Written in Urdu by Hazrat Mir Muhammad Ismailra – brother-in-law of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas – and publised in Al Fazl on 13 June 1944
Once, I was pondering over the topic of forgiveness of Allah and was enjoying thinking about the different aspects of this topic that a feeling of sluggishness overtook my mind and certain scenes flashed in front of my eyes pertaining to this topic.
Now, it does not matter much whether one considers these matters to be the imagination of the mind or stream of consciousness or a semi-vision. The only difference is that an academic exercise morphed from thoughts into images, otherwise the meaning and the reality is the same.
I saw that just at a little distance from me, there was an enormous door in a vast, open ground, similar to that which one may see erected at wedding occasions etc. When I went close to it, I saw that there was a beautiful inscription on it, which read:
کُلَّ یَوۡمٍ ہُوَ فِیۡ شَاۡنٍ
“Every day He reveals Himself in a different state.” (Surah al-Rahman, Ch.55: V.30)
And on the other two sides of this big door were also various inscriptions, one of which read:
نَبِّیٴۡ عِبَادِیۡۤ اَنِّیۡۤ اَنَا الۡغَفُوۡرُ الرَّحِیۡمُ
“Tell My servants that I am surely the One Most Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Surah al-Hijr, Ch.15: V.50)
Another one read:
اِنَّ رَبَّکَ وَاسِعُ الۡمَغۡفِرَۃِ
“Verily, thy Lord is very liberal in forgiving.” (Surah al-Najm, Ch.53: V.33)
At another place, it said:
یَغۡفِرُ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ
“He forgives whomsoever he pleases.” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.130)
One of the places said:
اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَغۡفِرُ الذُّنُوۡبَ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ اِنَّہٗ ہُوَ الۡغَفُوۡرُ الرَّحِیۡمُ
“Surely, Allah forgives all sins. Verily He is Most Forgiving, Merciful. (Surah al-Zumar, Ch.39: V.54)
یَدۡعُوۡکُمۡ لِیَغۡفِرَ لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ ذُنُوۡبِکُمۡ
“He calls you that He may forgive you your sins.” (Surah Ibrahim, Ch.14: V.11)
وَ مَنۡ یَّغۡفِرُ الذُّنُوۡبَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ
“Who can forgive sins except Allah?” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.136)
In short, there were dozens of beautiful inscriptions on either side of the door regarding the forgiveness of Allah.
Field of reckoning
I saw certain people who were hovering over the doors like guards and I thought that maybe they were angels and so, I asked them if I could go inside. They replied, “Yes, there are great examples of God’s forgiveness on display today. You can go and look at them, but you will be accompanied by an official guard.”
With this, they asked one of their colleagues to accompany me and told me that his name was Ghufran (meaning forgiveness) and that he would show me around the vast expanse of the field where judgment was taking place. They also told me to continue to recite istighfar and not to criticise anything I may see.
After listening [to the instructions], as soon as I turned myself towards the enormous desert where reckoning was taking place, Ghufran held me by my arm and it was as if we were flying. It seemed as though we were able to reach wherever we wanted to go in a matter of seconds. I noticed, while traveling, that there were humans for as far as the eye could see and that all of them were naked, except for a selected few who were clothed.
There was a group here and a group there. There were various gatherings in different places and in the middle of every gathering or horde was a scale or balance. Hence, as far as the eye could see, there were only humans, scales or angels. But there was absolutely no ruckus. It seemed as if the dead were made to stand and only those could speak who were given permission. There was a silent murmur of “O Ghafoor, O Sattar, O Ghaffar” [O Forgiving One, O Coverer of shortcomings, O Most Forgiving] and sometimes, when someone’s voice would get inappropriately loud, a trumpet would be blown saying:
وَ خَشَعَتِ الۡاَصۡوَاتُ لِلرَّحۡمٰنِ فَلَا تَسۡمَعُ اِلَّا ہَمۡسًا
“And [all] voices shall be hushed before the Gracious God and thou shalt not hear but a subdued sound of footsteps. (Surah Ta Ha, Ch.20: V.109)
Upon this, an eerie silence would take over the place like the one that can be observed in graveyards at night.
Throne of Allah
Hence, we kept on traveling and wherever we went, we saw the same scenes until we got tired. At this point, Ghufran told me that the throne of Allah was in front of us. When I looked up, I could see nothing but light and nur [spiritual light]. But suddenly, I was struck with such fear and awe that I started trembling and my throat tightened. I also realised that the throne seemed equidistant from every location in this infinitely vast ground and the orders which were being issued from this throne were heard clearly everywhere as if they were being pronounced from somewhere right next to us. Countless angels were circumambulating the throne. Some of them were saying:
اَللّٰھُمَّ اِنَّا نَسْتَغْفِرُکَ لِلَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا
“O Allah, we see forgiveness for the believers.”
while others were saying:
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ مَنْ فِی الْاَرْضِ
“O Allah forgive everyone on the earth.”
