Where do I go after death? Would I return once again? What was the aim of my creation? Is it necessary to ponder upon these points? What is imminent would definitely come to pass; so why to worry about it? Imagination of death and the events after it make ones life disagreeable, so why should I worry about it and lose sleep over it?
Yes, these questions arose throughout the ages and occupied the minds of people in the past and still do so; and are on the verge of getting convincing replies. Therefore intellectuals and philosophers tried to answer these questions to realize the truth; satisfy themselves and that they may hand over the conclusions of their researches to others.
Divine messengers believed in resurrection and based the foundation of their call on it. In heavenly religions, life after death is considered a necessary principle of faith and hundreds and thousands of books are written in different languages on this subject. The Messenger of Allah (s) and the Holy Imams (`a) hold a very eminent position in propagating and proving faith in resurrection. The Holy Quran has stressed on this matter more than other heavenly scriptures, and has explained its various aspects in many verses. Deep contemplation on the verses of this heavenly Book, along with their interpretation through the sayings of the Messenger of Allah (s) and the Holy Imams (`a) can enable us to understand life after death, which is an unseen world; as without that it would have been impossible for us to do so. That is why we have based this book on verses of Quran; with the hope that it would be useful for all those who are in search of truth and especially that it may benefit the youth.
Before actual discussion, we think that it is necessary to mention some features about the two convergent views on resurrection: the view of believers and the view of disbelievers.
Life, according to the two views
Faith in resurrection sometimes does not go beyond the limit of words and imagination, as it is not actual faith and does not have the qualities of the world and the hereafter and sometimes it goes beyond the stage of meaning and reaches to genuine faith. This is in fact true faith in resurrection and it will have the traces of the world and the hereafter with it according to the resolution of the person in carrying out the duties made incumbent on him and depending on the strength of his faith.
Views of the believers about resurrection
Those who have real faith in resurrection do not consider their lives limited to a few years in this world; on the contrary, they have a broad view and they know that it is only a beginning; and that it is going to continue forever in the hereafter.
They don’t regard death as annihilation and the end of life; on the contrary they consider it to be a means of being transferred to the world of the hereafter and an eternal life in that world. They consider themselves to be travelers, who have come into this world to equip themselves for the perpetual life of the hereafter. Such persons, just as they follow a detailed plan and make efforts in this limited life of the world, in the same way they are also not unmindful of their life in the hereafter. They consider the world to be a harvest field for the hereafter and consider their lives to be the best provision of obtaining the means of building a prosperous after life. They do not waste the most valuable capital in useless ways, lest they should face regret on the day of resurrection. They know this and they believe in the sayings of the prophets that man is a being having a free will and is answerable for his good and bad deeds in the hereafter. His success and misfortune in the hereafter will depend on his beliefs and morals in this world. Paradise and the bounties of Paradise and Hell and the chastisements of Hell in the hereafter will be based on his good or bad deeds in this world. Such a person would be aware of his duties, have a good nature, is a well wisher, trustworthy, truthful and justice loving. And he will avoid bad morals and evil deeds. In face of the calamities of the world and difficulties of life, which are there for everyone, whether one likes them or not, he does not evade and does not protest; on the contrary he remains absolutely patient and says: Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.
During old age and the last period of his life, he does not abandon patience and hope; and he is not afraid of death as he has the good news of the future and he knows where he is going.
In this condition, faith in resurrection does not impel man to go into isolation and give up social duties; on the contrary it prepares him to obtain knowledge, and to discover the secrets of nature, his life, population of the world, social service, defense of human values and martyrdom; since it is with faith in resurrection and rewards of the hereafter that sacrificing ones life in the path of truth can be justified. How peaceful and pleasing is life in the shade of belief in resurrection! Alas, if all the people had faith in hereafter and accounting of deeds! What is the beauty in such a supposed world?
But what is the life of the deniers of resurrection like? It is very short and death means the end of life and decline into the valley of non-existence. For them, life in this world is regrettably full of sorrow and grief; it is futile and aimless and without logical justification. During calamities, the denier of resurrection is discouraged by difficulties of life that befall everyone intentionally or unintentionally and he is not comfortable in them. And any sort of pleading is also not effective. Sometimes, in order to comfort his inward pains, he resorts to alcoholic drinks and other drugs, so that he may for sometime forget himself and his painful thoughts. But temporary intoxication is also of no use. Sometimes he is so much affected by the severity of discomfort and feelings of discouragements that he commits suicide. When a denier of resurrection witnesses injustice of oppressors on himself or others, and their successful escape from legal punishments, he becomes despondent and is convinced that there is no justice in this world and no sort of reward and punishment. Denial of resurrection necessitates that practicing good morals, doing good to others, defending the rights of the deprived, sacrifice and martyrdom in defense of truth etc. should not have rational justification and practical cover. The most difficult period of the life of a denier in resurrection is when he is down with an incurable disease or extreme old age when he knows that death is imminent; at that time he despairs of life and can only imagine himself falling into a deep oblivion of nothingness. Alas! How terrifying is the imagination of annihilation into nothingness and inexistence! How difficult and unbearable is life without faith in resurrection! The cause of most oppressions, battles, and violation of rights, killings and murders, crimes, cruelties, corruptions is denial in resurrection. If all the people of the world become deniers in resurrection, accounting, rewards and punishments; what a terrible world it would be!