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The Evidence for Life after Death

Allah tells us that Ibrahim (peace be upon him) showed them the proof of life after death, which they denied, in their souls. For Allah created them after they had been nothing at all, then they came into existence and became people who could hear and see. The One Who originated this is able to repeat it, it is very easy for Him. Then he taught them to contemplate the visible signs on the horizons and the things that Allah has created: the heavens with their stars and planets, moving and stationary, the earth with its plains and mountains, its valleys, deserts and wildernesses, trees and rivers, fruits and oceans. All of that indicates that these are themselves created things, and that there must be a Creator Who does as He chooses, Who merely says to a thing "Be!'' and it is. Allah says:

﴿ أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ ڪَيۡفَ يُبۡدِئُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۥۤ‌ۚ إِنَّ ذَٲلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ۬

(See they not how Allah originates the creation, then repeats it. Verily, that is easy for Allah.) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى يَبۡدَؤُاْ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۥ وَهُوَ أَهۡوَنُ عَلَيۡهِ‌ۚ

(And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him) (30:27). Then Allah says:

﴿ قُلۡ سِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱنظُرُواْ ڪَيۡفَ بَدَأَ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ‌ۚ ثُمَّ ٱللَّهُ يُنشِئُ ٱلنَّشۡأَةَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةَ‌ۚ

(Say: "Travel in the land and see how He originated the creation, and then Allah will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter.'') meaning, the Day of Resurrection.

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬

(Verily, Allah is able to do all things.)

﴿ يُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَرۡحَمُ مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۖ

(He punishes whom He wills, and shows mercy to whom He wills;) He is the Ruler Who is in control, Who does as He wishes and judges as He wants, and there is none who can put back His judgment. None can question Him about what He does; rather it is they who will be questioned, for His is the power to create and to command, and whatever He decides is fair and just, for He is the sovereign who cannot be unjust in the slightest. According to a Hadith recorded by the Sunan compilers:

« إِنَّ اللهَ لَوْ عَذَّبَ أَهْلَ سَمَاوَاتِهِ وَأَهْلَ أَرْضِهِ لَعَذَّبَهُمْ وَهُوَ غَيْرُ ظَالِم لَهُم »

(If Allah willed to punish the dwellers of His heavens and His earth, He would do so, while He would not be unjust to them.) Allah says:

﴿ يُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَرۡحَمُ مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۖ وَإِلَيۡهِ تُقۡلَبُونَ

(He punishes whom He wills, and shows mercy to whom He wills; and to Him you will be returned.) You will return to Him on the Day of Resurrection.

﴿ وَمَآ أَنتُم بِمُعۡجِزِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ‌ۖ

(And you cannot escape on the earth or in the heaven.) No one in heaven or on earth can flee from Him, for He is the Subduer Who is above His servants, and everything fears Him and is in need of Him, while He is the One Who is Independent of all else.

﴿ وَمَا لَڪُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَلِىٍّ۬ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ۬ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِقَآٮِٕهِۦۤ

(And besides Allah you have neither any protector nor any helper. And those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah and the meeting with Him,) Those who disbelieved in the signs of Allah and denied the Resurrection,

﴿ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يَٮِٕسُواْ مِن رَّحۡمَتِى

(such have no hope of My mercy) they will have no share in it,

﴿ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬

(and for such there is a painful torment.) meaning, extremely painful, in this world and the next.

