Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Muslim Beliefs
In the name of God the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe. I greet you with all of the greetings of the prophets from Adam to Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be upon you. I'm your host, Hamad Rashid. Welcome to Islam and focus in today's program. We continue with our sixth program in the series on Muslim beliefs with the continuation of our discussion on the soul. I have with me, brother, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University. Welcome to the program, brother Jamal.
I'm wondering if perhaps you could bring our viewers up to date in terms of the discussion that we started last week on the soul? Could you perhaps just summarize our discussions last week? Sure. I think it was basically five points that we tried to make last time. One is that the belief in the life Hereafter is one of the basic Pillars of Islam.
Secondly, we try to make it clear that at the heart of believing in the life hereafter, is the belief in the existence of the soul.
And we said that the soul is not necessarily something that's material, we are going to talk about the soul, we are not really talking about the physical life, or biological life. But really something that is the secret in our creation, endowed to us, by God that makes us human beings rather than any other type of creatures.
The third point was that the only dependable and authentic source for any knowledge about the soul would have to be divine revelation. And he said that intellects experience, or experimentation are areas or tools, which may be useful, but they cannot really provide a complete non misleading and authentic information about the soul because there's something of the unseen, the world of the unseen.
And the fourth point emphasizes that we said that the soul does not have any particular place where it resides in the body, like blood, or heart or brain. It is something that's probably fused in the whole body that doesn't have any particular location to be found in the body. We indicated also that according to one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, that the soul actually comes to being for each human being in the beginning of the fifth months of pregnancy, that's where it starts. And that the soul does not die, with the death of the physical body continues to live. So we talk actually about four stages of the soul. First, when the soul is created, in the womb, of
mother's, the second stage, when the soul unites with the body, also in the earthly life. Thirdly, the stage where the soul has some type of existence between burial and the Day of Resurrection. And Firstly, when the soul unite again, with the body, in the Day of Judgment, and that's for the eternal reward or punishment. And finally,
since we're talking about the soul, it was inevitable to touch on the subject of of death and the attitude of Muslims towards death. And we said, of course, like any human beings, definitely no person really like to think much about about death, some people try to avoid even talking about that, however, we try to indicate also that this is subject that is worthwhile looking into, because it is a universal experience that everybody would have to go through, sooner or later,
we indicated that for the Muslim, this is merely a transition from one state of existence to another,
that this is something that nobody can interfere into. that is God has decided and pre determined already, when exactly each person is going to die. There might be a variety of reasons that might appear to us. But this is something that is pre determined, and that the main worry of a true Muslim really, is not whether he's going to die, but whether his deeds and beliefs and this life would qualify him for Felicity in the in the life hereafter. And we cited finally that at the end of the program, particularly
from chapter 67, beginning of chapter 67, under life and death, are things that are created by God to test us as to whether we are going to conduct a life in accordance with his commands or not. We're just beginning to touch on the discussion of the what a person experiences at the time of death and who ran at a time in our last program. I wonder if perhaps you could go on and elaborate on this point developed a little bit further in terms of, you know, the experience the death experience, right, I recall that the first thing really we tried to emphasize is that, at the time of this
person, he has a desire to come back to life in order to catch up
with good deeds. We cited one particular verse in the Quran, maybe I can say to another one today just to bring the topic into focus that appears in the Quran in chapter 23,
particularly in verse 99, and 100.
And that describes, again, people, for example, who did not comply with the commands of God, what happens to them at the time of death, and it says,
In false hood, will they be Until when death comes to one of them, he says, or she says, Oh, my Lord, sent me back to life, in order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected. By no means it is but a word. He says, she says, before then is a partition
till the day they are raised up. It's interesting to notice here that first of all, that the desire, expression of desire to come back to catch up with good works, even a good person at the time of this wish, if you would have lived a little longer to do more good deeds to be more charitable so that he can accumulate more reward in his or her favor. But the interesting thing that perhaps you can come to little later,
when it says there's a partition that once the person dies, it's almost like a partition, between this earthly life, an interim period between this life and the resurrection. So as if there's some barriers, that it is impossible to break and come back to the, to this life.
