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Article appeared Friday, May 31st, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (573) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD


The Holy Scriptures often mention the need for humans to be righteous. In this
connection, one of the most quoted verses from the Bible is Verse 29 of Chapter 37 of
the Book of Psalms.
“The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.” [Psalm 37:29] {1}

What is the Verse saying? The righteous will have advantages over those who are not
righteous, i.e., they will receive “the land” as inheritance and additionally live in it
“forever”. What is the land and when/how would the righteous live in it forever?
Currently, all humans have been given the earth as land as a place to live temporarily.
So, “the land” mentioned in the Verse would be a secure inheritance place. This could
be for sometime on earth and of course for the duration of the eternal life in the
Hereafter. These answers may lead to further questions that would need to be analyzed.
One such question would be what is after death? It is clear that something very
significant will take place. The final Holy Scripture, Al-Qur’an, not only confirms the
authenticity of the Psalm’s Verse but also the importance of its concepts,
“Before this We wrote in the Psalms after the Message (given to Moses): My
servants the righteous shall inherit the earth." [21.105]

And emphasizes in the subsequent Verse:


“Surely in this is a message for true worshipers.” [21.106]

So, are there any questions that arise? For example, what would be true worship? Does
it have anything to do with righteousness? What is righteousness? Would it be important
to be righteous? What would happen to those who are not righteous?

Let us first look at righteousness and then see if it connects with worship. We will try to
look at the concepts logically and then refer to the Holy Scriptures. There was a point in
time that we individually did not exist. Now we are not only alive, but are living an
intelligent life with umpteen blessings. As we ourselves had no hand in creating our self,
a logical question is, do we owe gratitude to the Creator for our life? Should we try to
work out the qualities of His being, adore Him, love Him and also fear Him? To
understand this concept, we can compare with an analogy. Leonardo is responsible for
making the lifeless painting Mona Lisa beautiful and valuable just through his
brushstrokes. If it were possible for the painting to feel and also have intelligence, what
feelings should she have towards Leonardo? Likewise, if we feel that we are created
(together with intelligent life and free will), what feelings should we have towards our
Creator? Would an attitude of righteousness towards Him and subsequent worship be
activities that emerge from such feelings? The definition of righteousness given at
Dictionary.com is the quality of being morally right or justifiable.

On the other hand, if Mona Lisa developed an ego and took pride in the fact that she is
beautiful, valuable and most famous what attitude would she then have towards
Leonardo? She may feel that she deserves to be beautiful, valuable and famous – and
approached Leonardo only when and if she needed something. What kind of behavior
can this be classified as? Likewise, if a human being develops an ego, takes pride in the
fact that he/she is beautiful and approaches the Creator only to ask for more and more
blessings what kind of behavior would this be? And again, how should the Creator, who
has lavished untold blessings freely, look upon such behavior?
Now, let’s look at the definition of righteousness given in the Qur’an.
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west; but
(true) righteousness is in one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the
Book (for explanation see 43.2 – 43.4) and the Messengers; and gives wealth, in
spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask
(for help), and for freeing of slaves; (and who) establishes prayer and practices
regular charity; and (those who) fulfill their promises when they promise; and
(those who) are patient in poverty and hardship and during pain (or suffering) and
all periods of panic. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who
are the righteous.” [2.177]

Studying, analyzing and adopting the qualities of righteousness [2.177] is compulsory for
anyone who believes that he/she has been created and will face his/her Creator on the
Last Day or Day of Judgment/Accountability. On that Day, also referred to as the “Hour”,
after death, the eternal fate of each person will be decided. Not believing in the
Accountability is classified as unrighteousness.
“Nay they deny the Hour (of the Judgment to come): but We have prepared a
Blazing Fire for such as deny the Hour: When it sees them from a place far off
they will hear its fury and its raging sigh.” [25.11 – 25.12]

What will happen to such people?

25.13 “And when they are thrown into a narrow place therein bound in
chains, they will plead for destruction there and then!”
The situation would be so painful that those punished will cry for complete annihilation –
but they will not die – they will continue to suffer through eternity.

25.14 “This day plead not for a single destruction: plead for destruction oft-
repeated!”
As they will not die! So, the next Verse asks a logical question.

25.15 “Say, "Is that best or the eternal Garden promised to the righteous?
For them that is a reward as well as a destination.”

25.16 “For them there will be therein all that they wish for: they will dwell
(there) for eternity: a promise to be prayed for from your Lord.”
We should pray that we fulfill the conditions of righteousness. We should then pray for
granting that which our Creator has kept for the righteous.

25.17 “The Day He will gather them (the unrighteous) together as well as
those whom they worship besides Allah He will ask: "Was it you who led
these my servants astray or did they stray from the Path themselves?"”
Do the unrighteous give priority to other things and themselves over the Creator? To be
just and deliver proper judgment, He will ask this question to the other things that kept us
busy. Are there any things that prevent us from acknowledging our Creator and being
unrighteous?
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{Notes}:
{1} https://biblehub.com/psalms/37-29.htm