Yawm al-akhira (The Last Day): According to one account, when the sur (trumpet) is blown by Israfil, all living things will fall and die. The time starting then and continuing through the resurrection of people, the entering into paradise of those bound for paradise, and the entering of hell for those bound for hell, is called “ The Last Day.”
According to another account, the hereafter (al-akhira) starts when people begin to be resurrected so they can be called to account for their deeds, and continues forever. There are other names for al-akhira, but “yawm al qiyamah ( The Day of Resurrection),” is the most famous.
Hayat al-Qabr (Life in the Grave): The life in the grave begins with the death of a person and continues until his resurrection. After being placed in the grave, two angels come and ask, “Who is your Lord? And what is your religion? Who is your prophet? ” These are called the questions of the grave. These questions will be asked of everybody. People with bodies that have disintegrated or burned to ashes will also be asked.
The life in the grave means the start of the hereafter. People bound for heaven and people bound for hell will begin to taste the sweetness of the life in heaven or the punishment of hell respectively to a lesser or greater degree.
The life in the grave should not be compared with the life of this world.
However, in sleep (which is called the “little death”) we can taste with our souls joyous pleasure or miserable pain, thus seeing an example of al akhirah in this life.
Jannah (Paradise) is a place of reward. It has been made for the mu’mins (believers). In an ayah, it says “therein you shall have all that your souls desire, all that you call for” (Quran, 41:31, Arberry translation).
Jahannam (Hell) is the place of punishment for those who rebel and go against Allah. Those who die whose sins are great and those believers deemed unworthy of intercession, go there along with unbelievers and hypocrites. While believers who enter will be taken out after a punishment of a specified time; unbelievers, hypocrites, and polytheists will remain permanently.
Mahshar: With the blowing of Israfil’s trumpet, all people and creatures will fall and die. Except for Allah, no living existence will continue. For a time it will stay like this. Then Allah will resurrect Israfil. Israel will then blow his trumpet again and people will then be given life again in an instant. They will gather in Mahshar for their reckoning.
The Book of Deeds: In Mahshar, people will be given their books (the books the angels wrote and prepared in this world). The people bound for heaven will be given their books from the right, while the people bound for hell will be given their books from the left.
Hasab (Reckoning): Allah will take all people to account at the same time. But each person will think that only his own reckoning is being done. This reckoning will be as our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained:
Everyone will be asked:
1- How they spent their lives.
2- What they did with what they know.
3- Where they got their wealth from and where they spent it (halal or haram).
4- And which roads (roads that are either pleasing or unpleasing to Allah) they wore out their bodies on,
And an answer will surely be given.
al-Mizan (The Balance): This is the weighing of peoples’ good and bad deeds.
Nobody will be wronged in any way. Every good or bad thing done will surely be placed on the balance. Each good deed will count for ten and every bad deed will count as one.
as-Sirat (The Narrow Bridge): This is a way, a bridge, that everyone must take: those who will be placed in hell, those believers who will reach heaven, polytheists, unbelievers, and hypocrites who will fall to hell. The ease or difficulty of the passing will be according to the rank of servitude to Allah in this world.
We came here for worship; we will return for reckoning.
We are guests on this earth; we will die to be brought back to life.
Story: The Story of the Bringing to Life of Four Birds
Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was telling everybody, “My Lord causes death and life,” and he sincerely believed this himself. Despite that, one day Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) supplicated to Allah, saying:
– O my Lord! Show me how you will bring the dead to life!
Allah Almighty said to him:
– Did you stop believing that I’m going to resurrect the dead, or what?
Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) said:
– I certainly believe, my Lord! But let me see with my eyes so my heart may rest soundly.
In reply to this, Allah said to Ibrahim:
– So, get four birds! Acquaint yourself with them well! When you call them by name they will fly to you. Then, slaughter them!
Chop the meat up and mix them together well! Separate this meat into four parts and put each part on the top of a mountain! Then call them in the way they are used to! You’ll see them hurry to you. After you see this, then believe well that Allah’s power is enough to do everything and he does nothing in vain, he does it knowingly.
Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was very happy that his wish was granted. Right away he took a pigeon, a peacock, a crow and a rooster and got them used to him. Wherever these animals were, immediately upon hearing Hazrat Ibrahim’s (peace be upon him) voice, they flew straight to him.
One day, in the way he was commanded, he slaughtered them. After mixing the meat together well, he separated it into four parts. He put each part on the top of a mountain. Then he retired to an appropriate place. Then he called the birds and rooster in the same way they were used to. In an instant, the resurrected, living animals flew straight to him.
Seeing this, Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) fell directly into prostration and thanked his Lord. His belief in Him was strengthened even more.