“My Lord! Send me back!”


Allaah, the Most High, said:
“Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: ‘My Lord! Send me back,
So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!’ No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” [Surat Al Mu’minoon: 99-100]

Following is an extract of the Tafsir (exegesis) of Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله):

The Disbelievers’ hope when death approaches. Allaah tells us about what happens when death approaches.

(‘My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!’ No!) This is like the ayah:

(And spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says: “My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give Sadaqah (i.e. Zakat) of my wealth , and be among the righteous [i.e. perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah)].

And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.) [Surat Al-Munafiqoon: 10-11]

And:

(And warn (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) mankind of the Day when the torment will come unto them; then the wrong-doers will say: “Our Lord! Respite us for a little while, we will answer Your Call and follow the Messengers!” (It will be said): “Had you not sworn aforetime that you would not leave (the world for the Hereafter).) [Surat Ibraheem: 44]

And His saying:

(Await they just for the final fulfillment of the event? On the Day the event is finally fulfilled (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), those who neglected it before will say: “Verily, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth, now are there any intercessors for us that they might intercede on our behalf? Or could we be sent back (to the first life of the world) so that we might do (good) deeds other than those (evil) deeds which we used to do?” Verily, they have lost their ownselves (i.e. destroyed themselves) and that which they used to fabricate (invoking and worshipping others besides Allah) has gone away from them.) [Surat Al-A’raf:53]

And:

(And if you only could see when the Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.) shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back (to the world), we will do righteous good deeds. Verily! We now believe with certainty.”) [Surat As-Sajda: 12]

And:

(If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were but sent back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.) of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!”

Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.) [Surat Al-An’aam: 27-28]

And:

(And whomsoever Allah sends astray, for him there is no Wali (protector) after Him. And you will see the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, oppressors, etc.) when they behold the torment, they will say: “Is there any way of return (to the world)?”) [Surat Ah-Shura: 44]

And:

(They will say: “Our Lord! You have made us to die twice (i.e. we were dead in the loins of our fathers and dead after our deaths in this world), and You have given us life twice (i.e. life when we were born and life when we are Resurrected)! Now we confess our sins, then is there any way to get out (of the Fire)?”) [Surat Ghafir: 11]

And:

(Therein they will cry: “Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not (the evil deeds) that we used to do.” (Allah will reply): “Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition, – could receive it? And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.) there is no helper.”) [Surat Fatir: 37]

Allah says that they will ask to go back, when death approaches, on the Day of Resurrection, when they are gathered for judgement before the Compeller (Allah) and when they are in the agonies of the punishment of Hell, but their prayer will not be answered. Here Allah says:

(No! It is but a word that he speaks)The word Kalla (No!) is a word that is used to rebuke, and the meaning is: “No, We will not respond to what he asks for and We will not accept it from him.”

(It is but a word that he speaks) refers to his asking to go back so that he can do righteous deeds; this is just talk on his part, it would not be accompanied by any action. If he were to go back, he would not do any righteous good deeds, he is merely lying, as Allah says:

(Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.) [Surat Al-An’aam: 28]

Qatadah said: “By Allah, he will not wish to go back to his family and tribe, or to accumulate more of the things of this world or satisfy his desires, but he will wish that he could go back to do acts of obedience to Allah. May Allah have mercy on a man who does that which the disbeliever will wish he had done when he sees the punishment of Hell.”

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