Reaching Allah before death

Question: Wherever they see the word “hidâyah” in the Qur’ân, some people, somehow, say it means a soul’s reaching Allah before death. Actually, are there any âyât or hadîths that are in accordance with this definition? What is “reaching Allah”?
No, there is not such an âyat or a hadîth. Nor did any Islamic scholars say such a thing.

Hidâyah has these senses: the true path, the righteous path, Islam. Its opposite is dalâlah [going astray, deviating]. Hidâyah is to enter the right path after seeing right as right and wrong as wrong; it is to turn away from dalâlah and wrong path, to have îmân and to become a Muslim.

Al-Hâdî and al-Mahdî, two of the Beautiful Names of Allah, denote the One who provides hidâyah, who guides to the right path.

There is not such an expression as “reaching Allah,” but there is such an expression as “meeting Allah.” However, it does not mean “a soul’s reaching Allah before death.” The scholars of tafsîr explain “meeting Allah” as follows:
(Those who [deny the Resurrection] do not expect to meet Us [to be questioned], who are content with [as they are heedless of the Hereafter] and take comfort [preferring this world to the next] from worldly life, and who are unaware of Our âyât [proofs that show the existence of the Creator] will go to Hell because of what they have committed [because of their sins].) [Sûrat-u Yûnus, 7-8]

(To deny the meeting with Allah after death is to deny the Rising after death.)

The following are the purport of some verses that contain the word hidâyah:
(Inna hudallaahi huwal hudaa = Allah’s path of hidâyah [Islam] is the true path through and through.) The proper English translation of this âyat is: (The true path is only Allah’s path.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 120]

(In-nalhudaa hudal-laahi = The true path is without doubt Allah’s path.) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân, 73]

(Ulaaikal-ladheena hadaahumul-laahu = Those are the ones whom Allah has guided to hidâyah [whom Allah has guided to the true path.[Sûrat-uz-Zumar, 18]

(Wal-ladheena-h-tadaw zaadahum hudaa = Allah increases the hidâyah of those who have attained it [who have entered the true path].) [Sûrat-u Muhammad, 17]

(Wa man yu’min bil-laahi yahdi qalbahuu Whoever believes in Allah, Allah guides his hearth towards hidâyah [truth].) [Sûrat-ut-Taghâbun, 11]

(Wa yazeedul-laahul-ladheena-h-tadaw hudaa = Allah increases the hidâyah of those who have attained it [who have attained îmân].)[Sûrat-u Maryam, 76]

(Wallaahu yahdee man yashaau ilaa siraatin mustaqeem Allah provides hidâyah for whom He wills to the right path [makes him reach the right path].) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 213]

(Sayahdeehim = He makes them reach hidâyah [makes them reach the right path].[Sûrat-u Muhammad, 5]

(Hadaanaa li haadhaa wa maa kunnaa li nahtadee = If Allah had not given us hidâyah, we could not have attained it on our own.)[Sûrat-ul-A’râf, 43]

(Ulaaikalladheena-sh-taraw-ud-dalaalata bil hudaa = Those are the ones who have bought aberration instead of truth.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 175]

(Innaka laa tahdee man ahbabta wa laakin-nallaaha yahdee man yashaau = You cannot make whom you like reach hidâyah [you cannot make whom you like a Muslim]. But Allah gives hidâyah to whom He wills.) [Sûrat-ul-Qasas, 56]

(Wallaahu laa yahdil qawmaZZaalimeen = Allah does not guide the zâlimîn to the hidâyah.) [Sûrat-ut-Tawba, 19]

(Laysa ‘alayka hudaahum = It is not your duty to make them reach hidâyah.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 272]

In addition to them, the purport of some hadîth-i sharîfs is as follow:
(Each of my Ashâb is like a star in the sky. If you follow any one of them, you will attain hidâyah [the true path].) [Dârimî, Bayhaqî, Ibni ‘Adiy, Munawî]

(My Lord revealed: “O My Messenger! Your Ashâb are like the celestial stars. Some of them are more luminous. He who follows any one of them is on hidâyah.) [Daylamî]

(He who causes a person to attain hidâyah [who causes a person to have îmân] goes to Paradise.) [Bukhârî]

(Join the suhba of those pious scholars who strive to make people attain hidâyah and keep them away from dalâlah.) [I. Mâwardî]

What does hidâyah mean?
The Islamic scholars have translated the word hidâyah asthe true path for 14 centuries. But hidâyah means reaching Allah in this world, doesn’t it?
It never does. By saying so, you are accusing all Islamic scholars of giving wrong meaning (never!) to hidâyah. However, Allahu ta’âlâ declares, “If you do not know, ask scholars.” Our master the Prophet states, “Scholars are my and the other prophets’ inheritors.”

