards them, as it is necessary to obey your husbands.”
They asked, “Now what should we do?” He replied, “Spend in the path of God.”2
Especially with regard to your relatives, do such deeds that your house in the Hereafter may be prepared before you go there. Send before you proceed.
Send a soft bedding to your grave. None will bring it later; therefore you must send it in advance. (Persian couplet)
A man owned a large quantity of date fruits. He made a will that the Holy Prophet (‘s) may give away the lot in the path of God after his death. So when he died, the Holy Prophet (‘s) gave away those dates in charity. A piece fell on ground. The Holy Prophet (‘s) picked it up and said, “Had he (that man) himself given this one in the path of God it would have been better for him than the giving of this whole lot after his death.”3
O Muslims! They have not yet carried you away. Prepare your paradise in grave just now. Take benefit from you body, wealth and heart. Put faith in God and perform good deeds through your body and wealth here only so that, at the time of your death, your love for Aale Muhammad (‘a) may make you restless to meet Ali (‘a) who will come to see you.
He would desire to release you. Truly, you must be eager to meet your beloved. Your heart should be turned away from everything else and you must be ready to give up your life happily.
Divine callers have told you what things destroy your house. They have also described the calamities of the life.
O the one who fasted! Indeed you have performed a very good deed. But do not backbite with this tongue. You have built a house, now do not demolish it. Do not dishonor a believer otherwise the house you built in Ramadan would be destroyed.