Every man out of his natural disposition has some conception of the Day of Resurrection because there is no one who would not like to know the ultimate future of man and of this world, where the life's struggle of man ends and what the real purpose of life is?
We have two answers to this question as follows:
(i) All the Divine religions according to the arguments, we shall advance at a later stage, have an optimistic view of the future of man and this world. The Holy Qur'an says:
To your Lord will all things eventually return. (Surah an-Najm, 53:42)
(ii) The materialistic views consider that this world and the man will ultimately be annihilated. This is a very dangerous and disappointing view and besides those who hold such a view do not have any convincing argument. In this context, the Holy Qur'an says:
They say, 'The only life is this worldly life and here we shall live and die. It is only time which annihilates us'. They have no knowledge about this. It is only their speculations. (Surah al-Jathiyah, 45:24)
There are some people who do not admit by their tongue the Resurrection Day but subconsciously they feel man's eternal existence. Sometimes they themselves give out indications to show that despite death and the physical destruction of the body they do not consider that man would ultimately perish. We give below some examples of these indications:
(i) All those who do not believe in Resurrection hold in reverence the graves of their ancestors.
(ii) These people name their roads, institutions, universities and schools after the names of their dead ones.
(iii) These people wish that after their death they should be remembered with a good name.
(iv) These people name their children after the names of their ancestors.
(v) These people mummify the dead bodies of their dear ones so as to protect them from putrefaction.
If those who deny Resurrection and think that death annihilates man what is then the argument with them for their such a thinking? When they mean death to be annihilation why then do they erect mausoleums for their dead and lay wreaths on their graves? Obviously such things point to the fact that those who do not believe in Resurrection do have some taint belief in their heart of hearts about the eternal existence of man's soul by which it is meant that by death man's being is not destroyed. We elaborate this point a little more.
If people consider death to be total destruction then why do the various nations and races name their children after the names of their forefathers and why do they feel proud of them? And if somebody kicks the grave of their father why do they quarrel with him? Why do they erect magnificent mausoleums? Why some tribes bury ornaments, weapons and garments alongwith the dead ones?
True, man has in his heart a feeling of an eternal existence of man and by one way or the other considers the good name in history as a sign of satisfaction. On the other hand man has a feeling of estrangement as this world is very limited and narrow for him. He gets himself involved in his wife, children, wealth and property and other enjoyments of life. But after a time in his heart he misses something as despite all his comforts he does not seem to be fully satisfied. Sometimes he wants to end his life and sometimes he asks himself a question as to what is the purpose of his existence and for what he has been created. All this vague feeling of restlessness points to the fact that man feels himself estranged in this world. Despite its vast expanse this world seems to him a narrow alley, his body is like a bird's cage and the world a prison to him. This sort of feeling is based on the conviction that one day he will be satisfied and all his wishes and goals will be fulfilled because for every feeling, want and internal restlessness there lies an answer in external source as for example the sensation of thirst is removed by drinking water, and of sexual desire by cohabitation with his spouse and the feeling of estrangement by the thought of Resurrection.
Guidance to Right Arguments
Man's every natural feeling can be answered in two ways:
(i) Timely wrong answer.
(ii) Everlasting correct answer.
Example: A thirsty man can be given water or he can be shown a mirage also. Similarly, a hungry baby can be satisfied by suckling or he can be given a rubber nipple to soothe him.
Thus every natural sensation or feeling can be treated in two different ways, real and permanent one, or artificial and temporary one. Imam Ali says, "The Merciful Allah appointed Muhammad (peace be upon him and his descendants) as His trustworthy messenger and entrusted him with the mission of converting people from idolatry to the worship of Allah and guiding them to obey Him instead of obeying the Satan".
Indeed there exists in man a basic desire for love and worship. If man's internal predisposition had not been diverted to the right path, he would have plunged himself into the darkness of superstition.
Answers that Prophets Give: So far we have said that man has a feeling of his existence and wishes it to continue. This feeling should be given a true and permanent support. Now we should see what the Prophets say in this regard and we reproduce their pronouncements with their arguments.
Allah's Message Through Prophets
The Holy Qur'an says:
Do you think We created you for nothing, and that you will not return to Us? (Surah al-Mo'minun, 23:115)
And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should worship Me. (Surah az-Zariyat, 51: 56)
Do you not see that Allah has made subservient to you whatever is in the earth and the ships running in the ocean by His commands. (Surah al-Hajj 22:65)
Whoever has done an atom 's weight of good, will see it and whoever has done an atom's weight of evil, will also see it. (Surah az-Zilzal, 99:7, 8)
Every soul is entangled in what it does. (Surah Muddaththir, 74: 38)
Don 't follow that of which you have no knowledge. Verily the ear, the eye, and the heart, each will be questioned. (Surah Bani Isra'il, 17: 36)
Allah may reward them with the best of what they have done. (Surah at-Tauba, 9:121)
These are the view-points that the Prophets have put forward in relation to Resurrection and each one of them has some logical reasoning which we shall discuss later. But at this moment it is better to see whether the Resurrection (coming back to life again) will actually happen or not, or whether it is possible from the point of view of common sense. Thus when we understand that there is a possibility of such a happening, then we shall look into the reasonings and argument for Resurrection as only its possibility is not sufficient, for nothing can happen unless there is reason for its happening. Thirdly we shall see whether there is some obstruction in the way of Resurrection.
Coming of the Dead to Life is Not Impossible
No one has up to this time put forward any argument to show that Resurrection will not happen. Those who do not believe in Resurrection harp on the same old tune saying how a dead one can come to life when his body has decomposed and each and every part of it has decayed and reduced to dust.
To this, according to common sense and according to the Holy Qur'an, the answer is that it can happen as it is not impossible. This thing comes to our imagination and we come across day and night examples of the dead coming to life again.
Imam Muhammad Taqi, says, "Sleeping and waking are the two best examples by which we can fully comprehend the issue of dying and coming back to life. Death is nothing more than a long slumber".
Secondly it can be seen when the trees sprout in the spring and die in the autumn. The Holy Qur'an says:
Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the cloud, then We bring forth therewith fruits of various colours, and in the mountains are streaks, white and red, of various hues and (others) intensely black? (Surah Fatir, 35:27)
A sustenance for the creatures and We give life thereby to a dead land; thus will be the resurrection. (Surah Qaf, 50:11)
In short, day in and day out we come across the incidence of coming into life of the dead things, which makes the issue of resurrection though seemingly a difficult one, easy and simple to comprehend.
A Memorable Incident of the Holy Qur'an
A man extracted a piece of bone from underneath a wall and after pulverizing it brought to the Holy Prophet and putting on airs insolently said: "Who can bring back this decayed and powdered bone to life?" Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:
He has said, 'Who will give life to the bones which have become ashes'. (Muhammad), tell him, 'He who gave them life in the first place will bring them back to life again. He has the best knowledge of all creatures '. (Surah Ya Sin, 36:78, 79)
If a maker of something says that he can re-assemble the broken parts of his product he will not be in the wrong because making a thing is more difficult than assembling its parts.
The deniers of Resurrection had doubts about two things:
(i) "How can decayed bones come to life?" The Holy Qur'an says:
He has said, 'Who will give life to the bones which have become ashes? (Surah Ya Sin, 36:78)
(ii) If the powdered bones are accepted to come to life again then who will return them to life? The Holy Qur'an says:
(Muhammad), tell him, 'He Who gave them life in the first place will bring them back to life again'. (Surah Ya Sin, 36:79)
If a brick-maker claims that after pulverizing the brick he can re-make it, can anybody doubt it? Certainly not.
Why do these people who consider the decomposed parts of the dead coming back to life as a very strange phenomenon not doubt the very creation of their life? Obviously to create life in the first instance is more difficult than to re-create it. Is it more difficult to make an air-plane or to re-assemble it after dismantling it? If a maker of planes claims that he can disintegrate its parts and then re-assemble it, can anybody doubt his statement? No, certainly not, because re-assembling the parts is easier than making a thing. Thus when one accomplishes a difficult task he can also do the easier one but for Almighty Allah nothing is difficult. The Holy Qur'an says:
And He it is Who originates the creation, then reproduces it, and it is easy to Him, and His are the most exalted attributes in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Surah ar-Rum, 30:27)
Other Examples in Proof of Resurrection
In support of the proof that coming of the dead to life again is not a difficult or impossible thing, the Holy Qur'an has provided many examples and among them are the two incidents related to Prophet Uzayr and Prophet Ibrahim.
