Age of Forty
Present and future generations are blessed to receive guidance through one of God's messengers, messenger of the covenant. After years of pollution and corruption by our ardent enemy, God's messenger of the covenant (Dr. Khalifa) brought our focus back to the same divine message that has been delivered through all of God's messengers since Noah : there is only one God and we are to worship Him alone (21:25). Dr. Khalifa unveiled for us miraculous proof of the divine authorship of Quran, so we should have no trace of doubt that the manual of worshiping God alone detailed in Quran is the only valid divine manual and the absolute truth.
Among the issues God's messenger of the covenant listed for us to clarify in light of Quran, is that the age of forty is the age of spiritual responsibility or accountability, and that those who die before the age of forty are assigned to Heaven no matter how misguided they had been.
Many readers of the translation and of Appendix 32 which delivers this divine law have been puzzled by such issuing, and somehow felt that this might be an unjust treatment when it comes to criminals and all forms of unrighteous behavior. Some newcomers or submitters who run across our different submission websites have shared mixed feelings, and expressed their trouble understanding this law. Perhaps part of the confusion is due to the fact that 46:15 doesn't directly spell out that those who die before the age of forty go straight to Heaven.
This reminder is an attempt to analyze the wording and context of 46:15 in hopes of clearing up some of the confusion about this issue by God's will.
It is crucial to always link 46:16 with 46:15. Both verses cannot be set apart when it comes to understanding this divine law.
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."
[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. *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.
In 46:15, God has issued that a mature person is expected to be SPIRITUALLY aware and responsible to make the decision of either siding with God or Satan at the age of forty.. We understand that because God expects a person who reaches the age of forty to turn to Him and SAY all of the following crucial, spiritual DECISIONS and PRAYERS:
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."
When we carefully analyze the above, uttered by someone who has reached forty and has found God, we sense the connection with the Creator through the acknowledgment and appreciation of His bounties with the full comprehension of the hard work and dedication of his/her parents. We also sense the sincere conviction of wanting to serve God and please Him, and the deep passionate desire to bring up his/her children on the straight path of God. More importantly, this person has made the decision to finally repent for all the previous misguided choices, and to proclaim his/her submission to the one God. This all spells out explicitly what it means to be a spiritually responsible grown up who finally grasps the rope of God to guidance and salvation. God told us that this is all expected to be decided and said when a person turns forty.
In the following verse, 46:16, the fruit of reaching these spiritual decisions is spelled out: God's truthful promise of accepting the repentance, remitting (wiping off or forgiving) all previous sins, and acknowledging all previous righteous works of that forty year old submitter. In other words, that 40 years old person starts a new page of spiritual responsibilty with a record of only righteous deeds, and he/she is not accountable for any unrighteous acts he/she might have committed before the age of forty.
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.
Are the above verses serving as permission to be unrighteous as long as we are under the age of forty?
No. The verses only set an age limit of spiritual responsibility which is not by any means an invitation to commit evil before reaching that age limit. God doesn't advocate evil. Before the age of forty we are either guided and striving on God's path of submission, or not guided. We must keep in mind that those who have been guided to the truth before the age of forty, are blessed with the knowledge of God's commands. They fully understand the consequences of working on their souls. Their responsibility is relevant to their knowledge. They know full well that any good they do will grow their souls and raise their rank to higher levels. They are motivated, if truly guided, to continuously upgrade their records and earn all the extra credit they can. They strive for righteousness and, like all believers, they continuously repent for their shortcomings and sins. If they happen to die before the age of forty, they will be admitted into a heavenly rank that matches their strife and achievements.
As for the other group, the ones who are struggling to find the truth for long until they reached the age of forty and finally decide to turn to God instead of Satan, their evil acts are committed out of ignorance and choosing to stay in the darkness. God never invited them to that. Satan did. Once they turn to God, they will find Him the Forgiver, Most Merciful. 46:16 states that clearly.
How about after forty? Can these convictions be reached way after forty?
Absolutely. 46;15-16 do not state that no one can find the straight path of God after the age of forty. In fact, many submitters we know have found God and the straight path way after the age of forty. The claim that those who pass the age of forty without making the crucial decision of siding with God are most likely going to stay that way or it would be difficult for them to polish and grow their souls later on is baseless. Nothing in Quran that states that or hints to that. People can receive God's guidance at any time, accomplish righteous works, and advance their souls beautifully within a short time span..
Can one postpone all righteous deeds until reaching the age of forty?
If we understand 46:15-16, and believe in God and His words, then we must take the opportunity to start to grow our souls, earn credit, repent, clean our records, and achieve higher ranks. If we decide to resist until the age of forty, it would only interfere with the advancement of our souls. Why wait if we truly believe in God? Lack of motivation to please God and intentional apathy reflect a weak faith or disbelief.
- Where is it stated in 46:15-16 that those who die before the age of forty are going to Heaven?
The chance of forgiveness is equally offered by God to all repenters. It would not be fair that some get a full term of forty years to explore, research, and reach for the truth, while others do not get the same opportunity. It would not be fair that some are granted a forty year chance to recognize God then repent for their sins, and others who die before the age of forty do not get the same golden chance of repentance, forgiveness, and redemption just because they were chosen to die earlier. Based on that and on the context of 46:15-16, it is only logical to conclude that those who die before the age of forty must be forgiven and redeemed just like those who reach the age of forty and decide to repent and reform. This would be a fair treatment and a just requital since they were not granted an equal opportunity, and a full term of forty years to make crucial spiritual decisions and repent for their sins. It's as simple as that. This is a divine system which demonstrates God's justice and infinite mercy.
Evil people who die after the age of forty were given a full term of forty years to make up their mind and attain God's mercy, yet they have made their decision to be atheists, polytheists, or criminals and die as such. Those who are perceived by the whole society as evil doers and were chosen by God to not get the full term of forty years, were saved by God because they didn't get to stay for the full term and reach the age of responsibility.. Why they were chosen to die before the age of forty and be saved, the knowledge is with God, the Most Wise. He knows exactly their circumstances, and their mental and intellectual capacities. Their death before the age of forty is one of the many manifestations of God's infinite mercy, wisdom, and justice. He knows what we don't know about those who deserve to die before the age of responsibility to go straight to Heaven.
Those who die under the age of forty are set as tests for many others. They leave us to wonder about God's wisdom and how we deal with their loss at such young age. The examples are numerous. Many parents lose kids who are in their teenage years to such things as cancer, drug addiction, and car accidents. It is only God who can judge and decide whether people are able to handle a long life full of tests and responsibilities, or whether He should grant them an early death. He knows what we don't know about Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, and Anna Nicole Smith who are in Heaven enjoying the real wealth of Paradise. Those whose lives are cut short, before forty, are definitely worthy of His mercy and redemption according to the divine wisdom that He alone possesses. We are to believe in His systems, His justice, and His wisdom, and we are to rejoice in His infinite grace and forgiveness.
Peaceful Friday, salaam, and God bless.