This text discusses in detail the nature of death and the life beyond it. It especially focuses on the state of the soul from the time of death till the Day of Judgment, and also has chapters on the Signs of the Day of Judgment as well as the events that will occur thereon.
This is the 8th Unit of the Islamic Correspondence Course, and gives the details of Islamic belief about Qiyamat and other related subjects.
It is hoped that this book will give enlightenment to our brothers and sisters; and will help them in appreciating and following the tenets of Islam more faithfully.
I dedicate the Thawab (Reward) of writing this book to my father, Maulana Hakim Sayyid Abul-Hasan, who left this world for the eternal life . on 21st December, 1974. If I have achieved anything, it is because of his loving but firm guidance, teaching and inspiration. He guided me as what to study and how, and moulded my way of thinking.
Imam Zainul-Abedeen (A) has taught us to realize that the father, “is your root and you are his branch; and that but for him you were nonexistent. Therefore, whenever you find in yourself anything likeable, remember that your father is the basic means of that gift (of Allah to you). And be thankful to Allah and grateful to your father accordingly.”
May Allah give him highest place near the 14 Masumeen (AS). Amen!
I am thankful to Mr. Mohsin M.R. Alidina, Dar-es-Salaam. for reading the book and making useful suggestions.
Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi
10th February, 1975
This book, by Grace of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, proved so popular that it was translated into Urdu soon after its first edition came out in 1975. The English original was later reprinted in Toronto (Canada).
Now I have revised it making additions here and there and giving the necessary references in Footnotes. It is hoped that this edition will prove even more popular than the previous one.
Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi
28th May 1994
Many words are used in Qur'an and Ahadith (traditions) for the Day of Judgement and the things related with it. Some of them are explained here:
Al-'Akhirah: The next (world), the (life) hereafter. Its opppsites are al-'ula (the first world) and ad-dunya (the nearer world), both of which refer to this world in which we presently live. Allah says:
“All praise is due to Him in the first (life) and the hereafter, and His is the Judgement, and to Him you shall be brought back.” (Qur'an 28:70).
Qiyamah: Resurrection. 'Yaumul-Qiyamah: The Day of Resurrection.
“So Allah shall Judge between you on the Day of Resurrection” (Qur'an 4:141).
Yaumud-Din: The Day of Judgement.
“The Master of the Day of Judgement.” (Qur'an 1:4).
Yaumul-Hisab: The Day of Reckoning.
“And Musa said: Surely I take refuge with my Lord and your Lord from every proud one who does not believe in the day of reckoning.”(Qur'an 40:27).
As-Sa'ah: The Hour; the Time of Resurrection and Reckoning.
“And because the hour is coming, there is no doubt about it; and because Allah shall raise up those who are in the graves.”( Qur'an 22:7).
Yaumul-Fasi: The Day of Separation (between good and evil): the Day of decision.
“Surely the day of decision is (a day) appointed.” (Qur'an 78:17).
Al-Haqqah: The thing (or day) that verifies (the truth of what men doubted about); the sure thing:
“The sure thing! What is the sure thing? And what would make you realize what the sure thing is!” (Qur'an 69:1-3).
Yaumul-Ba'th: The Day of Renaissance (coming to life again).
“So this is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know”( Qur'an 30:56).
Al- Hashr: The Emigration; The gathering.
“The Day on which the earth shall cleave asunder under them, they will make haste; this is a gathering together easy to us.” (Qur'an 50:44).
An- Nushur: The Rising (the dead to life).
“Even so is the quickening (raising the dead)”( Qur'an 35:9).
All these names and words point to one or more aspects of the Islamic belief that life in this world is not an end in itself; that there is a life-hereafter; that all human beings will be resurrected one day, and brought together to account for their beliefs and deeds; that it will be a day which will separate good from evil and all will be rewarded or punished according to their belief and deeds.
The beliefs in the Unity of Allah and in the Day of Judgement are the Foundations of True faith. All prophets, right from Hadhrat Adam (A) to the Last Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (S), inculcated these beliefs in their peoples.
The proof of life hereafter can be found in the books of Anthropology and archaeology. Scientists have discovered that almost all pre-historic societies and communities firmly believed that man, after his death in this world, lives in another world. And today even the most primitive tribes staunchly believe in the life-hereafter. In the ancient tombs throughout the world archaeologists do find household effects and even grains stocked and stacked 'for use by the dead man in his next life.'
The original American Indians reached America between 26,000 and 13,000 years ago, “wearing skin and moccasins, with domesticated dogs, a belief in the after-life (and) respect for the dead.”1
This belief spanning the whole world, and reaching back to the very dawn of humanity, proves that Hadhrat Adam (A) had indeed taught this truth to all his children, and his teaching was preserved by all his descendants throughout the ages, though the passage of time and ignorance might have twisted the details in many cases.
All the religions of the world, in spite of their differences, are agreed that a man does not always get, in this world, the rewards and/or punishments of his good and/or evil deeds.
The Creator has laid down some rules and laws for physical aspects of the world. And those laws never change. Whenever you mix two parts of hydrogen with one part of oxygen, you are sure to get water as a result. If you plant wheat, you will get wheat, at harvest time, and not paddy.
And the same Creator has decreed some rules and laws for the spiritual aspect of this world. If you were unjust to others, finally you would bring harm to yourself. If you showed mercy to others, in the end you would benefit from it yourself.
But, strangely enough, these spiritual laws, unlike the physical ones, do not always hold their ground. More often than not, we see tyrants spending their lives in comfort and luxury, while their victims live in agony and die in ignominy
If the promulgator of both sets of laws is the one and same God, why this difference? While talking of physical laws, we are always sure that two and two make four. But in the sphere of the spiritual laws, we are never sure of the result. Why?
This puzzle has only one solution. Reason says that the spiritual and moral laws must be fool-proof, like the physical laws. A good action must bring good result; and an evil must result in evil. And if that anticipated result does not become a reality in this life, then it must come out, as expected, in the next life.
Thus, the belief, that man must get full reward and/or punishment of his good and/or evil actions after his death, is based upon reason. Any sensible person could find out this Truth by himself, even if nobody were to guide him towards this conclusion.
But the same sensible person cannot find out by himself when, where and in which form that reward or punishment would be meted out. This rewarding or punishing is the prerogative of the Creator, and entirely depends upon His discretion. Therefore, the details of this Justice can not be understood without the guidance of the prophets. We Must accept these Truths, as described by the Holy Prophet of Islam (S), and mould our actions accordingly, if we want to get eternal bliss and save ourselves from everlasting disgrace.
In the following chapters much will be said about soul and spirit. Therefore, it is necessary to explain before hand what we mean by these words.
There are two words in Arabic: 'Nafs' (soul) and 'Ruh' (spirit). Some scholars think that both are synonymous; others say that they represent two different things. But then they can not decide what those two things are. Every one defines them in his own way. For our purposes, the two words have been treated as synonymous, because in writings as well as in conversations both are frequently interchanged.
Anyhow, let us find out, 'what is soul?' Various people have tried to answer this question in various ways. According to the ancient Greek philosophers, the spirit is the steam produced in the heart, which flows in the body with the blood. In their view, the soul or spirit was a material thing. They called it 'Ruh-e-Hayawan' (the spirit of life); it was neither eternal nor everlasting. It just vanished when death came.
The same, more or less, is the view of the atheists. They believe that life is just a development of matter; soul or spirit has no independent identity and death means the final end of life. In 'God: An Islamic Perspective”, it has been explained that if this view were correct then “the universe would have been without life” because ''matter has no life” and “it could not give to universe what it did not possess itself”
According to Hinduism, the soul is eternal. It has not been created by God. They say that matter and spirit both are self-existent and eternal like God. God's only function, according to them, is to transfer a soul from one body to another. Here the readers should be reminded that, according to the proofs given in 'God: An Islamic Perspective', nothing except God is eternal and self-existent: and to believe in more than one eternal is 'Shirk' (polytheism) which has been proved to be baseless and just a fantasy of idle minds.
We started this chapter with the question, “What is Soul?” But are still talking about 'what the Soul is not?' This process of elimination should gradually lead us to the true answer to our original question.
Mystics of Islam, who are called 'Sufiya', had a belief which was borrowed from Hinduism and Christianity, and was gradually developed in succeeding centuries. They said that soul was a part of God. And not only soul, but every thing was a part of God. When a part separates from “the absolute existence” (i.e., God) it gets different names and labels. And as soon as it relinquishes its separate identity, it again joins God.
They use the example of river and waves. The waves are part and parcel of a river, when they apparently assume a separate identity, they are called 'waves'; but even then they are no less a part of river. When same waves come down and lose their separate identity, they become, and are called, a part of river. But iri reality, they were river at all times and in every stage, though we failed to realize and appreciate this fact because of 'optic allusion' ('Maya' in Sanskirt).
This belief of theirs called “Wahdatul- Wujut” (oneness of existence), and its motto is “Home Uust” (Everything is He). They assert that Pharaoh and other people who claimed to be gods were telling the truth; their only crime was that they leaked the secret, and that is why they were condemned.
They claimed openly that every stone, every idol, every animal and, in short, every thing was a part of God. Once a Sufi was sitting in a mosque when a dog entered and passed urine inside the 'mehrab' (the niche). The Sufi exclaimed: “Lo! You come into your own house and make it unclean!”
With such generous distribution of godhead' it was to be expected that many of them would claim to be gods. And they did.
During the heyday of Sufism, this belief served as a screen to hide every type of immorality Quite young initiates were used for homosexuality. The explanation was that it was not the beauty of the flesh they were after, rather they were seeing in it the divine beauty!
There is no need to remind the readers that this idea of 'universality-of godhead' was diametrically opposed to the belief of the Unity of God; which is the Foundation of Islam. According to the Muslim scholars, such belief was the worst type of polytheism It is in fact 'pan-theism' The idol-worshippers pay homage to a limited number of deities; these Sufis paid homage to every thing in this world, including their own self.
To counteract such belief, the Muslim scholars coined another phrase: “Hame Azusf (Everything is From Him) It showed, in a nut-shell, the Islamic belief that every thing in this world is created by Allah (and it is not a part of Allah). Many scholars, during the heyday of Sufism, felt compelled to use the phrases and language of the Sufis, to make their talks and writings intelligible to the masses.
And, as the majority of those scholars remained aloof from the hocus-pocus of the worldly; affairs, spending their lives in pursuit of religious knowledge and seeking the pleasure of Allah, some people thought that those scholars also were followers of Sufism. But nothing could be further from truth. A person does not become a Sufi just by. renouncing the luxuries of the world, unless he believes in the theory of “Hame Uust”. And no Shi'a scholar was ever accused of such belief.
(it is surprising how with so much prevalence of pleasure and lust going on in the “Khanqahs”, (monasteries of Sufis), the masses still believed that “renouncement of world” was the Speciality”' of the Sufis).
Leaving aside the theories invented by human minds, let us turn to the Qur'an for guidance.
There is an 'ayah (verse) in the Qur'an:
“They ask thee concerning the spirit (or soul). Say, the spirit is from the 'Amr” of my Lord; but you (people) have not been given knowledge but a little”. (Qur'an 17:85).
At First, glance, this answer seems vague. But it does not mean that Allah avoided, the explanation, it just means that those who asked the question were unable to understand the answer. When a 3-year old asks his mother whence his newly-born brother has come, she says that she had brought it from the hospital, or that a stork had brought him into the house. Such evasions are used because the child's mind is not mature enough to receive the facts.
But in any case, there is a difference between the Creator and the created: Parents may give a wrong answer, Allah cannot. Therefore, we should ponder upon this “vague” answer. Perhaps we may find some explanation behind this very vagueness.
The spirit (soul: Ruh) is from the Amr' of thy Lord.” Now, in various Ayats (verses), of the Qur'an, the word Amr has been used for three meanings :
• Order; Commandment;- Authority.
• Work; Task.
• To create without any matter'
Have mentioned in previous chapters the theories of atheists, polytheists and other groups about the soul. Reading them a person is bound to be puzzled about various aspects of soul
He may wonder whether the soul is self-existent or a created thing. The answer is: It is
the Amr i.e., the work of Allah. In other words'; it is a created thing, not self-existent.
He may be puzzled whether it is a material thing, of is different from matter. Again 'the answer is: it is the Amr' of my Lord, Without any matter
He may be confused by some people's claim that it was equal to God. This Ayat will guide him to the: fact that it is the creation of my Lord' and as such can not be equal to the creator nor independent of Him. '
In this way this Ayat teaches us that the soul or spirit was created by the order of Allah without any matter. It does not go beyond that, it does not explain the nature of the soul. But we should not be perturbed by this veil of secrecy. After all. we do not know the nature of many things with which we come into contact everyday. We know how electric power has changed the face of the earth and our way of life. But nobody has yet discovered what electricity is. We know how it is produced, but we do not know the thing which is produced. Likewise, magnetism had not been identified yet.
But this ignorance of the nature of the electricity or magnet has not prevented us from taking full advantage of these wonders of creation. Once we know the functions of electricity, the ignorance of its nature can not prevent us from making its full use. Likewise, functions of soul or spirit are known. We should try to improve our spiritual qualities by believing in Allah and obeying His commands.
Let us appreciate that Allah has told us in this Ayat (verse) as much as was necessary for keeping us on the right path. Otherwise, we would have been confused by various claims about soul (which have been mentioned in previous chapters). Now we know that soul is not a development of matter; it is a creature of Allah and not His equal; it is not self-existent. In this way, our faith in the Unity of Creator has been safeguarded. Now we should advance spiritually by taking full advantage of the functions of the soul.
Shaykh As-Saduq in his book of creed writes:-
“It is our belief about the 'Nafs' (soul) that it is the 'Ruh' (spirit) which is the cause of life; and that the spirits (or souls) are the first creations. As the Holy Prophet has said: “The first thing which Allah created out of nothing were the blessed and pure souls; then Allah made them declare His oneness (Tawheed); and after that He brought into being other creatures.”.2
This is in conformity with our belief that the Light of Muhammad (S) and Aale -Muhammad (A) were the First creation. The same idea has been conveyed here using the word 'Nafs'. So the 'Nafs' or 'Ruh' is the first thing created, that is the 'Nafs' of the
The other souls also were created long before the creation of Adam (A). Shaykh as-Saduq further writes:
“And the Prophet has said, “The souls are like a collection of armed forces, whichever souls knew each other (in that world) are attracted towards each other (in this world) and whichever remained apart and aloof (there) are repulsed from each other (in this life).
“And Imam Ja'far as Sadiq (A) said: 'Verily, Allah established brotherhood between the Souls in the (world of) shadows, 2000 years before creating the bodies. For this reason, when the Qa'im of Ahlul-Bait (i.e., Imam Mahdi (A)) will appear, he will bestow inheritance of a man to his brother of that world of spirits, and not to the brother by birth'.”
He further writes:-
“And it is our belief about the souls that they are not from the genus of body (i.e., not made of matter); and that they are 'another creation', as Allah has said:
” Then we made it into another creation”( Qur'an, 23:12-14).
Shaykh as-Saduq has referred to the following verses:
“We formerly created man of a finer sort of clay; afterwards we placed him as semen in a sure receptacle, i.e., womb of mother; then we made the semen as coagulated blood; and we formed the coagulated blood into a piece of flesh; then we formed the piece of flesh into bones; and we clothed those bones with flesh; then we made it into another creation. Therefore, blessed be Allah, the Most Excellent Creator.”3
Allah says in the Qur'an:-
“And when thy Lord drew forth their posterity from the loins of the sons of Adam, and took them to witness against themselves (saying), 'Am I not your Lord?' They answered, 'Yes, we do bear witness,' (This was done) lest you should say, at the Day of Resurrection, Verily we were negligent as to this (matter), or lest you should say, Verily, our fathers were indeed joining other gods with our Lord, and we were but their seed after them: wilt thou destroy us for the doings of vain men? Thus make We our , signs clear: that haply they may return to God.”( Qur'an, 7:172-174 ).
This covenant was taken, according to the traditions of Islam, before the creation of Adam (A). The Sunni traditionalist, Daylami, narrates in his book, Firdaus-ul-Akhbar, Chapter 14, that the Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“If the people were to realize when it was that 'Ali was named The Leader of the Faithful, they would not deny his superiority. He was named 'Leader of the Faithful' when Adam was between soul and body (i.e., his creation was not completed). Allah has said: 'And when thy Lord drew forth their posterity from the loins of the sons of Adam, and took them to witness against themselves (saying), 'Am I not your Lord?” Then the angels said, 'Yes'; and Allah said, 'I am your Lord, and Muhammad is your Prophet, and 'Ali is your Leader'.”4
The two narratives mentioned in this and the previous chapters, throw light on some mysteries of human behaviour.
'Love at the first sight' is not just a poetic figure of speech. Neither is hate at first sight. All of us have experienced these inexplicable feelings at one time or the other. Some times we meet a person for the first time and instantly feel a sort of attraction towards him. And in other cases, an instant dislike occurs within our hearts.
Many people try to explain this phenomenon by saying that our bodies emit electrical currents, accordingly, if someone else's electrical waves are in harmony with ours, we are attracted to him; and if on the other hand, the waves are not in harmony, we instantly dislike that person. Be it as it may. But the tradition of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A) gives us the basic reason of this mystery; that theory of electrical currents may explain the secondary cause, but the primary cause is that attraction or repulsion of the spiritual world.
Another phenomenon is the readiness of the human soul to follow the path of truth, if left to itself. This may easily be understood if we look at even the primitive tribes and find out their beliefs about the Creator and the life -hereafter. We will surely find them believing in a Supreme Being, and as explained in the previous pages, in the life after death. This instinctive belief comes from the First Covenant, which has been mentioned in this chapter.
The human soul performs various functions in the body, like growth, senses, digestion etc. According to a Muslim scholar, there are four 'souls' in a true believer. Actually, he means that there are four facets in the soul of a true believer:
• The Soul of Vegetation and Growth: It has five workers (or functions): It obtains the food, keeps it securely, digests it, removes the waste and turns the digested food into parts of the body. Also it has two properties: Growth and Decay.
• The Soul of Animation and Senses: This also has five workers (i.e., functions): Sight, hearing, smelling, taste and touch. And it has two properties: Love and Hate.
• The Soul of Reason and Purity: This aspect of human soul has five powers: Thinking, memory, knowledge, forbearance, and dignity. Also it has two properties: Purity and Wisdom.
• The Soul of Divinity: This also has five powers: To be immortal in mortality; to get bliss in adversity; to find honour in apparent disgrace; to be poor in riches; and to have patience in hardships. And it has two properties: To accept the will of Allah and to submit to His decrees.
And this soul is the one which, in this context, is called 'An-Nafs al-Mutma'innah' (The Tranquil Soul).5
These different aspects of human soul have been given here in brief, to show that just as a diamond, when uncut, is valuable, but not as much as it would be after being cut; likewise, a human soul in the beginning, is honourable, but not as much as it would be after being put to test. And as we all know, there are various 'cuts' of a diamond: the one having the utmost number of facets, is considered the most valuable; and the value decreases if there are less facets. Likewise, if a soul has got all the above-mentioned facets, it is the most honoured one in the eyes of Allah. But if it loses its facets described in the last paragraph, i:e., the facet called 'the Soul of Divinity', then it is considered worthless.
Looking from another angle, the soul has three other facets:
1. An-Nafs-al-Ammarah (The soul which urges man to do evil). If the individual fights against this urge successfully with his faith in God and his determination to do only good, the strength of the will is increased and the individual remains safe against the strongest temptations of satanic forces.
It was this aspect of the soul that the prophet Yusuf (A. S.) referred to when he said:-
“And I boast not of the purity of my soul; verily the soul is wont to bid (one to) evil, except those on whom my Lord has mercy; for Gracious is my Lord, the Merciful.”( Qur'an, 12:53).
1. An-Nafs-al-Lawwamah (The Reproaching Soul): We call it “conscience”. It is the power of the soul which reproaches the man whenever he goes astray from right path. Allah has honoured this facet of soul by swearing by it in the 75th Sura:
”Nay! I swear by the self-reproaching soul”( Qur'an, 75:2).
Repeated sins blunt the edge of this reproach, and gradually a time comes when the evil-doer does not feel the pang of conscience. If one has already reached that stage, nothing can save him from eternal disgrace.
1. An-Nafs-al-Mutma'innah (The Tranquil Soul): Its powers and properties have been mentioned in the last chapter. It is the soul which has conquered all desires and has completely surrendered itself to the Will of Allah. This is the highest stage of the perfection of the soul. Allah has referred to this aspect of the soul in the following verses:-
“O thou Tranquil soul, return to thy Lord, well pleased, well pleasing (to Him)' enter thou amongst My servants, and enter thou My paradise.”(Qur'an, 89:27-30).
Shaykh as-Saduq has described the various facets of the soul in a very clear way. The example of the 'cuts' of diamond should be kept in mind when reading the following description taken from his book.
“It is our belief that there are five spirits in the prophets, and Imams: The Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Faith, The Spirit of Strength, The Spirit of Desire, and The Spirit of Animation (or Life); “And the believers have four spirits: The Spirit of Faith, The Spirit of Strength, The Spirit of Desire, and The Spirit of Life;
“And the unbelievers and animals have three spirits. The Spirit of Strength, the Spirit of Desire, and The Spirit of Life”6
Thus, the more the facets to be found in a soul, the more prestige it acquires in the eyes of Allah.
In the previous chapters, we have tried to describe some known functions and aspects of soul. The readers would have realized by now that even without telling us the 'nature' of soul, Allah and His chosen ones have told us enough about its functions.
In this back-ground, we should look at the saying of our first Imam, 'Ali bin Abi Talib (A) “Whoever knew his soul, knew his Lord.”7
If we ponder over this short sentence, we will realize that:
As mentioned above, it is not possible to know the soul. Likewise, we should realize that it is not possible to know God. When we do not have ability to know the creation, how can we expect to know the Creator?
Though we do not know the nature of soul, we are forced to admit that there is something which is the source of life and of all our powers and abilities. Scientists admit that they do not know what life is; but they know that there is life. Likewise, our intelligence and instinct both compel us to admit that there is a Creator, though we do not know Him.
We know that the soul is the ruler of our body. Likewise, we know that God is the ruler of this Universe.
If one of our limbs refuses to obey the commands of soul, it is not a reflection on the strength of the soul. It is considered the defect of the limb itself. In the same way, if one refuses to obey the commands of God, it should be deemed as one's own defect. This disobedience will not weaken the authority of God. Instead, the disobedient person will be rated as spiritually sick.
We know that soul is connected with our body; but we do not know where it is. We know that life is everywhere in our body. But if a limb of a man is severed, we do not say that so much portion of his soul has been cut off. Thus, we say that life is everywhere in the body, and at the same time do not say that 'It is here', or 'It is therfe'; in fact, we may as easily say that it is nowhere. Likewise, we know that God is everywhere; but we can not say, 'He is here', or 'He is there'. We can not point towards Him. We can not connect him with any place.
Whenever we want to do any work, our limbs at once do it without any need on the part of our soul or spirit to tell that limb to do this or that. Likewise, whenever God wishes anything to happen it just happens without any need on the part of God to say, 'Be this' or 'Be that'. There is a verse in the Qur'an:
“His command, whenever He wills a thing, is only that He says unto it 'Be' and it is.” (Qur'an, 36:82)
According to the explanations of our Imams, it is a way of expressing the idea that as soon as God wills something, it happens.
We know that God has decreed that once created, the soul does not die. Likewise, we know that God is eternal and ever-living. We can not see the soul. We can not see God. Thus, even without knowing the nature of the soul, we are able to reach Allah through its functions.
Now we come back to our original topic of Reward and Punishment of our actions. First, let us examine the theory of “transmigration of souls” and see whether it satisfies the demands of Justice, as it is supposed to.
Those people who believe that the soul is eternal and not created by God say that the souls are transmigrated from one body to another for ever. According to them, the body is changed according to the deeds of the previous life. For instance, if a man is virtuous, he will be rewarded in the next life by being born in a family of Brahmins or Kings. If he was a thief, he would reappear in the next life as a monkey or a mouse. If he was a murderer, he might become a tiger in the next life, and so on.
What is the reason behind this belief? These people accept the need for reward and punishment of our deeds. Let us see whether all the requirements of reward or punishment arc satisfied by this theory. The punishments are justified for any of the three following reasons:
• To satisfy the victim of the crime;
• To help the wrong-doer to mend his way and thus become a useful member of the society;
• To make the wrong-doer an example for others to deter them from committing such crimes.
For example, if someone murdered an innocent person, and in consequence thereof was killed by the order of the judicial authorities, two of the above benefits would be obtained:
The relatives of the victim would be satisfied that the blood of their innocent relative had been avenged; and other potential murderers would realize that it does not pay to kill.
Of course, the third benefit (reform of the criminal) is absent here; but it does not matter. Even if only one of the benefits could be obtained, the punishment would be justified.
Now let us see what is the benefit of giving punishment by transferring a soul from one body to another. Nobody knows why he has been given a human body. Therefore, he is deprived of the satisfaction of receiving the reward for his past good deeds; he does not even know what they were. And we may assume safely that, likewise, no monkey or snake knows why he has been re-bom as a monkey or a snake. Therefore, the benefit of reform is out of question here.
The second benefit (to satisfy the victims of the crime) also is out of the question; because uptil now nobody has been informed that the thief who had broken his safe 10 years ago is now a mouse in his garden.
By the same reasoning, the reform of the society is not achieved by this system. As no potential debauchee knows that the bitch in his house was a debauchee in its previous incarnation, he can feel no deterrent against his immoralities.
