Part 5: Eschatology
Our Doctrines Concerning:
• Resurrection and Final Assemblage
• Somatic Resurrection
We believe that Almighty Allah will resurrect people after their death on the day that He has promised so as to reward the obedient and punish the disobedient.
All Divine religions and philosophers have unanimously agreed upon this matter; therefore, a Muslim has no alternative but to profess this belief on the strength of its being a Qur'anic belief conveyed to us by the Holy Prophet (s). In view of that, he who believes in Almighty Allah decisively and believes in Muhammad (s) as His Messenger whom He has sent with true guidance and the Religion of Truth, must believe in what has been conveyed by the Holy Qur'an, such as the Resurrection, Reward and Punishment, Paradise and Bliss, Fire and Hell. The Holy Qur'an has, both openly and suggestively, declared this in about one thousand verses.
If one merely doubts this belief, he surely doubts the Bearer of the Mission or doubts the existence and power of the Creator of all beings. Moreover, to doubt the Resurrection comes from suspecting the origin of all religions and the authenticity of all Divine codes of law.If one merely doubts this belief, he surely doubts the Bearer of the Mission or doubts the existence and power of the Creator of all beings. Moreover, to doubt the Resurrection comes from suspecting the origin of all religions and the authenticity of all Divine codes of law.
The belief in somatic resurrection (after death) is one of the fundamentals of Islam to which the Holy Qur'an has referred openly:
أَيَحْسَبُ الْإِنْسَانُ أَلَّنْ نَجْمَعَ عِظَامَهُ بَلَىٰ قَادِرِينَ عَلَىٰ أَنْ نُسَوِّيَ بَنَانَهُ
What! Does man reckon We shall not gather his bones? Yes, indeed, We are able to shape again his fingertips. (75/3-4)
أَفَعَيِينَا بِالْخَلْقِ الْأَوَّلِ ۚ بَلْ هُمْ فِي لَبْسٍ مِنْ خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ
Were We then fatigued with the first creation? Yet are they in doubt with regard to a new creation. (50/15)
To state it succinctly, somatic resurrection is no more than that man's terrestrial body will be revived, on the Day of Resurrection, after having been destroyed, and it will return to its first form after it has turned to dust in the earth.
It is not necessary to believe in the details of the somatic resurrection; rather, it is required to believe in it in its simple form as is revealed by the Holy Qur'an and to believe in its accompanying matters, such as the Judgment, the Discriminating Bridge (sirat), the Balance (mizan), Paradise, Hell, Reward, and Punishment in an amount not exceeding the Qur'anic details:
It is not obligatory to acquaint oneself with the inspected knowledge of these subjects, which cannot be attained except by well-versed specialists, such as familiarity with the answers of the following questions:
Will bodies be restored to life in their very essences; or will structures resembling these bodies be created? Will souls be exposed to perdition, just like bodies; or will they continue to live until they reunite with the bodies on the Day of Resurrection? Is Resurrection restricted to human kind; or is it applicable to all species? When Almighty Allah will command the restoration of bodies to life, will they be restored suddenly or gradually?
Although it is obligatory to believe in Paradise and Hell, it is not obligatory to know whether they are already existent or they will be created afterward; whether they are in the skies or on earth or whether one of them is on earth while the other is in the skies. Similarly, it is obligatory to believe in the Balance (prepared for weighing the good and evil deeds of people and then comparing them), but it is not obligatory to believe whether this balance will be an actual weighing apparatus with two scale pans or it is only metaphoric. It is also not obligatory to know whether the Discriminating Bridge is a material object or it only stands for moral integrity.
To sum it up, it is not conditional, in professing Islam, to know whether these things are material bodies or not…(1)
Islam simply demands faith in the Resurrection and Final Assemblage. If anyone tries to exceed this to acquaint oneself with details surpassing what has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an so as to be convinced and refute the spurious arguments of some skeptical researchers, who demand a rational explanation of the Resurrection, one will definitely involve oneself in unnecessary complications and fall into endless troubles and disputation.
Moreover, nothing in the religion of Islam instigates searching for such details with which the books of theologians and fake philosophers are replete. There is also no religious, social, or political need for such disputatious essays with which books are full in a meaningless way and which have exhausted the efforts of their writers, grasped their times, and strained their thinking uselessly.
