The Last Day is that enormous event when everyone will be resurrected from death to the accounting and reckoning to be asked about their deeds: to receive either reward for their good deeds or punishment for their evil deeds. It is called “the Last Day” because it is the final day and the end of earthly time. This is the day when the people of Paradise will go to their appointed places in Paradise and those of Hell to the Hellfire.
Belief in the Last Day and Resurrection comprises three aspects:
- To believe in the resurrection after death. Resurrection will take place when the Trumpet will be blown [by Israafeel] for the second time [the first being for the death of all living creatures]. Humankind will awaken to face the Lord of the Worlds. They all will stand bare-footed completely naked and uncircumcised before their Lord as Allah the Most Exalted said:
As We began the first creation so shall We repeat it (it is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly We shall do it. [Surah al-Anbiyaa’ (21):104].
The Resurrection is an affirmed truth proven by the Qur’an the Sunnah and the unanimous agreement and consensus (Ijmaa’) of all the Muslims. Allah the Exalted said:
Then verily you will be dead after that. Then verily you will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment. [Surah al-Mu’minoon (23):15-16]
And the Prophet () said in a hadeeth agreed upon by al-Bukhari and Muslim:
People will be gathered together on the Day of Judgment barefooted and uncircumcised.
All the Muslims are in agreement affirmed the Resurrection. The Day of Resurrection and Accounting is necessitated by the wisdom of Allah to make a final time to judge everyone according to that which they are accountable. Allah the Most Exalted said:
Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose) and that you would not be brought back to Us? [Surah al-Mu’minoon (23):115]
And He the Exalted said to the Messenger of Allah ():
Verily He Who has given you the Qur’an (O Muhammad) will surely bring you back to the place of return. [Surah al-Qasas (28):85].
- To believe in the reckoning of the deeds and reward or punishment accordingly. This is proven through the Book of Allah the Qur’an the Sunnah and consensus of the Muslims. The slaves of Allah will all be reckoned and recompensed for their deeds. Allah the Most Exalted said:
Verily to Us will be their return. Then verily for Us will be their Reckoning. [Surah al-Ghaashiyah (88):25-26]
And He said:
Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof and they will not be wronged. [Surah al-An’aam (6):160]
And He said:
And We shall set up balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there were the weight of a mustard seed We will bring it and Sufficient are We as Reckoners. [Surah al-Anbiyaa’ (21):47]
Abdullah ibn Umar () narrated that the Prophet() said:
Allah will bring the believer closer to Him and will shield him from being exposed (for his evil deeds in front of everyone). He will say “Do you remember such and such sin? Do you remember such and such sin?” He will say “Yes O my Lord!” When Allah gets this confession for his sins and the believer thinks that his destruction is upon him Allah will say “I have preserved you from being exposed in front of others for these evil deeds during your lifetime and I am forgiving them for you today.” So he will be given his record of good deeds. As for the disbelievers and the hypocrites they will be called openly in public: “These are the ones who lied against their Lord! Verily Allah’s curse is upon the unjust ones!” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
And in an authentic hadeeth the Messenger of Allah () said:
…if somebody intends to do a good deed and he does not do it then Allah will write for him a full good deed. If he intends to do a good deed and he actually does it then Allah will write with Him from ten to seven hundred times to many more times (reward). If somebody intends to do a bad deed and he does not do it Allah will write a full good deed with Him. If somebody intends to do bad deed and actually did it then Allah will write one bad deed (in his account). (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
Muslims are unanimous in agreement that the Day of Reckoning and the Judgment will come since both logic and wisdom point to it. According to the infinite Wisdom of Allah all people must be judged a final decisive judgment. Allah revealed the Scriptures and sent the Messengers only that they should be accepted and followed. Moreover Allah obligated the believers to fight against those who oppose the Scriptures and the Messengers and He permitted that their blood be shed and their children women and possessions be seized] according to the strict laws of war]. If there were not a final Day of Reckoning then all these matters would have been in vain! Allah the All-Wise is far removed from such an imperfection and contradiction.
