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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Islam and the Day of Resurrection

By Abdurrahmann Murad

Does life cease after death, or is it just an initial step leading to another?

Does life cease after death, or is it just an initial step leading to another?

‘Armageddon’, ‘Deep Impact’, ‘End of Days’, the list goes on and on, all though these movies differ in a number of ways, they all have a common plot that depicts an ‘end of the world’ scenario. In the most part, skepticism and mockery play a large role in these blockbuster movies, but the fact that each movie of this nature sells so well and becomes a hit is proof that people are intrigued by the afterlife.

So, what does the future hold? To the majority, ‘once you’re dead, you’re dead’ is the common belief, but is this really the case?  Does life cease after death, or is it just an initial step leading to another?

True Justice

Justice, equality, individuality at best can be described as hollow slogans preached by democracy, rarely implemented in Western society. These terms only attain full meaning with belief in the afterlife, for in this life, we see that crimes go unchecked, unfair judgments are handed down and criminals walk free!

Even in cases were a killer is convicted of a heinous crime, he may escape the death penalty, for it is only reserved for the most ‘culpable’ offenders (such as killers and their accomplices) as was the case of Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer who terrorized America in the late 70s and early 80s. He presumably killed 30 to 100 people.  His death via electric chair was quite painless in comparison to the agony he put each of his victims through. According to Christianity, regardless of this man’s ill doings, since he was a ‘believer’ in God, he will be forgiven as per the Doctrine of Atonement. But is this true justice?

In Islam, no one will go scot-free; all will be held accountable for their transgression in a higher court of law, wherein no one is wronged and all are given proper sentences. God, Almighty, tells us:

And the Book (one’s Record) will be placed (in the right hand for a believer in the Oneness of God, and in the left hand for a disbeliever in the Oneness of God), and you will see the criminal sinners, fearful of that which is (recorded) therein. They will say: ‘Woe to us! What sort of Book is this that leaves neither a small thing nor a big thing, but has recorded it with numbers!’ And they will find all that they did placed before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice. (Al-Kahf 18:49)

If a person was wronged and did not see true justice or saw only partial justice, God will restore to him his rights on that Day. The Prophet (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him) said:

“The rights shall be returned to the proper individuals on the Day of Resurrection, even to the detail of the just retribution of the broken horned sheep from the two horned sheep who had hit it.” (Muslim)

Muslims firmly believe in life after death, we are reminded time and time again of this reality by God, the Exalted. He says:

O you who believe! Fear God and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear God. Verily, God is All-Aware of what you do. (Al-Hashr 59:18)

Journey into the Afterlife

Death is but a phase in a series of phases, it is the beginning of one’s journey to the afterlife. Death, or the cessation of life functions, occurs when one’s soul leaves the body. This is a very painful experience:

And the pangs of death will come in truth: ’This is what you have been avoiding!’ (Qaf 50:19)

As the soul departs the body, the person will stare at it, and his eyes will follow it. The Prophet said:

“One will follow the path of the soul visually as it leaves his body.” (Muslim)

The soul will then begin its journey up to the heavens; for a believer permission would be sought for the gates of heaven to be opened and the gates would be opened till it reaches the seventh heaven, whereby God says:

Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again. (Ta-Ha 20:55)

It would then be returned to the body. As for the non-believer, permission would be sought for the gates of the lowest heaven to be opened, but the angels refuse and it will be cast back to earth. God tells us:

Verily, those who belie Our Signs and treat them with arrogance, for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle. Thus do We recompense the criminal sinners. (Al-A`raf 7:40)

Thereafter, one will remain in either continuous bliss or punishment in the grave until the Final hour is established.