On the other hand, it may be claimed that the transmigration of soul is a reward of the crimes and encouragement of sins. A man breaks into a shop, and in the next re-birth he is turned into a mouse. What happens to him now? He, in this new life, breaks, or can break, into hundreds of houses and shops; and can steal hundreds of items. A man steals a fruit from a garden, and he becomes a monkey in the next life. It means that now he has been given liberty to steal fruits all his life from hundreds of trees.
Obviously this theory has no logic behind it, to say the least.
Further, let us look at this theory from the practical point of view. Everyone agrees that moral standards nowadays have become very low; that all values of humanity have lost their meaning. Now, according to the theory of transmigration of souls, the population of human beings should be decreasing day by day. Why? Because very few people can truthfully claim that they have done nothing to warrant degradation in the next life. Therefore, the majority of the people dying should be reborn not as human beings but as brutes. But we see that human population is increasing at an alarming rate. Does it mean that the more a man becomes immoral the more are his chances of being reborn as a human being?
Also, this theory pre-supposes the existence of the caste-system. What would the believers in this theory say in a society where there is no caste, like in Islam? Obviously, this theory was invented to justify the system which was existing at that time.
Sometimes, one sees in newspapers some un-verified reports designed to support this belief. For example, recently there was a report of a young lady (in her teens) who, it was said, could speak in various foreign languages, including Arabic, at the age of 3 years. But how could you check this report when she had already passed that age? Why such reports are not published at a time when they could be verified?
The effects of the good and/or bad deed of a man do not necessarily end with his death. A man establishes a seat of learning. He dies, but the school remains; and hundreds of thousands of people benefit from it after the death of the founder. A man, or a group of men, invent hydrogen bomb. And with the invention thousands of innocent people may be killed long-after the death of the inventors. Common sense says that the former should be rewarded for making it possible for so many people to get knowledge. And the reward of teaching ten persons can not be the same as that of teaching ten million. Likewise, the people who created the means of killing thousands of people in one instant must share the responsibility of that massacre, though the victims might have been killed long after the death of the inventors. And the sin of killing ten million persons cannot be the same as that of killing one person.
So, it is evident that the good or bad acts of a person do not end with his death. The account must remain open so long as there are people to follow and imitate him. Therefore, it is simply not possible to judge a man immediately after his death.
Reason guides us that judgements cannot be passed until the accounts of the deeds of each and every individual are closed finally. Only then the true picture of his deeds may emerge clearly.
And this is what Islam believes. According to this belief, a day will come when everybody will die; and then all of them will be resurrected by Allah; their beliefs and deeds will be judged by Allah; and all of them will be rewarded (or punished) accordingly.
This belief of Qiyamat has one advantage which is lacking in the theory of transmigration of souls. Even if we forget all the defects of the theory of transmigration, then at its best it has the ability of showing only one aspect of the attributes of Allah, and that is Justice. It cannot show the Mercy of Allah. On the other hand, in Qiyamat there will be as much chance of showing Mercy as that of Justice. There, also, will be opportunities of forgiveness and reconciliation, because all the parties concerned will be present at one place. Also, there will be chances of intercession by the Prophets, Imams, and other virtuous servants of Allah.
All these advantages are conspicuous by their absence in rival theories.
What is death? Does a man become 'nothing' after death? Is death the end of the soul as well as the body?
In the eyes of those who believe that life is just an evolution of matter, death is The End; nothing remains, there is no life-hereafter.
In the eyes of those who believe that the soul and matter are not created by God, death is just a means of re-emerging in a new form - either better or lesser than the previous one.
For the former, the life is an end in itself. A man who has such a belief, must always strive to get as much enjoyment from this life as possible. Every possible material comfort must be acquired, even if other people get hurt in this process. This materialistic point of view does not leave any room for any compassion, charity, mercy or altruistic feelings like self-denial, or giving others preference over oneself. After all, this is the only life which he possesses; moreover, he is not supposed to give any account of his actions anywhere after he is dead, So why should he suffer for the sake of the others?
Incidentally, one often hears political leader of the communist world exhorting people to practice self-denial, to sacrifice their comfort for the sake of their fellow citizens. But they fail to realize that this self-sacrifice for a “higher cause” does not go hand in hand with the materialistic theory of “no God, no soul, no life-hereafter”. The Utopia which communism envisages will never materialize for the simple reason that this “one and the only life” theory leaves no room for anyone to compromise his comforts for the sake of someone else.
The latter theory of coming to life again and again teaches its adherents that the condition, in which he finds himself, is a “result” (reward or punishment) of his actions in his former life. And as such he should accept it with humility and resignation without trying to improve his lot. (If your poverty is the result of your 'Karma', what is the use of your trying to remove it? How can you supersede the decree of God?) Such a belief may be good for the ruling classes but not for the oppressed masses of the world.
So, what is death? Let us ask the Divine Guides for the correct answer to this puzzle.
These Guides have taught us that death is not the end of life. In the Qur'anic language, Death is not 'anti-life'. It is not 'nothing'. Like 'Life', 'Death' is a 'Created thing'. Allah says in the Qur'an:
“Blessed be He………..Who has created death and life, so that He might test you which of you is most righteous in action”. (Qur'an, 67:1-2)
And the Creator of Death and Life has decreed that a Soul, once created, will never perish. It will live for ever. The Holy Prophet (S) has said: “You have not been created for extinction, but for eternal existence”.1
According to Islamic teachings, death is a continuation of life, but in another place. Once we accept this Truth, it stands to reason that those who would be obedient to Allah, leading virtuous life, would welcome the chance of leaving this transitory world, to live in eternal bliss in the sight of Allah. For such persons, death is a welcome and pleasant stage through which they gladly pass to reach their desired goal.
On the other hand, if his life is spent in transgression of the commands of Allah, he will understandably shrink from the name of death. For such a person, death is the beginning of eternal misery and disgrace. Therefore, he is bound to hate death.
Allah addresses the Holy Prophet in the Qur'an, in these words:-
“'Say, 'O ye who follow the Jewish religion! if you say that you are the friends of God above other men, then wish for death if you speak truth?' But they will never wish for it, because of that which their hands have sent before them; and God well knows the unjust.” (Qur'an, 62:6-7 )
These two aspects of death are explained by all the Masumeen (peace be on them all); and in the next chapter some traditions are quoted for the benefit of the readers.
The Holy Prophet said: “You have not been created to perish, but to remain for ever; only you transfer from one home to another; and the souls are strangers on earth and are in the bodies (like) prisoners”.
Hazrat 'Ali (A. S.), in reply to a question about death, stated: “Death is one of the three things happening (to the dying person); Either it is good tidings of eternal bliss, or bad tidings of eternal punishment, or there is vague threatening suspense, so that he does not know in which group he will be included.
“So, the one who is our lover and obeys us, is the one who gets the good tidings of eternal bliss. And our enemy and adversary gets the news of perpetual punishment: And the one whose position is vague, who does not know what is to be done to him, is that believer who has done injustice to himself (i.e., has committed sins), he does not know what is to happen to him. he gets news in vague words which frighten him: but in the end, Allah will not treat him like our enemies, and will take him out of Fire on our intercession. Therefore, do good work, and obey (the commands of God), and do not rely merely on faith and our intercession, arid do not treat the punishment of Allah as a small matter, because there will be among the sinner (believers) those who will not get our intercession but after three hundred thousand years”.
Imam Hasan (A): (Death is) the greatest happiness which comes to the believers, when they migrate from house of misery to the eternal bliss; and (it is) the greatest disaster which befalls the unbelivers, when they go from their paradise (i.e., this world) to the Fire which will never be extinguished and will never burn itself out”
Imam Husain (A) on Ashura Day: “Patience, O Children of noble (souls), because death is nothing but a bridge which takes you from difficulties and troubles to the vast Paradise and everlasting bliss. So, who among you would dislike to transfer from the prison of the world to the palace of the Paradise? But these enemies of yours will go from a palace to a prison and ever-lasting punishment. Verily my father quoting the Messenger of Allah said that; 'Verily the world is the prison for the believers and paradise for the unbelivers'. And the death is the bridge for these (believers) to their Gardens, and for those (unbelievers) to their Hell. I do not tell lies, nor was I told lies”.
Imam Zainul Abcdecn (AS), in reply to a question about death, said: “It is for the believer like removing a dirty lousy cloth, or like removing heavy shackles and chains; and changing to the finest and best clothes, or finest horses and most lovely abode.
“And for an unbeliever it is like changing fine dresses and cosy abodes for dirtiest and roughest clothes and worst and most unspacious abode and greatest punishment”.
Imam Muhammad Baquir (A) in reply to a question stated: ”(Death) is like sleep that comes to you every night; but this is a sleep which is very long and there is no awakening but on the Day of resurrection……………………………………………”
Imam Jafer Sadiq (A) was requested to explain death. He said: “It is for a believer like fragrant breeze, by smelling which he becomes revived, and every trouble and sorrow is removed from him. And for an unbeliever it is like snake-bite and sting of the scorpions, and even worse”.
Then he was told that some people said that death is harder than cutting by saws and shredding by scissors and battering by stones and rotation of the axle of mill-stone in the eyes. Imam said: “It is like this for some of unbelievers and sinners: Don't you see that some of them undergo these tortures (at the time of death)? So, this is the hardest punishment meted out in this world”.
Then he was asked, “How is it that we find some unbelievers for whom death is very easy; so much so that the (flame of) life is extinguished while he is still talking and laughing and speaking? And also there are believers like this. And there are some unbelievers as well as the believers who suffer tortures of the death-pang?” Imam said: “Whatever ease the believer feels at the time of death, it is his immediate reward; and if he suffers at the time of death, then it is (for the purpose of) cleansing him from his sins, so that he would come in the Akherat (next world) clean, pure and unblemished, deserving the eternal reward of Allah without any hurdle between him and that (reward).
And whatever ease the unbeliever feels here (at the time of death) it is for the purpose of completing the rewards of his good deeds in this very world, so that he would come in Akherat and there would be nothing in his account except that which would bring him to punishment. And whatever sufferings are undergone by the unbeliever at the time of death, it is the beginning of his punishment from Allah, (when his good deeds have already been rewarded). And all this is (done) because Allah is Just, and not unjust (Therefore, He gives the rewards of the good deeds of unbelievers by making their death easy and vice versa).2
There are other traditions giving more details, but this much should be enough for the time being.
At the approach of death, when the eyes, ears and tongue cease to function, the person concerned sees (in spiritual vision) three things which claim to be his friends.
One of them says, “I will remain with you till your death”. That friend is his worldly wealth and assets.
Another says, “I will accompany you till the door of your grave.” And it is his children.
But one friend says,, “I am with you for ever, in life as well as in death”. And it is his deeds.
Imam Zaynu '1-'Abidin (A) said: “Allah has said, I do not hesitate in any order, except the death of a believer - he dislikes death and I do not like displeasing him-; So when time comes for him to die, Allah sends two angels (or, according to other traditions, two flowers) to him: one is called “Muskhiyyah” - one who makes him generous - and the other is called “Munsiyyah” - one who makes him forget. Thus, the Muskhiyya makes him generous with his family wealth (he willingly leaves every thing behind) and the Munsiyyah makes him forget all worldly affairs.3
Also Hadhrat Ali (A) has said:
“O Harith of Hamdan, whoever dies sees me, whether he be a believer or a hypocrite”.4 So far as the believers are concerned, they become happy to see the Imam (A), but the hypocrites become sad when they see him.
Anyhow, when Muskhiyyah and Munsiyyah have done their work, the Angel of Death (Malak-ul-Maui) arrives and tells him not to worry: “By Allah, I am kinder to you than your father. Now, open your eyes and look.” Then his spiritual eyes are opened and he sees (in his vision) the faces of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the Imams (A), is informed who they are, and is given the good tidings that he would be their companion. Then he hears a call:
“O thou tranquil soul, return to thy Lord, well pleased, well pleasing (to Him): enter thou amongst My servants, and enter thou My paradise”(Qur'an, 89:27-30).
At that time, the believer's only wish is to die as soon as possible so that he may reach that caller.
Thus, the believer leaves this world without any sorrow and without any care. And Allah gives him death when he himself desires death above all things, so that he may reach the Messenger of Allah and the Imams (peace be on them all).5
But for the hypocrites and the unbelievers the story is completely different.
“Barzakh” literally means 'barrier'. In the Qur'an, it has been used for the period between death and the Day of Resurrection.
“And behind them is the Barzakh (barrier) till the Day they will be Resurrected”. (Qur'an, 23:100).
Our 6th Imam (A) has said that “We will intercede on your behalf on the Day of Judgement; but by Allah, I am worried about you for the period when you would be in Barzakh”.6
Imam (A) has referred in this Hadith to the fact that the sinning believers will get their punishment during this period, as will be explained later on.
It appears from many traditions that the soul maintains some emotional attachment with the body even after death…….at least till the body is buried. That is why it is forbidden to roughly handle the dead-body “because it pains the Soul”. When a child gets hurt while playing and, let us say, his leg is wounded, the parents feel more pain in their hearts than the child might be feeling in his leg. In the same way, as the soul has been with the body for some time, it gives it pain to see that body mis-handled.
After the questioning in the grave (as will be explained in the next chapter), the Soul of a believer is sent to Wadis-Salaam (The Valley of Peace), and that of an un-behever to wadi Barhut (The Valley of Barhut). The Valley of Peace is said to be in Najaf, where the Souls of the Believers remain in peace waiting for the Day of Resurrection; and the Valley of Barhut is said to be in Yemen, where the souls of hypocrites and unbelievers remain in turmoil, afraid of the approaching Day of Resurrection.7
The above information is based upon traditions. There is nothing to make us believe that these Ahadith are not to be taken literally. If Allah keeps a soul in a place (i.e., a Body) before death. He can keep that very soul in another place after death too. Some modern scholars have tried to interpret these words metaphorically. They say that the Valley of Peace means 'Peace' and the Valley of Barhut means 'Turmoil'; and according to them, the Ahadith mean that the souls of the believers remain in peace and those of others remain in turmoil.
During past centuries, Muslim scholars have repeatedly tried to interpret so many Ayats and Ahadith metaphorically, just because the literal meanings were not palatable to the tastes of their times. Subsequent discoveries showed that it was the literal meaning which was correct. Therefore, one cannot find any justification for this latest attempt which denies the literal meanings and explanations of these two Valleys. The correct view and attitude is to believe what we have been told by the Holy Prophet (S) and Imams (A) because they are our guides in these matters, and it will not do to insert our views in between.
The questioning in the grave is one of the “Dharuriyyat-e-Deen”. (Those things which are commonly believed by all Muslims) and if some one rejects this belief he will not remain a Muslim. Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a..) has written:
“And it is our belief that the Questioning in the grave is 'Haqq' (Truth, Fact); whoever would answer the questions correctly, would get comfort and mercy in his grave and the Garden of Bliss in the Akherat; and whoever would not answer correctly, for him would be the fare of boiling water in his grave and Hell in the next world”8
According to traditions, after one has been buried and those who had come to bury him go away, two angels come into his grave. One is called Munkar, the other Nakir. The soul is caused to re-enter the body for questioning. Then the “dead person”' is asked: Who is thy Rabb (Lord and Sustainer)? Who is thy Prophet? What is thy religion? What is thy Book? What is thy Quibla? Who are thy Imams?
It appears from some traditions that questioning of the grave contains questions about prayers, Zakah, Hajj, fast and the Love of Ahlul-Bait (A).
If he is a believer and answers correctly, the angels tell him to sleep peacefully; and a door is opened into his grave from the Paradise; he sees his place in the Paradise; then his soul is taken out from the body and is placed in neighbourhood of the 14 Masoomen (sinless persons) i.e., the prophet, his daughter and the 12 Imams (A)
According to some traditions, the names of the angels who come to question a believer are 'Mubashshir' and 'Bashir' (one who brings good tidings)
The Holy Prophet told Hadhrat Ali (A) “O Ali, verily those who love you will be glad in three places: at the time of death, because you will be there visiting them: and at the questioning in the grave as you will be there teaching them (the correct replies); and at the time of coming before Allah, and you will be there introducing them”9
This Hadith, and many others, show that Imam (or Imams) A. S come into the grave also.
If he is not a believer, and does not answer correctly, then the angels punish him with a club, a door is opened from the Hell into his grave. Thereafter, his soul is transferred to Wadi Barhut.
Here it must be mentioned that this questioning in the grave is only for a perfect believer or a confirmed unbeliever. (Its reason will be explained later on). It is not for common people; nor is it for children, mad persons or those whose religious beliefs (or disbeliefs) were not based on understanding and conviction (he was a Muslim or Christian just because he happened to be born of Muslim or Christian parents)
Also, if 'Talqin' has been recited on the grave, the dead-body is not questioned. Talqin means 'To Teach'. In Talqin, the dead-body is taught the correct answers to the questions which are to be asked. According to Ahadith, if Talqin is recited, the angels tell each other to return because “the Talqin is his proof (of faith)”.
Question: How can a dead-body hear Talqin! Talqin is recited in Arabic language. How can a non-Arab dead-body understand it?
Answer: So long as the soul is in this body, it requires ears to hear, and eyes to see. But as soon as it is free from the shackles of the body, it hears, sees and feels independently, without needing any of the organs. Therefore, we should not be surprised at how a 'dead-body' can hear our sound and Talqin. So far as understanding the Talqin in a 'foreign language' is concerned, the same principle applies here. While in this body, the soul understands through the mind. But when it becomes free, it understands independently. When it understands with the help of the brain, it is bound to this or that language. When it understands on its own, it needs no particular language. All languages are equal for it.
Furthermore, according tp traditions, the language of Akhirah is Arabic; and as soon as one dies, he at once understands this language.
Also, according to traditions, dead body which carries a stick from the lote-tree on either side, is exempted from punishment and questioning in the grave.
Zurarah (r.a.) asked Imam Muhammad Baqir (A) why the two green branches (of lote-tree) are put with the dead-body (in the shroud). Imam (A) said:
“So long as the branch is green, the dead-body is not punished nor is the account of deeds and beliefs taken.” Then he said: “And the punishment starts on the first day, within the first hour, as soon as people go back after burying their dead. And it is for this reason that the two branches have been prescribed. (As the punishment and questioning is deferred in the first hour because the branches are green) there will be no punishment or accounting even after they become dry, if Allah so wishes (as the time of punishment has passed.)”10
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A) has said: “Whoever is subject to the questioning in the grave, is also squeezed by the grave therein; and the one who is exempted from questioning, is exempted from the squeeze also.”
For some believers this squeeze will be like two friends embracing each other. But for some other believers, whose sins had not been washed away by the agony of death, this will be severe enough to fracture the ribs.
This squeezing is not dependent upon the corpse being buried in the earth. In the words of Imam (A) the Lord of the earth is also the Lord of the atmosphere. And the corpse would be squeezed, if it deserved it, no matter in what condition or place it happens to be.
Now, we will refer to the funeral of Bibi Fatima Bint Asad during the Prophet's time.
When Bibi Fatima Bint Asad (wife of Hadhrat Abu Talib and mother of Hadhrat Ali A) died, the Holy Prophet (S) was very much grieved.
“Verily, the Messenger of Allah gave Kafan (shroud) to Fatima Bint Asad (mother of the Leader of the Faithful) in his own robe, when the women finished washing her. And he carried her bier on his shoulder, and he remained under her bier till he brought it to her grave”.
(The Holy Prophet (S) “remained under her bier” means that he carried her bier on his shoulder. In East Africa, a peculiar custom has been adopted: the son of the dead person remains “under the bier” literally; instead of carrying the bier or helping others carrying it, he places himself between those who are actually carrying the bier, and inconveniences them.)
“Then the Holy Prophet (S) put her bier near the grave, and entered the grave and lay in it. Then he stood up and took the body on his hands and laid it into the grave. Then he put his face near hers whispering to her for a long time, telling her “your son, your son”. Then he come out, filled the grave and shaped it properly. Then he inclined towards the grave, and people heard him saying: 'There is no god but Allah. O Allah, I am giving her to thee in trust'. Then he returned.
The Muslims said: 'O Messenger of Allah, today we have seen you doing such things as you had never done before!'
The Prophet said: 'Today I lost the righteousness of Abu Talib: Verily, she was so (kind to me) that whenever she had any good thing, she gave it to me, instead of using it for herself or her own children. And I said once that on the Day of Judgement people would be assembled naked. She said: “Oh, the'shame!” Therefore, I assured her that Allah would resurrect her with clothes. And I described the squeeze of the grave, and she said: “Oh, the weakness!” So, I guaranteed to her that Allah would save her from it. It was for this reason that I gave her shroud from my own robe, and I lay down in her grave And I knelt near her to teach her (the answers of) what she was being asked.
And, verily, she was asked about her Lord, and she said, “Allah is my Lord”; and about her Prophet, and she answered, “Muhammad (S)”. Then she was asked about her Wali and Imam, and she was perplexed and hesitated a little; so I told her “Your son, your son”. And she replied, “My child is my Imam”. Then the two angels went away and said, “We have no authority upon you, sleep as a bride sleeps (with no worry at all)” Then she died again (i.e., her soul was taken out of her body again). 11
This Hadith shows the love of the Holy Prophet towards Abu Talib and Fatima Bint Asad, and their love towards him; it also shows the prestige of the Prophet, that he could exempt Fatima Bint Asad from the common plight of the Day of Judgement and the grave; and shows the benefit (and origin) ofTalqin; proves that the questioning in, and the squeeze of, grave are the facts which were explained and described by the Holy Prophet (S) himself.
The Prophet (S) also said: One who dies on the eve of Friday or on Friday, is free from punishment in the grave.12
Imam Jaf'ar as-Sadiq (A) has said: A believer dying between Thursday noon and Friday noon is protected by Allah from the squeeze in the grave.13
The question of reward and punishment in Barzakh is very complicated. Allah decides every thing according to His own plan, which, of course, is based upon mercy and justice -justice for all and mercy for the believers. Obviously, every case is dealt with on its own merit. Therefore, it is very difficult to lay down any hard and fast rule. Still, what appears from the traditions of the Masumeen (A) may be summed up as follows:
Different types of people get different types of treatment after death and before the Day of Resurrection.
First: there are true believers, perfect in their faith and virtuous in their deeds. They lived a blameless life, and if there was some mistake or sin (because 'to err is human') their worldly troubles (illness, poverty, death of near and dear ones, troublesome neighbours or tyrant spouse etc.) and/ or agony at the time of death were sufficient to be counted as its retribution and atonement.
Allah knows that they deserve reward. Still, the Day of Judgement has not arrived, and they cannot be sent to the Paradise straight away. By the rule of the Law, they should be left without any reward till they are resurrected; but the Mercy of Allah decrees that they should not be left in abeyance. Therefore, they are questioned about their beliefs, and on giving correct answers, they enter a state of Bliss, which gives them the satisfaction of knowing that their future is assured: They find pleasure and happiness in their grave, and wait eagerly for the Day of Resurrection.
Second: the confirmed unbelievers and hypocrites, whose lives are devoid of any good deed. Or if there was any good deed, the worldly blessings (health, wealth, good family and friends, prestige and power etc. etc.) and /or the ease at the time of death were sufficient rewards.
Allah knows that their place is Jahannam (Hell); but He will not send them there before the Day of Judgement. So, to give them a fore-taste of their punishment, they are questioned about their beliefs, and when they do not give correct answers, their graves are turned into punishment cells. And they wish the Qiyamat would not come at all.
Here it shoud be mentioned that the reward or punishment of Barzakh is different from that of Paradise or Hell. The reward or punishment of Barzakh is for the soul only. It is for this reason that we do not see anyone being rewarded or punished in the grave. In the traditions of Masumeen (A), it has been compared to happy dreams or nightmares. The person who is dreaming is going through all the tortures in the dreams; but the man sitting besides him does not realize what is going on. Likewise, the joys of dream are not known to others at all.
But again it is not a strict rule. Some exceptions have been observed whereas the dead-body was found enjoying some rewards, (a heavenly rose put near his nose, for example) or undergoing some torture (a scorpion stinging at the toe, for instance). But these are the exceptions that prove the rule.
The third Group is of those who are neither perfect believers nor confirmed unbelievers. The children, the lunatics, those who because of one reason or another were not in a position to differentiate between the right and the wrong path, those who were so far from Islamic environment that they were not aware of the truth of Islam, those who did not know about Islam but at the same time were not enemies of Islam, those whose religious beliefs were not based upon logical understanding but they just followed what their families were following; even those non-believers who love the Holy Prophet (S) and his Ahlul-Bait, without knowing that they were the True Guides sent by Allah: all such people come under this group.
Such people will not be subject to the questioning and squeeze of grave. They will be left in a state like deep slumber; and Allah will decide about them on the Day of Judgement. Till then, there is neither reward nor punishment for them.14
After these three main groups, there still remains a group in between, which must be described here to complete the picture. This group is of those believers who had committed so many sins that could not be wiped out by worldly troubles and agony of death. Now, if Allah decides that such a believer should come on the Day of Judgement clean from all blemishes and free from all sins, then He may put him under punishment during the Barzakh period. And it is this punishment which has been referred to in the Hadith of Imam Jafer Sadiq (A) which was mentioned earlier:
“We will intercede on your behalf on the Day of Judgement; but, by Allah, I am worried about you whilst you would be in Barzakh.”
On the other hand, if Allah decides to leave his case in suspense till Qiyamat, then it will fall under 3rd group.
Anyhow, all these things depend upon the justice and mercy of Allah. We have not been told enough to know all the details about all the groups.
