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Section Four: Life in the Hereafter as stated by the Qur’an

The Noble Qur’an extensively examines the issue of Ākhirat life. Some Qur’anic verses concern the principle of resurrection (eschatology) [ma‘ād] and respond to the criticisms of deniers. Other verses in this regard shed light on the resurrection of the dead and the state of humans in the Hereafter (Ākhirat). These two issues shall be briefly elucidated in the following sections.

The Possibility and Necessity of Resurrection

The Holy Qur’an has reinforced the intellectual basis of the resurrection of the dead on two fundamental levels. Firstly, it proves the possibility of the occurrence of resurrection, and shows that the presence of the human body and soul in the Hereafter is not impossible. Secondly, it presents rationales for the occurrence of the resurrection of the dead and it not only shows that bringing back to life of all human dead before the final judgment shall occur, but it proves that it is necessary for it to occur.

Generally, in Islam all enjoinments of the prophet are concomitant with challenges [tahaddī]. The prophet challenges all people and encourages them to express any rationale or evidence they have against his enjoinments. Alongside his enjoinment, the prophet was appointed by God to tell the people, “Produce your proof if you speak truly.”1 The purpose of this challenge is abandonment of skepticism and doubt and embracement of rational arguments and evidence.

A. Possibility of the Resurrection

The Qur’an shows the possibility of the resurrection of the dead in various manners.

1. Lack of Reasoning for Denial of Resurrection:

Various verses declare that deniers of Ākhirat life have no firm and reasonable rationale for their claims. On the one hand, by studying verses that quote the claims of deniers we realize that these people have no weapon other than considering the resurrection of the dead to be improbable. Using various questions, they endeavor to show that the issue of renewed life and return to God is irrational.2 In addition, they sometimes slander the prophets and divine representatives who inform people of the resurrection and they call them mad or liars3, or they regard the tenet of resurrection a superstitious myth.4 On the other hand, many verses state that refutation of resurrection is an untrue and baseless assumption and is not grounded on logical foundations:

“And they say, ‘there is nothing but our worldly lives; we die and we live and nothing but time annihilates us’ and they have no knowledge of this; they merely assume. And when Our clear signs are recited unto them, their only argument is that they say, ‘Bring us our fathers if you speak truly.’”5

In the first verse, after indicating the claim of the deniers of resurrection, it is lucidly stated that this claim is not based on knowledge, but originates only from speculation and conjecture. In the second verse, it is stated that when faced with rational arguments for the resurrection and Ākhirat life, deniers attempt to justify themselves with an unfounded rationale. The say, “Raise our ancestors in order that we accept the resurrection.”6

2. Creation of the First Human

Contemplation of the primary genesis of humanity facilitates accepting the Resurrection since God who created humans in the first place is surely able to revive them:

﴿و هو الذي يبدء الخلق ثم يعيده و هو أهون عليه﴾

“And He is the one who originates Creation then renews it and this is easier for Him.”7

﴿قل يحييها الذي انشأها اوّل مرّة﴾

“Say, ‘He shall resurrect them who originated them the first time.”8

As stated by the Qur’an, human Ākhirat life is like a new creation and He who was able to create humans in the first place is also able to recreate them. Nonetheless, deniers of Resurrection doubt the recreation even though they accept the original creation!9

﴿افعيينا بالخلق الاوّل بل هم في لبس من خلق جديد﴾

“Have We been wearied by the first creation? [Indeed not]; however, they doubt the new creation.”10

Yea, little thought regarding our original creation is enough to make us fathom the possibility of our renewed life after death and resolve all doubts.

﴿يا ايّها الناس ان كنتم في ريب من البعث فانّا خلقناكم من تراب ثمّ من نطفة...﴾

“O people! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection, hence [know] We have created you from dust then from sperm…”11

3. The Illimitable Power of God

The unlimited power of God is another reason for the possibility of the Resurrection. After reminding us of the aspects of God’s power in the creation of the universe, the Noble Qur’an emphasizes the fact that such a potent Creator can surely restore the dead to life. All possible deeds are easy for the Omnipotent. In fact, basically, the ease or difficulty of an action is stated in terms of limited powers. Therefore, one should not doubt the possibility of the occurrence of Resurrection because of its magnitude:12