To refute such spurious and skeptical arguments aroused about the details of Resurrection, it is sufficient to know that man naturally fails to comprehend unseen matters that are beyond his horizon and above his terrestrial level, keeping in mind that Almighty Allah, the All-powerful and All-Knowing, has informed us that somatic resurrection shall come to happen.
An undeniable fact; human sciences, experiments, and researches can never approach matters beyond man’s experience and examination except after man dies and leaves this terrestrial world of tangibility, experimentalism, and research. How is it then expected from man, who forms his opinions about things through the scope of his thinking and experience, to judge the authenticity or inaccuracy of such matters or to deal with their details and peculiarities? This is impossible unless man depends upon personal predictions and intuitions, or regards such things as improbable and strange. This is the nature of man; he finds strange anything that he has not known, experienced, or perceived before, just like one who, pushed by ignorance, finds the Resurrection and thus asks:
قَالَ مَنْ يُحْيِي الْعِظَامَ وَهِيَ رَمِيمٌ
Who shall quicken the bones when they have decayed? (36/78)
The only reason for such amazement is that man has never seen any decayed or rotten corpse brought back to life. Yet, he forgets to think about how he was initially created after he had been nothing and how the components of his body were composed from the dust of the earth and the other matters carried by it and from the space and its contents until he became a perfect, intelligent, and speaking human being. Referring to this fact, the Holy Qur'an puts forth the following question:
أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الْإِنْسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ فَإِذَا هُوَ خَصِيمٌ مُبِينٌ
وَضَرَبَ لَنَا مَثَلًا وَنَسِيَ خَلْقَهُ ۖ قَالَ مَنْ يُحْيِي الْعِظَامَ وَهِيَ رَمِيمٌ
Has not man regarded how We created him of a sperm-drop? Then lo! He becomes a manifest adversary. He strikes for us a similitude and forgets his own creation. (36/77-78)
He who finds strange the restoration to life while he has forgotten his creation must be answered with the following holy verse:
قُلْ يُحْيِيهَا الَّذِي أَنْشَأَهَا أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلْقٍ عَلِيمٌ
Say: ‘He shall quicken them (the bones) Who originated them the first time.’ He knows all creation. (36/79)
In plain words, the answer to such people is: you profess belief in the Creator of all beings and His omnipotence and in His Messenger and what he has brought. You fail to understand the secrets beyond your creation.You know not how you were formed from discordant atoms. You do not comprehend how you developed from a senseless sperm-drop that lacked feelings, volition, and reason into a perfect human being with intelligence, feelings, and the capability of managing your affairs! Consequently, how can you now understand this strange restoration of your life after you become rotten? This is certainly an audacious attempt to discover the unknown. There is no alternative for you except to humbly admit this fact conveyed to you by the Manager of all beings, namely the All-knowing and All-powerful Lord Who created you from nothingness and rotten materials.
As a general rule, any attempt to discover unobserved matters that are beyond the capacity of the knowledge of man is a waste of time and a sort of deviation, just like opening one’s eyes wide in deep-black gloom.
Undoubtedly, man has reached advanced stages in scientific discoveries that led him to discover electricity and radar and use atomic energy—discoveries that would certainly be considered impossibilities and subjects to joke about if told to the people of the ancient ages. Yet man has not been able to discover the reality of electricity or the secret of atoms, or even the peculiarities or characteristics of a single atom. How then can man aspire to discover the secret of creation and composition of human beings and then realize the secrets of the Final Assemblage and the Somatic Resurrection?
After having faith in Islam, man is only required to avoid running after personal lusts and, instead, engage himself in matters that bring about prosperity in his life in this world as well as the next and matters that elevate his rank in the eyes of Almighty Allah. He is also required to think deeply about whatever helps him manage his worldly affairs properly and to mull carefully over what he will definitely encounter after his death, such as the agony of the grave and the judgment when he will stand before the Lord, the Master and Knower of all things:
وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا لَا تَجْزِي نَفْسٌ عَنْ نَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَلَا يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَلَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلَا هُمْ يُنْصَرُونَ
Beware of a day when no soul for another shall give satisfaction, and no intercession shall be accepted from it, nor any compensation be taken from it, neither shall they be helped. (2/48)
- 1. () This paragraph is quoted from Kashf al-Ghita' `An Mubhamat al-Shari`ah al-Gharra' by Ja`far Kashif al-Ghita' (AH 1228), pp. 5.