The second phase of life in the hereafter begins from the resurrection, known as "great" or "principal". Indeed, the Holy Qur'an itself emphasizes on the inevitability of its occurrence. The majesty, the awe-inspiring, and the glory of this event are so great that the human mind is not able to comprehend fully and fathom its absolute greatness… The Holy Qur'an speaks of this tremendous event, as such,
Indeed, how could anyone, possibly understand what the resurrection day is…? It means that your ability to perceive such great and terrifying day is so limited and so little that it is practically impossible for anyone to understand it truly. This holy verse would tell us though, about one of its characteristics.
“[It will be] the day when no person shall have power [to do] anything for another, and the decision, that day will be [wholly] with Allah.” – 82:19
Purgatory is related to each and every human being; in fact, the individual, who dies, will immediately enter this realm [i.e. Purgatory] shortly after his/her physical death; however, resurrection day is a general event, which comprises every possible thing and every form of life and existence in the whole universe that has been created by Allah Almighty within itself. Judgment day [i.e. resurrection] is an event that happens for everyone and everything in the entire world, and it eventually transforms the entire world into a new form of existence.1
The Holy Qur'an introduces the Judgment day as a universal event, which includes the entire universe. That is: from infinite galaxies in the whole cosmos to the closest and farthest celestial spheres and objects [i.e. At-Tama Al-Kubra] that are accompanied, by different and various changes and diversities, known as “Ash'rat As-Sa'ah”,
"Do they then only wait for the Hour - that it should come on them of a sudden? But already have come some tokens thereof, and when it [actually] is on them, how can they benefit then by their admonition?" - 47:18
The Holy Qur'an speaks about the resurrection of the whole universe [i.e. creation] and the dawn of immortal life with different names. Each name represents a special condition and shows the domination of a unique system and a particular order, which take over each such name. This is because the entire creation, from the very first creature until the very last one is placed in a single level and stage. Therefore, their chronological order is destroyed; thus, this day is called as the "congregation" day, the "assembly" day, the "gathering" day, or the day of "meeting" [i.e. confluence-merging-combining-incorporation]; that is because all the inner selves of all the creatures will be finally unveiled and disclosed and all the fundamental truths, which had been hermetically closed until then, will be unrolled, for all to see, at last...
"The Day that [all] things secret will be tested." – 86:9
Then, because it will have an immortal, indestructible, and eternal characteristic, it is also called the "Day of regret". This is because there shall be many souls, who will fall into deep sadness and immense sorrow, and they will be full of regrets and intolerable bitterness for the unbearable and unendurable truth that will destroy their whole beings forever, for not having prepared duly themselves for such a frightening day.
Another name is the day of "deception" for the sinner had "deceived the others" into committing all kinds of sins and misdeeds. Then again, it is also called the "great news", because the greatest news and the greatest happenings and events will occur on that Day. 2
Some other names are: the day of "favor", the "Last day", the "Day of religion", the "Day of
truth", the "Day of justice", the "Happening", and the "Event", etc, etc…
A number of these universal events are listed below:
• Tremendous explosions will occur.
• The crack and the fissure of heaven.3
• The diminishing of the sun’s splendid light6.
• The depletion of the oceans from their water or on the contrary, the filling of the oceans with high mountains.7
• The flattening and stretching of the earth8.
• The destruction of mountains9
• The movement of mountains
• The emergence of earthquakes
• The sounds of massive roars and great and unparallel changes and extraordinary transformations10;
• and the emergence of an ever-expanding and massive dark cloud in the sky,
“Then wait you for the day, when the sky will bring forth a visible smoke, covering the people: this is a painful torment...” – 44:10
On the Day of Judgment, the entire universe would become as an embryo, which is resurrected [i.e. revived], while there will be no one, except the dead…! Rocks and trees, heaven and earth, the sun and the sky, the roaring fire, and even the limbs and physical members of the people's bodies will all undergo a complete transformation! In other words, everything in the universe shall become fully alive and existent, once again. This particular form of existence is presented as the time of the “blow of the celestial horn”. On the day of resurrection, Allah Almighty grants a new revival, better known as the resurrection to everyone and everything in the whole Creation.
In a number of the holy verses of Qur'an, the duration of Judgment day has been estimated as fifty thousand years,
“The Angels and the Ruh [i.e. Djibril, the Archangel Gabriel as] ascend to Him in a Day, the measure whereof, is fifty thousand years.” - 70:4
Question: Now, according to the Holy Qur'an, if there are going to be no more sun or moon or stars in Judgment day, then how these fifty thousand years [i.e. the duration of the Judgment day, according to the Holy Qur'an] are justifiable and explanable…?
Is this long duration of time, equal for everyone? And would everyone experience it?
