Islam: Articles of faith-5
Metaphysics, Eschatology (Al Ghaib) & Science
By: Aftab Khan
“He(alone) knows that which is beyond the reach of a created being's perception, and to none does He disclose aught of the mysteries of His Own unfathomable knowledge, unless it be to an apostle whom He has been pleased to elect”(Qur’an;72:26-27)
"In this way We showed Abraham Our kingdom of the heavens and the earth, so that he might have certainty of faith." (Quran;6:75)
"When Abraham said, "Show me, my Lord, how You revive the dead!" God said, "Do you not believe?" Abraham answered, "Yes, indeed I do believe, but just to reassure my heart." Then God said, "Take four birds, and train them to come back to you. Then place them separately on each hilltop, and call them: they will come flying to you. Know that God is almighty and wise." (Quran;2:260)
The concept of spirit and life hereafter exists in the revealed and most of other religions in some form or other. It provides balanced approach and complete the understanding the purpose of creation, test, trial, reward & punishment. Al Ghaib (Metaphysics) has vast meanings in Islam; it includes: knowledge about Allah, His attributes, angels, holy books, Allah’s messengers and Divine pre-ordainments (Al-Qadar). It also includes what Allah and His last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) informed about the knowledge of the matters of past, present, and the future e.g., news abut the creation of the heavens and earth, botanical and zoological life, the news abut the nations of the past, eschatology including paradise, hell, resurrection, the Day of Judgment, and events preceding and following to it. A Muslim must believe in all that is reported in the Qur'an and the prophetic traditions concerning the metaphysical matters (Al-Ghaib).
Three articles of Islamic Faith were introduced previously. The root of affirmation of ‘Islamic Faith’ is based on the conviction upon unity of God (Allah) (Tawheed). Following six ‘Articles of Faith’ are orally confessed by the Muslims (believers), which should also be deep rooted, in the heart:
- To affirm his/her belief in Allah (The Creator, Just One God).
- To believe in His Messengers (from Adam, Noah, Abraham to Moses and Jesus Christ (pbuh), 25 are mentioned by name in Qur’an), and Muhammad (pbuh) the Last Messenger for humanity.
- His Books, Quran and all scriptures revealed to His Messengers which also include the original Torah, Psalms (Zabur) and original Gospel (Injeel) to Jesus Christ (pbuh).
- To believe in Al Ghaib [metaphysical, hidden creatures] like the angels, Jinns, etc.
- Resurrectionafter death on the Day of Judgment, accounting and the scales, hell and paradise.
- Qada & Qadar (Predestination), the good and evil of destiny are in the power of Allah, the Most High.
Effort has been made to introduce the Metaphysics of Bible & Qur’an. There are many commonalities about eschatology among three Abrahamic faiths. While appearing similar to certain parts of the Bible (Ezekiel,James,1 Peter, Revelation), this is dissimilar to some Protestant branches of Christianity, where salvation comes by faith in Jesus alone. Catholics, however, cite James 2:24 as evidence that judgment is not based on faith alone. Islam emphasizes that while faith & works are required, the Divine Grace does not conflict with perfect justice.
- Metaphysics & Eschatology
- Creatures: Angels : Angels in the Bible; Angels in Islam:Gabriel; Michael; Israfil; Izra`il: Munkar and Nakir; Cherub; Devil
- Jinns: Iblis
- The Biblical Concept
- Human -Inseparable Psychosomatic Unit
- After Life in Christianity
- After Life in Judaism
- Events Preceding The End Of The World:
- Biblical Concept: Jewish Concept of Antichrist; Christian Concept of Antichrist; Gog and Magog; Second Coming of Jesus; Armageddon
- Islamic Concept : Signs & Indications; Death: Body & Soul; Trial of the Grave; Paradise and Hell; Straight Path
- Intersession & Prayers:
- The Intercession on The Day of Judgement; The Great Intercession of The Apostle (peace be upon him)
Metaphysics & Eschatology
The word ‘Metaphysics’ is derived from Medieval Greek word, metaphusika; ‘the things after the physics’. It was the phrase used by early students of Aristotle to refer to the contents of Aristotle's treatise. Aristotle had distinguished two tasks for the philosopher: first, to investigate the nature and properties of what exists in the natural, or ‘sensible world’, and second, to explore the characteristics of "Being as such" and to inquire into the character of "the substance that is free from movement," or the most real of all things, the intelligible reality on which everything in the world of nature was thought to be causally dependent. The first constituted "second philosophy" and was carried out primarily in the Aristotelian treatise now known as the Physica; the second, which Aristotle had also referred to as "theology" (because God was the unmoved mover in his system), is roughly the subject matter of his Metaphysica. Modern readers of Aristotle are inclined to take both the Physica and the Metaphysica as philosophical treatises; the distinction their titles suggest between an empirical and a conceptual inquiry has little foundation. According to Encyclopedia Britannica: Metaphysics is the philosophical study whose object is to determine the real nature of things--to determine the meaning, structure, and principles of whatever is insofar as it is. Although this study is popularly conceived as referring to anything ‘excessively subtle’ and highly theoretical and although it has been subjected to many criticisms, it is presented by metaphysicians as the most fundamental and most comprehensive of inquiries, inasmuch as it is concerned with reality as a whole. In other words; the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.
“Al-Ghaib” implies the ‘hidden, unknown and invisible or veiled’; the things not seen or perceived through the human senses. The Unseen has two aspects. The relative Unseen is so with reference to a particular person, because of the intervention of Time, Space, or particular circumstances. The Absolute Unseen, the Absolute Mystery, is something which no creature can know or see, except in so far as Allah reveals it to him. Man in his weak state would be most miserable if he could see the secrets of the Future or the secrets of the Unseen. But things are revealed to him from time to time as may be expedient for him, by Messengers chosen for the purpose among whom the greatest is Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the spiritual Kingdom, as indeed, in all things,-Allah's knowledge, wisdom, and Plan comprehend all things, great and small nothing which happens that is outside His account.
Hence the term Metaphysics, though not in its classical meanings, may also be partly applied to Alam-Al-Ghaib as referring to ‘excessively subtle’ matters. The word Alam-Al-Ghaib (The hidden, unknown and invisible world) henceforth referred here as Metaphysics has vast meanings in Islam; it includes: Knowledge about Allah, His attributes, Angels, Holy Books, Allah’s Messengers and Divine Pre-ordainments (Al-Qadar). Alam-Al-Ghaib It also includes what Allah and His last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) informed about the knowledge of the matters of past, present, and the future e.g., news abut the creation of the heavens and earth, botanical and zoological life, the news abut the nations of the past, eschatology including paradise, hell, resurrection, the Day of Judgment, and events preceding and following to it. A Muslim must believe in all that is reported in the Qur'an and the prophetic traditions concerning the metaphysical matters (Al-Ghaib). It is mentioned in Qur’an:
It (Qur’an) is a guide for those who are God conscious, who believe in the Unseen..” (Qur’an;2:2-3).
“O believers! Believe in Allah, His Messenger, the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger, and every Book which He previously revealed. He who denies Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and the Last Day has gone far astray.”(Qur’an;4:136).
The knowledge of invisible is with Allah alone. The Qur’an says:
“He Alone has the keys of the unseen treasures, of which no one knows except Him. He knows whatever is in the land and in the sea; there is not a single leaf that falls without His knowledge, there is neither a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry which has not been recorded in a Clear Book.”(Qur’an;6:59).
Allah reveals some of the mysteries of Unseen to His chosen messengers : “He Alone knows the Unseen. He does not reveal His Mysteries to anyone except to the Apostle whom He has choose for that...”(Qur’an;72:26-28).
Many people of the modern times are involved in the misunderstanding about the reality of metaphysical special creatures of Allah i.e. spirit, angels and jinns that, they are not real, but only a figment of the ancient superstition and myths. They have not formed this opinion on the basis that they have known all the realities and truths about the universe and have thus discovered that the spirits, jinn and angels do not exist. They cannot claim to possess complete knowledge either. But they have assumed without reason and proof that nothing exists in the universe except what they can see or feel through their physical senses alone, whereas the sphere of human perceptions as against the vastness of this great universe is not even comparable to a drop of water as against the ocean. Here, the person who thinks that what he does not perceive, does not exist, and what exists must necessarily be perceived, in fact, provides a proof of the narrowness of his own mind. With this mode of thought, not to speak of the angel & jinn, man cannot even accept and acknowledge any other reality, which cannot be directly experienced and observed through physical senses.
The view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether or not God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable is Agnosticism. According to the philosopher William L. Rowe: "In the popular sense of the term, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God, while a Theist believes that God exists, an Atheist disbelieves in God". Agnosticism is a doctrine or set of tenets rather than a religion as such.
The renowned scientist Albert Einstein, through his famous ‘Special Theory of Relativity’ established the equitation of Mass and Energy, according to which the Energy (E) of a quantity of Matter, with Mass (m) , is equal to the product of the Mass and the square of the velocity of Light (c). This relationship is commonly expressed in the mathematical formula: E = mc 2. It can be deduced that the matter, light and energy are interchangeable or different forms of same thing. The crude example of three different forms of water, solid (ice), liquid (water) and gas (steam or vapors) may be considered for understanding. Thus it may be reasonable presumption that the human are made of ‘matter’ (m- a solid & liquid forms of material), then other creatures can also be made from other forms i.e. Angels from ‘light’ (c) and jinns from ‘energy’ (E) the heat produced from the flame of fire!
Spirit, Human Creation & Trial:
“They are asking thee concerning the Spirit (rúħ, روح). Say: The Spirit (rúħ, روح) is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little.” (Quran 17:85).
The word 'spirit' in English has origin from Latin spiritus "breath". Spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body. The word spirit is often used metaphysically to refer to the consciousness or personality. The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap, as both contrast with body and both are understood as surviving the bodily death in religion. The distinction between soul and spirit also developed in the Abrahamic religions: Arabic nafs (نفس),rúħ (روح); Hebrew neshama (נְשָׁמָה nəšâmâh) or nephesh (in Hebrew neshama comes from the root NŠM or "breath") opposite ruach (רוּחַ rûaħ). (Semitic languages, including Arabic, also preserve meanings involving misc. air phenomena: "breath", "wind", and even "odour"). "Spirit" can also have the sense of "ghost", i.e. a manifestation of the spirit of a deceased person. The term may also refer to any incorporeal or immaterial being, such as angels, demons or deity. Christian theology can use the term "Spirit" to describe God, or aspects of God — as in the "Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Christian Science uses "Spirit" as one of the seven synonyms for God, as in: "Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love". It is narrated in Bible: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”(Genesis;1:1-2) .
In Quran rúħ (روح) is used in meaning of Revelation, angel Gabriel or Spirit in human. God created the first human (Adam) from clay and spirit & breathe Hid spirit (Qur’an;15:28-29). How did Allah breathe His spirit into Adam whom He made of clay and when did all this happen, these are the details which He has not chosen to disclose. The knowledge of such details will not be of any help to human in the fulfillment of the task i.e. the building of human life on earth, through His obedience (worship) and service to Allah. Had such information been of benefit to humanity in this regard, it would not have been withheld. God blessed human being with countless characteristics, including the most important; knowledge & intellect. The later humanity is created out of the first couple. This truth has been sent down to man since the dawn of time by prophets, and revealed in holy books. Every prophet has told the communities he addressed that God created man and all living things. The Bible and the Qur’an all tell of the news of creation in the same way.
The human creation has three interlinked phases: According to Islamic perspective, much earlier than the physical creation of humanity, God created all the human spirits, to be born in the world from day one till the last day of the world. This was ‘The First Creation’ and He entered in to Covenant:
“When thy Lord drew forth from the children of Adam from their loins their descendants and made them testify concerning themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yea! we do testify!” (This) lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: “of this we were never mindful.” (Qur’an;7:172).
Thereafter the spirits were put in to the state of sleep (First Death). Allah has also instilled instinctive cognition to differentiate between right and wrong:
“by the soul and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong for it and what is right for it: indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10).
It is due to this implied Covenant with whole of humanity, that the concept of One Supreme God, Allah is part of nature of every human being, right from the day he is physically borne in this world (Second Creation) weather he receives the message of guidance from an apostle or not. Though he tends to forget it due to the influence of satanic forces and environments.
Narrated by Abu Hurairah; Allah’s Apostle said, “No child is born except on Al-Fitra (Islam) and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian, as an animal produces a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body amputated?” Then he recited: “Therefore, stand firm in your devotion to the upright faith - the nature made by Allah, (hanefa fitr’ah) the one on which mankind is created - and the laws of Nature ordained by Allah cannot be changed. That is the ‘Standard True Religion’, but most among mankind do not know.”(Qur’an;30:30). [Sahih Bukhari Hadith No.298, volume 4]
Hence the belief of a Supreme deity who created the world and governs it, still remains among the primitive African tribes not exposed to any other religion.
Man lives in this world with the freedom of choice to follow the way of the Lord or of Satan. After living in this world for specific period, he dies (Second Death). He will be raised again on Day of Judgment (Third Creation) for accountability:
“on that Day when the earth shall split asunder and the people shall be rushing out of it; that gathering them together shall be quite easy for Us.”(Qur’an;50:44)
“They shall come out from their graves, like swarming locusts, with downcast eyes, rushing towards the caller and the same unbelievers will cry: “This is indeed an awful Day!”(Qur’an;54:7-8)
“That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned; no injustice will there be that Day for Allah is Swift in taking account.”(Qur’an;40:17).
Thereafter while the unbelievers will be thrown to hell to live there forever, the pious believers (of all the messengers and prophets) according to their faith and deeds will be blessed to live in paradise, however the sinful believers will be punished, but ultimately God will accord permission to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to intercede, hence they will be taken out of hell in batches to live in paradise forever. Those people who did not receive the message of guidance through messenger or preachers, will be judged according to the ‘Implied Covenant’; part of their nature explored through the intellect; but not according to the Law (Shari’a), which they did not know. They may hang around between paradise and hell, (like ashab ul ar’af, Qur’an;7:46-47) with the hope to enter paradise with Mercy of Allah. Allah is All Mighty, Powerful to do whatever He Wills.
