Part one: Two points
[This introduction consists of two points that briefly expound one of the many spiritual benefits of belief in the Resurrection and one of its vital comprehensive results. They also show how that belief is essential for human life, particularly social life, and summarize one of its many comprehensive proofs. Also included is an explanation of how evident and indubitable a matter is belief in the Resurrection.]
FIRST POINT: We will relate only four of the many arguments for belief in the Hereafter as the very basis and bedrock of human social and individual life, and the foundation of all happiness and achievement.
FIRST ARGUMENT: Children are one-fourth of humanity. They cannot endure death, which must seem to them an awful tragedy, except via the idea of Paradise, which spiritually strengthens their weak, fragile natures. It gives them the hope to live joyfully, despite the vulnerability of their nature, which can so readily burst into tears.
Keeping Paradise in mind, they may say: “My little sister or friend has died and become a bird in Paradise. She is playing there and enjoying a better life.” If they could not do this, their awareness of the deaths of those around them would overwhelm them; crush their powers of resistance and inner strength; cause their eyes and all inner faculties, heart, mind, and spirit to weep; and destroy them or transform them into distraught and crazed animals.
SECOND ARGUMENT: The elderly make up another one-fourth of humanity. They can endure death only by believing in the afterlife, which consoles them somewhat for the imminent extinction of this life to which they are so attached, for their exclusion from their lovely world. The hope of eternal life allows them to counter the pain and despair arising from the anticipation of death and separation, despite their fragile temperament and spirit. Without such a hope, our venerable elders who are so worthy of respect, our aged parents who need a serene and steady heart, would become so distraught in spirit and distressed at heart that their world would seem to be a dark prison, their lives a heavy burden of torment.
THIRD ARGUMENT: Young people are the mainspring and foundation of social life. Only the thought of Hell enables them to control the stormy energy of feelings and passions, their tempestuous spirits, from destructiveness and oppression by diverting them into serving the collective interest. Without this fear, and drunk on youth’s energy of youth, they would follow the principle of “might makes right” and give free rein to their passions. This would turn the world into a hell for the weak and powerless, and lower human life to the level of beasts.
FOURTH ARGUMENT: The family is the inclusive core of our worldly life, our most fundamental resource, and the paradise, home, and castle of our worldly happiness. Each person’s home is his or her own miniature world. The vitality and happiness of our homes and families depend upon sincere and devoted respect, true kindness, and self-denying compassion. All of this, in turn, depends upon eternal friendship and companionship, an immortal bond, as well as the belief that feelings between parents and children, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives will be everlasting.
For example, a man can say: “My wife will be my eternal companion in an eternal world. Even if she is now old and not as beautiful as before, her eternal beauty will show itself in the Hereafter. For the sake of that companionship in eternity, I sacrifice and show her compassion in this world.” Thus he can regard his aged wife with love, care, and compassion, as if she were a gorgeous houri. A companionship that ends in permanent separation after a few hours of bodily togetherness can only be slight, transient, and insecure. It would produce only a superficial love and respect based on physical charm and sexual instinct. Other interests and powerful emotions eventually would arise and, defeating that respect and concern, turn a worldly paradise into a worldly hell.
One of this belief’s many benefits therefore relates to our social life. If the related aspects and benefits are deduced via analogy with these four, it will be clear that the Resurrection’s reality and truth is as certain as our own existence and universal need. It will be even more evident than the argument that food must exist because our stomachs require it.
If the Resurrection’s reality and truth, and all the consequences thereof, are subtracted from the human state, the meaning of being human— so exalted, vital, and important within creation— is lowered to that of a carcass fed upon by microbes. Let those concerned with humanity’s orderly life, morals, and society focus on this matter. If the Resurrection is denied, with what will they fill the resulting void and cure the deep wounds?
SECOND POINT: We set out, in a compressed and succinct form, the support offered by the other pillars of belief. All miracles affirming Muhammad as Messenger, all proofs of his Prophethood, and all evidence of his truthfulness bear witness to and establish the Resurrection’s reality and truth. After the Unity of God Almighty, that exalted man spent his life focused on the Resurrection. Indeed, the miracles and proofs attesting to all Prophets, and urging humanity to attest to them, bear witness to the same truth. Similarly, the requirement for Muslims to believe in His Messengers is necessarily followed by belief in His Books, which also bear witness to this truth.
