Quranic Reflection No 612 Āyat 10:7 – Lack of hope in the Hereafter

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا وَرَضُوا بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاطْمَأَنُّوا بِهَا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا غَافِلُونَ

Indeed, those who do not expect the meeting with Us and are satisfied with the life of this world and feel secure therein and those who are heedless of Our signs.

(Surat Yūnus, No.10, Āyat 7)

This verse talks about a group of people who do not hope for the meeting with Allah ‘azza wajall. The meeting refers to the return to Allah in the Hereafter and being given life again on the Day of Resurrection. This meeting has been mentioned a few times in the Quran. Allah says:  وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُم مُّلَاقُوهُ – And fear Allah and know that you will meet Him (Q 2:223). He mentions hope in this meeting:

فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

So, whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone (Q 18:110). Hope in this meeting lead to righteousness while a lack of such hope leads to attachment and satisfaction with this world.

 Tafsīr Majmaʿ al-bayān explains this meeting with Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā as the witnessing of reward and punishment in the Hereafter. According to ‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī in Tafsīr al-Mīzān it refers to the Day of Judgement which will be the result of the struggle of the human being. On that day Allah will be the only Judge and will render His judgement on mankind. The correct understanding of the complete power of Allah (swt) will become apparent for all. This will be the meeting with the reality of Allah’s greatness.

Rejecting the belief in the Hereafter means denying any form of accountability. Such people do not believe in reward or punishment for deeds. Prophethood and the guidance it brought would hold no meaning for them. For the formation of a just and virtuous society, there must be belief in God and in a Hereafter. That gives meaning and motivation to selfless acts and righteous behavior. The false sense of security this group gets from the world is because of their obliviousness of a much greater life to come. The world lulls them into thinking that it will always be there, and they do not see the need to look for something beyond it.

What has made this group oblivious of the meeting with Allah, and the world of the Hereafter? It is their satisfaction with the life of this world and the false sense of security it gives them. They enjoy what the world offers them and try to derive all their pleasure from it. All their hopes and expectations, disappointments, and fears, revolve around the world. There is really nothing else. Imam Ali ‘alayhis-salām wonders at such people in his sermons in Nahjul Balāgha. He says: What is your condition? You feel satisfied with what little you have secured from this world while much of the next world of which you have been deprived does not grieve you. The little of this world which you lose pains you so much so that it becomes apparent in your faces, and in the lack of your endurance over whatever is taken away from you; as though this world is your permanent abode, and as though its wealth would stay with you for good (Sermon 113). And he advises believers to refrain from this attachment, saying: Know that this world which you have started to covet and in which you are interested, and which sometimes enrages you and sometimes pleases you is not your abode, nor the place of your stay for which you might have been created, nor one to which you have been invited. Know that it will not last for you nor will you live along with it (Sermon 173).

Instinctively the human being wishes for immortality. He wishes to stay alive and not cease to exist. When a person believes in this world and the Hereafter he is at peace because there is eternity after this world. But for a person who does not believe in that there is a restless urgency to immortalize himself in some way while in this world, through wealth, power, fame, etc. These desires bind the person to the world and limit his worldview. He is satisfied with the relatively little that the world has to offer.

This verse is a reminder of how lack of hope in the Hereafter and worldly attachments are linked together. As believers we must strengthen our hope in the Afterlife and be able to see the world as it really is; a transient abode to secure the Hereafter.

Sources: Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shīrāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh. http://hadith.net/post/6022