The term angel, which is derived from the Greek word angelus, is the equivalent of the Hebrew word mal'akh, and Arabic malak meaning ‘angel’, "messenger." The literal meaning of the word angel thus points more toward the function or status of such beings in a cosmic hierarchy rather than toward connotations of essence or nature, which have been prominent in popular piety, especially in Semitic religions. The primary function of angels is to praise and serve Allah and do His Will, this is the concept of angels in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The existence and orders of angelic beings can only be discovered from the Scriptures. Although the Bible does not treat of this subject specially, yet there are numerous incidental details that furnish us with ample information.
Polls suggest that nearly 70 percent of Americans think angels exist. In their book "Paranormal America," sociologists Christopher Bader, F. Carson Mencken, and Joseph Baker note that "Angels pervade popular culture in books, television shows, and movies.... Believers exchange informal testimonials in newsletters and interpersonal conversations about the potential power of angels to influence the world, and more than half of Americans (53 percent) believe that they have personally been saved from harm by a guardian angel."
A 2007 Baylor Religion Survey found that 57 percent of Catholics, 81 percent of Black Protestants, 66 percent of Evangelical Protestants, and 10 percent of Jews reported having a personal experience with a guardian angel. Curiously, 20 percent of those who identified themselves as having no religion also claimed having encountered an angel. Many Muslims also claim such experiences.
Angels in the Bible:
Their personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Genesis ;16:7,10-11; Judges;13:1-21; Mathew; 28:2-5; Hebrews;1:4, etc. These superior beings are very numerous. "Thousand thousands," etc. (Daniel; 7:10; Mathew; 26:53; Luke: 2:13; Hebrews; 12:22-23). Angels are of different orders (Isaiah;6:2), are wise (2Samuel;14:20), mighty (Psalms; 103:20) and innumerable (Job 25:3; Hebrews; 12:22). They are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power (Zechariah;1:9,11; Daniel; 10:13; 12:1; 1 Timothy;4:16; Jude 1:9; Ephesians;1:21; Col 1:16). As to their nature, they are spirits (Hebrews; 1:14), like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. In Bible Angels are mentioned as ordinary messenger (Job;1:14; 1Samuel;11:3; Luke;7:24; 9:52), of prophets (Isaiah;42:19; Haggai;1:13), of priests (Malachi;2:7), and ministers of the New Testament (Revelation;1:20). It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the pestilence (2Samuel;24:16-17; 2Ki 19:35), the wind (Psalms;104:4). Such expressions as "like the angels" (Luke: 20:36), and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form (Genesis; 18:2; 19:1,10; Luke: 24:4; Acts;1:10), and the titles that are applied to them ("sons of God," Job 1:6; 38:7; Daniel; 3:25; 3:28) and to men (Luke;3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between them and the human race both being creatures of God. They are created by God and they worship Him: Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preserves them all; and the host of heaven worship thee.”(Nehemiah;9:6). Imperfection is ascribed to them as creatures (Job;4:18; Mathew; 24:36; 1Peter; 1:12). When the manna is called "angels' food," this is merely to denote its excellence (Psalms; 78:25).
Angels never die (Luke;20:36). They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power (Mark;13:32; 2Timothy; 1:7; Psalms; 103:20). They are called "holy" (Luke: 9:26), "elect" (1Timothy;5:21). The redeemed in glory are "like unto the angels" (Luke;20:36). They are not to be worshipped (Colossians; 2:18; Revelation; 19:10). The functions of angels are manifold. They obey the will of God (Psalms; 103:20; Mathew; 6:10), execute the purposes of God (Numbers;22:22; Psalms; 103:21), execute the judgments of God (2Samuel; 24:16; 2Ki 19:35; Psalms; 35:5-6), celebrate the praises of God (Job 38:7; Psalms; 148:2; Isaiah; 6:3). In the widest sense they are agents of God's providence (Ex 12:23; Psalms; 104:4; Hebrews; 11:28; 1 Corinthians;10:10; 2 Samuel; 24:16; 1 Chronicles; 21:16; 2Kings;19:35; Acts;12:23). They are specially God's agents in carrying on his great work of redemption. The have charge over the children (servant, human) of God (Psalms; 34:7; 91:11-12). There is no notice of angelic appearances to man till after the call of Abraham. From that time onward there are frequent references to their ministry on earth (Genesis;18;19; 24:7,40; 28:12; 32:1). They appear to rebuke idolatry (Judges; 2:1-4), to call Gideon (Judges; 6:11-12), and to consecrate Samson (Judges; 13:3). In the days of the prophets, from Samuel downward, the angels appear only in their behalf (1Kings; 19:5; 2Kings; 6:17; Zechariah; 1-6; Daniel; 4:13,23; 10:10,13,20-21). The "angel of his presence" (Isaiah;63:9, Exodus;23:20-21; 32:34, 33:2; Numbers;20:16) is interpreted as the Messiah as the guide of his people. Others have supposed the expression to refer to Gabriel (Luke; 1:19).
As finite creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly "fallen angels" have been mentioned. Of the cause and manner of their "fall" one is wholly ignorant. It is known that "they left their first estate" (“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: Mathew;25:41, Revelation; 12:7-9), and that they are "reserved unto judgment" (2Peter; 2:4). It is believed that some angels have fallen from a position of proximity to God, because of pride or for attempts to usurp the position of the Supreme Being such as Lucifer (after his fall called Satan by early Church Fathers): “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”(Isaiah;14:12).
In their fallen condition they then attempt to keep man from gaining a right relationship with God by provoking men to sin. Some medieval scholars of demonology ascribed to a hierarchy of seven arch-demons the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’: Lucifer (Pride); Mammon (Avarice); Asmodeus (Lechery); Satan (Anger); Beelzebub (Gluttony); Leviathan (Envy); and Belphegor (Sloth). Besides tempting men to sin, the fallen angels, or devils, were believed to cause various types of calamities, both natural and accidental. Like the demons and evil spirits of nature in primitive religions, the fallen angels were viewed as the agents of famine, disease, war, earthquakes, accidental deaths, and various mental or emotional disorders. Persons afflicted with mental diseases were considered to be "demon possessed." However the concept of ‘fallen angels’ does not exist in Islam; as Iblis which fell from grace was a Jinn (having limited free will to choose between good and evil, like human) of very high spiritual stature. In Islam, the angels do not have free will or choice to disobey Allah, they only obey and worship Allah.
According to Islam; angels are created by Allah in the universe for special missions. According to Qur’an:
“The angels are but His honored servants. They do not precede Him in speaking and they act according to His commandment.”(Qur’an;21:26-27).
“To Him belongs all that exist in the heavens and in the earth; and the angels, who are in His very presence, are not too proud to serve Him, nor do they feel wearied of His service. They glorify Him night and day; and do not pause.”(Qur’an;21:19-20).
Allah created them and they worship and obey Him.
“- - Those who are in His presence do not disdain to worship Him, nor do they weary" (Qur’an;21:19).
“To Allah prostrate all the creatures of the heavens and the earth, including the angels; and they are not arrogant.”(Qur’an;16:49).
“The angels in fact say: "We each have our appointed place”.(Qur’an;37:164).
“How many are the angels in the heavens; yet their intercession can avail none unless Allah gives them permission in favor of whom He wants and is pleased with.(Qur’an;53:26).
Angels are purely spiritual and splendid beings created by Allah from light. They are impervious to the physical desires or material needs, they do not require food or drink or sleep. Angels spend their time in the service of Allah. Knowledge and the truth are not entirely confined to sensory knowledge or sensory perception alone. The angels are assigned certain functions. They help the believers in fight against infidels if God commands them to do so:
“Of course! If you remain patient and on your guard, Allah will send to your aid not three thousand but, five thousand specially marked angels in case of a sudden attack from the enemy.”(Qur’an;3:125).
They curse unbelievers:
“Surely those who are unbelievers and die while they are unbelievers, they are the ones on whom is the curse of Allah, the angels and all mankind,”(Qur’an;2:161).
Some angels are designated to bear the Throne of God: “
Those angels who bear the Throne of Allah and those who stand around it glorify their Lord with His praises, believe in Him and implore forgiveness for the believers, saying: "Our Lord! You embrace all things with your mercy and knowledge. Forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the punishment of the blazing fire.”(Qur’an;40:7).
“You will see the angels surrounding the Divine Throne, glorifying their Lord with His praises. The judgment between the people will be made with perfect justice, and it will be proclaimed: "Praise be to Allah the Sustainer(Lord) of the worlds!”(Qur’an;39:75).
An angels is in charge of mountains; and Malik, the keeper of Hell. Some angels are in charge of embryos in wombs, some are responsible for protecting human beings, Some angels are in charge of the dwellers of Paradise:
"The angels enter to them from every gate, saying: 'Peace be upon you for that you were patient. How excellent is your final home"' (Qur’an;13:24).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) told that: "seventy thousand angels enter or pray in the populous house in heaven every day. They never come back to it as long as they live" (because their turn will never come) (Bukhari and Muslim).
God chose some angels to act as His messengers:
“Allah chooses His Messengers from among the angels and from among the human beings, for surely Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.”(Qur’an;22:75).
“He sends down His angels with inspiration of His Command to whom He pleases of His servants, saying: "Warn the people that there is no one else worthy of worship except Me, therefore fear Me.”(Qur’an;16:2).
“As for those who fear their God, although they have not seen Him, shall have forgiveness and a great reward.”(Qur’an;67:12).
“Praise be to Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth! Who appoint the angels having two, three and four pairs of wings as His messengers. He adds to His creation as He pleases; for Allah has power over all things.”(Qur’an;35:1).
“When Our Messengers (angels) came to Abraham with the good news (the birth of a son in his old age), they said: "We are to destroy the people of that township (people of Lot), for its people are indeed wrongdoers."(Qur’an;29:31).
“As he (Zechariah) stood praying in the a prayer place in the sanctuary, the angels called out to him saying: "Allah gives you good news of a son to be named Yahya (John, the Baptist), he will confirm the word of Allah, he will be a great leader and chaste, a Prophet and a righteous man.”(Qur’an;3:39).
There came the time when angels said: "O Mary! Surely Allah has exalted you, purified you, and preferred you for His service over all the women of the worlds.(Qur’an;3:42). When the angels said "O Mary! Allah gives you the good news with a Word from Him that you will be given a son: his name will be Messiah, Esa (Jesus Christ) the son of Mary. He will be noble in this world and the Hereafter; and he will be from those who are very close to Allah.(Qur’an;3:45).
There are two guardian angels who record the good and evil actions of every human being, according to Qur’an:
“Each person has been assigned guardian angels before him and behind him, who watch him by the command of Allah. The fact is that Allah never changes the condition of a people until they intend to change it themselves. If Allah wants to afflict a people with misfortune, none can ward it off, nor they can find any protector besides Him.”(Qur’an;13:11).
“..indeed Our angels are recording all the plots you make.”(Qur’an;10:21).
“You should know that guardian angels have indeed been appointed over you,”(Qur’an;82:10).
We created man, We know the prompting of his soul, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein. Besides this direct knowledge ,We have assigned to every one two scribes (guardian angels), the one seated on his right and the other on his left, not a single word does he utter but there is a vigilant guardian ready to note it down.”(Qur’an;50:16-17).
“Do they think that We cannot hear their secret talks and their private converse? Of course We do, and Our messengers (angels) who are assigned to them, record it all.(Qur’an;43:80).
Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) was granted special powers by God, some mischievous people falsely attributed them to sorcery, it is clarified in Qur’an:
“And accepted what the devils falsely attributed to the kingdom of Solomon; not that Solomon was an unbeliever, it was the devils who were unbelievers: they taught witchcraft to the people and that which was revealed to the two angels, Harut and Marut in the city of Babylon. Yet these two angels never taught magic to anyone without saying: "We have been sent to tempt you; do not renounce your faith." In spite of this warning those people kept on learning, from the angels, the magic which could cause discord between husband and wife; although they could harm none with it except with Allah's permission. They learned, indeed, what harmed them and did not profit them; even though they knew fully well that the buyers of magic would have no share in the happiness of the Hereafter. Surely, they sold their souls for a bad price, if they could understand it!” (Qur’an;2:102).
Some angels have special assignments in eschatology, according to Qur’an:
“Then a trumpet shall be blown (by Israfil) and, behold, they will rise up from their graves and hasten to their Lord.”(Qur’an;36:51). “On that Day when the heavens shall burst asunder with clouds and the angels will be sent down ranks after ranks,”(Qur’an;25:15). “On that Day, the Spirit (Gabriel) and the angels shall stand in their ranks; none shall speak except the one to whom the Compassionate (Allah) shall grant permission to speak, and he will speak straight to the point.”(Qur’an;78:38). “- the Paradise of perpetual bliss: they will enter into it along with their righteous forefathers, their spouses and their descendants. The angels will come to welcome them from every side,”(Qur’an;13:23). We have appointed none but angels as wardens of the fire;”(Qur’an;74:31). “…If you could only see these wrongdoers when they are in the agonies of death and the angels stretch forth their hands saying, "Take out your soul! Today you will be rewarded with a disgraceful punishment for saying falsehood against Allah which you had no right to say and showing arrogance against His revelations!” (Qur’an;6:93). The important well known angels mentioned in Islamic traditions are: Gabriel, Michael, Israfil, 'Izra`il, Munkar and Nakir.
