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The Day of Resurrection: A Time for Reward and Punishment

Adapted from Lectures by: Hujjat al-Islam Sayyed Fadhil Milani
Al-Noor, Vol2, No. 37, Muharram/Safar 1415 AH : July 1994 CE

Once Imam Ali (AS) was approached by an inquisitive man from Yemen. The Yemeni asked the Imam if he had ever seen Allah. To this Imam Ali (peace be with him) replied that he refused to worship any being that he could not see. The baffled inquirer asked how it could be that Imam Ali could see the Unseen Allah. The great Lion of Allah said that it is not the eyes that see Allah, but it is the hearts that see Him and are brought near to Him if they please Him.

This shows us that in order for Muslims to gain the pleasure of Allah and feel His presence, we must take our actions very seriously, since we will be made accountable on the Day of Resurrection. Only those who followed the straight path and refrained from evil shall be made to grieve no more.

The Most Holy Qur'an cites the Day of Resurrection in the Sura, al-Qiyamah. We are informed about the total demolition of the earth, the end of earthly life and the great trial to follow. The boiling of the seas, the darkening of the sun and the moon and the shaking of the mountains, will signify this day.

Although the Holy Qur'an does not directly mention how the demolition will occur, it does continuously emphasise the fact that it will indeed occur. The seas of destruction are already flowing in unstoppable tides and torrents. In this very century alone man has discovered the use of chemical and nuclear weapons. We have seen the horrendous affects of the bomb on Hiroshima and the arrogance of nation-states proud to possess such weaponry and proud to threaten they're neighbouring states with the use of such weaponry.

The Holy Qur'an teaches us that on the Day of Resurrection, after our bodies have decayed and decomposed, the Almighty Allah will not only reassemble our bones but even our very fingertips will be reconstructed, with their unique prints. It is easy for Allah.

Sura 84, entitled Inshiqaq (The Bursting Asunder), refers to humankind being brought back to life on the Day of Resurrection. It is at this time that we will be presented with a record of our deeds, as recorded by Allah's angels. Those who receive this record in their right hand will be exalted, whilst those who receive their record from behind will be abased. We know from Hadith that for every person two angels are appointed by Allah to record every action. On Judgement Day even our bodies will bear witness to our deeds.
"When the heaven bursts asunder, And obeys its Lord and it must. And when the earth is stretched, And casts forth what is in it and becomes empty, And obeys its Lord and it must. O man! surely you must strive(to attain) to your Lord, a hard striving until you meet Him. Then as to him who is given his book in his right hand, He shall be reckoned with by an easy reckoning, And he shall go back to his People joyful. And as to him who is given his book behind his back, He shall call for perdition, And enter into burning fire".
According to Sura 75 of the Holy Qur'an, al-Qiyamah (The Resurrection) on the Day of Judgement some faces shall be made bright and brought near to the creator, whilst others shall be made gloomy and forced into eternal perdition. Until that day we have the freedom of choice. However, we are all responsible for our own actions.

In the Islamic faith, punishment for bad deeds takes place not only in the Hereafter but also in this life. For instance, crimes such as murder, if left unchecked by the Muslim authorities, would lead to a destructive crime-ridden society. Hence in order to preserve Islamic morality we cling to the rulings in the Holy Qur'an which are for believers and non-believers. Sura 66, Tahrim (The Prohibition) tells us that we shall be rewarded only for what we used to do. Moreover, Sura 3, Aya 30, Aale Imran (The Family of Imran), according to the great Tafseer of Sayyed Muhammad Husayni Tabatabai'i, states that on the Day of Judgement every soul shall find present what it has done of good and what it has done of evil. It is this event that we must all be prepared for.

Imam Ali: "You are examined in this life but created for the other [life]."


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