Thus far, none of the Islamic scholars has declared the meaning of that word to be reaching Allah. Of the such scholars as the founders of four madhhabs (namely, Imâm-i A’zam, Imâm-i Mâlik, Imâm-i Shâfi’î, Imâm-i Ahmad), great scholars within madhhabs (such as Imâm-i Ghazâlî, Imâm-i Rabbânî, Imâm-i Abû Yûsuf, Imâm-i Muhammad, Imâm-i Nawawî) or other awliyâ’ with hundreds of wonders (such as Sayyid Abdul Qâdir Gailanî, Junayd al-Baghdâdî), which one said hidâyah meant to reach Allah? Which mufassir wrote in his tafsîr book that hidâyah was to reach Allah? Out of thousands of scholars, even one scholar cannot be put forth.

What is the reason for the animosity towards Islamic savants? Isn’t the reason for it that they explained hidâyah as Islam and that they conveyed the commandments and prohibitions of the religion exactly as our master Rasûlullah communicated? Why do they not refer to Islamic scholars instead of heretics?

Have the religion of Islam come incompletely until today? Some aberrant people say, “Islam had been incomplete until our master came. He completed it.” Has Islam come to us incompletely for 1,400 years? Or did Allahu ta’âlâ communicate it incompletely (never!)? Or did our master the Prophet communicate and explain it incompletely (never!)?

Hidâyah does not mean a path. That is, it does not mean a way, path or a bridge. Hidâyah means Islam. Islam, on the other hand, means the true path shown by Allahu ta’âlâ. Therefore, hidâyah is explained to be the true path. Its antonym is dalâlah, deviating.

Hidâyah is to see right as right and wrong as wrong and to enter the right path; to keep away from deviating and false path; to have îmân and to become a Muslim.

Hidâyah is the religion and the path that Allahu ta’âlâ wants.
Since the word path explains it well, all Islamic scholars declared hidâyah to be path. All the translations of the Qur’ân on the market, true and wrong ones alike, have given hidâyah the meaning of true path, that is, they have said that it is Islam. They have not fabricated such an odd meaning as “reaching.”

Hidâyah is to become a Muslim, to accept the religion of Islam. Islam itself is the true path. Then hidâyah means the true path. Two âyat-i karîmas purport:
(You cannot make whom you like reach hidâyah. But Allah gives hidâyah to whom He wills.) [Sûrat-ul-Qasas, 56]

(Whomever Allah wills to guide to hidâyah, He expands his breast for Islam.) [Sûrat-ul-An’âm, 125]

Two hadîth-i sharîfs purport:
(Allahu ta’âlâ has sent me as compassion and hidâyah for the worlds.) [Abû Nu’aym]

(It is not within my power to give hidâyah. Shaitan, on his part, shows what Allahu ta’âlâ has prohibited as being ornate and enticing. But it is not within his power to make one deviate, either.) [I. ‘Adiy]

The number of the fundamentals of îmân is not seven
Is it true to say, “It is îmân to have faith in a soul’s being reached Allah. The fundamentals of îmân are seven. Sharr (evil) is not from Allah but from nafs”?
Saying that evil is from nafs means that there are associates in Allah’s Attribute of Creativeness. Allahu ta’âlâ sends us afflictions owing to our sins, but we do not create the afflictions. We deserve them; as a result, Allahu ta’âlâ punishes us. Allah does not oppress His born slaves.

(If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil reaches them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “Kullun min ‘Indillaah [All things are from Allah].” What is the matter with these people that they do not understand what they are told?) [Sûrat-un-Nisâ, 78]

Question: Isn’t there the expression “reaching Allah before death” at the end of the Arabic hadîth of îmân? Have the translators not added this part?
There has not been a lie of this kind. One cannot reach Allah before death.

The hadîth of îmân in Arabic is as follows:
(Âmantu bi’llâhi wa malâ’ikatihî wa kutubihî wa rusulihî wal-yawm-il-âkhiri wa bil-qadari khairihî wa sharrihî minallâhi ta’âlâ walba’thu ba’d-al-mawt haqqun ash-hadu an lâ ilâha illallâh wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ’abduhu wa Rasûluhu.) [Bukhârî, Muslim, Nasâî]

Sharrihî minallâhi ta’âlâ = Sharr is from Allah.

How can one deny this well-known hadîth?