Gabriel (in Hebrew; Gavri`el, and in Arabic; Jibril), is one of the archangels in the Bible and the Qur’an. Gabriel, delivered revelations to the Messengers of God. According to Bible, Gabriel was the heavenly messenger sent to Daniel (Daniel;8:16, 9:21). He explained the vision of the ram and the he-goat and to communicate the prediction of the Seventy Weeks. He was also employed to announce the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah (Luke;1:19). and to announce the birth of Jesus to the Mary (Luke;1:26-35). It is because he stood in the divine presence that Jewish, Christian and Muslim writers generally speak of him as an archangel (Luke;1:19). In the Books of Enoch "the four great archangels" are Michael, Uriel, Suriel (Raphael), and Gabriel, though elsewhere they are said to number seven. His name is mentioned in the Qur’an three times, but various epithets in the scripture are widely recognized as referring to him. It is mentioned in Qur’an:
“Say O Muhammad: "Whoever is the enemy of Gabriel should know that he revealed this Qur'an to your heart by Allah's command, which confirms previous scriptures, and is a guidance and good news for the believers." Let them know that whoever is an enemy to Allah, His angels, His Messenger, Gabriel and Michael; Allah is an enemy to such unbelievers.”(Qur’an;2:97-98), “..then you should know that his (Muhammad’s) protectors are Allah, Gabriel and all righteous believers, furthermore the angels too are his supporters.”(Qur’an;66:4).
Michael (Hebrew Mikha`el, Arabic Mika`il) is another among the archangels mentioned in the Bible and the Qur’an. In Bible he is repeatedly depicted as the "great captain," the leader of the heavenly hosts: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude;1:9) , the warrior: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels”(Revelation;12:7). He is presumed to be helping the children of Israel; and early in the history of the Christian church he came to be regarded as helper of the church's armies against the heathen. He holds the secret of the mighty "word" by the utterance of which God created heaven and earth and was "the angel who spoke to (Moses) on Mount Sinai" (Acts;7:38). The numerous representations of Michael in art reflect his character as a warrior: he is shown with a sword, in combat with or triumph over a dragon, from the story in the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse).
According to the Islamic traditions, Mikal, also spelled Mika`il is the archangel. In biblical literature Michael is the counterpart of Mikal. According to some traditions Mikail and Jibril were the first angels to obey God's order to bow down to Adam, and that Mikail was so shocked at the sight of hell when it was created that he never laughed again. He is also remembered as aiding the Muslims to their military victory in the initial days. The single reference to Mikal in the Qur’an states:
"Whoever is an enemy of God or his angels or his apostles or Jibril or Mikal, verily God is an enemy of the unbelievers."(Qur’an;2:98).
This has generated several explanatory traditions that revolve around the Jews, who hold Michael in particular esteem as "the lord of Israel." In one incidence Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is questioned by Jews about his prophetic mission and he answered them quite satisfactorily. But when he says that Jibril is the bearer of his revelations, the Jews attack the archangel as the spirit of destruction and the foe of Michael, the angel of fertility. On another occasion the caliph 'Umar is reported to have asked the Jews of the synagogue of Medina how Mikal and Jibril were regarded by God. The Jews replied that Michael sat at God's left and Gabriel at his right but that the two were enemies. Whereupon 'Umar revealed the falseness of their position and said that an enemy of either angel was immediately an enemy of God. Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri: Allah's Messenger said, "There is no prophet who does not have two wazirs from the inhabitants of Heaven and two from the inhabitants of Earth. My two wazirs from the inhabitants of Heaven are Gabriel and Michael, and my two wazirs from the inhabitants of Earth are AbuBakr and Umar."Tirmidhi transmitted it, saying this is a hasan gharib tradition. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith:1572).
Israfil is the archangel who will blow the trumpet from a holy rock in Jerusalem to announce the Day of Resurrection, his name is not mentioned in Qur’an but in Hadith. The trumpet is constantly poised at his lips, ready to be blown when God so orders. Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Allah created Israfil who has been keeping his feet in line from the day he was created and not raising his glance. Between him and the Lord Who is Blessed and Exalted, there are seventy lights, not one of which he could approach without being burned." Tirmidhi transmitted it and called it Sahih. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith:1511). In Judeo-Christian biblical literature, Raphael is the counterpart of Israfil. He is overcome by sorrow and tears three times every day and every night at the sight of hell. Izra`il is the angel of death who separates souls from their bodies; he is one of the four archangels (with Jibril, Mikal, and Israfil). In Islamic eschatology, Munkar and Nakir are two angels who test the faith of every soul after death. The believer will be put to sleep, while the non believers will remain in misery till the day of resurrection or as long as God deems necessary. Cherub, plural ‘Cherubim’, in Jewish, Christian, literature is a celestial winged being with human, animal, or birdlike characteristics who functions as a throne bearer of the deity. These celestial beings serve important liturgical and intercessory functions in the hierarchy of angels. The term most likely derives from the Akkadian karibu, or kuribu (from the verb karabu, meaning "to pray," or "to bless"). Old Testament descriptions of the cherubim emphasize their supernatural mobility and their cultic role as throne bearers of God, rather than their intercessory functions. In Christianity the cherubim are ranked among the higher orders of angels and, as celestial attendants of God, continually praise him.
Belief in the angels is an article of faith in Islam, which results in appreciating the dignity of Allah, His might, and His sovereignty. The love and admiration for the angels due to what they are doing, namely, worshipping Allah in the best possible manner and praying for the believers is a source of comfort and satisfaction for the believers.
Devil, derived from Greek ‘diabolos’, "slanderer," or "accuser", is the spirit or power of evil: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”(Matthew;4:1). Though sometimes used for minor demonic spirits, the word devil generally refers to the prince of evil spirits and as such takes various forms in the religions of the world. In Judaism and Christianity, the devil is viewed as a fallen angel who in pride has tried to usurp the position of the one and only God, known as Satan. In the Old Testament, Satan is viewed as the prosecutor of Yahweh's court, as in Job, chapters 1 and 2, but he is not regarded as an adversary of God. In post biblical Judaism and in Christianity, however, Satan became known as the "prince of devils" and assumed various names: Beelzebub ("Lord of Flies") in Matthew 12:24-27, often cited as Beelzebul ("Lord of Dung"), and Lucifer (the fallen angel of Light).
In Christian theology the devil's main task is that of tempting man to reject the way of life and redemption and to accept the way of death and destruction. The leader of the angels who have fallen from heaven because of pride, Satan has as his main adversary in Christian thought, legend, and iconography the archangel Michael, leader of God's heavenly hosts. Islamic theology is rich in references to Iblis, the personal name of the devil, who is also known as ash-Shaytan ("The Demon") and 'aduw Allah ("Enemy of God"). Iblis is among the jinn (creature capable of good or evil).
One common pictorial perception of devil
It is narrated in Qur’an: “We have not created jinns and mankind except to serve Me.”(Qur’an;51:56). [Complete service, obedience to the will of God ]. Allah says: “while before him (man) We had created Jinn from smokeless fire.”(Qur’an;15:27). “If your Lord had so willed, He would have certainly made mankind one single but that is not what He wants, so they will continue to differ except those on whom He has bestowed His mercy; and that very freedom of choice and action is the whole purpose of their creation. That is how the Word of your Lord, that He will fill Hell with jinns and human beings all together, will be fulfilled.”(Qur’an;11:118-119). Like angels jinns are also not visible to human eye, however like human being they have limited choice to follow good or evil. They are spirits, and therefore subtle like a flame of fire. Their being free from smoke implies that they are free from grossness for smoke is the grosser accompaniment of fire. Iblis (devil) belongs to the same community. Like human they will be sent to heaven or hell as per their faith and deeds.
In the Qur’an, Iblis first appears in the story of the creation of the world. He alone refuses God's order to bow before Adam, the first man, while the angels obeyed the commandment of God. He is then cursed by God; his punishment is to come on the Day of Judgment, but until then he is empowered to tempt the unfaithful (but not true believers). Iblis next appears as the tempter of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Qur’an describes: “When We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourself before Adam," all prostrated themselves except Iblees (Shaitan), who was one of the Jinns and chose to disobey the command of his Lord. Would you then take him and his children as your protectors rather than Me, even though they are your enemies? What a bad substitute the wrongdoers have chosen!”(Qur’an;18:50).“Iblees said: "I am better than him(man) : You created me from fire and created him from clay." Allah said: "Get out of here: for you are accursed, and My curse shall be on you till the Day of Judgment." Iblees said: "O Lord! Then give me respite till the Day of Resurrection. "Allah said: "Well, you are given respite till the Day of Appointed Time." Iblees said: "I swear by Your Honor, I will mislead them all except your chosen sincere devotees among them." Allah said: "Fair enough and now what I am going to say is also fair: that I will fill hell with you and all of those who follow you among them."(Qur’an;38:76-85). Some Muslims influenced by Western thought, but cannot deny the Qur’an either, have given strange interpretations of the clear statements of the Qur’an about the angels, jinn, Iblis and Satan. They think that Jinns do not refer to any hidden creation, which may have its own independent existence, but it sometimes implies man's own animal forces, which have been called Satan, and sometimes it implies savage and wild mountain tribes, and sometimes the people who used to listen to the Qur’an secretly. But the statements of the Qur’an in this regard are so clear and explicit that these interpretations bear no relevance to them whatever.
The Qur’an frequently mentions the jinn and the men in a manner as to indicate that they are two separate creations. This is, mentioned “He will say: "enter ye in the company of the peoples who passed away before you men and Jinns into the fire.”(Qur’an;7:38). “And We have destined for them intimate companions (of like nature) Who made alluring to them what was before them and behind them; and the sentence among the previous generations of jinns and men who have passed away is proved against them; for they are utterly lost”(Qur’an;41:25). “And the Unbelievers will say: "Our Lord! show us those among jinns and men who misled us: we shall crush them beneath our feet so that they become the vilest (before all)." ”(Qur’an;41:29). “Such are they against whom is proved the Sentence among the previous generations of jinns and men that have passed away; for they will be (utterly) lost.”(Qur’an;46:18). The entire Chapter.55 ‘The Beneficent’ (Surah Rahman), which bears such clear evidence as to leave no room to regard the jinn from the category of human.
Allah has entrusted the man with the vicegerency of the earth hence the man is superior to the jinn. Although the jinn can ascend to the heavens, they cannot exceed a certain limit; if they try to ascend beyond that limit and try to find out what goes on in the heavens, they are not allowed to do so, and if they try to eavesdrop they are driven away by meteorites; “And We have (from of old) adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.”(Qur’an;67:5). Hence the belief of the polytheistic Arabs that the jinn possess the knowledge of the unseen, or have access to Divine secrets, has been refuted. Although the jinn also have been given certain extraordinary powers and abilities an example of which is found in Qur’an; “Said an Ifrit of the jinns: "I will bring it (the throne of Sheba from Yemen) to thee (Solomon) before thou rise from thy Council: indeed I have full strength for the purpose and may be trusted."(Qur’an;27:39), yet the animals likewise have been given some powers greater than man, but these are no argument that the animals are superior to man.
The Qur’an also explains that the jinn, like men, are a creation possessed of power and authority, hence they, can choose between obedience and disobedience, faith and disbelief. This is confirmed by the story of Satan and the event of the jinn affirming the faith as found in Chapter 46 and 72 (Surahs, Al-Ahqaf and Al-Jinn). The Satanic jinns have been persistently trying to mislead man, but they do not have the power to overwhelm and make do something forcibly. God warns the believers to be aware of Satan: “O ye children of Adam! let not Satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the garden stripping them of their raiment to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the evil ones friends (only) to those without faith.” (Qur’an;7:27). “Like this Messenger (Muhammad), We had granted each Messenger his opponents - shaitans from among the human beings and Jinns - some of them inspire the others with seductive discourses of deception. If your Sustainer (Lord) wanted, they would not have done so. Therefore, neglect them as well as what they invent, (Qur’an;6:112)
Because of their mysterious qualities, ignorant people have formed exaggerated concepts about them and their powers, and some of them even worshipped them. The stannic jinns try to seduce with evil suggestions, beguile human and make evil seem good to them. This is, mentioned in Qur’an at; 4:117-120, 7:11-17, 14:22, 15:30-42, 16:98-100 and 17:61-65. In the pre-Islamic ignorance period the polytheist Arabs regarded the jinn as associates of Allah; they worshipped them and thought they were descended from God. It is mentioned in Qur’an: “Yet they make the Jinns as the partners with Allah, whereas He is their Creator; and also ascribe to Him sons and daughters without having any knowledge. Glory to Him! He is highly exalted far above what they ascribe.”(Qur’an;6:100). “Indeed, some individuals among mankind used to seek protection with some individuals among the jinns, so they caused such jinns to become more arrogant,”(Qur’an;72:6). “One Day He will gather them all together and ask the angels: "Was it you that these people used to worship?" They will respond: "Glory be to You! Our tie is with You - as a protector - not with them; but they used to worship the jinns and it was them in whom most of these people believed.”(Qur’an;34:40-41).
Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) was granted the special kingdom, the only of its king in the human history, besides other creatures, the jinns were made subservient to him, according to Qur’an: “Solomon gathered an army comprised of Jinns, men and birds; they all were kept under strict discipline.”(Qur’an;27:17). “..and (God) subdued Jinns for him(Solomon) who worked in front of him by the leave of his Lord; and if any of them turned aside from Our command, We made Him taste the punishment of the blazing fire.”(Qur’an;34:12). “When We decreed Solomon's death he was leaning on his staff. The jinns did not know that he was dead until the termite ate away his staff and fell down. Thus it became clear to the jinns that if they had known the unseen, they would not have continued in the humiliating punishment of their task.”(Qur’an;34:14). “And We had subjected to him(Solomon) many of the shaitans who dived for him into the sea and performed other duties besides this; and We were the One Who had control over them for him.”(Qur’an;21:82). “One audacious (Ifrit) from the Jinns said (to Solomon) : "I will bring it (throne of Queen of Sheba) to you before you adjourn your court; and most surely I have the necessary strength and I am trustworthy.”(Qur’an;27:39).
