In the Name of Allah (God Almighty), Most Gracious, Most Merciful

LIFE after DEATH

 

The question whether there is life after death does not, presently, fall under the jurisdiction of modern science, as modern science is concerned only with observation and experiment, and classification and analysis of sense data. Moreover, human beings have been familiar with the concept of life after death since times immemorial.

All the Prophets of Allah (God Almighty) called their people to worship Allah (God Almighty) and to believe in life after death. They placed so much emphasis on the belief in life after death, that even a slight doubt in it meant denying Allah (God Almighty) and made all other beliefs meaningless. The very fact that all the Prophets of Allah (God Almighty) have dealt with this metaphysical question of life after death so confidently and so uniformly - despite the gap between their respective ages being thousands of years - goes to prove that the source of their knowledge of life after death, as proclaimed by them, was the same, viz. Divine revelation. We also know that these Prophets of Allah (God Almighty) were greatly opposed by their people, mainly on the issue of life after death, as their people imagined it to be impossible. But in spite of the opposition, the Prophets of Allah (God Almighty) won many sincere followers.

The question arises, what made those followers forsake the beliefs, traditions and customs of their forefathers, notwithstanding the risk of being totally alienated from their own community? The simple answer is, they made use of their faculties of mind and heart and realized the truth. Did they realize the truth through perceptual consciousness? Not so, as perceptual experience of life after death is impossible.

Actually, Allah (God Almighty) has given man perceptual consciousness as well as rational, aesthetic and moral consciousness too. It is this latter consciousness that guides man regarding the realities that cannot be verified through sensory data. That is the reason why all the Prophets of Allah (God Almighty), while calling their people to believe in Allah (God Almighty) and life after death, appealed to the aesthetic, rational and moral consciousness of the human being. For example, when the idolators of Makkah denied even the possibility of life after death, the Holy Qur'an exposed the weakness of their stand by advancing very logical and rational arguments in support of it:

"And he (man) makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (origin and) creation: he says, 'Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?' Say: 'He will give them life Who created them for the first time, for He is well-versed in every kind of creation - the same Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! - ye kindle therewith (your own fires)! Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof ?'- Yea, indeed! for He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)!
(English Translation Holy Qur'an 36:78-81).

On another occasion the Holy Qur'an very clearly says that those who disbelieve have no sound basis for their denial of life after death. Their denial is based on pure conjectures:

"And they say: 'What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but time can destroy us.' But of that they have no knowledge: they merely speculate: and when Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, their argument is nothing but this: they say, 'Bring (back) our forefathers, if what ye say is true!' "
(English Translation, Holy Qur'an 45:24-25).

Surely, Allah (God Almighty) will raise all the dead. But Allah (God Almighty) has His own plan for everything. A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and then again, the dead will be resurrected to stand before Allah (God Almighty). That day will be the beginning of the life that will never end, and on that Day every person will be rewarded by Allah (God Almighty) according to his/her good or evil deeds.

The explanation that the Holy Qur'an gives for the necessity of life after death is in accord with the moral consciousness of human beings. Actually, if there is no life after death, the very belief in Allah (God Almighty) becomes irrelevant; furthermore, in such an event, even if one believed in Allah (God Almighty), that would be belief in an unjust and indifferent God, Who, having once created the human being, is not concerned with his/her fate. Surely, Allah (God Almighty) is Just. He will punish the tyrants whose crimes are beyond count: having killed hundreds of innocent persons, having created great corruptions in society, having enslaved numerous persons to serve their whims, and so on. Since the human being has a very short lifespan in this world, and since this physical world too is not eternal, punishments or rewarding of persons commensurate with their evil or noble deeds, respectively, are not always possible here. The Holy Qur'an very emphatically states that the Day of Judgement must come and Allah (God Almighty) will decide about the fate of each soul according to its record of deeds:

"Those who disbelieve say: 'Never to us will come the Hour'. Say: 'Nay! But most surely by my Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer, it will come upon you: by Him Who knows the Unseen, from Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the Heavens or on earth. Nor is there anything lesser than that, or greater, but is in the Record Perspicuous: that He may reward those who believe and work deeds of righteousness - for such is forgiveness and a Sustenance most generous.' But those who strive against our Signs - to frustrate them - for such will be a Penalty, a Punishment most humiliating"
(English Translation, Holy Qur'an 34:3-5).

