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أُعِدَّتۡ: Linking Baking, R.S.V.P., and Akhirah

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

Last week, I ended up doing lots of baking and usually when one’s engrossed in something like that, the last thing you think about is the negative consequences of Akhira as you make the dough and carry out the steps. Mainly because baking of bread always has a warm feeling to it and a beautiful homely aroma as well, which in my opinion is an excellent way to make your family happy and content. Even though I don’t like to talk about food but it seems like it brings people together.

This time around, for some odd reason, I felt terrified of the sound that came out of the oven.

Yes I’ve done baking before but I guess, I never paid attention to the sound that comes with it when you put it on ‘pre-heat’.

The sound and the ‘pre-heating’ of the oven reminded me of Jahannum (Hell-fire) and how Allah SWT repeatedly uses the word:

 أُعِدَّتۡ

when He SWT refers to the Hell-fire which is already prepared for the criminals as in Suratul Baqarah for example:

2:24

But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers. [2:24]

You know how you put the oven to a certain temperature and make sure it’s all nicely heated up before you put anything into it for baking so that whatever you put inside it, it is fully cooked and all its flavourings/seasonings mix well in a manner that its juices flow through each layer if you’re cooking something salty.

Those who have never done baking, here’s a quick baking 101 for you: one has to pre-heat the oven to a certain temperature to make it ready for baking. Different baked goods require different temperatures. But it is absolutely necessary to that. Most ovens these days give you a ‘beep’ when they’re done pre-heating, indicating it is ready for your items.

The root word for :

 أُعِدَّتۡ

is :

Of this root, 13 forms occur in the Quraan around 57 times. So you have other words stemming from this root, such as the form of :

(1)  in Surat Ibrahim, 14:34

وَءَاتَٮٰكُم مِّن ڪُلِّ مَا سَأَلۡتُمُوهُ‌ۚ وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ لَا تُحۡصُوهَآ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَظَلُومٌ۬ ڪَفَّارٌ۬

And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allâh, never will you be able to count them. Verily! man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, – a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate, denies Allâh’s Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allâh, and by disobeying Allâh and His Prophet Muhammad SAW).

(2) in Surat’l Humaza, 104:2

ٱلَّذِى جَمَعَ مَالاً۬ وَعَدَّدَهُ ۥ

Who has gathered wealth and counted it.

(3)  in Surat’l Ahzab, 33:29

وَإِن كُنتُنَّ تُرِدۡنَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ وَٱلدَّارَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلۡمُحۡسِنَـٰتِ مِنكُنَّ أَجۡرًا عَظِيمً۬ا

But if you desire Allâh and His Messenger, and the home of the Hereafter, then verily, Allâh has prepared for Al-Muhsinât (good-doers) amongst you an enormous reward.

(4)  in Surat’l Baqarah, 2: part of 80

وَقَالُواْ لَن تَمَسَّنَا ٱلنَّارُ إِلَّآ أَيَّامً۬ا مَّعۡدُودَةً۬‌ۚ

And they (Jews) say, “The Fire (i.e. Hell-fire on the Day of Resurrection) shall not touch us but for a few numbered days.”

…and there are another 9 more!

But in general, the root word in the context of :

 أُعِدَّتۡ

means ‘to prepare something in such a way that everything is counted.’

In terms of Hellfire being prepared for the disbelievers, one can visualize it as the following. In any event, people ask you to R.S.V.P. if you’re attending. If you’re the hostess, you count the number of plates, cutlery and so on to make sure everything is well-prepared. The more detail-oriented you are, the more it shows how prepared and organized you are.

In Hellfire, it being ‘prepared’ gives the notion of everything being counted before-hand. And of course when everything’s counted, like the details of the punishments of each and every individual, that’s serious business. The preparation of the oven, i.e. setting its heating temperature, reminded me of this word in the Quraan. Like the million things we prepare for in our lives, the consequences of what our hands have earned is also prepared. It’s no joke and there’s no escaping from it.

Furthermore, when a certain thing is prepared, it highlights its seriousness and confirms that an event is definitely going to occur. There is no doubt about its occurrence. It will not be post-poned. 

If we hear about Paradise and the houses people have there, then when we think about that we mustn’t forget that Hellfire is also a reality. It too could be a destination. And I seek refuge in Allah SWT from it for myself and all the Ummah.

And of course, the heat of the oven was a reminder too. Every time I opened up the oven to check whether the bread was fully cooked, the heat within the oven ‘lurched’ reaching out for my face. I couldn’t stand that heat even for a few seconds and so I used to quickly check and close the oven door.

The faces we beautify, protect, and take pride in are all going to be destroyed on that Day if we don’t prepare ourselves for Akhirah properly. If we don’t prepare ourselves in this dunia by purifying ourselves via tawbah, then obviously Allah SWT will put such people in Hellfire to purify them. May Allah SWT protect us from such a fate. Ameen.
Have you collected those ingredients in your life which indirectly prepare an end for you in Paradise or are you heading elsewhere, unknowingly?
This is a question almost all of us have forgotten and it’s worth asking ourselves every single day.
***
These two opponents (believers and disbelievers) dispute with each other about their Lord; then as for those who disbelieved, garments of fire will be cut out for them, boiling water will be poured down over their heads. (19) With it will melt (or vanish away) what is within their bellies, as well as (their) skins. (20) And for them are hooked rods of iron (to punish them). (21) Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein, and (it will be) said to them: “Taste the torment of burning!” (22)
[Surat’l Hajj, 22:19-22]

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (R) said in al-Jawaab al-Kaafi, p. 53-68:

Many ignorant people rely on the mercy of Allaah and His forgiveness and kindness, and they ignore His commands and prohibitions, and forget that He is severe in punishment and He does not ward off His wrath from evildoers. Whoever relies on His forgiveness whilst persisting in sin is like one who is stubborn.

One of the scholars said: If Allaah has decreed that the hand is to be cut off for stealing three dirhams, then do not feel safe from His punishment in the Hereafter.

It was said to al-Hasan: “We see that you weep a great deal.” He said: “I am afraid lest Allaah throws me in the Fire and does not care about me.”

And he used to say: “Some people indulged in wishful thinking about forgiveness until they departed this world without having repented, and they would say: ‘I think positively of my Lord,’ but he was lying. If he had hought positively about his Lord, he would have done good deeds.

***
There should be a balance in our approach. Some of us hope too much and are lost in wishful thinking. There should be love, hope and fear all in right proportions for us to safely reach salvation.
  • A Thought-provoking video: 
  • Action items:
    1. Stop and think. Whenever you’re preparing for something, think about what you have prepared for Akhirah. Whether or not you’ve made preparations for it,preparations for you have already been made. It’s only a matter of time.
    2. Stop and change. How can you change your lifestyle to have time and energy to prepare for Akhirah? You could wake up 30 minutes earlier than Fajr and offer some Nawafil. You could take lunch along for a colleague when you go for work. You could give random hugs to your family members. Or even give a smile patiently when everyone’s too angry/tensed/tired to give you one.
And Allah SWT knows best.
[Reference: Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage, From: my notes for Suratul Baqarah, verse # 24]
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