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In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Question: Any one who dies before age of forty will go to paradise – How is that? Then ANY one can kill oneself before reaching the 40 in order to go to the PARADISE. Wouldn’t such belief promote suicide, encourage bad behavior, etc.?
This question is discussed in two parts. The first part deals with 40 as the Age of Responsibility, and the second part addresses “waiting till 40 to be righteous”.
Yes, anybody who dies before the age of forty will go to lower heaven at least regardless of the mode of death. Issues like the age of forty take time to understand, and this is natural.
To understand the Age of Responsibility better let us ask ourselves – what do we feel is the age when one becomes responsible enough in the eyes of God to stand in judgment? Will God punish a child of 1 day, 1 month, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or so on for idolizing others beside God because they obeyed their parents or elders? At 35 – would we really like to be judged by our actions when we were 21? At what age has one seen enough to know better? How long do we have in this world to develop our souls before we’re either admitted into Paradise or banished to eternal exile from God?
The only age mentioned in the Quran in this regard is forty.
(sub-title) 40: The Age of Decision*
[46:15] We enjoined the human being to honor his parents. His mother bore him arduously, gave birth to him arduously, and took intimate care of him for thirty months. When he reaches maturity, and reaches the age of forty,* he should say, "My Lord, direct me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Let my children be righteous as well. I have repented to You; I am a submitter."
(Footnote) *46:15 God knows full well who deserves to go to Heaven and who deserves to go to Hell. It is His law that whomever He puts to death before the age of 40 shall go to Heaven. God's immense mercy is reflected in the fact that most people have difficulty accepting this divine mercy; they argue: ``Put them in Hell!'' See Appendix 32.
Now let us look at the next verse 46:16
[46:16] It is from these that we accept the righteous works, and overlook their sins. They have deserved Paradise. This is the truthful promise that is promised to them.
"These" in 46:16 refer to the people fulfilling the criteria in verse 15. Therefore if we want God to accept our righteous works and overlook our sins, then by the age of forty we need to become responsible and aware of the need to do righteous work and ask God’s forgiveness. Indirectly, the verse also says we have until the age of 40 to repent, reform, and work righteousness. This does not mean that we cannot be righteous at a younger age. Our souls are continuously growing, and if one starts being righteous at a young age, then that soul is much more grown than someone who start being righteous at the age of 40. Besides, none of us know when our time is up. If we wait till forty, we may keep putting righteousness off due to worldly distractions until it is too late.
Additionally verse 15 refers to “reaches maturity, and reaches the age of forty…” Maturity is a vital criterion in being held responsible. A person who is mentally disabled, will not be held responsible.
Another indication that the age of responsibility is “sufficiently long” is in 35:37 (quoted below). We understand in 35:37 that those who incur fire of Hell are those who did not take heed despite a life-long chance. This means that ALL inhabitants of Hell will have had a "life-long chance, with continuous reminders." The question that arises here is how long is a life-long chance? 1 day, 1 year, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years …?
[35:37] They will scream therein, "Our Lord, if you get us out of here, we will work righteousness, instead of the works we used to do." Did we not give you a life-long chance, with continuous reminders for those who would take heed? Did you not receive the warner? Therefore, taste (the consequences). The transgressors will have no one to help them.
The verse 46:15 giving us the age of responsibility is strongly connected with the verse above, in accordance with the mathematical code of the Quran. 46+15+35+37=133, 19x7. Praise be to God.
There is another mathematical proof confirming that the age of responsibility as stated in the Quran is 40 as stated in 46:15: 4615+40=4655 & 4655=19x245
Incidentally the word “forty” is the 19th word in 46:15, God be glorified.
We didn't come up with that age. God did. It's the only age mentioned in the Quran. The righteous accept God’s decree and submit to Him.
Waiting till forty to be righteous
In 46:15 God tells us that when a human being reaches maturity and the age of 40 he/she should say "… I have repented to You; I am a submitter."
Does this mean that if we should wait till we are mature and past 40, to say these words? The answer is No. We also know from 66:8 (quoted below) that repenting to God a firm repentance is a pre-requisite for our sins to be remitted and for us to be admitted into Paradise. We sin all our lives. The sooner we are able to realize and repent, the better for us. A sincere repentance symbolically “cleans the slate”, wiping away our sins. Our souls start afresh in our spiritual journey of growing closer to God.
(sub-title) The Believers Repent
[66:8] O you who believe, you shall repent to GOD a firm repentance. Your Lord will then remit your sins and admit you into gardens with flowing streams. On that day, GOD will not disappoint the prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will radiate in front of them and to their right. They will say, "Our Lord, perfect our light for us, and forgive us; You are Omnipotent."
A mathematical confirmation connecting verses 35:37, 46:15, 66:8 and the age
of 40 is given below:
35+37+46+15+66+8+40 = 247 =19x13. Praise be to God. God is Most Merciful.
