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Part 2: Death or Another Birth

The Reality And The Philosophy Of “Departing From The World”

What is the reality of death? What is the philosophy of life and death? For answering these questions, first of all, we must clarify our perception regarding death, in other words, at the beginning we must see how exactly death is and how we must visualize it.

Usually, most of the people are alarmed and fearful upon hearing the word 'death', and to them, death appears dreadful and terrifying, whereas, according to the Islamic ideology, this terminology or this subject has a different appearance and can be perceived in a different way. Basically it can be said that those who fear death, consider it to be a negative entity. According to this insight, death is an end of life and a moment of everlasting separation of man with his life. They believe that with death, the compounded substances of the body suffer a breakdown and return to nature and man too, is nothing except this very broken-down body. Hence, with death, everything ends with no hope remaining!!

Indeed, with this view and insight, death is darker and more dreadful than every other thing and perhaps, no calamity, pain, sorrow and tragedy can be greater and more painful than the tragedy of death, because death would mean the burial of all the desires, hopes, longings and in short, the termination of all things for man - that man who loved life and eternity very dearly.

Anyway, Islam does not possess such a dark and fear-instilling view of death because according to the Islamic view, death is a positive entity. The moment of death is a moment of rebirth of man and a moment of his hastening out from a confined region of this world into a world, which is wide, expansive and rapturous. A world, wherein, man is not troubled by anxieties, sorrows and the material and natural limitations. Of course, those who have habituated themselves to worries and limitations must free themselves of such habits. In other words, becoming free from the clutches of mother nature entails some transient hardships but after that, in place of a confined and dark place, man is taken into a world which is extensive, infinite and full of luminosity and happiness.

According to this view, death is not annihilation but is inherent fallout of one stage of progress and development of man. Similar to an infant in the womb of the mother, which, after reaching a particular stage of its development, just should not and cannot stay in the confined and dark womb of the mother and obtain nourishment from her blood, but must come out and continue its development in a more extensive world. Similarly, after a certain period, he should attain freedom from the confined and limited world of nature and hasten to another world, which is appropriate for his eternity-desiring soul.

In short, it is according to this view that life of man becomes pleasant and sweet and his death too, not only does not become a means of sorrow but also is regarded as an escape from the misfortunes, sorrows and limitations. And if his death is like the death of the champions and by his own choice and on the path of Truth and as a result, can be called martyrdom, then surely it will be more pleasant and more sweet, and in the moment of death and departure from the world he shall experience such pleasure that only the very righteous and the martyrs on the path of virtue and piety have the knowledge of, and these are the very people who can taste this pleasure. This is because, those pleasures cannot be described and if ever described, does not possess the same pleasure (which is gained by experiencing it).

The reality of death, according to the Holy Qur’an1, as was previously referred, is 'Tawaffa’ and not 'Faut’. 'Tawaffa’ means the angels commissioned to seize the soul of man, seize it and release it from the captivity of the body and then transfer it to another world, towards his Lord.

Philosophy Of Death

Why is it that man is created, and then after a certain period of time, in which he lives in this world, departs from it? If death is total annihilation and man after death becomes totally non-existent, this question is propounded with greater seriousness, meaning that, according to this assumption, the probability of the creation of man being futile and the life being vain and empty increases. But, in the event that we do not consider death to be a 'negative entity' and define it to be a transfer or a renewed birth, still the question arises and seeks its answer as to why exactly do we come into the world and why exactly do we get transferred from it?

This very question can be expressed in one of the two possible ways:

i) What aim did Allah or the Agent possess in creating His creations, or in other words, what benefit does He wish to avail of by the life and death of man and other creations?

