Question: What does belief in the Last Day (al-Yawm al-âkhir) mean?
The fifth fundamental of îmân is the belief in the Last Day. The expression wal yawm-il âkhirî … wal-ba’thu ba’d-al mawt haqqun in the Âmantu teaches the belief in the Last Day and in the Resurrection after death.
This time begins on the day when a person dies and continues till the end of Doomsday. The reason it is called the “Last Day” is because there is no night to come after it, or because it comes after the world. The “Day” mentioned in this hadîth-i sharîf is not like the day or night we know. It denotes some time. It was not made known when Doomsday will occur. No one could estimate its time. Nevertheless, our master the Prophet pointed out many of its harbingers and precedents:
Hadrat al-Mahdî will come; ’Îsâ ’alaihis-salâm will descend from the sky; ad-Dajjâl will appear; people called Ya’jûj and Ma’jûj will put the whole world into turmoil; the sun will rise in the west; violent earthquakes will occur; religious knowledge will be forgotten; vice and evil will increase; irreligious, immoral, dishonest people will become leaders; Allahu ta’âlâ’s orders will be forbidden; harâm will be committed everywhere; fire will come out of Yemen; seas and mountains will split into pieces; the sun and the moon will darken; seas will mix with each other, boil, and dry up.
A Muslim who does sinful acts is called fâsiq. Fâsiqs and all disbelievers will be tortured in their graves. These are certainly to be believed. After interment, the deceased will return to an unknown life and will be either in blessings or in torture.
As it was clearly declared in hadîth-i sharîfs, two angels named Munkar and Nakîr, in the guise of two unknown horrible people, will come to the grave and question people. Questions in the grave will be on some fundamentals of îmân according to some scholars or on the whole of îmân to some others. For this reason, we should teach our children the answers to the following questions: Who is your Rabb? What is your religion? Whose umma (which prophet’s community) do you belong to? What is [the name of] your Holy Book? What is your qibla? What are your madhhabs in îmân and in ’ibâdât (or ’amal)? It is written in Tadhkirat al-Qurtubî that those who are not Ahl as-Sunna will not be able to answer correctly.
The graves of those who will give precise answers will enlarge, and a window will be opened to Paradise. Every morning and every evening they will see their places in Paradise, and angels will do them favors and give them good news. Those who cannot answer precisely will be beaten with iron mallets so severely that every creature but humankind and genies will hear them cry out. Their graves will become so tight that they will feel as if their bones would intertwine. A hole will be opened to Hell. In the morning and in the evening they will see their places in Hell. They will be tortured bitterly in their graves till the Resurrection.
It is necessary to believe in [the other] life after death. After the flesh and bones rot and turn into earth and gas, they will come together again; the souls will enter the bodies they belong to, and everybody will rise up from graves. Therefore, this time is called the Day of Qiyâma (Resurrection).
[Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and water and salts (mineral substances) from the soil and unite them with one another and form organic substances, the living matter of our organs. It is known today that a chemical reaction taking years happens in less than a second when a catalyst is used. Similarly, Allahu ta’âlâ will unite water, carbon dioxide, and mineral substances in graves and create organic substances and the living organs in a moment. Mukhbir-i sâdiq (that is, our master the Prophet) reported that we would come to the other life in this manner. And science shows that this is being done in the world.]
All living creatures will gather at the place of Mahshar. The deed-books will fly to their owners. Almighty Allah, the Creator of the earth, heavens, stars, and all particles, will make all these happen. Allahu ta’âlâ’s Messenger reported that these will happen. It is for certain that what he said is true. All will certainly happen.
The deed-books of the pious (sâlih), the good people, will be given from their right, and those of the sinful (fâsiq), the bad people, will be given from their back or left. Every action, good or evil, big or little, done secretly or openly, will be in that book. Even those deeds unknown to the Kirâman kâtibîn angels will be revealed by the human organs’ witnessing and by Allahu ta’âlâ, who knows everything, and there will be questioning and settlement of accounts on every action. At Mahshar, every secret action will be revealed if Allahu ta’âlâ wills it so. Angels will be questioned on what they have done on the earth and in the heavens, prophets on how they communicated Allahu ta’âlâ’s commands and His religion to humans, and people on how they adapted themselves to prophets, how they lived up to the duties revealed to them, and how they took care of one another’s rights. At Mahshar, those who have îmân and whose actions and morals are beautiful will be rewarded and blessed, and people with a bad temper and wrong deeds will be punished severely.
Allahu ta’âlâ will forgive, with His Mercy and Grace, all grave and small sins of Muslims whom He wills. Except disbelief (kufr) and polytheism (shirk), He will forgive every sin if He wills, and He will torture, with His justice, for small sins if He wills. He declares that He will never forgive those who die as disbelievers and polytheists. Disbelievers with or without a heavenly Book, that is, those who do not believe that Muhammad ’alaihis-salâm is the Prophet for all human beings and who disapprove even one of the rules [orders and prohibitions] he communicated, will certainly be put into Hell and tortured eternally.
On the Day of Judgement, there will be a Mîzân (balance), different from those we know, for weighing deeds and conduct. It will be so large that one of its scales can hold the earth and the sky. The scale for good deeds will be bright and to the right of the ’Arsh where Paradise is, and the scale for sins will be dark and to the left of the ’Arsh where Hell is. Actions, words, thoughts, and looks that are done in the world will take shapes there, and the good deeds in bright figures and the evils in dark and ugly figures will be weighed on this balance, which does not resemble worldly balances; it was said that the scale carrying the heavier load will go up and the one carrying the lighter load will go down. According to some scholars, there will be various balances. And many others said, “It was not shown clearly in Islam how and how many balances will be, so it would be better not to think of it.”
