Chapter 1: Four Worlds
?They ask you [O Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)] concerning the Ruh
(Soul). Say: 'It is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my
Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given very little.? [Soorah Al-Israa
The soul is a creature of Allah. It is blown into every human being when it is
just a fetus of 120 days old, it remains in contact if not inside the human
being throughout its life on earth, and at the point of death it departs from
the body to reside in the heavens. Like everything else in the universe it is a
creation of Allah, but as the above Qur'aanic verse informs us, mankind has been
given only limited knowledge concerning it. When a body is given a soul, life
begins. And when the soul leaves the body, life ends and death begins.
During their journeys through this universe, the soul and its body travel
through four different worlds:
1. The womb - where the soul joins its body.
2. This world - where we all live for a limited period only.
3. The grave - a ?Barzakh? period.
4. The Hereafter - The final destination of all human beings.
Each world is greater than the last, and the final world of the Hereafter is
eternal and the most important. It is difficult for us as human beings living
amidst the hubbub of worldly life to comprehend the sheer futility of this world
and the permanence of the Hereafter. Thousands of dead are buried around us
every day, but we find it impossible to envisage the new stage of the journey
upon which they have embarked. To the living, the grave is simply an empty and
dark hole in the ground; to the dead, it is their window into either Paradise or
the Fire. And it is precisely because they cannot comprehend the next life that
the majority of human beings refuse to believe in and obey Allah.
In this situation, we are like the fetus in the womb of its mother. Consider the
unborn child whose only home for nine months is a dark and cramped place where
it receives nourishment, warmth and space to grow. Suppose we could speak to the
unborn child; what would we say when describing the world waiting for it
outside? We would talk to it about the clouds, the mountains, the trees and the
oceans. We would talk of a spectrum of colors, smells, tastes and textures. We
would mention the thunder of trains, the roaring of planes, the speed of cars.
We would describe flowers, birds and animals; a world of lush gardens, cascading
rivers, valleys and plains. An enormous world of huge deserts, massive oceans
and vast landscapes. A bustling world filled with noise, movement and numerous
nationalities of people speaking a variety of languages
Would the little infant curled up in it's mother's womb understand the message?
Indeed not. The womb is the only place he knows and to imagine the outside world
would be beyond his comprehension. In the same way, our life in this world is
temporary and like it or not, we will have to leave it to enter the world beyond
the grave. Just because we cannot envisage or see the world of the Barzakh does
not mean that it does not exist.