It is about the first and second groups (as well as the last mentioned believers who will be punished in Barzakh) that the Holy Prophet (S) has said: “When one dies his Qiyamat starts!” In this sense the Barzakh is called “Qiyamat-e-Sughra” (the lesser Qiyamat)
The reader is now advised to read again the traditions given in lesson 17; so that he may understand many references which might have remained a mystery at first.
It seems proper to give here a short account of the conversation which Salman, the Persian, had had with a dead person. It is a lengthy tradition, but of great benefit.
Asbagh bin Nubata (r.a.) was a trusted companion of Ameerul Mumeneen Ali (AS). He went to see Salman Farsi (r.a.) who had settled in Madain. Asbagh (r.a.) says:
“I found him very sick, near his death. He told me: 'O Asbagh, the Messenger of Allah had informed me that, at the time of my death, a dead person would talk to me. Now, put me on a wooden plank and take me to the graveyard. On reaching the grave-yard, Salman faced towards Quibla and in a loud voice saluted the dead. Nobody replied. After saluting them several times without getting any reply, Salman said: “O Inhabitants of these graves, I am Salman, a slave of the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet had told me that at the time of my death a dead person would converse with me. Now, if that time has arrived, then, for the sake of Allah and His Messenger, please talk to me”.
Suddenly someone responded to his Salaam, and said: “O people who build and plant, and ultimately the buildings turn into ruins and gardens decay; ask me what you want,, I will reply”.
Salman (r.a.) asked: “Are you from the people of Paradise or of Hell?” The dead man said that he was from the people of Paradise.
Salman requested him to describe how he died and what agonies he had to undergo at that time. He replied:
“O Salman, please do not ask this. By Allah, if someone had snipped my flesh (by scissors) in little bits and removed the flesh from the bones, it would have been easier than the agony of death. O Salman, I always did good deeds in your world, always prayed on time, used to recite the Qur'an, was good to my parents, lived on lawful earnings. Then I fell ill and my life came to its end. At that time, a very tall person, with a frightening countenance, stood in the air before me. He pointed to my eyes and they lost their sight; to my ears and they became deaf; to my tongue and it lost its speech. I asked him who he was and why he was doing it to me. He said: I am the angel of death; your life has ended in this world. You have to go from here to another world'.
Then two persons came to me, one of them sat on my right, the other on the left. They informed me that they were the two angels who had written all my deeds in the worldly life. One, whose name was 'Raqueeb' gave my record of good deeds, on reading which I was much pleased. Then the other angel, whose name was 'Ateed', gave me the other record, a complete record of my sins; and on reading that I was very sad.
Then the Angel of Death came nearer and removed my soul through my nose, and I have not forgotten its agony yet. Seeing me dead, my relatives and family members started crying. The Angel of Death said: “Why are you crying? I have not done any injustice that you are complaining of. When his life came to end, I removed his soul on the command of Allah. And I will come to you so many times.”
Then another Angel took my soul and I was brought to heaven where I was asked about my deeds, viz. prayers, fasts, Zakat, Khums, Hajj, Jihad, recitation of the Qur'an, obedience to the parents etc. Likewise, I was asked whether I had murdered any one, or taken some one's property without any right, or been unjust to other people and such things.
Then that same Angel brought my soul back to earth. At that time the person who wanted to wash my body (Ghassal) removed my clothes and started the ritual washing (Ghusl). My soul cried out: “O servant of Allah, have mercy On this weak and broken body. By Allah, all its veins, whence I have come out, have been broken; and its limbs are like they have been minced”. My soul was imploring him in such a touching way that if the Ghassal were to hear it, he would have left washing the dead bodies altogether.
Then they covered me with Kafan (shroud), gave me Hunut, prayed upon me. When they laid me in the grave, I was so much frightened that words cannot describe it.
When they closed my grave, my soul entered my body again. An Angel, Munabbih (One who awakens, reminds) by name, came to me and made me sit. He ordered me to write down all the deeds which I had done in the world. I said that I did not remember. He said: 'I will go on reminding, you go on writing'. I said: 'Where is the paper?' He said: “This Kafan of yours will do for paper'. I said: 'Where can I find a pen?' He said: 'Your finger will be your pen'. I asked about the ink and was told that my saliva will work like ink.
When I had written all my deeds, the Angel put my writing around my neck like a band, it is as Allah says in the Qur'an:
“And the bird (i.e., deed done by one) of every man have We bound about his neck, and We shall produce unto him, on the Day of Resurrection, a book (in which his actions will be recorded) which he will find open, (it will be said to him) read thy book; thine own self will be a sufficient reckoner against thee.” (Qur'an, 17:13-14).
(In other traditions, the name of the angel, who comes in the grave and guides in writing the deeds of the Mayyit, is given as ”Ruman”)
Then an angel, very frightening, Munkar by name, came to me with a fiery club, and asked me: “Who is your Lord? Who are your Prophet and Imams? What is your religion?” I was so afraid that I became totally confused; my limbs were trembling; I could not understand what to reply. In that confusion, the Mercy of Allah supported me, and my heart became tranquil, and I replied; “Allah (His Power is Great) is my Lord; and Muhammad is my Prophet, and Ali bin Abi Talib is my Imam and Islam is my religion; and the Qur'an is my Book and the Kaaba is my Quibla”.
Then another Angel, who is called Nakir, interrogated me in the same manner about my beliefs. By Grace of Allah, I replied his questions also and said: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger, and that Ali and his sinless progeny are the proofs of Allah, and that Paradise is Haqq (a Fact, Truth) and the Fire (of Hell) is true, and Sirat (Path) is true, and the Balance (of deeds) is true and the Questioning of Munkar and Nakir in the grave is true, and Resurrection is true, and raising (of dead) is true, and flying of the books (in which deeds of a person are recorded) is true, and that the Hour (Day of Judgement) is sure to come, there is no doubt in it, and that Allah will raise all the dead who are in the grave”.
Hearing these true answers, the angels said to me: “Sleep as a bride sleeps” (without any worry); they opened a door of Paradise towards my head, and the breeze of Paradise came to me, and my grave (which previously looked like a prison) become a vast place extending beyond my vision, and the whole place became a garden.
O Salman, a man must remember his Lord at all times, and must spend his life in His obedience, because death is a sure thing and every one will have to face all those things which I have told you.”
Asbagh (r.a.) said: “When the voice stopped, Salman (r.a.) told me to take him back home, there he lay on the ground and looking towards heavens prayed to Allah, and left this world.”15
1. Those who are martyred in the Way of Allah remain alive for ever. (The Prophets and Imams are superior than the martyrs; and as such, they are also alive). About the martyrs Allah says in the Qur'an:
“And think not those who are slain in the way of Allah, to be dead; nay! Alive they are with their Lord; are being sustained, rejoicing for those who have not yet joined them from behind them, that no fear shall come to them nor shall they grieve. They rejoice in the grace from Allah and (His) bounty, and in the fact that Allah does not (allow) the reward of the believers to be lost.” (Qur'an, 3:169-171).
2. The souls of the believers always look forward for the gifts from their near and dear ones, and especially so on Fridays and Friday eve. This gift may be in the form of prayers, alms, and other good deeds done on their behalf; one may also perform any Sunnat deed and pray to Allah to give its Thawab (Reward) to one's dead.1
3. The souls are sometimes allowed to visit their relatives who are alive. So far as the believers are concerned, there is no doubt about their visit. According to many Ahadith, even that believer who has the lowest rank is allowed to visit his relatives once every Friday. Those above him in rank may be allowed more frequently.
According to some Ahadith, even some unbelievers are allowed to visit their relatives so that their sorrow and grief may increase by seeing those relatives in disbelief and sin and realizing that they also would be punished in Akherat if they persisted in rejecting Islam and Iman.2
4. It must be mentioned here that the souls of the unbelievers remain in punishment and are not free to do any mischief to any one. Therefore, the idea of some people that this or that person became a ghost after his death is sheer superstition. There is no basis to accept such beliefs, prevalent in Hinduism.
Of course, there are Jinns, and among them, according to the Qur 'an, there are some evil ones also. But it does not mean that the evil Jinns have no other interest except teasing the East African residents of Indian origin. It is really surprising to listen to such lamentations that 'I have chronic headache, and so and so (a Sheikh, or Amil, or sorcerer) has said that a very evil Jinn (Kalkail, Dardail or some such name) is upon me.'
The belief in magic or sorcery is prevalent in Africa, and the East African Shias also have some Hindu background (as they have originated from India), and unfortunately, the people who came to guide them in religious matters from Iran (and lately from India) found this ready belief in ghosts (and evil Jinn) conducive to their material gains. The result is that if, for example, there is a dispute between a husband and wife, each party tries to obtain the most effective 'Hirz” to subjugate the other party. (Incidentally, it would be the most expensive also!) Neither of them would think of amending oneself to win the heart of the spouse. The result, of course, is Divorce.
Of course, there are many 'Hirz' taught by our Imams, which may be seen in Biharu'l-anwar3 and many of them are 'Sahih' (Correct). But the writers of 'Hirz' today do not confine themselves to those correctly narrated Ahadith; and what is more despicable is their selling their 'Hirz' and turning it into a merchandise. Who has ever heard that spiritual benefits could be sold and bought?
Before we go further, it is advisable to mention some Ayats of the Qur'an with their interpretations.
5. “Until, when death overtakes any of them, he says, 'O Lord; cause me to return (to life), so that I may do that which is right which I had neglected.' By no means. Verily these are (mere) words which he speaks (he will not change his ways) and behind them there is a bar (partition) until the day they shall be resurrected” (Qur'an, 23:99-100).
This Ayat describes the sorrow, shame and grief of the unbelievers, when they face death. At that time they desire to be returned to life, so that they may amend the ways of their lives and become virtuous. Of course, such wish will not be granted to them. But by telling the believers what the unbelievers would ardently wish, Allah reminds the believers not to waste the opportunity of doing good, lest we also should wish like that at the approach of death.
6. “Allah shall confirm them who believe, by the steadfast word (of faith) in this life and the next one; but Allah shall leave the wicked into error; and Allah does what He pleases” (Qur'an, 14:27)
It means that Allah keeps the believers steadfast in their faith in this life by the Creed of the Unity of Allah, and will keep them firmly on the path of Paradise in Qiyamat by the same Creed.
But according to the interpretation of our Imams (A) , the word 'next world' in this Ayat refers to the grave. Accordingly, this Ayat refers to questioning in the grave. It says that Allah will keep the believers steadfast in the grave because of their Creed. This help from Allah needs no further explanation because we have seen how Allah by His Grace, exempts them from questioning if the Talqin has been recited for them, or if they have died on Friday or Friday eve. Even when they are questioned, Allah sends Hadhrat Ali (A) to help them at that time. In this way their faith is confirmed.
As for others, Allah leaves them in their error in the grave, because they rejected the divine guidance in this life.
7. “They (the unbelievers) shall say (on the Day of Resurrection). 'O Lord, thou hast given us death twice, and thou hast twice given us life; and we confess our sins; is there, therefore, any way to get forth (from retribution)?” (Qur'an, 40:11)
According to many traditions, two deaths and two lives mean death in this world, then resurrection in the grave for questioning, then death in the grave after questioning, then resurrection on the Day of Reckoning.
According to others, it refers to Raj'at (Return), which is briefly mentioned in ch. 36.
The coming of the Day of Reckoning is a certainty, as Allah has said in the Qur'an:-
“This is because verily Allah, He is the reality, and because He gives life unto the dead, and because verily He has power over all things. And that the Hour (of resurrection) is to come, there is no doubt therein, and that Allah will raise up those in the grave” (Qur’an, 22:6-7)
But no one knows 'When'; and there is no exception in this statement. Allah has kept this knowledge to Himself, and even the angels or the Prophets were not given this knowledge. A few Ayats are given here to prove this fact:
“They ask thee about the Hour when will be its fixed time; say, 'The knowledge of it is only with my Lord; none shall manifest it at its time but He;heavy shall it be in the heavens and the earth; it will not come to you but of a sudden.' They ask thee as if thou wert solicitous about it. Say, its knowledge is only with Allah, but most people do not understand.'' (Qur’an, 7:187)
“O ye people, guard yourselves (against the wrath of) your Lord, and fear the day when a father shall not avail of his son, nor the child shall avail of father; verily, the promise of Allah is true, so let not the life of the world beguile you, nor let the deceiver beguile you concerning Allah. Verily Allah is He with whom is the knowledge of the Hour; and He sends down the rain, and knows He what is in the wombs; and knows no soul what he shall earn tomorrow (i.e., what will happen to him tomorrow); and knows no soul in what land he shall die. Verily, Allah is All-knowing, All-Aware.” (Qur’an, 34:33-34)
“The people ask thee about the Hour. Say, 'The knowledge of it is only with Allah'. And what will make thee know, perhaps the Hour may be near”. (Qur’an, 33:63)
It is clear from these and other such Ayats that the exact time of the Day of Judgement is known only to Allah. Still, Allah, in His Mercy, had informed the Holy Prophet of some Signs of its approach, and the Holy Prophet (S) in his turn told us about them. The purpose of this information was to keep us on the alert and to give us an added impetus to obey the commands of Allah in the face of hurdles and difficulties which are bound to multiply near the Day of Judgement.
These Signs may be divided into two categories:-
First: The signs which are connected with the general behaviour of the society - moral corruption, shamelessness, dishonesty, and in short, a complete lack of the sense of direction on the part of mankind. The appearance of these signs may serve as a warning to those who believe in Allah and His Prophet; they will realize that the 'Hour is near'! Still, their appearance does not imply that its approach is imminent.
Second: The Signs which are to appear just before Qiyamat one after another culminating in Qiyamat. Those Signs are not in the hands of society, and most of them are what is termed in modern language as 'the acts of God'.
One of these Signs is the Re-appearance of our 12th Imam (A).
As the first group of the Signs is to appear before the Re-appearance of the Imam (A), many of the traditions of previous Imams (A,S) have described them among the Signs of the Re-appearance of the 12th Imam (A). And it fits with the forecast of the Holy Prophet (SAW.) that Imam Mahdi (A) will re-appear when the world would become full of injustice and tyranny (and he will fill it with justice and equity).
There are many traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) and Imams concerning the first category of the Signs. In the next chapter, is given a summary of one important tradition, together with short comments.
Abdullah bin Abbas (r.a.) said that after completing the Last Pilgrimage (in the 10th year of Hijrah), the Holy Prophet (S) stood before the door of the Kaaba, keeping the latch of the door in his hand, and said to his companions: “Should I not tell you of the Signs of the Day of Resurrection? Salman Farsi (r.a.) was nearest of all there and he replied: “Surely, O Messenger-of Allah.” The Holy Prophet said:
“Verily, amongst the Signs of the Hour is that people will neglect the prayer (i.e., will not pray at all, or will pray without fulfilling its conditions, or will not pray in the preferred time), and will follow their own views (and desires will supersede the commands of Allah, they will follow only those rules which will appeal to them, and will leave other rules), and will incline towards their own preferences, and will respect the wealthy people (forgetting the Islamic criterion of honour, i.e., piety), and will sell the religion for worldly benefits (for example, the greed of worldly riches will instigate them to go to such places where, they very well know, it would be difficult to observe their religious commands); at that time the heart and soul of the believer will melt (from grief) as salt melts in water, because he will see the unlawful things (and actions) and will not be able to change them.”
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Holy Prophet said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul. “O Salman, at that time the rulers will be tyrants, the ministers transgressors and the trustees embezzlers.”
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Holy Prophet (S) Said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, verily at that time the evil will become virtue, and the virtue will become evil; the embezzlers will be trusted, and the trustworthy people will be thought untrustworthy; and the liars will be vouchsafed, and the truthful one will be considered liars.”
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?
The Holy Prophet (S) said:'Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, at that time, women will be rulers and the concubines will be consulted; (It may mean the government of the women and /or the domination of women over their husbands - so much so that the husbands will not, or cannot, ask them to remain within the limits of the Sheriat, leaving them free to go wherever they want in whatever clothes they like) and the children will sit upon 'Minber' (Pulpit) (It may mean that children will sit upon pulpit of the Prophet even though they cannot appreciate the sanctity of the 'Minber'. Or it may mean that such people will ascend the pulpit who will not deserve such honour. The 'Minber' was created for delivering the commands of Allah to His servants. Its only purpose was to enjoin to do good and to forbid from evil', and later on the narration of the tragedy of Karbala was included in it, because the 'Fadhilat' (Superiority) and sufferings of Ahlul-Bait (A) are important parts of religion. If someone wants to exhort others to do good, he must sincerely follow the Sheriat himself, and if he wants to forbid others from doing evil, he, first of all, must abstain from the sins himself. Unfortunately, nowadays anyone who can recite a few poems of Iqbal or Rumi, and who is unrestrained enough to invent 'Fadhail' and 'Masaib' of Ahlul-Bait on the spur of the moment, is given the titles 'Allamah', 'Maulana' and 'Zakir' and is offered heavy fee to demonstrate his oratorical power, even if he shaves his beard, even if he knows nothing about Qur'an and Hadith, even if he expresses his own opinions against the sayings of the Holy Prophet and Imams (peace be on them all), even if he uses the pulpit to mislead the masses); and the lie will be considered as cleverness; and Zakat will be (disliked) as fines; and the booty of war will be like personal property (or in present days' context, public property will be squandered as personal property); and man will be tyrant to his parents and generous to his friend; and at that time comets will appear.”
Salman (R. A) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul”.
“O Salman , at that time the woman will become a partner of her husband in trade (It means, more probably, that she will help her husband in the shop, acting as sales-girl, accountant and what not); and the rain will be very hot; (Its meaning is not clear yet. Does it mean radio-active rain?) and virtuous people will remain sorrowful; and the poor person will be dishonoured; at that time, the markets will come nearer. (It has already happened, thanks to the fantastic developments in means of communications, like teleprinters, radios, satellites. A man sitting in New York buys and sells in Tokyo.) Then this will say. 'I did not sell anything' and that will say, 'I did not get any profit'. Thus, you will see none who is not complaining against Allah.
Salman (R. A.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes; by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, and then it will happen that their rulers will be such people that if they talked, they would kill them, and if they remained silent, they would confiscate their wealth, would put their honour under their feet and would shed their blood - and the people's hearts will fill with fear; then you will not find anyone but that he would be afraid, fearful, awed and in terror.”
Salman (R. A.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?” The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, verily at that time something will be brought from the East, and something from the West, and my Ummat (Muslims) will be dyed in them. (It means that un-Islamic behaviour and character will be imported from East and West and Muslims will imitate those things and will be dyed in un- Islamic colour). Then woe be unto the weaker people of my Ummat from them; and woe be unto those (un-Islamic agents) from Allah. They will not have mercy upon little ones, and will not respect old ones; and will not pardon anyone who committed a mistake. Their bodies will be of human beings, and their hearts will be of Satans.”
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, and at that time males will satisfy their lust with males; and females will satisfy their lust with females; and minor boys will be mounted upon like women; and the males will liken themselves to females (i.e, will look like females); and females will look like males (The clean-shaved faces and long hair on one side, and pants and bell-bottoms on the other side are proof of the fulfilment of this forecast); and females will ride the saddles (i.e, horses, cycles, scooters and motor-cycles). So there will be Curse of Allah upon those women of my Ummat.”
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, verily, at that time mosques will be decorated (by gold etc.) as are synagogues and cathedrals; and the (copies of the) Qur'an will be beautified (with designs and golden colours etc.); and the minarets (of the mosques) will be high, and the lines of the people standing in prayers will increase but their hearts will be hating each other and their talks will be different from each other (i.e., though the external show of religion will be on the increase, the spirit of religion will disappear. Even when they will pray together, the Islamic brotherhood and unity will be absent. They will hate each other; they will not speak with one voice.)
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this happen, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, at that time, males will use golden ornaments (In many marriages, bridegroom wears golden ring. I wonder why it is thought necessary to start the married life by defying the command of Allah. Will such wilful affront to religion bring the blessings of Allah and 14 Masumeen (A) upon the newly-weds?); and they (the males) will wear silk and (people) will use cheetah-skins.”
Salman (R. A.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, and at that time 'interest' will appear (everywhere), and people will deal with (the help of) backbiting and bribe; and the Religion will be suppressed, and the world (worldly affairs) will be raised (in importance).”
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, at that time, divorce will increase. And the 'Huduef (punishments of various crimes and sins prescribed in Islam) of Allah will not be established (i.e., the penal code given by Allah will not be followed, as is the case nowadays.) But it will not do any harm to Allah (It will harm them only; they will suffer.)
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?
The Holy Prophet (S. AW.) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, and at that time will appear female singers and musical instruments ('will appear' means will be openly used'), and will rule upon them most evil of my Ummat (worst people will rule upon the Muslims).”
Salman (R. A) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?
The Holy Prophet said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, and at that time the rich of my Ummat will go to pilgrimage for recreation, and the middle class for trade (What about foreign exchange, gold, watches and radios?), and the poor to show off. Thus, at that time, there will be people who will learn the Qur'an for other than Allah (i.e., for earning worldly benefits) and will treat the Qur'an as musical instrument (as is happening today in 'Islamic' countries where the Qur'an is recited on the radios, not to make people follow the religious commands, but just to entertain the listeners).
“And there will be people who will study religion for other than Allah (i.e., for earning prestige or wealth, as is happening today when the main purpose of religious studies in many circles is to become a good orator, so that higher and higher fees may be demanded from the audience) and the number of illegitimate children will increase; and people will sing the Qur'an, and will fall upon one another in greed of the worldly (riches).”
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, this will happen when honours will be defiled, and sins will be committed, and the evil people will have authority upon good people, and lie will be prevalent, and disputes will appear (talks will be full of obstinacy), and poverty will be wide-spread and people will be proud of their clothes (fine clothes will be the criterion of greatness), and there will be rains at wrong times; and they will like chess and gambling apparatus and musical instruments; and will dislike enjoining the good and forbidding the evil; so much so that the (true) believer will,
at that time, have less respect than a slave-girl; and the reciters (of the Qur'an) and those who spend their time in worshipping God, will blame each other (mudslinging amongst apparently religious people is not an uncommon sight nowadays.) Those are the people who will be called unclean and filthy in the kingdom of heavens.”
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman, at that time the rich will not be afraid (of anything) except the poor so much so that a beggar will continue begging between two Fridays and will not find anyone putting anything in his hands.
Salman (r.a.) said: “And is this to happen, O Messenger of Allah?
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Yes, by (Allah) in whose hand is my soul.
“O Salman (r.a.), at that time will talk 'Ruwaibidhah'”
Salman asked: “And what is 'Ruwaibidhah'? O Messenger of Allah, my father and mother be sacrificed for you!”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Such persons will talk about public affairs who had not talked in such matters before. Then in a short time chaos will appear upon earth, and every nation will think that chaos was only in their land (but it will cover the whole world).
“They will remain in that condition so long as Allah would wish them to remain; then the earth will throw out the pieces of its heart - gold, silver and other minerals - (Then the Holy Prophet (S A W.) pointed towards the pillars, and said) like these (in size), but on that day neither gold nor silver will be of any benefit to any one. And this is the meaning of the words of Allah 'So surely did come its (i.e., Qiyamat's)' signs.” 1
This is the most comprehensive of all such traditions. In other traditions may be found one or two items which are not mentioned in this one; but the main theme is the same. In short, 'Kufr'and hypocrisy will be prevalent before the coming of the Day of Judgement.
Still, two sentences from two different traditions must be quoted here:-
In one of his sermons on this subject Ameerul-Mumeneen Ali bin Abi Talib (A) has said: “And child will be sorrow”2 What does this sentence mean? It may mean that children by their disobedience will become a source of sorrow and grief to their parents. Also, it may be an allusion to the practice of 'birth control. Birth of a child will be a sorry event!
In another Hadith, it is said that: “People will become Kafir because of poverty and need.”
In Bangaladesh, thousands of Muslims have already been converted to Christianity, because Christian missions helped them when they were facing disaster, soon after the surrender of Pakistani forces. No Muslim country or Organization came to their rescue; now the Christians are reaping the harvest of their generosity.
Also, atheism, in the shape of communism, is making inroads into the poor nations of the world.
The Holy Prophet and Imams have warned us of these dangers. Let us be on guard and save ourselves from these undesirable trends.
When the world will be submerged in chaos, then Imam Mahdi Shebuz-Zaman (A) will re-appear; Hazrat Isa bin Maryam (A) will come down to help him in spreading the true faith; and Imam Sahebuz-zaman (A) will rule upon the world.
Then some more specific signs will appear and Qiyamat will come.
It is not proposed to give here the full details of re-appearance of Imam Mahdi (A); it is being mentioned just to give the reader an idea of the sequence of events.
The following tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) describes the other 'Specific Signs' of Qiyamat:-
Hudhaifah bin Usaid al-Ghifari (RA) said that once the Holy Prophet (S) came to us and we were talking. He asked us what we were talking about. They said, “We were talking about Qiyamat.” The Holy, Prophet (SAW.) said:
“Verily it will not stand (it will not come) until you see ten signs before it.”
Then he described (1) The smoke; (2) and Dajjal; (3) and Dabbatul-Ardh; (4) and Rising of the sun from its setting place; (5) and coming down of Isa, son of Maryam;(6) and Gog and Magog; (7) and three land-slides, one in the East; (8) and another in the West; (9) and one in Arabian peninsula; (10) and the last of these Signs will be a Fire which will appear from Yemen and will turn the people towards their Mahshar (the gathering place in the Qiyamat).”3
A short description of all these will be given in the following chapters.