The Day of Resurrection will be the Day when Allah's (God Almighty's) attributes of Justice and Mercy will be manifested in full. Allah (God Almighty) will shower His mercy on those who suffered for His sake in the worldly life, believing that eternal bliss was awaiting them. But those who abused the bounties of Allah (God Almighty), caring naught for the life to come, will be in the most miserable state. Drawing a comparison between them, the Holy Qur'an says:

"Are (these two) alike? One to whom We have made a goodly promise and who is going to reach its (fulfilment), and, one to whom We have given the good things of this life but who, on the Day of Judgement is to be among those brought up (for punishment?"
(English Translation, Holy Qur'an 28:61).

The Holy Qur'an also states that this worldly life is a preparation for the eternal life after death. But those who deny it would become slaves of their passions and desires, and make fun of the virtuous and God-conscious people. Those who disbelieve would realize their folly only at the time of their death, and, would wish to be given a further chance in the world but it will be in vain. Their miserable state at the time of death, and the horror of the Day of Judgement, and the eternal bliss guaranteed to the sincere believers are very beautifully mentioned in the following verses of the Holy Qur'an:

"Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: 'O my Lord! send me back (to life), in order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected.' By no means! It is but a word he says. Before them is a Partition till the Day they are raised up. Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more relationships between them that day, nor will one ask after another! Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, they will attain salvation: but those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell will they abide. The Fire will burn their faces, and they will therein grin, with their lips displaced"
(English Translation, Holy Qur'an 23:99-104).

The belief in life after death, not only guarantees success in the Hereafter, but also makes this world full of peace and happiness by making individuals most responsible and dutiful in their activities.

Prior to the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about six centuries after Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), the main traits of the Arabs were gambling, drinking of wine, engaging in tribal feuds, plundering and murdering, i.e., when they had no belief in life after death. But, as soon as they accepted the belief in the One God and life after death, they gave up their vices, helped each other in times of need, and settled all their disputes on the basis of justice and equality. In the words of Thomas Carlyle, the Arabs became the torchbearers of light and learning of the Middle Ages, whilst Europe was still shackled by the effects of its Dark Ages. Similarly the denial of life after death has its consequences not only in the Hereafter but also in this world. When a nation as a whole denies it, all kinds of evil and corruption become rampant in that society and ultimately it is destroyed. The Holy Qur'an mentions the terrible end of the 'Aad, the Thamud and Pharaoh in some detail:

"The Thamud and the 'Aad people (branded) as false the Stunning Calamity! But the Thamud, they were destroyed by a terrible Storm of thunder and lightning! And the 'Aad, they were destroyed by a furious Wind, exceedingly violent; He (God Almighty) made it rage against them seven nights and eight days in succession: So that thou couldst see the (whole) people lying prostrate in its (path), as if they had been roots of hollow palm-trees tumbled down! Then seest thou any of them left surviving? And Pharaoh, and those before him, and the Cities Overthrown, committed habitual sin, and disobeyed (each) the Apostle of their Lord; so He punished them with an abundant Penalty. When the water (of Noah's Flood) overflowed beyond its limits, We carried you, in the floating (ark), that We might make it a Message unto you, and that ears (that should hear the tale and) retain its memory should bear its (lessons) in remembrance. Then, when one blast is sounded on the Trumpet, and the earth is moved and its mountains, and they are crushed to powder at one stroke, on that Day shall the (Great) Event come to pass, and the sky will be rent as under, for it will that Day be flimsy."
(English Translation, Holy Qur'an 69:4-16).

"Then he that will be given his Record in his right hand will say. 'Ah here! Read ye my Record! I did really understand that my Account would (one Day) reach me!' And he will be in a life of Bliss, in a Garden on high, the fruits whereof (will hang in bunches) low and near. 'Eat ye and drink ye with full satisfaction; because of the (good) that ye sent before you, in the days that are gone! And he that will be given his Record in his left hand will say: 'Ah! would that my record had not been given to me! and that I had never realised how my Account (stood)! Ah! would that (Death) had made an end of me! Of no profit to me has been my wealth! My power has perished from me!' "
(English Translation Holy Qur'an 69:19-29).

Thus there are very convincing reasons to believe in life after death:

Firstly, all the Prophets of Allah (God Almighty) have called their people to believe in it.

Secondly, whenever a human society is built on the basis of this belief, it has been the most ideal and peaceful society, free of social and moral evils.

Thirdly, history bears witness that whenever this belief is rejected collectively by a group of people in spite of the repeated warnings of the Prophets of Allah (God Almighty) sent to them, that group as a whole has been punished by Allah (God Almighty) even in this world.

Fourthly, the moral, aesthetic and rational faculties of the human being endorse the reality of life after death.

Fifthly, Allah's (God Almighty's) attributes of Justice and Mercy have no meaning if there is no life after death.


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