Al-Akhirah (The Hereafter)
Belief in Al-Akhira,
Life after Death, is so crucial to the Islamic faith that a doubt about it
amounts to the denial of Allah. Allah's own word in the Holy Qur'an is the
foundation of this faith. Besides, the Prophet has explained the centrality of
this belief for a person who wishes to lead an Islamic life.
We know that we have no means of knowing life after death as a perceptual experience. But Allah has given us certain levels of consciousness that give us insight into realities not perceptible through the senses. The Holy Qur'an speaks to our rational mind when it answers the question of the disbelievers: "Who will give life to the dead bones?"
Say: "He Who created you first! Then will they wag their heads towards you and say, 'When will that be?' Say, 'May be it will be quite soon!' It will be on a Day when He will call you, and you will answer [His call] with [words of His praise, and you will think that you tarried but a little while!" (17: 51, 52)
In the Holy Qur'an, Allah appeals to man's reasoning and addresses his power of reflection and judgment in the following verses:
"Then behold [O man!] the tokens of Allah's Mercy! - How He gives life to the earth after its death: verily the same will give life to the men who are dead: for He has power over all things" (30: 50)
"It is Allah Who sends forth the Winds, so that they raise up the Clouds, and We drive them to a land that is dead, and revive the earth therewith after its death: even so [will be] the Resurrection!" (35: 9).
"And among His Signs is this: you see the earth humble; but when We send down rain to it, it is stirred to life and yields increase. Truly, He Who gives life to the (dead) earth can surely give life to (men) who are dead. For He has power over all things" (41: 39).
All these verses clearly emphasize how the dead earth is revived by God. This is something that is obvious to us, but if so, how can we deny the truth of the resurrection, when the Almighty God can easily revive the dead bones?
Comparing two groups of people (e.g. those who are going to get the highest reward from Allah and those who are to receive His punishment in the Hereafter) Allah asks:
"Are [these two] alike? - one to whom We have made a goodly promise, and who is going to reach its [fulfillment], and one to whom We have given the good things of this life, but who, on the Day of Judgment, is to be among those brought up [for punishment]?" (28: 61).
Speaking of the fate of those who used to deny the Day of Judgment, Allah says:
"Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: 'O my Lord! Send me back [to life], In order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected.' - 'By no means! It is but a word he says.'- Before them is a Partition till the Day they are raised up. Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more relationships between them that Day, nor will one ask after another! Then those whose balance [of good deeds] is heavy, they will be successful: But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide…" (23:99-104).
Belief in the Life after Death encourages a person to lead a good life on earth, since he knows the fate that awaits him if he ignores the commands and warnings of Allah given in the Qur'an.
In fact, belief in the Hereafter is the strongest incentive for a person to lead a life of virtue while here on Earth. The real road to a peaceful society can be paved only if people believe in the Hereafter.