There will be a bridge called Sirât, which will be built over Hell upon Allahu ta’âlâ’s command. Everybody will be ordered to cross that bridge. That day, all prophets will entreat as, “O Allah! Give safety!” Those who are to go to Paradise will cross the bridge easily and reach Paradise. Some of them will pass with the speed of lightning, some with that of wind, and some others like a galloping horse. The Sirât Bridge will be thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword. Adapting yourself to Islam in this world has a similar aspect; adapting yourself precisely to Islam is like crossing the Sirât. Those who withstand the difficulty of struggling with their sensual desires (the nafs) here will cross the Sirât easily there. Those who do not follow Islam but chase after the nafs will cross the Sirât with difficulty. For this reason, Allahu ta’âlâ called the right path, pointed out by Islam, the Sirât al-Mustaqîm. This similarity in names shows that staying within Islam’s path is like crossing the Sirât. Those who deserve Hell will fall off the Sirât down into Hell.
There will be a body of water called Hawd al-Kawthar reserved for our Prophet, Muhammad Mustafâ sall-Allahu ’alaihi wa sallam. It will be vast like a journey of one month. Its water will be whiter than milk, and its scent will be more pleasant than musk. The drinking glasses around it are more plentiful than stars. A person who drinks its water would never become thirsty again even if he or she were in Hell.
It must be believed that there will be shafâ’a (intercession). Prophets, Awliyâ’, pious Muslims, angels, and those who are allowed by Allah will intercede for the forgiveness of the venial and grave sins of those Muslims who die without having repented, and their intercession will be accepted. [Our master the Prophet declared, “I will make shafâ’a(intercession) for those who commit grave sins of my umma.”]
Question: Will there be only one life in the Hereafter?
The life before death is called worldly life, and the life after death is called afterlife (âkhirah). Afterlife is divided into three:
1. The life in the grave [the period that lasts until people rise from their graves]
2. The life on the Day of Resurrection [the period starting with the resurrection of bodies and lasting until dispersing to go into Paradise or Hell]
3. The life in Paradise and Hell [the life that will be lived eternally]
Payment in cash versus payment on credit
Question: There are people who, though believing in the Hereafter, say, “Payment in cash does not equal payment on credit. Surely a cash payment is better. Give me cracked wheat in this world, and I will give you rice in the Hereafter. Give me a chicken in this world, and I will give you a goose in the Hereafter.” Is it appropriate to say so?
This is the devilish reasoning of atheists, who do not believe in afterlife. A Believer must not utter such statements. Becoming arrogant, they are selling their Hereafter. In fact, the world is evanescent, but the Hereafter is everlasting. Is an eternal thing swapped for a transient one? Is an eternal earthen vase of the Hereafter ever compared with a transient gold vase of this world? The purport of several pertinent âyat-i karîmas is as follows:
(Those are the people who buy worldly life in exchange for the Hereafter.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 86]
(What is with you [worldly possessions] runs out. But treasuries of mercy with Allah last forever.) [Sûrat-un-Nahl 96]
(What is with Allah is better.) [Sûrat-ul-Qasas 60]
(The Hereafter is better and everlasting.) [Sûrat-ul-A’lâ 17]
(The worldly life is nothing but a deceptive pleasure.) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân 185]
(Never let the worldly life deceive you.) [Sûrat-u Luqmân 33]
Atheists themselves do not give any credence to the statement, “Payment in cash is better than payment on credit,” either, because in trade they give one dollar in cash to earn ten dollar in the future. And when doing this, they never give up the dealing, saying, “Payment in cash is better than payment on credit.” If a doctor prohibits an atheist man from eating certain food and fruit, he immediately quits them out of fear of an imminent disease. As it is seen, atheists, too, desist from cash payment and agree to payment on credit. Every trader makes journeys for commercial purposes. So he gets tired in advance. He does all these activities in order to earn a profit and to have a rest, which will be obtained in the future. Because the ten dollars to be earned in the future is better than the one dollar on hand, if we then compare worldly pleasure in its time span with the time span in the Hereafter, then it will be revealed how wrong the reasoning of atheists is, for if a person lives 100 years or 1,000 years in this world, this 1,000 years is nothing when it is compared with the never-ending one.
Then those who believe in the life to come are as if they renounced a short period of time compared with eternity in order to attain endless blessings. Besides, if the qualities of blessings are assessed, they will judge worldly pleasures to be mixed with troubles and blurred but pleasures of the world to come to be limpid. Therefore, the saying, “Payment in cash is better than payment on credit,” is wrong.
If Believers do not accept this reasoning of the devil’s, he will again attack them with another one. He will say, “What is known for certain and seen manifestly is better than what is doubtful. The Hereafter is doubtful.” This reasoning is more unfounded than the former because certainty is better than doubt only when a thing has a similitude. Otherwise, whether the trader will turn a profit is doubtful. Similarly, whether a hunter will hunt game is doubtful, too. But it is a rational requirement to take precautions. The trader says, “If I do not trade, I will go hungry, so my loss will be great. If I trade, my fatigue will be less beside my profit.” Likewise, an ill person who will die if he or she does not undergo an operation will have an operation by enduring a variety of sufferings. In fact, his or her recovering health is doubtful, but the pain he will suffer because of operation is certain. Despite this, he or she says, “The pain of the operation is considerably less compared with death.” The following should be said to atheists, who are dubious about the life to come:
The days you should endure are a few, until you die at the very most. This, in turn, is relatively short compared with the Hereafter, eternity. It is not even a moment. If the Hereafter you doubt is nonexistent (never!), your loss in this world is a little. Because the Hereafter is a fact certain to happen, you will remain in the Fire endlessly as you do not believe in it, which is an eternal loss on your part. A person who has reason takes necessary precautions so as not to sustain an endless loss.