Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Muslim Beliefs
In the Name of God, the beneficence, the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, I greet you with the greetings of all of the profits from Adam the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be upon you. In today's program on Islam and focus, we have the fifth program in our series on Muslim beliefs. Today we will talk about the soul and life in the hereafter. I'm your host, hammer Rashid. And my guest on today's program is Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University. Welcome to the program by the demand. Could you before we get into today's program, could you summarize last week's program where we talked about we finished off
by our discussion of magic in the unseen? Second, I think I would summarize that perhaps in four basic points. First of all, we discussed the difference between the ability of human beings using certain partial evidence that's available to them, and using God given understanding of the laws in nature, which are created by God in order to forecast or predict certain things like predicting earthquakes, or rain or whatever. And we said that this is quite different from complete, full and exact knowledge of things that's going to happen, that are going to happen in the future, which are the exclusive domain of God except as he pleases to communicate or let be known by others.
The second basic point was that
the question of dreams that come true and we discussed again, how Islam divided dreams as something that emanates from God, which is good dreams, which are only to scare you from devil, and we indicated again, what measures that Islam suggest to get away from this kind of scary feeling and just get back to sleep comfortably. We also discuss the
beliefs that some people have in the so called Bad AI, that brings
really hurt to them. And he said, once you depend upon God, not to worry much about that take precaution but not worry much about it, besides certain verses in the Quran, especially the last three chapters of the Quran in the morning and evening. And he also
indicated that they believe
that certain things bring good luck, or bad luck are things that really are not necessarily true. And it causes many people to have many superstitious thoughts and might be at times, be self fulfilling prophecies. Fine. We're getting into today's subject, and the question of belief in life after death.
Do Muslims believe in life after death? And if so, what is the basis for this belief?
the first thing that we should realize that belief and the life Hereafter is part and parcel of the Muslim.
Indeed, a Muslim cannot be regarded as a Muslim.
If he rejects the notion, or the belief in the life hereafter, let me give you some
specific documentation of this particular issue.
Especially on the question of
how much a person or how much importance that Islam provides. On this particular belief.
Let's look at the individual or the human being, as material, just the material part of the human being. What is the human being composed of
a few gallons of water?
Some certain amounts of carbon, magnesium, potassium, sodium and other elements in the earth. What does that mean? in itself? It means nothing.
I remember reading sometimes back somebody needs some statistics, how many pencils Can you make out of the carbon of the human body? How many nails Can you make from the iron in the body, how many boxes of matches you can make from the phosphorus and the human body? All of those elements, water and others. We have approximately here about three quarters of the human body
all of this would be worse, actually a few dollars.
But when we talk about the human being, we're talking really about a special class of the creation of God, which is worth a lot more than the few dollars that you find in the basic elements that you find in the human body. Not even $6 million people talk about $6 million men or that you can put any price tag
on this miraculous and special creation of God, to the Muslim, the human being is the crown of creation. Now, if the Muslim then believes in a world, beyond the world of matter of material,
then what is that thing that really makes the difference between a few gallons of water and some basic elements that you find on earth, and a human beings who have the intellect, who have the free will, and above all, who have the spirituality,
to know God, and to strive to please him or to serve him?
with this understanding, then,
if the value of the human being does not reside in this method, then where does it reside?
From Here comes the notion of the belief that the human being is not just matter is not even biological life, like in other life,
but the soul
is the real thing that makes the difference between the human and other cases.
On this question of the soul,
how would you define the soul and is it the same spirit?
Well, I have to try and give as clearly as possible the equivalent Quranic terminology used for this,
the term spirits and my understanding approximates the Quranic term, Ru,
R or H, whereas the term sawn approximates the Arabic term knifes in a Fs.
To put it in a nutshell,
the soul certainly the the root, or the spirit is a term which is to the Muslim more general and more impressive than the term soul.
Let me explain what I mean by that. When we talk about spirit as used in the Quran, we find that that term is used in three or four different meanings.
First of all, it is used to refer to divine revelation, given two prophets
are highlighted a Cairo hangman and Marina. That's an example in chapter 42, verse 52, that is referring to the Quran or the
spirit from the command of God.
