The second basic tenet of faith is belief in the Day of Resurrection and Judgement. The Holy Qur’an places so much importance on this principle as on belief in God: the two tenets are invariably mentioned together. A believer is constantly aware of the Day of Judgement and this knowledge determines his actions: he does as much good as he can to reap the rewards on that Day and avoids letting him self involved in actions which will harm him spiritually. He will resist even the most enjoyable and desirable temptations, realizing he will have to take full responsibility for his actions on that Day. Similarly, if he is asked to undertake a difficult task, he will carry it out, being aware of the positive sequences. Such people are described in the Holy Qur’an as those; “… who are impelled to rise from their beds (at night) to call out to their Sustainer in fear and Hope, and who spend on others out of what We provide for them as sustenance…”(Qur’an;32:l6). It is people like this, who are happy to serve God regardless of whether times are good or bad: They are willing to let go of whatever they own for the sake of others. They are in awe of God and respect His power and at the same time, they are comforted by His mercy.
The Holy Qur’an states that the time fixed for the Day of Resurrection is known to none but Allah: “They ask you about the Last Hour and when will it take place. Say: “Knowledge about it rests only with my Lord: He Himself will disclose it at the proper time…”(Qur’an;7:187); “Allah Alone has knowledge of the unseen things of the Heavens and the Earth. As for the taking place of the Hour of Judgment, it will be like a twinkling of an eye or even quicker: surely Allah has power over everything”(Qur’an;16:77). However the Holy Qur’an states that certain strange happenings will take place in this universe prior to the Last Hour: a creature will be brought forth to speak to mankind – the human mind cannot picture how, or what kind of beast this will be? Our knowledge is limited to the fact that God has revealed this information. Among the other peculiar occurrences that will come about is the letting loose from a rampart of the savage tribes: “It is not possible that a nation which We have destroyed may rise again. Until, when Gog and Magog will be let loose and they will swiftly swarm from every height, and the time of fulfillment for the True Promise will draw near, then behold! The eyes of the unbelievers will fixedly stare in horror: “O woe to us! We were indeed heedless of this warning; nay we were wrongdoers.”(Qur’an;21:95-97). There are references to the Last Hour in other Traditions (Sayings of the Prophet). Among them are the extinction of truth and the prevalence of ignorance, alcoholism, adultery, an increase in the number of women and a decrease in the number of men, the disappearance of honesty and trustworthiness, social imbalances, the appearance of an impostor until appearance of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) as the Proclaimer of the Divine Path, as revealed to the Last of All Messengers, Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The Holy Qur’an states that the Last Hour will-be preceded by certain signs. There will be a massive earthquake, unlike any other that mankind has witnessed, and it will come about when human life is still flourishing. “When the earth will be shaken to her utmost convulsion, and the earth shall bring out all her inner burdens”(Qur’an;99:1-2).The consequence will be that human society will be thrown into a state of panic and terror and plunged into gloom. This panic will be severe, Allah says: “On that Day you shall see that every nursing mother will forget her nursing-babe and every pregnant female will miscarry, and you will see people as if they are intoxicated, though they will not be drunk: such will be the horror of Allah’s chastisement”(Qur’an;22:2). Thus man will live on earth to witness the earthquake, enquire about it and trace the reasons for its occurrence.
As we mentioned earlier, about the knowledge regarding the Day of Judgement and what will happen on that Day, belongs to the unseen realm. With our limited perception we cannot inform ourselves about it in the same way as we can find out about the material world we live in. The human mind will not be able to control it in the same way as it controls worldly affairs: our knowledge regarding That Day is based solely on our understanding of the meaning and significance of the verses concerning the subject. We find in the Holy Qur’an many clearly worded verses (ayah) describing the changes and alterations that may occur in what we call the laws of nature. It is understood, for example, that the continuity of these laws is dependent on the continuity of life on earth. In other words, they will cease to be valid when this life ceases to exist This means that we can deduce that the world we know, with its earth, stars and the marvelous system that holds it together, is but a temporary abode set up for a specific time and purpose.