In addition to this, the thing that we couldn't get into last time also is that a person,
a person's soul, actually is taken by angels. Remember, a few programs back we talked about angels, we covered many aspects, but one aspect that we didn't describe really is the relationship between engines and the humans after or at the time of this and thereafter. So if you can relate that to integrate the whole picture, and we find that the Quran indicates that there are certain engines who are in charge of taking the souls of humans just to give a sample of the A citations like this, for example, in the Quran, in chapter six, and verse 61.
Palliative circle, medical multi level clever comes
in in 61, particular in this verse,
it says, He is that's got the irresistible, watching from above over his worshipers, and he sets guardians over you. guardians, in this case refers to engines. At length when this approach is one of you, our engines take his soul and they never fail in their God. This is one indication. The other verse that I just cited earlier also akoto Circle medical multi levy ocular become that is there is a particular Angel,
who would be in charge of taking the soul of any particular human being that appears in chapter 32 and verse 11. It says, The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will Julie take your souls, then shall you be brought back to your Lord, so in essence, then, the soul is taken by the angels.
One final remark if I may just add to this. The the overall nature of our experience of death is described in the Quran as Sakura. Sakura means something like super or unconscious state at the time of the exit of the soul that appears particularly in chapter 50 in verse 19
in terms of the afterlife, which we talked a little bit about,
What at the time that a person is dying? Is there any way that the person can find out whether or not his or her afterlife will be a happy one or a sad one? There are indications Yes. Both in the Quran and in the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and can just to give you some examples within the time available. But if you look into the Quran, you find that there are profiles
of both states, that is for people who would be happy in the hereafter versus those who would be miserable.
Let's take the first the more hopeful
profiles first, good news first, I hope so.
First of all, believers who had the right belief and who has done good deeds in life, the Quran indicates that he will be greeted by the angels of death, and we'd be assured of his destiny. So we'd know before departing this life in the very last moment, person would know for sure what his destiny is going to be. I'll give you two citations on that profile. In chapter 16, verse 32,
it says, A levina totowa thermowood medica to tie up and I aku and Assalamualaikum notice the word Salam Alaikum is the same greeting that the Muslim uses peace be upon him. A total genitori McClinton, Cameroon translate that, namely, those whose lives the angels take in a state of purity, saying to them, Peace be on you, that at the time of death, enter you in the garden, because of the good which you did in the world.
Not only this in another moving
passage in the Quran in chapter 41, verses 30 through 32.
It gives also a description of the exit of the soul of the believer.
It says, in the case of those who say, Our Lord is God or Allah, which means God capital G, and further stand straight and steadfast. So they don't just say they continue steadfast. The angels descend on them from time to time. That includes, of course, the time of death also, fear you're not they suggest, nor grieve, but received the glad tidings of the garden of bliss.
The one which you were promised, we that is the angels are your protectors, in this life, and in the Hereafter,
Shell you have all that your souls shall desire. There in Shell you have all that you asked for a hospitable gift from one of forgiving, Most Merciful. This is one profile, which I hope that this would be the one that most people would
focus on and try to achieve, but the texture must be balanced. The Quran also gives a profile of those dying in a state of unbelief, disbelief or confused beliefs, as well as of course wickedness in terms of wrongdoing. The picture is quite different, but again, to keep the balance and fairness. I selected also two citations from the Quran describing the picture.
Obviously, when the person is wicked, unbeliever at the time of this, the soul will not be too anxious to get out because it knows what its destiny is going to be. So there'll be some reluctance. For example, in chapter eight
and verse 50, in the Quran,
while atara for Latina, Catherine mela, a category buena, which
translates, if you could see, when the angels take the soles of the unbelievers at the time of death? How would they smile on their faces and their backs saying, test the penalty of the blazing fire? Of course, it doesn't mean that this is my smiting is just like the physical smoking where you can see the signs on the backs but people do feel that pain of being
rebuked at the time of death. In another strong and vivid description also, in chapter six, verse 93.