Allah has indicated this line of argument in His saying:
Then surely We shall question those to whom the Book was sent and verily We shall question the Messengers. Then surely We shall narrate unto them (their whole story) with knowledge and indeed We were not absent. [Surah al-A’raaf (7):6-7]
- To believe in Paradise and Hellfire and that they are the final and everlasting abode for the creatures (men and jinn).
Paradise is the final resting place of ultimate happiness and joy that Allah has prepared for the believers who feared Him believed in Him and sincerely obeyed Him and His Messenger who brought the message. Paradise is described as a place of unimaginable bounties and pleasures which “no eye has ever seen nor an ear ever heard of nor a mind has ever imagined.”
Allah the Most Exalted said:
Verily those who believe and do righteous deeds they are the best of creatures. Their reward with their Lord is Gardens of Eternity underneath which rivers flow wherein they will abide forever; Allah is Well-Pleased with them and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord. [Surah al-Bayyinah (98):7-8]
And Allah the Most Exalted said:
No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do. [Surah as-Sajdah (32):17]
Hellfire is the final destination of torment and punishment that Allah has prepared for the disbelievers the unjust (criminals) those who disbelieved in Allah and disobeyed the Messengers.
Hellfire contains all kinds of unimaginable punishments and torments. Allah the Most Exalted said:
And fear the Fire which is prepared for the disbelievers. [Surah Aali ‘Imraan (3):131]
And He said:
We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them. If they ask for help they will be granted water like boiling oil that will scald their faces. Terrible is the drink and what an evil dwelling! [Surah al-Kahf (18):29]
And He said:
Verily Allah has cursed the disbelievers and prepared for them a flaming Fire wherein they will abide forever; and they will find neither a protector nor a helper. On the Day when their faces will be turned and rolled from all sides in the Fire they will say: “Oh would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger (Muhammad).” [Surah al-Ahzaab (33):64-66]
All that happens after death is included in the belief of the Last Day for example:
- The trial of the grave wherein all will be asked: Who was your Lord? What was your religion? Who was your prophet?
So as is explained in the Qur’an and Sunnah Allah will make those who believed resolute with the word that stands firm. Thus the believer will say: “My Lord is Allah my religion is Islam and my Prophet is Muhammed.” But the transgressors will err and go astray. The disbeliever will say: “Haah haah I don’t know.” The hypocrite or the person in doubt1 will say: “I’m not sure I heard the people say something so I just repeated what they said.”
- The grave will be a place of either extreme pain and torment or extreme pleasure and happiness.
The pain and torment will be upon the transgressors disbelievers and hypocrites as Allah the Most Exalted said:
And if you but see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death while the angels are stretching forth their hands (saying): “Deliver your souls; this day you shall be recompensed with the torment of degradation because of what you used to utter against Allah untruthfully. And you used to reject his signs with disrespect.” [Surah al-An’aam (6):93]
And Allah the Most Exalted said concerning Pharaoh and his followers:
The Fire – they will be exposed to it morning and afternoon and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): “Make Pharaoh’s people to enter the severest Torment.” [Surah Ghaafir (40):46]
Imam Muslim reports that Zaid ibn Thabit () narrated:
The Prophet said to his Companions “I would have asked Allah to let you hear what I am hearing of the (peoples’) punishment in the grave but (I refrain) for the fear that you would not bury each other after that.” Then the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him turned his face towards them saying: “Seek refuge in Allah from the torment of the Fire!” They said: “We seek refuge in Allah from the torment of the Fire.” He said: “Seek refuge in Allah from the torment of the grave!” They said: “We seek refuge in Allah from the torment of the grave.” He said: “Seek refuge in Allah from all calamities whether apparent or hidden!” They said “We seek refuge in Allah from all calamities whether apparent or hidden.” He said: “Seek refuge in Allah from the calamity of one-eyed Antichrist (False Messiah)!” They said “We seek refuge in Allah from the calamity of one-eyed Antichrist (False Messiah).”