Other events happening on that Day are that the mountains will be rocked so violently that they will become like cotton wool. Huge mountains will be reduced to hillocks of quicksand and the whole earth will become completely flat and bare with no rough surfaces whatsoever. The Holy Qur’an has informed us about all these events. It says that the waters of the seas will explode and evaporate into steam, the stars will fall out of their galaxies, the moon and the sun will merge, and the skies will be torn away and folded, like sheets, in a large size register. And the earth will be changed into another earth. Heaven too will be changed.
We do not have any detailed description of the trumpet referred to in the Holy Qur’an, nor how it will be blown. Whatever is said about it without the support of Qur’anic verses or authentic Traditions (Sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him) should not be relied upon. However, in the light of what is said in the Holy Qur’an, we understand that the trumpet may be blown on two occasions: 1) : “On the Day, when the trumpet shall be blown and all who dwell in the heavens and the earth shall be terrified except those whom Allah will choose to spare, and all shall come to Him in utter humiliation”; (Qur’an;27:87); 2): “The Trumpet shall be blown, and all that is in the heavens and the earth shall swoon except those whom Allah will please to exempt. Then the Trumpet will be blown for the second time and behold! They shall all stand up, looking around”(Qur’an;39:68). The above verses indicate that the first blowing of the trumpet will render mankind into a state of panic and senselessness, while the second blowing of the trumpet will be for resurrection. This is the occasion on which judgement will take place, as stated in the Holy Qur’an: “Then a trumpet shall be blown and, behold, they will rise up from their graves and hasten to their Lord.”(Qur’an;36:51).
Everyone who has died will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement, with each person being in the same mental state as on the day he died. This means he will hardly feel the time lag. He may even be under the impression that only an hour or so has passed since his death. His mental state after resurrection is rather like that of a person who goes into a coma for three days as a result of a car accident. When he comes round he continues his normal routine as if nothing had happened. For example, he may set out to do whatever he was doing before he was struck down by the car – talking to someone, crossing the road, etc. He continues that activity without realizing he has been unconscious for three days. Mankind will be in such a state on the Day of Resurrection.
Among the several real-life situations similar to those that will occur on the Day of Resurrection is the following parable, which appears in the Holy Qur’an: “Or take another example of the one who passed by a town which has fallen down upon its roofs. He exclaimed: “How can Allah bring this dead township back to life?” Thereupon Allah caused him to die, and after one hundred years brought him back to life. Allah asked: “How long did you remain here?” he replied: “Perhaps a day or part of a day.” Allah said: “Nay! You have remained here for one hundred years: now just have a look at your food and drink; they have not rotten; and then look at your donkey and see that his very bones have decayed. We have done this to make you a Sign for mankind. Look at the bones of your donkey how We bring them together then clothe them with flesh and bring him back to life! When this all was shown clearly to him he said: “Now I know that Allah has power over everything.”(Qur’an;2:259).[also refer to Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones (Ezekiel, 37:1-10, Nehemiah’s visit to Jerusalem in ruins after the Captivity, and to its re-building (Nehemiah;2:2-20): and also referred to Uzair, or Ezra].
We can compare these verses with the other Qur’anic parable of the people in the cave (narrated at Qur’an:18:9-26) who slept for three hundred years and woke up under the impression that they had only been asleep for a few hours. They sent someone with the money they had on them to buy things to eat. But of course, the money they were using was outdated! And they were totally unaware of this.
These stories illustrate the condition of human beings on the Day of Resurrection. We too shall all be contradicting each other, thinking that we have slept for only a short while: “On the Day when the Hour of Judgement will be established, the criminals will swear that they did not stay in this world more than an hour; thus are they ever deluded. But those who are given knowledge and faith will say: “In fact you have stayed, according to the Book of Allah, till the Day of Resurrection and this is the Day of Resurrection: but you were not aware.”(Qur’an;30:55-56). Thus people will be under the illusion that they are still living in this world.