The Day of Resurrection

Nearing the end of time, the trumpet will be blown and creation will cease to exist.  God says:

And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom God wills. (Az-Zumar 39:68)

It will be blown a second blowing, and all creation from the beginning of time till the end of time will be resurrected. God tells us:

And the Trumpet will be blown (i.e. the second blowing) and behold! From the graves they will come out quickly to their Lord. (Ya-Sin 36:51)

People will be standing naked, barefooted and uncircumcised. The Prophet described to us what will happen, he said: “You will be gathered, barefooted, naked, and uncircumcised (as God says):

As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:104)

The first human being to be dressed on the Day of Resurrection will be Prophet Abraham (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him).” (Al-Bukhari)

Just lately, the news was filled with stories of the war criminal Slobodan Milošević and how he ‘prematurely’ died without being served justice. Even if he were convicted of his crimes by The Hague, what just punishment could possibly be served? On the same notion, how many have been able to bribe a judge or an entire justice system?  It’s just too often that we hear of a judge or attorney being arrested on corruption charges.

The Justice system of the Hereafter is flawless and absolutely just. No judgment can be overturned by a jury nor can it be influenced by any individual!

                                                                                                 To be continued…

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Source: alkauthar.org.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Islam and the Day of Resurrection (Part 2)

By Abdurrahmann Murad

The Intercession

As humankind waits, some would exclaim, ‘Let us ask somebody to intercede for us with our Lord!’

Part 1

The Resurrection

The great Companion, Ibn Abbas (may God be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him) said:

“You will be summoned on the Day of Resurrection bare-footed, naked and uncircumcised.”

He then read the words of God:

As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. (That is) a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:104)

“The first person to be dressed on that day will be Prophet Abraham.” (Al-Bukhari)

`A’ishah, the Mother of the Believers, exclaimed: “Men and women both! Won’t they all look at each other?” The Prophet said:

“The situation they are in is so grim that they would have no time for this!” (Muslim)

As humankind awaits the decree of Almighty God, they would be standing under the sun, which would be brought close to them. Al-Miqdad ibn Al-Aswad, one of the Companions, said: ‘I heard the Messenger of God saying:

“The sun will be a distance of a mile from the creation on the Day of Resurrection.  People will sink in their perspiration according to their deeds. Some would sink in their perspiration till their ankles, while others would sink in it to their thighs and waists; yet others, would sink in it till their mouths!” (Muslim)

If anyone of us, today, was to sweat on a sunny day, they wouldn’t be able to wait to hit the showers… the Day of Resurrection will be 50 000 years long. The Prophet said:

“That day will be 50 000 years long, after which a person will be admitted into Paradise or cast into Hell.” (Abu Dawud)

Peoples’ hearts will be pounding, not knowing what would become of them.  God describes to us the horrors of that day.  He says:

On the Day you see it every nursing mother will be distracted from that (child) she was nursing, and every pregnant woman will abort her pregnancy, and you will see the people (appearing) intoxicated while they are not intoxicated; but the punishment of Allah is severe. (Al-Hajj 22:2)

Even the believers who believed in truth will be severely worried. God says:

And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord. (Al-Mu’minun 23:60)

`A’ishah (may God be pleased with her) said: “Are they those who drink liquor, and steal?”  The Prophet answered:

“No, `A’ishah, they are the ones who fast, pray and give out in charity, but are fearful that their deeds would not be accepted from them.” (Muslim)

The Intercession

As humankind waits, some would exclaim, ‘Let us ask somebody to intercede for us with our Lord!’ The people would then go to Adam and say:

‘You are the father of all the people, and Allah created you with His Own Hands, and ordered the Angels to prostrate to you, and taught you the names of all things; so please intercede for us with your Lord, so that He may relieve us from this place of ours.’

He would say: ‘I am not fit for this (i.e. intercession for you)’.

Adam would remember his sin and feel ashamed thereof.  He would then say, ‘Go to Noah, for he was the first Messenger, God sent to the inhabitants of the Earth.’

He would say: ‘I am not fit for this undertaking!’

He will remember his appeal to his Lord to do what he had no knowledge of, then he will feel ashamed thereof and would say:

‘Go to the Khalil Ar-Rahman (i.e. Abraham, the one whom God chose for His love).’