A second meaning that's used for the term spirit. And the Quran is an essence of that spirit that Gods provides for the believers to give them the comfort, trust and confidence and to support them in their difficulties.
This is documented, for example, in the Quran in chapter 58, in verse 22.
But of course, I have to make a footnote here that this does not mean that that spirit that God support the believers through is any part of divinity, it's simply his his help his support of the believers.
A third meaning of spirit, as used in the Quran is in reference to Angel Gabrielle Archangel Gabrielle.
He is regarded in the Quran or called as Holy Spirit as trustworthy or honest, a spirit. But I should again indicate that this has no connotation whatsoever of
that term spirit being connotated in any way with the divinity. That the Muslim dream is Archangel Gabrielle, or the spirit of the Holy Spirit is one of the creations of god he's an angel or Archangel not part of, of godhood.
But there is also another meaning that you could derive from the term spirit.
That it is a spirit from God that He breathed into us to make us human beings. We find differences in the Quran, for example, particularly about the creation of Prophet Jesus peace be upon him that he is a spirit from God, that Ephesians chapter four, verse 171, but exactly the center ramen
appears also in different ways in chapter 32, verse nine in chapter 15 verses 18
19 both of these letters, quotations, talk also about God, creating the human being and the best possible fashion, and then quote unquote, breathing into him of his spirit.
Which means then that when the Quran is this terminology, it means that
that spirit of God that is breathed into us is the spirit of knowledge of God. In twittered feeling
of rapport, or contact or need for the Creator.
That's the meanings of soul, the minute sorry, the meanings of spirit. The term soul, however, are nuts and Arabic, is perhaps a little bit more limited. And this is the thing that I mentioned before, the thing that make a distinction between material or simply biological life, and a human being who has the powers of reasoning, the intellect, and above all, the spirituality that connects him with his creator. In that sense, it could be similar to the term spirit and a very narrow sense. So the terms spirit is more broad, Seoul, is perhaps a little bit more
they may be similar in one in one sense.
Where do we develop our stance, our understanding? Or how do we come to know about the Solon? How much is it possible for us to develop the soul? How much can we ever completely understand this? So by definition, when we talk about the soul, as indicated before, we're not talking about something that is really material, or tangible, and that such the sources of knowledge also cannot be totally material sources, in other words, no amount of human intellect,
no amount of experimental ability, ability to expand to things in lab,
no amount of experiential ability, that is mystical experience, experience that people feel, under certain kinds of spiritual exercises. None of this in itself can provide a sufficient and authentic source of knowledge
as to what the soul is, what its nature and what happens to it.
And this leads us to one conclusion that we have explained some times ago when we were discussing the, the series on Prophethood, in Islam, the
source for this unseen or intangible type of,
of things, like the soul, would have to be through direct revelation communicated by God, through His prophets, via holy books or Holy Scripture for the Muslim, it is the Quran.
But even then, the Quran makes it clear that
even within the information given in divination, it is limited. When aluna can rule heavily Roman Amira be one that was 82 minute in the corridor in one person on one key verse in chapter 1785, verse 85, it says, They asked you or Mohammed about a row, which could be against spirit, some might interpret also as soul, say,
the soul or spirit is a matter of the knowledge of my Lord.
And what you know about is very limited. So you can only proceed within that very little, that divine revelation provide by way of basic information about the soul, but don't have to have the complete and full knowledge about the soul in the same way that you can have complete information about the anatomy of the eye or the ears, this is something just beyond our complete comprehension. A lot of people are curious to know about the where the soul is located. In other words, is there any particular place in an individual's body in which the soul resides?
There is, I have to be careful in answering this. There is no evidence
that I know of in the Quran, the book of God or the Word of God, or the thing of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,
which say is or implies in any way that the soul resides in any special part of the human body. Now, mind you, I'm aware of course of the notion that existed among some other peoples, but not necessarily among Muslims.
The belief for example, that the soul resides in the blood, or that the soul resides in the heart or the mind.
All of this notions seem to mix between soul and biological life.
