The Stages of Life after Death According to Islam

The Stages of Life after Death According to Islam

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  • 1. Death (Maut)Death is an undeniable reality faced by every creature. It is not a termination of being but translocation from this world to another world. Regarding death, the Holy Qur’an says,“Bountiful is He in Whose Hand is the Sovereignty and He is All-Able to do all things. Who created death and life so that He may test you that which of you is better in deed.” (Surah al-Mulk, 67:1-2)Death (maut), in reality, is the detachment of the spirit (rooh) from the body. Death is a phenomenon governed by the will and command of the Almighty only.He is the Creator (Khaliq) of all things, and the Giver of life and death. The Holy Quran says:“Allah takes the spirits at the time of their death.” (Surah az-Zumar, 39:42)
  • 2. Grave (Qabr)The questioning and squeezing in the grave is both for the physical body and for the spirit.In the grave one is questioned regarding one’s beliefs (Aqaid) and deeds (A’maal). The questions are put to every believer as well as a non-believer. Only infants, the mentally foolish, and the people of lesser intellect are exempted from it (Majlesi, 2000). According to Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as), man is questioned about his Namaz, Siyam, Hajj, Zakat, Khums, love of Ahlulbait(as), and also about how he spent his entire life and wealth. The two angels with voices like thunder and eyes like lightening will ask the following questions:1. “Who is your Lord?”2. “Who is your Prophet?”3. “What is your Religion?”4. “Who is your Imam?” If the deceased gives correct answers, a gate is opened near his head, and his grave is widened as far as he can see. The period of Barzakh (which will continue until the Day of Resurrection) passes with ease and the Angels proclaim to him,“Sleep thou like a newly wedded bride.” (Al-Kulayni, 2008)However, if the deceased is unable to give correct replies, a door of the hell of Barzakh will open and a breath from the breaths of hell will fill his entire grave.
  • 3. Intermediate Stage (Barzakh)According to Imam Ja’afar as-Sadiq, Barzakh is a period starting from death till Qayamat (Majlesi, 2000). Literally, ‘Barzakh’ means barrier which lies between two things and keeps them from meeting each other. Allah has placed a curtain between this world and the hereafter. Barzakh is also called a corporeal or a non-material world (Alame Misali) because while it seems somewhat like this world, but its nature and matter is totally different. In the state of Barzakh the intellect of the corporeal body is very strong. The pleasures, which we derive in this world are nothing as compared to those in that stage because the reality lies there whereas here is the likeness of it. ‘Barzakh’ is eternal and non-perishable because it is not made up of matter or elements like the other things and hence do not cease to exist.
  • 4. Resurrection (Qayamat)Regarding Qayamat the Qur’an states,“It will weigh heavy on the heavens and the earth. It will not overtake you but suddenly.” (Surah al-Aʿrāf 7: 187)It is related that there is no Angel in the heavens or the earth, skies or mountains, seas or deserts who does not fear Fridays. Angels believe that Qayamat may come on that very day. It is also narrated that whenever the Holy Prophet (s) would talk about Qayamat, there would be sternness in his voice, and his cheeks would turn red. Qayamat is full of fright and terror, so much so that even the dead tremble in their graves.
  • 5. Hell (Jahannam)Hell is a valley whose depth cannot be imagined, and the fire of Allah’s wrath is blazing therein. It can also be called the prison of the hereafter. In it lie different types of punishments,which cannot be perceived by a man’s intellect. In fact, it is opposite to paradise wherein are different types of blessings and pleasures. But in hell there is hardship, restlessness and humiliation.
  • 6. Paradise (Jannat)The literal meaning of Jannah is a green garden. According to religious interpretations, it is a place created by Allah for the believers (mo’meneen) and His virtuous slaves, in which they shall dwell forever. It is a place free of emptiness and sorrow. Handicap, ailment, and ageing do not exist there. It is no place for boredom and uneasiness. There is absolute peace and contentment. Hence it is also referred to as “Darus Salaam”.There will be various types of blessing in Paradise, which our intellect cannot perceive.Allah says in the Qur’an,“If you enumerate Allah’s blessings, you will not be able to count them.” (Surah an-Nahl, 16:18)
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