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The day we witnessed ‘scenes’ from judgment day

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O mankind! If you are in doubt concerning the resurrection, then, verily, We created you from dust, then from a drop, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh [both] shaped and shapeless, that We make it clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterwards We bring you forth as infants: then you attain your full strength. (Quran 22:5)

One thing I have learnt from life is that this world is simply too crooked to escape resurrection; our world is too delusional and chimerical to render nugatory the occurrence of life other-worldly; life of the real in the real.

Brother, whenever I ponder the daily routine of life and living, the passage of food through the mouth and its appearance as feces and urine; whenever I recall the faces of happiness that suddenly becomes that of gloom and glum, I begin to wonder exactly what lies behind this impermanence; I begin to crave the eternal; I long for the long-lasting; I run away from the hocus pocus that has become the endemic feature of life in this world from the very first day it came into reality.

One of the fundamental principles of faith in Islam is resurrection. In Quran 2 verse 285, we read of the elements that constituted belief in the Prophet’s world when he was around- that he believed in that which was revealed to him from his Lord and that believers, while following his path, equally believe in the existence of the undated ‘Dater’ of dates (the Almighty); that we believe in the existence of the angels, in the books revealed by Him to His prophets to guide humanity, in the messengers of the Almighty without discrimination or recrimination. Those who identify with the crescent equally believe in the pendency of judgment day; they believe in destiny, the favourable and the other. Countless traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w) emphasize the latter for the Muslims – that if you believe in the Almighty and in the day of resurrection, you would treat the poor with passion and compassion; you would adore and honour your guest; you would put your tongue in perpetual caution except for those utterances that are good and noble.

But we all know that while it is true that most practitioners of one religion or the other hold the above to be true, Shaytan constantly casts doubts in their mind so that the reality of resurrection constantly peters out to insignificance in their daily life. Or how else do we make sense of the conduct of that brother who says he hold resurrection to be true and stills commit humongous acts of corruption and treachery in the governmental agency over which he has been given authority; how else do make sense of that situation where the so-called Hajji band together with villainous elements whose souls have been sold to the devil such that they experience no compunctions while committing atrocious acts of murder? From the north east to the central parts of this country and from Ikorodu to the bubolic landscape of the south-south, it feels as if agents of Beetzebub have been let loose. They rave and rail against everything that is sacred; they plunder and render asunder all things that are venerable and venerated. The other day scenes from one of those gory occurrences were carried by the media, I shook my head. I pity the perpetrators; I empathize with the families of the victims. I ask myself, rhetorically that is: do these people think that as soon as the beat stops for their unfortunate victims that is where the story ends? Do they think that there shall be no reckoning in the presence of He who saw them as they perpetrated these horrendous acts? Do they think they shall not be brought to face the devil in the evil of their conducts?

Brethren, I was struggling with the above until a couple of days ago when I was privileged to attend an event put together by one of the federal agencies. The event was meant to elicit the cooperation of stakeholders in order that the agency may perform better than it did last year. As expected, the hall was full to the brim. It was an event that drew attendance of the ornaments from the town and gown. From the academy I met my colleagues senior and younger Professors, Ph.D holders. From industry came experienced administrators and business moguls. The organizers of the event equally invited previous occupiers of the exalted office of the Executive Chairman of the agency. Thus Mr X was in attendance; Mr G was on the podium. When it was time for the current CEO to give a report of the activities of the agency so far, the hall fell into silence. For more than thirty minutes thereafter, we were held spell bound by the innovation that the agency has introduced into its activities. As Nigerians, we were proud that at least we have one more agency that is showing that Nigerian can do. It was at that point I began to feel as if we were not in that beautiful hall anymore. Rather, something awoke my consciousness to the fact that what we were witnessing was a scene from the day of resurrection.

In other words, while it is true that the predecessors of the current CEO equally did the best they could while in office, it is consensual that the current CEO is doing better; while the current CEO has opportunity to even better his performance, the past CEOs cannot go back to that office anymore. Thus as we clapped in appreciation of what the agency has achieved now, I began to wonder how those past CEOs would be feeling at that particular point in time. Would they not desire to have another opportunity to right the wrong they perpetrated or to do more than they did while in office? Now since it is practically impossible for that to happen now, would they not feel very miserable for the lost opportunity – the opportunity to become a hero of the new-Nigeria?

On our way back to the airport, I told my fellow companions – that scene was from the hereafter; we just witnessed insights into what would happen on the day resurrection- the day a man would request that he be given another opportunity to make amends, to fill the gaps. But there shall be no return back to the earth again, the same way there could be no second opportunity for the past CEOs to have another stint in that office again. Let me ask you this simple question: which is better- a name written in gold for posterity to celebrate or the accumulation of wealth which would ultimately suffer ruin and damnation?
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