They will go to him and he will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking. Go to Moses, the slave to whom God spoke (directly) and gave him the Torah.’

So they will go to him and he will say: ‘I am not fit for this undertaking’, and he will mention (his) killing a person who was not a killer, and so he will feel ashamed thereof before his Lord, and he will say: ‘Go to Jesus, God’s slave, His Messenger and God’s Word and a spirit coming from Him.’

Jesus will say: ‘I am not fit for this undertaking, go to Muhammad, the slave of God whose past and future sins were forgiven by God’.

Prophet Muhammad then said: ‘They will come to me and I will proceed till I will ask my Lord’s permission and I will be given permission. When I see my Lord, I will fall down in Prostration and He will let me remain in that state as long as He wishes and then I will be addressed.’ (Muhammad!) Raise your head. Ask, and your request will be granted; say, and your saying will be listened to; intercede, and your intercession will be accepted.’

I will raise my head and praise God with a saying (i.e. invocation) He will teach me, and then I will intercede. He will fix a limit for me (to intercede for) whom I will admit into the Paradise. Then I will come back again to God, and when I see my Lord, the same thing will happen to me. And then I will intercede and God will fix a limit for me to intercede whom I will let into the Heavenly Abode, then I will come back for the third time; and then I will come back for the fourth time, and will say, ‘None remains in Hell but those whom the Qur’an has imprisoned (in Hell) and who have been destined to an eternal stay in Hell.’” (Al-Bukhari)

The Distribution of Records

After the agonizing wait and the Prophet’s intercession, people’s records of deeds will be handed out. God says:

Then as for he who is given his record in his right hand, he will be judged with an easy account and return to his people in happiness. But as for he who is given his record behind his back, he will cry out for destruction and [enter to] burn in a Blaze. (Al-Inshiqaq 84:7-12)

This is further clarified by God in the following verses:

So as for he who is given his record in his right hand, he will say, ‘Here, read my record! Indeed, I was certain that I would be meeting my account.’ So he will be in a pleasant life – in an elevated Garden, its (fruit) to be picked hanging near. (They will be told), ‘Eat and drink in satisfaction for what you put forth in the days past.’ But as for he who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, ‘Oh, I wish I had not been given my record And had not known what is my account. I wish it (i.e., my death) had been the decisive one. My wealth has not availed me. Gone from me is my authority.’ (God will say), ‘Seize him and shackle him. Then into Hellfire drive him. Then into a chain whose length is seventy cubits insert him.’ Indeed, he did not used to believe in God, the Most Great, nor did he encourage the feeding of the poor. So there is not for him here this Day any devoted friend. Nor any food except from the discharge of wounds; none will eat it except the sinners. (Al-Haqqah 69:19-37)

The Scales of Justice

Everyone’s deeds will be weighed in actual scale and if the good outweighs the evil, they will be successful but if the opposite happens they will be among the losers.

God says: “And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is (even) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant.”  (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:47)

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Source: alkauthar.org.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Life & Beyond in the Qur’an

By Muhammad Abdel Haleem

Life & Beyond in the Qur’an

Belief in the afterlife is an article of faith which has a bearing on every aspect of the present life and manifests itself in the discussion of the creed, rituals, ethics and laws of Islam.

In the Qur’an life in this world is an inseparable part of a continuum, a unified whole (life, death, life) which gives our life a context and relevance. In this context, the life of the individual is made meaningful and enriched inasmuch as it is full of ‘good works’.

Life in this world leads to the afterlife, a belief which is fundamental in the Qur’an. The afterlife is not treated in the Qur’an in a separate chapter, or as something on its own, for its own sake, but always in relation to life in this world.