If the question is put up in this form, it is necessary to state that the question and its answer is not related to our discussion and it must be deliberated in a discussion related and appropriate to it. All we can say is that Allah is an Independent Entity, and He avails of no benefit as a result of His creating His creations. Hence, the exact answer for “ Then why did He create?” is related to profound, Gnostic topics.

ii) What purpose did Allah or the Agent have for his action? In other words, Allah created His creations and among them man, that they travel along which path and to where they reach or what goal they follow? If the above question is expressed in this manner, we must say that according to the Qur’anic verse, Allah created the heavens and the creations so that they recognize Allah and worship Him:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُونِي

“And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they worship me.” (51:56).

In the meaning that, all the creations must, in their journey for perfection, reach a stage that they can, by means of man, become a mirror for the Divine Attributes, because it is in this stage that the worship and cognition of Allah can reach a stage which is befitting it.

In short, Allah created His creations and amongst them, man so that finally they reach the level of cognition of Allah and can understand His Beautiful Attributes and manifest them within themselves, because the real worship and cognizance of Allah can take the creation and man to a position and status, the specialties and the grandness of which must be referred to in gnostical topics.

So according to this view, the philosophy of life and death, which are part of the creation of Allah, become clear. The life and death and basically, the changes in the material world and the transfer from one stage of life to another of it or the transfer from one world into another world, all of these play a part in the journey of man and the creations towards perfection. Such changes or the ups and downs must be present, in the light of which, people can be tested, and the pure are separated from the unpure. This is what, the Holy Qur’an says:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ

“Who created death and life that He may try you - which of you is best in deeds; and He is Mighty and Forgiving.” (67:2).

According to this verse, firstly, both life and death are part of the creation of Allah. Thus, death is a thing which Allah has created and hence cannot be a 'negative entity', because a negative entity is not capable of being created.

Secondly, tests and trials are considered to be the philosophy of the creation of life and death so that it can be known who is the most righteous.

Of course, it should be known that this “test” is not in its literal meaning that takes place on an appointed time and is taken from one particular group or according to a pre-determined subject-matter, but it possesses a very wide meaning. In other words, the tests and trials here, encompass all the moments of the life and death of man, his ups and downs during the span of his entire life, even during his transfer into the next world and after that too. Basically, these changes and transfers prepare the ground for the development and progress of man. Similar to sportsmen, for whom, not only their competition is a trial and a test, but the pre-competition training is also considered as a form of test and these phasic trials and tests, help to prepare them for the original competition. Life and death and the transfer of man from one world to another world and also the bounties and at times the problems of life, according to the verses of the Holy Qur’an, are trials and tests for man which prepare him, stage by stage, for attaining his ultimate objective.

'Death'- According To The Holy Qur’an

In the Holy Qur’an, interesting and varied interpretations have been made, regarding death, the study of all the aspects of which, shall become very elaborate, hence we suffice by mentioning a few of the beautiful and expressive interpretations, which have appeared in some of the verses.

1. Meeting With Allah

The Holy Qur’an, in the last verse of the Surah Kahf, has expressed death as a meeting with Allah and says:

فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُوا لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلاَ يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

“So whoever desires to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord.” (18:110).

2. Return To Allah

Another interpretation which the Holy Qur’an has and which makes clear the reality of death, is “return to Allah”. However, the Islamic philosophers, regarding the manner of the creation of the entities (and amongst them, man) by Allah and after then, their return towards Allah, have subtle, profound and interesting theories. The Holy Qur’an says:

إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

“Verily, we are Allah's and verily to Him shall we return.” (2:156).

3. Seizing Of The Soul

One of the beautiful interpretations of the Holy Qur’an in the matter of death is (توفّى). This word means seizing a thing in its entirety. Hence, according to the verse under consideration, the reality of death is that the angels commissioned to take the soul, seize the entire personality of man at the time of death, and remove it from the captivity of the body. They, then carry it to the Divine Presence:

)قُلْ يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ مَلَكُ الْمَوْتِ الَّذِي وُكِّلَ بِكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ(

“Say: the Angel of Death who is given charge of you shall cause you to die, then to your Lord you shall be brought back.” (32:11).

