Chapter 8: On Resurrection
Resurrection is one of the major principles of religion and denying it equals denying a necessity of the religion. Resurrection is an important major principle which God the Blessed has ordained. Thus, whoever denies the Resurrection, has in reality denied an issue which God the Exalted has stated which is one of the major principles and one of the necessities of the religion. Thus the issue of Resurrection is very important just like the major principle of monotheism.
Is the Resurrection on the Judgement Day a spiritual Resurrection, meaning that the bodily pleasures such as eating, drinking and etc. do not exist in the same way that some of the philosophers say, or is it a truly physical Resurrection?
It is correct to say that Resurrection is both a physical Resurrection and spiritual Resurrection. Both the soul and the body will experience the pleasures of Paradise. Likewise, both the soul and the body are tortured in Hell where man is tortured for his evil deeds in this world.
Also the Quranic verses indicate there is both a physical Resurrection and a spiritual Resurrection. From amongst the Quranic verses which prove the existence of a physical Resurrection and a spiritual Resurrection we may cite the following noble verse,
"Doth not man see that it is We Who created him from sperm? yet behold! he (stands forth) as an open adversary! And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (origin and) Creation: He says, 'Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?' Say, 'He will give them life Who created them for the first time! for He is Well-versed in every kind of creation! '" The Holy Quran: Ya-Sin 36:77-79.
The following verse was revealed about Obayy ibn Khalaf or A'as ibn Va'el who picked up a decayed bone and brought it to the presence of the Prophet and said, "O Muhammad (S)! Do you say that God will revive this decayed bone?" God the Blessed the Sublime revealed the following in response to this question,
"Doth not man see that it is We Who created him from sperm? yet behold! he (stands forth) as an open adversary! And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (origin and) Creation: He says, 'Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?' Say, 'He will give them life Who created them for the first time! for He is Well-versed in every kind of creation!'" The Holy Quran: Ya-Sin 36:77-79.
Then God states,
"Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof? Yea, indeed! for He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)! Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, 'be', and it is! So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things: and to Him will ye be all brought back." The Holy Quran: Ya-Sin 36:81-83.
Evidently in these verses God states that if those who are in doubt about the Resurrection think about it themselves, they will realize that the same God who created man once can create him again. The above verses also indicate a physical Resurrection and a spiritual Resurrection because it states,
"Say, 'He will give them life Who created them for the first time! for He is Well-versed in every kind of creation!'" The Holy Quran: Ya-Sin 36:79.
In another verse we read,
"O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (our power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much), and (further), thou seest the Earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs)." The Holy Quran: Al-Hajj 22:5.
In the continuation of this same noble verse He establishes another reason and states,
"This is so, because Allah is the Reality: it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who has power over all things. And verily the Hour will come: there can be no doubt about it, or about (the fact) that Allah will raise up all who are in the graves." The Holy Quran: Al-Hajj 22:6-7.
Thus, reasoning for Resurrection consists of two issues: The creation of man and its phases.
Rain and the growth of the plants, the trees and the flowers from the dead Earth that come after.
And the phrase
"... Allah will raise up all who are in the graves." The Holy Quran: Al-Hajj 22:6-7.
is a reason for the physical Resurrection showing that Resurrection is not just spiritual; rather it is both physical and spiritual. Otherwise, the rising of the dead from their graves is not necessary.
There are also other Quranic verses which indicate the fact that on the Day of Judgement, God the Exalted will create both the soul and the body because He states,
"...(consider) that We created you ..." The Holy Quran: Al-Hajj 22:5.
This means that God created both the body and the soul, and will return the body and the soul resurrected back to its owner.
This was a summary about the major principle of Resurrection. However, there are many other indications of this issue such as the examples which God has brought in the Quran about the Resurrection. Examples such as the case of 'Uzair, Abraham (a.s.) and the Companions of the Cave who spent 309 years in a cave, but their bodies did not decay. When they woke up from sleep they only said, "It seems that we have slept for a long time." There are many other verses to indicate the existence of a physical Resurrection and a spiritual Resurrection.