Among the jinns too there are the believers and the unbelievers, the obedient and the rebellious, as among human beings, and among them too there exist such groups who believed in the Prophets sent by Allah and in the Divine Books. It is clearly pointed out that the message of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Qur’an is meant both for men and for jinn and that his Prophethood is not restricted to human beings alone. The jinns listened to the Qur’an, recited by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and became believers. Some of them were followers of Moses. It is narrated in Qur’an: “O’ Prophet say: "It has been revealed to me that a band of jinns listened to the Qur'an, then returned to their folk and said: 'We have heard a wonderful Qur'an which guides to the Right Way. We have believed in it and henceforth shall worship none besides Our Lord.” (Qur’an;72:1-2). “ (O’ Muhammad) Tell them how We brought to you a group of jinns, who when they reached the place where you were reciting and listened to the Qur'an, said to each other: "Be silent." When the recitation was over, they returned to their people as warners . They said "O our people! We have just listened to a Book that has been revealed after Moses which is confirming that what came before it, and it guides to the truth and to the Right Way.”(Qur’an;46:29-30). God jointly addresses men and the jinn, the two creation endowed with freedom of will and action in Qur’an (Chaper.55, Surah Rahman): “O you, the assembly of jinns and men! If you have the power to get away from the boundaries of the heavens and the earth (to escape from His punishment), then get away! You cannot get away except with Our Own authority.”(Qur’an;55:31). Both men and jinn have been made to realize the wonders of Allah's power, His countless blessings, their own helplessness and accountability before Him, and have been warned of the evil consequences of His disobedience and made aware of the best results of His obedience. According to Qur’an: “On the Day when He will assemble them all together, (Allah will address the Jinns): "O assembly of Jinns! You seduced mankind in great number." And their votaries from among mankind will say: "Our Sustainer, we have both enjoyed each other's fellowship but alas! Now we have reached the end of our term which You had decreed for us." Then Allah will say: "Now hellfire is your dwelling-place; you will live therein forever unless Allah ordains otherwise." Surely your Sustainer is Wise, Knowledgeable.” (Qur’an;6:128). “Certainly, We have destined many Jinns and human beings for hell; those are the ones who have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, they have ears with which they do not hear. They are like animals - or even worse than them , because they are those who are heedless.”(Qur’an;7:179).
In Judeo-Christian tradition, the word or concept of jinn as such does not occur in the original Hebrew text of the Bible, but the Arabic word ǧinn is often used in several old Arabic translations. In several verses in those Arabic translations, the words jinn (جن), jann (الجان al-Ǧānn), majnoon (مجنون Maǧnūn), and Iblīs (إبلیس) are mentioned as translations of familiar spirit or אוב (ob) for jann and the devil or δαιμόνιον (daimónion) for Iblīs. In Van Dyck's Arabic translation of the Bible, these words are mentioned in Leviticus 19:31, Lev 20:6, 1 Samuel 28:3, 1 Sa 28:9, 1 Sa 28:7, 1 Chronicles 10:13, Gospel of Matthew 4:1, Mat 12:22, Gospel of Luke 4:5, Luk 8:12, Gospel of John 8:44 and other verses as well. Also, in the apocryphal book Testament of Solomon, Solomon describes particular demons whom he enslaved to help build the temple, the questions he put to them about their deeds and how they could be thwarted, and their answers, which provide a kind of self-help manual against demonic activity.
Science and Metaphysical Creatures:
The existence of spiritual creature is considered the domain of theology. For believers scriptural evidence suffice. Most scientists, out rightly disagree with existence of non physical creatures, while some agree. Scientists (G. Feinberg and R.Shapiro, LIFE BEYOND EARTH Published by William Morrow and Co., Inc., New York, 1980) predict that there is the highest probability of finding life in the Plasma of our Sun or any star. They call these creatures as Plasmabeasts. Plasmabeasts can be construed as nothing but the Jinns. Life on Earth is called Chemical life, whereas the life in the Plasma of the Sun is based on Physical life. In the Plasma, the positively charged ions and the freely floating electrons (negative ions) are both acted on by intense magnetic forces present in the sun (star). The Jinns are interpreted to be composed of patterns of magnetic force, together with groups of moving charges in a kind of symbiosis. The possible inhabitants of Plasmaland (place of inhabitants) or Jinns have a more complex basis for their life involving charges as well as magnetic forces. The positive and negative ions interact and respond to the presence of magnetic forces. The stable structure and movement of the Jinns is influenced by the magnetic forces. In Physics we know that the moving charges influence the motion of these electrical charges or ions. This situation is similar to the influence of proteins and nucleic acids in Earth life. Finally these processes result in a favored form. For this to take place supply of free energy is required which is obtained from the flow of radiation within the sun. Therefore the Jinn can be construed to use radiant energy in their vital processes.
University of Notre Dame philosopher Thomas Flint. “It seems to me to be perfectly plausible to believe that angels and demons exist,” Flint begins, “though perhaps not with all of the cultural trappings—the wings and long robes.”
Flint defines an angel as “simply a finite nonphysical person who has, so to speak, decided for God to obey God. And a demon is simply a nonphysical finite person who has decided against God to rebel against God.” To Flint, angels and demons are “free spiritual beings who have something akin to a human soul, but not a physical body connected with it.” And, he adds, “it seems entirely reasonable to believe that God would create such beings.” One reason, he says, is that “there seems to be a large distance between us and God,” with “lots of possibilities for different kinds of beings for God to create [to fill the gap]. If anything, it would be very surprising if God had not created anything lower than himself but higher than us.”
Dean Radin, a leading researcher in extrasensory perception, has special ideas about angels and demons. “I view them as a projection of the unconscious,” he says. “You don’t need to go too far into the ESP world to appreciate why people persist in believing in such things. There is some kind of intersubjective reality, a reality that we create between ourselves and others by sharing thoughts and feelings.”
This is more than personal psychology. “It’s a natural extension of the idea that you’re not locked inside your head,” Radin says. “The moment that you make the leap of faith that our intentions, to some degree, can affect the world around us and what other people think, then you might create a shared mental space which can appear as if it were an angel or demon. It will seem just as real as a hard table would seem real, but it’s different in type.”
Radin uses the example of ghosts and haunting (where, he stresses, psychological explanations can be ruled out). “People go to places and they experience weird things,” he says. “Sometimes, they actually see characters of some types. Assuming these reports are real, where did those ‘characters’ come from? Perhaps many years of people all paying close attention to a given space will change it in some way so that when somebody new comes along, in that vicinity, maybe that person can resonate in some way with all of these intentions going back into the past.”
Radin calls it “place memory,” a literal physical change of some new kind in a specific location caused by multiple interactions with multiple minds. “At an informational level, the physical substrate, like the granite wall of a castle, for example, physically changes in some way,” he speculates. “And it stores information. So when somebody comes into the vicinity of that information, they pick it up.”
As a scientist, Radin prefers this kind of explanation to that of spiritual beings and nonphysical realms. “I’m thinking more or less from a physicalist, scientific perspective,” he says. “What’s the alternative?” “That there really is something there,” he says. “From a spiritual perspective, there may be some kind of actual entity which has gotten stuck there.” Instead, Radin favors “something like a collective unconscious, which would have aspects of telepathy [mind-to-mind communication] and psychokinesis [mind over matter].” He calls this “large ESP,” and his conjecture is that what we traditionally call “angels and demons” manifestations of ESP.
Eschatology is the branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind. In Abrahamic faiths it is related with the beliefs or a doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, paradise and hell etc, which are the matters of the unseen world (alam-al-ghaib).
The Day of Judgment:
The Day of Judgment is one of the cardinal beliefs in Islamic Faith. Many people wonder as to how a person with a scientific and logical temperament, can lend any credence to the belief of life after death. People assume that anyone believing in the hereafter is doing so on the basis of blind belief. The belief in the hereafter can also be based on proves with the logical arguments. According to Dr.Zakir Naik; there are more than a thousand verses in the Glorious Qur’an, containing scientific facts. Many facts mentioned in the Qur’an have been discovered in the last few centuries. But science has not advanced to a level where it can confirm every statement of the Qur’an concerning science. Suppose 80% of all that is mentioned in the Qur’an has been proved 100% correct, while for the remaining 20%, science makes no categorical statement, since it has not advanced to a level, where it can either prove or disprove these statements. With the limited knowledge through science available today one cannot say for sure whether even a single percentage or a single verse of the Qur’an from this 20% portion is wrong. Thus when 80% of the Qur’an is 100% correct and the remaining 20% is not disproved, logic says that even the 20% portion is correct. Notwithstanding the moral and religious aspects; the cloning of sheep and cows indicates that revival of animals of extinct species through DNA, a theme of fictional movies and novels may become a reality in future, if God Wills. It is just simple and easy for the Creator to recreate the human being on the Day of Judgment. Thus existence of the hereafter, which is mentioned in the Qur’an, falls in the 20% presently ambiguous portion which as per this logic is correct.
Any one committing an evil act like robbing, killing, rape etc may get away with it if he is cunning and influential. The human legal system has its limitations and at times it becomes impossible to prove the crime in the court of law even by the best lawyers. The only place of final justice is the ‘Hereafter’ where the Most Powerful will administer His Justice. Thus a believer may have a reason to refrain form doing evil acts and be a good human being. As this life is a test for the hereafter. The Glorious Qur’an says: " He Who created Death and Life that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might Oft-Forgiving." (Qur’an;67:2). It is possible that a person receives part of his punishment in this world. The final reward and punishment will only be in the hereafter. Similar is the case for reward for good deeds. History is full of tyrant rulers like Genghis Khan, Hitler and many more who massacred millions of innocent people. Even if tried in the court of law, maximum punishment they could get is life imprisonment or death! Is it a fair justice, Allah say in the Qur’an: "Those who reject Our signs, We shall soon Cast into the Fire; As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, That they may taste the penalty: for Allah Is Exalted in Power, Wise"(Qur’an;4:56). If Allah wishes he can incinerate such sinners million times (or equal to number of people killed by them) in the hereafter for punishment congruous to their crimes. It is clear that without convincing a person about The Final Day of Judgment, the concept of human values and the good or evil nature of acts is impossible to prove to any person, who is doing injustice especially when he is influential and powerful. Allah says in Qur’an: “Man says: "What! when I am dead shall I then be raised up alive? "But does not man call to mind that We created him before out of nothing? So by thy Lord without doubt We shall gather them together and (also) the Evil Ones (with them); then shall We bring them forth on their knees round about Hell; Then shall We certainly Drag out from every sect all those who were worst in obstinate rebellion against (Allah) Most Gracious. And certainly We know best those who are most worthy of being burned therein. Not one of you but will pass over it: this is with thy Lord a Decree which must be accomplished. But We shall save those who guarded against evil and We shall leave the wrongdoers therein (humbled) to their knees.”(Qur’an;19:66-72).
"When Abraham said, "Show me, my Lord, how You revive the dead!" God said, "Do you not believe?" Abraham answered, "Yes, indeed I do believe, but just to reassure my heart." Then God said, "Take four birds, and train them to come back to you. Then place them separately on each hilltop, and call them: they will come flying to you. Know that God is almighty and wise." (Quran;2:260)
Islam on D of J:
Allah has narrated the unfolding of the events on the Day of Judgment: “Asking (derisively): "When will this Day of Resurrection be?" Well, it will come when the sight shall be dazed, the moon will be eclipsed, and the sun and the moon will be brought together”(Qur’an;75:6-9); “It will be the Day when no one shall have the power to do anything for another: for, on that Day, God shall keep the entire command to Himself.”(Qur’an;82:19); “The Day whereon they will (all) come forth: Not a single thing concerning them is hidden from Allah. Whose will be the dominion that Day? That of Allah the One the Irresistible!. That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned; no injustice will there be that Day for Allah is Swift in taking account.”(Qur’an;40:16-17). The time of the Day of Judgment is known only to God (Qur’an;7:187). “All that exists on the earth will perish, but the Face of your Lord will remain full of Majesty and Glory.”(Qur’an;55:27); “On that Day We shall roll up the heavens like a scroll of writings; just as We originated the first creation, so shall We produce it again - that is Our promise, and We will fulfill it.”(Qur’an;21:104); “.. On the Day of Resurrection the whole earth shall be in His grasp and all the heavens shall be rolled up in His right hand. Glory be to Him! Exalted be He above what they associate with Him.”; “The trumpet will (Just) be sounded, when all that are In the heavens and on earth will swoon, except such As it will please Allah (to exempt); then will a second one be sounded, when, Behold, They will be standing and looking on!. And the earth will shine with the glory of its Lord: the record (of deeds) will be placed (open); the prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward and a just decision pronounced between them; and They will not be wronged (in the least). And to every soul will be paid In full (the fruit) of its deeds; and ((Allah)) knows best all that They do. The unbelievers will be led to Hell In crowd: until, when They arrive, there, its gates will be opened. and its keepers will say, "Did not apostles come to you from among yourselves, rehearsing to you the Signs of your Lord, and warning you of the meeting of This Day of yours?" the answer will be: "True: but the Decree of punishment has been proved true against the unbelievers!" (to them) will be said: "Enter ye the gates of Hell, to dwell therein: and evil is (this) abode of the Arrogant!"; And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden In crowds: until Behold, They arrive there; its gates will be opened; and its keepers will say: "Peace be upon you! well have ye done! enter ye here, to dwell therein." They will say: "Praise be to Allah, who has truly fulfilled His promise to us, and has given us (this) land In heritage: we can dwell In the Garden As we will: How excellent a reward for those who work (righteousness)!". And Thou wilt see the angels surrounding the Throne (Divine) on all sides, singing glory and Praise to their Lord; the decision between them (at judgment) will be In (perfect) justice, and the cry (on all sides) will be, "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds!”(Qur’an;39:67-75). “On that Day, some faces shall be bright, looking towards their Lord.”(Qur’an;75:22-23).
Bible says: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”(Matthew;5:8); “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”(Psalms;17:15);“And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”(Revelation;22:4);“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.”(Psalms’45:6). In the Bible Jesus (peace be upon him) is also reported to have denied having knowledge of the final hour: “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”(Mark; 13:32). The dead will be resurrected: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”(Daniel;12:2). “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”(1Corinthians 15:51-52). “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah;26:19); “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou know. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus said the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus said the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”(Ezekiel;37:1-10).
