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After Death

26 May, 2014 12:09

After life from Shia point of view.

After Death

Does man immediately after death pass direct to the stage of resurrection and is his case finally decided then and there? Or does he during the period between death and resurrection pass through a special world to be resurrected only on the Day of Resurrection? We know that it is known to Allah only when the Day of Resurrection will arrive. Even the Prophets have expressed their unawareness in that respect.

It is gathered from the Qur'an and numerous reliable reports which have come down to us from the Holy Prophet and the Imams, that no one reaches the stage of Resurrection immediately after death, because that stage will be accompanied by so many upheavals and revolutionary changes in everything known to us, such as the mountains, the oceans, the moon, the sun, the stars and the galaxies. At that time nothing will be left intact. Further, at the time of Resurrection all men of the past and the present will be gathered together. But we see that the world is still intact and probably will remain so for another billions of years. Meanwhile innumerable human beings are still to be born.

Similarly it is gathered from the foregoing and so many other verses of the Quran that no one during the period between death and Resurrection shall remain motionless and unconscious. In other words, man shall not be in a torpid state, feeling neither pleasure or joy nor grief or pain. Immediately after his death man enters a new stage of life, in which he feels everything. Certain things give him pleasure and certain other things give him pain. Anyhow, his pleasure and pain are related to his conduct in this world only. This stage will continue till the Resurrection takes place. At that time so many upheavals will overtake the whole world in a moment that from the farthest stars to our earth every thing will be revolutionized. With this that world which is the intermediary stage between this world and the Resurrection will come to an end.

Thus from the viewpoint of the Qur'an the post-death world has two stages or, to be more exact, after his death man passes through two worlds. The world which will come to an end like the present world is called the barzakh or purgatory. The other is the post-resurrection world which shall never come to an end. Now let us briefly discuss these two worlds.

Barzakh or Purgatory

A thing which lies between two other things as a barrier and separates them is called barzakh. The Qur'an has used this word to indicate the life between death and the Resurrection. The Qur'an says: "Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: My Lord, send me back, so that I may do some good I did not do (in the world). But nay! These are mere words which he utters and behind them is a barzakh until the day of their Resurrection." (Surah al Mu'minun 23:100)

This is the only verse that calls the interval between death and resurrection the barzakh. The Muslim scholars have borrowed this word from here and named the world between death and resurrection the barzakh.

About the continuity of life after death this verse says only that men after their death repent and request their return to the world, but their request is turned down. This verse shows specifically that man after his death has a sort of life. That is why he asks for being sent back to the earthly world, although his request is not accepted.

About the continuity of life after death this verse says only that men after their death repent and request their return to the world, but their request is turned down. This verse shows specifically that man after his death has a sort of life. That is why he asks for being sent back to the earthly world, although his request is not accepted.

There are many verses which indicate that man during the period, between his death and Resurrection is endowed with a sort of life in which he speaks, has feelings of pleasure and pain and can enjoy a sort of happy life. On the whole, there are about 15 verses in the Qur'an which in some way or other speak of a life process, from which it may be gathered that between the period of death and Resurrection man enjoys a full-fledged life. These verses may be divided into several categories.

(i) There are verses which quote some conversations between the righteous or the wicked men on the one hand and the angels on the other. These conversations took place immediately after death. Such verses are many. We have already cited the verse 97 of the surah an-Nisa' and the verse 100 of the surah al-Mu'minun. (ii) There are some other verses according to which the angels talk to the righteous and tell them to enjoy the bounties of Allah from that time onward. They do not keep them waiting for the Day of Resurrection. The following two verses contain this point:

"They will be received by the angels of mercy with the greetings: Peace be on you! Enter the Garden as a reward for your good deeds." 

(Surah an-Nahl, 16 : 32)

It was said to him (after his death): Enter paradise. He said: "Would that my people knew that my Lord had pardoned me and made me of the honoured ones." 

(Surah Yasin, 36:26 - 27)

In the verses preceding to this verse a conversation of this believer with his people was quoted. He called upon his people to follow the Prophets who invited them towards monotheism in Antioch (Antakiyah). He announced his faith and asked others to listen to him and follow his example. But his people did not listen to him till he died, and went to the other world. When he saw that he was pardoned by Allah and honoured by Him he wished that his people who were still in the mundane world knew how happy he was in the other world. Evidently all this happened before Resurrection for after Resurrection none would be left on the earth.

Incidentally it may be noted that for the righteous after their death there are several paradises, not one single paradise. In the next world they vary according to degree of their inmates' proximity to Allah. In addition to these paradises, there are some other paradises, as reported by the chosen descendants of the Holy Prophet which relate to the world of Barzakh, not to the Day of Judgement. Hence the paradise mentioned in the above quoted two verses should not give the wrong impression that it relates to the Day of Judgement.

