Is There an Essential Relationship among the Pillars of Belief: Does Believing in one Require Believing in others?
All the arguments to establish the truth of the Qur’an and Prophethood point to the Hereafter
All the arguments and evidences that establish the truth of the Qur’an, and indeed of all the Divine Books, as well as the miracles and proofs that establish the Prophethood of the beloved of God—the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings—and indeed of all the Prophets, point to the reality of the Hereafter, which is the greatest part of what the Books and the Messengers affirm. Similarly, the majority of the arguments and evidences for the existence and Unity of the Necessarily Existent Being also implicitly affirm the existence and opening out of the Abode of Felicity, the realm of eternity that is the high turning-point and manifestation of Lordship and Divinity. For, as will be set out and expounded below, the existence of the Necessarily Existent Being, all of His attributes, most of His Names, and His qualities, such as Lordship, Divinity, Grace, Wisdom, Justice, necessitate the existence of the Hereafter. They require an eternal realm as an imperative, since the Resurrection is required for the most necessary purpose of punishment and reward. Since there is God, existent eternally, there must also be the Hereafter that is the everlasting pivot of His Divine Sovereignty. As there is, visible in the universe and in the whole of animate creation a most magnificent, purposively wise and caring absolute Lordship, there must also be an eternal realm of happiness to which admission is granted, so as to preserve His Magnificence from extinction, His Wisdom from pointlessness, and His Caring from betrayal.
The existence of the All-Merciful demands the eternal life
Now all these infinite bounties, blessings, kindnesses, and instances of generosity and mercy that we see with our eyes, demonstrate to every intellect that has not been extinguished, and every heart that has not died, that a Merciful and Compassionate Being exists beyond the veil of the Unseen. There must, then, be—as indeed there is—an eternal life in an eternal world which will demonstrate that Divine bounties are not for mockery, His blessings are not to deceive, His favoring is not for enmity, His mercy is not a torment, and His generosity is not a betrayal, and which will make bounty a true, perfect bounty, and blessings, true and perfect blessings, through eternity and ceaselessness.
Every springtime a Pen of Power is tirelessly at work in front of our eyes, inscribing on the narrow page of the earth, myriads of interleaved books, each and all without the least error. The Owner of that Pen has repeatedly promised: ‘I shall write, and have you read, a beautiful, imperishable book, in a place far more spacious than this, in a fashion far easier than this cramped and intermingled book of springtime, written on so narrow a page.’ He mentions this book in all of His decrees. The first draft of it has without doubt already been written; it will be set down in writing with all its marginalia on the Day of the Resurrection. The record of deeds of the whole creation will then be incorporated into it.
The earth as the “core” of creation which manifest the Divine Names must be changed into another, eternal earth
The earth has a special importance as the heart of the universe; its ‘center’, its choice, its core, its ultimate end and very reason for its creation. This is because of the multiplicity of the beings found in it, and because it is the abode, the origin, the workshop, and the place of display and resurrection of hundreds of thousands of different kinds of constantly changing forms. For all the smallness of its size, it is nonetheless described as equivalent to the vast heavens. Thus we always read in the heavenly books, ‘the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth.’
Humanity is created for eternity, not for eternal extinction
The human race also has supreme importance. Human beings dominate in every part of the earth we have just described. They have dominion over most of earth’s creatures; and they subordinate to themselves and gather around themselves almost all animate beings. Human beings order, display and ornament created objects according to their needs and desires. They catalogue and classify everything in all its wonderful variety, each species in its own place, and they do so in such a fashion that it draws not only the gaze of men and of jinn, but also the appreciative regard of the dwellers of the heavens and of the whole universe, even the admiring glance of the Lord of the universe. Human beings possess a very high value, therefore, and importance in the creation. Then, by means of their arts and sciences, they display the fact that they are the purpose for the creation of the universe. They show that they are the great consequence and supreme fruit of creation, that they are acting upon the earth in the capacity of vicegerents of God. Since they demonstrate and arrange in this world the miraculous works of the Maker, they are permitted a respite in it and their punishment put off despite their rebellion and disbelief. Because of the services they perform, human beings are granted stay for a time and the assistance of the Almighty.
Human beings, endowed with a quality of nature as we have described, are nevertheless weak and impotent in the extreme with respect to fulfilling the demands of that nature and disposition. Yet, as against their impotence and poverty, as against the endless needs and hardships to which they are subject, a most powerful, wise and caring Ruler, in a way altogether beyond their own power and will, provides for them. He makes of the whole wide globe a storehouse stocked with every kind of mineral and food they need, and with all the merchandise they desire. Thus does the Ruler take care of and nurture mankind, granting them their wishes.
God’s eternal Attributes require the eternal life
The Lord then possesses these qualities. He loves man, and makes Himself beloved of man. He is Eternal, and has eternal worlds. He does all things with justice and wisdom. But the magnificent splendor and eternality of that Exalted Ruler cannot by any means be encompassed within the transient life of the earth, this fleeting, temporary world. Further, the sheer enormity of the injustices and the rebellion that take place among mankind in enmity and contradiction to the just balance and harmonious beauty of the universe, their betrayal, denial, and unbelief toward their Benefactor and Provider—all these go unpunished in this world. The cruel and the treacherous spend their lives in ease, while the oppressed and downcast spend theirs in wretchedness. But the whole nature and being of Absolute Justice, signs of which are to be seen throughout the universe, is totally at odds and irreconcilable with the idea that the cruel and treacherous—who perish from this world just as do the oppressed and the desperate—should never be resurrected [to give account of their cruelties in a supreme tribunal.]
