“Terrible is the temptation to do good”, comments Brecht’s narrator about the character’s dilemma of having to choose between saving a life and compromising her own. The task at hand is somewhat similar as it is more convenient to remain indifferent than to commit oneself, but the temptation to pour forth the Truth triumphs.
Let us begin at the beginning. The human race has displayed a deep-seated yearning for immortality from its cradle. Adam succumbed to Satan’s treachery, partly, owing to the desire to live forever. Adam was forbidden the tree for the reason that it could (make him either an angel or, more relevantly,) render him immortal. Another example is the Phoenix, a mythical bird, which rises from its ashes, and thus becomes not only a symbol of eternal life per se but a projection of man’s preoccupation with the idea. Tithonus, the Trojan prince was granted immortality, but ironically, lived wearily on with regret and suffering as this rare gift was not accompanied by eternal youth. The Elixir of life, the formula of which the alchemists zealously sought after, is a mythical potion for eternal life and youth. An influential proponent of this notion is the Greek philosopher Plato, who, based his arguments on diverse grounds and came to the conclusion that immortality is not only plausible but certain.
In the contemporary scene the potent current of this human longing flows unabated. It is manifest in the mundane world of marketing which maximally exploits human vanity to propagate the myth that ageing and degeneration, which are but known precursors to death, could be avoided or reversed. The booming industry of cosmetics and cosmetic surgery provides an example in this regard. One of the more recent alternatives, also a lucrative business, that addresses directly the dream of transcending death, is Cryonics – a method whereby human remains are frozen and preserved, in aptly designed sophisticated facilities, to be revived by, as yet unknown, future technology! This is a kind of optimism prompted by sheer desperation; snatching at a soul-saving straw in the drowning deep.
The pathos of the human condition intensifies from the heart-rending realization that we lack awareness of how our existence shall truly continue. If only those investing their fortunes in cryopreservation had an inkling of the certitude of resurrection and endless life, they could have been spared, both the futile commitment of entrusting their bodies to such fake “undertakers” and their anxiety and misery preceding such a decision, not to mention the colossal cost. Truth is the only antidote that dispels the demonized view of death. And the unshakeable truth is that, indeed, we mortals are immortal! And death is only a portal to an unending existence! Death is not the terminal at journey’s end, but a transit leading to the final destination.
As rational and commonsensical beings, we ponder upon the fundamental questions regarding our existence: wherefrom, why, and where to? No wonder, then, that the eminently rational and intellectual such as scientists, astronomers, researchers, logicians, mathematicians, philosophers, sages, and professionals belonging to a variety of disciplines have endeavoured to find answers to these crucial questions. Aided by state-of-the-art microscopes and telescopes, for instance, microbiologists and space scientists draw nearer and nearer to the conclusion that neither the universe nor life itself could have originated by themselves. The persisting order, the underlying design, and the fine-tuning of the universe we inhabit defy the claim circulated before that all of the observable phenomena came into being voluntarily and randomly. However, that such order as we see present in the universe cannot be maintained by itself becomes apparent from its infinitesimal decimal chance of occurring in terms of probability. Then how much more unlikely is it that life, in all its complexity and inscrutability, began by its own volition? The latest discoveries are far too compelling that even some staunch skeptics admit there must be an intelligent power behind the mind-boggling precision pervading the universe. Immense scholarly studies on these subjects have been done and far more technical writings have been presented and they are accessible to most of us. Only the gist of some points relevant to the theme are presented in simple terms here.
Subsequent to such findings it is logical to reason that if our universe and life in it did not occur randomly or spontaneously then who is responsible for their existence? If everything is created then there has to be a Creator. From this springs another valid question: “Since our Creator made us intelligent and able to communicate, then why has He not sent us a message to inform us as to what we are expected to do in our earthly life?”
Has not our Creator communicated with us?