“The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.”(Psalms;7:8). Similar concepts are found in some other Western religions. Historical eschatology is basic to the Old Testament and Qur’an, it is part of the structure of faith of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Last Judgment is a general, or sometimes individual, judging of the thoughts, words, and deeds of persons by God on resurrection after death. The Western prophetic religions (Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity) developed concepts of the Last Judgment that are rich in imagery, while Islam has given a good description. Zoroastrianism(6th-century B.C) founded by the Iranian prophet Zoroaster, teaches that after death the soul waits for three nights by the grave and on the fourth day goes to the Bridge of the Requiter, where his deeds are weighed. If the good outweigh the bad, the soul is able to cross the bridge to heaven; if the bad outweigh the good deeds, the bridge becomes too narrow for the soul to cross, and it plunges into the cold and dark abyss of hell. This is not the end, however, for there will be a final overthrow of Ahriman, the prince of demons, by Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord, who will resurrect all men, preside over a Last Judgment, and restore the world to goodness.
Resurrection & Science:
It is generally perceived that the scientific case against resurrection is pretty straightforward: once dead you stay dead, that's just the way it works. Coming back to life after having been would constitute a violation of natural law, a miracle and miracles just don't happen according to atheists. However with the advancement in science now it is much easy to comprehend the fundamental Islamic beliefs scientifically:
“We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth.”(Quran;41:53)
Some of greatest scientists, such as Albert Einstein and Michael Polanyi, have stated that faith (or belief) is essential to any kind of advance in physical science." Michael Polanyi points out that, "No human intelligence…can operate outside such a context of faith, for it is within that context that there arises within us, under compulsion from the reality of the world we experience, a regulative set of convictions or a framework of beliefs which prompts and guides our assessment of the evidence." Einstein referred to faith "as having 'extra-logical' status, but being nonetheless rational."
It is a global scientific investigation into DNA sequencing and bio-molecular cloning, to understand how scientists around the world are competing to be the first to rewrite the history of our planet and resurrect creatures from the past. Far from science fiction, three scientists have made it their mission to turn this dream into reality. From the labs of MIT to those of Kyoto, capabilities are here: it is no longer a matter of “if” but only a matter of “when”.
The appearance of Dolly, the first cloned sheep became a worldwide sensation that rocked the scientific community and ordinary citizens. Charming Dolly the sheep was born in July 1996 in Edinburgh's Roslin Institute as a result of its successful cloning from an adult cell. British scientists managed to do what many thought impossible, or simply fiction, giving a new impetus to the rapid development of genetic engineering.
Big Bang, Repeating Creation:
The big bang, the event which gave rise to our Universe, is physically possible. It happened, 13.5 billion years ago, and it produced everything we observe around us, including ourselves. Allah says:
“And the heaven We created with might, and indeed We are (its) expander.” (Quran 51:47)
“Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, then We separated them, and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?” (Quran 21:30)
The evidence for the big bang is today so strong that it can be taken as a fact and a solid basis to construct hypotheses. So why should not we trust that, being a possible physical process, the big bang is repeatable ?
The justification of the hypothesis that the big bang is a unrepeatable process is tough. We do not need to know what mechanism ignited our Universe, but it seems that Ockham's razor forces to prefer the simpler hypothesis that there is nothing "magical" at work, nothing that made the big bang a unique event which cannot occur again. Obviously God could choose to create the Universe and then choose to repeat or not to repeat His act; but in the absence of a God (atheists), whatever caused our Universe to come into existence should be there to do it again.
“Have they not seen that Allah Who created the heavens and the earth is Able to create the like of them, and hath appointed for them an end whereof there is no doubt? But the wrong-doers refuse aught save disbelief.” (17:99)
“The Day when We shall roll up the heavens and a recorder rolleth up a written scroll. As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is) a promise (binding) upon Us. Lo! We are to perform it.” (21:104)
“See they not how Allah produces creation, then reproduces it? Lo! for Allah that is easy” (Quran: 29:19)
If the big bang is a repeatable process, it will repeat itself: not being impossible, it must happen again. Note that here the fact being ignored is that time might be something quite different from what we perceive it to be: something with a beginning and an end just like spatial dimensions. One can argue that even if we associate the notion of time to the existence of our Universe, this still does not prevent us to imagining that the whole thing is repeatable.
People are born, acquire self-awareness, live, and die. As people die they cease to exist, but if people are materialistic enough to accept that what the self-awareness is, the collection and interrelation of neural circuits, synapses, activation potentials, and that these are bound to some day come again to existence in the very same form, which may be considered as a resurrection. And an instantaneous one for our conscience -however unaware it will be of its past instantiations: the unimaginable amount of time it has passed since the same biological configuration came to existence is immaterial from the personal point of view of an individual. Man dies and is reborn; no matter how much time that "and" corresponds to.
According to the Theory of General Relativity: "Time has no independent existence apart from the order of events by which we measure it." Since time is based on perception, it depends entirely on the perceiver and is therefore relative. The findings of modern science lead to the conclusion that: Time is not an absolute fact as supposed by materialists, but only a relative perception:
“On the Day when He will call you, you will answer His Call with words of His Praise and Obedience, and you will think that you have stayed in this world but a little while!”(Qur'an;17:52”)
“And on the Day when He shall gather them together, it will seem to them as if they had not tarried on earth longer than an hour of a day: they will recognize each other”.(Qur'an;10:45).
Resurrection of extinct species through cloning, DNA is being explored by the sicentists, which also points to support the doctrine of resurrection of humans. There is "Resurrection Science": Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things Resurrection Science Imagine a living, breathing dinosaur, mammoth, or Neanderthal. This is the story of science's latest frontier.
Resurrection via Time Reversal:
One should not be surprised to know that the religious contention that man will rise from the grave is not just a myth or wishful thinking but is based on real scientific principles. Rising up from the grave and coming back alive can happen simply with the reversal of time. The end of the universe is an entirely different phenomenon from the common disasters witnessed periodically but it has been built into the laws of the universe by the creator.
With the tremendous scientific advancements of the twentieth century, people have placed trust trust in science and technology to solve all problems. Dazzled by the ability of technology to produce quick results, the faith in God has become weak. The actions are for worldly goals, although a stronger belief in God and fear of accountability in the afterlife could make a better humanity.
Many verses in the Quran describe the Day of Judgment. We live in a universe that has been expanding since its creation billions of years ago. Both the birth of the universe with the “Big Bang” and its expansion are described in the Quran. Physicists and astronomers have recently (1998) discovered that the expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating. This anomalous finding is expected if the expansion of space is linked to time. The verses of the Quran suggest that the universe will not expand forever and that the Day of Judgment will begin with the contraction of the universe. It appears that time and gravity will reverse when the universe begins to contract. Reversal of time will bring about the resurrection from the grave or place of human remains.
Reversal of gravity will be the cause of the final earthquake mentioned in the Quran. This will change the earth so that it will be turned inside out and transformed into a giant hollow sphere with the sky towards its center. The reversed gravity focused towards the “earth’s center-sky” will have a runaway effect on space. The space in the center-sky will be literally torn apart to produce openings or gates to the higher dimensions that are beyond our universe. Through these openings, we will be removed from the collapsing universe.
Everyone will be taken away to escape the unrelenting effect of time reversal that could regress us to nothingness in our mother’s wombs. In some higher dimension or plane mankind will be brought together from all times and places in history, to face the judgment for their deeds and hell or heaven.
From the Quran, it appears that the timing of the Day of Judgment will never be known and it may come at any time:
"The threatened hour is near; none beside God can disclose it. Are you surprised then at this statement?" (Qur’an 53:57-59)
We should be aware that The Day of Judgment is very near to every one of us as there is no perception of passage of time after death. It should be kept in mind that everything big and small that is performed is being recorded in time on the Day of Judgment. The reversal of time will expose all the secrets.
Old Testament eschatology is based on the conviction that the catastrophes that beset the people of Israel and threatened their destruction were because of the Jewish people's disobedience to the laws and will of God. Subsequent conformity to the will of God would result in a return for the Jews to a final condition of righteousness and moral and material renewal, in which God's purpose would at last be fulfilled. Old Testament eschatology is closely bound to the concept of a redemptive history, in which the Jewish people are viewed as God's chosen instrument for the carrying out of his purpose and in which, upon the fulfillment of God's promises, the Jewish people would be the vehicle for both their own salvation and that of the rest of the world. If for Judaism the peculiar eschatological event lies in the future, this future of God, according to the New Testament, has already begun with Christ (peace be upon him). Christian eschatology is centered in the figure of Christ (peace be upon him) as the anticipation of the future Kingdom of God. Jesus (peace be upon him) is viewed as the Messiah of God, through whom and by whom the new age of God's redemption has at last been opened. The historical development of Christianity was subsequently marked by widely differing interpretations and degrees of acceptance of this original eschatology. The diverse strands of 20th-century Christian theology are in agreement perhaps only in that they regard faith itself, in its ultimate anticipation of God's redemption of creation, as being essentially eschatological. The concept of heaven for the blessed and hell for the sinners or non believers is part of eschatology in the three Abrahamic faiths in one way or the other.
Early Judaic writers emphasized a Day of Yahweh, the God of Israel, which is also called the Day of the Lord. This day, which will be a day of judgment of Israel and all nations, will inaugurate the Kingdom of God. Christianity, further developing the concept of the Last Judgment, teaches that it will occur at the Parousia (the Second Coming, or Second Advent, of Christ in glory), when all men will stand before a judging God. In early Christian art the scene is one of Christ the judge, the resurrection of the dead, the weighing of souls, the separation of the saved and the damned, and representations of paradise and hell. Romanesque artists produced a more terrible vision of the Last Judgment. In the gentler, more humanistic art of the Gothic period, a beautiful Christ is shown as the Redeemer. The intercessors are restored, and the scene of the Judgment is treated with optimism. In the 16th century, Michelangelo produced a radically different version of the Last Judgment in his fresco in the Sistine Chapel in Rome (1533-41 C.E): a vengeful Christ, , unclad, gestures threateningly toward the damned.
Human-Inseparable Psychosomatic Unit :
A careful examination of the biblical material, particularly the words nefesh, neshama, and ruah, which are often too broadly translated as "soul" and "spirit," indicates that these must not be understood as referring to the psychical side of a psychophysical pair. A man did not possess a nefesh but rather was a nefesh, as said: "wayehi ha-adam le-nefesh hayya" “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis;2:7). Man was, for most of the biblical writers, what has been called "a unit of vital power," not a dual creature separable into two distinct parts of unequal importance and value. While this understanding of the nature of man dominated biblical thought, in apocalyptic literature (2nd century B.C-2nd century C.E) the term nefesh began to be viewed as a separable psychical entity with existence apart from body. Although this was not entirely divorced from the unitary biblical view, nonetheless a functional body-soul dualism was present in such literature. In the Alexandrian version of Hellenistic Judaism the orientation toward Greek philosophy, particularly the Platonic view of the soul imprisoned in the flesh, led to a clear-cut dualism with a negative attitude toward the body. Rabbinic thought remained closer to the biblical position, at least in its understanding of man as a psychosomatic unit (mind, soul or spirit & body), although the temporary separation of the components after death was an accepted position. The biblical view of man as an inseparable psychosomatic unit meant that death was understood to be his dissolution. Yet, although man ceased to be, this dissolution was not utter extinction.
Afterlife in Christianity:
The delay of the imminent expectation brought about the question of the fate of the dead person in the period between the death of the individual Christian and the resurrection. Two basic views were developed. One view is that of an individual judgment, which takes place immediately after death and brings the individual to an interim state, from which he enters into the realm of bliss or that of perdition (eternal damnation, Hell). The idea of an individual judgment, however, cannot be readily harmonized with the concept of the general Last Judgment on the day of the general resurrection of the dead. It anticipates the decision of the general judgment and thus deprives of its significance the notion of the Last Judgment. A second view, therefore, also prevailed: the sleep of the soul--i.e., the soul of the dead person enters into a sleeping state that continues until the Last Judgment, which will occur after the general resurrection. At the Last Judgment the resurrected will be assigned either to eternal life or eternal damnation. This conception, accepted in many churches, contains many discrepancies, especially the abandonment of the fundamental idea of the continuity of personal life. Both views contain a consequence. The first leaves to people no further opportunity to improve the mistakes of their lives and to expiate their guilt. The second preserves the personality in an intermediate state for an indefinite period so as to later punish it for sins or reward it for good deeds from a time prior to entrance into the sleep of the soul. The belief in purgatory (an interim state in which a correction of a dead person's evil condition is still possible) of the Roman Catholic Church gives the deceased opportunities for repentance and penance to ameliorate their situation.
The presupposition of the doctrine of purgatory is that there is a special judgment for each individual at once after death. Hence, the logical conclusion is that purgatory ceases with the Last Judgment. The stay in purgatory can be shortened through intercession, alms, indulgences, and benefits of the sacrifice of the mass. The Eastern Orthodox Church has no doctrine of purgatory but does practice an intercession for the dead. It assumes that, on the basis of the connection between the church of the living and that of the dead, an exertion of influence upon the fate of the dead through intercession is possible before the time of the Last Judgment. The Roman Catholic understanding of the intercession of the saints is an extension of the belief in the communion of saints. Although such veneration does tend to multiply mediators, it has often fostered a simple and not unpleasing familiarity with the world of the supernatural.
The idea of the Last Judgment has often become incomprehensible to the modern world. At the most, people apparently are still open to the concept of judgment of the guilt and innocence of the individual. The idea decisive for the early church's expectation of the Judgment, however, was that the Last Judgment will be a public one. This corresponds to the fundamental Christian idea that human beings--both the living and the dead--are bound together in an indissoluble communion; it presupposes the conception of the church as the body of Christ. All of humanity is as one person. Humans sin with one another, and their evil is connected together in the "realm of sin" in a manifold way, unrecognizable in the individual. Each person is responsible for the other and is guilty with the other. The judgment upon each person, therefore, concerns all. Judgment upon the individual is thus at the same time judgment upon the whole, and vice versa. The Judgment is also public in regard to the positive side--the praise and reward of God for that which is done rightly and practiced in the common life, often without knowing it.