What is it Solomon amarachi mouth This is a part of a verse which is a much longer but that part that describes the scene. It says if you could, but see how the wicked do fair in the flood of confusion at this flood of confusion which is very similar to the term used before you know the the feeling of it
Consciousness status, super confusion at the time of death.
If you could see how the wicked differed in the flood of confusion at death, the engines stretched force their hands, saying, yield up your souls this day shall you receive your reward a penalty of shame, for that you used to tell lies against God and scornfully to reject of his science. So in that sense, then the like I said, gives both
profiles, which gives a clear indication that any human being before departing this world, can really get a feel as to where exactly his or her destiny is likely to be.
These are very vivid description I'm, I'm curious to know if there are any other additional indications
of the kinds of things that an individual experiences at the time of death is there any other
references that? Well, there's a very lengthy,
particularly one saying of Prophet Mohammed which appears in the collection of Muhammad called Muslim.
But we have to be careful when I go through this description that we should not put it exactly in the same material.
image that we might have, because you described, or that Hadith, or saying of the Prophet described something which is really inaccessible to us to understand in full sense, so it's a description, which gives the sense of material punishment. But again, what nature of material or physical punishment or reward or feelings might be something that could be beyond our understanding. But again, in that saying, of the Prophet he gives to provides a game. For the pious, the person is accepted by God in terms of belief and good deeds. He says that when the person is just on the verge of departing from this life, and starting the life you're after, they will come to him engines, with
shiny faces, like the sun, again, reflecting their joy,
they will sit across from his eyes or his he will see them just across his eyes. And then the engine of this, the particular engine in charge of taking the song will be sitting at his head.
And then at the time, when the song is getting out, the engines will say, come out with you, good song, come to a forgiveness and pleasures from your Lord. And then he says, the soul will get out of the body in the same way that a drop of water would fall that means easy and smoothly.
And he said, then that this soul is taken by the engine, again, we can think of the soul as something physical or material carry, but apparently a person sees something or perceives what's going on. The soul is taken by these engines, and they start descending into heavens.
notice that those people are passing, they say, what's that nice smell like smell of Musk, very flattering smell. So the engines were cutting the sod would say this is the soul of Swan saw the sign of Swan, so he just died. So the engines continue praying also, on his behalf for forgiveness, and so on. And then whenever the engines move from one layer or one level, and heavens to the other, the angels also keep coming and participating and praying
for the dead Saul.
And it says, then it reaches a certain level and heavens where God gives the command to the engines. And he says take the book of deeds. As we mentioned before every human being has a book of deeds when you were talking about the program on angels that the angels also keep our deeds record of our deeds in this life. He said, Take the book of the deed of that individual and put it in the highest that is and heavens.
And then he commands them to return his soul back to Earth, in preparation, of course, for the accountability immediately after burial and this is an area we can come to this is one profile, the second profile for the wicked
unbelievers. And he says that the the person also sees angels coming to take his soul, but you see them in dark in faces, grim faces, so that again reflects the anger and displeasure of God with him. And then it says again, they would be setting or standing across from his eyes from his sight. The engine of this would come also at his head, but instead of telling him like it
The good person or the believer, he says, Oh, you wicked soul Come out, come out to a displeasure from God and anger. And he described it in such a way that it's almost like being pulled rather than
flowing smoothly. And then he said, the angels would take the soul, the smell of it would stink. But again, it's not physical net, because again, we're talking about the different level of existence altogether. When the soul, a sense to heavens, to the first layer.
The engines wondered what that that's meant, they say, this is the soul of such and such person, wicked person who just died.
And then it is said in this saying of the Prophet that, for the wicked soul, it is not allowed, like the good soul to keep going up in heavens. In fact, when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him reached that stage, he said that the sword would not be permitted
to go any further. Indeed, he recited one verse in the Quran to prove his point. And that was in chapter seven, verse 40, in alladhina, cafaro, in a Latina, there will be a 18 hour stick around her neck.