“Have they not seen that Allah who created the heavens and earth and was not wearied by creating them is able to revive the dead? Yes indeed; verily, He is capable of all things.”13

4. Examples of Resurrection in Nature

A further method the Qur’an uses to resolve doubt of Resurrection is enjoining humans to contemplate nature and the exhibition of the life and death of natural phenomena. According to the Qur’an, the growth of beautiful and vigorous plants from dead earth is an objective and palpable example of the resurrection in Qīyāmat and it further clarifies its possibility:

“And He is who sends the winds as a foretoken before His grace [of rain], till when they are charged with heavy clouds, We convey them to a dead land, then, from them We send down water, and from them We bring forth all types of fruits. In this manner We shall bring forth the dead [from their graves]; haply you will remember.”14

5. Historic Examples of Resurrection

Some Qur’anic verses reveal historic occurrences or objective examples of human resurrection. Hence, a person who witnessed these occurrences or accepted their occurrence on authoritative grounds should not have any problem with accepting the possibility of the Resurrection. After relating these historical phenomena, the Qur’an indicates their relationship with the Resurrection and regards these miraculous incidents as portents of the Day of Resurrection.

One example of these historical events is the experience of a person who was passing by the ruins of a city and the question crossed his mind as to how God would bring the bodies of the dead back to life. By divine providence, this person dies and is resurrected one hundred years later.15

“Or such as he who passed upon a city whose walls and roofs had collapsed and said [to himself], ‘How shall Allah bring this back to life now that it is dead?’ So Allah made him die for a hundred years and then raised him…”16

B. Necessity of the Resurrection

As we have previously stated, the Holy Qur’an does not suffice at showing that the Resurrection is possible. In fact, various Qur’anic verses explain the necessity of the Resurrection. The content of these verses is such that a logical argument for the necessity of Resurrection can be extracted from them. These verses usually emphasize a divine attribute and consider the occurrence of Resurrection as a necessary condition of this respective attribute. Herein, we shall enumerate several such rationales:

1. Divine Wisdom

In the discussion on divine attributes, we stated that God is wise. That is, He does not perform useless acts and all His actions have logical purposes. Of course, the finality of divine acts does not contradict His absolute needlessness of others since these purposes pertain to His creations and contribute to their perfection and their interests. They are surely not in answer to a need of the Creator of the Worlds.

Consequently, the creation of humans, who are the greatest of creations, cannot be in vain; rather, its purpose is that they attain perfections befitting their unique station.

On the other hand, it is apparent that the natural world, and our worldly lives within it, cannot by itself guaranty our perfection. This is because this world is fleeting and our lives in it are suffused with restrictions and deprivations, whereas humanity is a creature that has both an innate tendency to eternal life and also the capability of immortality due to the existence of an incorporeal soul.

Accordingly, divine wisdom requires that the purpose of our creation be realized and that we humans attain our worthy perfection. Complete fulfillment of this purpose is not possible in this world. Therefore, it is necessary that human life endure after death in order to prevent it from being in vain. Regarding this issue, the Holy Qur’an states:

﴿افحسبتم انّما خلقناكم عبثا و انكم الينا لاترجعون. فتعالى الله الملك الحق...﴾

“Did you think that We created you in vain and that you will not be returned to Us? And exalted is Allah, the King, the Righteous…”17

This verse reveals the fact that if there is no return to God after death and our existence ends with our passing then our creation would be in vain whereas the judicious God is too great to perform a useless act.

The Qur’an holds that if there is no Resurrection and Ākhirat, not only would the creation of humanity be in vain, but also the creation of the natural world would be for nothing:

﴿و ما خلقنا السماوات و الأَرضَ و ما بينهما الّا بالحق، و انّ الساعة لآتية...﴾

“And We have not created the heavens and earth and all in between save in justice; and surely the Hour shall come.”18

After stating the fact that the creation of the heavens and earth and all in between is righteous and exempt from futility, God immediately indicates the inevitable occurrence of the Resurrection. It seems that the purposefulness of creation depends on the existence of the Resurrection and Ākhirat. This is why many deniers of otherworldly life become nihilists. By restricting the existence of humans to worldly life, they see it as nothing but extra-redundancy and a cause for bewilderment. According to nihilists, humanity is a lost and confused caravan that has entered the desert without purpose, following a cycle rotating in vain.