For the most part, the churches of the latter part of the 20th century no longer have the courage to uphold the Christian teaching of life after death. The church has long neglected teachings about the entire area of the last things. The New Testament responses presuppose the imminent expectation and thus leave many questions unanswered that arose because of the delay of the Parousia. The doctrine of the sleep of the soul, on the other hand, contains many consequences that question the fundamental idea of the Christian view of the personality of the imago Dei ("image of God"). The beginnings of a further development of the Christian view of life after death, as are found in Swedenborg, have never been recognized positively by the church. For this reason, since the period of Romanticism and Idealism, ideas of the transmigration of souls and reincarnation, taken over from Hinduism and Buddhism, have gained a footing in Christian views of the end-time expectation. Some important impulses toward a new understanding of the view of life after death are found in Christian theosophy, such as the idea of a further development of the human personality upon other celestial bodies after death.
The Last Judgment:
The justice demand reward for the obedient and punishment for disobedient. A killer of millions like Hitler can get death penalty or life imprisonment in any court after trial. Its not fair justice, such persons need to be punished according to nature of their crimes, which can only be done by God in hereafter. Sin is "any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God" (1John; 3:4; Romans;4:15). “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”(Isaiah;13:9-12).
The ‘Last Judgment’ has been predicted in the Old Testament (1Corinthians;6:33; Psalsm;9:7;96:13; Ecclesiastes;3:17), a day has been appointed (Acts;17:31; Romans;2:16), but the time is unknown to any creature (Mark;13:32). The judgment shall be held upon; All nations (Mathew;25:32); All men (Hebrews;9:27; 12:23) ; Small and great (Revelation;20:12); Righteous and wicked (Ecclesiastes;3:17); Quick and dead (2 Timothy; 4:1; 1 Peter; 4:5). The Devils shall be condemned (2Peter;2:4; Jude;1:6). The Judgment shall be of all; Actions (Ecclesiastes;11:9; 12:14; Revelation;20:13; Mathew;25:1-46; Romans; 14:10-11; 2 Corinthians; 5:10; 2 Thessalonians; 1:7-10), Words (Matthew; 12:36-37) and Thoughts (Ecclesiastes; 12:14; 1Corinthians; 4:5). There will be Final everlasting punishment of the wicked and reward for righteous: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew;25:46). The Jews, shall be judged by the law of Moses: “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;”(Romans; 2:2), “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”(Romans;11:26-27).
The Christians shall be judged by the gospel (James;2:12; Mathew;11:20-24; John;3:19) and the Gentiles (people without any law), will be judged by the law of conscience: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;(Romans;2:14-15 also).
In Judaism, the day of judgmen happens every year on Rosh Hashanah; therefore, the belief in a last day of judgment for all mankind is disputed. Some rabbis hold that there will be such a day following the resurrection of the dead. Others hold that there is no need for that because of Rosh Hashanah. Yet others hold that this accounting and judgment happens when one dies. Other rabbis hold that the last judgment only applies to the gentile nations and not the Jewish people:
After Life in Judaism:
In Judaism, the day of judgmen happens every year on Rosh Hashanah; therefore, the belief in a last day of judgment for all mankind is disputed. Some rabbis hold that there will be such a day following the resurrection of the dead. Others hold that there is no need for that because of Rosh Hashanah. Yet others hold that this accounting and judgment happens when one dies. Other rabbis hold that the last judgment only applies to the gentile nations and not the Jewish people:
After Life in Judaism:
Individual eschatology emerges only on the periphery of the Old Testament. Amazingly, there were in Israel no known death cults and no vivid conceptions of life after death. The late expectation of the resurrection from the dead to judgment is not a yearning for salvation but hope in the victorious righteousness of God : “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel;12:2). Rabbinical messianism continued this same line of thought. The restoration of the holy nation, moreover, always has been linked with its Holy Land; and Hebrew literature, both in biblical and later forms, has lovingly described the establishment of a New Jerusalem and a new Temple of Yahweh (the Lord), whether it be in this world or in some new cosmic order. Into this new order, the rest of mankind, repentant and purified, will be incorporated; for the original promise made to the patriarch Abraham included all men within the divine blessing. In the Book of Zechariah, the ultimate salvation of mankind is graphically envisaged: the Gentiles, in company with the Jews, will return to serve God in an ideal Jerusalem.
The Hebrews were much concerned about sources of information about the heavenly world and about the places of the damned and saved souls. In later Jewish and early Christian apocalypses, in which the pious one, undertakes a heavenly trip and sees the secrets that are hidden from others, these sources of information are highly significant. III Baruch, a book written in Greek--in which Baruch, the disciple of the prophet Jeremiah, visits the universe and sees its secrets and the places of the souls and of the angels, is such an apocalypse. In the Greek text the number of heavens visited by Baruch is five, but it is possible that originally he was said to have seen seven heavens. There are Christian passages in the book, but it seems to have been a Jewish work from the 1st century CE later rewritten by a Christian.
Another book that was written during the period of the apocalyptic movement in which the Dead Sea sect came into existence is the Book of Enoch, (I Enoch).The first treatise (chapters 1-36) speaks about the fall of the angels, who rebelled before the Flood, and describes Enoch's celestial journeys, in which divine secrets were revealed to him. It was probably written in the late 2nd century B.C. Abraham was shown the mysteries of un known: “We showed Ibrahim the kingdom of the heavens and the earth , as We show you with examples from nature, so he became one of the firm believers.”(Qur’an;6:75). It may be mentioned here, that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was also shown the secrets of heavens through Mairaj.
Events Preceding End of The World:
Jewish Concept of Antichrist: In the Old Testament the Jewish conception of the struggle is found in the prophecy of Daniel, written at the beginning of the Maccabean period (167-164 BC). The historical figure who served as a model for the Antichrist was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the persecutor of the Jews, and he left a lasting impression upon the conception. Since then, ever-recurring characterizations of this figure are that he would appear as a mighty ruler at the head of gigantic armies, destroy three rulers (three horns) and devastate the Temple of God. “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” (Daniel;7:8).“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” (Daniel;7:24). “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Daniel;7:25). In later times, the tyrant who was God's enemy became a figure of prophecy, applied to various situations of crisis. Also, Jewish and Christian writers of apocalypses saw in the emperor Nero (died C.E 68) the Antichrist.
Christian Concept of Antichrist:
The earliest mention of the name Antichrist, which was probably first coined in Christian eschatological literature (concerned with the end of time), is in the letters of St. John (IJohn; 2: 18, 22; II John; 7), although the figure does appear in the earlier II Thessalonians as "the lawless one." Yet the conception of a mighty ruler who will appear at the end of time and whose essence will be enmity of God is older and was taken over by Christianity from Judaism. Jesus is attributed to have said: “Then if any one says to you, `Lo, here is the Christ!' or `There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”(Mathew;24:23-24). The Antichrist appears as a tempter who works by signs and wonders and seeks to obtain divine honours; it is further signified that this "man of lawlessness" will obtain credence, especially among the Jews because they have not accepted the truth. This version of the figure of Antichrist, who may now really for the first time be described by this name, appears to have been at once widely accepted in Christendom. The idea that the Jews would believe in Antichrist as punishment for not having believed in the true Christ seems to be expressed by the author of the Fourth Gospel (John; 5:43).
The conception of Antichrist as a perverter of men led naturally to his connection with false doctrine (1John; 2:18,22, 4:3; 2John;1: 7). In the Book of Revelation the Antichrist is seen as a worker of wonders and a seducer. In the history it became a common feature to call the opponents as Anti Christ which has now subsided. Among some modern Protestant theologians the Antichrist can be interpreted as whatever resists or denies the lordship of Christ and tends to deify a political power--within either the church or the state. In dispensational and pre-millennial theology the expectancy of a personal Antichrist at the end of time remains strong.
Gog and Magog:
According to the Bible, Gog is a hostile power that is ruled by Satan and will manifest itself immediately before the end of the world: “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea”. (Revelation;20:8). In the biblical passage in Revelation and in other Christian and Jewish apocalyptic literature, Gog is joined by a second hostile force, Magog; but elsewhere (Ezekiel;38; Genesis;10:2) Magog is apparently the place of Gog's origin. An independent legend of Gog and Magog surrounds two colossal wooden effigies in the Guildhall, London. They are thought to represent survivors of a race of giants destroyed by Brutus the Trojan, the legendary founder of London (Troia Nova, or New Troy), and brought there to act as porters at the gate of the royal palace. Effigies of Gog and Magog have existed in London from the time of Henry V. The first figures were destroyed in the Great Fire (1666 C.E) and were replaced in 1708. The second pair was destroyed in an air raid in 1940 and again replaced in 1953. In the legends recounted by the medieval English historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, Gogmagog, or Goëmagot, was a giant chieftain of Cornwall who was slain by Brutus' companion Corineus.
Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
The Second Coming of Jesus is also called Second Advent, or Parousia, in Christianity, it is the future return of Jesus Christ in glory, when it is understood that he will set up his kingdom, judge his enemies, and reward the faithful, living and dead. Early Christians believed the Advent to be imminent, and those who have later professed what is known as Adventism have believed that the visible appearance of Jesus may occur at any moment and that Christians should be ever ready for it. Such believers find evidence for the Second Coming in the Gospels (Matthew;24,25; Mark;13; Luke;21:5-26; John;14:25-29), in the Book of Revelations, and in other biblical and traditional sources.
In the New Testament it is the place where the kings of the Earth under demonic leadership will wage war on the forces of God at the end of world history, probably in Hebrew it is the "Hill of Megiddo". Armageddon is mentioned in the Bible only once, in Revelations: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. “And I saw, issuing from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the false prophet, three foul spirits like frogs; for they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. ("Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake, keeping his garments that he may not go naked and be seen exposed!") And they assembled them at the place which is called in Hebrew Armageddon.”(Revelation;16:13-16). The Palestinian city of Megiddo was probably used as a symbol for such a battle because of its strategic importance in Palestinian history. Because it controlled a pass that cut through the Mount Carmel ridge from the coastal Plain of Sharon into Esdraelon, Megiddo commanded the road leading from Egypt and the coastal plain of Palestine into Galilee, Syria, and Mesopotamia. Megiddo was the scene of many battles, and Revelations seems to imply that the "hill" on which the city fortress stood, or the "mountain" heights behind it, had become a symbol of the final battlefield where God's heavenly armies will defeat the demon-led forces of evil. Other biblical references suggest Jerusalem as the site of this battle.
They believe that in order to fulfill Biblical prophecy, Israel must conquer most of the Middle East. They are a growing force in American politics with ties to many powerful pro-Israel groups in Washington. Once considered a marginal doctrine among evangelicals, the dispensationalist theology of Christian Zionism includes a belief in the rapture, when the faithful are to be lifted up to Heaven while the rest of humanity—including most of the Jews—will perish.
The Zionist Jews consider Zionist Fundamentalist Christians as useful idiots, serving their purpose of colonial Zionist existence in Palestine, while Zionist Fundamentalist Christians consider Jews nothing more than ‘sacrificial lamb’.
Rejection by Christians:
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Catholic), the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, have recently joined together in order to proclaim and to publish the Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism (August 22, 2006). This Declaration rejects Christian Zionism for substituting a political-military program in place of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The statement is very critical of Christian Zionism because it provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. Palestinian Christian leaders have also been very vocal in supporting the “Kairos Palestine” document calling for a boycott against Israel until it stops its discriminatory policies in the Palestinian territories.
The belief in hereafter is part of faith in Islam, according to Qur’an:
“Your God is One God; as for those who do not believe in the hereafter, they have faithless hearts and are puffed up with arrogance.”(Qur’an;16:22).
“He is the One Who has given you life, will cause you to die and then will bring you back to life again - yet man is indeed very ungrateful.”(Qur’an;22:66)
“Every soul is bound to have the taste of death. We are putting all of you to a test by passing you through bad and good conditions, and finally you shall return to Us.”(Qur’an;21:35)
“To Him you shall all return. Allah's promise is true. He is the One Who originates the process of Creation and repeats it (will bring it back to life) so that He may justly reward those who believed in Him and did righteous deeds. As for those who disbelieved, they shall have boiling fluids to drink and shall undergo a painful punishment because they rejected the truth.” (Qur’an;10:4)
".. So you have come back to Us Alone as We created you at the first time, leaving behind all that which We gave you in that world and We don't see with you your intercessors, whom you claimed to be Allah's partners in your affairs; all your ties have been cut off and what you presumed has failed you.”(Qur’an;65:94).
On many occasions, the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned his companions and Muslims in following generations, about the Day of Judgment and emphasized the need to be well prepared for it. After death, souls are in what is called “the life in the Barzakh”, which is a status in between this life and the second life that begins on the Day of Judgment. This is the day when everyone will be held accountable for whatever they had done or said in their lives:
“We shall unite the true believers with those of their descendants who follow them in their faith, and shall not deny them the reward of their good deeds - everyone is responsible for his deeds”(Qur’an;52:21).
Everyone will be judged on the same basis, by the same criterion, and his or her destiny will be known. God may pardon whomever He wills, and He certainly forgives a countless number of people much of their sins. Whoever is so forgiven will end up in Heaven, while those who are not, will end up in Hell. The basic element that earns forgiveness is belief in God. Those who do not believe in Him or associate with Him other deities forfeit their claims to forgiveness, because their basic sin is too grave to merit forgiveness.
Since resurrection and the Day of Judgment are so strongly emphasized in Islam, the Prophet, peace be upon him, was many times asked about knowledge or the time of the Last Hour, which is another name for the Day of Judgment. In the Qur’an, he is instructed to say that only God knows its time:
"They ask you about the Last Hour: “When will it come to pass?" Say: “Knowledge of it rests with my Lord alone. None but He will reveal it at its appointed time. It will weigh heavily on the heavens and the Earth; and it will not fall on you except suddenly.” They will ask you further as if you yourself persistently inquire about it. Say: “They ask thee about the (final) hour when will be its appointed time? Say: "The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone): none but He can reveal as to when it will occur. Heavy were its burden through the heavens and the earth. Only all of a sudden will it come to you. They ask thee as if thou wert eager in search thereof: Say: "The knowledge thereof is with Allah (alone) but most men know not.” (Qur’an;7: 187).