Answer: In order to attempt to answer the first question, religious experts and Islamic scholastics have answered that the mentioned fifty thousand years is an "extension" and "prolongation" of resurrection day, according to the laws and order of the hereafter; so that if one should calculate it according to earthly measures, it will be equal to fifty thousand earth years.
The answer to the second question can be found, by referring to the words of the Prophet Muhammad (S). When someone said to Prophet Muhammad (S) that this long duration of time [i.e. fifty thousand years] was indeed, very, very long, the Prophet Muhammad (S) replied as such, “By Allah, the sovereign lord of the whole universe…! That day shall pass in such quickness that the believer can only perform one salat [i.e. Prayer], while on the other, it will be extremely long for the disbeliever…”
By these statements, it is clearly understood that the passage of time is a relative concept for human beings and has a direct relationship with their states. If an individual is in a state of happiness and joy, he will not feel the passage of time, but if he were in a state of agony and suffering, the time will indeed, pass very slowly for him. Therefore, the mentioned duration of time will not be the same for every human being and it differs from one individual to another. This is because for true believers, it [i.e. the passage of time] passes with such fast pace that it would be equivalent to a simple and regular prayer, but for the disbelievers and the sinners, it will be significantly much longer indeed.11
Indeed, a crucial relationship exists between the earthly life and the way of life, which exists in the hereafter; and the two are as similar as the two distinguished seasons or chapters of a year; such as a planting season and a harvest season. Therefore, the hands of the human beings, through their own deeds and actions, determine the essence of Infinity and Immortality of the "hereafter". The holy Prophet Muhammad (S) once said regarding his wise and interesting interpretation, “The world is the field of the hereafter”12
The human beings thus plant the seeds of eternal happiness or on the contrary, the terrible torment during their lifetimes. Just as it is impossible to grow wheat and harvest barley or to grow deadly thorns and harvest beautiful flowers instead, it is just as impossible to possess a corrupt and sinful mind and to commit all kinds of wrong deeds and to benefit eventually in the hereafter as well.13
There is a religious hadith, which states:
“Paradise is nothing but a wasteland now, empty and dry with nothing to grow and nothing to harvest. However, the Islamic attestation, “Allah is pure and exempt from all impurities; and there is no god but Allah; and Allah is the greatest; and there is no power or force, but from Allah!” are the green trees that are planted here and there.” 14
Indeed, with the coming of death, the hidden inner face of man, which is the accumulation and the total sum of all the characteristics that it had earned in this world, finally reveals itself. The characteristics and habits are things that ultimately become the inseparable part of his/her soul’s face and existence, due to countless repetitions of various deeds and behaviors.
While each of these inner states is considered as being among his/her spiritual deeds, thus in the other world, it comes to possess a unique and special form. Sometimes, it resembles a human face sometimes an animal or a wild beast. Sometimes, it appears as a combination of various forms [such as a camel, a cow, or a leopard, etc.…]. Then again, as a frightening appearance, so that the faces of pigs and apes seem less unpleasant, if compared to it…15
Therefore, in the Islamic religious books and written sources, it has been reported that on Judgment day, individuals are resurrected by their acquired spiritual traits and characteristics that had been collected, fortunately or unfortunately, during their lifetimes on earth. Some people, in regards to their acquired characteristics will be resurrected as similar as those other creatures that resemble them the most. Only those among them will be resurrected as human beings whose morality, acquired characteristics, and secondary spiritual dimension are proportionate with their humanistic ranks and status; in other words, those, who possess the best of the human moral qualities and finest ethics.16
From what was mentioned above, regarding the creation of the “self” [i.e. nafs], the issue of the embodiment of deeds and actions can then be discussed and understood more fully. Each deed possesses in fact, a unique form in every person, and it is appeared by a particular determination or will in the individual; and it is exactly similar to the appearance of deeds and actions. The form and the image of each and every deed will not disappear from the human mind and will remain within the human “self”.17
This is because nothing disappears from the human “self”; thus, the face of each deed and action will remain as such, just as when it had entered the human “self” in the first place. If the mentioned face is then compatible or appropriate with the true “self” of the individual, it is thus quite pleasant and enjoyable. However, if it were inconsistent with the true “self” of the individual, then it will be quite terrifying and painful.18
It has been reported in the Islamic religious sources and the holy verses of the Holy Qur'an that anyone’s good deeds and actions are embodied with beautiful and pleasant faces and most harmonious forms, turning into the center of happiness and beatitude. On the other hand, the wrong and sinful actions will appear in extremely grotesque, terrifying, and painful faces, and will indeed turn into the center of eternal torment and suffering…
“On the Day, when every person will be confronted with all the good he has done, and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil. And Allah warns you against Himself [i.e. His Punishment] and Allah is full of kindness to [His] slaves.” – 3:30
“And they will find all that they did place before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice.” – 18:49
“The Day, Mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds. Therefore, whosoever does good, equal to the weight of an atom [or a small ant] shall see it. And whosoever does evil, equal to the weight of an atom [or a small ant] shall see it.” – 99:6-8
The holy Prophet Muhammad (S) once said in response to a group of believers [i.e. Muslims], who were seeking religious advice from him, “From now on, do try to choose good companions, friends, and mates for yourselves in the other world, where every person’s companion is indeed the embodiment of his/her deeds and actions...” 19
It can thus be understood from the holy and religious sentences, mentioned above, that the infinite quality of God’s bounties and goodness, along with the eternal quality of paradise are created in fact, from the good and righteous deeds and actions of the individual. On the other hand, scorpions, lizards, snakes, burning water, and the bitter fruit of hell are indeed, created from impurities and sinful deeds, committed by wicked people; and that they will eventually be sent to that eternal world [i.e. The Hereafter].
Undoubtedly, there exist similarities and common characteristics between this earthly world and the hereafter. These similarities include a reality and a truth for both forms of life. That is knowledge and awareness of the human being towards himself, along with his earthly attachments and feelings. One can also name the existence of happiness and suffering alongside each other, or joy and agony, or bliss and cruelty. Moreover, the existence of animal instincts and special human instincts; the experience of the human being with his limbs, his [internal/external] organs, and his body, as a whole entity; then again, the existence of outer space and all kinds of supernatural, otherworldly things in the space.20
In this world, there is always movement and change. Children and the young generation become one day old and will eventually face death, as an inevitable and inescapable fact. The young generation becomes old and obsolete and the old generation will eventually perish at the end… However, in the other world [i.e. the Hereafter,] no such obsolescence and deterioration exist. Here, in this earthly world, it is indeed the place of deteriorations, corruptions, and destructions, while the other world is the place of stability, constancy, eternity, and survival. Therefore, the possibility of changing our destiny and our inner beings in this world exists as a fact, while no such thing will ever exist in the Hereafter.
In this world, life and death are combined together, but the other world [i.e. the Hereafter] is full of life and existence; full of dynamism! Gems, pebbles, trees, and fruits will all be full of life and existence; and even the fire shall be endowed with an inner perception. In this regard, the Holy Qur'an announces,
“And this life of the world is only an amusement and a play! Verily, the home of the Hereafter that is the life indeed [i.e. the Eternal life that will never end], if they but knew!” – 29:64
As we have already mentioned, this world of ours appears as the season of planting seeds in the soil, while the hereafter appears as the season of reap and harvest. The lord of the believers Imam Ali [as] says about this matter, “This world is the day of action and not calculation; while tomorrow would be the day of calculation; and then, there will be no action or deed...”21
People in this world are each other’s partners in creating happiness or committing crime and they are most efficient in each other’s destiny; therefore, an equal and common responsibility exists among all people; thus if anyone tries to commit a wrongful deed, others must and should prevent him from committing sinful, wicked deeds.
The holy Prophet Muhammad (S) explains the effect of an individual’s sinful deed on the society by a fine example. He said, “A group of people were on board of a ship, which was navigating in the sea. One of the passengers started to pierce the [wooden] floor of where he was sitting. The other passengers witnessed this fact but did not protest or object to his action. Eventually however, the ship sank and everyone on board was drowned; if anyone had tried to stop him from piercing the ship in the first place, not only they would have saved him from certain death but they would have saved themselves as well from drowning in the sea, uselessly...”
However, in the hereafter, nothing in the destinies of the souls is considered as a "shared thing" among the human beings. In the afterlife, there is nothing as a human "society" on earth. This means that no mixing, association, or mingling exists in a proper sense of the meaning, as you would see on Earth, with different people. People whose destinies are intertwined;22 in fact, it is as similar as living with each other, with this difference that within the community of kind believers, intimacy, affection, and sincerity exist, whereas in the community of the cruel disbelievers, it is indeed hatred, disgust, and repugnance toward each other, which prevails.23
The laws and order of this world are indeed, the laws and order of cause and effect; and they are ruled by special chronological conditions; however, in the hereafter, no such things exist, except the absolute sovereignty and dominion of Allah’s inexorable will and the emergence of the divine realm, which prevail over everything else.