رَّبِّ اغۡفِرۡ وَ ارۡحَمۡ
“O Allah forgive and have mercy.” (Surah al-Mominoon, Ch.23: V.119)
Some were chanting the attributes of “Ya Ghafoor; Ya Raheem” (O Most Forgiving, Most Merciful) and some were chanting the names of Allah “Ya Affuwun, Ya Ghafoor, Ya Sattar, Ya Ghaffar” i.e. “O Effacer of Sins, O Most Forgiving, O Coverer of faults, O Most Forgiving”.
Hence, these angels were reciting various chants and would come from one side and disappear around the other.
Atmosphere of happiness and jubilation
At the same time, there was an atmosphere of happiness and jubilation due to it being the day of forgiveness. Every sinner had a smile of hope and optimism on their face. People’s actions were being measured and their shortcomings and weaknesses were being compensated with the blessings of forgiveness. There was an ease in reckoning today, for today was the day of the manifestation of the attributes of Most Effacing and the Most Forgiving. Even though “Kiraaman Katibeen” [angels tasked with recording the actions of humans] were doing their job (of presenting the full record of deeds) and Rizwan [angel of heaven] and Malik [angel of hell] would argue every once in a while … but above all, today was the day of the Final Judgment and all matters were adjudged in the end by the Most Forgiving and Most Merciful God.
I was busy wandering, when Ghufran said to me, “Let’s go; let me show you some people you may recognise and show you some specific incidents of the forgiveness of Allah, which ordinary people may not be familiar with. Otherwise this judgment and reckoning will continue according to the verse:
کُلَّ یَوۡمٍ ہُوَ فِیۡ شَاۡنٍ
‘Every day He reveals Himself in a different state.’ (Surah al-Rahman, Ch.55: V.30)
“Today is the day of the manifestation of forgiveness. There are other days of God’s reckoning and awe-inspiring wrath and absolute dominion. But all these days are according to the conditions and actions of the people who are deserving of those specific attributes of Allah. There is no limit to the mercy of Allah. Yes, there is [punishment according to] justice, but never injustice.
“Let me show you some detailed signs of the mercy of your Lord so that you may increase in faith and love for your Master and Creator. So that you, who are always in a condition of despair and hopelessness due to the conditions of your actions, may also learn about the noble mercy and forgiveness of your Lord, which is the hope of every sinner and the support of every offender and upon which depends the covering of faults and forgiveness of the worlds.”
The group of the Prophets
After this, we went forth and stood next to a group. All of these people were wearing high quality clothes and were busy in seeking forgiveness. Ghufran informed me, “This is the group of the prophets who have come here pure and forgiven from their earthly life.”
Scenes of forgiveness
1. I went a little further and saw that a person’s scale of sins was very heavy and had very few good deeds. The angels of hell were about to pull him to their side when a voice came from the throne of Allah, “Bring (so and so) person with the register of their deeds.” The person was brought forward. Allah said, “He is the son of this sinful person. Look at his record of deeds as well.” When his record was looked at, it showed that he prayed regularly for the forgiveness of his parents’ sins. It was ordered [by Allah] to put his prayers in the scale of his father’s good deeds. When this was done, his scale of good deeds became heavier than his sins and the angels of heaven lift ed him on their shoulders and took him with them.
2. When we went further, another such sinful person was crying over his fate. It was asked, “How many believers prayed over his grave for his forgiveness?” When these prayers were measured, even those prayers that were made by strangers just walking by the grave enabled this sinner to hop his way into the lap of the angels of forgiveness and departed from the scene.
3. When we went further, another sinner was standing there, looking sad, because of his lack of good deeds. It was ordered that if anyone had wronged him or had backbitten against him, then all the good deeds of such people should be put in his scale. I saw that thousands of good deeds of other people were put in his scale and he was forgiven.
4. I went a little further and saw that another person was under the custody of Malik [angel of hell]. It was said that this person was the author of a specific book and many generations learned about Islam and virtue through his book. Hence, all such people who did good because of his book would not only be rewarded for their good actions themselves, but the author would also be rewarded for them. Hence, when such actions were looked at, an infinite treasure of good deeds came under the account of the author. Malik loosened his grip and the assistant of Rizwan (angel of heaven) took him to heaven.
5. I went further still and saw that a woman stood crying. Her register of deeds was full of vices. A sense of despair and hopelessness had taken over her, when a voice was heard, “Has this sinful and transgressing woman ever done a good deed as well?” One of the Kiraaman Katibeen [angels tasked with recording the actions] said, “My Lord, once, she was traveling in a wilderness and a dog was panting out of thirst. This lady went down into the well, drank some water and brought some water in her shoes for the dog as well.” Allah the Almighty replied, “We are very appreciative and reward the smallest actions manifold. We liked this action of hers so much that We have decided to forgive her at this very moment. Cover her in the mantle of Our forgiveness and let her go wherever she wishes.”
