The worldly life, which is a very short duration of existence between birth and death, is only a trial, nothing more and nothing less. Whatever different phases man experiences here, whether in the form of success or failure, are all different manifestations of this trial. The culmination of this life, however, would herald the beginning of another existence where death will be an entity.
The Qur'an invites man to lead a life which would destine him to a life of eternal pleasure. It warns him that a failure to earn a place in everlasting happiness would lead him inevitably to an abode of unending ignominy and pain. All human beings, it informs us, are travelling along either of the two paths---the one that leads to heaven or the one that has hell waiting at the end.
The only way a man can ensure entry into heaven, is to adopt the life of the hereafter as the ultimate ideal in his present life. All worldly decisions should conform to this ideal. His life should be an adequate testimony to the fact that he keeps his 'future' more dear to him than his `present'. Whether he is carrying out his business, discharging family obligations, dealing with fellow human beings, or responding to the call for prayers, his overwhelming preference for the next life should be clearly evident.
On the contrary, if an individual is so deeply engrossed in worldly affairs, that religious considerations---nay, considerations of the next life---are relegated to be secondary, all planning is confined to the uncertain present, success and failure are gauged by the worldly barometer, he is travelling on the highway to hell. The verdict of the Qur'an is:
"Whosoever desires the transitory things of this world, We readily grant them---such things as We please, to such persons as We will; in the end, [however], We have provided hell for them, they will burn therein, disgraced and rejected. Those who desire the Hereafter and strive for it with necessary effort, and have faith---they are the ones whose efforts would find favour [with their Lord]." (17:18-19)
Let us consciously adopt the way to heaven and avoid being consigned to the unbearable pains of Hell.
(Dr Khalid Zaheer)