﴿ فَمَا ڪَانَ جَوَابَ قَوۡمِهِۦۤ إِلَّآ أَن قَالُواْ ٱقۡتُلُوهُ أَوۡ حَرِّقُوهُ فَأَنجَٮٰهُ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلنَّارِ‌ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يُؤۡمِنُونَ وَقَالَ إِنَّمَا ٱتَّخَذۡتُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَوۡثَـٰنً۬ا مَّوَدَّةَ بَيۡنِكُمۡ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ ثُمَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ يَكۡفُرُ بَعۡضُڪُم بِبَعۡضٍ۬ وَيَلۡعَنُ بَعۡضُڪُم بَعۡضً۬ا وَمَأۡوَٮٰكُمُ ٱلنَّارُ وَمَا لَڪُم مِّن نَّـٰصِرِينَ

(24. So nothing was the answer of people except that they said: "Kill him or burn him.'' Then Allah saved him from the fire. Verily, in this are indeed signs for a people who believe.) (25. And (Ibrahim) said: "You have taken idols instead of Allah. The love between you is only in the life of this world, but on the Day of Resurrection, you shall deny each other, and curse each other, and your abode will be the Fire, and you shall have no helper.'')

The Response of Ibrahim's People -- and how Allah controlled the Fire

Allah tells us how Ibrahim's people stubbornly and arrogantly disbelieved, and how they resisted the truth with falsehood. After Ibrahim addressed them with his words of clear guidance,

﴿ إِلَّآ أَن قَالُواْ ٱقۡتُلُوهُ أَوۡ حَرِّقُوهُ

(except that they said: "Kill him or burn him.'') This was because proof had clearly been established against them, so they resorted to using their power and strength.

﴿ قَالُواْ ٱبۡنُواْ لَهُ ۥ بُنۡيَـٰنً۬ا فَأَلۡقُوهُ فِى ٱلۡجَحِيمِ فَأَرَادُواْ بِهِۦ كَيۡدً۬ا فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡأَسۡفَلِينَ

(They said: "Build for him a building and throw him into the blazing fire!'' So they plotted a plot against him, but We made them the lowest.) (37:97-98). They spent a long time gathering a huge amount of firewood, they built a fence around it, then they set it ablaze until its flames reached up to the sky. No greater fire had ever been lit. Then they went to Ibrahim, seized him and put him into a catapult, then they threw him into the fire. But Allah made it cool and safe for him, and after spending several days in it, he emerged unscathed. For this reason and others, Allah made him an Imam for mankind, for he offered himself to the Most Merciful, he offered his body to the flames, he offered his son as a sacrifice, and he gave his wealth to care for his guests. For all of these reasons he is beloved by the followers of all religions.

﴿ فَأَنجَٮٰهُ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلنَّارِ‌ۚ

(Then Allah saved him from the fire.) means, He rescued him from it by making it cool and safe for him.

﴿ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يُؤۡمِنُونَ

(Verily, in this are indeed signs for a people who believe.) Ibrahim (peace be upon him) explains to his people that idols are incapable of doing anything,

﴿ وَقَالَ إِنَّمَا ٱتَّخَذۡتُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَوۡثَـٰنً۬ا مَّوَدَّةَ بَيۡنِكُمۡ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ

(And (Ibrahim) said: "You have taken idols instead of Allah. The love between you is only in the life of this world,) Here Ibrahim was rebuking his people for their evil deed of worshipping idols, and telling them: `You have taken these as gods and you come together to worship them so that there is friendship and love among you in this world,'

﴿ ثُمَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ

(but on the Day of Resurrection,) the situation will be the opposite, and this love and friendship will turn into hatred and enmity. Then

﴿ يَكۡفُرُ بَعۡضُڪُم بِبَعۡضٍ۬

(you shall deny each other,) meaning, `you will denounce one another and deny whatever was between you,'

﴿ وَيَلۡعَنُ بَعۡضُڪُم بَعۡضً۬ا

(and curse each other, ) means, the followers will curse their leaders and the leaders will curse their followers.

﴿ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَتۡ أُمَّةٌ۬ لَّعَنَتۡ أُخۡتَہَا‌ۖ

(Every time a new nation enters (the Fire), it curses its sister nation (that went before)) (7:37).