All miracles, proofs, and truths establishing the Qur’an’s truth likewise establish and prove the Resurrection’s reality and truth. About one third of the Qur’an deals with the Hereafter, most of its short suras begin with powerful verses evoking it, and it proclaims this truth explicitly or implicitly in hundreds of verses, thereby proving it. For example:
When the sun is folded up. (81:1)
O humanity, fear your Lord; the quaking of the Hour is a mighty thing. (22:1)
When Earth is shaken. (99:1)
When the heavens are torn asunder. (82:1) When the heavens are torn apart. (84:1)
Whereof do they question each other? (78:1)
Has the story of the overwhelming event reached you? (88:1)
Just as the initial verses of about 20 suras state that the Resurrection’s truth is most important and essential for humanity, many other verses affirm and provide other evidence of the same truth. How can you even consider not believing in the Resurrection? Such a belief is made as clear as the sun by the additional uncountable testimonies and claims in a Book that yields the fruit of all scientific and cosmic truths contained in the Islamic sciences, even though one reference in one verse would suffice. Do you also deny the existence of the sun or the universe?
A sovereign sometimes sends his army into battle merely to prove the truth of one of his statements. Is it, then, even conceivable to deny the truth of that most solemn and proud Sovereign’s innumerable words, promises, and threats? One indication from the Glorious Sovereign suffices to prove the Resurrection’s truth, especially since His Qur’an has ruled, administered, and educated countless spirits, intellects, hearts and souls according to perfect righteousness and truth for more than 13 centuries. Having proved and demonstrated this truth with thousands of explicit proofs, what else can we say than that those who continue to deny this truth are worthy of and deserve punishment in Hellfire?
Similarly, all Divine Pages and Sacred Books other than the Qur’an, each of which was addressed to a specific age and time, accept it. Thus it is logical for the Qur’an, the Book addressed to the future and all ages, to expound upon it in such detail and with such explicit arguments. Even their brief and sometimes allusive explanations affirm it so powerfully that they constitute a thousand fold signature of what is revealed in the Qur’an.
We include an argument drawn from the Treatise on Supplication. This brief argument, including the testimony of belief in the Last Day by the other pillars of belief, mainly belief in God’s Messengers and Books, is forceful and may suffice to end all doubt. In this supplication, we say:
O Compassionate Lord. Through the noble Messenger’s teaching and the Wise Qur’an’s instruction, I have understood that all Divine Books and Prophets, primarily the Qur’an and Your noble Messenger, assert and testify that the manifestations of all Your Names of Majesty and Grace, the exemplary radiations of which are witnessed throughout the universe, will continue to be manifested in eternity in a more splendid way; that Your bounties and blessings, the merciful manifestations and specimens of which are observed in this world, will persist in a more brilliant fashion in the Abode of Eternal Bliss; and that those who are fond of them and who discern them in this brief worldly life with pleasure and seek them in love will accompany them eternally in the Hereafter.
Moreover all Prophets, led by Your noble Messenger, who relied on their hundreds of manifest miracles and evident signs of their truthfulness as well as the decisive Divine verses they brought, are masters of all illustrious and illuminated “spirits”; all saints who are leaders of all illumined “hearts”; and all truthful and purified scholars who are sources inspiring all keen, enlightened intellects—they give humanity the good tidings of eternal happiness, and proclaim and testify with firm belief that there is Hellfire for the misguided and Paradise for the truly guided.
They do this on the basis of the promises and threats You have reiterated in all Heavenly Pages and Sacred Books; on all Your sacred Attributes such as Power, Mercy, Favoring, Wisdom, Majesty, and Grace, all of which require the Resurrection; on Your Majesty’s dignity and might and Your Lordship’s sovereignty; and on their innumerable visions and observations, as well as their belief and conviction in the degree of certainty coming from true knowledge and direct observation, that convey to us the traces and effects of the Hereafter.
O All-Powerful and All-Wise One. O All-Merciful, All-Compassionate. O All-Munificent, Truthful in His Promises! O Possessor of Splendor, Grandeur, and Majesty, All-Overwhelming One. You are far exalted above causing so many of Your sincere friends to appear as liars, or rendering false the testimony of so many of Your Names and Attributes, or rebutting and denying the reality of what is required by Your Lordship’s Sovereignty, or refusing the innumerable prayers and petitions for the Hereafter of Your innumerable servants whom You love and who seek Your love with belief in You and obedience to You, or supporting the denial of the Resurrection made by the misguided who insult Your Glory and Majesty with their rebellious unbelief and their belying Your promises, and who transgress Your Lordship’s Majesty.
We proclaim to the utmost degree the transcendence and sanctity of Your infinite Justice, Beauty, and Mercy, as well as their exaltation above such boundless injustice and abomination. We believe with all our power to believe in the reality and truth of what has been told with utmost certainty by innumerable truthful Messengers, all Prophets, purified scholars, and saints—all of them are Heralds of Your Sovereignty—about the treasuries of Your eternal Mercy, the riches of Your Bounty to be veiled in the everlasting realm, and the wonderful, miraculous manifestations of Your Beautiful Names that will fully appear in the Abode of Happiness. Their indications are true and correct, and their prophesying is truthful. They teach Your servants, by Your command and in accordance with truth, that the greatest ray to emerge from the Name “Truth”— which is the origin, sun, and protector of all truths— is the sublime truth of the Resurrection. They believe in this and teach it as the essence of truth.
