The Ultimate Regret

One of the things Allah (SWT) has mentioned over and over again in the Quran is the issue of procrastination and its evil result – Regret.

Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned that one of the greatest reasons of people suffering in the hell fire is procrastination.

An example from the Quran,

“Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: “My Lord! Send me back, “So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” [Surah Al Mu’minun 23:99-100]

Al-Imam al-Qurtubi says, “The request of returning (to this world) is not specific to the disbelievers rather a believer may also wish for it.”

Qataadah said, “He does not desire to return to his family or kindred nor to gather (wealth of) the world or act according to desires. But rather to return so he could obey Allah .” Notice how the person is regretful and remorseful for not obeying Allah and not for the wealth of this world. See how the shaytaan deceives a person to desire and work hard for this dunya and leave the hereafter.

Allah then goes on speaking about them and their punishment…

“The Fire will burn their faces, and therein they will grin, with displaced lips (disfigured). “Were not My Verses (this Qur’an) recited to you, and then you used to deny them?” They will say: “Our Lord! Our wretchedness overcame us, and we were (an) erring people. “Our Lord! Bring us out of this. If ever we return (to evil), then indeed we shall be Zalimun: (polytheists, oppressors, unjust, and wrong-doers).” He (Allah) will say: “Remain you in it with ignominy! And speak you not to Me!”” [Surah Al Mu’minun 23:104-108]

These people complain to Allah that they were overcome by their wretchedness and thus ended up in Jahannam. Al-Imam al-Maawardi gives commentary on the meaning of wretchedness,

“Firstly: Desires

Secondly: Thinking good about oneself and ill about others. (i.e. they thought they were better than others.)”

Even though they have done wrong, they have the courage to ask Allah (SWT) to remove them from the torment. Then they ask Allah for another chance to go back to this world and do good. Allah gives them a very powerful response by telling them that they will remain in Jahannam. If one reads the ayah in Arabic, he/she will find that the word used in this ayah is usually used to chase dogs away and that is how these people will be treated.

We must not not delay in doing any good deed but deal with priorities first i.e. do the obligatory acts before Sunnah and the Sunnah before voluntary etc. Work for the dunya as much as your time in it will be and work for the akhirah as much as your time in it will be.

Sulaiman bin Abdul Malik, the caliph of the Muslims during the time of the Ummayads asked a prominent scholar of the time called Abu hazm; “How come we hate death?” Abu Hazm replied; “Because you constructed your dunya and destroyed your hereafter, so you hate to go from something you constructed to something you destroyed.”

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