2. Divine Justice

Justice is one of God’s attributes. One aspect of divine justice is that the faithful and righteous must be worthily reimbursed, and unbelievers and sinners must be punished accordingly. However, we see that because of its various restrictions, the natural world does not possess the capacity to reward and punish all the deeds of human beings since all worldly blessings and pleasures cannot wholly recompense the deeds of the truly faithful and even the heaviest of punishments are not enough chastisement for some crimes. Can a person whose crime is the murder of thousands of innocent people be completely punished in this world? On the one hand, many virtuous and righteous people live in hardship and privation and some sacrifice their lives for what they believe. While on the other, so many malefactors and oppressors live their whole lives in luxury, persecuting others.

Hence, because complete recompense for all humans is not possible in this world, divine justice requires that God’s court of justice be established in another place or world in which people may again be faced with all their righteous and evil deeds. This world is called the Ākhirat.

In various verses, the Holy Qur’an indicates the fact that equality of the retribution of the righteous and the wicked is unfair and something that the intellect cannot accept. The Qur’an has asked many times that:

﴿افنجعل المسلمين كالمجرمين. ما لكم كيف تحكمون﴾

“So shall We make those who are submissive [to Allah] as the sinners? What is wrong with you; how [ill] you judge!”19

﴿ام نجعل الذين آمنوا و عملوا الصالحات كالمفسدين في الارض ام نجعل المتقين كالفجّار﴾

“Or must We make those who believe and do good as the corrupt of the world or must We make the pious as the transgressors?”20

Moreover, in another place, after stressing that the equality of the requital of sinners and the righteous is unjust, the Qur’an states that one of the purposes of the creation of the heavens and earth is that every person receives rewards or punishments according to their deeds, such that no one is wronged:

“Or do those who commit evil deeds think that We shall make them as those who believe and do righteous deeds; [such that they be] equal in life and death? How ill they judge! While Allah has created the heavens and earth in justice and that each soul is recompensed for what it has earned and they shall not be wronged.”21

Hence, since the just retribution of all humans cannot be realized in this world, divine justice shall accomplish this end in another world.

Depiction of the Ākhirat in the Qur’an

The qualities of the Ākhirat are all beyond sensory experience and the intellect can only begin to apprehend some of its general qualities such as “immortality” and “a just reckoning of our deeds”. Thus, in order to understand the details of Resurrection we have no choice but to resort to another source of information beyond sensory experience: divine revelation.

اين راه را نهايت صورت كجا توان بست

كش صد هزار منزل بيش است در بدايت

در اين شب سياهم گم گشت راه مقصود

از گوشـه‌اي برون آي اي كوكـب هـدايت

Where can be the ultimate end of this path?

Even at first glance there can be more than a hundred thousand halting places!

In this Stygian night, I have lost the path towards my destination;

Come out of your hiding place, O star of guidance!

One of the reasons that the Resurrection has been so extensively described in the Qur’an may be that our intellect and experience are useless in this issue.

In any case, there are hundreds of Qur’anic verses on this topic. We shall present a succinct discussion on the content of some of these verses in order to depict the general appearance of otherworldly life as shown in the Qur’an. Some of the elements will be discussed in greater detail.

1. The Events Prior to the Resurrection

The Qur’an attests that before the Resurrection suddenly and unforeseeably phenomenal events shall occur in the world around us that are portents of Qīyāmat. At that time, a great revolution will occur in the cosmos such that it will seem like it is the end of the world. Mountains shall tremble,22 crumble, 23 become as scattered dust,24 and ultimately nothing but a mirage will remain of them.25 The seas will swarm over26 and ignite.27 A titanic earthquake will transpire.28 The pillars of the earth will break up and what is hidden in the bowels of the earth will be revealed.29 The sun will be darkened, the stars shall be extinguished,30 and celestial bodies will be scattered.31 The firmament will be rent asunder,32 become as molten metal,33 and shall be rolled up as a scroll is rolled up.34

2. Winding the Horn

The word sūr (horn) has been used ten times in the Holy Qur’an and all these cases indicate the end of the world or the initiation of Qīyāmat. The horn will be blown twice. The results of the first blast [nafkh] are different from the second. The following verse explicitly indicates both resonations:

“And the Horn shall be winded and all in the heavens and on earth will fall unconscious save those who Allah wills; then it shall be winded again and suddenly all shall stand beholding.”35

We have extracted the following points from Qur’anic verses and Hadith regarding this issue:

Universal unconsciousness [sa‘iqa] (euphemistic of death) and disbandment of the current state of the world is a consequence of the first blast, and the collective rise of humans and the uniting of the ancients and future generations for reckoning pertain to the second blast.