O Lord, for the sake of their instruction and teaching, grant to us and our brothers and sisters perfected belief and a fair ending to our life, and that we may have some share of their intercession. Amen.
All arguments and evidences establishing the Qur’an’s truth, and that of all Divine Books, as well as the miracles and proofs establishing the Prophethood of the beloved of God—Prophet Muhammad—and of all Prophets, point to the Hereafter’s reality. This reality dominates the truth affirmed by the Books and the Messengers.
Similarly, most arguments and evidences for the Necessarily Existent Being’s Existence and Unity implicitly affirm the existence and opening out of the Abode of Happiness, the Realm of Eternity where God’s Lordship and Divinity will be fully shown. The Necessarily Existent Being’s existence requires the Hereafter’s existence, as do all of His Attributes, most of His Names, and His essential Qualities (e.g., Lordship, Divinity, Grace, Wisdom, and Justice). These require an eternal realm, as the Resurrection is required for dispensing just punishment and reward.
An eternally existent God requires a Hereafter that is the everlasting pivot of His Divine Sovereignty. We can see that a most magnificent, purposively wise, and caring absolute Lordship exists throughout the universe and animate creation. Given this, there must be an eternal realm of happiness to which admission is granted, so that His Magnificence is not extinguished, His Wisdom not turned into pointlessness, and His Caring not destroyed by betrayal.
These visible and infinite bounties, blessings, kindnesses, and instances of generosity and mercy show that a Merciful and Compassionate Being exists beyond the veil of the Unseen. Given this, there must be an eternal life in an eternal world, for only that which will show that His Divine bounties do not mock, His blessings do not deceive, His favoring does not create enmity, His mercy does not torment, and His generosity does not betray. In addition, eternity and ceaselessness make all bounties and blessings assume their true and perfect forms.
Each spring we see a Pen of Power tirelessly inscribe uncountable interleaved books on the narrow page of Earth. Not one of them contains an error. The Owner of that Pen has promised repeatedly: “I shall write and have you read a beautiful, imperishable book in a place far more spacious than this, and in a fashion far easier than this cramped and intermingled book of spring that is written on such a narrow page.” He mentions this book in all of His decrees. Its origin has been written already, and will be set down in writing with all its marginalia on the Day of Resurrection.
Earth has a special importance: It is the universe’s heart, center, choice, core, ultimate end, and very reason for its creation. It enjoys this status because of the multiplicity of its inhabitants and because it is the abode, origin, workshop, and place of display and resurrection of countless constantly changing forms. Despite its small size, the Qur’an describes Earth as equivalent to the vast heavens. Thus we read in the Heavenly Books: the Lord of the heavens and Earth.
Humanity also is of supreme importance. We are dominant throughout Earth. We have dominion over most of its creatures, subordinate and gather around ourselves almost all animate beings, and order, display, and ornament created objects according to our need and desire. We catalogue and classify everything in all its wonderful variety, each species in its own place, and in such a way that all people and jinn gaze at it, all dwellers of the heavens and the universe regard it with appreciation, and even the Lord of the universe bestows His appreciative glance upon it.
As we have a very high value and thus importance, our art and science show that we are the reason for the universe’s creation. Our great consequence and status as creation’s supreme fruit is in our serving as God’s vicegerents. Since we demonstrate and arrange the Maker’s miraculous works here, we are given a respite and our punishment is postponed, despite our rebellion and disbelief. And, due to the services we perform, we are granted a temporary stay and the Almighty’s assistance.
Despite being endowed with such qualities, we nevertheless are extremely weak and impotent when it comes to fulfilling the demands of our nature and disposition. And yet a most powerful, wise, and caring Ruler provides for us in a way altogether beyond our power and will. He makes the planet a storehouse stocked with every kind of mineral and food we need and with all the merchandise we desire. Thus does the Ruler take care of and nurture us and grant our wishes.
The Lord thus possesses these qualities. He loves us and makes Himself our beloved. He is Eternal and has eternal worlds. He does all things with justice and wisdom. But this Exalted Ruler’s magnificent splendor and eternality cannot be encompassed within the transient life of this fleeting, temporary world. Furthermore, the sheer enormity of human injustice and rebellion, which is hostile to and contradicts the universe’s just balance and harmonious beauty, not to mention its members’ betrayal, denial, and unbelief toward their Benefactor and Provider —all of these go unpunished in this world. The cruel and the treacherous live easily, while the oppressed and downcast live in wretchedness.
