Friday Sermon: Resurrection in the Hereafter
by Imam Iqubal Hydal
20 January 2023 (Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore, Trinidad & Tobago)
وَ بَشِّرِ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ اَنَّ لَہُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ ؕ کُلَّمَا رُزِقُوۡا مِنۡہَا مِنۡ ثَمَرَۃٍ رِّزۡقًا ۙ قَالُوۡا ہٰذَا الَّذِیۡ رُزِقۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ ۙ وَ اُتُوۡا بِہٖ مُتَشَابِہًا ؕ وَ لَہُمۡ فِیۡہَاۤ اَزۡوَاجٌ مُّطَہَّرَۃٌ ٭ۙ وَّ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۲۵﴾
“And give good news to those who believe and do good deeds, that for them are Gardens in which rivers flow. Whenever they are given a portion of the fruit thereof, they will say: This is what was given to us before; and they are given the like of it. And for them therein are pure companions and therein they will abide” (The Holy Quran, 2:25).
Today is the third Jumuah [Friday] for the year 2023. Many people set about to make resolutions every year when a new year begins. There can be no doubt that the last three years were extraordinary painful years. Every year at the end of the year there is the resounding sound wish for a bright and prosperous New year. What about this year — 2023 Have you made any resolutions? If not, the verse that I quoted, is the resolution that Allah is suggesting to us.
Every year that passes is a countdown for every human being as to when one would reunite with the Creator. When one is young, not much thought is devoted to this eventuality. When, however, one reaches 70 or my age of 80, it becomes relevant in ones live. This is even more pronounced when one reads in the newspaper or gets the news that a contemporary of yours has gone to the great beyond. However, Allah comes to our rescue and gives us glad tidings that brings about hope of a better life. Thus He tells us very early in the Quran, in Chapter 2, verse 25 which I have read to you at the beginning of the Khutbah [sermon]:
وَ بَشِّرِ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ اَنَّ لَہُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ ؕ
“And give good news to those who believe and do good deeds, that for them are Gardens in which rivers flow”.
Whenever Allah speaks about the afterlife the words used are Jannah (Paradise)and Jahannum (Hell). We are accustomed hearing the words Heaven and Hell.
The Quran uses the word sammawaat for Heavens and it is usually associated with the word ard or the Earth. The Heavens, as used in the Quran refers to the Sky and the Universe which are above the Earth which are all physical in its state.
Paradise and Hell are states which the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said,
“Neither the eyes nor the heart has seen”.
Allah however has given us some insight into the afterlife.
Human beings were created as the first stage in their advancement to the higher life in the Hereafter. Just as when a baby is born it grows into different stages, so too does the soul of man evolve.
After birth, man is given ample opportunity to prepare for the next life which is the ultimate goal for which he was born. I have often said that we were born in order to die. This is an axiom or a truth which is accepted without proof as it is self-evident. Death therefore leads us to the grave which is often referred to as the qabr. It is in this state, that the soul is in barzakh, a term which I am sure you have often heard.
Barzakh is a state in which the soul resides, and as mentioned in the verse that I read at the beginning of the Khutbah, the deeds that one does are assessed with respect to the evolution of the soul into Jannah or Jahannum
It is reasonable to evaluate that if we have spent several years on earth with the opportunity to do good or evil, it is reasonable to assume that that a similar length of time or even more might be the time spent in the spiritual world of Jannah or Jahannum.
There is a report that the Holy Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)] had hinted that the righteous is resurrected after 40 days. It is likely that it is from this report that we hear about forty days for the deceased. It must be remembered, however, that in the spiritual world time is of no essence. It is only the physical world that is bounded by time. A comparison may be made of when we are in a dream. In reality, dreams may be of the duration of 1 second to 20 to 30 minutes. In our dreams, however, we feel that sometimes our dreams carry us into a period of many hours or days.
The next state of evolution of the soul is yaum al-qiyamah or the Resurrection, which occurs seventy times in the Quran. It is this higher state of existence of the soul that every human being must eventually attain.
For those who used the opportunity of this life to perform good deeds, the promise of Allah is the parable of the Garden with rivers flowing and an abundance of fruits. They are also given the opportunity, just as in this life, to evolve into higher states in Jannah where peace, tranquility and light are the phenomena and pure companions will abide with them in this state of bliss.
For those who have not used the opportunity in this world’s life to perform good deeds, Jahannum or Hell is there abode. Hell is often associated with fire. The fire is in fact that of the burning desire of the inmates of Hell to do evil and are shackled with the obsession of gaining wealth, property and status in this world, at any cost even if these are gained through illicit means. They must be cleansed of these negative desires, before they can eventually enter Jannah, and also go through many stages of purification.
Hell is therefore a spiritual hospital, where the sick soul is rid of its impurities in order to attain good health. The soul must be purified to meet a Creator who is devoid of impurities.
The Resurrection and life after death are therefore the critical beliefs in the evolution of the soul.
Perhaps if those who invade our homes and violently attack others and commit murder, understand the significance of the Resurrection and their eventual sojourn, we may be able to curb crime in our society.
Many attribute the absence of God in their lives. While this is true, it is the understanding of our relationship with Allah that is of importance and the convincing belief in the Resurrection of the soul. It is for this reason that I have analysed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (SAW) in my last book:
- How does the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ (SAW) help the world?
- How does that event have any influence on human beings except he himself?
It is this misunderstanding of what is resurrection in terms of the life Hereafter that has led to the detriment of religious impact on the lives of human beings.
Even the Muslim world has lost this critical belief. The proper wearing of hijab is the criteria by which one judges Muslim women. Their deeds, conduct, character and morality is of no importance. It is the sight of the uncovered hair that counts, even when the Quran compels men to lower their gaze.
There’s one point that I forgot to mention and that is that Allah says in the verse that I read:
“Whatever they give me a portion of the fruit thereof, they will say this is what was given to us people. And they are given the like of it.”
How is that possible? You live in another state in another world. But Allah is saying “the like of it”. You will say that because, Allah has given only to man — memory. Other classifications: the planets, the trees, animals don’t have memory. And, it is that memory that makes us progress in this life — whether intellectually or spiritually. And, that memory stays with us in the soul, and that is why Allah says, “do good deeds”, because that memory of what you did, whether good or bad, will eventually unfold itself in the life hereafter. Because you carry it with your soul, as we leave this world.
بَارَکَ اللّٰهُ لَنَا وَلَکُمْ فِي الْقُرْآنِ الْعَظِیْم، وَنَفَعَنَا وَاِیَّاکُمْ بِالْآیَاتِ وَالذِّکْرِ الْحَکِیْم۔ اِنَّہٗ تَعَالیٰ جَوَادٌ کَرِیْمٌ مَلِکٌ بَرَّ رَوُوفُ رَّحَیْمٌ۔
Barakalla hu-la-na wa-la-kum fil-qura-nil azeem wa-na-fa-na wa-eeya kum bil-aya-te waz-zikril hakeem innahu ta-a-la ja-wa-dun karee-mun mali-kun barurauf-ur raheem.
“May Allah bless us all in the Glorious Quran and may He let us benefit by His Signs and wise remembrance. Verily, Allah the Almighty is Generous, Affectionate, King, Benign, Compassionate and Merciful.”