The Day That Death Will Die
After Death, Then What?
Qiyamat has not yet come, and every day people die and are buried. What happens to these people as they wait in their graves for the day of resurrection? As far as the body is concerned, it remains lifeless in the grave and goes through the natural process of decay. Allah spoke of this to Adam (pbuh) after the sentence of death came upon Adam for his sin,
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Taurat, Genesis 3:19)
But everyone who has seen a dead body knows that there is more to life than the body. Something is missing from the dead body, something we call the soul. The body remains, but the soul is gone. Where has it gone to? According to the holy scriptures, different people go to different places depending on whether they are righteous or wicked.
The Waiting Place for the Wicked
‘Isa al-Masih once told a story about two men who died that helps us understand more about life after death,
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Ibrahim’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Ibrahim far away, with Lazarus by his side.
So he called to him, `Father Ibrahim, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
But Ibrahim replied, `Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
He answered, `Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
Ibrahim replied, `They have Musa and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
`No, father Ibrahim,’ he said, `but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
He said to him, `If they do not listen to Musa and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” (Holy Injil, Luke 16:19-31)
There are several things we can learn from this story:
- That after death our soul is conscious, not sleeping.
- There is a place of torment for the wicked, and a place of comfort for the righteous.
- There is no way to travel from one place to the other.
- After death you cannot change your destiny.
- Before death, in this life, we must prepare by listening to the message of Allah’s prophets.
- Some people will never listen to Allah’s Word, even if someone were to die and rise again to tell them.
Those who do not listen to Allah’s prophets such as Musa (pbuh) and ‘Isa al-Masih will end up in a place of torment like the rich man. But what of those who do listen? What will their condition be after death?
The Rest of the Righteous
We have already seen from the story of the rich man and Lazarus, that Lazarus received comfort after death, the same comfort enjoyed by Ibrahim (pbuh). There are other verses of Allah’s Word that tell us much more:
For to me, to live is Masih and to die is gain. … I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Masih, which is better by far; (Holy Injil, Phil. 1:21,23)
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (Holy Injil, 2 Cor. 5:8)
These verses are written only about followers of ‘Isa al-Masih, not about everyone in general. Those who are his disciples are given a very special arrangement after death. The prophet who healed the sick and raised the dead will give great comfort to his followers in their death:
- They will go to be with ‘Isa al-Masih in heaven.
- It will be much better than the present life.
- They have confidence that after death, things will be much better for them.
The third statement is quite amazing. Most people do not have confidence about where they will go in the future life, and even think that it would be wrong to have such confidence. After all, Allah almighty decides our fate. Even though that is so, the followers of ‘Isa al-Masih are confident that they will go to heaven after death. This is not because they think they are better than other men, but because Isa gave a special promise to them from Allah. Listen to what he says,
I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved. (Holy Injil, John 10:9)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Holy Injil, Matt. 11:28-30)
…whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (Holy Injil, John 6:37)
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (Holy Injil, John 14:3)
Where is ‘Isa al-Masih? In heaven, of course. Where will his followers be? In heaven also. What mercy and compassion Isa shows toward his people. Because he is a prophet, his word must be believed. If we choose to accept his word, we will receive rest and confidence about the future.
Friend, the question remains for you, “Where will you go after you die?” Will you enjoy the joy and peace of heaven because you are a follower of ‘Isa al-Masih? Or will you go to the place of torment as you wait for the day of judgment? ‘Isa al-Masih is a special holy prophet, and as such as he has made a special arrangement for his followers. Believe and obey his words so that you may also find the peace he gives, and a place in heaven with him when you die.
QUESTIONS: — Choose the most correct answers
1. ‘Isa al-Masih told the story of the rich man and Lazarus…
a. to explain the importance of giving
b. to teach that all rich men are bad
c. to help us understand about life after death
2. The rich man died, was buried, and…
a. went to be with Ibrahim in heaven
b. waited in torment
c. rested in peace
3. Lazarus was…
a. a beggar
b. a rich man
c. a businessman
4. Lazarus and Ibrahim waited…
a. in hellfire
b. in a place of peace and rest
c. for the rich man to come and help them
5. After a person dies…
a. it is too late to change his eternal destiny
b. he waits for judgment day to come, either in torment or in happiness
c. he is conscious, not asleep
d. all of the above
6. To avoid suffering after death, a person must…
a. listen to the message of Allah’s prophets while he is still alive
b. try to become wealthy in this life
c. care for his brothers
d. become a beggar
7. If someone actually came back from the dead and told the way to Allah…
a. everyone would believe in him
b. nobody would believe
c. many people would believe, some would not
8. ‘Isa al-Masih promised his followers that after death they will…
a. enjoy rest and comfort with ‘Isa al-Masih
b. be condemned by Allah
c. stop existing
9. Followers of ‘Isa al-Masih are sure of a place in heaven because…
a. they think they are better than other people
b. they are deceived by Satan
c. they try to do good
d. they believe the promise Isa has made to them
10. If I were to die right now, I think I would go to…
a. a place of torment
b. a place of rest with ‘Isa al-Masih
c. I don’t know where I would go