The Quran says that on Judgement Day when mankind is gathered before God, man will look upon his deeds. Those who denied God, and rebelled against Him, will behold the doom that awaits them. In anguish, they will cry out: "Would that I were dust!" (78:40)
When Umar, the second caliph of Islam, lay on his deathbed, stricken by the dagger of Abu Lulu Firoz, his son, Abdullah Ibn Umar was resting his father's head in his lap. "Rub my cheek in the dust, Abdullah." Umar said to him. Abdullah Ibn Umar did so. Then, with his head resting on the ground, Umar addressed these words to himself: "Woe if it falls upon you, Umar, and woe if it falls upon the one who gave birth to you if God does not forgive you." (Tabqat Ibn Saad)
If one compares both these events, one will find that the very words uttered by unbelievers in the next world are those uttered by believers in this world. In the life after death, unbelievers will wish they were dust. But here we have a believer saying, before he dies, in this life on earth: "Join me with the dust."
Who dares rebel against God when He appears before man? Everyone will submit to Him then. But the only creditable submission of God is that which comes before He makes Himself manifest. Unbelievers will bow to God when He reveals Himself before them. But a believer bows to Him while He is still invisible.
The only reason that people rebel against God is that He is not now present before them. But how can one rebel against Him when He manifests Himself in all His might? Man is cowed into submission before a lion. How then can he dare otherwise when he comes face to face with God, the creator of the lion?
The truth is that a believer experiences in this world what an unbeliever will experience in the next world. An unbeliever will humble himself on seeing God; a believer does so without seeing Him.
Excerpted from the book Simple Wisdom by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan