Afterlife: is there life after death?
One of the most enduring topics of conversation is whether or not there is life after death.
For many of us reading this blog, as we move on in our lives and especially in times of difficulty when our lives are in jeopardy, this thought will arise.
As a Muslim, we were taught from a young age the concepts of heaven and hell. Be good and live your life correctly and heaven awaits, if not, it’s that other rather hot place and I’m not talking about the Bahamas!!!
In many conversations with people over the years, I have found that this topic falls into 2 main categories.
- Those who believe in an Afterlife.
- Those who don’t.
We are all allowed to believe in whatever we wish. It is clearly stated in the Muslim holy book, The Quran
“There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong 1 (2:257)
This blog will focus on the Islamic understanding of what happens when we dieso here we go.
There are numerous references in the Quran with regard to our state after death.
In his book, The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam 2, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him) writes that:
According to the Holy Quran there are 3 states of existence:
First: This is the j state of worldly existence. During his worldly life, mans’ actions are of good and evil and these set up his future states.
Second: After death man goes into an intermediate state. The Arabic word for it is Barzakh, meaning something situated between two things.
In this state man’s mortal journey has ended and the soul and the body are separated.
The body is buried and the soul is now no longer able to earn good or evil which it could only do through its relationship with the body.
So, according to Islamic principles, for the soul to act correctly, it is necessary for it to be connected to a body at all times. After death the soul leaves the mortal body and in the intermediate state every soul is connected with a body in order for it to react to the conditions of that state. That body is not like our current physical body but is prepared from light or from darkness, according to the quality of the person’s actions in this life.
In the Quran it says: 3
On the day when some faces shall be white, and some faces shall be black. As for those whose faces will be black, it will be said to them: ‘Did you disbelieve after believing? Taste, then, the punishment because you disbelieved. (3:107)
It is important to remember that the wicked would enter hell immediately on death and the virtuous will find comfort in heaven immediately after death.
Third: This is the state of resurrection. In this state every soul, good or bad, righteous or disobedient, will be bestowed a visible body.
Obviously, this body will not be like our current physical bodies. These bodies will be a reflection of the way we lived our mortal lives.
The Holy Quran states that in the Hereafter, all the spiritual conditions of this world will be manifested physically, both in the intermediate state and in the resurrection.
The Quran says: 4
But whoso is blind in this world will be blind in the Hereafter, and even more astray from the way. (17:73)
‘Seize him and fetter him, ‘Then cast him into Hell. ‘Then put him into a chain the length of which is seventy cubits; (69:31-33)
As we are starting to see, all our deeds in this mortal/worldly life will end up creating our spiritual life.
Those that follow a righteous path and do good will have a spiritual state to reflect this as will those who behave in a wicked and evil manner.
It is related by Hazrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessing be upon him) said that:
“If a believer had an idea of the punishment as to how severe it will be, he will never hope for paradise. He will think that it is very difficult to escape from the punishment. If a disbeliever had an idea how vast are the treasures of grace and mercy of Allah, he will never be disappointed of His paradise. He will be confident that only a wretch will be denied of it” (Muslim Kitab al-Taubah) 5
In conclusion, let’s be clear that as a Muslim we understand that the object of man’s life, is the worship of God.
However, not everyone understands this. Many people are only living for now and their lives are limited to worldly ambitions and goals. The purpose that God Almighty has appointed for man is clearly explained in the Quran: 6
And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me. (51:57)
That is, I have created jinn and men so that they may know Me and worship Me. Thus, the true purpose of man’s life is the worship of God, understanding Him and complete devotion to Him.
It is then and only then that we will get to create a spiritual life that will be filled with light and we will get to partake in the many blessings of the Afterlife.
Blog based on VOI show:
- The Holy Quran: https://holyquran.site/compulsion%20in%20religion#1:1
- The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad: https://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf
- The Holy Quran: https://holyquran.site/ch%203%20v%20107#1:1
- The Holy Quran: https://holyquran.site/ch%2017%20v%2014#1:1
- Hadith on the punishment and mercy of God: https://www.alislam.org/hadith/punishment-and-mercy-of-god/
- The Holy Quran: https://holyquran.site/ch%2051%20v%2057#1:1