 The third group of verses do not report any conversation between the angels and the men. They only describe the happy life of the righteous and the miserable life of the wicked during the period between death and Resurrection. The following two verses belong to this category:

(i) "Think not of those who have been slain in the way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are living with their Lord and are being provided with the means of living. They are jubilant because of that which Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, and wish that those who have been left behind join them." 

(Surah Ale Imran, 3: 169 - 170)

(ii) "A dreadful doom encompassed Firawn's folk. They will be exposed to the Fire mornings and evenings and on the Day of Resurrection it will be said: People of Firawn's folk suffer the most awful doom." 

(Surah al-Mu'nim, 40:45-46)

This verse mentions two kinds of punishment in respect of the Fir'awn's followers. The first is the pre-Resurrection punishment described as a dreadful doom. Fir'awn's men are exposed to the Fire two times everyday. The other punishment is the Post-Resurrection punishment described as the most awful doom. On the Day of Judgement an order will be given to throw these people into the Hell. Only in respect of the first punishment the time of morning and evening has been specified.

Interpreting this verse Imam Ali has said that the first punishment is meted out in the Barzakh where the same system of morning, evening, year and month prevails as in this world. In contrast, the second punishment relates to the post-Resurrection world where there is no morning, evening, week, month or year.

In the reports which have come down to us from the Holy Prophet, Imam Ali and other Imams in respect of the Barzakh, much stress has been laid on the life of the believers and the sinners during their stay in the Barzakh.

During the Battle of Badr a number of the Prominent leaders of Quraysh were killed. When fighting was over, the Holy Prophet ordered their bodies to be thrown into a well near Badr. Then the Holy Prophet himself went to that well, and putting his head inside the well and addressing the dead said: "We have found that what Allah had promised to us has come true. Have you also got what He had promised to you?"

Some companions of the Holy Prophet said: "Prophet of Allah, do you talk with those who have been slain and are dead? Do they hear what you say?" The Holy Prophet said: "Now they hear better than you."

From this tradition and other similar traditions we can see that in spite of the separation between the body and the soul with death, the soul does not totally sever its relation with the body with which it was united for years.

On the 10th Muharram Imam Husayn offered his morning prayers in congregation. Then he turned to his companions and delivered a short speech in which he said: "Be calm and patient for a little while. Death is nothing but a bridge by means of which you cross from the bank of pain and grief to the bank of happiness, honour and vast paradise."

There is a tradition which says that people are asleep. As soon as they die, they wake up. That means that the degree of life after death is higher than that before death. During sleep man's consciousness becomes weak. It is a state between life and death. When man is awake his life is more perfect. Similarly his life in the Barzakh is to some extent more perfect than that in this world.

There are two points worth mentioning here:

(i) According to the reports from the Imams, in the Barzakh man is interrogated about his faith and belief only. Other questions are left to the Day of Resurrection.

(ii) The meritorious deeds performed by his relatives with the intention that their reward should go to the dead person, make the dead person happy and are to his advantage. If alms and charities whether in the form of endowments or otherwise, are given with the intention that their reward should go to one's departed father, mother, friend, teacher or anyone else, these charities may be regarded as a gift to the deceased person concerned. They make him blissful. The same is the case with the invocation, asking for Allah's forgiveness, circumambulation of the Ka'bah and the pilgrimage to Makkah and other Holy place if performed on behalf of a dead person. It is possible for the children who have displeased their parents during their lifetime to do something to please them after their death. The other way round is also possible.

Resurrection

The second stage of the eternal life is Resurrection which, unlike the Barzakh, is not an individual affair but shall involve the entire mankind and the whole world. With Resurrection the whole universe shall enter a new stage and a new phase of life. The entire system will be changed.

Where the Qur'an has told us of this great event, it has said that at the time of the Resurrection the stars shall fade, the sun shall lose its brilliance, the oceans shall become dry, everything shall go flat, the mountains shall be obliterated and there shall be screams, yells and violent convulsions all over the world followed by unprecedented changes.

What is gathered from the Quran is that the whole world shall be devastated and everything shall be obliterated. Then a new world shall be born which shall be basically different from the existing world. The new world shall have absolutely different laws and different systems, and shall continue to exist for ever.

In the Holy Quran Resurrection has been given various names, each name representing a certain characteristic of it. As it is the day of which the whole mankind will be gathered together, it is called the Day of Assemblage, the Day of Gathering and the Day of Meeting. As on that day all secrets will be disclosed and all realities will be laid bare it is called the day of unfolding and the day when the hidden thoughts will be searched out. As it is the day that will last for ever, it is called the day of eternity. As it is the day when men will be disillusioned and win be repenting and regretting, it is called the day of grief and the day of mutual disillusion. And as the Resurrection is the greatest event and the biggest piece of news, it is called the Great Tidings.

source: http://imamalinet.net/

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