(i) Once Prophet Uzayr, while on a journey, passed through a deserted place, and there he thought to himself, not by way of disbelief but out of inquisitiveness: 'How will Allah bring them back to life after they have been dead for so many years?"
The Almighty Allah kept him dead for 100 years and after reviving him asked, "How long have you been here?" The Prophet replied, "Half an hour or so" Allah said, "No, you have been here for 100 years. Now you look at your donkey, your animal of riding and also your food that you had with you. Now wonder at the Greatness and Power of Allah, how your donkey died and perished into dust and the food which should have decayed in a day or two is still fresh after 100 years. Now if you want to witness the coming of the dead into life again you may look at the decayed bones of the donkey from which We will bring it back to life again fully intact with its skin, flesh and soul, so that it may serve as a good lesson for the coming generations". (Vide: Surah al-Baqarah, 2:259)
As soon as Prophet Uzayr saw his donkey coming back to life and the food remaining fresh for 100 years he exclaimed, "I know Allah has the Power to do every thing".
(ii) Once Prophet Ibrahim was passing by the bank of a river when he saw a corpse, one portion of which was in water and the other was on the ground. The land and marine animals and birds flocked round it, and every animal was eating practically every bit of the dead body. Prophet Ibrahim after seeing this asked Allah, "How will you bring back the dead to life on the Day of Judgement when this corpse has almost been eaten up by the animals and it has been assimilated in their bodies as their integral part". Allah asked Prophet Ibrahim, "Do you have no faith in My Power and belief in resurrection". He replied, "Why not! But I want to satisfy myself by seeing this phenomenam with my own eyes". (Discussions and argumentation satisfy the mind while experience and observation satisfy the heart)
Allah then asked Prophet Ibrahim, "Take four different kinds of birds. Slaughter them and mix up their flesh together and put them on different mountains. Thereafter, call out each bird one by one and see for yourself how various portions of the mixed flesh get separated and go to bring back each bird in its original form". Prophet Ibrahim did as he was directed. He slaughtered a pigeon, a chicken, a peacock and a crow, mixed up their flesh together in one whole put them on the top of ten different mountains. Then he called out each animal and each one of them appeared before him in its original form. (Vide Surah al-Baqarah, 2:260)
Infact, Prophet Ibrahim the chosen Messenger of Allah, is passed through special test and trial and is put on an exalted position while on the other hand there are people like us who have not even passed an initial stage of recognizing preliminary things as conviction, ascension etc.
We give some simple examples further to elaborate how scattered particles can form together to a complete being.
(i) A cow grazes grass which on assimilation yields milk.
(ii) A man eats a piece of bread which goes to form various component tissues and organs of his body. e.g. blood, bones, hair, nails, flesh etc.
(iii) Many cloths are made of fibres which are produced from petroleum.
(iv) When a metal is melted its impurities are separated in the foam.
(v) When milk or curd is churned its cream is separated on top.
Now you admit that the digestive function of a cow yields milk from grass. Many fibers from petroleum and cream from milk or curd can be obtained. But when you hear that Allah will shake the earth in a quake, the decayed bone particles wherever they are, will form together in original shape, you do not believe it! (Vide: Surah Zilzal, 99:1—2)
We quote here some more verses of the Holy Qur'an:
As He brought you forth in the beginning, so shall you also return. (Surah al-A'raf, 7 29)
And certainly you know the first creation, then why do you not reflect? (Surah al-Waqi'a, 56:62)
Let man reflect from what he was made of: He was created of spurting water issuing from the loins and ribs, Allah has the Power to resurrect him. (Surah at-Tariq, 86:5—8)
Does man think that he will be left to himself, alone? Wasn't he once just an emitted drop of semen? Then formed into an embryo? Then he fashioned, shaped and proportioned and assigned it sexes, male and female. Doesn't He then have the power to bring the dead back to life. (Surah al-Qiyamah, 75:36—40)
Did We fail to accomplish the first creation? And yet they are still in doubt about a new creation. We created man and surely know what doubts arise in his mind. (Surah Qaf, 50:15)
Don't they realize that Allah Who has created the heavens and the earth has the power to create the like of them? There is no doubt that He has fixed a term for them. Even then the wicked turn away in disbelief (from Our Revelation). (Surah Bani Isra'il, 17:99)
Does not man remember that before We created him he was nothing? (Surah Mar yam, 19:67)
Though we are giving proofs from the Holy Qur'an yet it advises us to apply our wisdom and reasoning. Can anybody still be in doubt after seeing the clear proof of Allah's doing all the year round?
Since our discussion requires brevity and simplicity we are not quoting other examples that are mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, for instance the story about the People of the Cave (ashabul kahaf) and of that young man who awoke from his sleep after 309 years.
We have said that there are three stages of any work that is to be performed. First the possibility of its happening, which we have already dealt with.
Now comes the second stage which pertains to the cause of that happening, that is, the proof of Resurrection, because the possibility of coming back to life is not sufficient. For instance man can perform many functions and there is a possibility of their performance too, but he needs the cause and justification for that also. It is possible for everybody to drink water but unless we feel thirsty we do not take it. Similarly other things, talking, walking and some other similar work that are possible, but we do not do them unless we have some reason to do them.
Thus every possible work needs the justification for its being done. At this point we will very briefly discuss the reasons for Resurrection because on this subject numerous books have been written in detail. May Allah bless the writers as well as the readers of those books.
The First Proof of Resurrection is Allah's Justice
We can give proofs of Resurrection which are in accord with human intelligence and the Holy Qur'an. One of those proofs is that since Allah is Just, Resurrection must be there. If there is no Resurrection, Allah's Justice will be in question. The explanation of this is that in the presence of the commandments of Allah and the Prophets there are two groups of people, the first group is in favour and the second is in opposition. The Holy Qur'an says:
He it is who created you, but one of you is an unbeliever and another of you is a believer, and Allah sees what you do. (Surah at-Taghabun, 64:2)
On the other side suppose no reward or punishment is given for one's deeds in this world, or the punishment is so meager that it is not felt at all. However, sooner or later everyone has to depart from this world. Therefore, if there is going to be no accounting for the deeds and no reward or punishment is given in another place, that is, on the Day of Judgement, and everything is forgotten after death, then where does Allah's Justice stand? If Allah is Just and there is no recompense or punishment for our deeds in this world then it must be awarded in some another place. We now quote a question and its answer here.
Question: Why does Allah not reward or punish in this world? Was it not better to have this matter settled quickly by rewarding or punishing in this world and in that way there would have been no necessity of the Day of Judgement?
There can be several answers to this question but we give a few here.
(i) Since by inflicting punishment in this world others also can be affected; therefore it would become a kind of cruelty. The explanation of this is like this: Suppose I slapped a man on his face and Allah paralyzed my hand. When I go home my relations see my condition and they suffer agony though they have not been responsible for my fault. This world is a place of mutual relationship and here others will be affected by my pleasures and agony. In that case if the punishment is awarded in this world, it will be an injustice. But on the Day of Judgement all relationships will be severed and everybody will be bothering for himself so much so that according to the Holy Qur'an man will avoid his wife and children and will only be worrying about his own salvation, and if the wrong doer is chastised there, nobody will be affected by it. It is just possible that you may now say that in this world no culprit should be punished because by this his dear and near ones would be affected.
The answer to this plea is that if a thief's hand is not chopped off or he is not flogged, the letting off of such bad characters will create panic and sense of insecurity in the society and this will also amount to cruelty because for the sake of the relatives of a criminal we plunge the entire society into a dangerous situation. Thus in that case it will be better that we should give priority to the well-being of the society over that of the individuals.
(ii) If Allah starts rewarding or punishing people in this world, people will become virtuous because of the fear of punishment but this will be out of expediency only. The real virtue lies in that man remains free and independent and then he commits no sin, otherwise if every farmer, mason, merchant or student performs any good deed and Allah rewards him with gardens, palatial homes, wealth, etc. then in that case everybody will become pious but there will be no value of such deeds. Man's virtues lie in that he himself should decide for performing noble deeds without any deterrent factor or incentives otherwise hundreds and thousands of angels were already there to worship Allah. Allah has so created man as to make him select for himself from two poles of desires a right path to follow.
Standard of Values in Islam
The Holy Qur'an basically praises those people who from two opposite paths, select for themselves the right path after suppressing their inordinate desires and ignoring glamorous way of life.