'Death' - According To The Traditions

The traditions also contain beautiful, subtle, instructive and interesting interpretations regarding death, some which are mentioned.

1. The Bridge Of Crossing

In some of the traditions, death has been referred to as a bridge, over which people, at the time of transfer from this world to the other world, shall cross and reach their goal, which is the other world. For example, Imam Husayn (’a) on the day of ‘Ashura, speaking to his loyal companions said:

صبراً بنى الكرام فما الموت الاقنطرة تعبُربكم عن البؤس و الضرَاء الى الجنان الواسعه

“Remain firm, O sons of noble people, because death is just a bridge which will cross you and transfer you from discomforts and troubles, into the extensive gardens of paradise. So which of you does not desire his freedom from prison and entering into a castle. Of course, death for your enemies is like their being transferred from a palace and a castle into prison and torture.”2

2. Removal Of Clothes

In some of the traditions, death has been compared to clothes, which of course differs, with respect to a believer and an unbeliever. Death, for a believer is like dirty clothes, which he removes and frees himself from its dirtiness and unpleasant odor, whereas, death with respect to an unbeliever is also like clothes, but beautiful, costly and pleasant-smelling, which he must remove from his body at the time of transfer to the other world.3

3. Sleep

In some other traditions, death has been compared to sleep, in which the soul goes out of the body. The only fundamental difference between sleep and death is that the coming out of the soul from the body, at the time of sleep, is only for a short period of time. In addition, the connection between the body and the soul is not completely severed. On the other hand, researches pertaining to the soul has proved shown that the soul maintains a connection with the body in a very special manner. While, at the time of death and after that, the severance of this connection is more complete than that during sleep, although, after death too, a weak connection does exist for a certain period.

Another point is that the coming out of the soul at the time of death continues up to the Universal Resurrection. This tradition says:

قيل لعليّ بن الحسين (عليه السلام) ما الموت؟ قال للمؤمن كنزع ثياب و سخة قمله و فكّ قيود و اغلال ثقيله و الاستبدال بافخر الثيات و اطيبها روائح و اوطىء المراكب و آنس المنازل و للكافر كخلع ثياب فاخره…

“Imam Muhammad Baqir (a’) was questioned as to what is death? The Imam (‘a) replied “ Death is the very same sleep that comes to you every night. However this is a sleep, which is very long, and man shall not wake up from it until the Day of Judgement. Thus one who sees different types of pleasure and happiness in his sleep over which he, (in his wakefulness) has no power and similarly he sees the different types of fear-instilling things, while he has no power over them. Thus, how is the state of happiness and fear in the sleep? (The affairs shall be similarly so in the state of death too). This is death. So be ready and prepared for it.” 4

Why Do We Fear Death?

The fear of death, for most of the people, is not a matter which requires any evidence because it is totally obvious and we also see that a lot of people manifest extra-ordinary sensitivity with respect to the term 'death' and its reality. Thus the actual matter is self-evident. That which requires proof and an answer is the reason for this fear and alarm as to why we fear death?

Reasons For The Fear Of Death

In answer to this question, it is possible to mention some reasons, which have also appeared in our traditions, and which are as follows:

1. Not Having A Correct Insight

In the previous discussions, we had mentioned that a lot of people considered death to be an eternal destruction of themselves. Consequently, it is but natural that they fear death and visualize it dark and gloomy, because the love for permanence and eternity is one of the natural instincts of people and each one in his own way, tries to protect himself from calamities and diseases and ensure his own permanence, and death, in his view, is greater and more pain-inflicting than any disease or calamity, because it is the start of his everlasting extinction.

Nevertheless, if the alarm and fear of death is as a result of non-recognition of the reality of death, then for the removal of this fear, it is vital that its reality, which is found in the Islamic insight, be understood and with regard to it, a strong conviction be developed. If a person bases his views regarding death on correct foundations, many of his fears regarding death will cease to exist because, once he comprehends that with death, he shall enter into a world, more extensive and eternal and also that he shall be liberated from the material, natural and corporeal shackles, how then would he consider it to be abominable and hateful.