Two extracts from two Sunni scholars are given here:-
Shaykh 'Abdul-Wahhab Sharani writes in Al-Yawaqit wa 'l-jawafur:-
“Chapter sixty- fifth: To show that all the conditions of Qiyamat (foretold by the Holy Prophet SAW.) are true and all of them must appear before coming of the Qiyamat.
“And those signs are like appearance of Mahdi, then of Dajjal, then coming down of Isa, appearance of Dabbah, and rising of the sun from its setting place, and the Qur'an being taken up and opening of the barrier of Gog and Magog. Even if there were only one day remaining from the (life of the) world, all of these Signs would appear surely … At that time the appearance of Mahdi should be expected; and he is from children of Imam Hasan al-'Askari; his birth (peace be on him) was on the eve of 15th Shaaban in the year 255; and he is alive till he meets Isa son of Maryam (peace be on him). Thus his (Imam Mahdi's) age at this time of writing (which is the 958 of Hijrah) is 706 years.”4
And Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Al-Undulusi writes in Al-Futu-utul-Makkiyah (Chapter 366):
“Know that Mahdi (Allah be pleased with him ) must appear. But he will not appear till the world becomes full of tyranny and injustice, then he will fill it with justice and equity; and if there were not more than one day remaining from the (life of the) world, Allah would make that day long enough to enable this Khalifa to rule. And he (Imam Mahdi) is from the Progeny of the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and peace from Allah upon him), from the children of Fatimah (Allah be pleased with her); his forefather is Husain, son of'Ali bin Abi Talib; his father is Hasan Al- 'Askari, son of Imam 'Ali An-Naqi, son of Imam Muhammad At-Taqi, son of Imam 'Ali ar-Ridha, son of Imam Musa Al-Kazim, son of Imam Ja'far As-Sadiq, son of Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir, son of Imam Zainul-Abedin 'Ali, son of Imam Husain, son of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib. His name is the name of the Messenger of Allah (i.e., Muhammad). The Muslims will do his Bai-'at (will declare their allegiance to him) between Rukn and Maquam (i.e., between Rukh-e-Yamani and Maquam-e-Ibrahim in Ka'bah); he will be like the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and peace be from Allah upon him) in appearance, and below him in character (because nobody can be like the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be from Allah upon him) as Allah has said: “Verily thou art on great character)(Qur’an 68:4).
He will distribute wealth equally and will do justice to the public… More people will refrain from sins because of his fear rather than because of the Quf'an. (Because of his blessings) a man who would be ignorant, coward and miser in the evening will become learned, brave and generous in the morning. Help (from Allah) will precede him; he will follow the foot-steps of the Messenger of Allah, and he will commit no mistake, there will be an angel supporting him though he will not see him; he will raise up the weary, help the weak;… his actions will be according to his words, and his words according to his deeds … he will destroy injustice and the unjust; and will raise the religion and will put life back into Islam; Allah, through him, will strengthen Islam after its dishonour, and will make it alive after its death. He will revoke ' Jizyah' (Personal -tax, payable by the non- Muslims in an Islamic state) and will call towards Allah by sword…
He will manifest the religion in its true form, so that if the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and peace from Allah be upon him) were alive he would have confirmed it. Thus, in his time there will not remain but the (true) religion purified from the (people's) views…. Isa, son of Mariyam (AS) will come down to him, near the white minaret in the eastern part of Damascus …
“And Mahdi will die clean and pure…. And Mahdi (A) appeared (i.e., was born) in the 4th period (i.e., after Tabi-een)…. then he went into seclusion till comes the known (or appointed) time.”5
The Holy Prophet (S) in his Hadith had first mentioned the 'Smoke'.
It has been said in the Qur'an:
“So wait the day when the sky shall give out a smoke, clearly visible, enveloping the people. This will be painful chastisement.
”(They will say) 'O Our Lord, remove from us the torment; verily (now) we are believers.' “How shall they be warned, when there already came to them a Messenger making (the truth) manifest; and yet they turned their backs unto him and said: '(He is) tutored (by other humans), a mad man.
“Verily, We shall remove the torment a little; (but) verily you shall return (unto evil).
”(Then shall come) the Day. We shall seize (them) with a great seizure; verily, We shall retribute.” (Qur’an, 44:10-16)
According to many traditions, these Ayats refer to the smoke which will appear near the Day of Judgement. It will penetrate into ears (and eyes), and people's heads will look like they have been roasted. But it will not trouble the believers very much; they will feel irritation just like in common cold. And the whole earth will be just like a house in which fire has been lighted and the house has no window or ventilation. This condition will remain for forty days.6
This Sign will be a warning; and as appears from the Ayat, people will be given a chance to come onto right path, and mend their ways. The words “We shall remove the torment a little” show that the Smoke will be removed, but the next words “Verily, you shall return (unto evil)” show that after its removal, not many people will heed to the voice of reason. Perhaps they will invent some physical or geographical reason for that calamity, and will forget their pledges to Allah that “Verily, (now) we are believers.”
It is not difficult to accept all the aspects mentioned above:
Fog and smog blanket whole regions even today. Allah may create a smoke which will cover the whole earth.
He may give the believers immunity from the harsh effects of that smoke. Even today, not all people are affected when an epidemic attacks a region.
And there are countless examples of unbelievers repenting when a chastisement came, and forgetting all their pleas and prayers as soon as the trouble was removed.
“Dajjal” means “The Deceiver”. It appears from various traditions that some one will falsely claim that he is the Messiah who is awaited by the Jews. Seventy thousand Jews from Isfihan alone will follow him. He will be one-eyed (one of his eyes will be blind; not that he will have only one eye in the middle of the fore-head!). Gradually, his followers will increase, and so will his claim. Finally, he will claim to be god. He will have food and water; and many people will accept his claims just to get some food and water.
It is this frightening aspect of this episode which had our Beloved Prophet (S) worried, lest his Ummat be tempted to go astray at that time. Our Holy Prophet (S) has warned us repeatedly to be on guard against the 'Fitna' of Dajjal.
There is a Hadith in 'Sahih -e-Muslim' from 'Imran bin Husain'; that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “There is not, between the creation of Adam upto the appearance of Qiyamat, any matter more difficult than that of Dajjal.”7
According to the accepted traditions, at that time, Nabii Isa (A) will come down, Dajjal will be killed, and his army annihilated. Also Hadhrat Isa (A) will break the Cross and destroy the pig.
The significance of these three items will be explained later. Before that, a few traditions are quoted here to give the full picture.
The Holy Prophet said: “I swear by Allah, in whose hand is my soul, surely will come down to you the son of Maryam, as a just ruler; then he will break the cross and kill the swine, and will finish the war (or according to another narration, will revoke the Jizyah); and there will be so much wealth that nobody will accept any charity; and for the people, one Sajdah of Allah will be better than the whole world and its contents.” 8
In another tradition (narrated by Nuwwas bin Samaan) the mischief of Dajjal is described by the Holy Prophet (S); then the Hadith continues as follows:—
“At that time (when Dajjal will be doing all this), Allah will send Masih, son of Maryam and he will come down on the eastern side of Damascus, near the white minaret, wearing two robes of yellow colour, keeping his hand on the arms of two angels; when he will bow down his head, it will seem as if drops are coming down like pearls. Whenever his breath reaches an unbeliever (and it will reach to the furthest limit of his eye -sight) that un -believer will die at once. Then the son of Maryam will chase Dajjal and will catch him at the gate of Ludd 9 (present days' 'Lod' near Tel Aviv. There is an Israeli Air Force base there nowadays.)…..”
Abu Amamah Bahili narrates (in a long Hadith about Dajjal):
“While their (i.e., Muslims') Imam (i.e., Imam Mahdi A) would have come forward to lead the morning prayer, Isa, son of Maryam, will come down among them and the Imam will retreat and welcome Isa forward; but Isa will put his hands between his shoulders, and will say: No, you should lead the prayer because it has been established for you. So he will lead the prayer. After finishing the prayer, Hadhrat Isa (A) will say, 'Open the door'. The door will be opened. On the outside, Dajjal with seventy thousand well-armed Jews will be present to fight. When Hadhrat Isa (A) will look at him, he will start melting as salt melts in water; and he (Dajjal) will flee. Hadhrat Isa (A) will say: “I have for thee an attack which thou canst escape.” Then he will catch him at the eastern gate of Ludd (i.e., Lod). Allah will defeat the Jews; the face of earth will be full of Muslims, as a water-pot is filled with water. The whole world will recite the Kalimah, and none will be worshipped but Allah.”10
From these and other traditions, it appears that Dajjal will be from the Jews, and he will present himself as the awaited Messiah of the Jews. It is necessary to mention that after the death of Hadhrat Sulayman, Bani Israel's history passes from one fiasco to another. At last, after the captivity in Babylon and Syria, they were dispersed everywhere, and their prophets gave them good tidings that a Messiah was to come from God who was to rescue them from disgrace and dishonour. So they awaited a Messiah who, according to their thinking, was to be a king. Then Hadrat Isa (S.A.) came but against their expectations he was not a king. So they did not accept him as the awaited Messiah; instead, they tried to kill him.
Thenceforth, all the Jews in the world are awaiting the Messiah, hoping that he would be a martial and political leader who would establish a Jewish kingdom from the Nile to the Euphrates, and will gather the Jews in the land which they believe is theirs by inheritance.
It does not require great intelligence to realize that the stage is being set for the appearance of Dajjal in Middle East, claiming to be the promised Messiah of the Jews. If such a leader comes forward, then Allah will send the real Messiah to fight against him. It was Isa bin Maryam, who two thousand years ago, was rejected by the Jews, whom they, according to their thinking, had crucified and destroyed. The place of the fighting will be Syria where the imposter will have entered with an army 70,000 strong. When Hadhrat Isa (A) comes down, leading Muslims to fight against him, he will flee, and will be killed near the entrance of the present day Lod. The Jews will be killed, and Judaism will perish at the hands of the true Messiah.
So much about the relationship of Hadhrat Isa (A) with the Jews. Now we come to the present day's Christianity. In traditions, it has been said that Hadhrat Isa (A) will break the Cross and kill the swine. What is its significance?
As we know, the whole structure of Christianity is based upon the belief that God caused the death - a cursed death - for His only son who became a Kaffarh (Atonement) for the hereditory sin of mankind. Also, the peculiarity of this religion is that it puts the whole emphasis on faith, and has abrogated the Law, so much so that they started eating even pork, which was strictly forbidden in Torah.
When Hadhrat Isa (A) comes down and announces that he was neither a son of God, nor was he crucified on any cross, nor was he made an atonement for any one's sin, the whole structure of present day Christianity will crumble. Likewise, when he would explain that he did not allow his followers to abrogate the Law, eat pork or treat the Sheriat as cancelled, the second peculiarity of Christianity will come to an end.
Thus, the words “will break the Cross and will kill the swine” denote the fact that Christianity as a religion will be abolished.
Likewise, the words concerning both Imam Mahdi and Hadhrat Isa (peace on them all) that “he will revoke Jizyah” mean that the difference of religions will come to an end; every one will come within the fold of Islam. There will be no need for any war to defend Islam, as the whole world will have accepted it. So, none will be liable to pay Jizyah.
These facts, incidentally, show the reason why Allah has kept Hadhrat Isa (A) alive. Naturally, these tasks can be performed in the best possible way only by that person whose name has been used all through these centuries to misguide the people. And poetic justice demands that the imposter Messiah be killed by the hands of the true Messiah; and Judaism be annihilated at the hands of that prophet whom they had, in their own thinking, destroyed centuries ago.
Also, these traditions show that Hadhrat Isa (A) will come as a follower of Imam Mahdi (A) to help him in these tasks. He will not establish any separate community; but will live as one of the Muslims.
Allah says in the Qur'an, referring to unbelievers:-“Do they wait but that come unto them the angels (of death; or those who would bring the doom of the unbelievers) or comes (the final order of) thy Lord, or come some of the signs of thy Lord? On the day when come some of the signs of thy Lord, its faith shall profit not a soul -Which believed not before, or earned not good through its faith. Say, wait you: verily we too are waiting” (Qu’ran, 6:158)
In this Ayat, coming of the final order of Allah refers to the Day of Judgement; and coming of some of the signs of Allah means rising of the fron from its setting place, Dajjal and Dabbatul-Ardh.
A Hadith says:
“There are three signs: when they appear its faith shall profit not a soul which believed not before or derived not any good through its faith. Rising of the sun from its setting place, and Dabbatul-Ardh, and Dajjal 11
Another Hadith from the Sunni sources says:
“Qiyamat will not come till…..there appear imposters (Dajjals) nearly thirty in number, every one of them pretending to be a messenger of God …. and till the sun rises from its setting place. Thus, when people see it all of them will accept the true faith. But that will be the time when will not benefit any soul its faith which had not believed from before that time, or which had not derived any good in its belief.”
Shia traditions also confirm these interpretations.
As about rising of the sun from its setting place, it may be taken literally, or be interpreted metaphorically. And I believe that both meanings may be correct, and that we may combine both.
The literal meaning is not so far-fetched as it appears at the first glance. The earth has been put in its orbit in such a way that its axis is very slowly changing its alignment with other constellations. The scientists call it “precession of the equinoxes” and it means:
“Effect of a slow change in the direction of the Earth's axis of rotation, due mainly to the attraction of the Sun and Moon on the equatorial bulge of the Earth. As a result, the celestial poles describe circles among stars; each circle is 47 degree in diameter, and one cycle takes 25,800 years. In ancient times the north pole star was Thuban in the constellation of Draco (the Dragon): at present the polar point lies near Polaris.”
What it means, in simple language, is that the North Pole of the Earth changes its position and alignment with other stars. What we call today in common language North Pole Star was not always so. Instead, another star in another constellation was in alignment with our north pole. Now our earth's axis of rotation has changed and has come in alignment with the present day North Pole Star, i.e., Polaris. And this slow change completes its circle in 25,800 years.
And that change takes it 47 degrees away. And it is happening when there is no Qiyamat, and no imminent destruction of world is in sight.
Now, the Creator (who created this system of the precession of the equinoxes in the first place) may easily increase it or change its direction, so that our North Pole becomes South Pole and vice-versa. If that happened, then the East would become West, and the sun will rise from where it previously set.
Of course, it will mean a catastrophe of the first magnitude. But the Ayats of the Qur'an clearly show that there WILL be a catastrophe on and concerning earth at Qiyamat.
I do not mean that the precession (as it is presently) can change the north into south and so on. What I mean is that the Creator does have the power to change the directions so diametrically, and so dramatically; just as He makes the poles change their alignments with other stars nowadays so imperceptibly.
Now coming to its metaphorical meaning: In one tradition of Ameerul-mumeneen (A) it is said:
“Verily, he behind whom Isa bin Maryam will pray, is the twelfth from the Progeny (of the Holy Prophet) ninth from the children of Husain bin Ali, and he is the Sun that will rise from its setting place (will reappear from his place of seclusion); he will appear near Rukn and Maquam, and will bear the scale of justice, so no one will do injustice to any one.”
As I have mentioned above, both these meanings may be correct. Therefore, the safest way is to believe that what we have been told is true; and then leave its actual interpretation in the hands of future.
Dabbat'ul-Ardh means a “walker of the earth”. Allah says in the Qur'an:
“And when the word shall come to pass on them, We shall bring forth unto them a Walking one from the earth who shall speak unto them that people believed not in our signs.
And on the day when We will collect from every people a party from those who believed our signs; then will they be formed into groups.” (Qur’an, 27:82-83)
This gathering of a group from every people will happen in Raj'at (Return) and will precede Qiyamat (because in Qiyamat all people will be gathered, not just a group from them.) And at that time a “Walker of the Earth” will be brought forth to speak to the people.
In Sunni traditions also, Dabbat'ul-Ardh is reported to be “slapping the Satan” and “branding the people on their noses.”
According to the traditions of Ahlul-Bait, that branding will be to differentiate between believers and unbelievers. Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Tab'b (A. S) has said (in a lengthy Hadith, a part of which has been quoted in the previous chapter, concerning the metaphorical meaning of the rising of sun from west):-
(Describing the events concerning Dajjal, he said) “Allah will kill him in Syria…. by the hands of the man behind whom Isa son of Maryam will pray.” (In Shia traditions, it is said that Dajjal will be killed by Imam Mahdi, while in Sunni traditions some of which have been quoted earlier, it is said that he will be killed by Hadhrat Isa bin Maryam (AS), hi fact this is not a big difference. As Hadhrat Isa will be working under Imam Mahdi (A), his victory over Dajjal may easiry be ascribed to Imam Mahdi (A). Also it may be that both of them will join in killing Dajjal). Then Ameerul-Mumeneen said:
“Beware, verily, after that will be the great calamity.”
People asked Hadhrat Ali (A) what that great calamity would be. He said:
“Appearance of Dabbat'ul-Ardh, from near (the Hill) Safa (near Kaaba); with it will be the ring of Sulayman, and the walking stick (staff) of Musa. It will put the ring (seal) on the face of every believer, and it will be printed (branded) there, 'He is truly a believer'; and will put it on the face of every unbeliever, and it will write thereon “He is truly a non-believer.” Then the believer will say, “Woe unto thee, O non-believer!” and verily the non-believer will say: “Tuba for thee, O Believer, I would have liked to be like thee today, so that I also could succeed.”
“Then that Dabbat'ul-Ardh will raise its head, and all between east and west will see it by the permission of Allah, after the rising of the sun from its setting place. At that time 'Tauba' (Repentance) will be revoked. So from that time no repentance will be accepted, nor any (good) deed will be credited (i.e. from that time, the accounts of the deeds will be closed); and will not benefit any soul its faith which had not believed before or had not earned good (deeds) in its faith.”12
The only thing to be said is that, according to many traditions of Shia books, that “Walker of the earth” is Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Talib (A), who will return to this world after the reappearance of imam Mahdi (A). The Ayat quoted at the beginning of this chapter shows that even before Qiyamat some people will be resurrected by the command of Allah. It is called “Raj-at” in Shia terminology.
Allah says in the Qur'an:
“Then he (i.e., Dhul-Quamain) followed another route. Until when he reached between two mountains he found on the hither side of the two (mountains) a people who could scarcely understand a word. Said they: O Dhul-Quanain! Verily Gog and Magog cause mischief in the land. Should we collect for thee the resources, so that thou shalt raise between us and them a barrier? He said: The power in which my Lord has established me is better (than your proposed resources). So you help me only with the strength (i.e, man-power); I will make between you and them a barrier. Bring you unto me blocks of iron; until when it filled the space between the mountain sides, said he: “Ply your bellows”; until he made it red-hot (like) fire, and said: “Bring unto me molten brass which I may pour over it.”
“So they (Gog and Magog) could not scale it nor could they make a hole in it.
“Said he: “This is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord (i.e., Resurrection) comes to pass, He will level it with the ground; and the promise of my Lord is true.” And We will let them that day to dash into one another. And the trumpet will be blown; then We will gather them all together.” (Qu’ran, 18:92-99)
“Until are let loose the Gog and Magog; and they shall hasten forth from every elavation.” (Qu’ran 21:96)
Muslim scholars have done research about Gog (Yajuj, in Arabic) and Magog (Majuj, in Arabic) Here their findings are given without going into detailed discussion.
Gog and Magog are two big tribes from the children of Japheth, son of Prophet Noah (A) . In Old Testament, Magog is described as the Chief of Mashech and Tubal. Now, Moscow is the river on which stands the city, Moscow, the capital of Russian Federtion; Tobol is the river in Russia upon which stands Tobolsk.
The region of South European and Asiatic Russia, between the Carpathians and the Don, was inhabited in ancient times by a savage nomadic people (Scythes) who overran West Asia from the 7th century B.C. till the beginning of the Christian Era, when their raids were abruptly ended by the construction of the barrier by Dhul-Quarnain.
Also, it is said that the word 'Mangol' is the corruption of the Chinese word 'Mongog' or 'Manchog'. If this finding is correct, then the place of Gog and Magog extends from the Moscow river to the Chinese Turkestan and Mangolia.
The description of the 'barrier' in the Qur'an shows that it must have been built in a pass to prevent those savege tribes from raiding their neighbours.
Maulana Abul -Kalam Azad, in one of his articles (quoted in Jannatul-Ma 'arif) has said that such a barrier is extant in Turkey.
Late Agha Pooya (in his foot-note of the translation of the Qur'an by Mir Ahmad Ali) quotes others as saying that it is between the mountains of Armenia and Azarbaijan.
There is a difference of opinion concerning the identity of Dhul-Qarnain. Abdullah Yusuf Ali thinks that this name refers to Alexander the Great; while others think that it refers to the Persian King, Darius. 13
It is immaterial for the purpose of thiis book to go deep into this controversy. But it should be kept in mind that, according to the Qur'an, Dhul-Quarnain was a man of God; therefore, no pagan or polytheist can be identified as Dhul-Qarnain.
Anyhow, according to the Qur'an, when the Day of Judgement would come near, these tribes will break the barrier, i.e., will expand beyond their previous boundaries. That expansion may be ideological; in which case it will mean that their ideology (Communism and atheism) will be exported beyond their national boundaries. Or it may be of colonial type, in which case it will refer to their domination of eastern Europe, Southern Asia and other places. Or it may mean both.
It is written in Tafseer Majma-ul-Bayan that after dominating the earth, they will aspire to conquer the skies. “So they will shoot their arrows towards heaven, and it will return to them with something like blood-stain on it. So they will say; 'We conquered the inhabitants of the earth and we dominated over the inhabitants of the heaven.”
Obviously, the 'arrows' refers to the rockets and space-ships. The words 'it will return to them with something like blood-stain upon it” mean that the space-crafts will reach their targets and men will return to the earth.
According to the said Tafseer, “when they will become too proud because of the 'conquest of heaven', Allah will create a 'worm' which will enter their ears, and will kill them” 14 It means that finally they will be destroyed by some insignificant adversary, or by some epidemic caused by a germ.
It is not known which of the specific signs will appear first. In describing these signs, I have followed, as much as possible, the sequence of the tradition given in Chapter 27. I have taken the liberty of describing Dajjal and coming down of Hadhrat Isa (A) one after another, as it is known mat Hadhrat Isa will come down after the appearance of Dajjal.
So far six of those ten signs have been explained. Now remain the three land-slides and the last sign, i.e., a fire which will appear from Yemen, and will turn the people towards Mahshar.
There is nothing to be explained about these signs. But one thing may be mentioned here. When Imam Mahdi (A) will re-appear, one Sufyani will appear in Syria; he will collect an army, and after conquering Iraq, will march towards Hejaz; reaching Madina, he will ransack it. And his army will proceed towards Mecca. When the army of the Sufyani will camp in a desert between Madina and Mecca, a voice will be heard: “O Earth, destroy this tyrant's group.” At once, the earth will open up, and the whole army will perish. Only three persons will escape to bring the news to Imam Mahdi (A) 15 The Sufyani himself will not be in that army, and will be killed afterwards near Damascus.
May be one of the land-slides will be the above-mentioned destruction of the army of the Sufyani. But we can not be sure of this interpretation.
Also, it is mentioned in another Hadith that a place in Syria, Al-Jabiyah by name, will sink into the earth after a fierce war.16 Is it the second depression (or land-slide)? We cannot say. A tantalizing explanation may be that there will be atomic war in Middle East, and Israel (or its mentor, U.S.A.) will use nuclear weapons to subjugate Syria; and that area (i.e., Al-Jabiyah) will be the target of atomic bombs. But we should not jump to this interpretation. Only time will show what is the actual meaning of these traditions.
Anyhow, after the re-appearance of Imam Mahdi (A) and the establishment of his rule on the whole earth, based on justice and mercy, a certain time will pass in complete peace and tranquillity. Satan also will be killed. Only Islam and followers of Islam will remain on earth.
Then Allah will give death to Imam Mahdi (A), and at the same time Qur'an will be withdrawn (i.e., will be removed) from the earth. The Ahlul-Bait and the Qur'an will always be together; when the last Imam will die, the Qur'an also will be removed, so much so that the pages will become blank and those who had memorized the Qur'an will completely forget it
And that will be the beginning of the Day of Judgement.
The Sound of the Trumpet (Sur, in Arabic) will be the first stage ot the Day of Judgement. Allah has mentioned it in many Ayats of the Qur'an. For example:-
“They esteemed not Allah as is His due; and the whole earth shall be in His grip on the Day of Judgement, and heavens rolled up in His right hand (power). Hallowed is He, and Exalted is He, High above all they associate with Him.
“And the Trumpet shall be blown, then shall swoon (i.e., die) whoever is in heavens and whoever is in the earth, except those whom Allah has willed (to keep alive on that occasion). Then (the Trumpet) shall be blown again and lo! They shall stand up awaiting.
“And the earth shall get radiant with the light of its Lord; and the Book (of deeds) shall be set, and the prophets and the witnesses shall be brought up; and (it) shall be judged between them with Justice, and they shall not be wronged.
“And every soul shall be paid in full what it had done; and He knows best what they do.
“And those who disbelieved shall be driven unto Hell in flocks. Until, when they come to it, its doors shall be opened, and its keepers shall say unto them: 'Did not come unto you Messengers from amongst you reciting unto you the signs of your Lord and warning you of the meeting of this your day?' They shall say: 'Yes'; but the sentence of punishment is confirmed on the disbelievers.
It shall be said (unto them): 'Enter you the gates of Hell, (to abide) therein forever,' and wretched (is) the abode of the arrogants.
“And -those who feared their Lord shall be conveyed in companies unto the Garden; until when they come to it, and its doors shall be opened,and its keepers shall say unto them: Peace be on you! You shall be happy; enter it then to abide for ever.'