The first blast results in the death of contingent beings while the second gives them life. Various savants analogize this to blowing on a fire that may douse it or enflame it.

There is an interval between the two blasts. The first blast is performed by an angel named Israfel, and the second is performed by God.36

3. Advent of Ākhirat Life

After37 the second blast, which is the breath of life, our otherworldly souls and bodies are united, humans exit their graves,38 and confused, afraid,39 and bewildered scatter about like moths.40 They seek a method of escape but there is none.41 They flee from their families42 and while their eyes are dropped in shame,43 they speed towards the divine presence.44 Here, all people, from first to last, are gathered in an immense arena.45 The lineaments of unbelievers contrast to those of believers and their visages attest to their faith or unbelief.46 Thus, the Ākhirat begins.

4. The Reckoning of Deeds

The Qur’an has various designations for the Last Day, each of which signifies a specific quality. Some of these names include the Day of Rising [yawm ul-qiyāmah], the Day of Gathering [yawm ul-jam‘], the Day of Resurrection [yawm ul-ba‘th], the Day of Egress (from graves) [yawm ul-khurūj], the Day of Regret [yawm ul-hasrah], the Day of Separation (of good from evil) [yawm ul-fasl], the Imminent Day [yawm ul-azifah], the Final Day [yawm ul-ākhir], the Day of Immortality [yawm ul-khulūd], etc. Another name for this day is Judgment Day [yawm ul-hisāb] and together with issues such as book of deeds, witnesses, scales, etc. these words all pertain to the establishment of the divine court of justice in the next world.

All people’s deeds in this world are their respective capital in the next. This capital belongs to no one save its respective agent. It persists with the endurance of its agent and will persist for all time. The reality of this wealth will manifest in another world. The world in which these deeds are reckoned must be a complete world in order that the truth of the deeds are correctly manifested and so that the judged may correctly and completely perceive the reality of their actions.

﴿وَ أَنْ لَّيسَ لِلإِنسانِ إلّا ما سَعىٰ. و أَنَّ سَعيَهُ سَوفَ يُرىٰ﴾

“And humans have nothing save what they have labored. And [the fruits of] their labors shall soon be seen.”47

Further Reading

1. Every person’s actions, consistent with his or her existential make-up, are divided into external (manifest) and internal (hidden) acts. Manifest acts are those that are performed by various parts of the body such as hands, eyes, ears, etc. In contrast, hidden acts are those that stem from the mind regardless of whether they attain corporal manifestation or not. External and internal acts are both considered deeds and will be considered in the Reckoning.

﴿وَ إّن تُبدُوا ما في أَنفُسِكُم أَو تُخفُوهُ يُحاسِبكُم بِهِ الله﴾

“And whether you show what is in your hearts or hide it, Allah will account you for it.”48

2. The actions of all individuals are part of them. Not only that, but they make up a person’s essence and determine their identity. Action is not accidental to the human substance and is not uninfluential with our essence; rather, it pierces into the human nature and becomes an integral part of the individual. All humans are free to fashion their true selves with their actions. Thus, due to the difference among their deeds, humans are typically diversified. Various issues can be inferred from this fact, including:

2.1. Before an action, the individual is free to fulfill it or not. In other words, unperformed actions are in the domain of a person’s volition and authority. However, after an action is realized the person becomes dominated by the action, because it achieves union with the existential reality of the individual.

﴿كُلُّ نَفسٍ بِما كَسَبَتْ رَهِينَةٌ﴾

“Every soul is prisoner of what they have earned.”49

2.2. The union of persons and their deeds signifies that persons cannot relieve themselves of their actions, they cannot produce associates, they cannot place their blame on others, and they cannot dissimulate and make themselves seem innocent. Here, another difference between this world and Ākhirat is revealed.