The Holy Qur'an mentions many instances such as on one side there is a handsome and youthful Prophet Yusuf and on the other side is Zulaykha in an inviting position, and, to crown all, the doors are also bolted from inside. But Prophet Yusuf after invoking Allah steps aside and saves himself from temptation. The Holy Qur'an says:
His master's wife then tried to seduce him. She locked the doors and said to him, "Come on " He said, 'I seek Allah 's refuge and Allah has given me good place of shelter. The unjust will certainly have no happiness'. (Surah Yusuf, 12:23)
Prophet Ibrahim at the age of 100 years yearned for having a son. He offered supplication and invoked Allah. Then Allah gave him a son, Ismai'l. Then came Allah's command: "O Ibrahim! Slaughter your son with your own hand in the way of Allah". Prophet Ibrahim on the one hand was under the natural pressure of his love for his son, and on the other hand he had to make a response to the Call of Allah. He had to choose between these two things and ultimately he sacrificed his pressure of parental love for his child to the pleasure of Allah. That is the very exalted position of man before Allah. The Holy Qur'an narrates this event as follows.
And when he was old enough to go about with him, he said: 'O my son! I saw in a dream that I was sacrificing you. So what is your opinion?' He replied, O my father! Do as you are commanded. If Allah pleases, you will find me of the patients '. When they both submitted to the will of Allah he (Ibrahim) laid him (his son) down upon his forehead. And We called out to him saying, 'O Ibrahim! You have indeed confirmed your dream ' Thus do We reward the doers of good. (Surah as-Saffat, 37:102—105)
Self-sacrifice of Ahlul Bayt
Imam Ali and Lady Fatimtuz Zahra break their fast with water only and despite being intensely hungry, give away their food to the hungry ones. The Holy Qur'an praises their generosity as follows:
And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive. (Surah ad-Dahr, 76:8)
About those who at the dead of night despite deep sleep rouse from their beds and get themselves busy in supplicating and invoking the blessings of Allah, the Holy Qur'an says:
Their backs do not rest on their beds and pray to their Lord in fear and hope, and spend (benevolently) of what We have given them. (Surah as-Sajdah, 32:16)
They slept little in the night. And every morning they asked forgiveness. (Surah az-Zariyah, 51: 17,18)
In short the standard of one's deeds before Allah is that man should be quite free to choose for himself a righteous path despite having before him material interests and natural temptations, otherwise none of his deeds will be of any worth. Of course, if man keeps mum despite having a tongue and controls his anger, it is a good and valuable quality. If a man is dumb or he does not show his temper in ordinary circumstances it does him no credit.
A Reminder: You will pose a question that if in this world everybody gets his reward for his deeds they will out of fear turn virtuous, but this will be of no value. However there arises another question: "Would the promise of Paradise and warning of Hell not make people pious?"
The answer to this is: Since Paradise and the Hell are not before the people, man does not feel compulsion to become pious. There is a difference between a man who has got to pay his dues only tomorrow and a man who has to do this after several months. The first one is shaky and scared of, while the other one who has several months at his disposal feels relaxed.
In fact, from the human point of view there is a lot of difference between reward and punishment being awarded at once and those to be awarded after a lapse of time rather after a long time. Therefore, Allah has given relaxation in matter of awarding reward and punishment so that people should not get scared and should gradually overcome their inordinate desires and proceed to the Right Path of Allah.
To a question as to why Allah does not award us for our deeds in this very world, the answer is that because of diversities it is not possible. As for example what reward the Holy Prophet got for his great services to liberate the mankind from ignorance, superstitions, polytheism, disunity and dissensions? Do we have any better food than honey and roasted meat, and bed better than silk, or a transport better than an air-plane?
Are these foods, bed, and transport, not the same one which are enjoyed by sinners also? So what was the reward of the Holy Prophet? Is there any martyr who has laid down his life for a noble cause and whom you can compensate for his sacrifice?
Apart from this there are sinners and criminals who massacre hundreds and thousands of innocent people. How can you punish such a person with an appropriate punishment in this world? If, at most, he is sentenced to death; then it will be only one killing in place of massacres of hundreds and thousands of innocent people. What will become of the spilling of the blood of those innocent people?
Tooth for Tooth, Nail for Nail
Our discussion is that punishment in the next world shall be thorough and severer. This punishment should not exclude those punishments which are awarded to some in this world only. The Qur'anic verses tell us that Allah punishes some in this world. The Holy Qur'an says:
Corruption has spread over land and sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return to the right path. (Surah ar-Rum, 30:41)
They shall meet with disgrace in this world, and severe punishment in the Hereafter. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:114)
But in fact these punishments are just a part of the punishments which they will receive on the Day of Judgement.
It will be better to quote some more verses here:
Those who disregard their covenant with Allah after He has taken such a, pledge from them, who sever the proper relations that Allah has commanded them to establish, and those who spread evil in the land, will have Allah's condemnation instead of reward and will face the most terrible end. (Surah ar-Ra'd, 13:25)
And thus do We chastise him who is extravagant and does not believe in the signs of h is Lord; and certainly the chastisement of the Hereafter is severer and persistent. (Surah Ta Ha, 20:127)
We shall certainly make them suffer worldly torments before suffering the great torment so that perhaps they may return to Us. (Surah as-Sajdah, 32:21)
Turning away haughtily that he may lead (others) astray from the way of Allah, for him is disgrace in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection We will make him taste the punishment of burning. (Surah al-Hajj, 22:9)
We sent upon the people of 'Ad a violent wind during a few ill-fated days to make them suffer a disgraceful torment in this life. Their torment in the life to come will even be more disgraceful and they will not receive any help. (Surah Ha Min Sajdah, 41:16)
So far we have quoted those verses which tell us that Allah will make the sinners taste the punishment in the world also but the actual place for reward or punishment is the Day of Resurrection. In the traditions also we come across the worldly punishment. As for example we read in a tradition, "Those who wish ill of others themselves fall into the ditch of misfortune. Allah punishes those who treat their parents disgracefully, oppress the people and who are ungrateful in this world and He never puts it off for the Day of Resurrection". (Safinatul Bihar)
Examples of Worldly Punishments
It will not be out of place if we mention here a few examples of the punishments that are awarded in this world, though the real punishment will be awarded on the Day of Resurrection as this world is too small to account for awarding rewards and punishment here.
With regard to the bravery of the supporters of the Prophets and their steadfastness the Holy Qur'an says.
And whoever desires the reward in this world, We shall give it, and whoever desires the reward in the Hereafter, We shall do that. We shall certainly reward those who are grateful. (Surah Ale Imran, 3:145)
About Prophet Ibrahim the Holy Qur'an says.
And We gave him what is good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the good. (Surah an-Nahl, 16:122)
It also says about the Prophets' supporters and their help and assistance.
Most surely We help Our Messengers and those who believe, in this world's life and on the Day when the witnesses shall stand up. (Surah Mo'min, 40:51)
Perhaps we have drifted from our main topic but not too far. Yes, the main topic of discussion was as to why in this world one is not wholly rewarded or punished. We have now reached the answer to the third question that the worldly punishments are just a part of the main punishments that will be awarded on the Day of Resurrection.
You have now known answers to the three questions regarding the punishments that are not given in this world. Now we come to the fourth answer of this question which we derive from the Holy Qur'an. It says.
Was Allah to seize people immediately for their injustice, no living creature would be left on earth. He gives them respite for an appointed time. When their term is over, they will not be able to change the inevitable. (Surah an-Nahl, 16:61)
Were Allah to punish people for their deeds immediately, not one creature would have survived on earth. However, He has given them a respite for an appointed time, and when their term comes to an end, let it be known that Allah watches over His servants. (Surah Fatir, 35:45)
Thus the Wisdom and Will of Allah lie in that a creature like man should remain alive as a free and independent being for a limited period of time so that the disobedient may also get some respite otherwise if such disobedient persons were to be killed there would remain no living person on earth. After all is there one, who has not disobeyed Allah, and is the punishment for his disobedience and insolence lesser than death?
Though the worldly punishments are meant to serve as a warning, yet if every sinner receives his punishment in full it will amount to lack of Allah's Grace and Blessings for it is just possible that a sinner may one day repent and seek forgiveness and give up disobedience to the commands of Allah and unravel the truth which he has so far hidden. We have seen many sinners or heard of them that they repented of their sins before death and changed their ways. Therefore, is it not proper and fair that man who is so weak and prone to inordinate desires and is apt to be prey to evil forces, be granted a respite so as to make amends for his bad deeds at the last moment and it may be just possible that his heart may become enlightened like esteemed Hur who had gone to fight against Imam Husayn but without losing any time he changed his mind and decided to fight against the enemies of the Holy Imam in the plain of Karbala?
