By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Allah says in His Glorious Book: “Closer and closer to mankind comes their Reckoning: yet they heed not and they turn away. There comes not to them a new reminder from their Lord but they hear it while they play; their hearts trifling, and those who are unjust counsel together in secret: He is nothing but a mortal like yourselves; what! Will you then yield to enchantment while you see?” (21:01-03).
Reckoning approaches man to the extent that he will come across it in every moment that draws him nearer to death, for death signifies transition from the realm of deeds, this world, to the realm of reckoning, the Hereafter, as Imam Ali (a.s.) put it down in his famous saying: “Today is the time of deeds and not reckoning, and tomorrow (in the Hereafter) is the time for reckoning and not for deeds.” The Quran has notified man on many occasions about what is awaiting him after death, as in Allah’s saying: “And return to your Lord time after time and submit to Him before there comes to you the punishment, then you shall not be helped.And follow the best that has been revealed to you from your Lord before there comes to you the punishment all of a sudden while you do not even perceive.” (39:54-55). The Quran expresses death by punishment, noting that punishment is the fate of the extravagant sinners who did not repent to Allah before their death.
Thus, reckoning approaches people as they get closer to the Hereafter without determining its exact time; is it right after death as some narrations talked about punishment in the grave or is it on the day of resurrection; the day people resurrect before Allah. The main issue is to bring up the concept of reckoning in their hearts and minds, “yet they heed not and they turn away”, for they experienced heedlessness to the fullest by avoiding the truth obstructed by many barriers; thus, they would turn away from every call for the right, for they are not aware of and open to it.
Some wonder about the reason for joining between heedlessness that suggests inattentiveness and turning away that represents a voluntary (aware) negative stand. The answer is that turning away signifies a realistic negative state that could be aware of the stand or heedless, for it represents the actual negligence of the movement of responsibility in his life, and Allah knows best.
Allah also says: “There comes not to them a new reminder from their Lord but they hear it while they play,” meaning that they do not shoulder their responsibilities seriously; but rather, they face them playfully, as if messing up with their fate and neglecting the negative repercussions awaiting them. This is was the prevalent state at the time the prophets brought the messages of their Lord to guide them to the straight path, grant them success and make them feel the spiritual ascension that brings them closer to Allah; thus, clarifying many realistic problems they face in the intellectual, political and emotional issues. They used to listen to the prophets frivolously not wanting to engage their minds in what they were listening to or nurture their souls on it or experience the suffering through it. All they wanted was to respond to their feelings and fill their leisure time, not caring about what they hear, but just listening to the echoes caused by the words, away from their connotations, and creating sarcastic ambiences through the opposing stand they make.
As for frivolity of the heart, Allah says: “their hearts trifling;” i.e. going after the ornaments and allurements of this world, and after all their whims and desires and all the features of strength. Their hearts are preoccupied with all that; they are fascinated by the bright colors and charming images; thus, seeking frivolity with every heartbeat and satiating their desires in every means possible, depriving them of the tranquility of the mind, the clarity of the soul and the serenity of the heart. Eventually, they would discover that behind all these flashing frivolous situations there exists depth in life, with all the problems, troubles trials and pains it embodies, which blows up the entire reality they find ease at or feel comfortable to. Had people pictured it in its true image, they would not have succumbed to what they are succumbing to now and they would have turned away from the prevalent state of frivolity.
Perhaps the problem of emotional frivolity is far more dangerous than the problem of physical frivolity, for it would drain all the elements of true feelings in the innermost, while physical frivolity is only concerned with the eye, hand and tongue… etc. In this way, man would turn away from the line of commitment in realty to the message.
Such frivolity has kept them away from true commitment to the message, yet it did not save them from feeling the danger awaiting them, as a result of the faith that the messenger instills in their minds and that shakes their beliefs and the guidance of their children that they consider a form of deviation. They used to set the plans and study the methods that save them from all that, as exemplified by Allah’s saying: “And those who are unjust counsel together in secret,” referring to those who oppress themselves with blasphemy and deviation and gather together in secret circles counseling each other and using appealing slogans to trick people into turning away from the line of the Messenger and to prevent each other from being attracted to him so as not to be influenced by any part of his call…
[(Interpretations) inspired from the Holy Quran]