“And they shall say: 'All praise is for Allah, who made good to us His promise, and He has made us to inherit the earth; we may dwell in the Garden wherever we please; and goodly is the recompense of the workers (of good deeds).'
“And thou shaft see the angels circling around the 'Arsh' (The throne of absolute authority), celebrating the praise of their Lord, and it shall be judged between them with justice, and it shall be said: 'All praise is of Allah, the Lord of the universe” (Qur’an, 39:67-75)
These Ayats have been quoted here in full as they give a concise description of the events of Qiyamat from the beginning upto the end. It would help the readers to understand the next chapters where the details are given.
Anyhow, returning to the topic of 'Trumpet': Allah says:
“And they say: 'When is this promise (going to happen), if you are truthful?'
“They wait not but for a single (terrible) cry which will seize them while they will be wrangling with each other. Then they shall not be able to make a bequest, nor shall they (be able to) return to their families.
“And the Trumpet will be blown; then lo! they shall hasten from (their) graves unto their Lord.
“They shall say: 'Oh, Woe unto us! Who did raise us up from our place of repose?' (Qur’an, 39:67-75)
“This is what the Beneficent (Allah) had promised, and the Messengers did speak the truth.
“There will be but a single cry, when lo! They shall all be brought unto Us. So, this day no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least, noi shall you be recompensed but that which you were doing.” (Qur’an, 36:48-54)
Imam Zaynu'l-'Abidin (A) was asked: How much (time will pass) between the two blowings? He said: “As (much as) Allah would please.' Then he was asked: “Then please tell me, O son of the Messenger of Allah, how the trumpet will be blown?
Imam (A) said:
“So far as the first blowing is concerned, verily Allah will command angel Israfil, who will come down towards the earth, and with him will be a Trumpet; and the Trumpet will have one mouth-piece and two tubes; and the space between the two tubes will be like that between the sky and earth.”
“When the angels will see Israfil descend towards the earth with his Trumpet, they will say: “Verily, Allah has ordered the inhabitant of tbe earth to die, and the inhabitants of the heaven to die.”
“Then he will blow into it once; and the voice will come out from that side which is towards the earth and all living beings on the earth will swoon and die; and the voice will come out from that side which is towards the heaven, and all living beings in the heavens will die, except Israfil.”
Then Allah will say to Israfil: “O Israfil, die.” And he will die.
“They will remain like this as long as Allah would wish. Then Allah will order the heaven and it will reel, and will order the mountains and they will fly. As He has said: 'On the Day when the heaven shall reel a (terrible) reeling, and the mountains shall fly an (awful) flight.” (Qur’an, 59:9-10)
“And the earth will be changed with another one, i.e., with an earth upon which no sin would have been committed, open without any mountains and without any plant or grass, as He had revolved it in the first creation.” 1
“And His 'Arsh' (Throne) will return upon the water, as it was in the beginning, independent with His Majesty and Power.”
“At that time, Allah will create a very loud voice which will ring throughout the earth and heaven: “Whose is the kingdom this day?'1 No one will give any answer (as there will be none alive); then He will answer Himself creating a loud voice: '(It is) Of Allah, the One, the Subduer' (Qur’an, 40:16)
I subdued all the creatures and gave them death; verily, I am Allah, there is no god except I alone, there is no partner for me nor any minister; and I made the creatures by my hand (Power) and I made them die by my Will; and I shall resurrect them by my Power.'
“Then Allah will cause the second blowing of the Trumpet; the voice will come out from that side which is towards the heavens, and there will be none among the inhabitants of the heavens but will become alive and will stand as he was before; and will return the bearers of the 'Arsh' and the Garden and Fire will be brought forth, and the people will be gathered for reckoning.”
Saying this,Imam Zaynul-Abedin (A) wept intensely. 2
Mentioning some of the events of this tradition, Allah says:
“And when the Trumpet is blown, a single blast; and the earth and the mountains shall be borne away and crushed with a single crushing; on that Day shall happen the Great Event; and the heaven shall cleave asunder, so that on that day it shall be mere frail; and the angels shall be on the sides of it; and above them shall bear on that Day 'Arsh' of thy Lord eight (angels).” (Qur’an, 69:13-17)
A great many Ayats of the Qur'an give us the picture of that time, when the earth and heaven will be crushed and changed into new ones. One who reads the Qur'an, with its meaning, and with open eyes, can understand it very easily. It is not possible to give here even one-tenth of those Ayats. Why? Because the topic of Qiyamat is the most-often described subject in the Qur'an. Unfortunately, nowadays the Muslims treat it as the least important. They do harm to none except themselves.
Resurrection of the body is one of the cardinal beliefs of Islam; if anyone, knowing this fact, rejects it, he is not a Muslim at all. It will not be out of place to point out here that people are divided into four groups on this subject:-
1. There are atheists, who do not admit the existence of the Creator, and as a result, do not admit that He would resurrect us after our death.
In my book, God: An Islamic Perspective, enough has been written to show the baselessnes of atheism. Some more remarks will be given in the course of other discussions.
2. There are those who accept the existence of a Creator, but reject the idea of the resurrection of body. According to them, the reward and punishment mentioned in the Qur'an and Ahadith will be given to the soul only; the body will not be resurrected after death.
3. Those, like the Muslims, who believe that the Qiyamat will be for the body and soul together.
4. Agnostics, who say that they do not know, and in the nature of things, cannot know any thing about soul, or matters concerned with it. They neither admit nor reject the existence of the Creator or Day of Judgement.
When we look at the writings and arguments of those who refuse to believe in the resurrection of the bodies, it boils down to only one thing: Astonishment. How can the body be resurrected after death when it has already turned into dust?
There is no other argument to prove that the body cannot be resurrected. There is a sense of bewilderment as to how can it be done.
Allah has commented in numerous Ayats on this type of “argument”. A few Ayats are given here for enlightenment:-
“And if thou wouldst wonder, then wonderous is their saying: 'What, when we are dust would we really then be in a creation renewed?' These are they who disbelieve in their Lord; they are those round whose necks will be collars (of servitude): They will be companions of the fire; in it shall they abide” (Qur’an, 13:5)
Another group of Ayats :-
“O ye people! Fear your Lord; verily the quake of the Hour (ofjudgement) is a thing terrible.”
“The day ye shall see it, every suckling mother shall forget her sucking babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load, and thou shalt see the people intoxicated, but they will not be drunk; but dreadful will be the wrath of Allah.”
“And yet among men there is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge, and follows every rebellious Satan”
“Against him it is decreed that whosoever turns to him for friendship him will he lead astray and will guide him unto the torment of burning fire.”
“O ye people! If you be in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily We created you from dust, then from sperm, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, formed and (sometimes) unformed, in order that We may manifest (our power) to you; and We cause to stay in the womb what We will until an appointed time, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that you may reach your maturity, and of you is he who is caused to die. and of you is he who is brought back to the feeblest (state of) old age so that he knows nothing after knowing (much). And you behold the earth dried (dead) but when We send down on it the water it is stirred to life and swells up and produces every kind of aftractive herbage (in pairs).”
“This is because verily Allah, He is the Reality (Truth), and because verily He gives life unto the dead, and because verily He has power over all things.”
“And that the Hour (of Resurrection) is coming, there is no doubt therein; and that Allah will raise up those in the graves.” (Qur’an, 22:1-7)
In these Ayats, Allah gives two examples to show that Resurrection is not a thing to be wondered at. He reminds mankind that creating a thing is, by human thinking, more difficult than reassembling it after all its parts have disintegrated. Therefore, the Creator, who created the man in the first place can more easily resurrect him after all his body has become dust. (The words “more easily” have been used according to human thinking; so far as the power of Allah is concerned, every thing is easy for Him in equal degree).
Another example is that of a parched earth, which is thought “dead”, coming to life again as soon as Allah sends some rain upon it.
So, there is nothing strange if Allah makes us alive again after our death and disintegration.
It should be mentioned here that these arguments are effective against the second group, i.e., those who believe that there is a Creator, and still do not believe in the Resurrection of the bodies.
So far as the first group is concerned (those who do not believe in a Creator) they, first of all, should talk about the existence of God; the belief of Qiyamat would come after that.
The Surah 'Ya-sin' is called 'The Heart of the Qur'an'. In it Allah has emphasized the Unity and Justice of God, Prophethood of the previous prophets and of the Holy Prophet of Islam, and the Day of Judgement. A few Ayats concerning the 'Trumpets' were given in chapter 36. Here the last Ayats are given with short explanation: -
“What! does not man see that it is We who created him from sperm? Yet behold! he is an open disputant.” (Qur’an, 36:77)
Here Allah reminds man of His limitless power. Had the man been created from various 'parts', there would not have been anything to wonder about: hard elements would have gone into the creation of bones, soft ones into flesh, and so on. But look! there is only one cell and from that one substance various parts are fashioned, some solid like bone, some soft like flesh, others liquid like blood etc. There is the wonder of wonders which is called brain. There are eyes, ears, tongue, nose and hundreds of limbs and their parts. This diversity of finished product created from a single cell of sperm is the proof of the wisdom and power of the Creator. And what an irrefutable proof.
Starting from such a humble substance, man reaches such a stage that he becomes an “open disputant”. Here we are reminded of another wonder of creation. Sperm was a body though a small one. Suppose, someone said that, that small body 'naturally' developed into a human body. But what about the reason and the wisdom which is found in the human beings? From which 'body' did he get his thinking power? Thus, the creation of thinking and expression is a far greater proof of the Creator. The words “open disputant” havd been used for two reasons.
(1) Here his dispute about the Day of Resurrection is being mentioned, therefore, it was appropriate to remind him of his dispute with his Creator. (2) The power of speech is never so much manifested as when a man is arguing with some one; therefore, to show the climax of his speaking power the words “open disputant” were chosen by Allah. Now, Allah describes man's dispute with God:-
“And he made comparison for Us and forgot his (origin and) creation! Said he: 'Who will make these bones alive, and they are rotten (at that)?”
“Say! He will give them life Who created them for the first time. And He is fully cognizant of all the creation.” (Qur’an, 36:78-79)
In these Ayats two arguments against the Day of Resurrection have been refuted:
First: Those who do not bring any proof against Resurrection; but only show their bewilderment on this idea. Their 'argument' is given in the Ayat: “Who will make these bones alive, and they are rotten?” Allah has strengthened their argument by mentioning the bone which is a part of body which has no feeling. Such a 'lifeless' thing, and then add to it the fact that it is rotten and turned to dust. Now, how can it be resurrected?
Even before giving any reply; Allah shows the shallowness of this 'argument' by saying that “And he made a comparison for Us”. This sentence points out the fact that the power of Creator should not be compared with the power of human beings who are created. It reminds us that all the 'bewilderment' is based on the folly of human beings who think that 'because THEY can not do a certain thing, therefore, the Creator also cannot do it.
Then, still before mentioning their 'argument', Allah reminds them of their first creation in these words “and forgot his creation!” It is the second reply: The Creator who created you in the first place, is powerful enough to make the bones alive second time.
After mentioning their 'argument' the same reply is described more clearly: “He will give them life Who created them for the first time.” If there is any thing to wonder, they should wonder at the first creation, not at the second one.
Now we come to the second 'argument' against Resurrection. Some people said that suppose a man was eaten by a cannibal, and then that cannibal was eaten by a lion. That lion after his death was eaten by other animals. Now the part of the first man became the part of the second man, and afterwards part of the lion, and finally ended up as the parts of several other animals. How will that first man be resurrected? If those parts are removed from the body of the cannibal and returned to the first man, then the body of the cannibal will not be ressurected completely, because these had become a part of his body. And then what will happen to the parts in the bodies of the lion and the other animals, became those parts are now scattered everywhere; so the first body cannot be resurrected completely?
Allah replies to them in these words: “And He is fully cognizant of all the creation.,” In every body there are some original components, and others which are later additions. Allah fully knows which is which. He will return the original components of each and every body to its rightful place, and will make them alive. So why this astonishment?
After refuting these two so-called, 'arguments', now Allah gives some more examples of His power:
“The same (Creator) Who produced for you fire from the green tree, when, lo! you kindle (fire) from it.” (Qur’an, 36:80)
In ancient Arabia, they used a wooden instrument for kindling fire. lt was called 'zinad'. It consisted of two pieces of wood which were rubbed together. And even if green, they produced fire.
Now fire is likened to life. And green wood is generally thought unfit for kindling fire. Keeping in mind these two facts, now repeat the unbelivers' words: “Who will make these bones alive, and they are rotten at that?” Allah reminds them that as He creats fire in the green tree, likewise He will create life in the rotten bones. How is it that one accepts the creation of fire from greenery, but doubts about the creation of life in the bones?
After giving these examples from their day to day life, Allah now reminds them of His Power in these words:
“What! Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create (again) the like of them? Yes, indeed He is the Creator, All-knowing.” (Qur’an, 36:81)
The word “Creator” shows His limitless Power, and “All-knowing” shows His Knowledge from which nothing is hidden. Therefore, He has Power enough to resurrect the bodies, and Knowledge enough to know which part of which person has gone where; and then to collect all original parts to make a body complete.
Finally, He says:
“His command, when He intends anything, is only that He says unto it “Be” and it is.” (Qur’an, 38:82)
This Ayat exposes the fallacy of those who think about the Power of Allah in terms of human power.
Human beings cannot create anything without its materials, machines, experience and what not. Allah creates without any material, if He so wishes. Therefore, you should not wonder how He will resurrect the bodies after they are rotten in the graves.
“So Glory to Him in whose hand is the kingdom of all things; and unto Him will all you be brought back.” (Qu’ran, 36:83; The explanation of these verses have been taken from Biharu ‘l-anwar, vol.7. pp. 21-24)3
He has the kingdom of every thing in his hand; and therefore, you should remain prepared to return to Him; there is no doubt about it.
And lastly a short Hadith of Imam Zaynul-Abidin (A):-
“I am astonished (to see) a proud boastful (person): yesterday he was a sperm and tomorrow he will be a dead-body! And wonder of the wonders is about that (man) who doubts about (the existence of) Allah while he sees His creation! And wonder of wonders is that (person) who denies death, and he sees people dying every day and night! And wonder of wonders is about that (person) who denies the second life (i.e., Resurrection) and he sees the first one! And wonder of wonders is the person who develops the house (which is) to perish, and neglects the everlasting House.” 44
Now we come to the agnostics' view that nothing is known, nor can be known, beyond material things which can be perceived by one or more of the five senses. Accordingly, they say that they do not know anything about the existence of God or any life -hereafter. Their answer to all questions pertaining to God or the life hereafter is “We do not know”. In short, they neither accept nor deny the existence of God and Resurrection.
But if they are not atheist in disguise, then the safest course for them would be to have belief in the Creator and Day of Judgement, Here is a tradition of Imam Ja'far as- Sadiq (A):-
Once, Ibn Abil-'Awja' and Ibn Muqaffa' were sitting in Masjidul-Haram at the time of Hajj, with some of their fellow-atheists. These people pretended to be Muslim just to save their skins; but were always openly arguing against the belief in God. Ibn Muqaffa' pointed towards the space around Ka'bah and said: “Do you see this mob? None of them can be called a human being except that old man (i.e., Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A).) The rest are just cattle and animals.”
Ibn Abil-'Awja' asked him how could he say such a thing.
Ibn Muqaffa' said: “Because I found with him (virtue and knowledge) which I could not find anywhere else.”
Ibn Abil-'Awja' said: “Now it is necessary to see whether what you say is correct.”
Ibn Muqaffa' tried to dissuade him; but Ibn Abil -'Awja' went to the Imam (A). He came back after some time and said: “O Ibn Muqaffa'! He is not just a human being. If there were in this world a spiritual thing which could become a body if it wished and turn into a spirit if it wanted, then it is he.
Ibn Muqaffa' said: “How come?”
Ibn Abil 'Awja' said: “I sat near him. When all went away, he began talking to me (without my asking anything). He said: If the fact is as they believe and He (God) is as they (pilgrims) say, then they would be saved and you would be in trouble. And if the truth is as you (atheists) say, and not as they say, then they and you both would be equal (and nobody would come to any harm).”
“I said: 'May Allah have mercy on you! What it is which we say and what it is which they say? My belief and their belief is the same.'
“Imam (A) said: 'How can your belief and their belief be the same? They say that there is to be a Resurrection and reward and punishment; and they believe that there is God; (while you reject these beliefs).” 4
Imam (A) meant that if there was in fact no God and no Day of Judgement, as Ibn Abil-'Awja' said, then the believers and non- believers all would be in the same position after death. Both will perish for ever, and no one will suffer for his belief or disbelief. On the other hand, if there is a God and if there is a Day of Judgement, as the believers say, then after death the believers will be saved and blessed, while the doubters and non -believers will have to suffer. Therefore, reason and wisdom dictate that we must have belief in God and Day of Judgement, to save ourselves from the possibility of eternal disgrace and sufferings.
This irrefutable practical wisdom is based upon the saying of Hadhrat 'Ali (A) which was mentioned in 'Need of Religion 'under the heading 'The So-called Pascal's Bet.'
Now that it has been proved that the views of the first, second and fourth groups, mentioned in chapter 37, are wrong and against the dictate of wisdom, the only thing to believe is that Allah will surely resurrect man, body and soul all together, as He has declared in countless Ayats of the Qur'an.
The following chapters will describe various stages of Qiyamat, as explained by the Qur'an and Ahadith Here we end this chapter with the words of Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a.) 5
“It is our belief that Resurrection after death is True. And the Prophet (S) said: 'O Children of Abdul-Muttalib! Verily the guide (of a caravan) does not mislead his own family. I swear by Him Who sent me with truth that you will die as you sleep, and then will be resurrected as you wake up;
and there is no house after death except the Garden (Paradise) or Fire (Hell); and creating the whole creation and resurrecting them is just like creating one person and resurrecting him, so far as (the Power of) Allah is concerned; as Allah Ta'ala has said: “And creating you (all) and resurrecting you is but like (creating and resurrecting) a single person.” (Qur’an, 31:28)
Allah says in the Qur'an:
“When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion, and throws up her burden (from within), and the man cries: 'What is the matter with her?'; that day will she declare her tidings that thy Lord will have given her inspiration (order). On that day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they had done. Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it; and anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, see it.” (Qur’an, 99:1-8)
This in a nut-shell is the report of the Day of Judgement, from the beginning to the end. The first Ayat describes the earthquake of the Qiyamat, in a previous chapter an Ayat was mentioned which says: “The earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) will be a thing terrible.” (Qur'an, 22:1)
That earthquake will flatten the earth; mountains, rivers, valleys and depressions, all will disappear. A flat earth will re-emerge, which will be the 'Mah-shar', i.e., the Place of Gathering. A few Ayats of the Qur'an are given here to explain the above statement:
“When the sun is folded up, and when the stars fall losing their lustre, and when the mountains vanish, and when the she-camels ten months with the young (which were highly prized) are left untended, and when the wild animals are gathered , and when the oceans boil over, and when the souls are sorted out (being joined like with like), and when the female infant (buried alive) is asked for what crime she was killed, and when the scrolls (of deeds) are laid open, and when the sky is removed, and when the Fire (of Hell) is kindled to fierce heat, and when the Garden (Paradise) is brought near: Then shall each soul know what it has put forward. (Qur’an, 81:1-14)
So, the sun, moon and stars also will lose their lustre and light:
“The Day that We will roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books, even as We produce the first creation, so shall We produce a new one.' (Qur’an, 21:104)
“The Day when the earth will be changed to a different earth, and so will be the heavens; and (men) will be marshalled forth before Allah, The One, The Subduer.” (Qur’an, 14:48)
“They ask thee concerning the mountains; say, 'My Lord will uproot them and scatter them as dust, thus He will leave them as smooth and level plains; Thou wilt not see in their place anything crooked or curved.” (Qur’an, 20:105-107)
As the earth and heavens will change, and the sun and stars will die, the 'Time' also will change. Allah says:' “The angels and the 'Spirit' ascend unto Him in a Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years.” (Qur’an, 70:4)
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (AS) said: “Beware, take account of your souls before your account is taken (by Allah) because, in the Qiyamat, there are fifty stops, every stop is like one thousand years from your counting.” Then the Imam (A) recited the above Ayat. 6
In another Ayat, one day is said to be equal to one thousand years.
“He. rues all affairs ……… then all affairs go up to Him in a Day the space whereof will be a thousand years of your reckoning.” (Qur’an, 32:25)
This second Ayat has been explained in more than one way: (1) It means that so far as the Power of Allah is concerned, one day and one thousand years are equal. (2) One day of Qiyamat will look to the unbelievers like one thousand years because of its pains and turmoils. (3) But more to the point is the explanation given by Allamah Majlisi (r.a.). He writes:
“May be, some unbelievers will remain in Qiyamat for one thousand years, and for them that Day will be of a thousand years, while other unbelievers will remain there for fifty thousand years, and their Day will be that much longer. And likewise, the Day of all good and evil people will be according to their stay in Qiyamat.
“Also, may be the 'one thousand years' refers to the time of one stop only (as mentioned previously). 7
The details of those 50 stops will be given afterwards.
Hadhrat 'Ali (A) said in one of his sermons, describing the 'Gathering' :-
”……………until when the affairs come to a close, and the world is disintegrated, and resurrection draws near, Allah will take them out from the corners of the graves and the nests of the birds and the dens of the beasts, and dumps of death: (They will be) hastening towards His Command, running towards the place fixed for their final return - groups, quite, standing, arrayed in rows. They will be within sight ofAllah; and all of them will hear the voice of the caller.
On them will be the dress of helplessness and cover of submission and humiliation (At that time) contrivances (i.e.,tricks and excuses) will disappear (will be useless), desires (plans and hopes) will be cut short, the hearts will be sinking silently, voices will be curbed down, and sweat will be like a rein (i.e., will reach upto mouth) and fear will increase. The ears will resound with thundering voice of the announcer calling them towards the final judgement and award of recompense - punishment and reward.” 8
Imam Muhammad Baqir (A) said:
“When the Day of Resurrection will come, Allah will gather the people in one (vast) field; they will be barefooted, naked; then they will be made to stand in the gathering place (Mah-shar) till they will sweat profusely, and the breathing will come heavy, they will remain in that condition for fifty years as Allah says:
“And the voices will be subdued for the Merciful (Allah), so that thou will not hear but a whisper.” (Qur’an, 20:108)
(Then Imam A.S said) Then an announcer will call out from the direction of the “Arsh”: Where is the 'Ummi' (i.e., Meccan) Prophet?' Some people will say, “While you are announcing, better announce his name.' Then he will announce, 'Where is the Prophet of Mercy, Muhammad son of Abdullah?' Then the Messenger of Allah (our Holy Prophet) will advance in front of all mankind, till he reaches the Haudh' (i.e., Kawthar) whose length is like the distance between Ailah (present day's 'Eilat' in Israel) and San'aa (capital of Yemen), and will stand on it. Then your companion (i.e. Hadhrat Ali A) will be called, and he will advance in front of the people and will stand with the Holy Prophet………….9
Hadhrat Fatima Zahra(A) asked her Father (SAW): “O Father tell me what will be (the condition of) people on the Day of Qiyamat?” The Holy Prophet (SAW.) said:
“O Fatimah! Every one will be busy (i.e., one will be submerged in one's worries). Thus nobody will look towards anyone-neither father towards his son nor the son towards his mother.”
Hadhrat Fatima (A) asked: “Will there be shrouds on them when they will come out of the graves?” The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “O Fatimah! Shrouds will perish, and the bodies will be preserved; (but) the private parts of a believer will remain hidden, while those of the unbelievers will be without any cover.”
Hadhrat Fatima (A): “O Father! What will be the cover of the believers?”.
The Holy Prophet (S): “A Light, dazzling in brilliance, their bodies will not be seen because of that Light.”
Fatimah (A): “O Father! Where should I meet you on the Day of Qiyamat?”
The Holy Prophet (S): “Look (for me) near the Weighing scale and I shall be entreating, 'My Lord! Increase the weight of (the good deeds of) him who solemnly declared that there is no god except Allah'; and look (for me) near the Books (of deeds) when the scrolls (of deeds) will be distributed, and I will be pleading, 'My Lord! Take account of my Ummat (people) leniently'! And look (for me) at the place of my intercession near the bridge of Jahannam (Hell) when every man will be busy in his own aflairs (with his own soul) and I will be preoccupied with (the salvation of) my Ummat, praying, 'My Lord! Save my Ummat'; and the prophets (will be) around me praying 'Our Lord! Save the Ummat of Muhammad'.” 10
Imam 'Ali Ridha (A) said:
“There are three occasions when this creation is most bewildered and frightened:
'The day he is born, he comes out of the womb of his mother and sees the world (for the first time); and the day he dies, and sees the next world and its people; and the day he will be resurrected and will see the commands (or judgements, like) which he had not seen in this world.
“And Allah sent Salaam (peace, safety) on (the prophet) Yahya (John, and Baptist) in these three places and removed his fear, as He said (in the Qur'an):
'And peace be on him the day he is born, and the day he will die, and the day he will be resurrected alive.’ (Qur’an, 19:15)
And 'Isa (A) sent peace on himself in these three places, as he said: 'And peace be on me the day I was born, and the day I will die, and the day I will be resurrected alive'. 11
Before questioning the people, Allah, in His Justice, will first of all, ask the Prophets and Imams whether they had truly conveyed the message of Allah to their people.
