By Yusuf M. Abdullahi
Before I continue on the topic, let me start this piece with congratulations to the world on the forth coming occasion of the birthday of the chief of all women, Sayyidah Fatima (AS), celebrated as the International women’s day, which reminds the Muslim-Ummah in particular and the world in general, of her exalted life embodiment of sterling qualities worthy of emulation by all.
The great event, to be marked on 8th March demonstrates the honourale position Islam accords woman in the three stages of her life.
43. DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION
We believe that Allah, the Exalted, will revive all people after their death on a certain day which he has promised them, and that He will then reward the obedient and punish the wrong doers. In this simple form, this is what all Divine religions and philosophies have accepted, but Muslims must believe in it because it is contained in the Qur’an which our prophet brought, and one who believes in Allah and Muhammad, His Messenger, must also believe in what is related in the Qur’an; resurrection on the Day of Judgment, reward and punishment, Paradise (al-Jannah) and its blessings (al-na’im), the Fire (al-Nar) and Hell (al-Jahim). About one thousand verses in the Qur’an have mentioned the Day of resurrection. There is no reason to doubt it, unless one doubts Allah, His power and His Messenger. In fact this amounts to doubting all religions.
44. DOCTRINE OF BODILY RESURRECTION
This is one of the fundamentals of Islam, as it is said in the Qur’an; What! Does man reckon, We shall not gather his bones. Yes, indeed, We are able to shape again his fingers. Q75:4. If thou wouldst wonder, surely wonderful is their saying: What when we are dust, shall we indeed then be raised up again in a new creation. Q13:5
To state it succinctly, bodily resurrection means that man’s terrestrial body will be revived after having been destroyed, and it will return to its first form after it has rotted in the earth. It is not necessary to believe in resurrection in its details, and more than has been revealed in the Qur’an. But we must believe in those particulars which are mentioned in the Book, such as al-hisab (the reckoning), al-sirat (the bridge), al-mizan (the balance), al-janna (paradise) and al-nar (Hell), al-thawab (reward) and al-iqab (punishment). Knowledge of these subjects in detail is not incumbent upon us: whether these earthly bodies will return or identical ones; whether souls will be lost like bodies or whether they will wait to join their bodies on the Day of resurrection: whether resurrection is only for humans or if it is for all animals as well; whether it will happen suddenly or gradually. As long as we believe in Paradise and Hell, it is not necessary for us to know if they have already been created or whether they will be created in the future; if they are in the sky, or on the earth or in various different places. Similarly, when we believe in al-mizan, it is unnecessary to know if it is a spiritual entity or a physical one with two pans, nor is it necessary to know if al-sirat is a thin material object or a spiritual straightness.
Islam has started these things about the resurrection in an outline. If someone wants to question about them further than their mention in the Qur’an in order to satisfy himself and remove doubts which have been raised by those who seek a rational explanation or to understand these things through the senses, such a person does wrong, and will fall into difficulties and disputes that have no end. There is nothing in the religious texts concerning those details with which the philosophers and theologians have filled their books. Nor is there any religious, social or political necessity which causes them to fill their books with such writings and discussions. There is no use in these enquiries, unless it is to consume energy by thinking. It is enough to say that the details of resurrection raise doubts which we were unable to dispel and problems which are beyond our understanding. That the resurrection will come is beyond doubt, because Allah, Who is Omniscient, Omnipotent, has announced it. Human knowledge, experiments or other methods of verification are incapable of discovering anything which is beyond human experience, and man can neither observe nor see the resurrection until after his death and his removal from the terrestrial world to the everlasting world. So how can he prove or deny it independently by thought or experiment? And he is even less capable of understanding its details and peculiarities, because he defends on this for prediction, intuition and mere fascination with amazing and surprising things. This is what human nature is accustomed to do with anything with which it is unfamiliar through its senses or through the sciences. it is the same with the man who shows his ignorance concerning the strangeness of resurrection. So Allah has mentioned his amazement in the Quran; Who shall quicken the bones when they are decayed? Q36:78
The only reason for his amazement is that man has never seen any decayed or rotten corpse that has been brought back to life, but he forgets how he was when he was created in the first place, when he was nothing, and the components of his body were scattered here and there. Then they were collected from the earth, from this place and that, so that he became a perfect, intelligent man possessing speech. The Qur’an says; Has not man regarded how We created him of a sperm drop? Then lo, he is a manifest adversary, And he has struck for us a similitude and has forgotten his creation. Q36:77-78. It should be said to such a man; Say, he shall quicken them (the bones) Who originated them the first time; He knows all creation. Q36:79
While he professes faith in the creator of all beings, His power, His Messenger and what he brought, how can he deny the resurrection? His science is so limited that he does not know how he was created and how he changed from a sperm drop which has no sense, will or wisdom, into higher states, climbing gradually; how he was built up from different particles so that he became a perfect man possessing wisdom, foresight, sense and feeling. So, after noting these facts, how can he still find it so strange that he will be resurrected after having rotten away? It is so very surprising that, with his limited knowledge and experience, he cannot understand what he can see? There is no way, except he must believe, submit and profess this truth which has been taught by the disposer of all beings, who is Omniscient and Omnipotent and has created man from nothing.
Every discussion about seeking knowledge which is impossible to find, and which present knowledge is unable to discover, is as useless as a man who is lost in the desert, or who wants distinguish between two colours in pitch darkness. Man, who has discovered radar, electricity and split the atom still hasn’t discovered the true nature of either electricity or the atom. If someone had mentioned these discoveries in previous centuries, man would have thought them impossible and ridiculed them at once. So how can he hope to investigate creation? Or discover the facts about resurrection? He must, after accepting Islam, avoid following his desires and start doing that which has value for his hereafter and this world, and that which will raise his rank in the presence of Allah, the Exalted. He should think about that which can help him when he dies, and those difficulties which he will encounter in his grave and at his resurrection, when he will find himself in the presence of the Omniscient King. So he should beware of a day when no soul for another shall give satisfaction, and no intercession shall be accepted from it, nor any compensation be taken from it, neither shall they be helped. Q2:48
Thanks be to Allah, by the 2 doctrines from chapter 5 above, we have barely covered the book on the criteria used; The Faith Of Shi’a Islam by Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar (may Allah have mercy on him), published and distributed by Imam Husain Foundation, Qum, Iran. The book was originally published by MUHAMMMADI TRUST OF BRITAIN. It was also published in Dubai by Ahl Ul Bait Islamic Foundation for guidance and enlightenment with the permission of the original publisher. the work was translated by Dar al-Tabligh al-Islami in Qum. The gesture of Ayatullah al-Uzma Sayyid Muhammad Shari’at Madari was highly appreciated for encouragement and provision of facilities. 1st edition was produced in 1999.
To shade more light, we will reflect some scholarly contributions of other scholars in due course.
To be continued.