Linguistically it is not possible in the Qur’an to talk about this life without semantic reference to the next since every term used for each is comparative with the other. Thus: al-ula and al-akhira (the first and the last life), al-dunya and al-akhira (the nearer and the further/latter life). Neither has a name specific to itself, or independent of the other. Consequently, the frequency of the terms in the Qur’an is the same, in the case of dunya and akhira, each appears 115 times.

There is a reference, direct or indirect, to one aspect or another of the afterlife on almost every single page of the Qur’an. This follows from the fact that belief in the afterlife is an article of faith which has a bearing on every aspect of the present life and manifests itself in the discussion of the creed, the rituals, the ethics and the laws of Islam.

In discussing the afterlife, moreover, the Qur’an addresses both believers and non-believers. The plan of two worlds and the relationship between them has been, from the beginning, part of the divine scheme of things:

It is God who created you, then He provided sustenance for you, then He will cause you to die, then He will give life back to you. (Ar-Rum 30:40)

It is We who give life and make to die and to Us is the homecoming. (Qaf 50:43)

He created death and life that He might try you according to which of you is best in works. (Al-Mulk 67:2)

According to the Qur’an, belief in the afterlife, which is an issue fundamental to the mission of Muhammad (peace be upon him), was also central to the mission of all prophets before him.

Belief in the afterlife is often referred to in conjunction with belief in God, as in the expression: “If you believe in God and the Last Day” (An-Nisaa’ 59).

Believers are frequently reminded in the Qur’an, “Be mindful of God and know that you shall meet Him” (Al-Baqarah 2:233) (used in this instance to urge fitting treatment of one’s wife in intimate situations), “To Him is the homecoming/ the return” (Ya-Sin 36:83, Ghafir 40:3, and passim).

As a belief in the afterlife is so fundamental to Islam, it is only right that Muslims should regularly be reminded of it not only throughout the pages of the Qur’an but also in their daily life. Practicing Muslims in their five daily prayers repeat their praise of God at least seventeen times a day, “The Master of the Day of Judgment”. (Al-Fatihah 1:4)

Being inattentive to the afterlife: “They only know the superficial realities of the worldly life and they are unaware of the life to come” (Ar-Rum 30:7) or to the prospect of coming to judgment “They will be told, “Suffer on this Day of Judgment. For your having ignored it, We have ignored you. Suffer everlasting torment for your evil deeds.” (32:14) are signs of the unbeliever.

All this heightens the believer’s sense of responsibility for actions in this life. In fact the principles and details of religion are meant to be seen within the framework of the interdependence of this life and the afterlife and to color the Muslims’ conception of life and the universe and have a bearing on their actions in this life.

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Source: islamicity.com.

 

The article is an excerpt from “Understanding The Quran” by Muhammad Abdel Haleem.

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New Muslims Pillars of Islam

Belief in the Last Day

sunrise_nature

Everyone from all parts of the world, from the time of Adam (peace be upon him) until the end of time, will be resurrected.

To have iman (belief) in the Last Day is to believe that the life of this world will one day come to an end. Allah (Exalted be He) says:

Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish. (Ar-Rahman 55:26)

When Allah wills this world to come to an end, Allah will order an angel called Israfil to blow a horn. At that point, everything in the heavens and earth will perish, except who Allah wills. Then He will order him to blow it again, and upon that, all people will rise from their graves, alive and in their own bodies. Everyone from all parts of the world, from the time of Adam (peace be upon him) until the end of time, will be resurrected. Allah says:

And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will collapse and die, except him whom Allah will. Then it will blow a second time and behold, they will be standing, looking on (waiting). (Az-Zumar 39:68)

To have iman in the Last Day means to have iman in all of what Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) informed us of what will occur after death. From these things is the following:

1- To Believe in the Life of the Barzakh

This life is the time after one’s death until the Last Day. In it the believer will live a life of pleasure while the rejecting disbelievers will be punished. Allah says:

The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon, and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): ‘Cause Pharaoh people to enter the severest torment!’ (Ghafir 40:46)