﴿ ٱلۡأَخِلَّآءُ يَوۡمَٮِٕذِۭ بَعۡضُهُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ

(Friends on that Day will be foes one to another except those who have Taqwa.) (43:67) And Allah says here:

﴿ ثُمَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ يَكۡفُرُ بَعۡضُڪُم بِبَعۡضٍ۬ وَيَلۡعَنُ بَعۡضُڪُم بَعۡضً۬ا وَمَأۡوَٮٰكُمُ ٱلنَّارُ

(but on the Day of Resurrection, you shall deny each other, and curse each other, and your abode will be the Fire,) meaning, `your ultimate destiny after all accounts have been settled, will be the fire of Hell, and you will have no one to help you or save you from the punishment of Allah.' This will be the state of the disbelievers. As for the believers, it will be an entirely different matter.

﴿ فَـَٔامَنَ لَهُ ۥ لُوطٌ۬‌ۘ وَقَالَ إِنِّى مُهَاجِرٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّىٓ‌ۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهُ ۥۤ إِسۡحَـٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَ وَجَعَلۡنَا فِى ذُرِّيَّتِهِ ٱلنُّبُوَّةَ وَٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ أَجۡرَهُ ۥ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

(26. So, Lut believed in him. He said: "I will emigrate for the sake of my Lord. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.'') (27. And We bestowed on him, Ishaq and Ya`qub, and We ordained among his offspring prophethood and the Book, and We granted him his reward in this world; and verily, in the Hereafter he is indeed among the righteous.)

The Faith of Lut and His Emigration with Ibrahim

Allah tells us that Lut believed in Ibrahim. It was said that he was the son of Ibrahim's brother, and that his name was Lut bin Haran bin Azar. None of Ibrahim's people believed in Ibrahim besides Lut and Sarah the wife of Ibrahim. But if it is asked how we may reconcile this Ayah with the Hadith narrated in the Sahih which says that when Ibrahim passed by that tyrant and he asked about Sarah and what her relationship was to him, Ibrahim said, "My sister.'' Then he went to her and said, "I told him that you are my sister, so do not let him think I am lying, for there are no believers on earth except for you and I, and you are my sister in faith.'' It seems -- and Allah knows best -- that the meaning here is, there is no other Muslim couple on earth apart from you and I. Among his people, only Lut believed in him and migrated with him to Syria, then during Ibrahim's lifetime he was sent as a Messenger to the people of Sadum (Sodom) where he settled. We have already discussed their story and more is to come.

﴿ وَقَالَ إِنِّى مُهَاجِرٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّىٓ‌ۖ

(He (Ibrahim) said: "I will emigrate for the sake of my Lord.'') It may be that the pronoun in the verb "he said'' refers to Lut, because he was the last person mentioned before this phrase; or it may refer to Ibrahim. Ibn `Abbas and Ad-Dahhak said that Ibrahim is the one who is referred in the phrase.

﴿ فَـَٔامَنَ لَهُ ۥ لُوطٌ۬‌ۘ

(So, Lut believed in him.) i.e., out of all his people. Then Allah tells us that he chose to leave them so that he might be able to follow his religion openly. So he said:

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ

(Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.) Power belongs to Him and to His Messenger and to those who believe in him, and He is Wise in all that He says and does, and in all His rulings and decrees, both universal and legislative. Qatadah said, "They migrated together from Kutha, which is on the outskirts of Kufa, and went to Syria.'' Allah gave Ibrahim, Ishaq and Ya`qub, and ordained Prophethood in His Offspring

﴿ وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهُ ۥۤ إِسۡحَـٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَ

(And We bestowed on him, Ishaq and Ya`qub,) This is like the Ayah,

﴿ فَلَمَّا ٱعۡتَزَلَهُمۡ وَمَا يَعۡبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَهَبۡنَا لَهُ ۥۤ إِسۡحَـٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَ‌ۖ وَكُلاًّ۬ جَعَلۡنَا نَبِيًّ۬ا

(So, when he had turned away from them and from those whom they worshipped besides Allah, We gave him Ishaq and Ya`qub, and each one of them We made a Prophet.) (19:49) That is, when he left his people, Allah gave him joy in a righteous son who was also a Prophet, to whom in turn was born, in his grandfather's lifetime, a righteous son who was also a Prophet. Allah also says:

