Muslim Beliefs 11 – Accountability Paradise And Hellfire
Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Muslim Beliefs
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In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, I greet you with the greetings of all the profits from Adam and Abraham to Prophet Muhammad Assalamu alaikum, which means peace be unto you. Welcome to Islam and focus. I'm your host Hamad Rashid, and today's program we begin the 11th program in the series on Muslim beliefs. We'll be talking about the Day of Judgment, the question of accountability, and paradise and hellfire. My guest on today's program is Dr. Jamal betawi of St. Mary's University. Welcome to Islam and focus, brother Jamal, we began our discussion.
Last week, we were talking about
the signs of the beginning of the day of judgment. I wonder if perhaps you could summarize the main points that we touched upon in that program? You're talking about the actual happenings immediately? Yes, before they've done because we talked about the variety of signs, minor signs and major signs, right. But as far as the final
as we mentioned, last time, the Quran talks about the sky being unveiled or opened, the stars being dispersed, the oceans bursting
in fire, mountains vanishing, or being thrown out like flakes of teased with
the earth having severe
earthquakes. But of course, above all, the most important parts of it is that all people who lived on this earth at any point of history will resurrect. Again, like we discussed before, it's not an asset that you can measure materially and talk about bonds that decayed already on Earth, that God is able to raise all those people throughout history to come out again, and this day of resurrection. And the Quran makes it clear to us, for example, in chapter 80, in verse 34, that this would be a day when everybody would be worried about himself. It's the terror, the fear, the the apprehension, would be so prominent that the person even would not think much even about his closest
relatives, let alone friends and others,
that it would be a very stressful day, for example, in chapter 22, it gives us an allegory or an explanation of that, that even a mother who's nursing, her baby would forget about her baby. So that shows that this is not the clinic, it's a day where everybody really would be very apprehensive as to what his final destiny is going to look like.
In terms of the stressful situation that you just described it.
How does this come to an end? And how do what marks the beginning of the day of judgment? Well, in one of the saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, he says that people would be so stressed and
worried to the point that the situation becomes very difficult for them that they go to some of the prophets and ask them to plead with God, to get it over with to get things started. They go to Prophet Moses, they go to other prophets, and each of them even though these are great and respected profits, the situation itself is so omnious that those profits themselves even say, I don't feel myself, you know, fit enough to make this. So they end up going to the last prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and plead with him again to plead with God.
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him would then pray to God to get things over and start the accountability. Indeed, the this saying of the Prophet peace be upon him is consistent with one, a verse in the Quran in chapter 17, verse 79,
in which it addresses Prophet Mohammed saying that you should wake up and make night prayers, which, as you know, this is a very difficult thing to wake in the middle of the night to pray. And then it says, maybe, as a result of this, maybe God will raise you up in the day of judgment in an owner and high or praised state. So many of the interpreters
explain this state, the honest state or credit
Settle the profit of interceding on behalf of the entire humanity,
pleading with God to start the process of judgment. Let's take a look at the process of judgment. Is there anything in the Quran which gives us a description of the nature of a judgment? How it will be conducted? Do we have any insights in terms of what will actually happen as part of the process of judgment? There are plenty of references in the Quran to this because the belief in the Day of Judgment, the belief and the life you're after is, as we mentioned before, a very integral component and the Muslim belief which tremendously affect his attitude to perspective in life.
And the first thing that should be emphasized there is that the judgment is done with full justice. There is no injustice whatsoever that is done to anyone in this in this day.
We find numerous references in the Quran just for the sake of time, maybe I can just give you verse numbers and the content, the main content of the verse. For example, in chapter 14, verse 17, it says, there would be no injustice this day.
And another widely quoted verse in chapter 18, verse 15, it says, while I have llamada bukata, that your Lord will not be unjust to anyone.
Not only this, it makes it even more clear by referring in the Quran that God would not even do the least injustice, not just an injustice, even a portion of an atom,
even would not be committed to anyone that, for example, appears in chapter four, verse 39, even a weight of an atom would not be wronged from the deeds good or bad of anyone.
The same thing we find also in chapter 10, verse 44, in all of this, it is very consistently emphasized that there is no injustice done to anyone.
Not only this, in fact,
things would be so clear, and the Day of Judgment, that it is possible even that a human being would be appointed as his own record, to hold himself accountable. That's an interesting concept that you find in the Quran about the book of deeds. For example, in chapter 17, and verses 13 and 14. It says that every human being, God has given the responsibility or tied his own responsibility in his own neck. And it says, and the Day of Judgment, he will be given a book that he would receive, open, wide open, and he will be told, read your own book, suffice yourself as a recognition that as you are your best judge about your own deeds.