2- To Believe in the Resurrection

This is the Day on which Allah will resurrect the whole creation, naked, barefoot, and uncircumcised just as they were born. Allah says:

The disbelievers falsely think that they will never be resurrected (for the Account). Say: ‘Yes! By my Lord, you will certainly be resurrected, then you will be informed of (and recompensed for) what you did, and that is easy for Allah’. (At-Taghabun 64:7)

3- To Believe in the Gathering

Allah will gather all of the creation together and call them to account. Allah says:

And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away (like clouds of dust), and you will see the earth as a leveled plain, and We shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind. (Al-Kahf 18:47)

4- To believe that People Will be Set before Allah

Allah says:

And they will be set before your Lord in (lines as) rows, (and Allah will say): ‘Now indeed, you have come to Us as We created you the first time’. (Al-Kahf 18:48)

5- To believe that One’s Limbs Will Bear Witness

Allah says:

Till, when they reach it (Hellfire), their hearing (ears) and their eyes, and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do. And they will say to their skins, ‘Why do you testify against us?’ They will say: ‘Allah has caused us to speak, He causes all things to speak: and He created you the first time, and to Him you are made to return.’ And you have not been hiding yourselves (in the world), lest your ears, and your eyes, and your skins testify against you; but you thought that Allah knew not much of what you were doing. (Fussilat 41:20-22)

scale_justice

On that day Allah will call people to account and pay them their exact dues for their deeds.

6- To Believe in the Questioning

Allah says:

‘But stop them, verily they are to be questioned. What is the matter with you? Why do you not help one another (as you used to do in the world)?’ Nay, but that Day they shall surrender. (As-Saaffaat 37:24-26)

7- To Believe in the Sirat and that everyone must pass over it.

The Sirat is a bridge set over the Hellfire over which all must pass, thinner than a strand of hair and sharper than a sword. Some will cross it as fast as lighting, some like a gust of wind, some like the speed of a fast horse, while others will cross it crawling, each according to his deeds. Allah says:

There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell); this is with your Lord a decree which must be accomplished. (Maryam 19:71)

8- To Believe in the Weighing of Deeds on the Scale

Allah will call people to account and pay them their exact dues for their deeds.

He will reward those who did well with what they deserve, due to their righteous deeds, their iman, and following the messengers, and He will punish those who did evil, as a payback for what they committed of evil, disbelief, and disobedience to their messengers.

Allah says:

And We shall set up balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We as Reckoners. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:47)

9- To Believe in the Handing out of Scrolls and Books

Allah says:

Then, as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand, he surely will receive an easy reckoning. And he will return to his family in joy! But whosoever is given his Record behind his back. He will invoke (his) destruction. And he shall enter a blazing Fire and made to taste its burning. (Al-Inshiqaq 84:7-12)

10- To Believe that People will be Rewarded with either Jannah (Paradise) or Hellfire in an everlasting and eternal life which will never end. Allah says:

Verily those who disbelieve from among the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) and the pagans will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures. Verily, those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures. Their reward with their Lord is the Paradise of Eden (Gardens of Eternity), underneath which rivers flow. They will abide therein forever, Allah will be pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord. (Al-Bayyinah 98:6-8)

11- To believe in the Hawd, Intercession and all other things which the Messenger of Allah informed us.

The Hawd Literally means pool; the pool from which the true followers of Muhammad will drink, after which they will never feel thirst again.

And by intercession (or shafa`ah) Allah will allow certain people to intercede for others, and from those will be the intercession of the Prophet (peace be upon Him).

The Fruits of Iman in the Last Day

Through the belief in Last Day, one benefits in the following ways:

1- In preparing for that Day, by continually performing good deeds and competing in doing so, hoping for its reward, and abstaining from sins and removing oneself from them, fearing Allah’s punishment.

2- In comforting the believers, that whatever they leave from the entertainment of this life will be exchanged with a better reward in the Hereafter.

3- To distinguish the believers truthful in their faith from others.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”. 

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