The shock and horror of that Day will cut adrift all relationships and affinity among human beings: “Then those whose scales are heavy, they are the successful” (Qur’an;23:102). We will ignore even our closest friends, as we shall all be so involved dealing with our own ‘business’. We will even flee from our families, offering them as ransom if need be! All human beings will be left in such a state until they will all be taken to the congregation. God will gather every being for the congregation, from Adam until the last of his descendants: Those who died in their sleep were drowned, devoured by wild beasts, killed in air crashes were cremated – everyone will be resurrected by God, who created them form nothingness. Among those gathered for the congregation too, will be the jinns and the Satans. Hastening toward the Summoner the disbelievers say: “This is a hard day”(Qur’an;54:8). Then our Lord shall command hell to appear from a distance for everyone to see. And He will say: “Did I not enjoin you, O children of Adam, not to worship Satan, who is your open enemy, and that you should worship Me which is the Right Way? Yet, inspite of this, he (Satan) has led a great number of you astray. Had you no common sense? This is the hell, of which you were repeatedly warned (if ye followed him)”(Qur’an;36:60-63); “Indeed We have forewarned you of an imminent punishment which lies close-at-hand, on the Day when man shall see what his hands have sent forth and the unbeliever will cry: “I wish! I could remain merely dust.”(Qur’an;78:40).
Then God will send all the unbelievers, along with the jinns and satans whom they worshipped as gods, to hell. These gods include: Zeus and Aphrodite of the Greeks, Jupiter and Venus of the Romans, Hurmuz and Eherman of the Persians, Habi of the Egyptians, Bal of the Phoenicians and Lat and Uzza of the Arabs. Men set these gods up as partners to God. The Greeks and Romans set up different gods for different things: Apollo the God of sun and the arts, Bacchus the God of wine, Diana and Artemis, goddesses of wisdom, Neptune the God of the seas, and so on. “On the Day of Judgement Allah will say to them: “Call on those whom you thought to be My partners.” They will call them but will receive no answer; and We shall cause animosity between them.”(Qur’an;18:52). And God will say, “”What is the matter with you today that you do not help each other?” “(Qur’an;37:25); “When all people appear before Allah, those who were weak in the world will say to those who thought themselves mighty: “We were your followers. Now! Can you do anything to relieve us from the punishment of Allah?” They will reply: “Had Allah given us guidance, we would have guided you. Now it makes no difference whether we panic or bear it with patience, for there is no escape for us.”(Qur’an;14:21). But those leaders have no answer. They can only evade the questions put to them and exonerate themselves by confessing their inability either to save themselves or those whom they misled. They all stand in total submission after being humiliated before the Lord of all creations: the pantheon with all the deities will have gone, likewise false leadership will have been obliterated, the bonds between unbelievers and their objects of worship will have been broken. In fact, the very objects of worship will absolve themselves of the guilt of falsehood built around them by those who worshipped them.
“Once the matter has been decided, Satan will say: “In fact, the promises which Allah made to you were all true; I too made some promises to you but failed to keep any of them. However, I had no power over you. I just invited you, and you accepted my invitation. Now! Do not blame me, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor you can help me. I reject what you did before; that you associated me with Allah. Certainly such wrongdoers will have painful punishment.”(Qur’an;14:22); “Those who are believers fight in the cause of Allah and those who are unbelievers fight in the cause of forces of evil: so fight against the helpers of Satan; surely, Satan’s crafty schemes are very weak”(Qur’an;4:76). This verse also clarifies that the spurious spiritual guides (pir) and spiritists (A’mil), who claim that they have a ‘hold’ on devils and jinns and, through them, can harm or do good to any one they wish, are all liars. They also claim that they can cure those with epileptic fits be exorcizing the jinns. All this is sham and humbug. The Satan has no control over anything.
Every human being will present him or herself for the reckoning. A balance of absolute justice will be set up, which will not ignore even the most trifling matter. Everything will be taken into account – all that is on earth or in the skies, even including the electrons in an atom. Man will be reckoned for all his actions and any hypocrisy; double-dealing or deception, to which he indulged during his lifetime will weigh against him. It will be an absolutely fair reckoning; only our good actions, prayers and supplications to God for pardon and mercy will stand in our favour. Any worldly aspect we may have enjoyed on earth, such as wealth, influence and power will be of no help to us on the Day of Reckoning, except for the extent to which we used these attributes for the sake of God, in His path and in obedience to Him.