In any judgment, of course, you've talked about evidence, what kind of evidence can be presented. The evidence here is the book of deed. And if you may recall, when we were discussing the topic on angels, some of the functions of angels. We mentioned there that according to Muslim belief, the engines also keep track of our deeds keep a record, we don't know what records were, they keep it but we know that the record is kept of all of our deeds. For example, to find in chapter 82, verses 10 to 12, that God has appointed angels, guardian. They know everything that you do.
In chapter 15, verse 18, it also talks about angels who would not
be aware of even a single word that you may utter.
In that sense, then the best evidence actually is that book of deed in chapter 18, for example, verse 15, says the book is put forward or placed, and you'll find that the wicked are very apprehensive of what it contains. And they say, well, to us, what a book is this, it does not leave the slightest thing, or the largest thing that we did, but keep track of it. So that's in terms of comprehensive evidence with the presence of both good and evil deeds while we are living on on Earth. An interesting thing also we find in the Quran, you may ask, how about witnesses in addition to the book of deed, there are witnesses, but there is no outside witnesses.
Basically, the main witnesses in fact would be one's own organs. Interesting enough, we'll find that for example, in chapter 24, verse 24,
it says in the day when their tongues, their hands, and their legs will give witness against them. In other words, the tank would say that Pharaoh holds me who carries me have said this, that and even that fellow who,
for example, say that the hand will talk about its honor of
committing this evil or hurting other people, and so on.
This we find also confirmed in chapter 3665. In chapter 41, verse 22, similar kind of
clarification of the organs getting a witness against us, even our skins would be speaking. Of course, we don't know exactly how they will speak, but God who created them is able to make them give that witness.
Another thing also related to the since we're still in the process of judgment, is the concept of me Zen and Arabic, which means roughly scale or balance.
That is to say that the scale will be put so that our deeds would be weighed.
But of course, we should not always think in terms of the scale, physical scale, where do you put deeds here and find whether the good deeds would outweigh the bad deeds are the reverse, it may not necessarily be it could be like that one cannot overrule that. But we find that the description given in the Quran to that give the impression also that it's basically a kind of evaluation process of evaluation of deeds, good and bad to see which one really exceed the other.
For example, in chapter 21, verse 47, it says, one of the boys in a custody of a family that God will place dependence of justice, and the Day of Judgment did not be physical, the balance of justice the or just evaluation of good deeds, and bad deeds. We find also in chapter 101, and chapter 23, in the Quran, there is mentioned there, that those whose good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, they will go to Paradise. And the reverse, of course, will be placed in the into the hellfire. So this is basically the kind of evidence rows of evidence witnesses, and the token processor. But there's a lot of mention and a lot of reference to deeds. And many people will say
that it's not by your actions that a person gets gain salvation, but it's by grace. What is the Islamic point of view on this? Is there any room for race in Islam? or What role does grace play, there's ample room for grace.
But it is also grace for those who deserve it.
It is great for people who through their firm belief, the correct belief in God.
And through they're trying their best within their human weaknesses and shortcomings, trying their best to live up to the requirements and the challenges of that belief. If one is doing that, which is not impossible for human beings to do, then he would deserve the grace, the grace is there. But it's not the kind of loose thing. It's just like saying, if a teacher, for example, say all right, no matter what you do, whether you come to classes, make your assignments, read anything, all you will pass, that's great. That's not great. That's mediocracy
so great, is there ample room for it. But again, one has to try to receive that crystal to do something, not just to say I believe and pay lip service to believe, but to do something really to translate that belief so that he would deserve that grace. I think it's
it's important to realize here that no matter
how much good deeds we may do, while we are living here on Earth, it by no means guarantees us salvation, it's not a matter of just being spiritually proud and saying, Well, no, I'm a good person, I should go to Paradise.
But the point here is that when
God holds us accountable, it is not a mechanical type of judgment, one for one.
For example, the Quran says that whoever does an evil deed, he is only awarded one for one. That's that's for evil deeds. So if you do something wrong, you'll just get it's counted once. Whereas in numerous places in the Quran, we talk about multiplication of good deeds. In other words, if you do one good deed, it is given to you 10 times as much 70 times in one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, it's 700 times. And according to the Quran, it also says what law who you live with, and God can even multiply the value of that reward for good deeds for whomever he pleases, which means that it's not just one good deed, one bad deed. Not only this, we find that also if a person intends
to do something wrong, but does not actually commit it, for whatever reason, it's not counted against him. So it's a very, very generous type of,
of accountability. But like I said, they must be at least some credit there
to be multiplied.
I'd say that the good deeds would outweigh the bad ones.