Though it is certain that some people may take wrong advantage of this respite but still this will help the Muslims generally. Therefore, it is the Blessings and the Grace of Allah that man should not be punished in this world so that he may seek forgiveness of his sins before death comes to him.
The rewards and punishments will only be justifiable if we consider not only the deeds but their causes also. The Holy Qur'an says:
It is We Who bring the dead to life and record man 's deeds and their consequences. We keep everything recorded in an illustrious Book. (Surah Ya Sin, 36.12)
Suppose a man abruptly came into a meeting and after extinguishing the lamp ran away. There cannot be any severe punishment for extinguishing the lamp. Instead, a slap on his face will be a sufficient punishment, perhaps. But here it is to be seen what problems this extinguishing of the lamp would have caused? Maybe the carpet on the floor could catch fire by the falling of the lamp. Somebody might injure someone with a knife or some weapon. Someone might fall down from the staircase. Someone could strike his head against the wall. Some utensils could fall down from the table and get broken. So on and so forth. If we catch hold of the culprit, the problem before us would not be the mere extinguishing of the lamp but the justice would demand to assess the damage that this act might have caused. After citing this example we now come to the main discussion.
When someone introduces the use of harmful drug like heroin, or a life-saving medicine like an antibiotic it will not be fair to reward or punish such a person immediately. We should wait until the end of the world to know to what extent heroin caused damage by taking the life of the people and to what extent the other drug benefited the sick people. Thereafter, we should think of giving recompense.
Similarly if a man by means of a film strip, book or a cassette or any other such thing causes damage for a considerable length of time in that case we should not be in haste but should wait until the end of the world to assess its evil or good effects. This thing not only appeals to reason but it is justified also according to twelfth verse of Surah Yasin just quoted above as well as the traditions.
In the traditions also we read as follows: "If someone initiates a useful practice or sets a precedent for something good he will be sharing the reward with the people who will be following it, but because of this sharing the people's share will not be reduced. Similarly if a person sows the seeds of discord or makes the people deviate from the right path, the people will be sinners of course but the one, who initiated an evil, will, besides being the sinner himself, bear the burden of the other sinners also". (Safinatul Bihar, vol. II, p. 261)
In short, the first proof of Resurrection is the Justice of Allah. That is from three following premises it is proved that the coming of the Day of Resurrection is just in accordance with Justice of Allah:
(i) Regarding the commandments of Allah and the Prophets people are divided into two groups—the followers and the dissenters.
(ii) From the six answers that we have already given, this world is not the place for rewards and punishments.
(iii) It has been established without doubt by logical reasonings that Allah is Just and He will definitely reward or punish the people for their deeds and, therefore, there must be some day for it, and that is the Day of Resurrection.
The First Proof—Justice of Allah
There are many Qur'anic verses which ask the human intellect and conscience whether good and bad people are alike or there is a difference between the two. The Holy Qur'an says
Shall We treat those who believe and do good like the mischief-makers on the earth? Or shall We make those who guard against evil like the wicked? (Surah Sad, 38:28)
What! shall We then make those who submit as the guilty? (Surah al-Qalam, 68:35)
Is he then who is a believer like him who is a transgressor? They are never equal. (Surah as-Sajdah, 32:18)
Nay! do those who have wrought evil deeds think that We will make them like those who believe and do good—that their life and their death shall be equal? Evil is that they judge (Surah al-Jathiya, 45:21)
We have mentioned some Qur'anic verses in the chapter on Justice of Allah. You will read a synopsis of all that has been said earlier now in this chapter. Still in order not to affect the continuity we are repeating what has been said before. We said earlier that there are three conditions for a certain thing to happen:
(i) The possibility of that happening about which we have discussed before.
(ii) The cause of the happening, the division of mankind in two groups, limitations of this world and the Justice of Allah, which we have already discussed.
(iii) Now remains the third condition, that is, the absence of any hurdle or obstruction.
There is No Obstacle in the Resurrection
Normally obstruction is for smaller forces as for example for a vehicle which is bound to run on one track there can be no remedy for it. A big stone lying on its way can serve as an obstacle for its motion, but this very stone cannot be a hurdle for a bird which does not follow a specific course for its motion. Of course the greater the force or strength of knowledge the lesser will be the number of obstacles.
There are two conditions for the dead coming back to life:
(i) Immense knowledge and
(ii) Infinite Power.
Therefore, how can there be any obstacle in the way of Allah Who has Infinite Knowledge of the location and condition of each and every particle of the earth? The Holy Qur'an says:
We know indeed what the earth diminishes of them, and with Us is a writing that preserves. (Surah Qaf, 50:4)
There can be no doubt about the assembling of the scattered particles before the Infinite Power of Allah and no obstacle can be conceived in the way of Allah. The Holy Qur'an has said about forty times:
Surely Allah is All-Powerful. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:20)
We ourselves are made of earth particles and we are only in this world because of wheat which grows from earth and we are alive because of rice and fruits which grow from earth. We came into existence first in the shape of a sperm of our father and then remained for some time in the womb of our mother and ultimately saw the light in this mortal world. Yes, each and every cell of our body must have come from one part of the earth or the other. The Infinite Power Who made us from the earth particles will again bring us back to life from the decayed bones and scattered particles of our dead body.
However, it is the Satan which makes us skeptical about our coming back to life again but the Holy Qur'an by such verses as "This is easy to Allah", which have come in the Holy Qur'an again and again, says that for Allah bringing the dead ones back to life is quite easy.
Real Difficulty That Faces Us
The real difficulty of ours is that we view Allah's Power and Knowledge from our own narrow thinking. Since we ourselves are limited we cannot conceive the infinity. In the Qur'anic narrations we come across from the beginning to the end this reality that Allah wants to broaden our mental horizon so as to let us come out of our limited frame of mind. For instance Allah says:
We produced a male child from virgin Maryam. (Surah Maryam, 19: 20)
We made the new-born child speak from the cradle. (Surah Maryam, 19:30)
We destroyed the people mounting on elephants by birds called "ababil " (swallows). (Surah al-Fil, 105: 3, 4)
We produced the stream of water by the striking on the ground with a staff. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:60)
We made the dead ones come to life by the blowing of the mouth's breath by Prophet Isa. (Surah al-Ma'idah, 5:110)
We made an old and infertile woman give birth to a male child, Prophet Yahya. (Surah Hud, 11:72)
We got Prophet Musa to be brought up by Fir'aun himself. (Surah al-Qasas, 28:8)
These and hundreds of other such instances are, in fact the means to broaden the limited horizon of man's materialistic approach so as to let him think beyond his limited frame of mind. The recommendations for reading the Holy Qur'an are meant to train the mind so as to make him comprehend these Qur'anic statements. We should therefore not confine our thoughts to the natural laws and phenomena as it is Allah Who does everything whenever He wills. It always happens when He wills. In short before Allah's Infinite Power and Knowledge nothing is impossible and no obstacle comes in His way.
The Second Proof—Allah's Wisdom
We have presented Allah's Justice as the first proof of Resurrection. Now we deal with the second proof.
If the Resurrection is not going to happen, then the very purpose of man's creation and of the Universe will be futile and that will be against the Infinite Wisdom of Allah.