Let's start this discourse by referring to a verse from the Holy Quran in which God the Blessed the Exalted said,
"Or (take) the similitude of one who passed by a hamlet, all in ruins to its roofs. He stated: 'Oh! how shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?' but Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He stated: 'How long didst thou tarry (thus)?' He stated: '(Perhaps) a day or part of a day.' He stated: 'Nay, thou hast tarried thus a hundred years; but look at thy food and thy drink; they show no signs of age; and look at thy donkey: And that We may make of thee a sign unto the people, Look further at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh.' When this was shown clearly to him, he stated: 'I know that Allah hath power over all things.'" The Holy Quran: Al-Baqara 2:259.
Just as it was mentioned before, the existence of both a physical and a spiritual Resurrection are proven in the Quranic verses which God the Blessed the Exalted has revealed. Moreover, it is a religious necessity for the Resurrection to be both physical and spiritual. Thus, on the Resurrection Day man would appear both in physical form and the spiritual form before God.
The following verse which is about the Prophet 'Uzair (Ezra) (a.s.) is amongst the verses which clearly mention the issues of spiritual and physical Resurrection. Its relation to the previous verse lies in the fact that it states the reasoning of Abraham (a.s.) with Nimrud regarding the issue of monotheism (or the belief in the only God the Exalted).
There exist different views regarding who this verse refers to. However, it is certain that it is about one of the Divine Prophets - either
'Uzair, Ermia, Khizr, or some other Prophet. Some people have claimed that it is about an unbeliever. However, the fact is that it is about a Prophet. It is highly probable that it refers to the Prophet 'Uzair (a.s.) or Ezra.
Thus, after explaining the issue of Abraham (a.s.), God the Blessed the Exalted states,
"Didst thou not turn by vision to those who abandoned their homes, though they were thousands (in number), for fear of death? Allah stated to them: 'Die': Then He restored them to life. For Allah is full of bounty to mankind, but most of them are ungrateful." The Holy Quran: Al-Baqara 2:243.
Some scholars have said that the village referred to here is Jerusalem which Bakht-Al- Nassr had destroyed. Others have said that this refers to the 'hamlet' mentioned in the previously cited verse.
'Uzair (a.s.) passed through the village and saw that the village that had been destroyed and its inhabitants had perished. 'Uzair was amazed at how God could revive the ones who had died after a very long time. Then God the Exalted took his soul for one-hundred years, and after this period, God revived him and addressed him as follows1, "How long have you been asleep?" At first he thought that he had been asleep. Later on he was told he was dead. He replied, "One day or half a day." God told him that he had been dead for one-hundred years. He was told to look at his food and drink which were preserved by God and stayed fresh. He was told to look upon the skellet of his donkey and how God revives it by adding fresh flesh to it. He was told that God wanted to set him up as an example for mankind. Once he realized what had happened and learned how God revives the dead, he said, "I know that God is able to do everything." This show that he had belief in the Resurrection, but wanted to become wholeheartedly sure just like Abraham (a.s.) who said,
"...Yea! but to satisfy My own undertaking." The Holy Quran: Al-Baqara 2:260.
This scene appeared to him so as to increase his certainty.
The case of Abraham (a.s.) is similar as we read in the following verse of the Holy Quran,
"Behold! Abraham stated: 'My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead.' He stated: 'Dost thou not then believe?' He stated: 'Yea! but to satisfy My own undertaking.' He stated: 'Take four birds; Tame them to turn to thee; put a portion of them on every hill and call to them: They will come to thee (flying) with speed. Then know that Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.'" The Holy Quran: Al-Baqara 2:260.
The birds referred to in the above verse have been said to be a dove, a crow, a peacock and a rooster in several authentic narrations. Thus, Abraham (a.s.) reached the stage of certitude after passing through the stage of knowledge by experiencing the above event. This verse is another proof of the physical and spiritual Resurrection because the birds were revived from their own parts.
- 1. It is evident from this addressing that the addressee is a Prophet not an unbeliever.