“When you recite the Qur’ān, We place a hidden barrier between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter; and We place a covering on their hearts that they do not comprehend it, and We cause a heaviness in their ears; and when you mention the One and Only Lord in the Qur’ān, they turn their backs in aversion.”
(Al-Qur’ān – 17:45-46)
When a man denies the Hereafter, it naturally leads to his heart being sealed, and his ears becoming incapable of heeding the message of the Qur’ān. For, the very cornerstone of the Qur’ānic message to man is that he should not be deceived by external manifestations of this worldly life. For, even if we do not observe anyone calling people to account, this should not mislead us into believing that man is not accountable to anyone. Likewise, we also observe that people freely choose to become polytheists, atheists and monotheists, and the consequences of such a choice seemingly remain much the same as far as the present world is concerned.
This freedom should not give rise to the misunderstanding that all the doctrines – monotheism, polytheism and atheism – are of equal value, and that they will ultimately lead to much the same results. It should be clearly understood that monotheism is the only sound and correct doctrine. Likewise, the worldly consequences of righteous and evil behaviour might not be very conspicuously different. But all this is illusory since the true consequences of the attitudes man adopts will surface in the Hereafter.