Rafed English

The Day of Judgment—Resurrection

Among sacred texts the Qur'an is the only one to have spoken in detail about the Day of Judgment. Although the Torah has not mentioned this Day and the Gospels have only alluded to it, the Qur'an has mentioned the Day of Judgment in hundreds of places, using different names. It has described the fate awaiting mankind on this Day sometimes briefly and on other occasions in detail. It has reminded mankind many times that faith in the Day of Recompense (Day of Judgment) is on the same scale in its importance as faith in God and is one of the three principles of Islam. It has mentioned that he who lacks this faith, that is, who denies resurrection, is outside the pale of Islam and has no destiny other than eternal perdition.

And this is the truth of the matter because if there were to be no reckoning in God's actions and no reward or punishment, the religious message, which consists of an assemblage of God's decrees and what He has commanded and forbidden, would not have the least effect. Thus, the existence or nonexistence of prophecy and the religious mission would be the same. In fact, its nonexistence would be preferable to its existence, for to accept a religion and follow the regulations of a Divine Law is not possible without the acceptance of restrictions and loss of what appears as "freedom." If to submit to it were to have no effect, people would never accept it and would not give up their natural freedom of action for it. From this argument, it becomes clear that the importance of mentioning and recalling the Day of Judgment is equivalent to that of the principle of the religious call itself.

From this conclusion, it also becomes evident that faith in the Day of Recompense is the most effective factor which induces man to accept the necessity of virtue and abstention from unbecoming qualities and great sins, in the same way that to forget or lack faith in the Day of Judgment is the essential root of every evil act and sin. God the Almighty has said in His Book, "Lo! Those who wander from the way of Allah have an awful doom, forasmuch as they forgot the Day of Reckoning" (Qur'an, XXXVIII, 27). As can be seen in this sacred verse, the forgetting of the Day of Judgment is considered to be the root of every deviation. Meditation on the purpose of the creation of man and the Universe, or on the purpose and end of Divine Laws, makes it evident that there will he a Day of Judgment.

When we meditate on creation, we see that there is no action (which of necessity is also a kind of motion) without an immutable end and purpose. Never is the action, considered independently and in itself, the end. Rather, action is always the prelude to an end and exists by virtue of that end. Even in actions, which superficially appear to be without purpose such as instinctive actions or the play of children and the like, if we study them carefully, we will discover purposes in conformity with the kind of action in question. In instinctive actions, which are usually a form of motion, the end toward which the motion takes place is the purpose and aim of the action. And in the play of children there is an imaginary end, the attainment of which is the purpose of playing. The creation of man and the world is the action of God and God is above the possibility of performing a senseless and purposeless act such as creating, nourishing, taking away life and then again creating, nourishing and taking away life, that is, of making and destroying, without there being an immutable end and a permanent purpose which He pursues in these acts. There must of necessity be a permanent aim and purpose in the creation of the world and of man. Of course, its benefit does not accrue to God, who is above every need, but rather to the creatures themselves. Thus it must be said that the world and man are directed toward a permanent reality and a more perfect state of being which knows no annihilation and corruption.

Also, when we study with care the condition of men from the point of view of religious education and training, we see that as a result of Divine guidance and religious training people become divided into the two categories of the virtuous and the evil. Yet in this life, there is no distinction made between them. Rather, on the contrary, success usually belongs to those who are evil and unjust. To do good is combined with difficulty and hardship and every kind of privation and endurance of oppression. Since this is so, Divine Justice requires the existence of another world in which each individual receives the just reward his actions deserve, and lives a life in conformity with his merits.

Thus, it is seen that careful consideration of the purpose of creation and of the Divine Laws leads to the conclusion that the Day of Judgment will come for every person. God, the Exalted, makes this clear in His Book, saying, "And We created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in play. We created them not save with truth; but most of them know not" (Qur'an, XLIV, 38-39). Also, "And We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in vain. That is the opinion of those who disbelieve. And woe unto those who disbelieve, from the fire! Shall We treat those who believe and do good works as those who spread corruption in the earth; or shall We treat the pious as the wicked?" (Qur'an, XXXVIII, 2829). In another place He says, "Or do those who commit ill-deeds suppose that We shall make them as those who believe and do good works, the same in life and death? Bad is their judgment! And Allah hath created the heavens and the earth with truth, and that every soul may be repaid what it hath earned. And they will not be wronged" (Qur'an, XLV, 21-22).

Adapted from: "Shi'ah" by: "Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i"

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