The extreme pleasure and happiness of the grave will be for the faithful and truthful believers. Allah the Most Exalted said:
Verily those who say “Our Lord is Allah” and then stood fast on these words on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death saying) “Fear not nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised.” [Surah Fussilat (41):30]
And Allah the Most Exalted said:
Then why do you not (intervene) when (the soul of a dying person) reaches the throat (gurgling)? And you are at the moment looking on (hopelessly)? But We (our angels who take the soul) are nearer to him than you are but you do not see. Then why do you not if you are exempt from the reckoning and recompense bring back the soul (to its body) if you are truthful? Then if he (the dying person) be of those near ones (close to Allah) there is for him rest and provisions and a Garden of Delights (Paradise). [Surah al-Waqi’ah (56):83-89]
It is reported on the authority of al-Baraa ibn ‘Aazib that the Prophet () said about the believer after he is responds to the questioning by the angels:
A caller from heaven will say “My slave has said the truth. Therefore furnish him (in his grave) from (the pleasures of) Paradise and dress him from (the clothes of) Paradise and open a door for him to Paradise.” Then he said “He will receive from its tranquility and beautiful smell. And his grave will be enlarged for him as far a distance as his sight reaches.”
This is reported by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawood in a long hadeeth [of which only a portion has been mentioned].
The great benefits of believing in the Last Day and Resurrection include:
- Encouraging the desire to do the deeds of obedience hoping for the bliss and reward of Paradise.
- Being terrified of committing deeds of disobedience fearing the punishment of the Hellfire.
- Comforting the believer about the pleasures and luxuries that he misses in this worldly life and the hardships and pains he endures in the hope for the bliss and reward of the Paradise.
[Some] disbelievers do not believe that life after death is possible. The falseness of their doubt about the possibility of life after death can be established by: ash-Sharee’ah (revelation and scripture) al-Hiss (physical senses) and al-’Aql (reason and analysis).
Proving the possibility of life after death by ash-Sharee’ah (revelation and scripture) Allah the Most Exalted said:
The disbelievers pretend that they will never be resurrected (for the account). Say (O Muhammad): “Yes! By my Lord you will certainly be resurrected then you will be informed (and recompensed for) what you did and that is easy for Allah.” [Surah at-Taghaabun (64):7]
All Scriptures [like the Torah Psalms and Gospels] are unanimous on this matter (of belief in the Hereafter).
Proving the possibility of life after death by al-Hiss (physical senses):
To illustrate to us this possibility Allah has given us stories of past events when people saw with their own eyes (and physical senses) how He raised the dead to life. There are five examples given in the second chapter of the Qur’an in Surah al-Baqarah:
- The story of the people of Musaa when they said to him “We will not believe in you unless we see Allah openly without a barrier” and thus they were seized by death. Thereafter Allah resurrected them and said to admonish them and all the Children of Israel with this story
And (remember) when you said “O Musaa! We shall never believe in you till we see Allah plainly.” But you were seized with a thunderbolt (and lightening) while you were looking. Then We raised you up after your death so that you might be grateful. [Surah al-Baqarah (2):55-56]
- The story of the murdered man among the Children of Israel when they argued about determining who the murderer was. Allah ordered them to sacrifice a cow and strike the corpse with a part of it so that he can come to life to tell them about the killer. Allah the Most Exalted said about this case:
And (remember) when you killed a man and fell into dispute among yourselves as to the crime. So Allah brought forth that which you were hiding. So We said “Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow).” Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His signs so that you may understand. [Surah al-Baqarah (2):72-73]
- The story of the group that ran away from their homes fearing death even though they were thousands and could have stood up to their enemies. Allah struck them dead in their tracks and then brought them back to life. Relating this story Allah Most Exalted said in the Qur’an:
Did you (O Muhammad) not think of those who went forth from their homes in thousands fearing death? Allah said to them: “Die!” And then He restored them to life. Truly Allah is full of Bounty to mankind but most men thank not. [Surah al-Baqarah (2):243].
