‘Time will tell’ is an idiom that references the fact that the truth, or correctness, of something will become best known, or be revealed, in the course of time, or after time has passed.
The idiom contains an inherent truth which man has discovered and lived out since time immemorial while grappling with infinite life challenges.
It signifies an important segment in the accumulated cultural legacies of humankind. On the basis of its widely intrinsic merit, it is regarded as an axiom of wisdom.
That is so because life, in itself, is a truth. It is at once a mirror of, and an avenue to, the ultimate ontological truth.
Every aspect of the multi-tiered phenomenon of life, conceptual or physical, stands for an aspect or feature of the essence of the absolute truth. The two are indivisible, needing one another for their full actualization and function.
Furthermore, the Holy Quran reveals that every single animate and inanimate entity across a wide spectrum of physical and metaphysical creation ceaselessly worships Almighty God, and in unison glorifies and sings praises to Him.
They also function as the signs of God’s presence, greatness and mercy.
The truth is manifested as much in small and simple objects and events as in the greatest and grandest. The whole universe thus represents a macro-mosque, so to speak, for mosques as institutions function as microcosms of the truth, places of worship and inclusive community development centers.
That said, all sorts of falsehood and deceit, and their protagonists, are alien to the spiritual disposition of life.
Since the two are incompatible, they are neither desired nor welcomed. All existential entities and forces – except for a community of misguided and rebellious people and jinns – are inclined to delight in the triumph of the truth and in the failure of falsehood, yet some wish, and others even make direct contributions, for such a scenario to materialize.
One of the most critical aspects of man’s vicegerency mission on earth, therefore, is to uphold and spread the truth, restoring thereby the order and affirming the primordial purpose of existence.
Indeed, this ought to be the truest and most fundamental meaning of sustainability and sustainable development, which is on everyone’s lips today.
The buzz, however – as a small digression — did not come about because the modern man is in love with the earth, but because he fears that his selfish and greedy devouring of its limited resources might soon be seriously hampered.
He fears that his constant raping of the earth will soon come to a grinding halt, following which he will have to put up with some dreadful aftermaths. Haranguing thus on sustainability is not an act of veracity and bravery, but an act of desperation and cowardice.
To this end, for example, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that when an infidel or an evil servant of God passes away, human beings, land, animals and trees get a moment of respite from them and their actions (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
In other words, the whole earth, with all its key elements, is aware of a wicked and disobedient person’s death, which makes it ‘glad’ as his death spells an end to his evil acts which had an effect on the earth and everything on it.
About this, the Quran also mentions:
And they say: ‘The most Merciful has taken (for Himself) a son.’ You have done an atrocious thing. The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation; that they attribute to the most Merciful a son (Maryam, 19: 88-91).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is also reported to have said that for every servant of God there are two doors in the heavens: a door from which his sustenance comes out and a door through which his deeds and words enter. When a pious and obedient servant of God dies, these two doors grieve for him and cry.
However, in the case of an infidel or an evil servant of God, neither the heavens nor the earth sheds a tear over him when he dies, as no good deeds or words were coming from him.
As such, no worthy traces or effects could such people possibly leave behind on earth, and no good deeds were going through their personal gates in the heavens.
For a good and believing person, on the other hand, both the heavens and earth cry for him when he dies because he used to inhabit the earth with prayers, prostration, remembering God, reading the Quran, and performing all other types of goodness, while the heavens used to resound with their prayers and declaration of praises and glory of Almighty God.
According to some early commentators of the Quran, the heavens and earth cry for believers forty days following their departure from this world (Tafsir Ibn Kathir).
As a result of this spiritual paradigm of life, no evil scheme permanently succeeds on earth, and no evil individuals enduringly taste victories and secure accolades.
By virtue of being what it is, every evil enterprise, with all components of its often multifaceted world, is bound to come down crashing. Its continuous existence in the guise of innocence, expediency and even decency is simply impossible, as it goes against some basic ontological laws and principles. A life normally ends as it is lived.
In the spiritual kingdom, nothing works in favor of evil on earth. On the contrary, everything works against it. Nothing escapes, nor silences, time and its clutches.