It's God's mercy that He gave us 40 years to look around and study His signs, and to come to a conclusion by the age of 40 that He is our only Lord and Master, and submit to Him. God already knows who's destined to Hell and who's not. As far as God is concerned we have our destiny written on our foreheads. Everything we do in this life is either to our benefit, or to our detriment in the Hereafter. We accumulate credits and sins through our lives. This is also the case for those who die before the age of forty. Although we are guaranteed lower heaven before the age of forty, there can be a huge variation between lower heaven and high heaven (17:21). For additional details about Heaven & Hell, please see the articles: Heaven & Hell and The Day of Resurrection.
[17:21] Note how we preferred some people above others (in this life). The differences in the Hereafter are far greater and far more significant.
So if we grow our souls sufficiently, we will be admitted into High Heaven, even if we die young. Why waste the chance and wait till 40 for this? An athlete does not wait till the week before the race to begin her training. Success requires years of dedicated hard work. The righteous strive to continuously grow their souls, and if one starts being righteous at a young age, then that soul is so much more grown than someone who starts at the age of 40.
As for killing oneself to go to paradise, we must remember that God’s law prohibits suicide as it involves murder of the self (4:29). We also know that God is the only One who controls life and death. God has pre-destined our life span that is known only to Him. When it is our time to exit from this world there is nothing anybody can to do avoid or prevent it. Similarly, if it is not the time of death, there is nothing anybody can do to hasten it. Everything happens in accordance with His will (8:17, 59:5). He holds us responsible for our innermost thoughts and intentions (2:225) and He is the Best Knower about who should be allowed to die under 40 (by suicide or any other manner), and who should die after 40. If a person, in God's eyes is not meant to go to heaven, God will not let him/her die under the age of 40. It is as simple as that. The verses below regarding time of death will clarify further God willing.
(sub-title) Moment of Death Predetermined
[3:154] After the setback, He sent down upon you peaceful slumber that pacified some of you. Others among you were selfishly concerned about themselves. They harbored thoughts about GOD that were not right - the same thoughts they had harbored during the days of ignorance. Thus, they said, "Is anything up to us?" Say, "Everything is up to GOD." They concealed inside themselves what they did not reveal to you. They said, "If it was up to us, none of us would have been killed in this battle." Say, "Had you stayed in your homes, those destined to be killed would have crawled into their death beds." GOD thus puts you to the test to bring out your true convictions, and to test what is in your hearts. GOD is fully aware of the innermost thoughts.
(sub-title) God is the Doer of Everything*
[4:78] Wherever you are, death will catch up with you, even if you live in formidable castles. When something good happens to them, they say, "This is from GOD," and when something bad afflicts them, they blame you. Say, "Everything comes from GOD." Why do these people misunderstand almost everything?
[6:2] He is the One who created you from mud, then predetermined your life span, a life span that is known only to Him. Yet, you continue to doubt.
[6:61] He is Supreme over His creatures, and He appoints guards to protect you. When the appointed time of death comes to any of you, our messengers put him to death without delay.
[40:68] He is the only One who controls life and death. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.
[63:11] GOD never delays the appointed time of death for any soul. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.
God is the ONLY ONE who chose who will go to Heaven before the age of 40. We cannot make such a choice for ourselves. People who deserve Hell, will not die before the age of 40 however hard they try.
(sub-title) Death for the Disbelievers
[16:28] The angels put them to death in a state of wronging their souls. That is when they finally submit, and say, "We did not do anything wrong!" Yes indeed. GOD is fully aware of everything you have done.
We must realize that we cannot kill ourselves however hard one may try unless God permits it, it will be clear that NO ONE dies against God's permission. One may jump from a high building, shoot oneself in the head, set oneself on a fire or jump in deep water, and end up living (perhaps paralyzed) beyond the age of 40.
Again, we cannot fool God or act like God. One cannot kill oneself even if one wants. If Heaven is what one deserves, God will allow it to happen, if not, no power on earth will help. God knows who deserves Heaven and according to this knowledge he will either allow a person to die before the age of forty or allow him to live after that. We must trust God completely and be assured that His judgment is the right judgment as He is the best judge.
There could be situation when a seemingly bad person is killed, or has committed suicide under the age of forty, and we find that difficult to accept and conclude that it is not fair at all. But we really don't have any idea about the whole picture of his life or his past, including his life before coming to the earth. Only God knows what people deserve and where they should end up. Since God says that not an atom's weight of injustice will be inflicted on anyone, we should trust Him that no one is going to be overlooked, or slipped through the cracks into heaven if they do not deserve it. Such injustice only happens in this life.
There is a misunderstanding that even a baby will be responsible for her crime
using the following verse:
[81:8-9] The girl who was buried alive is asked: For what crime was she killed?
This verse does not imply that a baby will be held responsible for what she did in this world. This verse is concerning those who criminally bury their daughters; in which case their babies will be a witness to their wrong doings. In fact, 35:37 as discussed above, explains that those in Hell will have exhausted their a life-long chance, and this does not include tiny babies.
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