Suppose a man out of his love and regards for his guests prepares delicious dishes and serves it under a magnificent canopy and for the safety and security of the guests deputes people for managing and taking care of the feast. But despite all these if these guests go after the dishes like cats and dogs and disrupt the whole arrangement, the host will wind up the feast ultimately. You can yourself make out as to what it will lead to? In the same way if there is no Resurrection the very purpose of Allah's work will become more futile than that of the feast Allah too has spread a dinner cloth for the people in the shape of this world. The Holy Qur'an says:
Creator of the heavens and the earth from nothingness! How could He have a son when He has no mate? He created everything, and is Omniscience. (Surah al-An'am, 6:101)
Who made everything excellent that He has created. (Surah as-Sajdah, 32:7)
With him all things are in determined measure. (Surah ar-Rad, 13:8)
And ask, 'To whom belongs what is in the heavens and the earth ?' Say, 'To Allah; He has ordained mercy on Himself'. He will gather you on the Day of Resurrection which is certain to come. As for those who have lost their souls, they will not believe. (Surah al-An'am, 6:12)
It is He Who has created for you all that is in the earth, and He directed Himself to the heaven, so He made them complete seven heavens and He is Omniscience. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:29)
And surely We have honoured the children of Adam, and We carry them in the land and the sea, and We have given them of the good things, and We have made them to excel by an appropriate excellence over most of those whom We have created. (Surah Bani Isra'il, 17.70)
The Earth Underneath a Glorious Canopy
The Holy Qur'an says:
Surely We have adorned the nearest heavens with ornaments of stars. (Surah as-Saffat, 37:6)
Then those (angels who) distribute the blessings by Our command. (Surah az-Zariyat, 51:4)
Then those who out-space the others swiftly. an-Naziah, 79:4)
The Holy Prophet as a Sympathetic Physician
Imam Ali says, "The Holy Prophet was a leader who in the love and sympathy for the people used to take a round and after spotting spiritual patients used to treat them". Truly speaking, the Almighty All-Wise Allah has spread for mankind a table which is equipped with all its characteristic specialties but many people do not pay due regard to it and one of the groups is tyrant, free and in comfort, while the other one is in captivity and is oppressed. After a time all will die and this spread will be rolled up for good. Can such an action on the part of the wicked group justified? The Holy Qur'an says:
Those who commemorate Allah while standing, sitting, or resting on their sides and who think about the creation of the heavens and the earth and say, "Lord, You have not created all this without reason. Glory be to You. Lord, save us from the torment of the Fire. (Surah Ale Imran, 3;191)
In the Holy Qur'an Allah has been called Wise about hundred times and we see the signs of His Wisdom everywhere, in the eyelashes, in the curve of our foot, in the mother's love, in the act of a suckling child, in the saltish tears of the eyes, in the soft watery flavour of the mouth, in the man's inhaling of oxygen, in the plant's inhaling of carbon-dioxide, in the sound waves with the ear, in the light rays with the eyes, and in the foodstuff with the digestive processes, in the noiseless motion of the earth, in the fulfilment of man's total requirements, and in the abundance of the bounties which according to the Holy Qur'an cannot be counted. The deep-laid natural phenomena are such that the experts of material sciences have spent their entire life to know them, but they have been unable to solve a single secret of their mystery. Is this world with all its delicacies, maturity, and holiness meant to be destroyed after a few days life?
An Example: Will you allow that for a high ranking officer a room which is ordered to be equipped with all the amenities, water, electricity, telephone, curtains, furniture, microphone etc. is blasted with a hand grenade after it is used once or twice? Therefore, how can we believe that Allah Who has created this vast Universe with such delicate details will blow it up with an earthquake of explosion after a short while?
Will a potmaker allow his potteries to be destroyed? Thus if there is not going to be Resurrection, then Allah's work will only be restricted to making wheat from earth, sperms from wheat, a child from sperm, from child to be a grown up and stout man, then to an old and weak man, and finally to die and decay into dust particles. Is that all He should do? Really speaking if that was to happen, and we were to be reduced to dust then why were we not allowed to remain as dust? Will all this not amount to futility? The Holy Qur'an says:
Do you think We created you for nothing, and that you will not be returned to Us? (Surah al-Mominun, 23:115)
Is not the creation of the heavens, the earth, the rivers, the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, the animals etc. for man and is the ultimate destruction of man a sign of wisdom?
If there is no Resurrection, then the life of man will be like converting thousands of litre of pure water into urine and thou sands of kilograms of foodstuff into human exereta . In that case there will remain no differentiation between light of a candle and that of an electric lamp, and between a donkey cart and an air-plane.
Marxism which clamours for the workers' rights, labourers' government, importance of work, insurance of the labourers, their leave, bonus, right of strike, etc. says the same thing. It says that all these things come to an end, for after death we all perish.
If, however, the sole aim of our life and our slogans is to procure bread, clothes and shelter after which we are to be finished for good, then what is the necessity of undergoing all these troubles when sooner or later we have to perish, in that case why one should not end one's life by committing suicide?
In short if it is taken for granted that after death we all shall be perished then why should we undergo so much trouble in this world? Naturally when the youthful age is so short-lived it will be futile to invest one's efforts to embellishments.
If we are supposed to be destroyed after death then why is there a desire for living in our nature? Of course from the communist point of view, the future of the world is dark and has no existence. Here all actions are destined to be destroyed and the ultimate result of man's life is useless and it has no reality. From this point of view sometimes man is prompted to ask why he has been created and what is the purpose of his creation? When he has been created why should he not turn a wolf so as to achieve some success even though it is achieved at the expense of many human lives? And when he is heading towards destruction then let it be so that he may revel in the destruction of others. If man is perishable like animals then let man use man as beast of burden and let him eat another man's flesh. When all have to live and die for nothing then why not let them become a delicious morsel for me. Yes, the materialistic approach of life leads to that dangerous point at which we have already reached. Though there are famine-stricken countries which are clamouring for help, the developed countries in order to maintain the price level throw their wheat and fruits away into the sea or bury them in the ground and this is shown on the television also.
To my mind we should ask the wahi (revelation) as to how the Wisdom of Allah has described the sure happening of Resurrection. In this connection the Holy Qur'an says:
Does man think that he is to be left to himself, alone? (Surah al-Qiyamah, 75:36)
That is to say will he die ultimately and there will be nothing afterwards? There are several verses in the Holy Qur'an which tell us that we have not come into this world just for fun and, nor have we to do any useless and wrong things. Neither our aims and objectives by any means are simple and ordinary, nor are we intended to be lost in the wilderness of this world. But the purpose of our creation is for the training of mankind and to be brought to trial in this world which is based on definite rules and principles. The real objective of this creation is to chose from among various wrong and un-divine ways the Path of Allah, and to recognize and worship Allah. Sooner or later this Path will lead us to Allah. The Holy Qur'an says:
Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall return. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:156)
And Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth and that every soul may be rewarded for what it has earned and they shall not be wronged. (Surah al-Jathiya, 45:22)
Every soul is held in pledge for what it earns. (Surah Muddaththir, 74:38)
And about Luqman advising his son the Holy Qur'an says:
O my son! whatever it may be, even though equal to a mustard seed in weight, or within a rock or in the sky or deep down in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily Allah is Perceptive, All-Aware. (Surah Luqman, 31:16)
A True Incident: A man came to Prophet's Masjid and started saying, "O Prophet of Allah teach me the Holy Qur'an". The Holy Prophet entrusted him to one of his companions. The companion took him aside and started teaching him Surah al-Zilzal and when he read the following verses:
He who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it. And he who has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it. (Surah al-Zilzal, 99:7, 8)
That man pondered over for a while and then asked his tutor. "Is this Allah's revelation". The tutor said, "Yes". Then the man said, "I have now got my lesson from these very verses and when all my deeds, small and big, are to be accounted for ultimately, I am now aware of my obligations and this is enough for me to lead to the correct Path. I now go. Allah may bless you".
When the man had gone away the tutor came to the Holy Prophet and said, "Today's pupil was not enthusiastic, he did not let me recite anything more than the short verses of the Holy Qur'an; and said. 'If there is one person only in the house, then for him one call is sufficient. Yes, I have got my lesson all right".
The Holy Prophet said, "He has already attained the cognition of Allah and gained the religious teachings".
A Matter of Lamentation: This man took his lesson from one single verse of the Holy Qur'an and got himself reformed but it is a matter of lamentation that people like me have been interpreting for years the Qur'anic verses and the traditions in different ways in pleasant conversation, but…
Inducing the Unbelievers: Our infallible Imams and guides put forward, in an interesting way, their views before their opponents. We mention here how they handled the unbelievers.
In our day-to-day life we receive information which carry some important message and we are influenced by it differently that is whenever there is a greater possibility of gain or loss the greater will be our reaction. For example if there is a hope of 90% gain but the profit is only of 5% in a certain transaction, still the people will come forward. Similarly, if the possibility of the gain is 70% and the profit is 30%, still the people will come forward because the profit ratio is increased. And if the possibility of gain is reduced to 10% only but the profit ratio is 90% still people will come forward. Again if the gain is 1% only but the profit is doubled that is 100%, still people will come forward. If the possibility of gain is one out of 10,000 and the profit is high still the people will come forward as it happens in case of lottery or lucky draws of prize bonds etc. where the winners are only a few out of the thousands and the chance of profit is only 1/10,000, still people will participate in it because the prize money offered is many times greater than investment. From this we understand that howsoever small the possibility of gain may be it is balanced by the possibility of winning a high money value or profit, which means taking risk for obtaining gain.
Now we have a faint belief in the life after death, and in the minutest scrutiny by Allah and in the messages of the Prophets, the Imams and the pious and the devout about the wrath of Allah in the shape of the Hell and Grace and Blessings of Allah in the shape of Paradise. (We on our part have firm belief and conviction in it, but we say it for those who are ignorant and unbelievers). At this stage we can say that if we have the slightest belief in these things, or that it has a remote possibility, then we should come forward because Hell is eternal and Allah's wrath is very severe and Paradise is everlasting and the proximity of Allah is very important.