6. I went further and noticed that there was a lot of commotion at a certain place. There was a humble sinner standing next to a decorated virtuous person. The seemingly virtuous person said to the sinner, “I swear to God, Allah will never forgive you.” On this, people started whispering to each other and some said that the “Holy man” was correct and that his sins were too enormous to be forgiven. A voice came from the throne of the Almighty, “O person, who are you to swear by our forgiveness? O sinner, you are forgiven. As for you, we will decide about you later.” On this, the sinner laughed and hopped his way to heaven in joy.
7. Similarly, there was a group of people whose judgment was taking place. They were believers, but their record of deeds was empty of any goodness. Even though they believed in the prophet of their time, however they did not live long enough to do many good deeds. Some of them had literally no good actions in their books. Such people were judged according to the verse of the Holy Quran:
اِنَّا نَطۡمَعُ اَنۡ یَّغۡفِرَ لَنَا رَبُّنَا خَطٰیٰنَاۤ اَنۡ کُنَّاۤ اَوَّلَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ
“We do hope that our Lord will forgive us our sins, since we are the first among the believers.” (Surah al-Shu‘ara, Ch.26: V.52)
This means that since they were the first ones to believe in the Prophet, this very fact was good enough for their forgiveness, even if they had not performed a single good deed after becoming a Muslim.
8. We went ahead from there and saw that the children of Prophet Jacobas were being judged and they were forgiven due to the prayers of their forefathers i.e. the prayers of their father that were made according to their request that “O our father, ask forgiveness of our sins for us; we have indeed been sinners” (Surah Yusuf, Ch.12: V.98)
And the reply that was given by their father was, “I will certainly ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Surely, He is the Most Forgiving, the Merciful.’ (V.99).
9. I noticed at another place that several people are afflicted by their sins and could not find a way of salvation. Allah asked, “Who offered the funeral prayer of the person on the right?” It was found that his funeral prayer was offered by 40 believers. Allah ordered, “Malik, let him go. We have forgiven him due to the intercession of those 40 believing men.” Then came the turn for the person on the left. It was found that the majority of pious people in his town said at his death that he was a good person who had lived his life like a good Muslim. Allah ordered that he should be forgiven on account of the praise of those people. Then, Allah asked, “What is the condition of the third person?” The angels replied that only two believers considered him virtuous and good at his death. It was ordered that he should be forgiven as well. The fourth sinner was forgiven because there were three rows of Muslims at his funeral.
10. Another sinful Muslim was forgiven because three of his children died in his life. Another believing woman was forgiven because she had to bear the pain of the death of one of her children. Judgment was being done on a husband and wife, when a two-year-old came running by and said that those two were his parents and he would not go to heaven without them. The eyes of those who were watching this scene were filled with tears.
In the meanwhile, another case of a husband and wife was being adjudged and a small child, whose umbilical cord was still stuck to his belly-button, came and started crying, “O my Lord, I am a miscarriage-baby. Due to your mercy, I am being allowed to live in heaven. But I will never go back there if my parents are in hell.” Allah decreed, “We have forgiven your parents for you as well. Take them to Paradise with you.” The baby took his parents into heaven with his umbilical cord and the eyes of all the witnesses were filled with tears.
11. Then, we proceeded further. There was a person who had some weaknesses in his register of deeds. But because he used to visit his parents’ grave every Friday, he was let go. On the right there was a huge group of people, none of whom had enough good deeds in their register to be forgiven, but all of them were forgiven because one night, the Holy Prophetsa spent the whole night praying in Tahajjud the following verse of the Holy Quran:
اِنۡ تُعَذِّبۡہُمۡ فَاِنَّہُمۡ عِبَادُکَ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَہُمۡ فَاِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ الۡعَزِیۡزُ الۡحَکِیۡمُ
“If Thou punish them, they are Thy servants; and if Thou forgive them, Thou surely art the Mighty, the Wise.” (Surah al-Maidah, Ch.5: V.119)
12. From there, we came to a place where a murderer was being adjudged. I heard that he had killed 99 people in cold blood. After that, he had remorse in his heart and wanted to repent. So, he went to a hermit and asked him if his repentance would be accepted. The hermit replied that his sins were too grave to be forgiven. On this, he got angry and killed the hermit as well. People informed him of a scholar who may be able to help him with his repentance. This killer went in search of the scholar’s town, but died on his way.
