Is there Life after Death?
- From: "We are Muslims, and we are extremely proud of it." <born_to_be_muslim@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 12:00:34 -0500
Is there Life after Death?
Author : Mostafa Malaekah
Source : Islam Guide
All the prophets of God called their people to worship God and to believe in life after death. They laid so much emphasis on the belief in life after death that even a slight doubt in it meant denying God and made all other beliefs meaningless. The very fact that all the prophets of God have dealt with this metaphysical question of life after death so confidently and so uniformly - the gap between their ages in some cases, being thousands of years - goes to prove that the source of their knowledge of life after death as proclaimed by them all, was the same, i.e. divine revelation. We also know that these prophets of God were greatly opposed by their people, mainly on the issue of life after death, as their people thought it impossible. But in spite of opposition, the Prophets won many sincere followers.
The question arises: what made those followers forsake the established 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? They couldn't, as perceptual experience of life after death is impossible. God has given Man besides perceptual consciousness, rational, aesthetic and moral consciousness too. It is this consciousness that guides man regarding realities that cannot be verified through sensory data. That is why all the prophets of God while calling people to believe in God and life after death, appeal to the aesthetic, moral and rational consciousness of man.
The Quran very clearly says that the disbelievers have no sound basis for their denial of life after death. It is based on pure conjecture:
«"And they say, "There is not but our worldly life; we die and live (i.e. some people die and others live, replacing them) and nothing destroys us except time." And they have of that no knowledge; they are only assuming. And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, their argument is only that they say, "Bring [back] our forefathers, if you should be truthful." Say, "Allah causes you to live, then causes you to die; then He will assemble you for the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt." But most of the people do not know."» [45:24]
The explanation that the Quran gives about the necessity of life after death is what the moral consciousness of man demands. Actually, if there is no life after death, the very belief in God becomes meaningless or even if one believes in God, it would be an unjust and indifferent God, having once created man and now not being concerned with his fate. Surely, God is just. He will punish the tyrants, whose crimes are beyond count - having tortured and killed hundreds or thousands of innocent people, created great corruption in society, enslaved numerous persons to serve their whims, etc. Because man has a very short life span in this world and because numerous individuals are affected by one's actions, adequate punishments and rewards are not possible in this life. Could the good and the righteous be equated with the wicked and evil? Moral, aesthetic and rational faculties of man reject this logic and endorse the possibility of the life after death. Allah confirms this truth in the Quran:
«"Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?"» [23:115]
«"And We did not create the heaven and the earth and that between them aimlessly. That is the assumption of those who disbelieve, so woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire. Or should We treat those who believe and do righteous deeds like corrupters in the land? Or should We treat those who fear Allah like the wicked?"» [38:27]
«"Or do those who commit evils think We will make them like those who have believed and done righteous deeds - [the evildoers being] equal in their life and their death? Evil is that which they judge [i.e. assume]. And Allah created the heavens and earth in truth and so that every soul may be recompensed for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged."» [45:21]
«"And We did not create the heavens and the earth and that between them in play. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know. Indeed, the Day of Judgment is the appointed time for them all."» [44:38]
The Quran emphatically states that the Day of Judgment must come and that Allah will decide the fate of each soul according to his or her record of deeds:
«"But those who disbelieve say, "The Hour (i.e. the Day of Judgment) will not come to us." Say, "Yes, by my Lord, it will surely come to you. [Allah is] the Knower of the unseen." Not absent from Him is an atom's weight within the heavens or within the earth or [what is] smaller than that or greater, except that it is in a clear register - That He may reward those who believe and do righteous deeds. Those will have forgiveness and noble provision. But those who strive against Our verses [seeking] to cause failure (i.e. to undermine their credibility) - for them will be a painful punishment of foul nature."» [34:3]
The Day of Resurrection will be the Day when God's attributes of Justice and Mercy will be in full manifestation. God will shower His mercy on those who suffered for His sake in the worldly life, believing that an eternal bliss was awaiting them. But those who abused the bounties of God, caring nothing for the life to come, will be in the most miserable state. Drawing a comparison between them, the Quran says:
«"Then is he whom We have promised a good promise which he will meet [i.e. obtain] like he for whom We provided enjoyment of worldly life [but] then he is, on the Day of Resurrection, among those presented [for punishment in Hell]?"» [28:61]
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:
«"Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned."» [21:35]
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