- The story of the man who passed by a dead and deserted village and wondered how Allah would be able to resurrect them. Allah struck him dead for a hundred years and then raised him up again. Relating this story Allah Most Exalted said:
Or like the one who passed by a town all in utter ruins. He said “Oh! How will Allah ever bring it to life after its death?” So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years then raised him up. He said “How long did you remain (dead)?” He [the man] replied “Perhaps I remained (dead) a day or a part of a day.” He said “Nay you have remained for a hundred years; look at your food and your drink they show no change; and look at your donkey! And thus We have made of you a Sign for the people. And look at the bones how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh.” When this was clearly shown to him he said “I Know (now) that Allah is Able to do all things.” [Surah al-Baqarah (2):259]
- The story of Ibraheem () who asked Allah to show him how He resurrects the dead. Allah ordered him to slaughter four birds cut them in pieces and spread these pieces to various mountains. Then He told him to call these dead birds and when he did they came back to him flying. On this Allah the Most Exalted said:
And (remember) when Ibraheem said “My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.” Allah said “Do you not believe?” Ibraheem said “Yes but to be stronger in faith.” He said “Take four birds then cause them to incline towards you (to slaughter them and cut them into pieces) and then put a portion of them on every hill and call them they will come to you in haste. And know that Allah is All-Mighty All-Wise.” [Surah al-Baqarah (2):260]
These five historically authentic examples which were physically experienced prove that the dead can rise back to life by the Will of Allah. The fact that ‘Eesaa raised the dead from their graves by the Will of Allah has already been mentioned above.
Proving the possibility of life after death al-Aql (reason and analysis):
Two rational arguments can be presented here:
The first argument is that Allah is the Original Creator of all the creation and thus He who is capable of the first creation is also capable of re-creation which is even simpler. Allah the Most Exalted said:
And it is He Who originates the creation then He will repeat it (after it has been perished) and this is easier for Him. [Surah ar-Room (30):27]
And Allah the Most Exalted said:
As We brought (into existence) the first creation We shall repeat it (it is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly We shall do it. [Surah al-Anbiyaa’ (21):104]
And Allah the Most Exalted said to those who deny that Allah can restore decayed bones:
Say (O Muhammad) “He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation.” [Surah Yaa-Seen (36):79]
The second argument is that we observe the earth lifeless and barren from lack of rain. Allah sends the rains and then we observe the soil coming back to life and various kinds of plants spring forth green and flourish. So the One Who brings life back to the dead earth and makes the plants flourish is able also to raise the dead animals back to life. Allah the Most Exalted said:
And among His Signs you see the earth barren but when We send down water (rain) to it it is stirred to life and growth (of vegetation). Verily He Who gives it life surely is able to give life to the dead. Indeed! He is able to do all things. [Surah Fussilat (41):39]
And He said:
And We send down blessed water (rain) from the sky then We produce therewith gardens and grains of all harvests that are reaped; and tall date palms with ranged clusters; provisions for (Allah’s) slaves. And We give life therewith to dead land. Thus will be the Resurrection (of the dead). [Surah Qaaf (50):9-11]
Some misguided people say that the punishment or bliss in the grave is not possible since it is against the reality we see when we open the graves and find the decomposed corpses. They say that we do not find that the grave has expanded its size or grown narrow as some hadeeth mention.
This claim of theirs is invalid by proofs of ash-Sharee’ah (revelation and scripture) al-Hiss (physical senses) and al-Aql (reason and analysis).