2. A New And An Unfamiliar Path

One of the causes due to which man tends to fear death is that man, after death, steps onto an entirely new path and embarks upon an entirely new journey. Man, usually tends to travel on frightful paths, over which he has traveled a number of times and has not encountered any trouble, better than paths which are comparatively safer, but which are totally new. Since, the path being new and unfamiliar, it becomes reason for hesitation and anxiety, especially since no one, who has traveled this path, has brought any news about it, for the others.

Anyway, if the fear of death is due to the place and path being unfamiliar, then it is necessary that the reality of death be completely comprehended and one's conviction strengthened. In addition to this, it is necessary to obtain the necessary information by means of the Revelation and the traditions of the Infallible Imams (a.s.) and the righteous people, regarding the stages, places of danger and the other particularities of death and after it, then believe in them and prepare oneself to encounter them. Just like a person, who during the course of a journey, finds himself lonely and unaware of his whereabouts, manages to lessen his perplexity with the help of necessary information, maps and equipment’s, we too must obtain the map of the way and the necessary information from authentic and reliable sources.

دخل علىّ بن محمّد (عليهما السلام) على مريض من اصحابه و هو يبكى و يجزع من الموت. فقال له: يا عبد الله تخاف من الموت لانّك لا تعرفه, أرأيتك اذا اتّسخت و تقذّرت و تأذّيت من كثرة القذر و الوسخ عليك و اصابك قروح و جرب و علمت انّ الغسل في حمّام يزيل ذلك كلّه أما تريدان تدخله فتغتسل ذلك عنك او ما تكره ان تدخله فيبقي ذلك عليك؟ قال: بلى يابن رسول الله. قال: فذلك الموت هو ذلك الحمّام…

In a tradition from Imam ‘Ali ibn Muhammad (‘a), it is narrated that he (‘a) approached one of his companions who was sick and in a state of crying and grieving and complaining due to fear of death. The Imam (‘a) then addressed him saying: “O servant of Allah, you fear death because you do not comprehend it”. Then the Imam (‘a) presented an example and said “If you had become dirty, and due to the excess of dirt and dirtiness you were in suffering and inconvenience, and you knew that the cure for all this lay in your taking a shower, would you wish to go to a bath and clean yourself or would you wish to remain in the same state of dirtiness and as a result continue to undergo the suffering.” The sick man said, “Yes, I would wish to take the shower “. Then the Imam (‘a) replied “death (for you) is the very same shower...”5

The point to be considered in the above tradition is that, the sick person was one of the companions of the Imam (‘a) and was aware of the Islamic insight regarding death, but in spite of this, was intensely fearful of death. And so, the Imam (‘a) by presenting an example explained to him the states and circumstances after death and thus calmed him.

3. Lack Of Preparation

Some of the people have comprehended the reality of death and are also aware of the Islamic insight regarding death. On the other hand, they have also obtained some information regarding the stations and the journey after death, however, in spite of all this, they still fear death. This fear is not due to the two reasons previously mentioned but because they have not made available for themselves the tools and things necessary for this journey of theirs, while, on the contrary they have been paying more-than-necessary importance to their present lives; like a person who knows that he would have to spend the rest of his life in another country, but has not collected any money for his journey.

Instead, all that he has gathered is in the form of house, shop, land or other things which, presently, are neither capable of being changed, nor transferred. In other words, he has strived and worked and collected a capital, but the capital is such that it cannot be transferred and there is also nobody who will buy it. In short, it is not useful in any way for the objective, which he had in mind. It was because of this that Imam Husayn (‘a) said:

انّكم اخربتم آخرتكم و عمرتك دنياكم فأنتم تكرهون النقلة من العمران الى الخراب

“You have ruined and destroyed your hereafter and instead have made habitable the present life. So you do not like the transfer from a inhabited and comfortable place to a ruined and destroyed one.” 6

This kind of fear of death, which results from the lack of preparedness and the absence of the provisions of the journey usually occurs with the believers, which in reality is not fear of death but instead, fear of not possessing the sufficient provisions necessary for this journey.

