Black Muslims : Beyond Death

Discussion in 'Islam Study Group' started by noor100, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. noor100

    noor100 Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Aug 17, 2010
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    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
    We thank and praise Him (Allah) and invoke the blessing of Allah on His messenger, our master Muhammad, the last of all the prophets.

    At the very outset it seems necessary to make a few remarks concerning the function of philosophy with regard to this problem. The problem is of a transcendental nature and directly pertains to our religious consciousness. That heaven is real and exists cannot be revealed to our senses. But should it for that reason be denied by philosophy? No. Philosophy must take its data from various forms of human consciousness - from the scientific consciousness, from the artistic consciousness, from the moral consciousness - so also from the religious consciousness. It is not the function of philosophy to question their facts because they alone are its data. Its function is rather "to grasp their elements conceptually and to combine them into a system".[1]
    Life after death and hence heaven and hell are data given to us by the religious consciousness. The business of philosophy is to understand them - to evaluate them.
    My task at the present occasion is to present the Qur’aanic conception of heaven for it is this conception, which seems to me to be the most reasonable. But before doing so itseems necessary to give briefly the views of the Qur’aan concerning the various stages of human life. The following verses from that book are highly instructive in this connection: Allah says in the Holy Qur'aan, in the 23rd Sura, al-Muminuun, Verses 11 to 19

    "(Those) who shall inherit the heaven, they shall abide therein.
    "And certainly we created man of an extract of c1ay;[2]
    Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed;
    Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood;
    then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump;
    then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh;
    then We developed out of it another creature.
    So blessed be Allah, the Best to create!
    Then after that you will most surely die.
    "Then surely on the day of resurrection you shall be raised.
    And We have made, above you, seven tracts; and We are never unmindful of (Our) Creation.
    And We send down water from the sky according to (due) measure, and We cause it to soak in the soil; and We certainly are able to drain it off (with ease).
    "Then We cause to grow thereby gardens of palm trees and grapes for you;
    you have in them many fruits and from them do ye eat."

    These verses give us in brief the whole process of human evolution as also the part played by religion in human life. Man arises out of the earth. The earthly matter passes through several stages of evolution before it finds its sublimation in the human form. It takes the form of the life-germ, which, though it is microscopic in size, is the repository of the physical, intellectual and moral features of man. The germ grows and becomes man. In a grown-up man it is the physical aspect, which is more usually and more thoroughly realized. But the human frame is only a vehicle for the soul to develop itself. The soul has to evolve itself from the crude form of simple consciousness to a certain stage of spirituality. This evolution can be worked out only through the cultivation of our faculties. The Qur’aan uses the word falah for this cultivation. Falah literally means the furrowing out of the latent faculties. Thus the peasant who tills the land and brings to surface the innumerable treasures of the earth is called fellah in Arabic. Man ought to act similarly. His soul possesses infinite potentialities of advancement. He has to till the field of the depths of his soul and bring out his latent faculties. But just as the ordinary peasant needs rain for his crop, so man too needs a rain. That rain comes from God in the form of Revelation and is given to humanity through the medium of Prophets. Man should become a receptacle for this spiritual rain if he wishes to reap a good harvest. Without it the field of human soul would become sterile and subject to decay.

    This has been further pointed out in the Holy Qur'aan, the 91st Sura, as-Shams Verse 7 to 10

    "Consider the soul and Him who made it perfect, And He enlightened it as to wrong and right;. Successful indeed is he who purifies it and sorrow will indeed be his portion who corrupts it."
    Thus the Qur’aan regards man as an evolutionary being who has been created of the goodliest fibre and possesses the highest capacities of making spiritual progress. In fact, the very first attribute of God mentioned in the opening verse of the Holy Qur’aan is Rabb, i.e. He who leads His creatures through onestage after another until they attain perfection.
    Our present life is a preparation. It is necessary to work out our faculties and bring them up to a certain stage of evolution in our earthly sojourn (stop-over or stay). Then alone shall we be fit for progress in the life after death.
    Our every action in this life has a hereafter. It creates a permanent impression on the soul. When the soul departs from the body, it leaves this body for good. It then adopts another kind of body. The great Muslim philosopher and divine, Shah Waliullah, calls it Nusma[3] This Nusma is perhaps what is spoken of by Sir Oliver Lodge as ectoplasm. He says: "Exudation (secretion) of a strange white evanescent (changing) dough like substance, which has been photographed by scientific enquirers in different stages of evolution, and which shapes itself into parts or whole of the body, beginning in a putty-like mould, and ending in a semblance (taking on a form). This is the spiritual body that contains the Spirit and yet is distinct from the ordinary body."[4]
    Death is thus not annihilation but a gateway for entering into a new life - a life of unlimited progress. But we can enter that life only if we have made ourselves fit for it. This may be illustrated by an example. Suppose we take down two seeds from a tree - one ripe, the other immature. We sow both under similar conditions but we do not get any plant from the immature although it commenced its life with the same potentialities as the ripe one. Similarly if we have not attained a certain stage of spiritual development in our earthly life, we cannot enter the heavenly life.
    Now, after departing from the physical body, the soul does not enter its life of heaven or hell at once. It remains suspended in the ethereal (beyond the earthly) world called Barzakh in Islam. Here its faculties remain in abeyance, though intact, and this state will continue till the hour of resurrection when itwill be sent to either heaven or hell. But the impressions, which it has acquired on earth through its actions, come to the surface. Character being the crystallization of one's thoughts "the thoughts that he or she was thinking in this world take their shape - virtuous thoughts take happy shapes, and wicked thoughts take shapes of calamities according to what he believed in this world."[5]

    The Qur’aan declares that a day will come when the solar system will be destroyed which will result in ending the present conditions of life totally. God will then bring into existence new heavens and a new earth as the Holy Qur’aan says in the 14th Sura, Ibrahim, Verse 48:
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