When the Prophets will affirm that they had indeed done so, they will be asked to produce their witness. They will declare that Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (S) is their witness. The Holy Prophet of Islam will testify on their behalf; and after establishing the fact that the prophets had really conveyed the message of Allah to their peoples, questions will be put to the people as to how they received that message and how they followed it.
Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (SAW.) will be the witness of the Twelve Imams (A) also and Allah Himself will be the witness of the Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW.) 12
Some Ayats, which mention one or the other aspect of this event are given here for guidance: “The Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together and ask: 'What was the response you received?' They will say: 'We have no knowledge (Thou knowest better than we!), verily, Thou art the Knower of (all that is) hidden'.” (Qur’an, 5:109)
“So, surely, shall We question those to whom (the prophets) were sent, and surely We shall question the Messengers.” (Qur’an, 7:6)
Addressing the Holy Prophet (S), Allah says: “Then, how will it be when We will bring a witness from every Ummat, and will bring thee as witness over those witnesses.” (Qur’an, 4:41)
The witness over the people are the prophets, and our Holy Prophet (S) will be the prophets' witness.
About our 12 Imams (A) it has been decreed: “Thus have we made you (O successors of Muhammad!) a middle group, so that you may be witnesses over the people, and the Messenger be witness over you.” (Qur’an, 2:143)
The Imams (A) said: “That Middle group (between the Ummat and the Prophet), the witnesses over the people, are we (the 12 Imams), and Allah has intended only us in this Ayat; and the Prophet (S) is witness over us.: 13
A second Hadith from the First Imam (A):
“When the Day of Qiyamat will come, and the scales will be erected, and the prophets and witnesses (And witnesses means Imams) will be present, then every Imam will testify on the people of his time that he stood before them with the commands of Allah and called them towards the way of Allah………………” 14
Question: How can Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (S) be a witness of the previous prophets and of the Imams who came after his departure from this world? Surely, Allah cannot allow a testimony based on hearsay?
Answer: The Light of our Holy Prophet (S) was created thousands of years before the creation of Adam. And from the same Light were created his daughter Bibi Fatimah Zahra and the twelve Imams (peace from Allah be on them all). It is not a place to describe the Ahadith to this effect; but it is a fact which is beyond doubt in the Islamic faith.
Even after his death, he is alive; and so are Bibi Fatirna Zahra and 11 Imams who have departed from this world. So far as the 12th Imam (A) is concerned, he is alive in this world, and is waiting the order of Allah to re-appear.
Therefore, when Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (S) will testify on behalf of the previous prophets, it will not be a hearsay; he will testify as an eye-witness, because in his 'Existence of Light' he had seen all that had transpired between the prophets and their people. And the same is the case about testifying on behalf of the Imams.
The topics which are described in these lesson are the central part of the belief in the Day of Judgement. They show how the deeds will be judged on that Day. As an outline, the translation of relevant paragraphs from 'Itiquadiyyah' of Shaykh as-Saduq is given here (with some relevant verses in brackets):
“Our faith concerning the writing of Deeds: It is our faith that there are two angels deputed on every servant of Allah; they write down each and every deed he performs.
“And if someone intends to do a good deed but does not do it, one virtue (of good intention) is written in his record; and if he performed that good deed, ten virtues are written (to his credit). And if someone intends to do an evil deed (but does not do it) nothing is written against him, till he actually does that evil deed. Even after doing that, he is given seven hours grace. If he repents then nothing is written against him. But if he did not repent in that time, only one evil act is written against him.
(As Allah says in the Qur'an: “He who brought one good deed, for him are ten like it; and he who brought one evil deed, he will not be paid but only its equal).” (Qur’an, 6:160)
“And the two angels write every thing, even blowing into ash. (As Allah says: “And on you are the guards, noble writers, they know whatever you do.”) (Qur’an, 82:10-12)
“And Amiru'l-Mu'minin (A) once passed near a person who was talking vain words; Amiru'l-Mu'minin (A) said: 'O man! Verily, you are dictating a book to your angels which will be taken to your Lord; therefore, talk only what is useful to you, and leave useless talks.'
“Also he said: 'A Muslim is recorded as engaged in good deeds as long as he remains silent. Then when he talks, he is counted either as a virtuous man or an evil-doer (according to what he says.)”
“And the place of the two angels is the collar-bone: the one on the right side writes good deeds, and the one on the left writes evil deeds. And the two angels of the day write his actions during day-time; and the two angels of the night write his deeds during the night. 15
“Verily, Allah has ordered us to do justice; but He Himself treats us with something higher than justice, that is Grace. It is as Allah says: “He who brought one good deed, for him are ten like it; and he who brought one evil deed, he will not be paid but only its equal, and they will not be treated unjustly.” (Qur’an, 6:160)
If Allah had treated us with justice only, He would have given only one reward for one good deed, as He gives one punishment for one bad deed.” 16
This written record of our whole life will be given to us on the Day of Judgement. As Allah says: “And the bird (i.e., deed) of every man have We bound around his neck, and We shall produce unto him, on the Day of Resurrection, a book which he will find open; (It will be said to him) Read thy book, thine own self will be a sufficient reckoner against thee (Qur’an, 17:13-14)
Imam Ja'far as Sadiq (A) said: “On the Day of Judgement, a man will be given his scroll, to read………………… then Allah will make him remember: there will be not a single look, or a single word, or a single step, or anything which he had done but that he will remember as though he had done it that very moment. It is for this reason that they will say: “O Woe unto us! What is about this book: it had not left any small or big thing without recording it thoroughly.” 17
The distribution of the scrolls is mentioned in many Ayats. Those whose good deeds exceed the bad will be given their scroll in their right hands: those whose bad deeds outweigh their good deeds will receive it in their left hands.
Their respective reactions are mentioned in these Ayats:
“The Day that you shall be brought to Judgement; no secret of yours shall remain hidden. Then he that shall be given his book in his right hand will say: 'Ah here! Read you my book. I did really believe that my accounts will (one day) reach me.' So he will be in a life of Bliss, in a Garden on high, the fruits whereof (will hang in bunches) low and near. Eat and drink, with full satisfaction (in reward) of the (good) that you sent before you, in the days that are gone.
“But he that will be given his records in his left hand, will say: 'Ah! Would that my record had not been given to me! And that I had never known what my account was! Ah! Would that the (death) had made an end of me! Of no profit to me had been my wealth! My power has gone from me! (The stern command will be issued:) 'Seize you him and bind him, burn him in the blazing fire.” (Qur’an, 69:18-31)
While the “People of Right Hand' will be happy and well-pleased with the outcome of their belief and actions, the 'People of Left Hand' will try to find some loop-holes in the overwhelming adverse records. Some of them will deny that they had done any of the things mentioned in those records. Then the Angels (who had written those records) will testify against them.
The culprits will say: “O Lord! Thy Angels are testifying to please Thee.” Finally, they will swear that they had not done any of the bad things recorded therein. Allah refers to it in the Qur'an in these words:
“The Day Allah will resurrect them all, then they will swear before Him as they swear before you.” (Qur’an, 58:18)
Then they will be silenced, and their limbs will speak against them. The following Ayats are about this aspect of Qiyamat:-
“On the Day when their tongues, and their hands, and their feet will testify against them about their actions. On that Day Allah will pay them back their just dues, and they will realize that Allah is the Truth that makes all things manifest.” (Qur’an, 24:24-25)
“This Day shall We set a seal on their mouths; and their hands will speak to us and their feet will bear witness to all that they did.” (Qur’an, 36:65)
“On the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered together to the Fire, they will be marched in ranks. At length, when they reach the (Fire), their hearings, and their sights, and their skins will bear witness against them as to their deeds. They will say to their skins: 'Why bear you witness against us?' The (limbs) will say: 'Allah gave us speech - He who gives speech to every thing. He created you for the first time, and unto Him you were to return. You did not seek to hide yourselves, lest your hearing and your eyes and your skins should bear witness against you! But you did think that Allah knew not many of the things that you used to do! And that thought of yours which you did entertain concerning your Lord, has brought you to destruction, and now you have become of those utterly lost.” (Qur’an, 41:19-23)
In a long Hadith, The Holy Prophet (S) has said: “As Allah has commanded you to safeguard yourselves and your religion and your wealth by getting witnesses of approved probity for your affairs, in the same way He has made sure about the affairs of His servants, by keeping witnesses on them. Thus there are for Allah on every being guards from among His various creations, and there are (angels) in succession in front of and behind him, and they guard him by order of Allah and note down whatever he does - his actions, words and looks. And the places where he lives are the witnesses of Allah, for or against him; And the nights, days and months are His witnesses, for or against him; and the Guardian (Angels) who write his deeds are His witnesses, for or against him.
“Therefore, how many on the Day of Qiyamat will be pleased by the testimonies of those witnesses for them? And how many on the day of Qiyamat will be disgraced by the testimony of those witnesses against them? 18
Question: How can hands, feet and skins testify for or against any one? These things do not speak! And how can the places of our actions testify for or against us?
Answer: Even today, our hands speak for or against us. The fingerprints have sent tens of thousand culprits to their doom; and, likewise, have saved innumerable innocent people from being wrongly convicted. The same is the case with a strand of hair, a small thread from the fabrics worn, a minute amount of mud or dust, a scrapping of nail, and countless similar things which help an investigator to determine the guilt or innocence of a suspect.
So, these speechless things are speaking even today on sins and crimes committed by human-beings. Why then does it seem strange if on the Day of Qiyamat Allah brings them as witnesses against evil doers?
So far as creating speech is concerned, we know that Allah can create this power in any thing. Therefore, if He gives the hands and other limbs power to speak on that special occasion, it is not to be doubted.
And the limbs will give this very reply to the astonished wrongdoers, by saying that Allah, who creates speech in any thing He wishes, has made them speak.
The belief that there will be weighing-scale in the Qiyamat to weight the good and evil deeds of a man is universally held by all the Muslims because Allah has mentioned it in numerous Ayats of the Qur'an. Weighing of the deeds is a part of the Reckoning. Here is the translation of the relevant chapter from 'Itiquadiyyah':-
“It is our belief about the Reckoning that it is True. Some of that (Reckoning or Accounting) will be done by Allah Taala Himself; and the rest will be done by His Proofs (i.e., Prophets and Imams). Thus the Reckoning of the Prophets, Messengers and Imams will; be done by Allah; and every prophet will take the account of his successor; and the successors will take the account of the Ummats………………And Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A) was asked about the words of Allah: “And We will put the weighing-scale with justice on the Day of Qiyamat; and to none will be done injustice even a little.” (Qur’an, 21:47) (The Imam A) said: 'The “Weighing-scale” means the prophets and their successors.'
“And there will be some people who will enter the Garden (Paradise) without any Accounting (of their deeds).
“And, verily, Allah will address His servants - from the ancients to the last ones - concerning the Reckoning of their deeds, in one address: and every one will hear his own case, not of others, and will think that Allah was talking to him alone, not to others; and talking with one person will not prevent Allah from talking to others (at that very moment).
“And Allah will finalize the accounts of all- from ancients to the last ones - in half an hour according to the timing of this world. And Allah will put forth for every person a scroll which he will find open, which will describe all his actions; it will not leave any small or big thing without fully exposing it; and Allah will make him his own scrutinizer and his own judge: it will be told to him: “Read thy book; Thine own self will be a sufficient reckoner against thee.” 19
Now a few Ayats on 'Weighing-scale':-
“And the Balance that Day is True: So, that whose scales (of good deeds) will be heavy, will prosper; and those whose scales will be light will find themselves in loss, because they mistreated our Signs.” (Qur’an, 7:8-9)
“We shall set up scales of Justice for the Day of Judgement, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least; and if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it (to account): and enough are We to take account”(Qur’an, 21:47)
What is the “Weighing-scale”?
There are three interpretations:-
Weighing-scale means 'Justice of Allah',
As mentioned earlier, it means 'The prophets and Imams' who will judge the people on the Day of Qiyamat justly.
Allah will give the deeds a sort of material form, and that will be weighed in weighing-scales, created for the purpose.
All these meanings may be correct; and, what is more, all of them may 'exist' together. Therefore, we do not have to 'choose' between them.
The first meaning is all-encompassing. Whatever the meaning of 'scale', Justice of Allah will always be there.
So far as the second meaning is concerned, it needs some explanation:-
The word 'Mizan' (Scale) has one essential meaning (the device, standard and principle by
which other things may be judged, measured or weighed); that essential meaning may take any of the forms (measures to find out length, weight, volume, mass, time, heat and various other such items); it may even be a device without any material form: like 'logic' which is also called 'Mizan' because it weighs the correctness (or otherwise) of an argument, and 'prosody' which determines the correctness (or otherwise) of metre of poetry.
Thus, we have 'Mizan' of various shapes and types to 'measure' various things: there is the rain-gauge to measure rain-fell, seismograph to measure earthquake, ECG, to measure electrical impulses in the heart-muscles.
On the Day of Qiyamat, people will be judged according to their belief or disbelief and their good or evil deeds; in short, this means whether they accepted and followed the prophets and Imams or not.
Therefore, the Prophets and Imams will be the 'Mizan' by which the faith and deeds of the people will be measured and weighed.
Now we come to the third meaning: The idea of a weighing-scale to weigh the deeds (which would be given some weighable form) was rejected by many ancient scholars. They said that deeds were not 'body' which could be weighed. On the other hand, many scholars like 'Allamah Majlisi said that: “We believe in 'Mizan' and leave its meaning to the interpreters of the Qur'an (i.e., to the Holy Prophet and Imams), and we do not take it upon ourselves to 'know' what has not been clearly explained to us (by the Prophet and Imams).” 20
He means that we should believe that there will be the 'Mizan' on the Day of Judgement. But, as the Ahadith on this subject do not give it one definite meaning, we should not try do define what has been left vague by the Prophet and Imams; rather, we should say that whatever the meaning of 'Mizan' it is the 'Truth' and we believe in it.
And in these days the idea of weighing or measuring beliefs and deeds does not appear so far-fetched as it did in ancient times.
Man, with all his limitations, has invented machines which 'measure' the emotions and feelings of a man. Not only that, they judge the behaviour of an army or a country, and even predict the trends of their future conduct. What happens is this; definite examples of behaviour and conduct (i.e., deeds and emotions) are changed to some symbols and signs or numbers; and the data are fed into a computer; the computer weighs the data and gives its judgement.
If man has succeeded in giving the actions and feelings a “weighable” or “measurable” form, and in inventing a machine which weighs the data and passes its own judgement, how can we reject the idea of a 'weighing-scale' (in its literal meaning) on the Day of Judgement. Surely, the Creator is Omnipotent, and He can easily create a 'Mizan' to weight our beliefs and actions.
As mentioned in the beginning, all three meanings may be correct and may exist side by side: The people may be judged by the 'Mizan' (literal meaning) on the basis of their accepting and following of the Prophets and Imams (2nd meaning), and all this process will be based upon the Justice of Allah (1st meaning).
But, as explained by Allamah Majlisi, we leave the actual interpretation in the hands of the Holy Prophet and Imams, without choosing or rejecting any of the meanings.
Whatever the meaning of 'Mizan', it is certain that our Holy Prophet (S) and his 12 successors (A) will be present near 'Mizan', and will take the accounts of our deeds as has been quoted from Itiquadiyyah of Shaykh Saduq (r.a..) earlier.
'Hisab' (Reckoning) is a 'Term' which may be applied to the whole proceeding right from the distribution of the scrolls of deeds to the 'Sirat' and its 'stops' (which will be described later). All these things are closely connected with each other and overlap so much that sometimes they appear to mean one and the same thing.
To explain each and every term, the writers have to give separate headings to each; but it must be made clear that explaining one term after another does not imply the sequence of the happenings on the Day of Qiyamat.
'Hisab' is a very vast subject; and the size of this book does not permit the quotation here of even one per cent of the Ayats and Ahadith.
Therefore only a few important principles will be given here.
The questioning about conveying the message of Allah (See chapter 41) will be universal. Nobody will be exempted from it: the prophets, their successors and the people, all will be questioned about it.
Once it is done, the 'Mushrikun' (polytheists and/or pantheists) will be sent to Hell straight away. They will not be asked anything about their deeds. It is clear from many Ahadith as well as from the Qur'an:
“Verily Allah will not forgive that partners be set up with Him; and He will forgive other things to whom He will please. ” (Qur’an, 4:48)
Also, many Believers will be sent straight away to Paradise.
Those whose accounts will be checked cannot be easily divided into categories, because each will be dealt with in his own way, according to his belief and deeds, whether he loved the 14 Masoomeen (A), was good to his parents, relatives and neighbours, whether his sins were against Allah, or against the creatures of Allah; and finally whether the Holy Prophet (S) or his Ahlul-Bait (A) would like to intercede for him or not.
Obviously, no hard and fast rules can be laid down for this purpose. Suffice it to say that those who did not believe in Allah, or did not believe in the Holy Prophet of Islam, or did not believe in the 12 Imams who came after the Holy Prophet of lslam, would enter Hell, after they had given full account of their deeds and beliefs.
Now as to those who believed in all the above -mentioned: If a believer had committed a sin and was punished for it by the rightful Qadhi or Imam, according to Shariat, that sin would not be brought up again for reckoning (because Allah is Just and does not punish twice for one thing.) If he had committed a sin against another creature of Allah, it will not be pardoned by Allah; he will have to repay it (or seek pardon from the wronged party). If he had committed a sin against Allah (but no creature of Allah was wronged by it), and then had done Tawba (had repented), then, in the words of Hadhrat Ali (A), “we hope that the Mercy of Allah will cover him, but, at the same time, we are afraid of His punishment to him.”
On that Day, Allah will give His creatures opportunities to seek pardon from their fellows and forgive them. Imam Zaynu'l- Abidin (A) narrated a long Hadith from Hadhrat 'Ali (A), a part of which runs as follows :-
”…………Then, Allah will say: “I Am Allah; there is no god except I, the Judge, the Just who does not do any injustice. Today I will judge between you by My Justice and Fairness; none will be dealt with unjustly. Today I will take the right of the weak from the strong; and the wrong done to anyone will be righted with repayments of good and evil deeds, and I will reward those who will forgive their fellow-beings. And no one, who had done wrong to anyone (if that wrong has not been forgiven), will be allowed to pass this 'narrow passage' before Me.
Therefore, seek each other and demand your dues from him who did injustice to you in the world, and I am your witness against them, and enough am I for witness.”
Then people will recognise each other and catch each other, till everyone has found the person (s) who had done any wrong to him.
They will remain in that condition as long as Allah would wish; their condition will become tough, sweat will pour down from them, and their grief will increase; and their cries will rise high and loud: many of them will be ready to forgive their oppressors just to get away from that place.
”…………'(Then an announcer will say)': 'Verily Allah tells you, 'I am the Giver; if you wish to forgive each other, do so; and if anybody does not want to forgive, I will surely get his recompense from his oppressor.” Many will forgive their dues; but there will remain many who would not forgive.
Then Ridhwan (the Angel who manages the Paradise) will be called, and Allah will command him to raise before them a palace, made of silver, with all its paraphernalia, from the palaces of Paradise. The people will be told to raise their eyes and look at it. Everyone will covet it.
'Then an announcer will declare from Allah: 'O creatures! It is for anyone who forgives a believer.' A great many will forgive their dues to their oppressors. Still a few will not do so.
“Then Allah will say: 'No one who did wrong to another will go to my Paradise today. And no such person will be sent towards Hell who has to repay any due to a Muslim, before repaying it at the time of 'reckoning' O my creatures! Be ready for Reckoning.'
Then they will be allowed to proceed……….till they reach the field (of Mah-shar)…..and the Books will be laid open (given to the people), and weighing-scales will be set, and the prophets and the witnesses (i.e., Imams) will be present: every Imam will give witness against his people that he had stood among them with the command of Allah, and called them to the Way of Allah.”
At this juncture, a Qurayshite asked Imam Zaynul-Abidin (A):
“O Son of the Messenger of Allah! If a believer demands some dues from an unbeliever, what will be taken from that unbeliever when he is from the people of Fire?
Imam said: “Some of the sins of the believer will be transferred to the account of the unbeliever (to the extent of the right of the believer upon him) and he will have to undergo that much extra punishment.
The Qurayshite asked: ” if that due was from a Muslim to a Muslim, how would it be recompensated?
The Imam said: “Some of the good deeds of the man who had wronged (to the extent of that wrong) will be taken away from him and given to the wronged party.”
The Qurayshite again asked: “If the man who had done wrong did not have any good deed?”
The Imam said” “If the wrong-doer did not have any good deed, surely there would be some sins committed by the wronged party; those sins will be taken away from him and added to the sins of the wrongdoer.” 21
In this way, people will have to repay for the wrongs, injustices and tyrannies committed against other persons. Can we afford it?
Hadhrat Ali (A) said: “Know that the sin is of three types: There is a sin which will not be forgiven; and a sin which will not be ignored, and a forgiven sin which will not be looked into. The sin which will not be forgiven is to ascribe any partner to Allah.
Allah has said: 'Verily, Allah will not forgive that partner be set up with Him.' (Qur’an, 4:48)
And the sin which will be forgiven is the ordinary sins done by a servant (of Allah) by which he puts only himself into harm.
And the sin which will not be ignored is the wrong done by the servants (of Allah) to one another. The Reckoning in this case is very tough. (And) this does not mean (big injustices like) wounding by knife or flogging by whips. But it includes even small injustices.” 22
Someone asked Hadhrat Ali (AS): “How will Allah take the accounts of all His creation (at one time) and they would be so many?” Imam (A) said: “Just as He gives them sustenance (at one time) and they are so many”. Then he was asked: “How will He take their accounts when they would not be seeing Him?” Imam (A) said: “Just as He gives them sustenance and they do not see Him.” 23
It is the right of every person to be treated with justice; but nobody has a 'right' to the mercy of the judge. It is for this reason that every person will get his due rewards from Allah; there is no exception in this rule. Even the unbelievers, if their wordly well-being had not compensated their good deeds, will be given their rewards - in the form of reduction in their punishment. For example, Hatim and Nushirwan will have to go to hell, because they were unbelievers; but according to a Hadith, they will not feel any trouble there, because of their generosity and justice respectively.
But as was mentioned in 'God: An Islamic Perspective', the Mercy of Allah on the Day of Judgement will surround the true believers only; it will not reach the unbelievers and Hypocrites.
About Promise of Reward and Threat of Punishment: Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a..) has written: “It is our belief that whatever reward Allah has promised for a deed, He will surely fulfil that promise; but whatever punishment has been threatened for an action, Allah has the discretion about it. If He metes out that punishment it will be by His Justice; and if He forgives, t will be by His Mercy and Grace; and your Lord is not unjust towards the creatures.” 24
Therefore; if someone is a believer, he is basically entitled to go to paradise. And he will finally reach Paradise. The only question is - and it is a big question indeed - whether he will be sent there without first being punished for his sins and misdeeds. As was mentioned in chapter 17, 20, and 22, if a believer was not cleansed of his sins by the troubles of the worldly life, or by death-pangs, or by the squeeze of the grave, or punishment in Barzakh, then he will have to be sent to Hell for his due punishment If this happens, then it will be a manifestation of the Justice of Allah. On the other hand, he may have to his credit one or more such good deeds which may give Allah an ''excuse” to shower His Mercy upon him, and forgive His sins. Or he may get 'Shafa'at' (intercession) of the Prophet (S) or Imams, or Bibi Fatima (peace be on them all) or of other believers. In that case, Allah will forgive him, to show the honour of the interceders.
But here the warning given by Hadhrat Ali (A), (quoted in chapter 17) must be repeated: “Therefore, do good work, and obey (the commands of God), and do not rely merely on faith and our intercession, and do not think of the punishment of Allah as a small matter, because there will be among the sinner (believers) those who Will not get our intercession but after three hundred thousands years.”
Think of it! Three hundred thousands years in the Fire of Hell! May Allah have Mercy on us!
'Allamah Majisi (r.a..) says: “Know that Hisab (Accounting of deeds) is Haqq (Truth), and numerous Ayats and Mutawatir Ahadith have spoken about it.
“But there is some deference in the Ahadith concerning what will the servant (of Allah) be required to give account of, and what they will he asked of. For example, some Ahadith show that one will not be asked about the things used lawfully, while other Ahadith say: “In (the world's) lawful things is Reckoning and in its unlawful things is punishment.”
Maybe the first type of Ahadith refer to the believers (that they will not be asked about lawfully used things), and the second type refers to unbelievers; or, maybe, the first type refers to the necessities, like food, clothes, house and spouse, while the others refer to that which exceeds the need, like hoarding wealth more than one's need, or spending it on unnecessary items which are disliked by Shariaat.” 25
From the above explanation we may understand other Ayats and Ahadith which, at first glance, may appear to differ from each other. But in fact their is no difference and no contradiction at all. An atheist had asked Hadhrat Ali (A) about many Ayats of the Qur 'an concerning the Day of Judgement, which he claimed were contradictory to one another. Hadhrat Ali (A) said: “These Ayats do not describe the condition of one time and place. They explain the situation of various places on the Day which will be fifty thousand years long.” Afterwards, the Imam (A) explained which Ayat is about which group and for what period. 26
“Sirat” in Arabic means the Path. The Qur'an has used the word 'As-Siratul-Mustaquim' (Straight Path) for the Divine religion.