Another point is that such a fear is usually mixed with eagerness. Because, on the one hand, a believer is eager for the Divine meeting and also for the companionship of the Righteous people. On the other hand, due to lack of sufficient piety and the necessary provisions, finds himself in a state of anxiety and fear, whereas the unbelievers do not possess such a fear and eagerness. They fear the actual death, because they consider it to be a complete annihilation. Of course, it could be said that the fear of the unbelievers could have a universal meaning, and the causes of it could be those mentioned and also those not mentioned.

Nevertheless, death or transfer into another world is a universal law, acceptance of which or fear of which shall create no change in the law itself, and finally sooner or later, everyone shall taste the nectar or the poison of death. That, which is more important than death, is the preparation for it, and Insha-Allah, Allah shall bestow such a success upon us.

The Type Of Connection Between The World And The Hereafter

In this part, up to now, the essence and the reality of death as viewed by Islam and also the fear of death, of a lot of people, were the object of discussion and to a certain extent have become clear. For the purpose of completion of the discussion, it is necessary to place under study and discussion the type of connection between the world and the hereafter.

Regarding the connection between the world and the hereafter, various theories existed and still exist, dwelling upon all of which does not appear to be very necessary. Hence the main aim of this discussion is to study of the various verses and elucidating the view of the Holy Qur’an with respect to the connection between the world and the hereafter.

However, before proceeding with the Qur’anic verses, we will refer to the fact that in the ancient times and between different nations, there persisted this belief that whosoever enjoyed the material benefits in this life, in other words, whosoever was lucky in this world, would also be lucky in the other world, especially he, whose material things of use were placed along with him, or in his grave, so that after becoming alive, could utilize them.

Thus, decorative articles, money, food and other things which could be needed in life were buried with the dead in their graves, a large number of which have been uncovered during various excavations. On the other hand, these very people were of the belief that if a person did not possess material wealth and was poor and unlucky in this world, he would be in the same condition in the hereafter.

The Holy Qur’an does not accept this superficial and irrational connection but instead is a proponent of the connection between man's voluntary actions in this world and his eternal life. That is, if the voluntary actions of man take place as a result of “belief and faith” and fall under the category of “righteous deeds”, it shall be a reason for his happiness in the hereafter, while on the contrary, if the voluntary deeds and actions do not occur as a result of faith and belief and are also not categorized as “righteous deeds”, the hereafter has trouble in store for him. However, the increase and the decrease in intensity as well as magnitude, as also the time period of the pain and suffering of this person in the hereafter depends upon these two fundamental factors of his worldly life.

Thus, according to the Islamic and the Qur’anic insight, possession or non-possession of the material benefits and the worldly comfort in this world is not the criterion for the felicity or the wretchedness of the hereafter. But those which happen to be the actual basis and criterion are two things:

1) The correct belief and conviction.
2) Righteous and pious deeds.

The Holy Qur’an, very clearly states:

بَلَى مَنْ كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيئَتُهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

“Yea! Whoever earns evil and his sins beset him on every side, these are the inmates of the fire; in it they shall abide.” (2:81).

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

“And (as for) those who believe and do good deeds, these are the dwellers of the garden: in it they shall abide.” (2:82).

Up to here it was understood that according to the Holy Qur’an, the basis and the criterion for happiness and wretchedness in the hereafter is faith and righteous deeds of an individual in this world. However, this question still stands as to what is the type of this connection? In other words, is this connection imaginary and hypostatized or actual and real?

