Belief in the afterlife is the bedrock of social and individual human life, the foundation of all felicity and achievement, because after belief in God, belief in the Resurrection has the primary place in securing a peaceful social order. For if we act according to the conviction that whatever we do is seen and recorded and we will have to give an account for it, we will live a disciplined and upright life. The Qur’an declares:
In whatever affair you may be, and whichever part of the Qur’an you recite, and whatever deed you do, We are witness over you when you are deeply engrossed therein. Not an atom’s weight in the earth and in the heaven escapes your Master, nor is there anything smaller or greater, but it is in a Manifest Book. (10:61)
Whatever we do is recorded by angels entrusted with that task. In addition, God has complete knowledge of all our deeds, intentions, thoughts, and imaginings. An individual who lives in full consciousness of this will find true peace and happiness in both worlds; a family and community made up of such individuals will be as if living in Paradise.
Children are sensitive and delicate, very susceptible to misfortune, and easily affected by what befalls them and their families. When a family member dies or they are orphaned, their world darkens and they experience great distress and despair. So, what else other than belief in the Resurrection, in reunion with the loved ones who emigrated to the other world, can compensate for the loss of parents, siblings, and friends? Only when a child is convinced that his or her loved one has flown to Paradise, to a much better life than this, and that one day they will be reunited, will he or she find true consolation and begin to heal.
How can you compensate the elderly for their past years, their long-ago childhood and youth? How can you console them for the loss of their loved ones, friends, spouses, children or grandchildren who went to the other world before them? How can you remove from their hearts the fear of death and the grave, which is coming closer every day? How can you make them forget death, which they feel so deeply? Can you console them with ever new pleasures of life? Only when they understand that the grave, an apparent open-mouthed dragon waiting for them, is really a door to another, much better world, or a lovely waiting room to that world, will they feel compensated and consoled for their losses.
Humanity is a unique part of creation, for people can use their free will to direct their lives. Free will is the manifestation of Divine Mercy. If our free will is used properly by doing good deeds, we will be rewarded with the fruits of Mercy. Belief in the Resurrection is a most important and compelling factor that urges us to use our free will in the right way and refrain from sin and from wronging and harming others.
Young people have a transforming energy. If you let them waste that energy in trivial things and self-indulgence, you undermine your nation’s future. Belief in the Resurrection prevents young people from committing atrocities and wasting their energies on passing pleasures, and directs them to lead a disciplined, useful, and virtuous life.
Belief in the Resurrection is also a source of consolation for the ill. Suffering from an incurable illness, a believing patient thinks: “I am going. No one can make me live longer. Fortunately, I am going to a place where I will enjoy eternal health and youth. Everyone is doomed to die anyway.” Such a belief has caused the beloved servants of God, primarily including the Prophets, to welcome death with a joyful smile.
The world is a mixture of good and evil, right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, oppressor and oppressed. Many wrongs go unnoticed, and numerous wronged people do not recover their rights. Only their belief in the Resurrection into a world of absolute justice consoles such people and prevents them from seeking vengeance. The afflicted and those suffering misfortune also find consolation, for they believe that whatever befalls them erases some of their sins, and that what they have lost will be restored to them in the Hereafter as a blessing, just as if they had given these items as alms.
Belief in the Resurrection changes a house into a garden of Paradise. In a house where the young pursue their pleasures, children ignore religious sentiment and practices, parents are engrossed in procuring ever more possessions, and grandparents are sent to a poorhouse or a nursing home, or left to shower their love only on pets but not on their grandchildren, life is a heavy burden. Belief in the Resurrection reminds everyone of their responsibilities toward each other, and engenders a fragrance of mutual love, affection, and respect.
Belief in the Resurrection leads to mutual love and a deeper respect on the part of spouses. Love based on physical beauty is temporary, and therefore of little value. It usually disappears shortly after the marriage. But if the spouses love each other and believe that their marriage is eternal, and that in the other world they will be eternally young and beautiful, their love for each other will not disappear as they age and lose their good looks. If family life is based on belief in the Resurrection, family members will feel as if they are living in Paradise. If a country’s social order is based on belief in the Resurrection and the Day of Judgment, life in that country will be far better than what Plato imagined in his Republic or al-Farabi (Alpharabios) in his Al-Madinat al-Fadila (The City of Virtues). It will be like Madina in the time of the Prophet, or the Muslim lands under the rule of Caliph ‘Umar.
Unal, Ali. The Resurrection and the Afterlife. The Light, Inc. 2006.
- August 29, 2013
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