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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Essay on Life After Death in Islam Faith

Essay on Life After Death in Islam Faith

Please discuss the belief\'s of Muslims in Afterlife (in detail-for instance what the Qur\'an says about afterlife) and how it affects their lives.

The possibility of life after death has long since boggled the minds of people from different walks of life. The prospect of continued existence, in a spiritual form, beyond the grave has been the subject of studies and debate throughout time. 

Beliefs about life and death are as diverse as the cultures and societies existing around the world. There are those who believe in reincarnation, coming back to life in a new form of existence (based on previous actions done before physical death has taken them), and those who believe in a spiritual form of existence in an otherworldly plane. Then of course there are those who believe that existence cease all together at physical death. 

The Islamic faith does not believe in process of reincarnation (Ahmad, 48), instead the Islamic faith supports the belief of existing in a spiritual form after the physical death. Within different sects of the Islamic faith however, there is no one belief about the afterlife or the state of man’s soul after physical death, this does not mean though that they do not have a seemingly uniform notion about life after death. Generally Islam teaches that man does not possess a physical form alone, he also nurtures a “soul” within himself given by God. During his physical existence, man’s deeds and actions shape his soul for better or for worse. This spirit would then continue to progress into a higher form of perfect faith, later on to reap its “rewards” in “heaven”. 

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As with other religions, the concept of heaven and hell in Islam continues to be subject to several debates regarding interpretation. Some sects and scholars interpret the promised paradise as possessing material characteristics very similar to the physical realm. 

“An immeasurably large garden literally abounding in beautiful trees casting eternal shadows under which rivers will flow. The rivers would be of milk and honey. The garden will be fruit bearing and all man may desire of fruits would be his at his command. The meat would be that of birds of all sorts; it is only for one to wish which meat he particularly craves. Female companions of exceeding beauty and refinement would be provided to the pious men, with no limit imposed on the number, which will be decided according to their capacity. As many as they can cope with will be theirs” (Ahmad, 48-49).

Yet some interpret heaven and hell as not real places, but instead are inner conditions of the souls resulting from the actions of the person. And yet others believe that whatever comes after the physical existence is far beyond the conception of mortal/human minds. The last interpretation seems to be the closest interpretation to what the Holy Quran (the primary religious text of the Islamic faith) mentions. 

“We will raise you into a form of which you have not the slightest knowledge.” (Quran 56:62)

The holy texts also mention the many blessings in heaven and punishments in hell, although as stated earlier the exact nature of these blessings and punishments are unknown or unfathomable to human mind. 

Then there is also the concept of “Judgment Day” mentioned by the holy Quran. This is when the “spiritual realm” will fully manifest and replace the physical world that currently exists.  The Day of Judgment is usually considered as the true essence of life after death in Islamic faith. To sum it all up, the afterlife is only the beginning of a more important journey for man, involving the most important aspect of his being, the immortal soul. Souls who are in heaven are progressing into a more advanced state of being, a being of perfect faith as stated earlier. Those who are in hell experience punishment in order to mold their souls into a more deserving form. The concept therefore of punishment is not eternal, rather it is transitional and there is promise of redemption at the end. 

Cited Works

"3. Beliefs: 5. Life after death." The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Dec. 2012. <>.
Ahmad, Mirza T. An Elementary Study of Islam. 2nd ed. Tilford: Islam International Publications, 1997. Print.

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