Hence we should not mind the weak or strong possibility but since the loss or profit is also very important, we should mind it. Suppose a child informs us of a hornet in the nest, or of a snake, or narrates somebody's falling down from the staircase, or someone's drowning in the river or his finding a $100 note or a bag of gold on the way. In these news a man does not mind whether the source of these news is a mere child or a grown up man but what is of importance to him is gain, which you believe to be true. The news about the snake, drowning in the river, bag of gold etc. move the hearer into action irrespective of the fact whether the source of information is reliable or unreliable. (It is with due apologies to the pious leaders that I have compared their versions with those of a child as an example just with the purpose of making the meaning of religion clear to those who are ignoring it).
In short when a man gets some useful or harmful information from a child and reacts to it then why should he not listen to the pious and the dedicated leaders who have been acclaimed as the best people in history? Why do the people not listen to the Prophets who never showed any weakness or slackness in conveying their message to the people and remained steadfast in their mission. They were the voice of their predecessors and they provided the mankind the news of the next world. They performed many miracles and showed Allah 's signs, and hundreds and thousands of people followed them and sincerely accepted their invitation. Despite these things (assuming that a certain group will never be willing to accept), why a doubt does not arise in the people's heart about the child's narration? Naturally when man because of his concern for his gain or loss which is not a permanent thing can react to the statement of a child, should he not react to the call of the Prophets? There is no loss in following their Path of the Prophets but there is a loss in not following their path. From the point of the unbelievers also there is a loss in not following the path laid down by the Prophets and which cannot be averted by supplication, wealth or implorations.
This is an eternal loss which is due to the Wrath of Allah. Thus every sensible person must realize the call of the Prophets in his heart and should at least be aware of the possible danger, because gain or loss is very important.
Perhaps I may be able to present the gist of this discussion in the following example.
On the roadside we come across bakers, drapers, carpet dealers, and an estate agency who have their different objectives.
A baker is sure that hundred per cent of the people would come to his shop and buy bread though each bread carries a very little profit. The draper is not as sure as the baker but he has 80% hope that customers would come and buy cloth from him and the margin of profit on cloth is bigger than it is on bread. That is why he opens his shop every day. The carpet dealer is not so sure of getting customers and has fifty per cent hope only, but from the point of view that a carpet carries a bigger margin of profit, he too opens his shop daily and waits for his customers. Thus it is not the number of customers only which is the cause of opening the shop but it is the consideration of profit that counts so much. A broker has only 5% hope of his success, but since the profit in the land transactions is very great he opens his office and awaits his client.
The profit of a believer lies in the Pleasure and Grace of Allah and the eternal Paradise which is going to be his permanent abode. A sinner's loss lies in the Wrath of Allah and his permanent abode in the Hell. The gain and loss are so great at their own place that we cannot realize them. As the risk factor gets diminishing, the amount of the deal covers it. We should, therefore, get up and try to reduce all those risks (which we believe to be almost certain) or to achieve those profitable results which are also come to happen. To act upon this is to follow the path shown by the Prophets and thus we can get out of the clutches of the Satan and the allurement of our internal inordinate desires.
The Impact of the Belief in Resurrection
Hope and fear in whatever small proportion they may be are the best incentive to man's performance not to speak of the hope for eternal Paradise and the fear of eternal Hell.
If we pin our faith and belief on the Resurrection day, its influence and impact will not be hidden from anyone. He, who knows that here there will be assessment and scrutiny, and accounting and there is justice, imprisonment, punishment for every big and small thing, he can never be thoughtless, oppressor, and sinner. And he who knows that all his actions will be assessed will remain completely satisfied. We quote below a few Qur'anic verses:
Impact of Resurrection on Economic Matters
The Holy Qur'an addresses the dealers and say:
Who insist on being given full when they take from others. But when they measure out to others or weigh out for them, give less. Do they not think that they will be raised again on a grievous day—the day, all mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds? (Surah al-Mutaffifin, 83:2—6)
Here the Holy Qur'an reminds dishonest sellers of the Resurrection day. Without doubt this is an example of the impact of faith in the Resurrection day, which has a direct bearing on economic matters such as production, distribution, marketing, commerce and trade and in particular wasteful expenditure.
Impact of Resurrection on Military Affairs
Here we quote an example: A large delegation of people called on one of the Prophets of Bani Isra'il and said to him, "We have decided to fight against the oppressors but for that we need an able ruler". The Prophet replied, "In my opinion you do not seem to be fit for the battle". They said, "We are fully determined to fight against them because we are too tired of bearing their tortures and oppression". Their Prophet said, "Allah has appointed Talut as your ruler as he is an able, experienced and strong young man and is well-versed in warfare affairs". But when the war was declared a group of the people who were very enthusiastic over fighting got scared in the very first phase and deserted the field. Some made an excuse of the poverty of the commander of the forces and refused to march forward. And others who had claimed that they would remain steadfast in the hour of trial also became impatient and left the field.* Some others who had not deserted the field became panicky after seeing the strong army of the enemy, and started saying, "We do not have the strength to fight". A small regiment of the soldiers who believed in the Resurrection day, raising the slogan that a small band of soldiers could overpower the larger force of the enemy by Allah's help, fell upon the enemy soldiers and defeated them.
This narration of the story of Talut and Jalut which is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, shows that belief in Resurrection leads to steadfastness and victory in the war. The Holy Qur'an says:
And when they went out against Jalut and his forces they said, "Our Lord, bestow upon us patience, make our steps firm and assist us against the unbelievers. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:250)
Martial temperament has much to do with the mental disposition. That warrior who considers his future to be linked with an eternal life, proximity with Allah and His Prophet cannot be compared with the fighter who considers death as his total annihilation and destruction. About those who are diffident in marching ahead to the battlefield, Allah says:
But the provision of this world's life compared with the Hereafter is but little. (Surah at-Tauba, 9:38)
Impact of Resurrection Against Politicians and Transgressors
In order to put Prophet Musa to disgrace Fir'aun sent for all the magicians of the town so that they might counteract the miracle of Prophet Musa. These magicians who till then had no faith in Resurrection expected wealth from Fir'aun. They showed their mean mentality also and started saying to Fir'aun, O Fir'aun, if we give defeat to Musa, will you reward us". Fir'aun said, "Yes I would". When the contest began, the magician did what they could do. And Prophet Musa threw his staff on the ground. It turned into a big snake. The magicians at once realized that this could not be a magic but it was a miracle from Allah. The magicians then in the very presence of Fir'aun declared faith in Prophet Musa. Fir'aun got angry with them and said, "You people have brought your faith on him without my permission, I shall have your hand and feet cut in diagonal order only and have you hanged from the top of the trunk of the date-palm tree. But these magicians who were a moment before expecting rewards from Fir'aun after declaring their faith in Resurrection said to him, "Do whatever you want to do; you are only powerful in this world only". The Holy Qur'an says:
They said, "We do not prefer you to what has come to us of clear arguments and to Him Who made us. Therefore, decide what you are going to decide; you can only decide on this world 's life. (Surah Ta Ha, 20: 72)
The magicians further said to Fir'aun:
There shall be no harm, surely we shall return to our Lord (Surah ash-Shu'ara, 26.50)
In fact, the belief in Resurrection in a moment brought about such a great change and the wealth and the rewards that they considered a great thing a moment ago now appeared to them good-for-nothing and they were ridiculing Fir'aun and with boldness they were telling him, "You can only decide on this world's life". In short it was the belief in Resurrection which brought about such a revolutionary change in men, enlightened their soul, and infused them with a spirit of selfsacrifice and martyrdom.
Impact of Resurrection of the Deprived Persons
All of us have heard that when Aqil, the brother of Imam Ali, requested him to increase his share from the public treasury the Holy Imam after setting an iron bar ablaze brought it nearer to the hand of his brother Aqil and said, "If you are scared of an ordinary fire of this world, I am scared of Allah's eternal wrath and displeasure". (Sermon—227, Peak of Eloquence.)
