The teaching of the Qur'an that life is a process of progressive creation necessitates that each generation, guided but unhampered by the work of its predecessors, should be permitted to solve its own problems.

(The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam)

“Christianity and Islam on life After Death”

G. Sabir

As for Christianity, The Bible has little to say about the events that transpire upon death or precise nature of the world after death. However there are two passages in the Old Testament that tell us about the life after death. These are quoted as under:

1. Thy dead men shall live; together with dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust ... the earth shall cast out the dead”. (See full text in Isiah 26:19).
2. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2).

Paul also believed in the doctrine of bodily Resurrection. We repeat below the extract of Paul’s writing, as translated by Tom Harpur.

“So too, with the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in decay, it is raised up in immortality, it is sown in dishonour, it is raised up in glory, it is sown in weakness, it is raised up in power. ..”

All the prophets of God called their people to worship God and to believe in the life after death. However Islam has widely dealt with metaphysical aspect of the life hereafter. About man Qur’an says,

“And he has coined for us a similitude, and has forgotten the fact of his creation, saying: who will revive these bones when they have rotten away? “Say: He will revive them who produced them at first, for He is the knower of every creation, Who has appointed for your fire from the green tree, and behold you kindle from it. Is not He who created the heavens and the earth, able to create the like them?  Yes and He is indeed the supreme creator, the All-knowing.” (36:78-81).

Islam teaches that the day of resurrection will be the day when God’s attributes for Justice and Mercy will be in full manifestation. God will shower His mercy on those who suffered for His sake in the worldly life, believing that an eternal bliss was awaiting them. But those who abused the bounties of God, caring nothing for the life to come, will be in the most miserable state.  The belief in life after death not only guarantees successes in this world and the world hereafter for the individual but also makes this world full of peace and happiness. The individuals become most responsible and dutiful in their activities. Besides belief in the life hereafter, there is something more to act upon in our life on earth and that is to understand the Self or Ego, which follows the real response of one’s existence and make him/her a useful part of the society. The life, when it wears the garment of a human being, is called as self or ego. One has to be aware of his own ego and then develop it with the help of love. Søren Kierkegaard, the great Danish philosopher said: “Self is fortified by love.” Iqbal Persian book “Asrar-I Khudi” (The Secrets of the Self) deals extensively on this expect of life. In the following verses of this book he explains as to what is the self and that how can we develop it in our person or among the society in order to achieve the required results. Iqbal says:

1. Nukta-i noor-i Kay naam-i ou khudeest, Zer-i Khak-i ma sharar-i zindgest.
2. Az muhabbat mee shawad pa-inda tager, Zinda-tar sozinda-tar tabinda-tar.
(Asrar-I Khudi III)

Following is English translation by Professor Reynold Nicholson of Cambridge University, the teacher of Iqbal:
1. The luminous point whose name is the Self, Is the life-spark beneath our dust.
2. By love it is made more lasting, more living, more burning, more glowing.

Now we quote hereunder Iqbal’s three couplet from his Urdu poetry, in which he elaborates the achievements when Khudi (Self) is developed in man individually, and collectively when it is developed in nations. The translation given along with these verses is self-explanatory:

1. Khudi ki parwarish-o tarbiat pay hai mauqoof, Kay musht-i khak men paida ho aatish-i hama soze.
(Zarb-i Kalim p.588)
2. Khudi kay saaz men hai umr-i jawidan ka suragh, Khudi kay soze say roshan hain ummaton kay chirgh.
(Bal-i Jibreel p.157)
3. Suna hai maeney ghulami say ummatone ki nijaat, Khdi ki parwarish-o lazzat-i namud men hai.
(Zarb-i Kalim p.163)

English translation:
1. If self is bred with perfect care, It can acquire such force and strength that handful dust of man can easily set untruths and wrongs afire.
2. A nation’s life is eliminated with selfhood, Selfhood is the pathway to everlasting life.
3. I know that subject nations freedom gain, If they would nourish self, display its main.
(The above is versified translation).

The life when it wears the garment of man is called as Self. Iqbal’s teacher Professor Nicholson, while translating “Asrar-I Khudi” (The Secrets of the Self), wrote a letter to Iqbal for certain clarification. We are quoting below an extract from Iqbal’s detailed reply to his teacher:

“In man the centre of life becomes an Ego or a Person. Personality is a state of tension and can continue only if that state is maintained. If the state of tension is not maintained, relaxation will ensue. Since personality, or the state of tension, is the most valuable achievement of man, he should see that he does not revert to a state of relaxation. That which tends to maintain the state of tension tends to make us immortal.”

To Iqbal we can intuit the self. We can directly see that the self is real and existent. Indeed our selfhood is the most real thing we can know. Its reality is a fact. We directly apprehend and perceive our own self or ego to be existent. Not only through the medium of intuition but the self is revealed as the centre of all our activities and action. This centre is essentially the core of our personality. According to Iqbal the self is revealed is our ego which is directly revealed to be real and existent by our likes, dislikes, judgments and resolutions. Turn to the inner depths of your own consciousness, and have recourse to intuition, although it is difficult to describe in words. It is in intuition that the true nature and essence of the self is revealed. We have mentioned above that the ego is fortified by love; love then provides a new force to life and the ego grows and expands into a strong and powerful personality.”

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