In the context of Qiyamat, Sirat means a bridge upon Hell over which all mankind, will have to pass. Shaykh as-Saduq(r.a..) has written:-
“It is our belief about 'Sirat' that it is Haqq (Truth); and that it is the bridge of Hell; and upon it is the path of all the creatures, as Allah has said: 'Not one of you but will pass over it; this is a firm decree of thy Lord. (Qur’an, 19:71)
“And 'Sirat', on the other hand, is the name of the Proofs of Allah (i.e., the Prophets and Imams); Thus he who knew them (had their true 'Maarifat') in this world and obeyed them, Allah will give him permission to pass from that 'Sirat' which is the bridge over Jahannam (Hell), on the Day of Qiyamat, the Day of sorrow and shame. The Prophet (S) said to Ali (A): 'O Ali! On the Day of Qiyamat, shall sit I and you and Gabriel on the 'Sirat'; and shall not pass over the 'Sirat' except he who would have a 'release' (from Jahannam) based on your 'WilAyat' (love and obedience).” 27
This Hadith has been narrated by many Sunni scholars also; and it proves that the salvation on that Day depends upon the love and obedience of Ali(A) 28
How is it that the Prophets and Imams are called 'Sirat' in this world?
As was explained about 'Mizan', the essential meaning of 'Path' is the way connecting two points. As the Prophets and Imams connect the human beings with God, it is perfectly right to call them the 'Path of Allah'. At the same time, they brought the Divine religion to help the people reach nearer to Allah. For this reason the Religion brought by them is also called 'Path of Allah'; and, in that context, they are called 'Guides'. Thus they are the paths; and they are the Guides.
On that Sirat of Qiyamat, there will be 'Aquabat' (mountain passes) or 'Mawaquif (Stops or stations). Every Station is named after one command of Allah and His laws. When some one will reach a station named, for example, 'Fast', he will be asked whether he had fasted as ordered by Allah.
Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a..) writes:
“About the mountain-passes which are on the Way of Mah-shar: It is our belief that each of these passes has a separate name: A Wajib thing, or an order, or a Haram thing. When a man will reach a pass named after a Wajib thing, and he had neglected that thing (in this world), he will be detained there and asked to repay the dues of Allah; then if any other good deed came to his rescue or Mercy of Allah saved him, he will be allowed to safely pass from there to the next 'mountain-pass'. In this way, he will be sent from one pass to another, and will be detained at every pass, and asked about his short-comings in that particular order of Allah. Then if he came out safely from all the Passes, he will reach 'The House of Eternity' (i.e., Paradise);.
he will live there a life which will not be conquered by death, and will find a bliss which will not be marred by any distress; will remain in the protection of Allah, with His prophets, and proofs, and truthful persons, and martyrs and virtuous servants of Allah
“But if he was detained at a pass, and asked about a Right of Allah which he had neglected, and was not saved by any good deed and the Mercy of Allah did not come to his rescue, his foot would slip from that pass, and he will fall into the Fire of Jahannam. We seek protection of Allah against it.
“And all these passes are upon the 'Sirat'. And name of one 'Pass' is “WilAyat”: Everyone will be stopped therein, and asked about the Love and Obedience of Ameerul-Mumeneen Ali bin Abi Talib and the 11 Imams after him (peace of Allah be upon them). He who will bring it with him, as he was supposed to, will be saved; and he who did not bring it will enter Hell. And this is the meaning of the saying of Allah: 'And stop them, for they must be asked.” (Qur’an, 37:24)
“Likewise, one Pass is named 'Sila-e-Rihm' (good behaviour towards relatives), and another is named 'Mirsaad' (watch-tower)……….and one is named 'Trust', another is named 'Salat' (Prayer). Likewise, there will be passes named after every Wajib, order or Haram deed. Man will be detained there and asked about that particular thing.” 29
Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A) said that there are fifty stations in the Qiyamat, and man will be detained at each of them for thousand years by this world's reckoning 30
It is narrated by Shia and Sunni traditionalists that: “The Messenger of Allah (S) told Hadhrat Ali: “If a person worshipped Allah as long as Noah stayed in his Ummat (i.e., 2500 or 950 years), and spent gold equal to the Uhud mountain in the way of Allah, and got such long life that did one thousand Hajj (pilgrimage) on foot, then was killed unjustly between the Safa and Marwa. yet if he did not love thee, O Ali! he would not smell the scent of the Garden (Paradise) and would not enter it” 31
Similar Ahadith have been narrated in various Commentaries of he Qur'an. One may ask 'Why?'
The reason is this: The belief that 'Hadhrat Ali (A) is the first of the 12 rightful successors of the Prophet of Allah ensures that one believes in Allah, His Messenger and 12 Imams. In short, it is the culmination of all the fundamental beliefs. And if anyone rejects this belief, his faith in Allah and the Prophet remains incomplete.
And we know that there will be 'stops' on the Bridge of Jahannam. Naturally, the stop of 'Imamat' will come after the stops of 'Tawheed' and 'Nubuwwat'. And even after passing through these 'Stops' if one had not accepted Hadhrat Ali as the first Imam, he would fall down from the 'Stop, of 'Imamat'. In this background, the above-mentioned Ahadith become crystal clear.
After the matters of Faith, we come to the Commands of Allah. On this side, the daily prayers have been given the same importance as 'Imamat' has in Faith. The Holy Prophet (S) has said: “If it (the prayer) is accepted, other (deeds) will be accepted; and if it is rejected, the rest will be rejected.” According to other Ahadith, the prayer will be the first thing (action) to be checked; if it is correct, other deeds will be looked into; otherwise, the rest will be ignored.
As the prayer will be the first 'Stop' of the deeds, the reason of the above Ahadith is not difficult to understand.
Correctness and Acceptance of Good Deeds:
In the above Ahadith, two words have been used: 'Accepted' and 'Correct'. First of all, it should be appreciated that performing a Wajib action, e.g., prayer, has two benefits: one negative, another positive. The negative benefit is that it protects you from the punishment of' 'Tarikussalah' (one who neglects the prayer). This benefit will reach to any one who performs the prayer correctly and regularly.
After that comes the stage of 'Acceptance'. Allah has declared through His Representatives that He accepts only that good deed which is done with 'pure intention' (Ikhlas), which is performed purely for the Pleasure of Allah, without any worldly motive, like showing people how pious one is. It is for this reason that, according to many Ahadith, some prayers are accepted completely, while others are accepted in parts only: a Sajdah, a Surah, or aTashahhud, and so on. Only that part is accepted during which the whole attention and intention of the praying person was towards Allah.
It is on those 'Accepted' parts that the 'Rewards' will be given. This is what I have termed as the 'positive benefit.'
Therefore, although the Reward and Acceptance of a Wajib or Sunnat deed depends upon purity of intention, one has to go on performing those Wajib actions to save oneself from punishment and disgrace. And getting saved from punishment is no less desirable than getting rewards on the Day of Judgement.
Previous chapters have shown some of the 'Fadhilat' (High prestige) of the Holy Prophet (S) and his Ahlul-Bayt (A) on the Day of Qiyamat. Based upon the Ayats of the Qur'an and Ahadith of Holy Prophet and A'imma (peace be upon them all), it is our belief that their position and rank will be the highest in the presence of Allah. Here just a few of the most important Fadhail (plural of Fadhilat) are given for the information of the readers.
First of all: As was hinted in a previous chapter, these 14 Masoomeen (A) will take the accounts of their ShiA Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A) was asked the explanation of the Ayats: 'Verily, unto Us is their return; then verily upon Us is to reckon with them.” (Qur’an, 88:25-26)
Imam (A) said, inter alia. “On the Day of Qiyamat, Allah will entrust the accounting of our Shias to us.” 32
Question: The Ayat says that the people will return to 'Us' (i.e., to Allah) and upon 'Us' (i.e., upon Allah) is their reckoning. How could Imam (A) claim that the accounting of their Shias would be in their hands?
Answer: Here is an example: Allah says in the Qur'an: “It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death” (Qur’an, 39:42)
But in various other Ayats He attributes this work to the angels. For example: “Those whose souls the angels take in a state of purity…..” 33
So, Allah is Al-Mumeet (The bringer of Death); and angels take out the souls of men by His authority and according to His command. Likewise, Allah is Al-Haseeb (The Reckoner); and still He mau authorize Muhammad (S) and his true successors to check the accounts of their Shias according to His guidance and command. Such arrangement can not undermine His Power and Authority
Second and Third are Wasilah and Liwa-ul-Hamd, which will be given to our beloved Prophet (S)
Wasilah is his pulpit, made of precious jewels and minerals, and very high. When it will be placed among the pulpits if other prophets, it will look like full moon among the stars.
'Liwa' means 'standard, flag', Liwa-ul-Hamd means 'St. Juidard of ' Praise'. It is the personal standard of the Holy Prophet, given to him by Allah on the Day of Judgement. On it is written “There is none to be worshipped except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; the successful are only those who succeed by (Mercy of) Allah.” It will be borne by Hadhrat Ali (A).
The Holy Prophet (S) will proceed towards his 'Wasilah', enwrapped in a robe of 'Nur' (Light), wearing the Crown of 'Power and Majesty'; and Ali' bin Abi Talib will be before him, carrying the Liwa-ul -Hamd. Reaching the Wasilah, the Holy Prophet will ascend to its highest step, and Ali will sit just below him, carrying his standard. Then it will be announced: “This is my beloved Muhammad, and this is my Wali Ali bin Abi Talib; 'Tuba' (a tree in Paradise) is for him who loved him, and 'Wail' (Hell) is for him who held enmity towards him and told lies about him.
Then 'Ridhwan' (The keeper of Paradise) will present himself before the Holy Prophet and after Salam will say: “I am Ridhwan, the keeper of the Garden; My Lord has ordered me to bring to you the keys of the Gardens. So, please, accept them, O Muhammad!”
The Holy Prophet will say: “I accept it from Lord; to Him belongs the gratitude for all that He has Blessed me with: Give them to my brother Ali bin Abi Talib.”
After that, Malik (The keeper of the Hell) will come and in the same way will present the keys of Hell to the Holy Prophet, who after thanking Allah, will order Malik to give it to Hadhrat Ali (AS).
Then Hadhrat Ali (A) will sit near Hell, and will tell it to “leave this man, because he is my follower and devottee, and take that man, he is my enemy.”
And, in the words of the Holy Prophet (S), “Verily, Jahannam (Hell) on that Day will be the most obedient towards Ali; and it is because, verily, Ali (A) that Day is “Qaseemul-Jannati-Wannar (The Distributor of the Garden and Fire).” 34
It is to these distinctions of 'Ali (A) that Imam Shafi'i refers in his poem:
'Ali, his love is a shield (against fire);
He is the distributor of the Hell and the Paradise; The true successor of the Chosen One (i.e. the Prophet); The Imam of the human beings and the Jinns.
Let us pray to Allah to include us on that Day among the devotees and followers of Ali bin Abi Talib (A).
The Fourth is the 'Hawdh' of 'Kawthar. 'Hawdh' means small reservoir of water artificially formed. 'Kawthar' literally means abundance. Allah says in the Qur'an: “Verily, We gave thee 'Kawthar'.” (Qur’an, 108:1)
This abundance was promised to our beloved Muhammad (S) both in this world and in the Qiyamat.
The Abundance in Qiyamat is the 'Hawdh' which Allah created for Muhammad (S). Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a.) says:-
“It is our belief about the 'Hawdh' that it is True and that its width is (like) the distance between 'Ayilah' and Sanaa. And it is the 'Hawdh' of the Prophet; it has (countless) cups like stars; and its administration on the Day of Qiyamat will be (in the hands of) Ali bin Abi Talib; he will give its drink to his devotees and will remove his enemies from there.
“And one who drinks once from it would never be thirsty again. And the Prophet (SAW) said: 'A group among my companions will be taken out from near me, and I will be on the 'Hawdh', and they will be taken towards the left side (the side of punishment) and I will say, 'O My Lord, (they are) my companions.' And I will be told: 'Surely, you do not know what they did after you (after your death).'” 35
Almost all these things are narrated by the Sunni scholars also. The abundance in this world means continuity of his lineage through Ali and Fatimah (A).
The Meccans used to taunt the Holy Prophet (S) that he had no male issue and as such he was childless, because the Arabs used to think that one's progeny could be continued through a son only.
Allah promised our beloved Prophet that: “Verily, We granted thee Abundance; Therefore, turn to thy Lord in prayer and sacrifice, Verily, thy enemy is 'Abtar (cut off from progeny)” (Qur’an, 108:1-3)
This Sura has two prophecies: 1) that the progeny of the Holy Prophet would be abundant: 2) that the progeny of his spiteful enemies would be cut off.
Today you will not find anyone claiming to be from the progeny of Abu Jehl and his group (who are meant by 'thy enemies'); and the progeny of the Holy Prophet, through Ali and Fatimah (A) are found in every part of the world, and are the living proof of the truth of the Qur'an.
The Sunni and Shia traditionalists have narrated various traditions from the Holy Prophet (SAW) to the effect that “Verily, Allah made progeny of every prophet from his loin, and He made my progeny from the loin of Ali.' 36
Also, both sects have narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) that “Every relationship (by marriage or blood) will be cut off on the Day of Qiyamat, except my relationship by marriage and blood.” 37
On that Day, people will be called by their mothers' names (e.g., Zaid son of Zainab), so that illegitimate children may be saved from public humiliation. But, according to the Sunni traditions, the progeny of Ali and Fatimah (A) will be called by the names of their fathers. The Shia traditions say that all the followers (Shias) of Ali bin Abi Talib (A) will share this honour. A Shia of 'Ali (A) will be called by the name of his father.38
On that Day, the followers will be called with their Leaders. Allah says: “The Day We shall call together all peoples with their (respective) Imams.” (Qur’an, 17:71)
The true believers will follow their True Imams and be overwhelmed by their Divine Light. As Allah says: “The Day when Allah will not permit humiliation for the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their Light (i.e., Imam) will run forward before them and by their right hands while they say, 'Our Lord! Perfect our Light for us and Grant us forgiveness; for Thou hast power over all things,” (Qur’an, 66:8)
Let us pray to Allah to give us the benefit of that Light. Amen.
Allah, in His Mercy, has opened many doors for His sinner servants to seek His pleasure and forgiveness. Two very important doors are 'Tawbah' (Repentance) and Shafa'at (Intercession).
Before explaining the Shafa 'at, a few details about 'Tawbah' will not be out of place here.
Allah says in the Qur'an: “O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance, in the hope that your Lord will remove from you your ills (evil deeds) and admit you into the Gardens beneath which rivers flow.” (Qur’an, 66:8)
Another Ayat says: “When those come to thee who believe in our signs, say 'Peace be on you' your Lord has inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy. Verily, if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented and amended (his conduct), lo! He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful ” (Qur’an, 6:54)
Thus Allah forgives all sins and transgressions if a sinner repents sincerely. The key word is 'sincerely'. A repentance without a change of heart is no repentance. It must produce change in habit, and enhance the love and fear of Allah in one's dealings.
According to Hadhrat Ali (AS), “Repentance must have six elements: the repentant must be really sorry for what he had done; he must have firm determination not to do so again; he must make amends for whatever wrong he might have done to others; he must fulfil all the obligations of religion which he had previously neglected; he should fast long enough to shed away the flesh grown of unclean and unlawful food; and he should make his Self feel the taste of obedience of Allah, as he had previously enjoyed the taste of sin.” 39
When a man repents sincerely, Allah makes him as clean (from sins) as he was the day he was born. The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said: “One who repents from sin is like the one who has never committed any sin.” 40
It is for this reason that the Holy Prophet has said: “There is no intercessor more successful than repentance.” 41
Now we come to Shafa'at. It is accepted by all Muslims that the Holy Prophet (S) will intercede on behalf of the sinners of his Ummat. A few Ayats on this subjects:-
“Who is there that can intercede in His presence except by His permission?” (Qur’an, 2:255)
“He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they offer no intercession except for those who are acceptable (to Allah); and they stand in awe and reverence of His (glory).” (Qur’an, 21:28)
Other Ayats show that for the unbelievers there will not be any intercessor. But the above-mentioned two Ayats show that those with whom Allah is pleased will intercede on behalf of the sinner believers, by permission of Allah.
Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a..) has, written:-
“It is our belief about Shafa'at that it is meant for (the benefit of) those whose faith was acceptable to Allah (i.e., for the true believers) who might have committed sins - capital or trivial. And those who had repented from their sins will not need any intercession. And the Prophet said: “He who does not believe in my intercession, Allah will not permit him to get my Shafa'at.” Also he said: “There is no intercessor more successful than repentance.”
“And the (right of) Shafa'at is for the prophets, Walis, successors (of the prophets), believers and angels.
“And there will be some believers who will do Shafa'at for (very large numbers) like the tribes of Rabi'a and Mudhar. And the smallest number will be that of a believer who will intercede on behalf of only thirty thousand believers.
“And the benefit of Shafa'at is not for those who had doubts about religion, nor for those who ascribed a partner to Allah, nor it is for unbelievers and those who rejected the (truth); but it is for (the benefit of) the sinners among those who believed in one Allah (together with His true Representatives.) 42
The following twe Ayats are about the right of the Shafa'at given to our Holy Prophet (SA.W.):-“Soon will thy Lord raise thee to a station of Praise and Glory” (Qur’an, 17:79)
According to many Ahadith, it will be the station where the Holy Prophet will intercede on behalf of the sinners.
“And, verily, the hereafter will be better for thee than this world. And soon will thy Lord give thee (that wherewith) thou shall be well-pleased.” (Qur’an, 93:4-5)
It means, according to Ahadith, that Allah will go on granting the intercession of the Holy Prophet till he will say: 'O my Lord! Now I am well pleased and fully satisfied.' 43
It is not possible to describe even partially the Bliss of Paradise, or the tortures of Hell.
Therefore, some fundamental facts are mentioned here in brief.
First: As Resurrection will be of body and soul together, the Reward and Punishment will have to cover both. In other words, Paradise and Hell will provide physical comforts and tortures respectively as well as the spiritual ones.
Therefore, Paradise and Hell are physical things, and not just spiritual bliss or sorrow as the Sufiyya say.
Second: Paradise and Hell are already created. It is not that they will be created at some time in future. Our Holy Prophet (SAW.) entered the Paradise and saw Hell at the time of 'Miraj' (Ascension). Allah did not create any witness more trustworthy than Muhammad (S) and we believe all that he said.
Third: The word used in the Qur'an for the abode of the believers is 'Jannat' (Garden). Sometimes, other words are joined with it; thus we find:-
Jannatu-Adn: Garden of everlasting Bliss.
Jannatul-Firdaus: Garden of Paradise (The Arabic 'Firdaus' is rendered in Latin languages as 'Paradise'; and in this book almost all references to the 'Jannat' have been rendered as 'Paradise' for easy understanding).
Jannatul-Mawa: Garden of Abode
Jannatun-Naeem: Garden of Bliss
Jannatul-Khuld: Garden of Eternity
Some other words used for the Paradise are:
Darus-Salaam: Abode of Peace
Darul-Akhirah: Abode of the Hereafter
Darul-Maquamah: Abode of Residence
Some streams of the Paradise mentioned by name in the Qur'an are: Kawthar, Salsabil and
According to many Ahadith, Paradise has eight Gates. Some of them are: Gate of Mercy, Gate of Patience, Gate of Gratitude, Gate of Sufferings, and The Great Gate.
Fourth: An important tree in Paradise is called 'Tuba'; it is planted in the Abode of the Holy Prophet (S) and Hadhrat Ali (A), and it has a branch in every palace and mansion of the Paradise. Whenever a believer would desire anything, that branch would provide it for him at once - there would be no need to utter the command; the desire would be obeyed without necessitating any utterance.44
Some times the Holy Prophet (SAW.) said that the root of 'Tuba' was in his House; at other times he said that it was in the House of Ali (A). Somebody asked him about it and the Holy Prophet (SAW.) replied: “Verily, my House and Ali's House is the same…….” 45
Many traditions narrated by Sunni traditionalist like Daylami, Tabarani and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal confirm that the Holy Prophet (SAW.), Hadhrat Ali (AS), Hadhrat Fatimah (A) Imam Hasan (A) and Imam Husain (A) will be in the same mansion in Jannat.
'Allamah Majlisi has narrated a Hadith from Ikmalu 'd-din that The Holy Prophet (S AW.)'s abode is in Jannatu 'Adn in the centre of the Paradise, nearest to the divine 'Arsh, (Throne); and the twelve Imams (A) will be in the same Garden with the Holy Prophet (S) 46
Fifth: Imam Muhammad Baqir (A) narrated from the Holy Prophet (SAW.) that “The Paradise is prohibited to the prophets until I enter it; and is prohibited to all the Ummats (peoples) until enter into it the Shias of us Ahlul-Bait.” 47
Sixth: Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a..) has written:
“And it is our belief that before entering the Garden, the believer will be shown his place in the Fire and informed that, that was the place where he would have gone if he had disobeyed Allah.
“And before entering the Fire, the unbeliever will be shown his place in the Garden and told that, that was the place where he would have gone if he had obeyed Allah.
“Then those vacant places in the Garden will be added to the rewards of the people of the Paradise; and those vacant places in the Fire will be added to the punishments of the people of Fire: And this is the meaning of the words of Allah: “those will be the heirs who will inherit the Paradise; they will dwell therein for ever.” 48
The words 'heir' and 'inherit' refer to this episode, whereas the believers will get the places which were kept for others who did not make it and whose rejection of faith led them to die Fire.
Paradise is the confluence of every imaginable, and even unimagined, Bliss, Content, Happiness and Joy
Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a.) has written:
“It is our belief that paradise is the abode of eternity and house of peace; there is neither death there or old age; neither ailment nor disease; neither deterioration nor any handicap; neither sorrow nor worry; neither need nor poverty. And it is the house of plenty and bliss, and place of permanency with honour. The people of paradise will not suffer from any monotony or tiredness therein. They will get there what the souls desire and eyes appreciate, and they will abide there forever.
“And it is the house whose residents will be (like) neighbours to Allah in the company of the friends of Allah and His beloveds - those who are honoured in His presence.
“And the people of paradise will be of various grades……….. some of them will enjoy the
numerous foods and drinks and fruits and houris……………….,
“Every one of them will enjoy what he likes most. Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A) said: “Verily, people (who) worship Allah (are) divided in three groups: one group worships Him with the aim of Paradise hoping to get the rewards from Allah - this is the worship of servants; another group worships Him because they are afraid of His Fire -this is the worship of slaves; and one group worships Him for His Love - this is the worship of noble people…….”
“And it is our belief that nobody leaves this world until he sees his place in the Paradise.or the Fire….” .
“And the lowest in the rank among the people of the Paradise will be given in the Paradise ten times like this world.” 49
Shaykh Mufid (r.a.,) has said:,
“Paradise is the house of Bliss. Its residents will not feel any monotony or tiredness. Allah has made it the abode of those who knew Him and worshipped Him. Its blessings are eternal - it will not be discontinued.
“And its residents will be of various types: There will be one who spent his life purely for Allah - he is the person who will enter it without any fear.
“And then there will be another who mixed good deeds with sins and evils, and kept postponing the repentance till the death pounced upon him and he died without repenting -maybe such a man was punished in his worldly life and Barzakh (or only in the worldly life); (if so) then he will enter the Paradise (without further trouble): And may be his sins would be forgiven (for any reason known to Allah). (Such a man also will go to Paradise straight away), Or maybe he will get deliverance after being punished (in Hell) first.
“And there will be the one who will find the Grace of Allah without any good deed on his part - they are the children who will remain in the Paradise to serve its residence……………..And these children will not find the least trouble in serving the people of Paradise, rather they will enjoy it.
“And the reward of the residents of the Paradise consists of the enjoyments of foods and drinks; and (attractive) scenes and sexual enjoyments………………” 50
'Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) has explained the grades of enjoyments in a long description, in which he, interalia, says:-
“Enjoyment of the physical comforts and blessings has many grades according to the Qum
difference in the (spiritual) condition of the people. Some of them will enjoy as the catles enjoy pasture, and will get the physical pleasure as they were doing in this world, without appreciating the nearness or love of Allah. Others will enjoy these blessing because the Paradise is a place of honour chosen by Allah for His friends, and because it is the place which manifests the pleasure of Allah and which has brought them nearer to Allah.” 51
According to Qur'an and Hadith, there will not be any hatred, enmity, envy or quarrel in the Paradise. Everyone will be highly-pleased with what he would be given by Allah, and no one will desire the other's place or rank.
There will be no excrement of any kind in the Paradise, whatever they will eat and drink will be removed from their bodies in the form of a scented, fragrant, aromatic sweat.
The women will be free from bleeding, pregnancy and other such troubles.
The light in the Paradise will be not that of sun, moon or stars. The time there will always be like that between dawn and sun-rise in this world; and the breeze will be like cool gentle wind which one often feels at dawn in this world.
Mulla Hasan Yazdi has written in 'Anwarul-Hidayah' about some of the bounties of the Paradise. A gist is given here:-
“The enjoyments of the Paradise are of various kinds:
1. The greatest bliss will be the 'Pleasure of Allah', as Allah says in the Qur'an, “And the greatest bliss is the pleasure of Allah.” (Qur’an, 9:72)
Sexual pleasure: The believers will get at least seventy thousand houris, apart from their believer wives. Whenever the believer will go to them, he will find them virgins.
Tasty food and fruits: Every time they would get a fruit it would give a new taste. As Allah says in the Qur'an: “Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say, 'Why, this is what we were fed with before', but they are given similar (just in shape, not in taste)” (Qur’an, 2:25)
Joy, happiness and content of heart.
Gatherings with friends, as Allah says: “And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury; they will be brothers (joyfully) facing each others on thrones.” (Qur’an, 15:47)
Palaces and abodes made of precious metals and adorned with jewels; gardens with streams and fruits and flowers.
Various types of entertainments, including musical sounds of birds, reserved for those who protected themselves from music in this life.
