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Article appeared Friday, December 4, 2015 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (404)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

There is so much going on in the world today. We are all pre-occupied not only with ourselves
but with all that is happening around us. On the one hand we have global access to news and
information through television, radio and the Internet. On the other we can stay connected and
pursue pleasures of life on earth. Amongst all the hustle and bustle, there is one event that is
common to all of us death. With certainty, we know that each will die one day. So, standing
back and looking at the whole picture, what do we see? We see immense activity; then all of a
sudden, one day zero. Once dead, people may even refer to our body just as a corpse
without even a name. Would it make a difference to the corpse if everyone remaining on earth
remembered the person or even if everyone forgot? Would all the activity done and the name
and fame gained make any difference to the corpse?
It is an established fact that we have no control over our death. Often, people who have
attempted suicide survive. People with multiple stab wounds, multiple bullet wounds and people
left to die without food often return to regular life. When death finally arrives, medical science
has no anti-death pills to prevent death. We are therefore left with a puzzle. We have no control
over our birth, no control over death, however, a life with a menu of choices which, suddenly
ends! It is almost like taking an exam we have no control over when the exam starts, nor when
it ends, however, we have a menu of questions with options. So, is our life, in fact, an exam?
Exams are normally announced so that we have an opportunity to prepare ourselves. If a
notice is given, together with the main question, we would have little or no excuse for not being
prepared! Does such a notice exist for our own life? If it did, where would we find such a notice?
Looking through the Holy Scriptures, in particular the Quran, we find the following verse.
This (Quran) is a notification for mankind so that they may be warned and let them
know that He is (no other than) One Allah (The God) and therefore let men of
understanding take heed. [14.52]
What is the notification about? Most importantly, it is a warning! A warning about what? We are
being warned that there is only ONE Creator or God. What does one need to understand about
this and what does this fact have to do with our exam? One aspect of understanding could be
accountability. If there is only ONE Powerful Being, who is responsible for our existence, we
would be accountable only to the singular Deity. We would not be accountable to our egos, our
wealth, our status, our leaders, our fans, our movie idols, our social connections, our religious
sages, etc. As the sole Power, it has to be the Being who has arranged all the resources,
facilities and amenities of our life. The test or exam would be whether we demonstrate our
individual understanding through our day to day activities. How can our understanding be
demonstrated? For example, if we spend hours and hours on Facebook each day, yet find no
time during the day/night to thank the Being for the friends He has given and the opportunities to
connect that He has arranged what would it imply? It may demonstrate that having a FaceBook
status is of more importance than contemplating why we happen to be on earth!
Success in the exam would be whether we are able to recognize the source of our existence
and mentally detach ourselves from all other things that we imagine affect our daily life and
living. Reflecting on this logic, can we derive or define a purpose of the exam? Since we are
created beings, the definition necessarily has to do something to do with the Creator. Life is an
opportunity to discover and acknowledge the Creator for what He has done for the human being

[Quran: 31.20]. He has designed and created each human as an individual and provides all the
benefits. After Verse 14.52, the Quran continues to confirm the qualities of the notification by
including a reference.

15.1 Alif Lam Ra. These are the Verses of Revelation of the Book that makes
things clear.
These Verses are being revealed from the reference Alif Lam Ra of the Book with the Creator
[43.1 43.4]. These Verses should leave no doubt in the minds of humans. All revealed Holy
Scriptures are from the same Book.
Say, "O people of the Book! Come to common terms between us and you that we
worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from
among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah." [3.64]

15.2 Again and again will those who disbelieve wish that they had bowed (to
Allah's Will) in Islam.
The Creator has given clear notification of the exam and the question this is His Will. It is up to
each individual to reflect on the question and arrange our daily activity accordingly. Verse 15.2
indicates the regrets one will have if he/she fails the exam. Each individual has free will, so,

15.3 Leave them alone to enjoy (the good things of this life) and to please
themselves. Let false hope amuse them; soon will knowledge (undeceive them).
What supporting evidence do we have? History stands witness to populations destroyed without

15.4 Never did We destroy a population that had not a term decreed and
assigned beforehand.
Each population was given ample time, opportunities and warnings before it was destroyed.
Warning includes natural calamities. When the Creators final decision to destroy a population
arrives, no one can delay or prevent it.

15.5 Neither can people anticipate its term nor delay it.
Whatever we do during the time on earth, i.e., during the exam, is clearly recorded for each
individual. We will be shown our answer scripts after our death.
Verily We shall give life to the dead. We record that which they do before (death) and
that which they leave behind (as good deeds) and of all things have We taken account in
a clear Book (of evidence). [36.12]
So, why is it an exam?
That He may reward those who believe and work deeds of righteousness (do what is
just and right towards the Creator); for such is Forgiveness and a Sustenance Most
Generous. [34.4]