Belief in the Hereafter (al-Akhirah)

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.

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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.

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Khalq and Khulq

Imam Ghazali (rah) explains in the following passage the spiritual impossibility of adequately overseeing our ‘self’ by oneself alone:

“The words khalq (creation) and khulq (morality) are derived from the same root. One is about the external world and the other is about the internal world.

Khalq is the form that can be known by the senses.

Khulq is hidden and cannot be known by looking at our external existence. The real identity of a person rests in his character, way of life, and his nature. Regardless of how much one hides himself in outer appearances, one day his inner identity will be disclosed.”

As we need a mirror to see our outer appearance, so too we need a mirror for our heart: the help of a friend of Allah who will diagnose and cure our inner world, our character, and our inclinations.

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If one wishes to know whether he is someone loved by Allah or not, he should closely evaluate his inner world: to the extent, he feels Allah in his heart and witnesses his power and kingdom with amazement he is close to Him.

For this reason, one should always be concerned with purifying his soul so that the manifestations of divine light, which will destroy the passions and the desires, can appear in the heart.

The Almighty Creator has said, “Truly, the one who purifies his soul succeeds” (Shams, 9).

Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad 􏰀(may peace and blessing be upon him) also said: “The believer is a mirror of the believer.” According to this hadith, the perfect humans serve as clear mirrors, with no stain on them, for our souls. In other words, seekers may observe the reality of their condition and their essence in the face of these individuals. This is not a material observation. The mirror of the heart goes well beyond the material dimension. In it one may explore the mysteries of the hidden inner worlds. This mirror is not a mirror of the outer world but rather a mirror of the inner world and there are no forms there save the reflections of Allah’s lights. Therefore, those who spiritually seek out and reap rewards from this mirror carry a different kind of beauty and joy in their hearts. They grow to sacrifice themselves. They wish farewell to their ego and consequently reach to the blessing of Allah aiming to become completely absorbed in Him. For this reason, it is necessary to be under the guidance of a perfect master and to internalize his morality. Yunus Emre has said:

“Shariah (religious law) and tariqah (mysticism) are paths for sincere seekers, Yet the Truth and divine knowledge are beyond them.”

One can only reach to the secret mentioned in this couplet by Yunus Emre under the guidance of a perfect master.

-An excerpt from the book, “From the mirror of the heart”

An inclination to love.

The unique and final goal of life is a love through which our souls can find peaceful settlement is Allah the Almighty, who breathed from His soul into ours. Every kind of ephemeral love that is directed to a mistaken object wanders in blind alleys. If our love does not reach Allah, it ends in nothing but exhaustion for the soul.

Our nature and welfare require us to make the love of Allah the center of our lives. Therefore all other transitory loves should build a ladder for us toward divine love. This is a primordial goal of the creation of humanity.

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The shortest way to reach divine love is through the love of the Prophet ﷺ􏰂, the beloved Messenger of Allah. This goal can be achieved by following him in every aspect of life. Our response to him is required by a basic principle of love: a lover must love everything that the beloved loves. Such staunch commitment to Allah’s preferences is the bedrock of loving Allah.

Love of the Prophet ﷺ􏰂 reveals itself through peacefulness in worship, courtesy in personal relations, politeness in morality, ten- derness of heart, radiance of face, spirituality in conversation, and depth of perspective. The only fountain from which all these beauties may be drawn is Prophet Muhammadﷺ.

Indeed, our hearts can fully benefit from the heart of the Prophet 􏰂ﷺ only when we become moths turning around his light. Mawlânâ Jalaluddin Rumi (Alaihi Rahma) gives us several examples of how divine love disseminates into the universe. These examples allow us to measure our love of the Prophetﷺ:

Innumerable moths jump into fire for the sake of love. They flutter in flame and burn, saying in the language of their state, “You become like me!” ….

The candle flames and weeps. It submits itself to the fire and suffers gravely. It gives out light while dissolving in tears. The candle says: “It is useless to spend gold and silver wildly in order to bring yourself profit. If you want spiritual profit, burn and melt like me!”

The Prophet 􏰂ﷺ whom we love dearly wept again and again, repeating “My community, my community!” His love and compas- sion for his community were incomparably stronger than those of a loving and affectionate mother for her children. He was anxious about what his community would be facing on the Day of Judgment, and he suffered much to save his people. He said, “In the way of Allah I was subjected to much suffering that no one had faced before.” (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah 34/2472).

The Prophet 􏰂ﷺ said to the Companions: “Be careful! I am a protection for you on earth while I am alive, and I will continue in my grave. I will keep praying for you to Allah the Almighty, saying ‘My community, my community!’ until the last trump of doom.” (Ali al-Muttaqi, al-Kanz al-Ummah, vol. 14, p. 414).

For the sake of our eternal life, we should truly love the Prophet 􏰂ﷺ more than we love ourselves, since he told us, “A believer will be together with the one he loves.” (Bukhari, Adab 96). All Muslims should show loyalty to the Prophet’s community because of his love for it.. That loyalty is an indicator of how much we love him.

-An Excerpt from the book “Such a mercy he is”