In that sense, then we find that the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him has given us a very good guidance on this. He says,
if any person is really held accountable, and grid details, he will perish, that he would have no chance.
That is to say that out of the generosity and grace of God, if you're basically good in terms of belief and tried your best in your life, then God will not just hold you for each and every small thing and start, keep questioning you and all details but he rather forgets
your sense, in one verse in the Quran, actually, it says in that vicinity with him, good deeds, wipe out, or remove the effect of, of evil deeds that might have been done before a person really repented and started on the on the right
track. The Quran itself also
describes people in different groups,
a group who will be giving their book that's the book of deed and the right hand, people who begin in the book of deed and the right hand or behind their back.
If a person receives the book of deed in his right hand, or behind his back, that's a symbol that is in trouble. That is, he was a wicked person, why living living here on earth is a person is giving the book of deed and his right hand. That is a symbol, or indication that many of his mistakes would be forgiven. For example, in particular, in chapter 84, verse eight, it says, Whoever is giving his book of deeds in his right hand, his account will be easy.
But of course, like I said before he deserves or he earns, partly, at least, this kind of ease of accountability. And finally, if I may just clarify it fully.
The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him also said that when a person comes before the judgment is basically good, God will tell him Did you do so? And so he said, Yes, and asked for forgiveness, gutsy, right. Nobody will know about it, uncover it, conceal it for you. But it's not for everyone. Like I said, this person would have to exert some effort in order to receive that grace. So it's not saying very loose grace or absence of grace, its grace, subject to some party
after the judgment has taken place, and
I'm curious to know that how will things proceed from there? How will people how will people proceed either to paradise and one instance or to hell and the other instance? Okay. One is the one of the concepts that are quite crucial in Islam is known as a Surat.
So that means basically, the path
away. And in fact, what the first chapter of the Quran, which Muslim repeats several times every day, he prays together and says, a certain stuff, or Allah guide us onto the straight path. Islam also is called the straight path, actually, there was a book edited by Morgan MRG, and called Islam the straight path.
In a sense, you could regard the whole of Islamic teaching as a straight path or the path that
reaches or help us reach for God. The same concept of path also is repeated in the Day of Judgment. That is to say, all human beings, after the account, or accountability and reckoning has finished, they start moving on a path.
In some of the single Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, he described that path as a narrow path, very delicate test. And that test would be built or passes over hellfire.
And that whoever is wicked, or was unbeliever rejected God's rejected his guidance, he would not be able to make that bridge or cross to paradise, he would fall down into the Hellfire and whoever makes it, of course, would be saved.
Now we can took it literally, which is quite possible. But you could take it also symbolically
that this test is very narrow, narrow, just as our life here. If we are really trying to follow the path of God, we are working a narrow path.
And Hellfire is not only underneath us, it's around us all temptations to deviate from the truth, all temptation of confusion of beliefs and deeds are constantly pulling us down. So by following the path of God, you have to sacrifice you have to have the determination. You have to have the faith to keep doing what is right regardless of what other people say. which means again, it's narrow in that sense. So by the same token also we can say that
The Day of Judgment, the situation is no joke, it's serious to the point that every person is really working a very narrow path. But this time, it's not his skill or acrobatics, that makes him pass. It is rather his own deeds or her own deeds that were done while living on earth that would make him pass safely to to the other side to the other side. One beautiful explanation of this, of how with believer would pass over this path, you know,
it says your maternal nominee in our mean, it has been it T Mobile Money in the day, when you see the believers with light, guiding them from
in front of them from
there, and from other sides from bright lights and left sides. In other words, their deeds would be like light, guiding them safely through this very, very critical path, a very critical stage between accountability and ending up in the paradise.
I wonder if you might be able to give us some description, some explanation, I'm sure everybody is curious to know, the Islamic
conception of what hell will be like?
Well, I wouldn't be anxious to get this.
the pictures as depicted in the Quran. And it's mentioned so many places that just for shortness of time, or just give you a big, quick profile.
The picture is so horrifying. That I bet you personally would say that this is not my kind of place that try by all means to keep off. The description given in the Quran, for example is that, first of all, the fire, the intensity of the fire is so great. That the kind of food would be something like thorns that would cut a person's, you know, understands that if a person really gets too thirsty and asked for water, he would be giving boiling water. For example, you find that mentioned in chapter 47, verse 15, and chapter 18, verse 29, boiling.
For closing, in chapter 22, verse 22, it says for the unbelievers, they would have closing of fire, beds or places to rest we find that mentioned also in verse 41, of chapter seven, that there will be fire from underneath of them fire from above them. So that's they've totally engulfed in the the fire.
But what's even worse is that
it says that they don't die. They're not living, they're not dying. And I mean, they don't totally die or burn as in earthly life here, if this person died, that's it. That would be the end of the suffering, but that suffering will not end.