On that Day, no one will be able to help anyone else, nor can anyone intercede with God unless He grants His permission. Intercession in the other world will be different from this one. In this world we may be able to mediate with someone in a position of authority on the strength of the goodwill or influence we enjoy with that person. This sort of intercession may not be sincere. It may be done with the intention of obliging an employee or having acquitted someone who was accused of doing wrong. However, intercession in the other world can only take place when God, out of His mercy, wishes to pardon someone and to honour a person out of His generosity to him or her. In this case, He grants permission to someone to intercede, and, accordingly, the person to whom Divine permission is granted intervenes.
Law courts in this world are presided over by human beings who have been trained to be judges. The justice dispensed by such courts is limited and by no means flawless. Facts of every litigation are judged on the basis of material evidence. However, court in the other world will be presided over by God; justice will be absolute and unrestricted. The prophets will bear witness, likewise the angels, who recorded good and bad actions of every human being; their register will contain statistical information on the confessions of sinners, and even the limbs of the human body will give witness regarding actions committed.
On the Day of Reckoning, the prophets will be brought forward: The record (or Deeds) will be placed open; the prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward. (Qur’an;39:69) Every community will be judged in the presence of its Prophet, according to the Shari’a (religious law), which it abided by in this world: “And thou will see all people kneeling down: all people will be called to the record”(Qur’an;45:28); “How then if We brought from each people a witness, and We brought thee as a witness against these people”(Qur’an;4:41).
The scrolls on which deeds we have carried out in this world will be recorded and kept folded; these scrolls remain unrevealed and a secret. The human beings will know nothing about. If we repent in all sincerity for the sins we committed, those sins will be erased from the scrolls. If we do not repent those deeds will remain recorded, and on the Day of Reckoning, will be brought forward and made known to everyone – like examination results. And like examination results, they will remain in the custody of the examiners as guarded secrets: no one will know who has failed until the date and time are fixed for the announcement of the results. Then those results will become known to all who are concerned about them, and news regarding those who have failed, will spread among family and friends. But on the Day of Reckoning, the record of wrong deeds and failure to obey Divine Law will be made known to the entire congregation of humanity.
If you fail an examination you may lose a year of your career – but failing the divine test, ordained by God – the test of faith in God and belief and practice of what He ordains, will lead one to hell and if he is an unbeliever, deprive him of eternal happiness. On that Day the Scrolls will be unfolded and every man will receive his record of deeds and be told: “”Here is your book of deeds: read it. Today you yourself are sufficient to take your own account”(Qur’an;17:14).
Anyone who has more good deeds recorded to his credit by the Angel of the Right will receive his record of deeds on his right hand, as a glad tiding to him that his reckoning will be smooth and easy. When he reads his record, he experiences the same kind of happiness as a student who finds out he has passed his examinations when he reads his results. He wants to tell those close to him about his success: Now as for him whose record shall be placed in his right hand, he will exclaim, “Come you all! Read this my record! Behold, I did know that (one day) I would have to face my account”(Qur’an;69:19-29). And whoever has more bad deeds on his records, as noted ‘by the Angel of the Left, will receive his record of deeds in his left hand. He will weep in self-pity and it will dawn on him that he will have to face eternal despair. He will then say: “Oh would that I had never been shown this my record, and neither known this my account! Oh! would that this (death of mine) had been the end of me! Of no avail to me is all that I have (ever) possessed (and) any power of argument had died away from me!” (Qur’an;69:25-29); “But as for him whose record shall be given to him behind his back, he will in time pray for utter destruction, he will enter the blazing flame. (Qur’an;84:10-12). “On the Day of Judgement Allah will raise them all back to life, then inform them about what they have done. Allah has kept full record of their deeds even though they may have forgotten, for Allah is a witness over all things”(Qur’an;58:6). “And they will say in wonder, “Oh, woe unto us! What a record is this! It leaves out nothing, be it small or great, but takes everything into account!” For they will find all that they ever wrought (now) facing them”(Qur’an;18:49); “They will then realise that they had done wrong unto themselves and that “thy Sustainer does not wrong anyone”(Qur’an;18:49). They regret the excesses they committed and on paying heed to the temptations of the devil and their own evil selves a voice will call out unto them “…Allah’s hatred towards you was far greater – during your worldly life when you were called to the Faith and you used to refuse – than your hatred of yourselves”(Qur’an;40:10).