﴿وَ لاتَزِرُ وازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخرىٰ وَ إِن تَدْعُ مُثْقَلَةٌ إِلىٰ حِملِها لايُحمَلْ مِنهُ شَيءٌ وَ لَو كانَ ذا قُربىٰ﴾

“No laden person [with sin] bears the load of another and if a heavily laden person calls for someone’s help, no fraction of it will be carried [by the other] even if the person is close family.”50

2.3. The unity of the ego and its deeds shows that an action, even if it is forgotten, will have a constant presence in the individual’s being until the conditions for its remembrance accrue.

3. God, whose knowledge is absolute and who is immanent throughout all things, shall not carry out the reckoning of human deeds for the purpose of discovering unknowns. The reckoning is for people to become aware of the complete reality of their own manifest and hidden actions. Hence, reckoning of the reality of actions necessitates infinite knowledge. No person is able to assess one’s own deeds or the deeds of others.

﴿قُل إنّ الموتَ الذّي تَفِرُّونَ مِنهُ فإنّهُ مُلاقيكم ثمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إلىٰ عالِمِ الغَيبِ و الشَّهادةِ فيُنَبِّئُكُم بِما كُنتُم تَعمَلُون﴾

“Say: Verily, death, from which you flee, shall encounter you, then you shall be returned to the Knower of the Invisible and Visible and He will inform you of what you have been doing.”51

5. Witnesses of Deeds

There are witnesses in the divine court of justice that attest to the deeds of people. These testimonies must be true, accurate, and complete; therefore, not everyone is allowed to testify. A witness in Qīyāmat must have special characteristics in order that their testimonies are free of all error, ignorance, and bias which may alter the semblance of the truth. Some of these features include the following:

Testifiers must have witnessed the actions where and when they occurred. If witness A testifies to the actions of person B based on the word of person C, even if person C is truthful, the testimony in incomplete since the witness testified to the saying of C, not the actions of B.

Because actions have both an exterior and interior, a complete witness is someone who can perceive the heart of actions. No complete and conclusive judgment can be made on grounds of the superficial aspect of an action. The distinguishing facet of many actions is not just based on their outer shell but the intentions behind them.

Witnesses must be exempt from error in committing deeds to memory and then testifying to them. In its conventional sense, justice does not obstruct all types of errors although it may prevent deliberate errors. However, divine justice must be free of all errors.

Hence, the immaculate saints of God—the Prophets and Imams (‘a)—will give complete testimonies and even the testimonies of other creations, such as each person’s body parts (arms, legs, etc.), must ultimately refer to the testimonies of the Immaculates. It is evident that such testimonies cannot be achieved in conventional human judgments in this world. Thus, religion as practiced in this worldly life puts appearances and principles into effect in order to settle disputes but leaves complete adjudication to the Judgment Day, which is the perfect manifestation of justice.

6. Retribution

One of the names of the final day is the Day of Requital or Religion [yawm ud-dīn]. One meaning for dīn is requital and to requite means to make appropriate return. Therefore, rewarding and punishment may also be called requital [jazā’] because they are returns for actions committed. Another meaning for dīn is religion. The final day is called the Day of Religion because it is when all elements of religion are revealed.

Otherworldly rewards and punishments are essentially different from the recompense prevalent in this world. Worldly retribution is convention based hence two disparate judicial systems may determine contrasting punishments for a uniform crime. Punishing criminals is usually done with intents such as “prevention of similar cases”, “disciplining wrongdoers”, and “easing the minds of those whose rights were abused”. However, in the Ākhirat, recompense for one’s actions is genuine. It is a place where none of the worldly intentions and purposes for retribution are applicable. What is given in reward to the faithful and righteous or in punishment to the unbelievers and sinners is purely the reality of their manifest and hidden actions, which results in bounties or tribulations.

Even though walls throw long shadows;

Their shadows return to themselves anew.

This world is as a mountain, our deeds as shouts;

The echoes of our shouts return to us in kind.52

Many verses explicitly speak of the identicalness of actions and their recompense:

﴿و ما تقدّموا لأَنفسكم من خيرٍ تجدوه عند الله﴾

“And whatever good you send forth for yourself, you shall find with Allah.”53

﴿هل تجزون الّا ما كنتم تعملون﴾

“Are you recompensed save for what you did?”54

﴿إِنَّ الّذين يأكلون اموال اليتامى ظلماً انّما يأكلون في بطونهم ناراً و سيصلون سعيراً﴾

“Verily, those who unjustly consume the properties of orphans are in fact devouring fire in their bellies and shall soon burn in flames.”55

In conclusion, in Qīyāmat, everyone will face their own reality. Requital is the reality of each person’s deeds; the manifestation of each person’s true visage. An example of this can be seen in our inner attributes. The essence of ethical evils, such as envy, is literally pain and torment and the essence of virtues is ease and tranquility. Hence, some scholars hold that if someone truly perceives their inner self in this world, they can realize whether they will be delivered or damned in Ākhirat.