In chapter 20, verse 74, in chapter 87, verse 13, for example, it talks about people not really dying, those who are destined to the Hellfire just keep going.
What's even more painful, which is an interesting thing in view of our contemporary knowledge of
the human body or medicine.
And one interesting verse in the Quran in chapter four, verse 55, it says, whenever their skins are burnt, God would replace them as skins in its place, so that they really test the tournament of the punishment.
And as you know, the if you have a burden from a third degree, for example, you don't feel the pain afterwards, not as much, because again, the nerves are basically, you know, close to the surface to the surface. So that's an interesting thing. I didn't get to hit 1400 years ago, really describing a very accurate and vivid way, conveying the nature of torture that the most sensitive parts are replaced whenever they are burned, so that the person keep getting the punishment for his rejection of God.
So in other words, it's not really something that one would be anxious to get. You know, I remember one time some friend asked me said, How about frostbites? Why always the description is hellfire. Yes. What about frostbite? Isn't that worse? Yeah. But the answer to that is was given by one of my friends actually, you were actually one time had a first bite. And he said, when you're really in bad shape, you feel that your skin is burning. Awesome. Yes. So whether it's talking about first bites or actual fire, it is the burning sensation that the feeling of pain that the person gets, but after all, as the Quran indicate that this is the just
reward for those who rejected God who ignored the guidance
That he provided through his messengers throughout history from Adam ending with Lara's Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Okay, let's take a look at the other side of the coin. How about the description of Paradise
as the description of Hellfire is also beyond imagination. I mean, the picture even that has been given in the Quran makes it just closer to our mind, but it's not really, it could be even worse than that. The same thing applies to the description of the paradise. It is description that communicate to us simplicity, enjoyment and pleasures. But nothing really that we can totally comprehend it just a language that you can understand, but not really reflecting the real picture of the situation in paradise. The Quran, for example, describes things that exist in Paradise, fresh smell,
fresh, sparkling, sweetwaters, delicious, honey, all kinds of delicious foods instantaneously available whenever the person needs them. You don't have to even try or make any effort or cook or worry about cooking, dishwashing or anything. There's nothing like that. Whether it's meat, fruits, other things, clothing of silk, pure silk, beautiful,
comfortable places to sleep on and set
palaces under which are underneath which rivers flow
description of adornment of gold and precious stones available readily pure spouses, which include by the way also to ensure spouses and this life. In other words, a good male believer would have his believing spouse was coming with him also in the Day of Judgment, one verse in the Quran, it says homeboy as well, they and their spouses,
or their husbands or wives are with them in the Day of Judgment.
There is also a description there
of drinks that are pleasing. And on that point, by the way, some people say that how come Islam prohibits wine drinking? Why is the Quran mentioned also about people drinking coffee or wine? in paradise? Is it forbidden on earth but allowed up there? which is I think, is a misunderstanding because if you take the word hammer, literally it means something fermented or really intoxicating, be clouding the mind. But we have evidence also from the Quran itself, that what the Quran really talks about is the pleasures of drink, but not necessarily something that the clouds the mind. More specifically in chapter 56, verse 19, it talks about
pleasurable drinks, that does not be cloud demand. So it's not whiskey or champagne or vodka, is it nothing like that. The description also that some people think that stew material, that's how come it's all talk about beautiful wives, and you know this and that. But what they forget is that this description, again is of immaterial nature, but different from what we understand here on Earth, as we find in the Quran in chapter two, for example, verses 25 that you see fruits that looks like what you had on Earth, but it's really, just quite different. But above all, we find that the Quran also describes different kinds of pleasures for people who have more spiritual inclinations that can
understand this communication better. It talks about the company of pure angels, like in chapter 13, for example, versus verse 24. It talks about the pleasure the feeling of pleasure of God, which is greater as a 972. But even the greatest of all, is that the perceptual barriers would be removed in such a way that we'd be able to look at God, as the Quran says, Would you want to make another era piano that there would be faces on that day, shining with light looking at its Lord, and above all, the description of the Paradise is only like I said something to get it closer to our mind. As the Quran says, no soul ever knows what has been hidden by way of pleasures and surprises for them in
this day of judgment. And as the Prophet quoted also was quoted as saying, that God has prepared for his servants and paradise things that no eye has ever seen. No ears has ever heard, and no thought even could have occurred to any human being.
planted no further, we've exhausted our time on the program. I had a couple of other areas that had we had time I would have liked to have gone into, but unfortunately, we don't have time left on our program. That's our program for today. Thank you for watching. Join us next week once you Assalamu alaikum Peace be upon you.