Muslims believe that the present life is a trial in preparation for the next realm of existence. When a Muslim dies, he or she is washed and wrapped in a clean, white cloth (usually by a family member) and buried after a special prayer, preferably the same day. Muslims consider this a final service that they can do for their relatives and an opportunity to remember that their own existence here on earth is brief. And they say. Allah says:
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
“Every soul (will) taste [the] death, and only you will be paid in full of your reward (on the) Day (of) [the] Resurrection. Then whoever is drawn away from the Fire and admitted (to) Paradise then surely he is successful. And not (is) the life (of) the world except enjoyment (of) delusion. ” (Surah Al-Imran 3:185)
Life after death begins with the resurrection of man, after which there will come a moment when every human will be shaken as they are confronted with their intentions and deeds, good and bad, and even by their failure to do good in this life. Surely God will raise all the dead. But God has His own plan of things. A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and then the dead will be resurrected to stand before God. That day will be the beginning of a life that will never end, and on that day every person will be rewarded by God according to his or her good or evil deeds. But those who disbelieve say, Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ كُنتُمْ تَمَنَّوْنَ الْمَوْتَ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَلْقَوْهُ فَقَدْ رَأَيْتُمُوهُ وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ
“And certainly you used to wish (for) death before [that] you get it, then indeed, you have seen it while you (were) looking on.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:143 )
Surely, God is just. He will punish the tyrants, whose crimes are beyond count – having tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, created great corruption in society, enslaved numerous persons to serve their whims, etc., because man has a very short life span in this world and because numerous individuals are affected by one’s actions, adequate punishments and rewards are not possible in this life. The Quran very emphatically states that the Day of Judgment must come and that God will decide the fate of each soul according to his or her record of deeds. Allah says:
وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ
“And (do) not think (of) those who are killed in (the) way (of) Allah (as) dead. Nay! They are alive, near their Lord; they are given provision.” (Surah Al-Imran, 3:169)
The Day of Resurrection will be the Day when God’s attributes of Justice and Mercy will be in full manifestation. God will shower His mercy on those who suffered for His sake in worldly life, believing that eternal bliss was awaiting them. But those who abused the bounties of God, caring nothing for the life to come, will be in the most miserable state. Drawing a comparison between them, the Quran says:
أَفَمَن وَعَدْنَاهُ وَعْدًا حَسَنًا فَهُوَ لَاقِيهِ كَمَن مَّتَّعْنَاهُ مَتَاعَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ثُمَّ هُوَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنَ الْمُحْضَرِينَ
“Then is (he) whom We have promised him a promise good, and he (will) meet it, like (the one) whom We provided him enjoyment (of the) life (of) the world then he (on the) Day (of) the Resurrection (will be) among those presented?” (Surah Al-Qasas, 28:61)
The Quran also states that this worldly life is a preparation for eternal life after death. But those who deny it become slaves of their passions and desires, making fun of virtuous and God-conscious persons. The belief in life after death not only guarantees success in the Hereafter but also makes this world full of peace and happiness by making individuals most responsible and dutiful in their activities.
Thus, there are very convincing reasons to believe in life after death:
All the Prophets of God have called their people to believe in it.
- Whenever a human society is built on the basis of this belief, it has been the most ideal and peaceful society, free of social and moral evils.
- History bears witness that whenever this belief is rejected collectively by a group of people in spite of the repeated warning of the Prophet, the group as a whole has been punished by God even in this world.
- The moral, aesthetic and rational faculties of man endorse the possibility of life after death.
- God’s attributes of Justice and Mercy have no meaning if there is no life after death.
In the Quran, Allah Almighty says:
قُلْ إِنَّ الْمَوْتَ الَّذِي تَفِرُّونَ مِنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مُلَاقِيكُمْ ثُمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
Say, “Indeed, the death which you flee from it, then surely it (will) meet you. Then you will be sent back to (the) All-Knower (of) the unseen and the witnessed, and [of] what you used to do.” (Surah Al-Jumu`ah 62:8)
The message is clear from this ayah and it is that a Muslim is not to doubt the fact that Allah Almighty has created every human being in this world with a purpose, and when that purpose gets fulfilled, every one of us will be called back to Allah, where we will have to answer how we did with fulfilling our purpose. Thus, life does not end with death, rather it marks the beginning of eternal and far greater life. Pertaining to those who are a sceptic of this worldly life, Allah says:
وَإِن مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا لَيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا
“And (there is) not from (the) People (of) the Book but surely he believes in him before his death. And (on the) Day (of) the Resurrection he will be against them a witness.” (Surah An-Nisa` 4:159 )
The belief in the life of martyrs soon after death is another example that ascertains the belief of a Muslim that with the end of this life the life does not end, rather, we go into the next life and start living it. Therefore, a Muslim is never to grow sceptic of the life that comes after death, rather one needs to prepare for it and spend the hours and minutes of this life in performing good deeds so that when the Day of Judgment comes, the scale stays heavier on the good deeds and consequently Jannah is awarded to the Muslim.