Its English translation is the following:
(I have belief in Allah, in His angels, in His books, in His prophets, in the Last Day [that is, to have belief in Paradise, Hell, Judgement, Mîzân], in qadar and that good (khair) and evil (sharr)are from Allahu ta’âlâ, in death and Resur-rection. I bear witness that there is no ilâh except Allah and that Muhammad “alaihisslâm” is His born slave and Messenger.) [Bukhârî, Muslim, Nasâî]

Question: In the seventh and eighth âyats of Sûrat-ul-Yûnus, is it not said, “If one does not will to reach Allah, then one goes to Fire”?
The scholars of tafsîr explain the meaning of “meeting Allah” as in the following:
(Those who [deny the Resurrection after death] do not expect to meet Us [to be questioned], who are content with [as they are heedless of the Hereafter] and take comfort [preferring this world to the next] from worldly life, and who are unaware of Our âyât[proofs that show the existence of the Creator] will go to Hell because of what they have committed [because of their sins].)[Sûrat-u Yûnus, 7-8]

(To deny meeting with Allah after death is to deny the Rising after death. One cannot meet Allah before death.)

Question: In the 79th âyat of Sûrat-ul-Nisâ’, is it not said, “Good is from Allah; evil is from your nafses”?
Our nafses are not a creator. They can’t create evil or good. The Creator of everything is Allahu ta’âlâ alone. As a matter of fact, it is purported in the Qur’ân al-karîm:
(The Creator of everything is Allah.) [Sûrat-uz-Zumar, 62; Sûrat-ul-Mu’min, 62]

(It is Allah who creates you and what you do.) [Sûrat-us-Saffat, 96]

(Your Lord creates whatever He wants, chooses whatever He wills. They do not have the right to choose.) [Sûrat-ul-Qasas, 68]

If a born slave deserves a calamity, Allahu ta’âlâ sends it to that person. The purport of an âyat is so:
(Whatever affliction befalls you, it is the consequence of what you have done with your own hands. Nevertheless, Allah forgives many of them.) [Sûrat-ush-Shûrâ, 30]

(As it is seen, calamities come upon us because of our sins. But it is Allah who sends them. At the end of this verse, it is said, “Nevertheless, Allah forgives many of them.” In fact, calamities are sent by Allah. Nevertheless, He pardons many of them.)

(Any good that befalls you is from Allah [as a grace], and any evil that befalls you is from yourself [in return for your sins].[Sûrat-un-Nisâ’, 79]

(In the verse preceding the above-mentioned one, it is declared, “Evil, too, is created by Allah.” As for the above-mentioned verse, it is declared, “Any evil that befalls you is from yourself [in return for your sins].” But the creator and the sender of them is Allahu ta’âlâ.

It is purported in a hadîth-i sharîf:
(He who does not believe that qadar, good and evil are from Allah is not a Mu’min [Believer].[Tirmudhî]

Denying the meeting with Allah
In the Qur’ân, it is declared, “He who denies the meeting with Allah becomes a kâfir [disbeliever]. What is “meeting with Allah”? Those who claim that the fundamentals of îmân are seven say, “A person who does not accept meeting Allah in this world becomes a disbeliever.” What do they mean?
Islam has not been sent lately. There is not any unknown matter in it, either. This religion has an Owner and a Prophet. There are their commandments and prohibitions. It would be disbelief to eliminate the Messenger of Allah, to disbelieve what he communicated, and to disapprove his explanations.

The Messenger of Allah and his inheritors clarify the meaning of meeting Allah as follows:
“Denying the meeting with Allah is denying the Rising, Jannat, and Jahannam, that is, denying the Hereafter.”

The purport of some verses concerning liqâ-al-laah, that is, the meeting with Allah, is as follows:
(The explanations given in square brackets are quoted from such dependable books as BaydâwîJalâlaynMadârik, and Qurtubî.)

(He who wants to meet [Allah’s consent by hoping His mercy and fearing His torment] Allah must know that that time [the Hereafter]appointed by Allah will certainly come.) [Sûrat-ul-‘Ankabût, 5] (The meeting day is the Hereafter.)

(O Man! You are striving hard for your Lord. In the end, you will meet Him [in the Hereafter].) [Sûrat-ul-Inshiqâq, 6] (You will encounter the requital for what you have done, whether good or bad.) [Baydâwî]

(It is said, “Today [on the Day of Resurrection], We forget [punish]you as you forget [disbelieve] that you will meet with this day[Day of Resurrection]. Your abode is the Fire, and there are no helpers for you [no one can save you from the torment of Hell].)[Sûrat-ul-Jâthiyah, 34]

(Taste the retribution for your forgetting [for your disbelieving] the meeting with this day! Accordingly, We too have forgotten you[We have subjected you to torment]. Suffer the eternal torment in return for what you have done!) [Sûrat-us-Sajda, 14] (It is stated that denying the meeting with the next world is denying the Resurrection after death.)