In this world, the inner perception and knowledge in general are weaker and not strong enough to pierce through the invisible veils of the hidden mysteries of the universe; however, man’s inner perception in the hereafter is significantly stronger and more powerful. In other words, the invisible veils of reality are removed from before the very eyes of the human being and he/she can finally understand and comprehend the realities of the universe with the help of his/her inner perception, as the Holy Qur'an announces,
“[It will be said to the sinners], “Indeed you were heedless of this. Now, We have removed from you your covering, and sharp is your sight this day!”24 – 50:22
In this earthly plane, the human being is in a special state of loss. He constantly struggles to find what he feels is missing in his life. However, whenever he finds something that he considers as his “missing thing”, he preoccupies and busies himself with it; but after a while, he would get bored and exhausted by it, once again, and will eventually go after another thing to distract his sense of loss, in a new path.
However, in the hereafter, true believers reach to what they had considered as their true "missing thing", which is nothing but the eternal life and the blissful existence near the creator of the worlds [i.e. Rabbul Alamin]; and indeed, no boredom and exhaustion will ever reach them again; no sense of loss, whatsoever. The Holy Qur'an explains about this condition as,
“Wherein, they shall dwell [forever]. No desire will they have for removal therefore.” – 18:108
Therefore, the inhabitants of paradise will be there for all eternity and never get bored. Additionally, Allah’s will shall bestow whatever they will want, on them. Moreover, they will never be annoyed or frustrated by what they do not have.25
One of the most fundamental subjects, regarding Judgment day is the nature and the way Allah calls to account, the deeds of the human beings. Is there any questioning and calling to account in that place? The Holy Qur'an announces,
"Then, which of the blessings of your Lord will you both [Djinn and men] deny?” – 55:16
This is because Allah knows everyone’s deeds and misdeeds; and there exists no doubt, whatsoever, about any one of them. However, there are various “Checkpoints” [or should one say “stations”] in that process. Allah Almighty states,
“But stop them; for verily, they are to be questioned.” – 37:24
Therefore, on Judgment Day, there are some “checkpoints” or “stations”, where questions and answers will be made. In other words, sometimes there are some questions and sometimes not; and one should not compare Judgment day with the world of ours. When the actual event of "resurrection" happens, the questions and answers, which will be made, will not be for the sake of reaching to a conclusion or to make a discovery or even to investigate anything. It is not even a completion of all the arguments [i.e. proofs - Hujjah], previously offered to the human being during his/her lifetime on earth. It is some kind of fateful formality, which is to be done, one way or another. The divine angels, which are acting as Allah’s agents do not need to ask the resurrected spirits whether they belong to the group of the Obedient or to the group of the Sinners. They know each one of them for what they are.
“For the Sinners will be known by their Marks…” – 55:41
Therefore, they are known exactly as what they are. Consequently, we come to understand that the questions are not made with the human, physical tongue, but with all the human body members. This is to say that each human member has its own sin or sins and is forced to show itself, as it truly is. These celestial agents will then question them severely. And they will be punished accordingly.26
The Holy Qur'an announces,
“That day shall We set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to Us and their feet bear witness to all that they did.” - 36:65
Therefore, on that unique day, the human tongue will not speak, in order to be able to defend itself.
In fact, all the particles of the human being, even the skin will start speaking, in order to give the tale of their destiny; that is because all the history of the human being is being inevitably and inexorably recorded and registered in his/her being.27
- 1. Complete works of professor Mottahari, volume 2, page 51
- 2. Please refer to the Complete Works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 2, pages 511- 520
- 3. Al-Murasalat, 77
- 4. Al-Infitar, 82
- 5. At-Takwir, 1
- 6. At-Takwir, 6
- 7. Al-Inshiqaq, 3
- 8. Al-Murasalat, 77
- 9. At-Takwir, 3
- 10. Ya-Sin 51, An-Naba-18, Al-Muddaththir -8
- 11. “Understanding the Holy Qur’an” volume 9, pages 72-73
- 12. “The Treasures of Divine Truth” from Chapter known as "dal"
- 13. Please refer to the Complete works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 2, pages 520- 521, and volume 1, page 223
- 14. Taf'sir Al-Mizan, volume 13, page 23; Also, refer to the Complete Works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 1, pages 223-224
- 15. Or, volume 7, page 118
- 16. The Complete Works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 2, page 288
- 17. Al-Kah'f, 18
- 18. Or, volume 7, page 119
- 19. Please refer to the Complete Works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 3, page 521
- 20. The Complete Works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 2, page 523
- 21. Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 42
- 22. Al-Hijr, 47; Al-A’rāf, 38
- 23. The Complete Works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 1, pages 218-223
- 24. or volume 7, page 152; and the Complete Works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 2, pages 523-524
- 25. The Complete Works of Professor Mutahhari, volume 2, page 524
- 26. “Understanding the Holy Qur’an”, volume 6, page 59-61
- 27. “Understanding the Holy Qur'an”, volume 10, page 204; and volume 3, page 63