Of course, without blood without heart without brains, you cannot, you cannot function,
you would be dead, your soul would not be united with your body. So that in that sense there is relation. But that's quite different from the soul in the sense that you describe for the source of intellect, you know, the ability to rationalize intellectual ability and spirituality, which is even the more important part of it.
There are some Muslim scholars however, like if I'm one of the famous scholars, who,
in his own interpretation, says that the soul is something like a body of light or body within our body, something that is totally infused in the body
in a way that's somewhat similar to the water being infused in a flower.
But again, I have to be careful in saying that this is not based on any text
of the Prophet, there might be some indirect evidence of that. But through the research in this area, I did not find a common belief at all among Muslim jurists or Muslim scholars, that the soul resides in any particular pattern, it is simply more acceptable view is that it's perhaps infused in the whole body, even though we don't know exactly what shape or nature does it take because after all, it's it's not material
In response to an earlier question, you indicated that the soul has its origins from God, it proceeds from from God right? Now, we know that God is eternal, does that mean that our souls are also eternal, and do our souls periods when we die? I guess what I'm asking is before for example, before we're born, do our souls exist? Before we have life, as we commonly know it is this material, mesh bodies are just similar to some philosophical argument. People say like the word of God is proceeding from God. So the Word of God, or the Word of God also should be eternal. I think there's a mix between the question of soul between two things.
On one hand, the prior knowledge of God,
of everything that's going to happen on this earth, because by definition, when you talk about the complete and perfect knowledge of God, then he knows everything before even the earth was created.
On one hand, and on the other hand, that's quite different from the actual creation of the soul, or its uniting with the physical body. So this has two definitions. God's knowledge is always complete and perfect, but the creation of the soul is something that took place later on. In other words, it is not eternal.
Perhaps one way of explaining it is that the soul
uses the body as a garment. In other words, the body is just like a garment. For the soul, the soul may take different forms may transform from one stage to the other, using that body.
So the body is just like a garment which is shed, for example, at the time of of death, there is one saying, however, of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, which confirms further that the soul is created is not eternal. And one of those saying he says that, in the beginning of the six months,
immediately after the first month of pregnancy, that God ordained the soul to be breathed or to come into the fetus again, not biological life, because some studies shows that even when you talk about the oven, the fertilized egg, it has biological life, it has the ingredients of life. But when you talk about the soul as different things in the spiritual sense, it comes into being at the beginning of the fifth months of pregnancy. As far as its destructibility of the soul, it is indestructible once it's created.
forms are four stages. In the first stage, the soul is united with the body as a fetus, beginning from the first month, it's one stage. Secondly, the soul being united with the body after birth, or for the period between birth and death.
And then the third stage,
that is the soul departing from the physical body, between burial
and resurrection in the Day of Judgment. The fourth and perhaps the most attended
more lasting form of the soul is when the soul unites back with the body and the Day of Resurrection, they have judgment and dwell with the body either in paradise or in the hellfire. So these are various stages, that shows that the soul would never perish, but that it starts Actually, it's created while we are
still in the wombs of our, of our mothers,
I suppose that any further exploration of the nature of the soul requires that we briefly touched on the subject of death, and what happens to the soul during and after the death experience? First of all, I'd like to ask you, what is the Muslim or Islamic attitude towards death,
I realized that many people not particularly feel that the subject of this is a very pleasant subject to talk about, sometimes try to ignore it or put it on the on the sideline. Now for the
for the Muslim,
the there is no question
facing the subject of this is not an attempt to try and depress or keep that subject away. There are a number of reasons for that. Perhaps one of the most universal realities in this universe
is this every second, there are several people who are born and die. Just while we are recording this program, there are several people all over the world who are dying, have died already since we started
it the other thing about it is that it is also the most universal experience. You know, some people may experience certain events in the light in the lives others do not. But this and birth are the most universal experiences that all human beings have to go through. Eventually, sooner or later. It follows that it is really a mistake to say all right, Why talk about such an unpleasant type of thing? Why not forget about it, because it's very important. It deserves some attention.
