{حَتَّى إِذَا جَآءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبّ‌ِ ارْجِعُون لَعَلّـِي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحاً فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ كَلآَّ إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَآئِلُهَا وَمِن وَرَآئِهِم بَرْزَخٌ إِلَي يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُون}َ
{[People disbelieve]- until when death come to one of them, he says [in regret]: My Lord! Return me [to life in the world], so that I may do righteousness [and believe] in what I [previously] left behind! No, indeed! [Never shall this be]! It is but an [empty] word that [such a] one utters. For behind them there is a barrier [that has sealed them off from the world], until the Day they are raised up to life [in the Hereafter]} 23:99/100

For this month’s Quranic reflection, I decided to talk about verses 99 and 100 from Surat Al-Muminoon. If I were to pick a pair of verses that are constantly on my mind, it would be these ayat. They should serve as a reminder and reality check for every person at any moment throughout life.

In these ayat, a dialogue is taking place between the sinners, who have already passed or are about to die, and Allah (swt). These sinners are known as disbelievers because they go against the core beliefs of Islam by committing terrible sins. However, we are all sinners. This is made clear to us as Muslims through the hadith, “Every son of Adam is a sinner.” This fact may lead you to ask, why does Allah (swt) go as far as to refer to these people as disbelievers that go against Islam because they sin? Allah (swt) does not call these people disbelievers because they sin, He calls them this because they sin and do not try to repent or ask Him for forgiveness.

In these verses, Allah (swt) is saying that these disbelievers continue to sin and refuse to repent for the sins that they have committed up until they are about to die. At the moment that they are going to die, they beg Allah (swt) to return them to the world of the (Dunya) that they left behind. They beg Allah (swt) to return them so that they can act righteously, unlike the way they acted before. However, Allah (swt) tells them that He will never bring them back to the (Dunya) for a second chance because their claim is nothing but words with no meaning. This means that they claim that they will act righteously if given another chance in the (Dunya), but the reality is that they would repeat the same mistakes as they had before.

Many lessons are to be learned from these two verses from the Quran. However, I will point out just two specifically. The first lesson learned is that we need to repent for any sin that we commit. As we saw in these verses, Allah (swt) calls these people disbelievers because they do not just sin, but they do not even bother to repent for their mistakes. Surely, these people are foolish. Let us not fall into this group of people that Allah (swt) mentions because we do not repent. Allah (swt) is the most forgiving and the most merciful, so we should never feel as though He will not accept our repentance. Rather, Allah (swt) will always forgive our sins as long as we try to seek His forgiveness whenever we commit one.

The second lesson learned is that we must not procrastinate and wait until it is too late to repent. As we also saw in these verses, the disbelievers beg Allah (swt) to return them to the (Dunya) so that they can make up for their mistakes. However, Allah (swt) refuses because they only realized the mistakes that they made after it was too late, despite the many opportunities Allah (swt) gave them while they were still alive.

So here we are, still alive, and able to act now. It is not too late for us to make a change in our lives for the better. We are not yet in the same position as the people mentioned in these verses. By the will of Allah (swt), we will not need to be in their position because we are still alive and have the ability to repent. Do not wait and become amongst this group of people. Allah (swt) has blessed us with a beautiful reminder through these ayat, let us take advantage of such an opportunity.

By Ahmad Salah