DEATH - THE BEGINNING OF A PERMANENT LIFE
life after death
All matters of the universe have a purpose
"We all have come in this world for a purpose"; "Find the purpose of your life"; etc. are some of the age old phrases we have been hearing from our older generations of humanity. With time this thinking was further developed into various philosophies. Some of them became the way of life and gave rise to various communities and religious sects. There are only two opinions of life after death; fact vs myth. People who believe it to be a fact have their bases in religion. Unfortunately some of them are not able to logically explain their belief when asked. People who dont believe in life after death mostly become atheists. They believe good and bad is relative to human behavior and the death is final and only a physiological phenomenon.
Journey of death
I am a firm believer in life after death and believe that Islamic ideology of accountability after death is the perfect way to at least reduce - if not eliminate the current grave problems humanity is facing today.
Death is a reality that no person can deny. Yet is surprisingly ironical that great plans are made to live a successful life; yet seldom any thought is given fora successful death.
The holy Quran emphasizes Tawheed - or the belief in the oneness of Allah, which is the base of every noble act in Islam. Quran clearly outlines the purpose of human existence in chapter 51 verse 56 : "And I did not create mankind and jinn except to worship Me." and also in chapter 67 verse 2 : "He created death and life to test you as to which of you is best in deed...."
The Quran alongwith the authentic sayings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) explains the journey from the moment a person breathes his/her last till the final reckoning on the Day of Judgement leading him/her to heaven or hell.
Pictorial description of the journey after death
According to Islam, there are three kinds of life - the present life, the life after death and the Day of Judgement. Chapter 23 verse 100 of the Quran states that there is a barrier between the after life and Day of Judgement. If the first step of the after life i.e the grave is easy, then everything further is easy. The same is true if the stage of grave is difficult. The grave then either becomes a pit of heaven ( Jannah) or hell fire (jahannam). A companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Umar bin Khattab used to cry so much over the thought of punishment of the grave that his face marked with tears.
Death of a good person vs. bad person
Since Islam lays the most importance to a person's character and good deeds for a successful life, there are two ways in which a good person leaves his/her body vs. a bad person.
For a good person:
- Angels with bright face come to him.
- They take him to the seventh heaven and Allah says take him (or her) to the grave and then questioning in the grave will start.
- After questioning by the angels about his Lord, his religion and his prophet, and his subsequent correct answers, he will be shown hell and will be told that this is the thing (or place) that you are saved from because of your good deeds and then he will be shown heaven and will be informed that this is what your good deeds have earne.
- After that he will sleep beautifully in his grave until the Day of Judgement. A person with a pleasant personality will be his/her companion and that person will be his/her good deeds.
For a bad person:
- Angels with ugly faces will come to take his soul and will remove his soul with great difficulty.
- They take him to the seventh heaven and Allah says take him (or her) and the Almighty will not wish to look at that person due to the foul smell emating out of its soul. Then the Almighty Allah will tell the angels to take him to the grave and then questioning in the grave will start.
- After questioning by the angels about his Lord, his religion and his prophet, and his subsequent incorrect answers, he will be shown heaven and will be told that this is the thing (or place) that you are saved from because of your bad deeds and then he will be shown hell and will be informed that this is what your bad deeds have earned.
- After that he will bear punishments in his grave until the Day of Judgement.Punishments will include shrinking of the grave to the extent that his ribs will be interlocked. A person with an ugly face and fearful personality will be his/her companion and that person will be his/her bad deeds.
The temporariness of this life
This account of life after death compels us to question our pride, ego and the material possessions which we strive to earn all our life.
The thing which will leave us immediately after death is wealth.- which we give the highest importance to.
The thing which will leave us till we are buried in the grave is our relatives. - which we ignore for building our temporary life.
The thing which will stay with us till the day of judgement is our good deeds. - which is not even considered to be of any use in our life.
If you are reading this while you are alive, you are probably the few lucky people who have had a glimpse of the journey of our soul after death. So it is very logical to start building up our portfolio of good deeds. Following suggestions would be helpful:
- Read the Quran with meaning and implement it in your daily life.
- Always have a fear and love for Allah at the same time. Fear of committing any sin and love to earn the pleasure of Allah.
MAY ALLAH GUIDE AND BLESS YOU! AAMEEN