(Those who deny their meeting with Allah [who deny the Resurrection after death] have indeed become losers. When the Day of Resurrection comes upon them suddenly, they bear their sins on their backs and say, “Woe to us because of our misdeeds in the world.” Look! How bad the sins they bear.)[Sûrat-ul-An’âm, 31]

(They say, “When we are lost in the earth [after death], will we really be created anew?” In fact, they deny the meeting with their Lord [they deny the Resurrection].) [Sûrat-us-Sajda, 10] (It is stated that denying the meeting with Allah is denying the Resurrection after death.)

(Take refuge in Allah and seek His help through patience and namâz. Certainly, namâz is hard, except for those who believe in meeting and returning to their Lord and who fear Him.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 45-46]

(As is the case with the âyat “To Allah we belong and to Him we will return,” the meaning of “returning to” in the above-mentioned âyat is the Rising from graves.)

(Brace yourselves for the future [for the Hereafter]. Guard yourselves against violating Allah’s commandments. Know for sure that you will meet Him [you will be resurrected and brought to the next world]. Give this good news to the Believers!) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 223]

(As for those who knew that they would meet Allah [His compassion, His help] said, “Many a small group defeated a big group by Allah’s permission. Allah is with the patient.”) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 249]

(Those who [deny the Resurrection after death] do not expect to meet Us [to be questioned], who are content with [as they are heedless of the Hereafter] and take comfort [preferring this world to the next] from worldly life, and who are unaware of Our âyât[proofs that show the existence of the Creator] will go to Hell because of what they have committed [because of their sins].)[Sûrat-u Yûnus, 7-8]

(If Allah hastened to give people evil, the way they hasten to obtain good, all of them would certainly have been ruined. However, We leave those who do not expect to meet Us [who do not believe in the next world and Resurrection] wandering in their transgression.) [Sûrat-u Yûnus, 11] (Additionally, the fact that good and evil are from Allah is indicated in this verse.)

(Allah directs all affairs, explains the âyât in detail so that you firmly believe the meeting with your Lord.) [Sûrat-ur-Ra’d, 2] (The Resurrection and the life in the next world are two facts.)

(Those who disbelieve in Allah’s âyât and the meeting with Him are the ones who despair of His Mercy. There is a bitter torment for them.) [Sûrat-ul-‘Ankabût, 23]

(Have they not ever contemplated within themselves that Allah has created the heavens, the earth and what is between them only with truth and for an appointed time? Truly, many among people disbelieve in the meeting with their Lord.) [Sûrat-ur-Rûm, 8] (It is said in this verse that there are people who disbelieve in the Resurrection after death.)

(Surely, they [disbelievers] are in doubt about the meeting with their Lord [about the Resurrection after death][Sûrat-u Fussilat, 54] (Likewise, the meaning of the meeting with Allah in this verse is the Resurrection after death.)

(On the day Allah will gather them together, it will be as if they had stayed in the world for a while in the daytime and known one another. Those who disbelieve in the Resurrection and thus who do not attain hidâyah will surely suffer the greatest loss.)[Sûrat-u Yûnus, 45]

(Whoever wants to meet his Lord [to attain His consent in the Hereafter], let him do pious deeds and not associate anything in the worship of His Lord.) [Sûrat-ul-Kahf, 110]

Now, let us have a look at the explanations of our master Rasûlullah concerning the meeting with Allah:
(I am astonished by a Believer who bemoans his illness. If he knew the reward he would earn due to his illness, he would wish that he remained ill until he met Allah after his death.)[Tabarânî]

(Jannat becomes wâjib for a person who worships Allahu ta’âlâ with ikhlâs and who meets Him without associating any partners with Him. On the other hand, Jahannam becomes wâjib for a person who meets Allah by asso-ciating a partner with Him.) [Hâkim]

(This means to say that a kâfir, too, meets Allah, that is, he will be resurrected.)