But the whole nature and being of Absolute Justice, signs of which are seen throughout the universe, are totally at odds and irreconcilable with the idea that the cruel and treacherous—who die just like the oppressed and the desperate—should never be resurrected [to account for their cruelty in a supreme tribunal].
The Master of all that is has chosen this world and given to it a high rank and significance. Out of all its creatures, He has given rank and significance to humanity. In the same way, He has chosen Prophets, saints, and purified scholars as His friends and objects of His address, for they show that they are truly human by conforming to the purposes of the Lord of creation. They make themselves beloved of their Maker through belief and submission, and He ennobles them with miracles and Divine support and chastises their opponents with blows from heaven.
From these people, He has chosen their leader and fulcrum: Muhammad. He enlightened him and, by his light, has illumined for centuries one-fifth of humanity. It is as if creation were created for his sake, for 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, which usually would take thousands of years to perform, he was granted a brief life of 63 years spent in hardship and struggle. How could we believe that he would not be resurrected, together with all his peers—the other Prophets—and Companions? Or that he should not, even now, be alive in the spirit? Or that they should die and disappear into eternal extinction?
The universe and the truth on which it is based demand his being again, demand his life from the Owner of all that is. his life from the Owner of all that is. We have established in the Risale-i Nur that the universe is a Single Being’s handicraft, and that that Being’s Oneness and Unity, which give rise to all His perfections, cause creation to obey Him absolutely. By means of a new life, that of the Hereafter, those perfections remain defect-free33; His Absolute Justice is not deformed into absolute treachery; or His universal Wisdom into foolish pointlessness; or His all-inclusive Mercy into frivolous tormenting; or His exalted Power confounded with impotence.
The Resurrection will occur. These points, along with hundreds of others derived from belief in God, prove this. Only after the abodes of reward and punishment open their gates will Earth’s significance and centrality, and our true significance and value, be truly accomplished. Then, the Wise Ruler’s Justice, Wisdom, Mercy, and Sovereignty, Who is the Creator and Lord of our planet and of us, will be manifested eternally with all their perfection.
All true friends and ardent lovers of the Eternal Lord will be delivered from eternal annihilation, and the nearest and dearest of them will be rewarded for the sacred services with which He gratified the world. Then the Eternal Sovereign’s perfections will affirm themselves to be without defect, His Power without incompetency, and His Justice without oppressiveness. In sum, the Hereafter exists because God exists.
The articles of faith explained above bear witness to the Resurrection, along with all the evidences testifying to their truth. The remaining two articles of faith—belief in His angels and in Destiny, whatever good or evil happens to us being included in it and created by God Almighty —require the Resurrection and bear witness to the World of Eternity.
All arguments, testimonies, and conversations held with them, which prove that angels exist and serve God, also attest indirectly to the existence of the World of Spirits, the Unseen, the Hereafter, the Abode of Bliss that in the future will be peopled by humanity and jinn, and to Paradise and Hell. Angels perceive and enter those worlds. All angels nearest to the Divine Throne and who communicate with humanity, such as Gabriel, report their existence and travels therein. Just as we accept America’s existence (which we have never actually seen) from the reports of returning travelers, so do we believe in the existence of the Realm of Eternity, the Hereafter, Paradise and Hell, from the angels’ reports, which have the authority of numerous undisputed narrations.
All arguments contained in The Twenty-sixth Word (about Divine Decree and Destiny), which establish that article of faith, attest indirectly to the Resurrection, to the publishing in another world of our recorded deeds (in this world), and their weighing in the Supreme Balance. The events in the existence of all things are impressed before our eyes and recorded. The life history of every animate being is inscribed in its memory, its seed, and other tablet-like forms; the deeds of every being endowed with spirit, especially humanity, are registered on preserved tablets.
Such an all-embracing Decree, wise and purposive ordaining, detailed and minutely exact recording and inscribing exists only to enable the giving of a permanent reward or punishment at the Supreme Judgment after a universal tribunal. If this were not so, such a comprehensive, meticulous recording and registering would have no purpose or meaning, and would be contrary to sense and reality. Moreover, if there were no Resurrection, all exactly established meanings inscribed by the Pen of Divine Destiny in the Book of the Universe would be annihilated. This would be tantamount to denying the universe’s existence.
In short, then, the five articles of faith and their proofs point to and require, bear witness to and necessitate, the Resurrection and that the Realm of the Hereafter be opened out. Due to the imposing foundations and unshakable arguments for it, which are worthy of that truth’s sublimity, about one-third the Qur’an is devoted to it. The Qur’an makes it the bedrock of all of its truths, and constructs everything on its basis.
33 The Divine perfections will be manifested without veil in this realm. The defects referred to are such things as injustice, hardship, cruelty, and all disparities that humanity, having free will, suffers and causes others to suffer. (Ed.)