He most certainly has! In fact, he has done so repeatedly. And in His message is embedded the secret to immortality. After all, at a time when we vociferously demand our Right to Information (RTI), it is essential that we also become duly mindful of our Right to the Truth, which is of far greater consequence. While science and philosophy direct their vision outwards in the pursuit of Truth, the layman is capable of looking inwards to pursue the same through self-scrutiny. The Truth about Truth is that it is independent of all human assumption and presumption. Thus, whether we arrive at it, objectively or subjectively, or whether we fail to arrive at it at all, Truth remains intact. It endures and transcends the limitations of human conception.
Having created us with an innate alignment to the Truth and having mercifully enabled us to appreciate His Signs in the physical constitution of both ourselves and the universe, Signs that are conducive to faith, our Creator then enlightened us with message after message, the last of which is now with us. This message is the speech of our Creator and is encapsulated verbatim in a Book. It addresses the whole of mankind and confirms the truth of previous such Books. It is still in its pristine state, conveying word for word the Revelation of our Creator. Its every aspect, including its authenticity, has been studied, affirmed, and written about over the centuries, giving rise to voluminous branches of knowledge. It promises eternal bliss for those who believe in it sincerely and abide by it completely (not partially); while it sternly warns those who doubt it or reject it of impending torment that will last forever. In recognition of its Divine origin, it is memorized from cover to cover by millions of devoted readers. Its glory is celebrated by fasting the full month in which it was first revealed This Book is infallible, inimitable, and indubitable as it is the word of the Sole and Supreme Deity.
A man of excellent conduct and calibre, who, from his childhood, had never uttered a falsehood was conferred by his people the titles, “The Truthful” and “The Trustworthy.” He was chosen, later in his life, to bring the message of Truth from our Creator. He was the perfect embodiment of the Message and as such his noble and exemplary life is chronicled in astounding detail. Our Creator refers to himself as Allah in His Book, The Holy Qur’an. The man He chose to reveal the Qur’an to is the last of a series of His Messengers, namely, Muhammadh (PBUH). His predecessors include Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Noah, or Eesa, Musa, Ibrahim and Nuh in Qur’anic nomenclature (May Peace be upon all of them.) They brought the same consistent message of peace and truth, the message of Islam, from the same Creator and Islam is another name for the state of submission to Allah, a state of humble devotion and gratitude.
Allah is infinitely Merciful and absolutely Just. He encompasses the whole of creation with his Power and Knowledge. Our immortal life after death will depend on whether we earned his mercy or wrath; Accordingly, we will either be amply rewarded for our obedience to Him or be severely punished for our disobedience. The Qur’an guides us towards a principled and pure life based on the worship of Allah alone. As human beings we are inclined to err and sin but if we repent to Allah sincerely and seek His forgiveness, we could still succeed. We will be tested in this life; questioned, judged and recompensed in the next. What we will blame ourselves for, if we fail, is not that we should have believed blindly, but that we should have heeded the Guidance and used our powers of Reason better. Then, finally free from the web of our delusion, we will implore to be sent back to earth but to no avail: there will be no earth and no second chance!
There is no compulsion in this matter and we have the freedom of choice, but knowingly rejecting the Truth after it has been revealed leads to eternal and extreme suffering so that it will be an endless state of neither life nor death. Regardless of whether we accept or reject the True message, we belong to Allah and to Him is our return . No one is exempt from this. Each of us is an hourglass, silently counting down with every grain of time as it slides unseen into the irretrievable past, anticipating the inevitable. And thus, we cross the threshold and step into the realm of immortality!
This is the ultimate Truth!
Truth needs no apology or defense. It neither falters nor fails. Rather, Truth prevails.
*Haaniya Jiffrey Shiyam specialized in English at the University of Peradeniya and thus holds a B.A. (Hons) Degree. She taught English and English Literature at tertiary and secondary levels.
- Bertholt Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle
- Greek Mythology
- Plato, Phaedo
- Y-jesus.com, Has Science Discovered God
- The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 30: Verse 30
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