This resulted in an argument between the angels of forgiveness and the angels of punishment. The angels of punishment were of the opinion that he was a coldblooded murderer and dacoit, while the others opined that he was on his way to perform true repentance. Hence, this caused a great commotion. I heard that the decision had been passed from the throne of Allah to measure the distance between his home and the place of his death and to compare it with the distance between his place of death and the town of the scholar. A report was submitted from the department of Mikail that his dead body was closer to the town of the scholar by only a few inches. It was ordained, “We have accepted his repentance and have forgiven him. Cover him in the mantle of Our forgiveness.”
13. Then we went further. The case of a sinner was being presented. Kiraaman Katibeen [angels assigned to recording the deeds of the people] said to Allah the Almighty that this person used to sin during the day and cry at night, lamenting that he had sinned and asked for forgiveness. Allah would forgive his sins and say that this servant of Mine knew that he had a Lord Who forgives sins and has the power to punish His servants. So, Allah would ordain, “Bear witness, O angels, I have forgiven him.”
Then, after a few days, he would sin again and then again pray in the same manner and Allah would reply, “This servant of Mine knows that he has a Lord who can punish him for his sins and has the power to forgive as well.” So, Allah would ordain, “Bear witness, O angels, I have forgiven him.”
And then he would sin again after a short while and the entire episode would be repeated again in that he would then again pray for his forgiveness in the same manner and Allah would reply that this servant of His believed that God could punish him for his sins and has the power to forgive him as well.
Hence, the angels reported, this person continued to sin and seek forgiveness throughout his life. The angels requested Allah the Almighty for guidance and decision in his matter. Allah the Almighty said, “I had ordained only after three times:
غَفَرْتُ لِعَبْدِی فَلْيَفْعَلْ مَا شَاءَ
‘I have forgiven my servant; let him do what he wishes.’
Has this commandment not been recorded?” The records were searched and a copy of this order was found in Bukhari and Muslim [Books of Hadith] and the culprit was forgiven.
14. We went further and saw the case of a sinner being presented by the Kiraaman Katibeen. Along with various other sins, there was also a complaint that in his will, he asked his children to burn his body and throw half of the ashes in the wind and throw the rest into the ocean. He was afraid that if God was to punish him, he would be given such a punishment by Allah, the like of which had never been given to anyone else. After a while, he died and his children acted upon his will. Now he was brought back to life on the Day of Judgment and the angels enquired about what should be done regarding him. Allah said, “Ask him why he made such a will?” He replied, “O my Lord, I have never done any good in my life and spent my life in sin. So, my Lord, I did what I did out of your fear. You fully know the truth.” Allah the Almighty replied, “He is telling the truth. He had my real fear and taqwa in his heart. Thus, I forgive him.”
15. On one side, I saw some men walking happily towards the road to Paradise. I asked them, “Have you been forgiven?” They replied, “Yes.” When asked, “Why?” they replied, “When our Lord saw us in trouble, he said, ‘I have promised these people that I will send them to heaven.’” I asked them what sort of promise was made to them. They replied, “Allah the Almighty had promised through his prophet:
مَنْ كَانَتْ لَہٗ اُنْثٰى فَلَمْ يُؤَدهَا وَلَمْ يُهْنهَا وَلَمْ يُؤثِر وَلَدَهٗ عَلَيْهَا يَعْنِیْ الذُّکُورَ اَ دْ خَلَہٗ اللّٰهُ الْجَنَّۃَ
“Whosoever has one daughter, and he does not bury her alive [like the custom of some Arab tribes], nor degrades her, nor does he give preference to his sons over his daughters, then I will enter them into paradise. So, Allah showered His grace upon us because we followed this commandment of Allah.”
16. Similarly, I saw another woman whose worship of Allah, such as her prayers, her fasting, her alms-giving, were not enough, but she was sent to Paradise because she never hurt her neighbours with her tongue and they were all happy with her.
17. So, we kept on walking around like this, until we came upon a huge group of martyrs, whose count was above anything I could have ever imagined. Ghufran told me that there were very few in this group who were martyred by a sword while fighting in the way of Allah. But Allah’s mercy and forgiveness had created so many ways to enter the fold of martyrdom. For example:
– A person who died even from a natural death, while serving the cause of Allah would be considered a martyr
– Whosoever died while protecting his property was a martyr
– A believer who died of plague was a martyr
– A woman who died in childbirth was a martyr
– Whoever died of pleurisy was a martyr
– Whoever died of diarrhea was a martyr
– Whoever died with something falling on him was a martyr etc.
Hence, Allah has opened so many ways to become a martyr and partake from the mercy and forgiveness of Allah that even if a believer spends all of his life being grateful to Allah, they will not be able to properly thank their Lord, so much so that a person who regularly prays for martyrdom, even if he dies in his bed, he will be considered a martyr.
(To be continued)
(Translated by Talha Ali, Missionary Philippines)