It will arrive suddenly: “Do they only wait for the Hour that it should come on them all of a sudden while they perceive not?”(Qur’an;43:66). “Lost indeed are they who treat it as a falsehood that they must meet Allah until on a sudden the hour is on them and they say: "Ah! woe unto us that we took no thought of it"; for they bear their burdens on their backs; and evil indeed are the burdens that they bear!”(Qur’an;6:31).
The time of the Hour, is something that God has chosen not to reveal. Hence, there is no need to ask about it. The time of death is important because after death, no one can alter what he has done in this life, Allah says in Qur’an:
“Repentance with Allah (right to be forgiven by Allah) is only for those who do something evil in ignorance and repent as soon as they realize it; Allah will pardon them. Allah is the Knowledgeable, Wise. There is no repentance for those who persist in their evil deeds until death approaches anyone of them and he says: "surely now I repent." Similarly, there is no repentance for those who die while they were still unbelievers; for them We have prepared a painful punishment.”(Qur’an;4:17-18).
One may continue to earn reward, only in the three specified ways: Continuous charity, Useful contribution to knowledge and Prayer by the children. The Prophet’s answers when he was asked about the Last Hour were always in this vein, reminding his interlocutors of their approaching death. The Prophet’s answer indicate the fact that after death; it would not matter to anyone when human life is brought to an end, because their own hour had already come.
Signs & Indications:
Some events which will take place before the Day of Judgment has been mentioned in Qur’an while other details have been mentioned in Hadith. It is mentioned in the Qur'an that the Day of Judgment will be preceded by strange happenings in the universe. One of these is that a walking creature will come out of the earth, which will speak to people, mentioned in Qur’an:
“And when the Word is fulfilled against them (the unjust) We shall produce from the earth a beast to (face) them: he will speak to them for that mankind did not believe with assurance in our Signs.”(Qur’an;27:82).
Since God has not given any more information about this creature, it is not appropriate to indulge in guesswork. It is appropriate to believe the Qur'anic statement as it is, knowing that God is able to do what He pleases in the manner and fashion He chooses. Another indication which the Qur'an has mentioned is the release of Yajuj & Majuj (Gog and Magog) after the collapse of the barrier (wall) which separates them from known world:
“Until the Gog and Magog (people) are let through (their barrier) and they swiftly swarm from every hill”.(Qur’an;21:96).
It is not known as to who Gog and Magog are, or where their land lies, or where the wall is. If humanity manage to identify these on the basis of research and linking various sorts of evidence and come up with a conclusion which is not contrary to the Qur'an, it would be accepted. Otherwise, the Qur'anic statement in its generality should be accepted as such. Before the Day of Judgment the earth would be first full of corruption that people would be so used to it that they will not even think about God or their religious duties. True knowledge becomes scanty, while ignorance becomes widespread. Drinking intoxicants and adultery becomes commonplace. Women become greater in number than men, and honesty becomes a rare commodity in human society. Social standards become inconsistent, and lowly people rise in society. Many of the Hadiths that mention abut future events, particularly those relating to the Day of Judgment and its signs and the events that precede it are not at the highest level of authenticity. Some of them are of the grade of Sahih (authentic), and some are Hasan (acceptable), while others are poor in authenticity. Moreover, many accept a figurative interpretation. The coming of The Imposter (Dajjal) and rightly guided man (Arabic: Mahdi) a messianic figure who will appear in the last days is not found in the Qur’an but is well fostered in Shi’a thought, and even some Sunni inclination, sometimes identified with Jesus. The Imposter (In Christianity called Anti-Christ) will appear during a period of great tribulation, before the end of time; after a reign of 40 days or 40 years, will try to remove all goodness from human life. He will be followed by the Jews and will claim to be God in Jerusalem. He will work false miracles, and will delude a great many people. None but the true believers will be able to recognize that he is an impostor.
The rightly guided one (Mahdi), will fill the Earth with justice and equity, restore true religion of Islam, and usher in a short golden age lasting seven, eight, or nine years before the end of the world. He will be from the family of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through his daughter Fatima (r.a). The Qur’an does not mention him, and almost no reliable Hadith concerning the Mahdi can be adduced. He will strive hard to put an end to the Impostor who would have wreaked havoc and spread corruption. He would fight that Imposter with those who believe in the right faith. He appears before the Second Coming of Jesus and when Jesus comes, he hands over the leadership of the believers to him. He is believed to be an ordinary human being to whom God grants guidance. The Twelver Shi’as (Imamis) believe that their twelfth Imam Mahdi, who is believed to have gone into occultation since 329 A.H (939 C.E) will reappear at the end of time as the messianic Imam who will restore justice and equity on earth. He is therefore referred to as Imam al Muntazir the expected or awaited Imam.
The second coming of Prophet Jesus Christ:
The second coming of the Prophet Jesus Christ will take place around this period. He will break the cross and kill pigs. He would gather around him some believers who would be dedicated to the cause of the divine faith. He will fight the Impostor and kill him to establish a world order. He will rule the world according to law of Qur’an (Shari’a) and establish peace and Islamic rule in world. All Jews and Christians will believe him as ‘Messenger of Allah and a human being’, they will follow him. Jesus will die his natural death.
The day of resurrection, will appear to be very long, for there will be a state of complete confusion and turmoil among human. Qur’an has given some details of The Day of Judgment; “As for the dooms- day, it shall come, when the Trumpet will be blown with a single blast and the earth with all its mountains will be lifted up and crushed into pieces with a single stroke - On that day the Great Event will come to pass, heaven shall split asunder, and the day shall seem flimsy. The angels will stand all around and eight of them will be carrying the Throne of your Lord above them. That shall be the day when you will be brought before your Lord, and none of your secrets shall remain hidden.”(Qur’an;69:13-18);"And the trumpet shall be blown (by angel Israfil), and all who are in the heavens and who are in the Earth shall fall down fainting, except those that Allah shall spare. Then, it shall be blown again and they shall rise gazing around them" (Qur’an;39:68); "As We began the first creation, We, shall repeat it: A Promise We have undertaken: Truly we shall do it."(Qur’an;21:104). "Hearken ye to your Lord before there come a Day which there will be no putting back because of (the ordainment of) Allah! That Day there will be for you no place of refuge nor will there be for you any room for denial (of your sins)!' (Qur’an;42:47).'Say: "As to the knowledge of the time it with Allah alone: I am (sent) only to warn plainly in public."(Qur’an;67:26).'"The Day when the Earth will be rent asunder from (men) hurrying out: that will be a gathering together quite easy for Us' (Qur’an;50:44)."As We started the first creation, so We shall bring it back again. This is a promise from Us, so We shall assuredly fulfill it" (Qur’an;21:104). On the Day of the Judgment, this world as we know it, will come to an end and the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. On that day, all men and women from Adam to the last person will be resurrected from the state of death for judgment. Everything we do, say, make, intend and think are accounted for and kept in accurate records. They are brought up on the Day of Judgment. The one who believe in life after death is not expected to behave against the Will of Allah, He will always bear in mind that Allah is watching all his actions and the angels are recording them. People with good records will be generously rewarded and warmly welcomed to the Heaven. People with bad records will be fairly punished and cast into Hell. The real nature of heaven and hell are known to Allah only, but they are described in the Qur'an in the terms familiar to humans. If some good deeds are seen not to get full appreciation and credit in this life, they will receive full compensation and be widely acknowledged on the Day of Judgment. If some people who commit sins, neglect Allah and indulge in immoral activities, seem superficially successful and prosperous in this life, absolute justice will be done to them on the Day of Judgment. The time of the Day of Judgment is only known to Allah and Allah alone.
Death: Body & Soul:
After death, souls are in what is called “the life in the Barzakh (Barrier)”, which is a status in between this life and the second life that begins on the Day of Judgment. According to Qur’an: “These people will never refrain from wrongdoing until when death comes to anyone of them, he will say: "O Sustainer! Send me back, so that I may do good deeds in the world that I have left behind." Never! This is just a statement which carries no value, it will be too late because there will be a barrier between them and the world they have just left till the Day they are raised to life again.”(Qur’an;23:99-100). The questioning or the trial of grave will take place. The details of this life and how it is conducted are not well known. It is only known that the faithful who have done well in this life, being devout and doing what God requires them to do will be in a happy state, while determined sinners will suffer what is termed as the “torment in the grave.”
Trial of the Grave:
The grave is the place of burial, it also symbolize death or extinction of physical body. In biblical accounts (New Testament), the spirits of the dead, are placed in a state or abode called Hades, the place of waiting before judgment. It is mentioned as Sheol in the Old Testament. The righteous and the wicked are separated, the blessed dead are in that part of Hades called paradise (Luke;23:43). They are also said to be in Abraham's bosom (Luke;16:22). The wicked are in state of torments in hell (Luke;16:23).
According to the Islamic traditions, there will be a short pre trial after death called ‘The Trial of the Grave’, which involves questioning the deceased person by two angels; Munkir and Nakir, about his Lord, his religion, and his prophet. There "Allah confirms those who believe with a firm saying, in the present life and the hereafter" (Qur’an;14:27).
The believer will say: "Allah is my Lord, Islam is my religion, and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is my prophet." The unbeliever or the hypocrite will say: "I do not know. I heard the people saying something and I said it." The believers will be in a happy state in the grave; "Those whose lives the angels take in state of purity, saying 'peace be on you; enter paradise for what you were doing' (Qur’an;16:32).
The transgressing unbelievers will get the “torment in the grave.”: "If you could only see when the evildoers are in the agonies of death and the angels are stretching out their hands, saying, 'Give up your souls! Today you shall be rewarded with the punishment of humiliation for what you used to say untrue about Allah, and for scornfully rejecting His signs"(Qur’an;6:93).
The dead will rise as in a stupor, and they will be confused in the new conditions! They will gradually regain their memory and their personality. They will be reminded that Allah in His grace and mercy had already announced the Hereafter in their probationary lives, and the word of Allah's messengers, which then seemed so strange and remote, was true and was now being fulfilled! The new dreadful, frightening and terrifying environments will have such adverse affect that the period they had spent in the grave and the “torment in the grave” will appear to them as nothing, very short as if they were asleep :“And the trumpet is blown and lo! from the graves they will rush forth to their Lord! Crying: Woe upon us! Who hath raised us from our place of sleep? This is that which the Beneficent did promise, and the messengers spoke truth,(Qur’an;36:51-52). The sayings of the Prophet are numerous and well-known in this subject. A Muslim must believe in all that is reported in the Qur'an and the prophetic traditions concerning the unseen matters. He should not contradict it by his worldly experience, because the affairs of the hereafter cannot be perceived by the affairs of this life. The difference between them is very great. Allah is the source of help.
Science on Soul, Spirit:
This world is composed of material objects that occupy space and have properties like mass, electric charge, extension, etc., whereas the mental world is populated not by material objects but by thoughts. Paul Davis says "the mind (or soul) is not located inside the brain, or any other part of the body; or indeed anywhere in space at all. Mind is not a physical substance, but a tenuous, elusive, ethereal sort of substance, the stuff that thoughts and dreams are made of, free and independent of ordinary ponderous matter." If soul is not space, then it exists in time. Here the issue 1s more subtle. If soul is the source of the human perception then this must include the human perception of time. If a concept is abstract rather than substantial does not make it unreal or illusory. For example one's nationality.
The faith, beliefs or thoughts do not occupy a space inside one's body. They cannot be measured or subjected to physical laws. In computer terminology if body is the hardware then soul or mind could be compared to software. Therefore in principle it is possible for the mind to survive after death of the brain by transferring it to some other mechanism or system. Study of Quantum physics and mysticism can also help in understanding the nature of soul.
Paradise and Hell:
Paradise & hell are opposite to each other. Paradise is the abode of enjoyment which Allah, the Exalted, prepared for the righteous. No eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard of, and no human being has ever thought of the blessings that they will enjoy there. It is mentioned in Qur’an: "No soul knows what comfort is kept hidden for them, as a reward for their deeds"(Qur’an;32:17). It is mentioned in Bible: “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”(Luke;23:43), “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”(Genesis;2:8). The Hell is the abode of punishment that Allah has prepared for the unbelievers and the evildoers. The torture and horror in it cannot be imagined: "Surely, We have prepared for the evildoers a fire, whose pavilion encompasses them. If they call for help, they will be helped with water like molten copper which will scald their faces. How dreadful a drink and how evil a resting place!"(Qur’an;18:29). According to Bible: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”(Psalms;9:17), “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”(Psalms;16:10),“For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”(Psalms;86:13). “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew;23:33).
Both paradise and hell exist and will never perish: "Whoever believes in Allah and does righteousness, He will admit him to gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever. Allah had indeed made for him an excellent provision" (Qur’an;65-11); "Certainly, Allah has cursed the unbelievers and prepared for them a blazing fire to dwell therein forever, they shall find neither protector nor helper. On the day when their faces are turned about in the fire they shall say: 'Would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger!"(Qur’an;33:64-66). The paradise confirmed to ten people in addition to the Prophet (pbuh), in Qur’an or the prophetic traditions either by description or name are: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Talhah, az-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Sa'd ibn Malik and Abdu rRahman ibn Awf. Sa'id ibn Zayd. (Sunan of Abu-Dawood. Hadith 4632). Among those whom Muslims confirm to enter paradise because they fit the description are the faithful and the pious. Muslim likewise confirm hell to whom it is confirmed in the Qur'an and the sayings of the Prophet, whether in name or description. Among those who are mentioned by name to be in hell are Abu Lahab, 'Amr Ibn Luhai al-Khuza'i, and others (Bukhari and Muslim). Confirmation of hell that is based on description includes every unbeliever, polytheist, or hypocrite.
The straight path (Sirat Bridge) is set up over hell. People pass over it according to their deeds: the first of them as fast as lighting, then as fast as wind, then as fast as birds, and then as fast as a running man. The Prophet will be standing on the path, saying: "Lord, Save! Save!," as some people's deeds will fall short. Some of them will come crawling. At both sides of the path there are hooks designed to take whom Allah wills: some are saved but bruised; others are thrown into hell. (Bukhari and Muslim). All that is mentioned in the Qur'an or the prophetic sayings concerning that day and its horrors is to be believed, may Allah save the believers from them.