The Master of all that is has, out of the whole cosmos, chosen this world in particular and given to it high rank and significance, and out of all the creatures in this world, He has given rank and significance to mankind. So too, and in the same way, He has chosen from among mankind, as His friends and the objects of His address, the Prophets and saints and the purified scholars, who are truly human in that they fully conform to the purposes of the Lord of creation. They make themselves beloved of their Maker through belief and submission. He ennobles them with miracles and Divine support, and chastises their opponents with blows from heaven.
The Prophets, including especially Prophet Muhammad, cannot have been condemned to eternal extinction
He chooses from among His chosen, beloved friends their leader and fulcrum, Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. He enlightens him and by his light has illumined for centuries one half of the exalted globe and one-fifth of exalted mankind. It is as if the creation had been created for his sake; all of its high purposes become manifest through him, his religion, and the Qur’an he brought. Although he deserved and was worthy to receive an infinite reward for the infinite value of the services he rendered—services that usually would take thousands of years to perform—he was granted a brief life of no more than sixty-three years, which was spent in hardship and struggle. Is it at all imaginable or conceivable that that being should not be resurrected, together with all of his peers—the other Prophets—and Companions? That he should not be, even now, alive in the spirit? That they should perish and disappear into eternal extinction? No! a thousand times, no!
Divine Perfections will wholly be manifested and comprehended only in the eternal world
The whole universe and the being of the world demand his being again, demand his life from the Owner of all that is. The universe is the handicraft of a Single Being. We have also established the Oneness and Unity of that Being, which give rise to all His perfections. It is by virtue of His Oneness and Unity that the whole creation absolutely obeys Him and does whatever He orders it. By means of a new life, the life of the Hereafter, [where the Divine perfections will be manifested without veil], those perfections remain free from any defects [which some may conceive of in respect of the injustices, hardships, cruelties and disparities that mankind, having free will, suffer and cause others to suffer]. Again, it is by means of the Afterlife that His Absolute Justice is not deformed into an absolute treachery; His universal Wisdom is not deformed into a foolish pointlessness; His all-inclusive Mercy is not deformed into frivolous tormenting; nor His exalted Power confounded with impotence.
The Resurrection will be; that is absolutely certain by reason of the points set out above, points out of hundreds derived from belief in God. The Resurrection will be; the abodes of reward and punishment will open their gates. Then only will the significance and centrality of the earth, and the true significance and value of man be truly accomplished. Then will the Justice, Wisdom, Mercy and Sovereignty of the Wise Ruler, Who is the Creator and Lord of earth and man, be eternally manifested with all their perfection. Then the true friends and ardent lovers of the Eternal Lord will be delivered from eternal annihilation, and the nearest and dearest of those friends receive the reward for the sacred services with which He gratified the whole world. Then will the perfections of the Eternal Sovereign affirm themselves to be absolutely free from defects, and His Power, free from all incompetency, and His Justice, from all oppression.
In sum: Since there is God, certainly there is the Hereafter.
The three articles of faith explained above bear witness, therefore, to the Resurrection, together with all the evidences that testify to the truth of those articles. So too the remaining two articles of faith expressed in the words—‘and belief in His angels and in Destiny, whatever good or evil happens to man being included in it and created by God Almighty’—require the Resurrection and bear witness to the world of eternity, indicating it most compellingly.
Arguments for the existence of the metaphysical realm also establish the Hereafter
All of the arguments and testimonies and the conversations held with them, which prove the existence of the angels and their function of servanthood to God, also attest indirectly to the existence of the world of spirits, to the Unseen, to the Hereafter, to the Abode of Bliss that, in the future, is to be peopled by both men and jinn, and to Paradise and Hell. For the angels perceive and enter those worlds, by God’s leave, and all the angels nearest to the Divine Throne, such as Gabriel, who communicate with mankind, report the existence of those worlds and unanimously describe their traveling there. Just as we unquestioningly accept the existence of the American continent (that we ourselves have never seen) on the basis of the reports of returning travelers, so too we must believe—and most firmly, as indeed we do—in the existence of the realm of eternity, of the Hereafter, of Paradise and Hell, on the basis of the reports given by the angels, reports that have the authority of numerous undisputed narrations. Again, all the arguments for Divine Decree and Destiny, which establish that article of faith, attest indirectly to the Resurrection, to the publishing in another world of the records of the deeds (we do in this world), and the weighing of those deeds in the Supreme Balance. For the events in the existence of all things are impressed before our eyes and recorded: the biography of every animate being is inscribed in its memory, in its seed, and other tablet-like forms; the deeds of every being endowed with spirit, and especially man, are registered on preserved tablets. So all-embracing a Decree, so wise, purposive an ordaining, such detailed and minutely exact recording and inscribing, can only be to enable the administration of a permanent reward and punishment at the Supreme Judgment after a universal tribunal. Otherwise, that comprehensive, meticulous recording and registering would be totally pointless and without meaning. It would be contrary to sense and reality. Moreover, if there were not the Resurrection, then all the exactly established meanings inscribed in the Book of the Universe by the Pen of Divine Destiny would be annihilated. That is something totally impossible, as absurd and silly as to deny the existence of the universe.
The five articles of faith, together with all of their proofs, point to and require that the Resurrection will take place, that the realm of the Hereafter to be opened out. They bear witness to it and necessitate it. It is because of such imposing foundations and unshakeable arguments for the truth of the Resurrection, which are worthy of the sublimity of that truth, that so much of the Qur’an (about one-third) is devoted to the Resurrection. The Qur’an makes of it the bedrock of all of its truths, and constructs everything on its basis.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.