All of us have also heard that during their childhood Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn fell ill and the Holy Prophet with some of his companions came to inquire about the health of his grandsons. Some of them suggested to Imam Ali to observe fast for three days in order to invoke Allah's Blessings on the ailing children and he agreed to it. When both the children recovered from their illness Imam Ali, Lady Fatima, Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn and Fizzah, the maid-servant observed the pledged fast. However, on the first day when all of them after offering their dusk prayers sat for breaking their fast, a knock on the door announced, "I am a poor and needy person. Help me". At this they gave their bread to the beggar and broke their fast with water. On the second day a similar thing happened. This time it was an orphan who said, "I am hungry. Give me food". And all of them gave all their food to him. On the third day it was a captive who asked for food and they gave him all they had to break their fast with. All the blessed five souls observed their fast for three days and gave their bread to an indigent, an orphan and a captive on three consecutive days and broke their fast with water only. The Holy Qur'an has narrated this incident in Surah ad-Dahr. It says:
Surely we fear a stern, distressful day from our Lord (Surah ad-Dahr, 76:10)
Indeed how the belief in Resurrection binds men with the obligation of looking into the rights of the deprived people of the society. Of course those who do not care for the poor and the needy will admit this on the Resurrection day that one reason of their going to the Hell would be that they had not cared for the poor nor had they fed them. The Holy Qur'an says that they would say:
And we did not feed the poor. (Surah Muddaththir, 74:44)
In the following verse we learn that indifference towards orphans and the poor amounts to disbelief in the Resurrection day. The Holy Qur'an says:
Have you seen him who denies the Day o f Judgement? It is he who treats the orphan with harshness, and does not urge others to feed the needy. (Surah Ma'un, 107:1—3)
Belief in Resurrection Ensures Perfection
Often virtues, moral qualities and spirit of self-sacrifice mean leading the life of deprivation with simplicity and suffering hardships and difficulties. We find some consolation in the belief that on the Resurrection day these will be duly rewarded. The belief in the sovereignty of Allah consoles man that the hardship and the difficulties in this world would be duly rewarded on the Resurrection day. What is that which causes man to lay down his life or spend his money on the poor and the needy or compels him to abdicate his inordinate desires?
Naturally if there happens to be no concept of the Remembrance of Allah and of the love for meeting Him and His saints how can we pass these complicated ways.
If there happens to be no recompense of the deeds and actions, man would not be prepared to bear hardship.
If there happens to be no punishment which thing can prevent man from oppression and tyrannies.
If today the believers bear the mocking remarks and scoffings of the unbelievers, it is due to those assurances which we find in the Holy Qur'an. It says:
So today (on Resurrection day) those who believe shall laugh at the unbelievers. (Surah al-Mutaffifin, 83:34)
The wife of Fir'aun, Asiya has no love for gold and silver in the palatial abode of Fir'aun as she has pinned her faith on some other place of abode. The Holy Qur'an says:
And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe the wife of Fir'aun when she said, 'My Lord! build for me a house with Thee in the garden and deliver me from Fir'aun and his doing, and deliver me from the unjust people'. (Surah at-Tahrim, 66:11)
Indeed the palace of Fir'aun is just like a prison to one whose heart yearns for Paradise.
Imam Ali says, "In great loss is the man, who abandoned the Hereafter for the sake of this world".
The impact of Resurrection day on piety, trustworthiness, and many other matters, big and small, partly or wholly is not hidden from anybody. On this subject we quote some examples from the Holy Qur'an and the traditions.
Belief in Resurrection and Its Remembrance
Just as without the remembrance of Allah, the belief in Allah is of no use, in the same way only believing in the Resurrection day is not sufficient; it is very necessary to remember it. The Holy Qur'an particularly reminds and warns only the man of wisdom. It says:
What! he who is obedient during hours of the night, Prostrating himself and standing, takes care of the Here after and hopes for the mercy of his Lord (be like one who does not.2) Say, 'Are those who know and those who do not know alike? Only the wise are mindful. (Surah Zummar, 39.9)
Unlike some people's belief that the remembrance of death and the Resurrection day makes one negligent about worldly affairs and material gains, our belief is that the remembrance of the Resurrection day prevents us from heedlessness and indiscipline. He who is cautious about his performances big or small will not commit any wrong thing. Of course our belief in the Resurrection day is not sufficient, but we should remember this day of accountability and we should scrutinize our behaviour at the same time. It is just as only liking the flower is not enough to give us mental pleasure but it is necessary that from time to time we should enjoy its pleasant fragrance.
Sometimes the Holy Qur'an objects to those who do not have belief in the Resurrection day and sometimes it criticizes those who are unmindful of it or have forgotten it altogether. The Holy Qur'an says:
They only know the palpable life of this world, and are oblivious of the Hereafter. (Surah ar-Rum, 30:7)
The visit to the graves is recommended so that we should be reminded of our death. We all know that during day and night we recite the following Qur'anic verse several times in our obligatory prayers so that we are reminded of the Resurrection day:
Master of the Day of Judgement. (Surah Fateha, 1:4)
The Effects of Remembering Death and the Resurrection Day
Imam Ja'far Sadiq says about the effects of remembering Death and the Resurrection day:
• Remembering of death suppresses the inordinate desires
• It uproots the very foundation of negligence and apathy.
• With the reminding of Allah's promise, it strengthens man's heart.
• It softens the hard mentality of man.
• It demolishes the banners of inordinate desires and transgression.
• It suppresses the evil of greediness and makes the world humble before one's eyes.
After that the Holy Imam says, the saying of the Holy Prophet, "A moment's reflection and pondering over is better than one year's worship" (Biharul Anwar, vol. VI, p. 133) means thinking over and making arrangement for one's future, that is, thinking over his being questioned and his answering, and his accountability in the court of Allah's Justice.
We read in the traditions that the most wise and thoughtful are those who keep remembering death all the time. (Biharul Anwar, vol. VI, p. 135)
When the Holy Prophet said that hearts also get rusted like iron, the people asked, "With what substance can it be cleansed?" The Holy Prophet replied: "By remembering death and reciting the Holy Qur'an".
Another tradition that is narrated from the Holy Prophet is this: "Remember death frequently for it has four effects.
(i) It washes off your sins.
(ii) It reduces your keen fondness for the world.
(iii) It checks your indulgence in bad practices and improper use of wealth during the period of affluency.
(iv) It makes a man content with whatever little quantity of wealth he has as during poverty his remembering of death makes him realize how he will account before Allah for the wealth he has spent and the deprivation of the people, because he sees that when he has a small quantity of wealth his accountability also would be less". (Nahjul Fasahat, saying, 444)
Imam Ali in connection with a tradition says, "He who remembers death frequently will remain content with whatever httle quantity of wealth he has. He never craves for more and he neither becomes greedy nor miser". (Biharul Anwar, vol. VI)
Actually, the world deceives its own lovers. Anyone who after having the thought of death and the Resurrection Day diverts his heart to the next world, this world's hypocrisies, pomp and show do not allure him towards it.
Imam Ali says, "Anyone who remembers death frequently saves himself from the hypocrisies of the world".
In another tradition which is about the impact of remembering death, we read: "Anyone who sees death in front of him and awaits it, will never lay behind in his daily performances because he knows that the time at his disposal is short and death can overtake him any movement. He gets busy in doing the noble deeds as much as is humanly possible".
Imam Ali reminds the people of how death overtook the people of the past generations and prepares them for it and says, "Where are now the kings of Yemen and Hijaz and their offsprings? Where have the Emperors of Iran and Rome gone? Where are the tyrants and their progenies? Where are those people who had built strong fortresses and decorated them with gold? Where are those people, whose life span was greater than that of yours and whose signs were greater than those of yours?"
Actually those mothers who are anxious for the future of their daughters, prepare their dowries, little.by little, from their very childhood.
Those traders who think of their future debts and liabilities start saving something from the beginning.
Similarly those people who are concerned about death and the Resurrection day from today give up their bad deeds and start performing noble deeds so as to present them on the Resurrection day.
Some people asked Ayatullah Shirazi, who was an erudite scholar of Karbala: "If a credible man tells you that you are going to die in a week's time what will you do in the remaining few days?" He replied, "I will continue doing what I have been doing since my youth, because from the days of my youth whenever I intended to do a thing I thought of the explanation to give on the Resurrection day and, therefore, for me to die at any moment is no worry at all".
Such people are the dedicated followers of that exalted person, who on the 19th of Ramazanul Mubarak after receiving the fatal wound of the sword of Ibn Muljam said, "By Allah I have become triumphant". This very exalted personage in his sermon in Nahjul Balaghah advises his son to remember death at all moments so that by the time death overtakes him, his deeds are with him intact and he may not be questioned for his indifference. (Vide, Peak of Eloquence, ISP, 1984)
We read in many Qur'anic verses that when you think that you are a self-made person and you are pious and honourable before Allah, you should not be afraid of death; rather you should be desirous of it.
Remembering of Death in Supplications
Remembering death and the Resurrection day is the integral part of supplications. As for example in the Supplication of Abu Hamza Thamali we read as follows:
O Lord! At the time of my dying bestow Your Mercy on my sorrow and helplessness.
