What Is Islam?

Any good points found in this blog comes from Allah SWT, all praise to Him. Any mistakes/inaccurate information in this blog is purely due to myself. Hence, please correct and forgive me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Part 2/2: Ever wondered what's in store after death?


The following is continuation to the previous post. Sorry for the delay, been going through some hectic and troubled times and haven't been online much lately. Hope you guys benefit from this post. Oh, and please  constantly take care of your health, never take it for granted. Thank Him always for the good health He's given unto you.

Q: If during the barzakh dah mula (begins) punishments and kesenangan (ease/comfort) for the non-righteous and righteous respectively, does this indicate that they've sort of been "pre-judged" even before judgment day comes? If that's the case, during barzakh, this ppl has been determined as a believer/non-believer? Hm, and they still need to go through judgment day later?

A: Before I answer your question… (NOTE THAT PRINCIPLE III & IV IS MOST IMPORTANT TO OUR DISCUSSION, but I would like to walk through all four principles)

A few basic principles about judgement:  

PRINCIPLE I: God is just and you will be judged according to your own deeds

In Islam, the concept of judgement is very simple, clear, and logical. Just like in your exam, you start with a blank answer sheet, you’ve answered (you lived), you’ve submitted your paper (i.e. technically you die, but you will see later how death is not your ‘final answer’), you will be marked only for your own paper (your own deeds). This is what you will expect from a just examiner right? You aren’t going to be asked about Adam’s paper that starts with -100 mark suddenly (original sin in Christianity), or Muhammad, Jesus, your classmate needs to sacrifice himself to give you extra bonus mark or anything like that.

Firstly, the most basic principle is:

God is not unjust to His slaves. 22:10

So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. 99:7
And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. 99:8

That no burdened person (with sins) shall bear the burden (sins) of another, and that man can have nothing but what he does (good or bad)  53:39

God burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned 2:286

So the very basic principle is God will judge us justly (If He isn’t just, He isn’t God)  according to our deed, the only thing we worry about is our own deed, not if God screws up, because He won’t.

PRINCIPLE II: No one enters Paradise by his deeds alone

Principle I sounds great, everything is just and straightforward. But.. But.. this world is not objective, human life is complex, it’s not like this one deed = one pahala (reward) for everyone, different circumstances may make one deed harder for a person but easier for another person etc etc. So while God is just, and will never be unjust to His slave, this concept of just is not a mathematical objective scale of marking, but rather a holistic marking that considers all aspects of human life’s complexity and our relationship with Him:

The Prophet (salAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: "No one of you will enter Paradise by his deeds alone."

They asked, "Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?"

He said, "Not even me, unless Allah covers me with His Grace and Mercy"

We will judged by all our deeds very justly, but He knows our life is more complex than just good deeds and bad deeds, and He will take that into account. For example in the hadith:

In the narration of Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said
"Once a dog was going round the well and was about to die out of thirst. A prostitute of Banu Israel happened to see it. So she took off her leather sock and lowered it into the well. She drew out some water and gave the dog to drink. She was forgiven on account of her action".

It is understood that the prostitute is forgiven and admitted to jannah (not sure if another narration explicitly stated enter jannah). So life is complex, God is merciful, we strive to be the best.

PRINCIPLE III: You’re not done with your deeds even after you die

Rasulullah (pbuh) said, "When the son of Adam (human being) dies, his deeds are stopped except for three things; namely: his good deeds, his knowledge, and his pious child who prays for him."

So your amal jari’ah (translated as ‘good deeds’), for example you build a mosque with your own money (with utmost sincerity), and people keep praying in the mosque even after you die, you will keep getting the reward even after you die. Or you taught beneficial knowledge and your students are using them and they in turn teach it to their student, you will keep getting the reward as the knowledge continues to flow to others. Or you have a pious child who keeps doing the good things you’ve taught him/her, and he/she keeps making du’a (prayers) for you.

The time when all these three things ultimately stop is judgement day (maybe your good knowledge is passed down generation after generation until judgement day, who knows..).

PRINCIPLE IV: Sentence in hell can be either temporary or eternal for a person

Reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, the Prophet (salAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) said:

Some of the people will stay in Hell (be destroyed) because of their (evil) deeds, and some will be cut or torn by the hooks (and fall into Hell) and some will be punished and then relieved. When Allah (SWT) has finished His Judgments among the people, He will take whomever He will out of Hell through His Mercy…

(the hadith goes on about ‘conversation’ between the man and God)

Even if one is in hell, it could be temporary, some people will enter jannah after serving ‘his/her sentence’ in hell for certain period. It’s like you get 10 years sentence in jail for all the crime you’ve committed, then you are free. We know you’re a good person, you’ve done much good too.

does this indicate that they've kinda been "pre-judged" even before judgment day comes?
if that's the case, during barzakh, this ppl has been determined as a believer/non-believer?
It’s not as black and white as believer/non-believer, there are spectrums right. I think Principle II highlighted that everything is taken into consideration and most importantly Principle I holds true. Even heaven and hell have stages. As Principle IV stated, even if one is in hell, it could be temporary, some people will enter jannah after serving ‘his/her sentence’ in hell for a certain period.

So barzakh will give an indication, but you don’t know yet your final abode (remember final abode is when we are talking about for eternity), as you are not ultimately judged yet. Yes, you are perhaps a bad person who murder ppl and rape a woman, and you will get some form of punishment in barzakh, but maybe out of His mercy, He knows your struggle and your circumstances, the other good deeds you did too that no one else know, He will perhaps admit you to Jannah after going through some punishment in barzakh and a period in hellfire (perhaps, just a scenario).

Plus, principle III means that you are still getting rewards even during barzakh, but look.. ultimately it is by His mercy that you enter jannah in the end. Remember the hadith in Principle II where the prostitute is forgiven for giving a thirsty dog who is about to die some water. 

In conclusion, barzakh is a transition period, you will get some punishment and perhaps your stay in barzakh will be quite comfy, but it is not the final judgement.


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