This is not only the attitude of Muslims, but I've noted also that recently, some people are not the syllabuses are starting to realize also the importance of that subject. There are literature and courses and studies about death and dying and caring for the for the dying. I was pleased one time to be invited by one of my colleagues at St. Mary's to address his class, and the whole course a full year course. I think it's definitely a course if I'm not mistaken, did with the subject of death.
And I was surprised to find that the enrollment in that course is close to 80 students, which is quite unusual, especially in courses in religious studies, you don't usually find such substantial enrollment. There are lots of literature that talks also about the experience of death and dying.
But in any case to focus specifically on the Muslim attitude, we find that the Quran for example, in chapter 2135 verse 35, it says Calvinists seen that cottonmouth that is every soul,
or every person in that sense, will have the test of tested every person eventually it has to die. That also appears in chapter 29 and
verse 37. Secondly, the Quran makes it clear that no matter what the person does, to evade or escape death, when it's determined for him to die, nothing can prevent that from happening to him. In one moving verse in the Quran, in chapter four, verse eight, it says, no matter Kunal you'd recommend now to welcome to the virgin Messiah, wherever you may be, wherever you are, this will come to you, even if you are hiding yourself in towers, which are strong and high and structures, there is no way that one can, can escape it.
Not only this, for the Muslim, there isn't much worried as to when the person is going to die. A Muslim should not use the term like prolonging the life of the individual or shortening the life of the individual. Because before we are created, before we even become, you know, fetus, fetus, in the womb of our mothers, God has determined the exact moment where we are supposed to, to die, Muslims should not worry too much about that particular issue. In for example, Chapter 16, verse 61, which says when the term of the person comes he would not have one hour more or any hour later
And as the Muslim believes in the perpetual existence of the soul, or the life of the soul after the death of the physical body,
the Muslim looks at this really as shift or move from one state of existence to another, the same way that we move, for example, from the state of being sleep asleep, to the state of consciousness or being awake and back again to sleep. Indeed,
for the Muslim when people die, they awake. Yes, people are sleeping, when they are physically alive, these too busy with too many things to realize many of the things that God has created in this universe, and many of the mysteries of God, but when the person dies, and the physical body is no longer there to attract his attention, his job, his money, his property, and all that, then the person awakens, sometimes it will be too late to the higher reality of the spiritual, especially existence. So in that sense, then a Muslim should always be prepared about this shift.
A true Muslim would not be worried much about the fact that he's going to face he or she going to this death. What What is the Muslim, the true Muslim, nor is whether or not he is doing enough on this earthly life, to get ready for security and for Felicity in the life after death, because the Muslims believe in the punishment and
reward after this, perhaps I conclude this question by one interesting
verse in the Quran, which gives the attitude, ideal attitude of Muslim as to how he should look at this, that it is a test for us, that appears in chapter 28, particularly in in verse, verses one and two,
in which it's a it's
a blessed he in whose hand are the domain of heavens and earth, He who created life and death in order to test you which of you is best indeed.
So in that sense, then, the whole matter of life, and death, to the Muslim are nothing but a particular test, a stage in his eternal existence that he has to face and he's has to use it to harness or harness it, to get ready for the more perpetual and eternal life.
To have one more question in today's program,
and I'd like to talk a bit about the death experience. Is there anything in the Quran which explains what a person feels or sees at the time of death?
What are lots of these things, perhaps I can just touch on one quick thing we have, perhaps about one minute left. But one aspect is that the person usually at the time of death, hopes to get back to life in order to catch up with good deeds. For example, you find that in chapter 63, verse 10, and
and spend something in charity out of the sustenance which we have bestowed on you, before death should come to any of you. And he should say, Oh, my Lord, why did you not give me respect for a little while, I should then have given largely in charity, and I should have been of the doors of good. So one ceiling at the time of death is some kind of sorrow. If I only had a few more moments to live or few more years or days, I would do more good in order to prepare for the life here after.
Well, there are other things but perhaps you can, I think we only had more time in today's program. We could go on and we could discuss the subject a little further, but unfortunately, we've exhausted our time for today. Come back next week, and we'll continue once you join us. That's our program for the day. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum Peace be upon you.