In every society, at every time, people who believe only in this temporary material life have argued against the existence of an afterlife. Many have used such arguments as an excuse for doing whatever they like. The Qur’an is full of references to such people

( And they say, “When we are bones and fragments, shall we really be resurrected again as a new creation?” Say, [0 Muhammad:] «[Yes,] even if you are stones or iron, or a created thing that is even greater than that in your estimation.” They will say, “Who will bring us back to life?” Say: “The One who created you the first time. » Then they will shake their heads at you and say, “When will it be?” Say: «Perhaps it is near.»)
(Qur’an 17:49–51; also 17:98; 19:66–67; 34:7; 36:78–79; 37:1517)

( Those who disbelieve imagine that they will not be raised again. Say, [0 Muhammad:] «On the contrary, by my Lord! You shall be raised again, and then you will be informed of what you did. And that is easy for my Lord.” ) (Qur’an 64:7)

The arguments of such people have no basis in logic, for God, who creates and destroys, can just as easily recreate. He can also change the attributes and forms of His creation as He wills-as, for example, water changes from a liquid to a solid or a gas. In the same fashion, a body can cease to possess the characteristics of life and apparently become a piece of inert matter. But there is no proof whatsoever that this finishes the existence of the occupant of that body, the soul.

The collective spiritual experience of mankind attests to the fact that the former ‘tenant’ has now vacated its former home and gone somewhere else-or, to put it in different terms, has been transformed into another form of energy. Therefore, God’s supremely logical answer to the materialists’ question, “When I am dead, shall I really be brought forth alive?” is, “Does not the human being remember that We created him before, when he was nothing?” (Qur’an 19:66–67).

In many verses of the Qur’an such as the above, God, who knows everything there is to know about His creation, denies the claim of the materialists that death constitutes the final, absolute end of our existence. For our perishable, material bodies, it does, of course, but for our immortal souls, this present life is only one brief stage on its journey from God to God. And our Lord informs us repeatedly that our temporary life on this earth is merely a trial, a test, an examination period. For what? To prepare ourselves for the future life of endless duration.

In this life, each hour, each day, we are faced with individual tests whose combined results will determine our future happiness or suffering. For each of us, death will mark the ending of our personal exam. It will be followed by the Day of Resurrection and Judgment, whose coming is as certain as the fact that we are alive.

( Be mindful of a Day on which you will return to God. Then each soul will be recompensed for whatever it earned, and they shall not be wronged ) ( Qur’an 2:281; also 2:48, 123; 3:9–10, 25, 185; 4:87; 6:12; 10:45, 11:08, 103; 16:111 and dozens of other verses)

No one except God knows when that Day will come. But what is certain is that, as the universe had a beginning, it will also have an end.

( The analogy of the life of this world is only like water. We send it down from the sky and then mingle it with the produce of the earth, from which people and cattle eat; until, when the earth has put on its ornaments and is embellished, and its people think that they have all power over it, Our command reaches it by night or by day, whereupon We cause it to be utterly destroyed, as if it had not flourished the previous day. Thus do We explain the signs for people who reflect ) (Qur’an 10:24)

This end will take place in a manner frightful beyond imagination, and at that time every living thing on earth will die.

( When the Trumpet will be blown with a single blowing, and the earth and the mountains will be lifted up and crushed with a single crushing -then, on that Day, the Event will befall; and the sky will be split apart, for on that Day it will be torn, and the angels will be on its sides; and on that Day eight angels will carry the Throne of your Lord above them. That Day on which you will be brought to judgment, not a secret of yours will be hidden ) (Qur’an 69:13–18)

( When the sky is shattered and when the seas are poured forth and when the graves are overturned, a soul will know what it sent on ahead and what it left behind ) (Qur’an 82:1–5; also 81:1–14)

At that time, the dead will be raised and their newly recreated bodies will be rejoined with their souls. And the Judgment will take place.

Each of us will be shown the book of our life’s deeds, recorded by our two companion angels. None of us will be able to deny the truthfulness of the record or to make any excuses. The record will be final, closed and unchangeable, and we will be judged accordingly, as our good and bad deeds are weighed against each other in a perfectly just scale.

( The weighing that Day will be true. Then those whose scale [of goodness] is heavy, they will be the successful, and those whose scale is light, they will be the ones who will have lost their souls because they acted wrongly with regard to Our revelations ) (Qur’an 7:8–9)

( We have tied each person’s destiny to his neck, and on the Day of Resurrection We shall bring forth for him a book which he will find wide open, [saying,] “Read your book! This Day your soul is sufficient as an accountant against yourself” ) (Qur’an 17:13–14)

( And whoever does an atom’s weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil shall see it ) (Qur’an 99:7–8)

The verses of the Qur’an dealing with these matters are extremely numerous. Their tone is dead earnest, conveying total certainty. The effect of their message, stated and restated again and again, is to produce a conviction in the heart of the listener/reader of the absolute truth of what is being said. For example:

( The Day on which the sky will become like molten copper and the mountains will become like shreds of wool, and no close friend will ask of a friend, although they will see one another-the guilty one will long to ransom himself from the punishment of that Day through his children and his spouse and his brother and his relatives who sheltered him. By no means! It is the fire of Hell, plucking away to the skull, calling to those who turn their backs [on the truth] and turn away [from goodness], and collect and withhold [their wealth from doing good with it] )
(Qur’an 70:8–18)

( The Day when the Trumpet is blown, whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is on the earth will be terrified, excepting the one whom God wills. And all will come to Him humble . … Whoever brings a good deed, he will have better than it, and whoever brings an evil deed, they will be thrown down on their faces in the Fire. Are you recompensed with anything other than what you did? ) (Qur’an 27:87,89–90; also 17:97)

( o mankind, be mindful of God and fear a Day when no father will make the least compensation for his son, nor will any son make compensation for his father. God’s promise is surely true. Then do not let the life of this world deceive you, nor let the Deceiver [Satan] deceive you concerning God ) (Qur’an 31:33)

source: Suzanne Haneef, Islam: The Path of God, pages 59–63.

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Suzanne Haneef (American convert to Islam)