Various streams: As Allah says in the Qur'an: “Here is a likeness of the Garden which the pious are promised, in it are rivers of incorruptible water, rivers of milk, of which taste never changes, and rivers of wine, a joy to those who will drink it, and rivers of pure and clear honey. In it for them are all kind of fruits; and Grace from their Lord.” (Qur’an, 47:15)
According to Ahadith, the wine will be non-intoxicating. It will give pleasure without having any effect on sense or morality. And it is reserved for those only who abstain from liquor in this world.
The knowledge that the bliss of the Paradise is theirs for ever, without any danger of death or transfer or illness or worry etc.
Ever-increasing Grace of Allah, visits from the angels and remembrance of Allah at all times: As Allah says, “And those who believe and do good, their Lord will guide them because of their faith: beneath them will flow rivers in Gardens of Bliss. This will be their cry therein “Glory to Thee, O Allah!” and “Peace” will be their greeting therein, and the close of their cry will be “Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds.” (Qur’an, 10:9 – 10)
And the most pleasant bliss will be nearness to the Holy Prophet (S) and his progeny (A) , and for a lover and follower of Muhammad and Aal-e-Muhammad (peace be on them all) this Grace of Allah will surpass all other graces.
But the best description of the bliss of the Paradise is given in a Hadith Qudsi in these words: “I have kept ready for my servants what no eye ever looked upon, and no ear ever heard of, nor any heart ever imagined.”
And it is written in the Qur'an: “Now no person knows what delights of the eyes are kept hidden for them as a Reward for their good deeds.” (Qur’an, 32:17)
As the Paradise contains all kinds of joy, happiness and Grace of Allah, the Hell contains all types of punishment, torture and humiliation.
Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a..) has written:-
“And it is our belief about the Fire that it is the abode of disgrace and place of punishment for the unbelievers and sinners; and will not remain for ever in the Fire except the unbelievers and polytheisms. And so far as the wrong-doers irom among the believers are concerned, they will eventually come out of it by the mercy (of Allah) or the Intercession (of the Prophets and Imams)……………….and the people of Fire are truly poor, they will neither be allowed to die nor their punishment will be reduced, (Qur’an, 35:36) they will not taste in it any cold (water) or drink except a boiling fluid, and a fluid, dark, and murky; (Qur’an, 78:24 – 25) and if they would want food, they would be fed with 'Zaqqum' (a cursed tree); and if they seek relief they will be granted water like molten brass that will scald their faces. How dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a coach to recline upon! (Qur’an, 18:29) They will cry form a place far (from the Grace of Allah): 'Our Lord! Bring us out of this; of ever we return (to evil) then shall we be wrong-doers indeed!' (Qur’an, 23:107) For a time no reply will be given to them, then it will be said, 'Be you driven into it (with ignominy)!And speak you not to Me!' (Qur’an, 23:108)
And they will cry to Malik (the Keeper of the Fire), 'O Malik! (Request) thy Lord to let us die!' He will say, 'Verily, you are to remain therein for ever.'
“And it has come into the traditions that Allah shall order some people to be led to the Fire, then He will tell Malik: “Tell the Fire not to burn their feet, because they used to go to the mosques; and not to burn their hands, as they used to raise them in Invocations (Duas); and not to burn their tongues, because they recite the Qur'an very much; and not to burn their faces, because they used to perform Wudhu perfectly'
“Then Malik will ask them: 'O Wretched Ones! What was your condition? (Why have you been sent to Hell?)' They will say: 'We were doing good deeds not for Allah (but to show people). Now it was said to us, Take your rewards from those for whom you had worked.” 52
Shaykh Mufid (r.a..) has said: “The Fire (i.e Hell) is the adobe of all who did not know Allah. And even some of those will be sent therein because of their sins and wrong-doings; but such a man will not remain there for ever, he will be taken out of it and sent to the ever-lasting bliss. And nobody will remain for ever in the Fire except the unbelievers ………. And every Ayat, wnich mentions ever-lasting punishment of Fire, is about the unbelievers, and not about those who knew Allah. And it is proved by the reason, and the Qur'an, and well-known traditions and unanimous belief.” 53
Hell has seven gates, as Allah says: “To it are seven gates; for each of those gates is a (special) class (of sinners assigned).” (Qur’an, 15:44)
According to the traditions, those gates are as follows:
Jaheem: Its people will be made to stand on burning stone which will make their brains boil, as cooking-pot boils its contents.
Allah says: “Then, for such as had transgressed the bounds, and had preferred the life of this world, the abode will be Jaheem.” (Qur’an, 79:37 – 39)
Laza: It will be the place of those who turned away from Allah, and were busy in amassing wealth without taking out the dues of Allah and His creatures. The Fire will catch them by their hands, feet and forehead and suck them inside. Allah says: “By no means! For it would be the Laza (Fire), plucking out (the sinner) right to the skull! Inviting all such as turn their backs and turn away their faces, and collect (wealth) and hide it.” (Qur’an, 70:15 – 18)
Saquar: Allah says about it: “Soon will I cast him into Saquar. And what will explain to thee what Saquar is? It allows nothing to endure, nor does it leave anything alone; darkening and changing the colour of man. Over it are nineteen (guards)” (Qur’an, 74:26-30)
Hutamah: Literally it means 'That which crushes to pieces.' It throws out sparks as huge as forts, as if there were a string of yellow camels (marching swiftly). It will break everyone who is sent inside and grind him to powder, and then they will be made whole again and again. Allah says:
“Woe to every scandal-monger and back-biter, who piles up the wealth, and lays it by; he thinks that his wealth would make him last for ever. By no means! He will be sure to be thrown into Hutamah (that which crushes to pieces). And what will explain to thee what is that which crushes to pieces? (It is) the Fire of (the Wrath of) Allah, kindled to a blaze, that does mount right to the hearts. It shall be made into a vault over them, in columns outstretched.” (Qur’an, 104:1-9)
Hawiyah: Literal meaning: A Pit. Allah says: “But he, whose Balance of (good) deeds will be light, will have his home in a bottomless Pit. And what will explain to thee what it is? A fire blazing fiercely.” (Qur’an, 101:8-11)
There will be in it people who will cry out, 'O Malik! Help us!' Then Malik will provide them with pots of fire in which will be boiling fetid water, which will come out from their bodies like (molten) brass. When they will raise it to drink, the flesh of their faces will drop away because of its intense heat.
About this, Allah says “And if they seek relief they will be granted water like molten brass that will scald their faces; how dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a seat to recline upon!” (Qur’an, 18:29)
And anyone thrown into it, will go on falling for seventy years, always engulfed by Fire. When his skin will burn away, Allah will give him another skin.
Ibn Abil-'Awja' (an atheist) once asked Imam Ja'far-as Sadiq (A) about the word of Allah: “As often as their skins are roasted through, we shall change them for fresh skins; so that they may taste the punishment; for Allah is exalted in power, Wise.” (Qur’an, 4:56)
He objected to it saying: “Let us suppose that the present skins had participated in the sins. But what would be the sins of the new skins?” Imam (A) said: “Woe unto thee! It would be the same (skin) and yet it would be a new one.” Ibn Abil-'Awja' said: “Give me an example from this world”.
Imam (A) said: “Let us say that a man took a brick and crushed it to small particles, then pouring some water on it and putting it into a brick-making frame, made another brick out of it. Now, is it not the same brick, and yet is it not another brick? Ibn Abil-'Awja' said: “Certainly!” 54
Sa'eer: It means Blazing Fire. There are in it three hundred curtains of Fire, in every curtain are three hundred forts of Fire, in every fort are three hundred abodes of Fire, and in every abode are three hundred types of punishments of Fire; there are snakes of fire, and scorpions of fire, and yokes of fire; and it is this about which Allah says: “Verily, We have prepared for the unbelievers chains, and yokes, and a blazing Fire.” (Qur’an, 76:4)
Jahannam: There are in it 'Falaq' and 'Sa'ud' and 'Atham'.
Falaq is a 'well' or pit inside the Jahannam; when it is opened it makes the Fire blaze even more fiercely. And it is a far greater punishment (compared to the previous 6 stages).
Sa ud is a brass mountain of Fire in the centre of Jahannam. It is mentioned in this Ayat: “Soon will I take him to Sa'ud (i.e., the mountain of punishment).” (Qur’an, 74:17)
Atham is a valley of melted brass around the above-mentioned mountain. And it is the place of the fiercest punishment.
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A) said: “Verily, there is a fire inside the Fire from which even the people of the Fire would seek protection. It was created only for every proud, powerful obstinate transgressor, and for every rebellious Satan, and for every obstinate person who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning, and for every enemy of the progeny of Muhammad. ” 55
Also, he said: “The man with the lightest punishment on the Day of Resurrection will be the one standing up to his ankles in the Fire, wearing two sandals of fire with two straps of fire; his brain will be boiling by its heat like a cooking pot. He would think that nobody would be in greater punishment, while in fact his would be the lightest calamity. 56
The seven gates of the Fire have been interpreted in some traditions as seven grades: the seventh being the fiercest, which is the abode of the hypocrites, as Allah says: “Verily the hypocrites will be in the lowest depth of the Fire: no helper you will find for them. (Qur’an, 4:145)
And the first grade (or depth) will be for those believers who had committed sins and would have to undergo punishment to atone for it (the details of which have been given earlier).
For those believers, the hardest punishment will be the realization that they have been turned away from the Divine Grace, and removed from the company of the friends of Allah. It is this aspect of punishment which has been described by Amirul-Mu'menin 'Ali' bin Abi Talib (A) in Du'a-e-Kumayl:-
“For, if Thou will subject me, together with Thy enemies, to the penalties, and join me with those who shall have merited punishment, and separate me from those who love and adore Thee: grant me, my God, my Master, my Lord, that I shall patiently endure Thy punishment, but how shall I be patient on separation from Thee?
of being deprived of beholding Thy Clemency? Or how can I remain in the Fire, while I have the hope of Thy Forgiveness?”
Then by Mercy of Allah and Intercession of the Prophet and Imams (A) they shall be forgiven. They will be taken out of the Fire, given bath in Kawthar and awarded their places in the Paradise.
May Allah have Mercy on us and save us from the Fire, as we do not have strength to endure that punishment even for a single moment.
A'raf means the Heights. It is a place between the Gardens and Fire. It has been mentioned in the 7th Sura of the Qur'an, which is called 'Al-A'raf because of it.
Here are some Ayats from that Surah: -
Until, when Our messengers (of death) arrive and take their (i.e., unbelievers') souls, they say: “Where are the things that you used to invoke besides Auah?” They will reply: “They have left us in the lurch.” And they will bear witness against themselves that they rejected Allah.
He will say: “Enter you in the company of the peoples who passed away before you, men and Jinns, into the Fire. Every time a new people enters, it curses its people, until they follow each other, all into the Fire. Says the last about the first: “Our Lord! It is these that misled us; so give them a double penalty in the Fire.” He will say: “Double for all, but this you do not understand.”
Then will say the first to the last: “See then! No advantage you have over us; so taste you of the penalty for all that you did.”
To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the Garden, until die camel passes through the eye of the needle. Such is Our reward of those in sin.
For them there is Hell as a couch and folds of covering above.
Such is Our requital of those who wrong.
But those who believe and do good deeds, no burden do We place on any soul but that which it can bear, they will be companions of the Garden, therein to dwell forever.
And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury; beneath them will be rivers flowing; and they shall say: “Praise be to Allah Who has guided us to this: Never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the Guidance of Allah. Indeed it was the Truth that the Messengers of our Lord brought unto us.” And they shall hear the cry: “Behold! The Gardens before you! You have been made its inheritors, because of your deeds.”
The Companions of the Garden will call out to the Companions of the Fire: “We have indeed found the promise of our Lord to us true. Have you also found your Lord's promise true?” They shall say: “Yes.” Then a crier shall proclaim between them: “The curse of Allah is on the wrongdoers, those who would hinder (men) from the path of Allah and would seek in it something crooked; they were those who denied the Hereafter.”
And between them shall be a veil (or partition), and on the Heights will be men who would know every one by his marks; they will call out to the Companions of the Garden: “Peace on you”. They will not have entered it but they will have assurance (thereof).
When their eyes shall be turned towards the companions of the Fire, they shall say: “Our Lord! Send us not to the company of wrongdoers.”
And the men on the Heights will call to certain men whom they \vill know from their marks, saying: “Of what profit to you were your hoards and your arrogant ways? Behold! Are these not the men whom you swore that Allah would never bless them with His Mercy?” (Then turning to other group, they will say) “Enter you the Garden; no fear shall be on you nor shall you grieve.”
The companions of the Fire will call to the companions of the Garden: “Pour down to us water or anything that Allah has provided for your sustenance.” They will say. “Both these things has Allah forbidden to those who rejected Him, such as took their religion to be mere amusement
and play, and were deceived by the life of the world.” That day shall We forget them as they forget the meeting of this Day of theirs, and as they were wont to reject Our signs. (Qur’an, 7:37-51)
I have quoted these Ayats in full as they show the condition of the people of the Paradise and those of the Fire, and the ever-lasting grief and sorrow of the latter on losing their chance of salvation.
These Ayats mention two groups which will be on the Heights.
There will be those who will identify every one by his marks, and who will rebuke the people of the Fire and will tell the people of the Garden to enter the Paradise.
These men are the Holy Prophet of Islam and his 12 successors, who will order their followers to be placed in the Paradise. According to some traditions, Hamza (uncle of the Holy Prophet) and Ja'far (brother of 'Ali bin Abi Talib (AS)) and 'Abbas (uncle of the Holy Prophet) also will stand there.
Also there will be those who would be waiting for the decision of Allah concerning themselves. For example; those true believers whose good and bad deeds would be of equal weight; those non-Shia Muslims who just followed a faith in which they were born, without knowing or understanding any thing and who had no enmity towards the progeny of the Prophet (S).
The word 'A'raf is from the same root from which is the word Ma 'rifah (Knowledge). And, accordingly, it implies that only those people will get salvation on that Day who knew the Prophet and Imams. And whom they would recognise as their followers.
Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a..) has written:-
“And it is our belief about A'raf that it is the boundary between the Garden and the Fire. Upon it will be men who will know every one by his marks; and those men are the Prophet and his successors (peace be on them); only such man will enter the garden who knew them and would be recognised by them (as such), and the one who did not know them and whom they did not recognise would enter the Fire.
“And upon that Height will (also) be those who would be waiting for the decision of Allah - either He gives them punishment or turns towards them (with His Mercy).” 57
Shaykh Mufid (r.a.) has written:-
“It has been said that A'raf is a mountain between Paradise and Hell; and also it is said that it is the boundary-wall between the two places. What is certain is that it is a place neither of the Paradise nor of the Fire. On the Day of Resurrection, the Messenger of Allah (S) and Imams (A) will be upon it, and it is they that are meant in the words of Allah 'And on the Heights will be men who will know every one by his marks'. It is so, because Allah will inform them about the people of Garden and people of Fire by some marks which He will put on them, and these will be the 'signs' mentioned in the following Ayats:-
“They will know every one by his marks” (Qur’an, 7:46)
“The sinners will be known by their marks” (Qur’an, 55:41)
“Verily, in this are Signs for those who do understand by tokens.” (Qur’an, 15:75)
“And it has been mentioned in the traditions that Allah will keep upon the A'raf some groups which would not deserve a Reward without punishment but would not deserve ever-lasting abode in the Hell. These are the people who would be waiting for the order of Allah; for such people there is intercession, and they will have to remain on the A'raf till they are allowed to enter the Garden by the intercession of the Prophet (S), Ali (A) and the Imams after him (A).
“Also, it is said that it will be the abode of such people who were not 'Mukallaf in this life
(Mukallaf: an adult and sane person), i.e., they were either idiots or insane, or died before attaining adulthood. Therefore, they did not do any good or bad deed to deserve the Garden or Fire. So, Allah will make them live in A'raf; they will be saved from punishment (because they were not Mukallaf) but will not be given such blessings which other people will be given after doing good deeds. (They will not be placed equal to those who reached there after a life spent in good deeds).” 58
Shaykh Mufid (r.a.) has mentioned children etc. in his discourse. It is better to give some details here on this subject: -
The minor children are not 'Mukallaf' (are not obliged to follow the rules of Shari'at), and if they died at that age, they would not deserve any reward. But Allah in His Mercy has made an exception in the case of the minor children of the believers. They will be allowed to enter the Paradise. Not only that, the Mercy of Allah will allow those children of the believers who had died in their infancy, to intercede for their parents.
Now we come to the children of unbelievers, and the idiots, and mad persons, and the person who died without getting any information about the Prophet or true religion, and the deaf and dumb persons. There are many traditions which show that they will be briefly tested on the Day of Resurrection and sent to the Paradise or. Hell, accordingly. For example, Imam Muhammad Baqir (A) has said:-
“On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will test five groups: Children, and the man who died between the appearance of two prophets (and did not meet either of them), and the person who was alive at the time of a prophet but did not know (about his claim), and the idiot, and the insane, and the deaf and dumb: Allah will send a messenger towards them, and he will prepare a blazing fire; then he will tell them: 'Your Lord orders you to jump into it.' Whosoever will jump into it will find it cool and safe; but whosoever will disobey will be led towards Hell” 59
Now that we know what is to happen on the Day of Judgement, we should always seek the protection of Allah against the sorrows of that Day. Here is the translation of a famous Munajaat (Secret Invocation) of Hadhrat Ali (A), which will show us how to beseech our Lord for that protection:-
O Allah! I seek Thy safety on 'the Day when neither wealth nor sons will avail, but only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a good (or submissive) heart; (26:88-89) 1
And I beseech Thee for security on 'the Day when the wrong-doer will bite at his hands, he will say: Oh! Would that I had taken a (straight) path with the Messenger.'(25:27)
And I beg from Thee the safety on 'the Day when the sinners will be known by their marks so they will be seized by (their) forelocks and feet.'(55:41).
And I implore Thee for the safety on 'the Day when no father can avail anything for his son, nor a son avail anything for his father; verily, the promise of Allah is true. '(31:33)
And I seek from Thee the security on 'the Day when it will not profit the wrong-doers to present their excuses; and for them will be the curse and the home of misery.' (40:52).
And I ask from Thee safety on 'the Day when no soul shall have power (to do) anything for another; and the command that Day will belong to Allah.'(82:19.)
And I implore Thee for security on 'the Day when a man shall flee from his brother, and from his mother and father, and from his wife and children; each one of them that Day will have enough concern (of his own) to make him indifferent (to others.)'(80:34-37).
And I ask from Thee the safety on 'the Day when the sinner's desire will be: would that he could redeem himself from the punishment of that Day by sacrificing his children, and his wife, and his brother, and his kindred who sheltered him, and (in short) all that is on earth - so that it could deliver him. By no means! For it would be the Fire, plucking out (his being) right to'the Skull.'(70; 11-16).
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Master, and I am the slave; and does (any one) have merey upon the slave except (his) Master?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Possessor, and I am the Possessed; and who does have Compassion on the possessed except the Possessor?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Powerful, and I am the feeble; and can (any one) have mercy on the feeble except the Powerful?
My Master! O my Masret! Thou art the Creator, and I am the created; and does (any one) have compassion on the created except the Creator?
My Master! O my Master! Thou ait the Great and I am the humble; and does (any one) have mercy on the humble except the Great?
My Master! O My Master! Thou art the Power and I am the powerless; and does (any one) have compassion on the powerless except the Powerful?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art Self-sufficient, and I am the needy; and can (any one) have mercy on the needy except the Self-sufficient?
Master! O my Master! Thou art the Giver and I am the beggar; and can (any one) be magnanimous with the beggar except the Giver?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Immortal, and I am the mortal; and (who) can have mercy on the mortal but the Immortal?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Ever-Lasting, and I am transient, and (who) can have compassion on the transient but the Ever-Lasting?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Eternal, and I am transient; and can (any one) be merciful on transient but the Eternal?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Sustainer, and I am the sustained; and can (any one) be generous with the sustained but the Sustainer?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Magnanimous, and I am the miserly; and (who) will have mercy on the miserly except the Magnanimous?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Healer, and I am the sufferer and does (any one) have compassion on the sufferer except the Healer?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Great, and I am the small; and (who) will have mercy on the small except the Great?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Guide, and I am the lost one; and (who) will have compassion on the lost one except the Guide?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Merciful, and I am the one in need of mercy; and can (any one) have compassion on the one who needs mercy except the Merciful?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Authority, and I am in distress; and can (any one) have mercy on the one in distress except the Authority?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Guide, and I am the wanderer, and does (any one) have mercy on the wanderer except the Guide?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Forgiver, and I am the sinner; and does (any one) have mercy on the sinner except the Forgiver?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Subduer, and I am the subdued; and can (any one) have compassion on the subdued except the Subduer?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Sustainer, and I am the sustained; and (who) can have mercy on the sustained except the Sustainer?
My Master! O my Master! Thou art the Magnificient, and I am the humble; and (who) will show mercy to the humble except the Magnificient?
My Master! O my Master! Do have mercy on me with Thy compassion, and be pleased with me by Thy Magnanimity and Generosity and Grace; O Lord of Charity, Beneficence, Munificence and Magnanimity, By Thy Mercy; O Most Merciful of all merciful ones!
Answer Any Five Questions:
5. Does the theory of transmigration of soul satisfy the demands of Justice?
6. Write in short the difference between the death of a believer and that of an unbeliever.
7. Describe in short the questioning in grave.
8. Describe in how many groups people are divided in 'Barzakh'.
9. Write, in not more than 20 lines, some of the general Signs of the approach of the Day of Judgement
10. Describe in short about the Re-appearance of Imam Mahdi (A).
11. What do you understand by'Mizan'? Explain.
12. A believer in the Unity of Allah will not pass from the 'Siraat' if he did not follow Hadhrat Ali (A). Explain the reason.
13. What is the meaning of 'Shafe'at'? Should we go on committing sins in the hope that 14 Masoomeen (A) will ultimately intercede on our behalf? Give reason for your answer.
14. Are Paradise and Hell already-created? What, according to your thinking, will be the highest Bliss of Paradise?
|'Abbas, Shaykh, Qummi||Safinatu 'l-Bihar|
|'Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali||The Holy Qur 'an (Translation)|
|Abu Dawud, Imam||As-Sunan|
|Ahmad 'Ali, Mir||The Holy Qur 'an (Translation)|
|' Ali Muttaqi, Mulla, Hindi||Kanzu 'l- 'ummal|
|Al-'Ayyashi, Muhammad ibn Mas'ud||Tafsir Al- 'Ayyashi|
|Baqir Ali||Irshadiyah, Sharh-e-I'tiqadiyah|
|Al-Bukhari, Muhammad ibn Ismail, Al-Imam||Sahih Al-Bukhari|
|Everyman's Library||Everyman's Encyclopaedia|
|Farman 'Ali, Hafiz Sayyid||Qur'an Majid (Translation)|
|Al-Ganji, Muhammad ibn Yusuf, ash-Safi'i||KifAyatu 't-talib (Najaf, 1970)|
|Hamid Husayn, Sayyid, al-Musavi||Istiqsa'u 'l-ifham|
|Ibn Abi '1-Hadid,al-Mu'tazili||Sharh Nahju 'l-Balagha|
|Ibn Al-'Arabi, Muhyiddin al-Undulusi||Al-futuhat Al-Makkiyyah|
|Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami Al-Makki||As-Sawa'iqu 'l-muhriqah|
|Ibn Shu'bah Al-Harrani||Tuhaf 'l-'uqul|
|I'jaz Husayn, Sayyid||Tafsiru 'l-Ayat|
|Al-Khatib, at-Tabrizi||Mishkatu 'l-masabihMishkatu 'l-masabih|
|Al-Kulayni, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Ya'qub||Al-Kafi|
|Al-Majlisi, Muhammad al-Baqir||Biharu 'l-anwar, (Tehran)|
|Maududi, Sayyid Abu 'l-A'la||Khatm-e-Nubuwwat|
|Life After Death|
|Al-Mufid, Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn||Tashihu 'l-I'tiqad|
|Muhammad Mahdi, Sayyid, Bhikpuri||Lawa'iju 'l-ahzan (Lahore ed.)|
|Mughniyah, Muhammad Jawad||Al-Islam wa 'l-'aql|
|Muhsin, Al-Faiz Al-Kashani||Tafsir As-Safi|
|Muslim, Imam, Nishapuri||Sahih Muslim|
|Peermohamed Ebrahim Trust||Death And Death Ceremonies|
|Radi, ash-Sharif||Nahju 'l-Balagah|
|Reader's Digest Inc.||Reader's Digest, Feb. 1974|
|Rizvi, Sayyid 'Ali Gopalpuri||Jannatu 'l-ma'arif|
|Rizvi, Sayyid Rahat Husayn Gopalpuri||Tafsir Anwaru 'l-Qur'an|
|As-Saduq, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali,||I'tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyah|
|Sale, George||The Qur'an|
|Ash-Sha'rani, Abdu 'l-Wahhah, ash-Shaykh||Al-Yawaqit wa 'l-Jawahir|
|Sulayman, Ash-Shaykh al-Hanafi Al-Qunduzi||Yanabi'u 'l-mawaddah|
|At-Tabari, Muhibbu'd-din ash-Shafi'i||Dhakha'ru 'l-'uqba|
|At-Tabarsi, Abu 'Ali||Tafsir Majma'u 'l-bayan|
|At-Tabarsi, Abu Mansur||Al-Ihtijaj|
|Ubaydullah Amritsari||Arjahru 'l-matalib|