In the study of the Qur’anic verses, we encounter occasions whereby we can consider the connection between faith and righteous deed on the one hand and happiness of the hereafter on the other hand, to be imaginary and hypostatized. In addition, there exist other verses and occasions, wherein the connection is considered to be more than just imaginary and hypostatized, but one of actuality and reality. Before we embark upon mentioning examples of these two groups of verses, it is necessary to clarify the difference between these two connections.

The Subjective And Conventional Connection

This connection usually exists where, one group in its capacity of Legislator, governor and one with powers of discretion, for attaining its objectives and according to the good interests which it discerns in the matter, fixes certain rewards for some actions and certain punishment for some other actions, whereas previously, between these actions and their rewards and punishments, no real connection existed.

Another point, which is seen in this type of hypostatized connection, is that the Legislator or the same previous group can declare the connection to be null and void or even declare it to be just the opposite of what it previously was. That is, the same actions, which previously deserved rewards, would now be decreed to carry punishment.

Or would say that henceforth, this particular action neither carries any reward or any punishment. For example, the population in some of the countries is less and the government or the Legislative body of that country decides that a larger population for that country is necessary. As a result, prizes and rewards are ascertained for the fathers and mothers, who have many children.

With the ascertainment of the rewards the people are encouraged and thus the population of the country increases. With the irregular increase in the population, various cultural, financial and political difficulties surface. Thus, it is possible that the very same previous people would now decide that henceforth, not only possessing a large number of children would not be encouraged but would also entail punishments, or that they would just declare the previous rewards as null and void.

Anyway, from some of the verses, it can be understood that, Allah, being better and more aware, of the good and the bad for his servants, than anyone else, and for the purpose of their reaching their desired perfection, has ascertained certain rewards and punishments in the other world corresponding to their voluntary deeds in this world. In reality, the connection between the rewards and punishments with the deeds of man is purely imagined and hypostatized. For example, consider the verse mentioned below:

لَيْسَ بِأَمَانِيِّكُمْ وَلاَ أَمَانِيِّ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ مَنْ يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا يُجْزَ بِهِ وَلاَ يَجِدْ لَهُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلاَ نَصِيرًا

“Whoever does evil shall be recompensed for it, nor will he find for himself, besides Allah, any guardian or a helper.” (4:123).

وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِنْ الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُوْلَئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلاَ يُظْلَمُونَ نَقِيرًا

“And whoever does good deeds, whether male or female and be a believer, then these shall enter Heaven and they shall not be wronged (even) to the husk of a date-stone.” (4:124).

From the apparent meaning of the above-mentioned verse, it can be understood that the reward and punishment is in relation to their actions, and this connection has been ascertained by Allah. As a result, from this verse and other similar verses, it can be concluded that Allah has established an imaginary and hypostatized connection between the actions and their rewards and punishments.

The Genetic And The Real Connection

In this type of connection, the same relation exists, as the one we observe between cause and effect.

That is, a connection, genetic and profound, which is higher than the imaginary and hypostatized one. This is because, in the hypostatized appointments, the legislator or the one possessing authority can alter it or delete it altogether. Whereas, these type of connections are not capable of accepting changes or deletions, like fire, which genetically, will burn other things, or water, which quenches thirst and like every cause which brings into existence its effect.

Indeed, sometimes, the fire does not burn but turns into a flower garden, or the water does not quench thirst. In such cases, it should be understood that the real and genetic connection has not been lifted, but another connection or another rule, which lies in the knowledge of Allah and about which, we have no knowledge, comes into play and overrules the previous connection and brings its influence to a naught. The reality and detailed explanation of this aspect should be followed in the topic of miracle and other related topics.

Nevertheless, it can be deduced from some of the verses that the connection between the actions and its rewards and punishments is not hypostatized or nominal but higher and more profound. That is, an actual and real connection does exist. The meaning of 'an actual and real connection' is that on the Day of Resurrection, the actual actions shall manifest themselves in the form of rewards or punishments, this being described as 'Embodiment of Deeds'.