Moreover, the wicked will only realize equivalent retribution for their deeds, while the faithful and righteous will enjoy many more blessings than their deeds warrant.

﴿مَن جآءَ بالحسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشرُ أَمثالِها و مَن جآءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فلايُجزىٰ إِلّا مِثلَها و هُم لايُظلَمُون﴾

“Whoever comes with a good deed will have tenfold equivalent [rewards] and whoever comes with an evil deed will only be recompensed equally and they will not be wronged.”56

﴿لَهُم ما يَشَآءُونَ فيها و لَدَينا مَزِيدٌ﴾

“Within it, they shall have all they want and with Us is yet more.”57

7. Hell [jahannam]

Jahannam is the name of the otherworldly fire which is the place of punishment. Examination of various aspects of this creation is made possible by the many Qur’anic verses on this issue. This infernal fire is characterized using various other names. Crusher [huṭamah] is one of these names. Hellfire, as opposed to worldly fire that may only consume the body, penetrates into the interior of persons and burns their soul:

﴿كَلّا، لَيُنبَذَنَّ في الحُطَمَةِ. و مآ أَدراكَ ما الحُطَمَةُ. نارُ اللهِ المُوقَدَةُ. الَّتي تَطَّلِعُ علی الأَفئِدَة﴾

“It is not so, they shall be thrust into the Crusher. And what will make you realize what the Crusher is? It is the kindled fire of Allah, which reaches to the hearts.”58

Jahannam is a living creature that shows emotions such as rage. In Qīyāmat, it seeks out unbelievers and envelops them.

﴿إِذآ أُلقوا فيها سَمِعُوا لَها شَهِيقاً و هِيَ تَفُور. تَكادُ تَمَيَّزُ مِنَ الغَيظِ﴾

“When they are cast into it, they hear it roaring while it boils and it close to bursting asunder from rage.”59

The retribution of Jahannam is degrading [mahīn], massive [‘azīm], painful [alīm], constant [muqīm], eternal [khuld], intense [shadīd], engulfing [muhīṭ], greater [akbar], unknown [nukr], and invariable and necessary [‘izām].

People who dwell there reveal their true natures such as excuse-bringing, lying, selfishness, and malice. They viciously assail and curse each other and each of them wants the torment of the rest to be more severe that their own.

In this terrible fire, death lashes forth from all sides but does not permit rest and freedom from agony. The inhabitants of Hell beg for death but there is no death in the Ākhirat, the realm of everlasting life.

﴿يأتيهِ المَوتُ مِن كلِّ مكانٍ و ما هُوَ بِمَيِّتٍ﴾

“Death comes at him from every side but he does not die.”60

Hell, like Heaven, is a divine blessing. Many people shun the path of wretchedness in this world for fear of eternal damnation. Simultaneous with it being the manifestation of God’s wrath, it is an aspect of His universal mercy. In a way, fear of Hell can be likened to fear of Allah’s wrath. Thus, this type of fear is not been forbidden by religion because one pinnacle of religious training is fear of God not His creations.

﴿هٰذِهِ جَهَنَّمُ الّتي يُكَذِّبُ بها المُجرمونَ. يَطُوفُونَ بَينَها و بَينَ حَميمٍ آنٍ. فَبِأَيِّ آلآءِ رَبِّكُما تُكَذِّبانِ﴾

“This is the same Hell that sinners denied. Now they drift between it and burning waters. So, which of your Lord’s bounties do you deny?”61

8. Paradise

The Noble Qur’an terms the eternal dwelling place of the faithful and righteous Jannat. The word jannat literally means a garden covered with trees. The Garden of Paradise has unending facets and no form of corruption whatsoever prevails over it or its inhabitants.

