What is after death?

The Hereafter Appendages

Having known that death is a travel and movement from a kind of life (life in the world) into another kind...

- Where shall we be after death and before resurrection?

- What are the stages of the Day of Judgment?

- The resting place…

Having known that death is a travel and movement from a kind of life (life in the world) into another kind (hereafter), we should know that there are stages and phases through which a traveler must pass in order to reach the ultimate goal. So, what is there after death? What are the stages that a traveler passes through on his way to the eternal life?

The Realm of Isthmus: (The Minor Day of Reckoning)

It is the realm to which man is moved after death until the Day of Judgment, in this world, man prepares for his eternal life, as the fetus is prepared in his mother’s womb to meet life.

Allah describes the man who is dying and asking for return to life to get more good deeds in the Holy Qur’an. The answer comes so decisively, “… ‘By no means! It is but a word he says.’- Before them is a Isthmus till the Day they are raised up.”1

When Imam Al Sadek (peace be upon him) was asked about the Realm of Isthmus, he answered, “It is the grave from the day of death to the Day of Judgment.”2

In some other hadith, we find that the grave for the believers is a piece of paradise, that is a miniature of the graces and blessings awaited in heaven. As for the atheists, it is one of the fissures of fire.

The Realm of the Resurrection

When it is about time for resurrection, the Angel Israfil blows his trumpet swooning all who are found in heavens and on earth thus leading to the death of all.

The same Angel blows his trumpet once again and Allah shall resurrect them again and order them to stand for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. This day is called the Resurrection Day.

Allah says, The Trumpet will (just) be sounded, when all that are in the heavens and on earth will swoon, except such as it will please Allah (to exempt). Then will a second one be sounded, when, behold, they will be standing and looking on!﴿3

There are stages through which man shall pass after this blow in order to determine his destiny:

1- People are gathered before Allah, the Lord of the Worlds: Each group of people shall be called by their Imam whom they followed. Should the Imam be a righteous one and appointed by Allah or refers to Allah, the followers shall be congregated with the righteous people. If the Imam was an Imam of sins and aberrancies, the group shall be assembled with aberrant people, “One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams…”4

2- After the assembling comes reckoning, when man is reckoned for each small and big thing he has done as said even if this action is equal to an atom.

Allah says, Closer and closer to mankind comes their Reckoning: yet they heed not and they turn away.﴿5

And Allah says, Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it!* And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it.﴿6

And it is reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his household) said, “On the Day of Resurrection, Servant’s feet shall not move until he is asked about four things: his life and how it was spent; his youth and in what he involved it; his money and how he earned and spent it, and about loving us, we Mohamad and his Descendents (peace be upon them).”7

Imam Al Baker (peace be upon him) also said, “The first thing a servant shall be accountable for is the Prayer. If this prayer is accepted, all his other deeds shall be accepted too.”8

Some of the events of the Day of Resurrection is what reported to us from Imam Al Sadek (peace be upon him), “When it is Resurrection Day, two servant believers stand for accountability, both whom are among the people of heaven: a poor in the worldly life and a rich in the worldly life. The poor says, ‘O Lord! Why am I held up? You are very well aware that You have not given me any power and authority to be just or otherwise (unjust) and You have not blessed me with money to give or withhold, but I was given my daily bread.’ Allah Almighty says, My servant has spoken the truth. Set him free to enter the Heavens.﴿ The other servant remains standing and sweating. His sweat would quench the thirst of forty camels then he enters paradise to meet the poor servant who asks the rich one, ‘What kept you up?’ ‘The long list. They came one after the other and they were forgiven by Allah because of his mercy. He made me join those penitents,’ the rich man says and then asks, ‘but who are you?’ The poor servant replies, ‘I am the poor person who was with you earlier.’ The rich man replied, ‘Blessings have changed you.’”9

3- After accountability and revealing the books and logs of deeds, it is the turn for passing the Sirat (the path), which is a bridge erected above hell and no one would enter the Heaven without passing it. It is reported that it is thinner than a hair (filament), sharper than a sword and warmer than fire. Earnest believers pass it easily like a flash. Some pass it with difficulty but they survive it. Some others fall from it into hell. All of this depends on how man was and acted in worldly life and if he was earnest in his religion and loyalty to Allah, His Messenger and the Descendents of His Messenger. The sacred hadith reads, “Loving Ali Bin Abi Taleb is a passage on the Sirat.”10

Keeping close relationships with the next of kins, paying trusts and going to mosques help to pass the Sirat. Prophet Mohamad (peace be upon him and his household) says, “He who takes mosques as his house, Allah guarantees him spirit, comfort and passage over the Sirat.”11

Heaven & Hell

Then, believers shall move into heaven where there are great gardens, fruitful trees, delicious fruits, great houses, fresh water, houris (nymphs), and all what eyes desire and souls wish. It is described in a short phrase to be “…it contains what no eyes have seen, no ears have heard of and no man has ever imagined…”12

As for hell, it is the torment place of atheists and hypocrites. Flames of fire rage in it from all sides and it is guarded by the harshest of angles that made the inhabitants there shake to death with fear and loneliness. The faces of the inhabitants of hell are black, dull and ugly. They are cuffed and they drink from its boiling water that melts whatever in their stomachs and their skins. Their food comes from the zachum oil tree (an infernal tree with bitter fruit). Devils shall be their peers there. Their excruciation is always increasing that they wish they would die but they would not.

* Path of Knowledge. Islamic Cultural Knowledge Organization. Knowledge Center for Islamic Studies and Researches.

1- 100 (Al-Mumenoon [The Believers]).
2- Al Kafi; V3; P242.
3- 68 (Az-Zumar [The Troops, Throngs]).
4- 71 (Al-Isra [Isra, The Night Journey, Children of Israel]).
5- 1 (Al-Anbiya [The Prophets]).
6- 7-8 (Az-Zalzala [The Earthquake]).
7- Bihar Al Anwar; V7; P258.
8- Al Kaki, V3, P268.
9- Bihar Al Anwar, V7, P259.
10- Bihar Al Anwar, V39, P193.
11- Al Wasail, V3, P362.
12- Man La Yahdorhou Al Fakih, V1, P295.

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