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['Aalim Network QR] Transmigration and Predestination

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
Salamun Alaykum

The following questions on  Transmigration and Predestination were kindly
answered by Hamid Mavani.


With Duas and Salaams

Maqbul Rahim
Acting Moderator for ABDG-A

Questions and Answers:

Q1.  I have been reading other philosophies such as Hinduism and Budhism and
also people ask me about the subject of souls and specifically transmigration
of souls i.e. if you die and you have done good your soul is incarnated into
a better being in your next lifetime and vice versa. As my knowledge is
limited in this matter I would appreciate if you could shed some light on the
subject from Islam's point of view.

ANSWER:  From the Islamic perspective, there is no basis for belief in
the transmigration (tanasukh) of souls.  Several arguments have been
advanced to dismiss the notion of tanasukh by our scholars, the famous
one is that no soul of the human or animal species is aware or
conscious of his/her previous life, thus negating tanasukh.  Also,
belief in tanasukh would nullify the need for the Day of Judgment
because the soul would already have received its due reward or
punishment in this life through transmigration.  However, most of our
scholars believe in pre-existence of the soul before birth by virtue
of the Qur'anic verse of covenant, chapter 7, verses 171-172 and
several hadith-reports.  However, Shaykh Mufid does not even believe
in this as is evident in his work "Tashih-ul-I'tiqad" where he
vociferously disagrees with his teacher, Shaykh Saduq.  We also
believe in post-existence of the soul after death.  This is the
period of the barzakh (purgatory) where the soul re-enters the same
body or to something like it in form (ila mithlihi fi-s-soora), based
on the hadith of Imam Sadiq (a.s.).  This applies to only the pure
believers (mahd-ul-Iman) and pure unbelievers (mahd-ul-kufr).

Q2.  Could you advise on good sources of information to further study the  lives
and personalities of Khizr and Zul Qarnain. I understand Zul Qarnain died more
than once and was brought back to life during several generations in order to do
Allah's bidding in fighting oppression. Is this true and, if so, is this the 
same as re-incarnation?

ANSWER: You can check the books that relate stories of the Prophets.
However, many of the accounts in these books are difficult to verify
and authenticate.  In any event, even if the report that you mention
is true, it does not prove tanasukh.  Rather, it would be classified as
post-existence of the soul in the same body just like in the period of
barzakh where the soul re-enters the body.

Q3 why are some born in a rich family to lead a life of luxury, while others are
born in and lead a life of poverty and misery?'

Q4. why are some children born defective.  Is it as a result of punishment for
their evil actions during their previous life and  if not so, what is the

ANSWERS TO Q.3 and Q.4:  These are enigmatic questions to which the
scholars have not been able to answer in full.  Intellectuals have
engaged in acrobatics to reconcile these issues and almost without
exception give rise to new contradictions in the process.  What we do
know is that Allah (s.w.t.) is Just and Equitable, He does not act
arbitrarily.  Rather He is Wise.  Thus, most certainly there must be
rational and valid reasons for what appears on the surface to be
unfair. I don't think that we are able to unravel this divine mystery.
However, it has nothing to do with the issue of tanasukh or their
previous life.  Allah (s.w.t.) tests us and purifies us through crisis
that often at times brings about a positive change in the end.

wa bi-l-laahi-t-tawfiq,

Hamid Mavani

SOURCES:  Shaykh Mufid, Tashih-ul-I'tiqad
          Sijistani, Kitab-ul-Iftikhar
          Suhrawardi, Hikmat-ul-Ishraq
          Maulana Sayyid A. Rizvi, Day of Judgment
          Guy Monnot, "La transmigration et l'immortalite"
          Books of hadith

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