This well known saying of Imam Ali (as) aptly identifies the journey of man and womankind to the "Day of Resurrection." According to the Quranic view, we have not been created simply for this earthly life, but have a greater purpose in behaving responsibly. The Hereafter, therefore, needs to be considered. One could say that mankind's convoy to the Day of Resurrection is a forced movement that is totally impossible to resist.
In studying the beautiful Holy Qur'an, one obtains Objective Tafsir which enhances our knowledge of many subjects. However, if one focuses on the Holy Scriptures, a student may obtain selective references to the Day of Resurrection, known as Subjective Tafsir.
It is these references that enlighten mankind with regard to this great event, the "Yawm-e-Kiyama". It is this day which follows Death, the latter having also been alluded to in the Quran. The sayings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) describe the grave of every person as either tasting a part of paradise or a part of hell. We are told that knowledge of death is with the Almighty Allah alone. Thus, in order to prepare ourselves we must live each day as if it were to be our last.
Surah Waqia (The Great Event), which is commonly recited every night after evening prayers ( Isha' ) to fight off poverty, explains the signs pertaining to this day. These are threefold: first, a class structure will be formulated by Allah rather than by mankind. Thus, instead of belonging to the working or professional classes, as is the case today, mankind will finally be classified by the Creator into either the abased or the exalted; second, the sign of the tumultuous and violent shaking of the very earth in which we dwell. This shaking will be so ferocious that even the unconquerable mountains of the world will crumble to dust. This latter is the third sign.
Moreover, one reads that humankind will be divided into three groups of people, some contented and others wretched. It is interesting to note that it is ourselves who decide which group we will be allocated to, as our intentions and actions in this life divide us into the following categories: we are either of those on the 'right hand' or those on the 'left hand', or else those of the 'foremost' who are drawn nigh to Allah.
Taking each group in turn one can examine the distinct differences and decide with which group one wishes to be associated, and hence one is able to adjust one's actions accordingly.
We know, for instance, that every atoms' weight of good or evil is recorded and that we will be able to see our actions on Yawm-e-Kiyama. The 'foremost' group on the Day of Judgement will have many bounties granted to them. From the first generation of Muslims many will belong to this 'foremost' group, but as the final hour approaches fewer Muslims will be admitted therein. These persons have the position of kings in the Hereafter. They are surrounded by youths giving them pure beverages and a wide selection of fruits. No pain or exhaustion overtakes them and they may cohabit with pure maidens and eat whatever they wish, as a reward for what they used to do. The companions on the right hand, although not at the same level as the 'foremost', also taste the wonders of paradise. They are made up of both early and later generations of believers. They happily cohabit with virgins in this loving environment. Moreover, they reside among the "thornless lote trees", eating the "fruits from banana trees", and there is an "abundance of shade, flowing water and fruit". These Quranic descriptions of paradise encourage humankind to compete with one another in order to earn the favours of Allah. Thus, Muslims seek to attain piety and emulate the supreme examples of piety, such as the Prophet and the Imams.
Finally, those of the 'left-hand' are described as the group to which no-one wishes to belong on Yawm-e-Kiyama. This 'left-hand' group is surrounded by a "hostile wind and black smoke". They have only "boiling water" to drink and taste only the bitter produce of the "tree of Zaqqoom.". They are described as the "great violators" and will be made up of people from the earliest generations to the very last. They are the ones who denied the Day of Resurrection and now must pay the price.
In conclusion, one can clearly see the graphic descriptions in the Holy Qur'an of the signs of the Day of Resurrection and the rewards and punishments of each group. It is up to us, all of humankind, to act now to secure our place in the groups that are exalted and not those that are abased.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful|
When the great event comes to pass
There is no belying its coming to pass--
Abasing (one party), exalting (the other),
When the earth shall be shaken with a (severe) shaking,
And the mountains shall be made to crumble with (an awful) crumbling,
So that they shall be as scattered dust.
And you shall be three sorts.
Then (as to) the companions of the right hand; how happy are the companions of the right hand!
And (as to) the companions of the left hand; how wretched are the companions of the left hand!
And the foremost are the foremost,
These are they who are drawn nigh (to Allah),
In the gardens of bliss.
(Quran Al-Waqia [The Event] 56: 1-12)