(The thawâb recorded for a Muslim’s every good deed is from ten to seven hundred times, while every sinful deed of his is recorded as one sin. It continues so until the meeting with Allah[until the Resurrection].) [Muslim]

(A trader used to say to his debt collector, “Do not take the debt of a poor person who is unable to pay it. Be tolerant with him.” When he met Allah [in the next world], Allah was tolerant with him and forgave him.) [Bukhârî]

(For a Believer, there is no comfort before he meets Allah[before he dies].) [Muslim]

(If a Muslim says, “Subhânallahi wa bihamdihî wa astaghfirullah wa atûbu ilayh,” this saying of his is hung on the Arsh. None of the sins of its sayer removes it from there, and it stays there sealed as it has been said.) [Tabarânî]

(Afflictions are with a Believer’s body, with his property, and with his children until he meets Allah [meets the next world]without having any sins.) [Hâkim]

(The Believer who is the most envied is the one whose load is light, who performs namâz correctly, who is patient with a little sustenance that suffices him until he meets Allah [meets the next world], who carries out the duties commanded duly, who is not much known among people, whose punishment is inflicted in this world, and whose inheritance and criers left behind are few.) [Tirmudhî, Ibni Mâja]

(My Allah! Sever my ties of necessity from this world until I meet You [meet the next world].) [Abû Nu’aym]

(I want to meet my Rabb by not having anybody’s right on me.)[Abû Dâwud]

(On the Day of Resurrection, Allahu ta’âlâ addresses Muslims, “Did you use to long for meeting Me?” They say, “Yes.” Allahu ta’âlâ asks, “Why?” They answer, “We used to expect that You forgave us.” Allahu ta’âlâ declares, “Then I forgive you.”) [Imam-i Ahmad]

(Allahu ta’âlâ declared, “There are two joyous occasions for the fasting person: one is at the time of breaking his fast and the other is at the time of meeting Me with his fast.”) [Bukhârî, Muslim, Abû Dâwud, Tirmudhî, Nasâî]

(Every passing day becomes worse than the day preceding it. It continues so until you meet your Lord [until the Day of Resurrection].) [Bukhârî]

(Allahu ta’âlâ declared: “I, too, want to meet a slave of Mine who wants to meet Me. I do not want to meet a slave of Mine who do not want to meet Me.”) [Bukhârî, Muslim, Tirmudhî, Dârimî]

Our blessed mother Hadrat Âisha narrates:
The Messenger of Allah stated, “Whoever wants to meet Allah, Allah wants to meet him, too. Whoever does not want to meet Allah, Allah does not want to meet him, either. I said [because she knew that people meet Allah only when they die], “Oh Messenger of Allah! Is the reason he does not want to meet Allah because he does not like death? If so, we all do not like death.” The Messenger of Allah declared:
(No, it is not so. When a Believer is given the good news of Allah’s compassion, His consent and Paradise, he wants to meet Allah [he does not consider death to be bad]. Then Allah, too, wants to meet him. However, when a disbeliever is given the news of Allah’s torment and His wrath, at that moment, he does not like to meet Allah. Allah does not like to meet him, either.)[Bukhârî, Muslim, Tirmudhî, Nasâî, Ibni Mâja]

All above-mentioned hadîth-i sharîfs, without any exception, show that the meaning of meeting Allah is the Rising after death.

Likewise, the well-known hadîth of Jibrîl (Archangel Gabriel ‘alaihis-salâm) explains the fundamentals of îmân and Islam. It also informs us that evil is from Allah:

Our beloved superior Hadrat ‘Umar narrates:
“One day we, some of the Companions, were sitting in the presence of Rasûl-Allah. That hour, a man came. None of us recognized him, that is, he was not one of the people we had seen or known before. He asked the Messenger of Allah:

‘O Rasûl-Allah! Tell me what Islam is.’
‘Islam is to say the Kalima-i shahâdat, to perform five daily namâzes, to fast every day of the month of Ramadân, to give the zakât of one’s property, and to perform hajj [major pilgrimage]for an able person once in his life.’
‘You told the truth. Now tell me what îmân is.’

[Hadrat ‘Umar said that of the Prophet’s Companions, the ones who were there were astonished at the behavior of that person who asked a question and confirmed that the answer was correct.]

‘Îmân is to have faith in Allah, in His angels, in His books, in His prophets, in the Last Day and in the Divine Decree about good and evil.’

‘You told the truth. Inform me about al-ihsân.’
“It is that you worship Allah as if you were seeing Him because though you do not see Him, He verily sees you.’

‘Inform me about the time of the Last Hour.’
‘One who is asked knows no more than the one inquiring about it.’

“He inquired the signs of the Last Day, and the Prophet of Allah communicated them. After that person had gone on his way, Rasûl-Allah stated, ‘He who asked all these questions was Jabrâ’îl alaihis-salâm. He came in order to teach you your religion.’” (Muslim, Nasâî, Abû Dâwud, Tirmudhî)