﴿ وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهُ ۥۤ إِسۡحَـٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَ نَافِلَةً۬‌ۖ

(And We bestowed upon him Ishaq, and Ya`qub in addition) (21:72) meaning, as an additional gift. This is like the Ayah,

﴿ فَبَشَّرۡنَـٰهَا بِإِسۡحَـٰقَ وَمِن وَرَآءِ إِسۡحَـٰقَ يَعۡقُوبَ

(But We gave her glad tidings of Ishaq, and after Ishaq, of Ya`qub.) (11:71) meaning, to this son would be born a son during their lives, who would be a delight to them.

﴿ وَجَعَلۡنَا فِى ذُرِّيَّتِهِ ٱلنُّبُوَّةَ وَٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ

(and We ordained among his offspring prophethood and the Book,) This is a tremendous blessing. Not only did Allah take him as a close friend and make him an Imam for mankind, but He also ordained prophethood and the Book among his offspring. After the time of Ibrahim there was no Prophet who was not from among his descendants. All of the Prophets of the Children of Israel were from among his descendants, from Ya`qub bin Ishaq bin Ibrahim to the last of them, `Isa bin Maryam, who stood in the midst of his people and announced the good news of the Hashimi Qurashi Arab Prophet, the last of all the Messengers, the leader of the sons of Adam in this world and the next, whom Allah chose from the heart of the Arab nation, from the descendants of Isma`il bin Ibrahim, may peace be upon them. There is no Prophet from the line of Isma`il besides him, may the best of blessings and peace be upon him.

﴿ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ أَجۡرَهُ ۥ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

(and We granted him his reward in this world; and verily, in the Hereafter he is indeed among the righteous.) Allah granted him happiness in this world that was connected to happiness in the Hereafter, for in this world he had plentiful provision, a splendid home, a beautiful and righteous wife, and he was and still is spoken of highly, for everyone loves him and regards him as a friend. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and others said: "He obeyed Allah in all ways.'' This is like the Ayah,

﴿ وَإِبۡرَٲهِيمَ ٱلَّذِى وَفَّىٰٓ

(And of Ibrahim who fulfilled all.) (53:37) He did all that he was commanded to do and obeyed his Lord to the utmost. Allah says:

﴿ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ أَجۡرَهُ ۥ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

(and We granted him his reward in this world; and verily, in the Hereafter he is indeed among the righteous.) And He says:

﴿ إِنَّ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً۬ قَانِتً۬ا لِّلَّهِ حَنِيفً۬ا وَلَمۡ يَكُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ

(Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah, Qanit to Allah, a Hanif, and he was not one of the idolaters) until:

﴿ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

(and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous) (16:120-122).

﴿ وَلُوطًا إِذۡ قَالَ لِقَوۡمِهِۦۤ إِنَّڪُمۡ لَتَأۡتُونَ ٱلۡفَـٰحِشَةَ مَا سَبَقَڪُم بِہَا مِنۡ أَحَدٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ أَٮِٕنَّكُمۡ لَتَأۡتُونَ ٱلرِّجَالَ وَتَقۡطَعُونَ ٱلسَّبِيلَ وَتَأۡتُونَ فِى نَادِيكُمُ ٱلۡمُنڪَرَ‌ۖ فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوۡمِهِۦۤ إِلَّآ أَن قَالُواْ ٱئۡتِنَا بِعَذَابِ ٱللَّهِ إِن ڪُنتَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ قَالَ رَبِّ ٱنصُرۡنِى عَلَى ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ

(28. And (remember) Lut, when he said to his people: "You commit immoral sins which none has preceded you in (committing) it in all creatures.'') (29. "Verily, you practice sodomy with men, and rob the wayfarer! And practice Al-Munkar in your meetings.'' But his people gave no answer except that they said: "Bring Allah's torment upon us if you are one of the truthful.'') (30. He said: "My Lord! Give me victory over the people who are corrupt.'')