I remember when I accepted Islam one of the things that I found so appealing was the accountability factor. That we as Muslims are going to be held responsible for our actions (we as is everyone when they stand before Allah (SWT)). That being said, it should guarantee that we as Muslims live according to the command of Allah (SWT) maintaining a society that is free of corruption, hatred, and wrongdoing. After all wouldn't the fear of the punishment of Allah (SWT) and the fear of hellfire cause us to monitor our actions in such a manner?
Of course, we as Muslims know that it is only by the mercy of Allah (SWT) that we will enter paradise, however we must strive to follow the commands of our creator. For example prayer-- we know it is obligatory on us so much so that it is narrated that those who abandon the prayer are outside the fold of Islam. We must also uphold the other four pillars. Most importantly, not to commit shirk (associate any partners with Allah (SWT). This as a topic alone could be discussed for many posts so I will just briefly encourage everyone to think about what they "worship" in life. Because shirk isn't just worshiping Jesus or Buddha. If we worship money, fame, love of this world that is idol worship--- it is worshiping other than Allah (SWT).
But back to my original thoughts for this post-- Until recently I don't think I had a full understanding of the fear Allah (SWT) is deserving of. Of the true manner that we as Muslims should be acting in, the true conciousness that we should have of our religion. I think there is a mentality at times that "I am Muslim" so we possibly forget the manner which Allah (SWT) and our beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW) have instructed and then modelled the way we should live. I think at times we put such a focus on this life that we neglect to consider how it will impact our hereafter. We don't pray at the Mosque cause it is too difficult but we forget that one of the people who will be shaded on the day of judgement is the one whose heart is tied to the mosque. Comments are uttered such as "it is only sunnah" forgetting that it is the Quran and the Sunnah that we follow. And that we will be told to follow our Imam on the day of judgement and that our Imam should be Rasoolulah (SAW). How do we follow him (SAW)? By upholding his sunnah, by practicing what he instructed.
Maybe my point isn't as clear as I had hoped it to be, but I fear that we often forget the trials of hereafter and that Muhammad (SAW) who was guaranteed paradise used to seek refuge from Allah (SWT) from its punishment. Who are we in this religion, and are we living with the same fear?
The recent Journey of Faith conference, helped us to rediscover our love of the Prophet (SAW). Now I encourage us all to rediscover our fear of Allah and punishment in the grave and in the Hereafter. What has possibly been the most effective in helping me do this recently was the 12 part series by Brother Tafique Chowdhury on the Hereafter. I will try to post the videos on my site but if I am unable the please watch these. "Journey through the Hereafter" parts 1-12 on Google Video. Insha'Allah it will change the way you practice your faith as a Muslim, and insha'Allah it will guide non-Muslims to faith in our beloved creator, the one True God, and the knowledge that Muhammad (SAW) is his final messenger.