﴿مَثَلُ الجَنَّةِ الّتي وُعِدَ المُتَّقُونَ تَجري مِن تَحتِها الأَنهارُ أُكُلُها دآئِمٌ و ظِلُّها، تِلكَ عُقبَى الّذينَ اتَّقَوا و عُقبَى الكافِرِينُ النّارُ﴾

“This is a description of the Paradise that has been promised to the pious: Beneath its [trees] runs rivers, its produce is perpetual, and its shade is also; this is the requital of the pious and the requital of the unbelievers is the Fire.”62

As for those who attain the rank of servitude—those who worship God because He is worthy of worship—neither to attain Heaven nor due to fear of Hell—they shall enter a paradise that cannot be described or even imagined.

﴿يآ أَيَّتُها النَّفسُ المُطمَئِنَّةُ. اِرجِعِيۤ إِلىٰ رَبِّكِ راضِيَةً مَّرضِيَةً. فَٱدخُلي في عِبادي. وٱدخُلي جَنَّتي﴾

“O tranquil soul! Return to your Lord while you are well pleased with Him and He is well pleased with you. So join My servants. And enter My Paradise.”63

Heaven is entirely clean and pure and no defilement or foulness may enter it. Before entering Heaven, all persons are purified of all uncleanliness by divine absolution or temporary punishment.

﴿و نَزَعنا ما في صُدُورِهِم مِن غِلٍّ﴾

“And We shall strip all rancor from within their breasts.”64

The virtuous shall have all they want in Paradise. In contrast to this world, Heaven does not have a constant appearance and its alteration is not subject to time, ability, deterioration, and corruption. The preference of the heavenly inhabitant determines Heaven’s form. However, heavenly inhabitants, who are unencumbered of all vileness, desire only ethical things. Their volition is suffused with ethics and divinity. In heaven, which is the abode of safety and health, there is no trace of fear, sorrow, suffering, fatigue, pain, or spiritual and corporal debilities. Heaven is the place of fulfillment of the divine human’s ideals.

“And they say, ‘Praise be to Allah who has taken from us all sorrow. Verily, Allah is All-forgiving, All-bountiful, who through His grace has settled us in the everlasting abode, wherein neither hardship touches us nor weariness.’”65