Similar to a grain of wheat, which grows beneath the earth and later turns into an ear of wheat, or a seed of fruit, which becomes a fruit tree. This ear of wheat and the tree of the fruit are the same grain of wheat and the seed of the fruit, which have undergone a change of form and have manifested them in this form.

In the Embodiment of Deeds, and the actions possessing an actual and real connection with its rewards and punishments, the unjust usurpation of the property of an orphan, shall grow and shall be observed in the hereafter in the form of fire.

In a more lucid explanation, one who eats unjustly, the property of an orphan, right now is sending fire into his stomach, although he comprehends not, but the day when the curtains of negligence and ignorance shall move aside and the Universal Resurrection occurs, he shall witness the real outcome of his deeds, which shall be the fire.

Two verses from those under consideration, for the purpose of more elucidation of this aspect is being mentioned.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ الْيَتَامَى ظُلْمًا إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ نَارًا وَسَيَصْلَوْنَ سَعِيرًا

“Verily, those who eat away the properties of the orphans unjustly, they swallow (only) fire into their bellies; and they shall enter into the blazing hell-fire.” (4:10).

From this verse, it can be easily deduced that the fire of hell is not just a hypostatized punishment for eating the property of an orphan, but the very property itself is a meanness, which shall manifest itself in this form.

يَوْمَ تَأْتِي كُلُّ نَفْسٍ تُجَادِلُ عَنْ نَفْسِهَا وَتُوَفَّى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَا عَمِلَتْ وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ

“(Remember) the day when every soul shall come, pleading for itself, and every soul shall be recompensed fully for what it has done and they will not be dealt with unjustly.” (16:111).

If the connection between actions and its rewards was hypostatized and nominal, then it is possible that the reward for it may not be granted in full or that they may be oppressed, but when the previous actions manifest themselves in the form of rewards and punishments, the probability of oppression and lessening of the rewards does not exist. It is because of this that the verse says: “All that which they have done, they shall take the returns for it in full and also shall not be wronged or oppressed in the very least.”

Indeed, it is possible that, we, in the present conditions, may be ignorant about the meaning and the type of the real connection of many of our actions, with that, which has been fixed for us in the form of rewards or punishments, and which shall be given to us on the Day of Judgement. However, our ignorance cannot cause us to judge the connection between the actions and the rewards of the hereafter as being only imaginary and hypostatized.

Anyway, it appears that, the best expression which could describe the type of this connection, is the famous sentence which says:

)الدنيا مزرعة الأخرة(

“The world is a farm for the hereafter.”7

Indeed, we are sowing the crops of our eternal lives. It is necessary that we strive to sow that which we shall need in the spring of our lives and not just pay attention to those things, which we are cultivating presently.

We should not content ourselves with the sowing of one or a few trees. Only he, who is constantly involved in cultivating the best and the most harvest for the future shall attain salvation on the day of Resurrection. Of course, if man, with this conviction and hope, strives constantly, then Allah too shall provide an increase in it, an increase that could not be possibly imagined. (ألّلهمّ ارزقنا)

  • 1. See Surah As-Sajdah,
    قُلْ يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ مَلَكُ الْمَوْتِ الَّذِي وُكِّلَ بِكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ
    Say: The angel of death who is given charge of you shall cause you to die, then to your Lord you shall be brought back. (32:11).
  • 2. Ma’anil Akhbar, Pg. 289.
  • 3. Ma'anil Akhbar, Pg. 289.
  • 4. Ma'anil Akhbar, Pg. 289.
  • 5. Ma'anil Akhbar, Pg. 290.
  • 6. Ma'anil Akhbar, Pg. 289.
  • 7. Bihar-ul-Anwar, Vol. 7, Pg., 353, Vol. 73, Pg. 148 (as quoted by some of the researchers).