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An after life

Among the things which the Prophet (peace be upon him) promised was a life after this life. This, in itself, should be regarded as a positive thing, for it gives an answer to the question which many have long asked; is humanity simply about living for a brief period? Is there nothing beyond this life?

If the atheists, those people that deny the existence of any life after this one are correct, then how can we explain the deep-rooted feeling and the remote voice in the conscience of man? Since ancient times it has told us that man was not created merely to live a short life. How is it that we can explain the curious feeling of alienation or estrangement that man feels in relation to earthly life? Why does man feel like a passerby, a guest or visitor in this life.

Through popular fiction we are reminded several times over of the ancient Egyptians took great interest in mummifying and embalming their dead and building pyramids. Such a phenomenon occurred in many other civilisations in a variety of forms. One should ask the question; can reason accept that life should come to an end without punishing the vilest of the vile; tyrants, defiers, thieves, rapists and persecutors of innocent people? Conversely, there are people who lead virtuous lives. They struggle to do the right thing, the live honestly, sacrifice themselves and pass away without being materially rewarded. Such people, as is known, may not be acknowledged or known by people and are denied the thanks and gratitude which they rightfully deserve. They may also die before receiving the fruits of their labour. Amongst them are also people who call to what is right and hold fast to it, defend it and in consequence are persecuted by tyrants and unjust people who torture, exile and even kill them in the process.

It is fully rational to say that reason, which believes in the justice of the One God, should believe in or even demand the existence of another life where the good are rewarded and the wrongdoers are punished for what they did in the first life? Every atom of the earth and heavens bespeaks the fact of another life: “And we did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them in play. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know” (44:38-39), “And we have not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in vain, such is the thought of the unbelievers; so woe to the unbelievers from the fire. Or shall we treat those who believe and do righteous deeds, as those who are corruptors on the earth or shall we treat the pious as the impious? (38:27-28), “Or do those who commit evil deeds think that we shall make them equal to those who believe and do righteous deeds; that their living and dying would be equal? Evil indeed is their judgment. And Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth, and that each soul shall be recompensed for what it has earned, and none shall be wronged.” (45:21:22). “And to Allah belongs what is in the heavens and the earth that he may recompense those who do evil for what they have done, and he may recompense those who have done good with that is best” (53:31).

It is easy to refute the Marxist idea that religion is the opium of the people which suspends thoughts of lost rights by entertaining illusions of another life, and thus making adherents yield to despots and tyrants. A true religion does not enervate people or keep them from demanding their due rights in this life in exchange for the reward of another life. A true religion does not accept or tolerate oppression, deviance and corruption. If this was true for some religions, it is not all true for Islam.

Islam is essentially a major human revolution for the liberation of man everywhere from the bondages of slavery and subjugation to any living being other than Allah. Islam is a revolution in thought, conscience and feeling, in theory as well as practice. The credo of that revolution is the great statement of the oneness of Allah: “There is no god worthy of worship except Allah.” This statement decrees the false gods of the earth, who, in words or practice unrightfully assume the status of gods or are claimed by others to be so. It immediately follows that all people are equal, that there must not be masters and slaves, and that man must not trespass the rights of another.


Reference: Al-Qardawy, Yusuf, Introduction to Islam, Islamic Inc. Publishing & Distribution, Cairo, Egypt, 1995. (pg 27, 49-51)


* Edited from the original