  • 1. - Sūrah Baqarah 2:111.
  • 2. - “And they say, ‘When we become bones and broken bits shall we really be raised up again in a new creation?’” (Sūrah Isrā’ 17:49) “And they say, ‘When we disappear into the earth, shall we truly have a new creation?’” (Sūrah Sajdah 32:10)
  • 3. - “And the unbelievers say, ‘Shall we show to you a man who will tell you that when you have been utterly torn to pieces, then you shall have a new creation? Has he forged against God a lie or is he insane?’” (Sūrah Saba’ 34:7-8)
  • 4. - “This has been promised to us and our forebears before; it is nothing but the fantasies of the ancients.” (Sūrah Naml 27:68)
  • 5. - Sūrah Jāthiyah 45:24-25.
  • 6. - Also see: Sūrah Inshiqāq 84:14; Sūrah Qaṣaṣ 28:39; and Sūrah Kahf 18:36.
  • 7. - Sūrah Rūm 30:27.
  • 8. - Sūrah Yāsīn 36:79.
  • 9. - A denier of the Resurrection brought a decayed bone to the Prophet (ṣ) and asked, “Who shall resurrect this?” While regarding this question a result of forgetting the original genesis of humanity, the Qur’an replies, “Say, ‘He shall resurrect them who originated them the first time.” (Sūrah Yāsīn 36:78-79).
  • 10. - Sūrah Qāf 50:15.
  • 11. - Sūrah Ḥajj 22:5.
  • 12. - If we regard this issue from a philosophic point of view, it is clear that the occurrence of Resurrection is not an essential or logical impossibility, which would necessitate a contradiction. By keeping in mind that the absolute power of God is comprised of the ability to accomplish all possible acts, Resurrection is not outside the domain of Divine Power.
  • 13. - Sūrah Aḥqāf 46:33.
  • 14. - Sūrah A‘rāf 7:57.
  • 15. - The Qur’an does not mention this person’s name or the place of this occurrence. However, various narrations indicate that this individual was Ezra [‘Uzayr] the prophet and others state that it was Jeremiah [Irmiya’] the prophet. Moreover, some narrations declare that the place of this incident was the city of Jerusalem [bayt ul-muqaddas].
  • 16. - Sūrah Baqarah 2:259.
  • 17. - Sūrah Mu’minūn 23:115-116.
  • 18. - Sūrah Ḥijr 15:85.
  • 19. - Sūrah Qalam 68:35-36.
  • 20. - Sūrah Ṣād 38:28.
  • 21. - Sūrah Jāthīyah 45:21-22.
  • 22. - Sūrah Muzzammil 73:14.
  • 23. - Sūrah Wāqi‘ah 56:5.
  • 24. - Wāqi‘ah 56:6.
  • 25. - Sūrah Naba’ 78:20.
  • 26. - Sūrah Infiṭār 82:3.
  • 27. - Sūrah Takwīr 81:6.
  • 28. - Sūrah Ḥajj 22:1-2; Sūrah Muzzammil 73:14; and Sūrah Wāqi‘ah 56:4.
  • 29. - Sūrah Zilzal 99:1-2.
  • 30. - Sūrah Takwīr 81:1-2; Sūrah Mursalāt 77:8.
  • 31. - Sūrah Infiṭār 82:2.
  • 32. - Sūrah Inshiqāq 84:1; Sūrah Infiṭār 82:1.
  • 33. - Sūrah Ma‘ārij 70:8.
  • 34. - Sūrah Anbiyā’ 21:104.
  • 35. - Sūrah Zūmar 39:68.
  • 36. - For more comprehensive information, see: Amīr Dīvānī, Ḥayāt-e Jāvdānah (Eternal Life).
  • 37. - Again, this section does not include the complete translation of Qur’anic verses. Therefore, in order to complete the study it is necessary to refer to the respective verses in the Qur’an.
  • 38. - Sūrah Zūmar 39:68; Sūrah Yāsīn 36:51; Sūrah Kahf 18:99; and Sūrah Qāf 50:42.
  • 39. - Sūrah Qāf 50:20.
  • 40. - Sūrah Qāri‘ah 101:4.
  • 41. - Sūrah Qiyāmah 75:10-11.
  • 42. - Sūrah ‘Abas 80:34-37.
  • 43. - Sūrah Ma‘ārij 70:44.
  • 44. - Sūrah Yāsīn 36:51.
  • 45. - Sūrah Kahf 18:99; Sūrah Taghābun 64:9.
  • 46. - Sūrah ‘Abas 80:38-41; and Sūrah Qiyāmah 75:22-25.
  • 47. - Sūrah Najm 53:39-40.
  • 48. - Sūrah Baqarah 2:284.
  • 49. - Sūrah Muddathir 74:38.
  • 50. - Sūrah Fāṭir 35:18.
  • 51. - Sūrah Jum‘ah 62:8.
  • 52. - Jalal ad-Din Mawlavī, Mathnavī-e Ma‘navī (Spiritual Couplets), Book I, verses 214-215.
  • 53. - Sūrah Baqarah 2:110.
  • 54. - Sūrah Naml 27:90. Additionally, see: Sūrah Muzzammil 73:20; Sūrah Qiṣaṣ 28:84; Sūrah Zilzal 99:6-8; Sūrah Āli‘Imrān 3:30, 3:180; Sūrah Naba’ 78:40; Sūrah Ḥashr 59:18; Sūrah Baqarah 2:272, 2:281; Sūrah Kahf 18:49; Sūrah Taḥrīm 66:7; Sūrah Takwīr 81:14; Sūrah Aḥqāf 46:19; Sūrah Zumar 39:24, 39:48, 39:51, 39:70; Sūrah Tawbah 9:35; Sūrah Naḥl 16:111; Sūrah Ṭūr 52:16; Sūrah A‘rāf 7:147, 7:180; and Sūrah Saba’ 34:33.
  • 55. - Sūrah Nisā’ 4:10.
  • 56. - Sūrah An‘ām 6:160.
  • 57. - Sūrah Qāf 50:35.
  • 58. - Sūrah Humazah 104:4-7.
  • 59. - Sūrah Mulk 67:7-8.
  • 60. - Sūrah Ibrāhīm 14:17.
  • 61. - Sūrah Raḥmān 55:43-45.
  • 62. - Sūrah Ra‘d 13:35.
  • 63. - Sūrah Fajr 89:27-30.
  • 64. - Sūrah A‘rāf 7:43.
  • 65. - Sūrah Fāṭir 35:34-35.

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