Proving the possibility of punishment or bliss in the grave by ash-Sharee’ah (revelation and scripture):
Some of the proofs have been mentioned above. One other proof that is reported by al-Bukhari is the narration of Abdullah ibn Abbaas () when he said
The Prophet passed by some walls in Madeenah and heard the screams of two persons who were being punished in their graves. He mentioned the reasons behind this punishment saying “One of them did not protect himself (spoiling his clothes) from urine. The other one used to spread gossip.”
Proving the possibility of punishment or bliss in the grave by al-Hiss (physical senses):
Sometimes we sense ourselves in our dreams that we are in a huge expanse or extremely constricted and confined feeling the pain of being squeezed and the fear of claustrophobia. Sometimes we are even jerked awake from these nightmares only to find ourselves sitting in our beds. Sleep is the twin of death and this is why Allah calls it a type of “Wafaat” (fulfillment appointed time of death and its like) as Allah the Most Exalted said:
It is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He had ordained death and sends the others (back) for a term appointed. Verily in this are signs for a people who think deeply. [Surah az-Zumar (39):42]
Proving the possibility of punishment or bliss in the grave by “al-‘Aql” (reason and analysis):
Sometimes a person sees a dream that becomes true and conforms to exact events and traits of the real world. For example one might see the Prophet () in their dreams. Whoever sees the Prophet in the shape that he is described in the books of hadeeth we know has truly seen him even though the sleeper is simply in his room on his bed far away from what he is seeing. If this is the case in matters of the physical world wouldn’t it be possible in matters of the Hereafter?
As for the doubts of the disbelievers concerning that they do not see the punishment of the corpses or that the graves expand in size or grow narrow as some hadeeth mention this is answered by the following points:
The first point is that one is not allowed to refute religious matters and Sharee’ah (law) with mere doubts and suspicions of this nature without any solid argument against since it may be that the deficiency is only in understanding as the Arab poet said:
Many are those who claim a sound saying is defective
Whereas nothing is defective but their own understanding.
The second point is that these issues of the grave are of the realm of the unseen a realm not sensed by physical senses. If matters of the unseen could be tested and affirmed by physical senses there would not be any benefit of believing in and having belief in the revelations about the unseen realm because this would equalize the believer and disbeliever.
The third point is that only the dead person himself experiences punishment or bliss of the grave and its expansiveness or constriction. The case is similar with the sleeping person since only the dreamer feels the sensations of his dreams whether nightmares of contractions or expanses of lightheartedness while for others he is asleep in his bed in his room. Similarly the Prophet () would receive revelation and the companions next to him would not hear the revelation while he did. Sometimes the angel would come to the Prophet () in the shape of a man but the companions were not able to see or hear the angel.
The fourth point is that we creatures have a limited sensual capacity. Much physical reality is outside our range of perception. Everything in the universe the seven heavens the earth and all that is therein praise and glorify Allah but we cannot hear their forms of praise and glorification and only sometimes does Allah give the power to some of His creatures to hear them as He the Most Exalted said:
The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein glorify Him and there is not a thing but that glorifies His praise but you do not understand their glorification. Truly He is Ever Forbearing Oft-Forgiving. [Surah al-Israa’ (17):44].
Similarly the Jinn3 go back and forth and travel about on the earth but we cannot see them. The Jinn came to the Messenger () and listened to his recitation of the Qur’an. After he finished the recitation they went back to their nation of Jinn to convey the Message to them [as verses of the Qur’an relate].
ll of this is outside the range of our sense perception. Allah the Most Exalted said:
O Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you as he got your parents (Adam and Eve) out of Paradise stripping them of their raiment to show them their private parts. Verily he and his soldiers see you from where you will not see them. Verily We made the devils protectors and helpers of those who believe not. [Surah al-A’raaf (7):27].
If we the creatures do not know what exists beyond our range of perception and comprehension we cannot deny its existence. Therefore it is not allowed for us to dispute what has been proven to exist of the unseen realm by revealed scriptures
By the Late Eminent Scholar Sheikh Muhammad ibn Salih Al-Uthaymeen Translation by Abu Salman Diya ud-Deen Eberle