On the Day of Reckoning, the unbelievers will try to defend themselves and make false oaths to prove their innocence. They will behave as if they are in the presence of a person of authority in human form, without realizing that they are in the presence of God, Lord of all creations, who is aware of what is going on in everyone’s conscience and the musings of every soul. On the day God will raise them all together, then will they swear unto Him as they (now) swear unto you, and they will fancy that they have some standing. (Qur’an;58:18). … and in their utter confusion they will only be able to say, “By God, our Lord, we never were idolaters”(Qur’an;6:23). At that moment. God will render them speechless and will order their limbs and internal organs to confess of the wrong they have done: the hand will admit to its mistakes and the legs will confess about the wrong places they went to: “This day We seal up their mouths, and their hands speak out to Us and their feet bear witness as to what they used to earn”(Qur’an;36:65).
When their confessions are taken note of and proven to be true, these people will reproach their organs and limbs: And they say unto their skins, “Why testify you against us?” They say, “God has given us speech Who gives speech to all things, and Who created you in the beginning, and unto Whom ye are returned.”(Qur’an;42:21). These human beings used to hide themselves away from the world in order to indulge in sexual pleasure, and imagined that God would not notice them! How could this be possible, even when measured by human standards of intelligence and capabilities? Television is a good example to illustrate this idea. The announcer sits in an enclosed area and presents a program – but does this mean he is hidden from anyone’s sight? Millions of people both watch and listen to him. If on a human scale we can make information known in this way, it is even simpler for God to observe all the actions of us mortals. It is for this reason that the Holy Qur’an says: “And they say unto their skins, “Why testify ye against us?” They say, “God hath given us speech Who gives speech to all things, and Who created you at first, and unto Whom ye are returned. You did not hide yourselves lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should testify against you, but ye deemed that God knew not much of what ye did. That, your thought which ye did think about your Lord, hath ruined you – and ye find yourselves (this day) among the lost”(Qur’an;41:21- 23).
This is what will happen to those who do not believe in God and who deny the Day of Reckoning. These people are unable to see beyond this world and refuse to see that life is eternal. Such people do not realise that they cannot hide anything from God, Who is aware of everything and how can they, in this case, possibly hide anything from their physical bodies, which are part and parcel of their own beings? It is important, therefore, to ask God to forgive and protect us on the Day of Judgement in the same way as He forgave us in this world, for He is the only One Who can do so.
Some people will reason by asking how our hands and feet can possibly ‘speak’ when they do not have the faculty of speech. But, if you think about it, there are inventions that ‘speak’: tape-recorders, films, cameras, including those which are hidden in banks and such places, and are able to take pictures of anyone who visits the bank. And if a man who robs a bank denies any accusation made against him, a film can be shown to him, exposing his crime, showing him in the very act of stealing, maybe talking to himself or any others who were around, as proof of what he did. If man, through his ingenuity can make such marvelous; inventions, is it not possible for God to invent something beyond the ingenuity of man? However this could also be taken metaphorically to reveal or express.
There are various categories of reckoning. The easy reckoning is for those who receive the record of their deeds in their right hands, and the severe reckoning for those who disobey God. After the reckoning, people will be placed in various categories: those who are drawn close to God in the front, followed by those who have done what is right in their life, and finally those who lost their way.
Now if one happens to be of those who are drawn close unto God, happiness (awaits him or her in the life to come) and inner fulfillment and a garden of bliss. And if one happens to be among those who have attained to righteousness (he or she too will be welcomed into paradise with the words), “Peace be unto thee (that art) of those who have attained to righteousness”. But if one happens to be one of those who are wont to call the truth a tie, and (thus) go astray, a welcome of burning despair (awaits him in the life to come) and the heat of blazing fire! Verily, this is the truth. Extol then the limitless glory of thy Sustainer’s mighty name (Qur’an;56:88-96).
The Day of Resurrection: http://wp.me/PCgrB-b8