Intercession and Prayers:
It is important to differentiate between three terminologies; Shif’at (Intercession), Du’a (Supplication) and Salah (Prayer). The Arabic word Shif’at used in Qur’an is generally translated as ‘Intercession’, meaning entreaty in favor of another, especially a prayer or petition to God in behalf of another. Intercession commonly refers to mediation between God and sinners by pious and those considered nearer to God to seek forgiveness and blessing for sinners. Du’a (Supplication) is to ask for humbly or earnestly, as by praying, to make a humble, earnest petition to God: “Therefore, you should know that there is no god but Allah; implore Him to forgive your sins and to forgive the believing men and believing women; for Allah knows your activities and your resting places”(Qur'an;47:19). Prayer is to utter or address a prayer or prayers to God, a mode of worship : “If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul and then seeks Allah's forgiveness, he will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;4:110). Praying or addressing supplication to any one other than God is strictly forbidden in Islam, for God says: “Unto Him is the real prayer. Those unto whom they pray beside Allah respond to them not at all, save as (if the response to) one who stretches forth his hands toward water (asking) that it may come unto his mouth, and it will never reach it. likewise the prayer (du’a) of the unbelievers is nothing but a fruitless effort.”(Qur’an;13:14). In Islam Salah refers to obligatory prayers, worship God (five times a day), Dua (Supplication) are part of Salah, however Dua (Supplication) may be offered any time, i.e. Muslims greet the Muslims and non Muslims alike by saying ‘Asalamo Alaikum’ (peace be upon you) a form of Du’a.
Among the Babylonians and the Assyrians, priesthood was established primarily to say prayers of intercession. There is a perception that prayers of intercession to the divine can be supported by mediator human protectors (alive or dead), marabouts (from Arabic murabit, dervishes, or mystics, believed, to have special powers), or saints in Christianity, whose mediation is believed to ensure that the prayer will be effective. However the practice of addressing supplication to any one other than Allah is against Tawheed (Islamic monotheism), the dead men are themselves in need of prayers, according to Qur’an: “Nor are alike those that are living and those that are dead. Allah can make any that He wills to hear; but thou canst not make those to hear who are (buried) in graves”(Qur’an;35:22). “If ye invoke them (other than Allah) they will not listen to your call and if they were to listen they cannot answer your (prayer). On the Day of Judgment they will reject your "Partnership." And none (O man!) can tell thee (the Truth) like the One Who is acquainted with all things”.(Qur’an;35:14). “And your Lord hath said: Pray unto me and I will hear your prayer. Lo! those who scorn My service, they will enter hell, disgraced.” (Qur’an;40:60).
In Biblical religion, intercession is spiritualized in view of a consciousness of the messianic (salvatory) mission. Moses views himself as one with his people even when they fail in their duty: "Pardon your people," he prays, "or remove me from the Book of Life." Such solidarity finds its supreme form in the prayer of Christ (as per Christian belief) on the cross--"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"--which St. Stephen (the first recorded Christian martyr) and other martyrs repeated in the course of their sufferings. The Roman Catholic understanding of the intercession of the saints is an extension of the belief in the communion of saints. Although such veneration does tend to multiply mediators, it has often fostered familiarity with the world of the supernatural.
Supplications (du’a), in which the needs of others are expressed is a common practice among followers of all faiths. Apart from an individual himself supplicating directly to God, the family members supplicate for the other members of the family, but the supplications also are extended to the whole tribe, family and the brothers in faith. The pious faithful are requested by common faithful to supplicate to God for legitimate favours, like forgiveness of sins, good health, promotion of business, eradication of worries and many other favours and blessings of God. In every obligatory prayer the Muslims supplicate: “All prayers and worship through words, action and sanctity are for Allah only. Peace be on you, O Prophet and Mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be on us and on those who are righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness to the fact that there is no deity but Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger. O Allah, exalt Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad As Though did exalt Abraham and his followers. Thou art the praised, the Glorious O Allah, exalt (pay tribute to) Muhammad and his followers as Thou has blest Abraham and his followers. Thou art the Praised, the Glorious O Lord! Make me and my children steadfast in Prayer (Salah); Lord! Accept the prayer. Our Lord! forgive me and my parents and believers on the Day of Judgment.” Traditionally after the Salah, the prayer leader (Imam) loudly offer Du’a to Allah and the offer followers join him by saying ‘Amen’. Believer may pray for ‘peace’ for the living non believers, so that Allah may open their hearts for Islam, but it is forbidden for a Muslim to pray for the dead non believers; may be they are very close relatives like parents and other relations etc.
According to Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, 2.442: Narrated by Said bin Al Musaiyab from his father, that; when Abu Talib (guardian uncle of the Apostle, peace be upon him) at the death bead declined to accept Islam, then Allah's Apostle said, "I will keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allah) to do so." So Allah revealed (the verse) concerning him (i.e. “It is not fitting for the prophet and those who believe that they should pray for forgiveness for pagans even though they be of kin after it is clear to them that they are companions of the Fire.” (Qur’an;9:113). “The prayer of Abraham for the forgiveness of his father was only because of a promise he had promised him, but when it had become clear unto him that he (his father) was an enemy to Allah he (Abraham) disowned him. Lo! Abraham was soft of heart, long-suffering.”(Qur’an;9:114).
The Intercession on the Day of Judgment:
The widely accepted presumption of unqualified intercession by living or dead pirs, saints or prophets is rebuffed by Islam. God will grant permission to His prophets and those qualified for this honor (known to God only) to intercede for such of sinners as will have already achieved His acceptance for salvation by virtue of their repentance or basic righteousness, piety and His Mercy. This stresses indirectly on to only God’s omniscience (Having total knowledge) which requires no ‘mediator’ but also the immutability of His will. No one can challenge or add to His knowledge as He is Knower of all. This is evident from the following verses from Qur’an:
“On that Day, the sky shall become like molten brass and the mountains like tufts of wool; even a close friend will not ask of his friend, though they will see each other.”(Qur’an;70:10-11).“There is none in the heavens and in the earth but must come to the Compassionate (Allah) in full submission. He has a comprehensive knowledge and has kept strict count of all His creatures, and every one of them will come to Him individually on the Day of Resurrection.”(Qur’an;19:93-95). “Who can intercede with Him without His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them.”(Qur’an;2:255 also at 10:3, 19:87 & 20:109). “Warn them of the Day that is (ever) drawing near when the Hearts will (come) right up to the Throats to choke (them); no Intimate friend nor intercessor will the wrongdoers have who could be listened to.”(Qur’an;40:18). “They worship other deities besides Allah, who can neither harm them nor benefit them, and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allah." O Muhammad, say to them: "Are you informing Allah of what He knows to exist neither in the heavens nor on the earth? Glory to Him! He is far above from having the partners they ascribe to Him!”(Qur’an;10:18).“He knows what is before them and what is behind them and they do not intercede except for the one whom He approves, and for fear of Him they tremble.”(Qur’an;21:28). “How many are the angels in the heavens; yet their intercession can avail none unless Allah gives them permission in favor of whom He wants and is pleased with.”( Qur’an;53:26). “All who obey Allah and the Apostle are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah of the Nabiyyin ( Apostles) the Siddiqin (Sincere lovers of truth) the Shuhada (Witnesses- who testify) and the Salihin (Righteous, who do good): ah! what a beautiful fellowship!”(Qur’an;4:69).
Hence the intercession that concerns some sinner believers, who will have already achieved His acceptance for salvation by virtue of their repentance or basic righteousness, piety and His Mercy, so were to be taken out from the fire. The intercession for them will be granted by Allah to the Nabiyyin (Apostles) the Siddiqin (Sincere lovers of truth, those followers of the prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them)) the Shuhada (Witnesses- who testify, martyrs) and the Salihin (Righteous, who do good, pious) and some angles. Even those who had been Fasting sincerely and remained devoted to the Qur'an will be entitled for intercession form them. The meekest who accepts Faith and does good becomes an accepted member of a great and beautiful company in the Hereafter. It is a company which lives perpetually in the sunshine of God's Grace. It is a glorious hierarchy, of which four grades are specified: (1) The highest is that of the (Nabiyyin) Prophets or Apostles, who get plenary inspiration from God, and who teach mankind by example and precept. That rank in Islam is held by Muhammad (peace be upon him). According to Hadith, Prophet (pbuh) said; "Every prophet is given a supplication (dua), and I wish to preserve my dua as intercession for my community in the next world.(Al Muwatta Hadith.15.26). “My intercession will be for those of my people who have committed major sins.”(Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith. 2208). (2) The next are Siddiqin, those whose badge is sincerity and truth: they love and support the truth with their person, their means, their influence, and all that is theirs. That rank was held by the special Companions of Muhammad, among whom the type was that of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq. (3) The next are the noble army of Shuhada, Witnesses, who testify to the truth. The testimony may be by martyrdom, Or it may be by the tongue of the true Preacher or the pen of the devoted scholar, or the life of the man devoted to service, (4) Lastly, there is the large company of Salihin, Righteous people, the ordinary folk who do their ordinary business, but always in a righteous Way.
While status of Apostle is well known, it is beyond the capabilities of common believers to determine as to who are Siddiqin, Shahada & Salihin among them except form what is apparent: “..Allah has knowledge of the secrets of your hearts.”(Qur’an;3:154), “O believers! Allah knows all that is in your hearts; for Allah is All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.”(Qur’an;33:51). Hence only Allah knows their actual status. So it may be appropriate to respect the pious people, but it will be futile for the believers to run after them considering them to be among Siddiqin, Shuhada or Salihin. They should adhere to Qur’an and Sunnah and pray to Allah to seek His Mercy and grant of Wasila to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as desired by him according to Hadith narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: When you hear the Mu'adhdhin (Prayer Caller), repeat what he says, then invoke a blessing on me, for everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah: then beg from Allah al-Wasilah for me, which is a rank in Paradise fitting for only one of Allah's Servants, and I hope that I may be that one. If anyone who asks that I be given the Wasilah, he will be assured of my intercession.(Sahih Muslim Hadith.177). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The intercession of a martyr will be accepted for seventy members of his family. (Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith. 1042). Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Fasting and the Qur'an intercede for a man. Fasting says, 'O my Lord, I have kept him away from his food and his passions by day, so accept my intercession for him.' The Qur'an says, 'I have kept him away from sleep by night, so accept my intercession for him.' Then their intercession is accepted." Bayhaqi transmitted it in Shu'ab al-Iman.(Al Tirmidhi Hadith.612).
The Great Intercession of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
The ‘Special Great Intercession’ of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) will take place (for the followers of Prophet Adam till Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them) on the Day of Judgment. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) will plead with Allah, after His permission and on behalf of believers of all mankind, to judge among His servants when they suffer from worries and troubles that they cannot bear. They will go to Adam, then to Noah, then to Abraham, then to Moses, then to Jesus, and finally to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad will ask the permission of the Lord. Allah would allow him to intercede (for a certain kind of people) and will fix a limit on believers for admittance into Paradise. The Prophet will keep on repeating request till he said: There will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: 'La ilaha illal-lah,' and has in his heart good equal to the weight of a barley grain. Then there will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: ' La ilaha illal-lah,' and has in his heart good equal to the weight of a wheat grain. Then there will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: 'La ilaha illal-lah,' and has in his heart good equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant)." [Summarized for Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith No. 9.507]. Allah will save from hell some of the believers without the intercession of any one, but by His grace and mercy. The time interval between various batches of sinners may be perceived keeping in view the Time of Allah. His Day (epoch) may be a thousand or fifty thousand years (Qur’an; 70:4 & 32:5) of human reckoning. He guides, rules, and controls all affairs: and in the immense Future all affairs will go up to Him, for He will be the Judge, and His restoration of all values will be as in a Day or an Hour or the Twinkling of an eye; and yet to human perception it will be as a thousand years! Since it is beyond the human perception to fully comprehend the mysteries of the unseen world (Alam Al Ghaib) which could also be called metaphysics; the believer have full faith in what ever has been mentioned in Qur’an and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Human has been blessed with intellect and granted knowledge but it is beyond human capabilities to fully comprehend every thing. Hence many aspects specially the mysteries of life hereafter have been kept hidden. Man only knows what has been conveyed by His messengers and scriptures. More over the actual nature of God, His angels and other creature like Jinns is only known to Him. Science does not claim to know every thing, all mysteries of nature have not be resolved by science. However with the advancement in the scientific knowledge many mysteries have being resolved and understood. Same is the case with the Metaphysical sciences, Al Ghaib.
Man should strive to concentrate on what is with in his abilities and believe what has been revealed by His messengers. The life after death, resurrection, reward and punishment are the matters of hereafter. There are many commonalties about eschatology among three Abrahamic faiths. While appearing similar to certain parts of the Bible (Ezekiel,James,1 Peter, Revelation), this is dissimilar to some, the Protestant branches of Christianity, where salvation comes by faith in Jesus alone. Catholics, however, cite James 2:24 as evidence that judgment is not based on faith alone. Islam emphasizes that grace does not conflict with perfect justice.
Prayers can only be addressed to God. He will permit intercession for deserving people like His messengers and pious people. The matter of heart and faith are only known to God, hence no one can himself claim to be closer to God. It is batter that people should concentrate towards their deeds and seek His forgiveness and blessings. Allah may grant us power and conviction of firm belief and strong faith, followed by good deeds to enable for good reward with Mercy of Allah.
“Our Sustainer! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake.” (Qur’an;2:286)
To be concluded …… Qada & Qadar [ Predestination]
- Fundamentals of Faith
- Messengers of God
- Prophet Abraham (pbuh) to Muhammad (pbuh)
- Prophet Moses (pbuh)
- Prophet David (pbuh),
- Jesus Christ (pbuh),
- Muhammad (pbuh), The Last Messenger
- Bible & Old Scriptures
- Read eBook online: WebDoc or PDF