O Lord! Bestow Your Mercy in the loneliness of my grave and in my fear and restlessness.
O Lord! On the Day of Judgement Bestow Your Mercy at the time of the scrutiny of my deeds when I am disgraced for failing to give explanation.
O Lord! Bestow Your Mercy at the time when my friends take my coffin to the graveyard.
Imam Ali's Supplication in Masjid Kufa
O Lord! Protect me from that day and put me under Your shelter, when the tyrant will be chewing his own flesh and would be repenting and saying, 'Would that I had not followed those who misguided me to go astray and instead had adopted the path as shown by the Holy Prophet'.
O Lord! Bestow Your Mercy and protection on me on the day when the parents would not be able to help me; when the repentance of the tyrants will be of no avail; when man will run away even from his father, mother, brothers sons and friends when man will be singularly responsible for his own deeds
O Lord ! Protect me on the day when the sinners would wish that their sons, brothers, friends and the entire family might be caught instead of them, and save me from the torment of Hell.
Reciting of these supplications cures the sick and brightens the darkness of the soul. They purify the souls, broaden our mental horizon and enlighten us.
However the sinners and the transgressors are those who do not believe in the accountability and the Resurrection day or if they have belief in it they are spiritually bankrupt.
Why Do We not Remember Death?
Imam Ali says, "I am concerned about two things. Your following of the inordinate desires and your long hopes, as the former will distract you from the right path and the latter will take you away from the remembrance of the Resurrection day". (Peak of Eloquence)
We read in another tradition. "If somebody less remembers death and the Resurrection day it is because he has long and unbridled hopes and desires''.
Consequences of Denying the Resurrection Day
(i) Shirking Responsibilities: When someone wishes to derive some benefit from a tree or a land in a deserted place, his conscience will prick him and will prevent him from doing so because he has not obtained the consent of the owner. In order to deceive his own conscience he says to himself that actually there happens to be nobody as the owner of these trees and land and on this pretext he takes advantage of the situation, or he says to himself that such and such person does not go away from the scene so that he might get an opportunity to fulfil his desire. The Holy Qur'an says:
Yet man is skeptical of what is right before him. He asks: 'When will the Day of Resurrection be ? ' (Surah al-Qiyamah, 75:5)
Whenever a man wants to see the women of others, he professes that all of us are brothers and sisters to one another.
When he is frightened to face the tyrant, he takes an excuse and says, "We should observe dissimulation". When he feels diffident he says, "We should cooperate with the people". True, man has such a tendency of finding excuses and inventing pretexts that he himself becomes unaware of his faculties. We call such an attitude as shirking responsibilities".
(ii) Lack of Faith in Allah's Might and Knowledge: There is no practical reasoning with those who deny the belief in the Resurrection day. On the other hand they consider it impossible that the dead will come into life again. We give some examples here. The Holy Qur'an says:
They say. 'There is nothing but our life in this world, we live and die and nothing annihilate us but time and they have no knowledge of it; they only speculate. (Surah Jathiya, 45:24)
The unbelievers claim that they will not be raised again. Tell them. 'Why not? By my Lord, you will certainly be raised again, and then informed of what you had done. That is easy for Allah'. (Surah Taghabun, 64:7)
But they say: 'When we have reduced to dust, how can we be created all anew? In fact, they deny the meeting with their Lord. (Surah as-Sajdah, 32.10)
Similarly in many other verses of the Holy Qur'an it has been mentioned that those who do not believe in the Resurrection day, because they say as to how it could be possible that after death when they had been reduced to dust would come back to life again. We see that the unbelievers in the Resurrection day always are sceptical about it and question as to how it can happen and how it would happen. But the Holy Qur'an answers them in unambiguous term, which we have already referred to in our discussions on Resurrection.
Now at this place we quote a tradition of the Holy Prophet who says: "Whenever you happen to witness the spring season, revive your belief in coming back to life again after death". (The Eternal Life, p. 45 by Martyr Murtaza Mutahhery)
The Holy Qur'an also quite often stresses that coming of the dead to life again is just like the land and the trees coming back to life again. In this context we quote the gist of two couplets of Mathnavi of Maulana Rum:
"After the autumn, the spring is the proof of the coming back to life again.
In the spring the mysteries of nature are unravelled and whatever the earth has consumed becomes evident".
The reasoning of denying the Resurrection is based on the disbelief in the Power of Allah and that is why the Holy Qur'an gives many examples of the Divine Power as for instance it says that Almighty All-Powerful Lord Who first created us would again bring back to life after we have been reduced to dust particles. It is easier to reduce something to dust than to create in the first instance.
It is He Who first creates and then reverts it. This is easy for Him. (Surah ar-Rum, 30:27)
There is nothing which Allah is not able to do. Allah has Power to do all things.
Another pretext of those who do not believe in the Resurrection was the question as to when the Resurrection day will happen? In the following Qur'anic verse it is mentioned that after hearing the explanation given by the Holy Prophet the unbelievers scoffed in surprise and asked when it would happen. The Holy Qur'an says:
Or some other created things which may seem to you most difficult to create. They will then say. 'Who will revert us back?' Say: 'He Who created you in the beginning'. Still they will shake their heads at you and say: 'When will it be? Say: 'In the near future'. (Surah Bani Isra'il, 17:51)
These people do not know that the exact time of the Resurrection day is known only to Allah but having no knowledge of the time of happening should not be the excuse for denying the Resurrection day. It is like that when a man does not know the time of his death himself can he deny the fact of his dying one day? There was another excuse as they said if Allah would reproduce the dead back to life the Holy Prophet should bring their dead ancestors to life again. In this connection the Holy Qur'an says.
And when our clear revelations are recited to them, they have no other argument but to say: 'Bring our ancestors back if you are truthful' (Surah Jathiya, 45:25)
How strangely these people behaved and placed impossible demands and raised funny questions! However if one is not unreasonable and obstinate, his believing in the Resurrection will be based on the proof of his sleeping, waking, and the reappearing of fresh leaves from the trees, but if one is adamant the coming back of his dead father to life would not convince him still and he would say: "Bring back my forefathers to life again, bring my youth again, or would demand the demolition of the whole system of Universe but would never believe in the Resurrection day.
Is it not in the Holy Qur'an that some people came to the Holy Prophet and said, "If you wish that we should believe in you, bring down the planets on the earth, produce Allah in human shape before us, break the moon into two halves, produce a live camel out of this mountain now and at once".
But unfortunately these people are quite unaware of the fact that the work of the Prophets is to show the signs of Allah, to provide proofs of them and guide the people towards prosperity and perfection, and that this world is not a show-room or an industrial home.
Had they not said after having seen the moon split into two parts that it was all sorcery?
Did Prophet Isa who used to raise the dead back to life convince the people of Allah's Power?
Can for the sake of converting a few to belief, the entire system of nature be reversed? Does Allah possess form and shape so as to appear before such stupid fools?
We close this discussion on a Qur'anic verse. Allah in reply to those who consider the coming back of the dead to life again impossible says:
Do they not perceive that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, has the power to create the like of them? There is no doubt that He has fixed a term for them. But the wicked desdain everything but unbelief. (Surah Bani Isra'il, 17.99)
In short if the people need some miracles in support of bringing their belief, miracles have been performed by the Prophets already, but if some of them will make it a precondition of the demolition of the system of the universe, the Prophets would never yield to such demands.
Death Is a Divine Law
Does it mean that after death the Divine Power will cease to exist and death will prevail upon the Will of Allah? Not at all; because this dying itself is subservient to the Will of Allah. This is one of such things as have been predestined. The Holy Qur'an says.
We have ordained death among you and We are not to be overcome. (Surah Waqiyah, 56:60)
The interesting thing is that in the Holy Qur'an "dying" is mentioned fourteen times with the word tawaffa which means "entrusting". That is to say after death one will not be perished but that Allah will take His thing back without increase or decrease and Who will entrust it to His appointed workers.
Is dying actually means being destroyed ultimately? No. It is because destruction does not wish to be reproduced. The Holy Qur'an says:
Who created death and life in order to try you, which of you is best in deeds and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving. (Surah al-Mulk, 67:2)
From this it is proved that death is not destruction but it leads to another place where one is transferred. That is "dying" is attributed to the word tawaffa. The interesting point is that similar meaning is found in the sayings of the Holy Prophet as for instance he said, "Do not consider that death will annihilate you but consider that you will be shifted from one house to another house". (Biharul Anwar, Chap. on Purgatory)