By Sikandar Azam
The Qur’ān is the Word of God. It was revealed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ for the guidance of man. It opens up exciting vistas of a peaceful life on earth, where we are destined to live for a definite time frame known only to God. And, when this time frame comes to a close, an event occurs. This event is known as death. Some people believe – and they are free to do so as much as a student is free to write an examination paper in the manner he likes – that death is the end of life. While the fact remains, and the Lord Creator testifies to it, that death is the transmigrification of soul from this temporal life to the eternal life.
The Qur’ān teaches man how he can lead a successful life on earth for whatsoever period he is destined to live, and while leading this temporal life how he can prepare for the life to come as well. There are many ways we can adopt to prepare for the life to come or hereafter. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has taught us some infallible ways that can help us prepare for the hereafter. Abu Hurairah relates that the Messenger of God ﷺ said, “When the human being dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.” (Sahih Muslim)
Ongoing charity (Sadaqa-i-Jariyah) is charity given voluntarily with the goal that its benefits continue after one’s passing away. What makes Sadaqa-i-Jariyah special indeed is that not only do its benefits continue to reach recipients after the donor’s death, but the spiritual rewards from the donor’s generosity continue to benefit the donor himself in the heavenly realm.
There are numerous ways of providing Sadaqa-i-Jariyah. For example, when one helps educate a child in matters of religion or life skills, and the child grows up developing and utilising these skills for himself, his family and the society at large, the one who provided or paid for his education would continue to receive the reward even after his death from every good act done to educate the child. Sadaqa-i-Jariyah includes constructing a mosque, sponsoring the development of a hospital, health clinic, orphanage, school, planting trees and digging a well or tube well for public use, etc. Even adopting or sponsoring an orphan till he achieves maturity would work.
Similarly, beneficial knowledge (Ilm-i-Naafi’) helps us prepare for the hereafter. It is the knowledge which induces in a person keenness for the Hereafter. It impels him to implement the Shari’ah in his practical life, and induces in him the perpetual fear and concern for death and the life hereafter. The Prophet ﷺ has taught us a dua (supplication) in this regard: “O Allah! Indeed I ask You for beneficial knowledge, and a good Halal provision, and actions which are accepted. (Tabrani)
And, bringing up a righteous child who prays for him is also an important way to prepare for the hereafter. It requires us to teach our children the way of life taught by the Qur’ān and the traditions of the Prophet ﷺ.
If we prepare for the hereafter thus, we can hope that God would provide shade for us on the Day of Judgement and protect us from the hellfire.