That is, to those who reject our signs, the signs of God, and treat them with arrogance. No opening will there be of the gates of heavens doesn't have to be physical gates permission for the self to God. nor will they enter the gardens until the camels can pass through the eye of the needle, such as our reward for those incense. And of course, since no cannons can get through the eye of the needle, it means then that this wicked souls would not be permitted to go upward. And then it says that God would give the command to the engines, but this time to return the soul to earth and put the book of deeds of that individual in the lowest of the low, again, an expression of what the
destiny of the person is likely to be. And finally, the prophet recited in this particular section,
to show again, how that soul is thrown, and not permitted to go up on an issue that could be left, okay, and then I have I'm gonna send it
out a few mechanics mechanic. That is, if anyone assigns partners to God, or others, sharing his divine attributes, he is as if he had fallen from heaven, and been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped like a bird
on its pre like to enthrone him into a far distant place. In other words, a person is just removed to theirs, this is actually part of the heist, much lengthier, maybe some other points of the same with come when we get into the area of what happens in the after. But in that sense, like I said, the hobbyist provides even a more
vivid and clear
sense of the sensation or the feeling of the dying person good or bad.
We hear a lot
recently, and in books that have been published in TV statements that have been made TV programs and statements that have been made by individuals about the near what we could call near death experiences.
I'd like to ask you about your reaction to these stories. And just before I get you to to give your reaction I appreciate it, perhaps you could summarize
for the benefit of the viewers some of these experiences. One This is an interesting area
have been several books written on that subject, like life after death, reflection on life after this or life after life. And basically these are reports by a large number of people who have been near death that is in have gone through a very serious type of operations are what about to drown or fall
very fatal type of things, but they did not actually die. And
it is reported in this literature that the things that those people see are quite similar.
For example, they say that they hear a kind of uncomfortable buzzing sound that they feel as if they're moving fast through a dark and long tunnel.
that some of them reported that as if they are outside of their own physical body and watching their body they see that body for example on the operation table.
Some reported also that they have seen
In the souls of the relatives or friends who died before,
some reported that they have seen their lives like a whole
program or sell them very quickly in front of their own eyes,
that they were requested or asked to evaluate their own lives.
That they had a different kind of vision altogether about time. And knowledge, they have total different feeling that cannot be described as such a different idea.
They some reported that they have seen people are salts in bodies, which are somewhat similar from the physical bodies that we see here on this, on this earth. Others said that they heard music, they were lots of light, like a city of light, that they were rivers, mountains and vegetation, but quite different from the physical thing that we see in this life.
Some reported having seen swords, which are sad and bewildered. Others talked about those who committed suicide, as continuing to face the same kind of problems that caused them to commit suicide in the first place. In other words, they haven't solved their problems by suicide. This is just a kind of brief summary. Of course, I cannot do justice, because there are lots of literature on that. But I think these are some of the highlights of the common experiences reported by people. In the couple of minutes that we have remaining on today's program. I'll be curious to know your evaluation of the accuracy of these reports. How you assess them, particularly from a Muslim
perspective. Okay, in general sense, before I come to the Muslim perspective, there are some methodological problems. In looking at this type of reports. I'm not saying one dismiss it altogether. But one problem is that the whole study, or studies actually are based on the statements or reports made by people who are so called near death, in terms of their own experience. In one of the books also, the one of the authors, for example, give an excuse for not publishing the names of people who reported that, but to some, that excuse didn't seem to be quite convincing, which might raise some issue.
But there is one issue not only from the Muslim perspective, but from the perspective of any believers in any divinely revealed faith, that almost all of those reports unanimously reports that they have been enjoying that the things are all like this look like a picnic, some of you and say that some people wish to go back to this because it's a good experience.
And that's really raises a very serious question. Because, in effect, what it says that everybody can have this enjoyable picnic and death and life afterwards, regardless of his or her on belief, or deeds. And this is totally contrary to anything that any prophet or messenger has taught. and promotion of this literature
could really result in a very serious attitude of indifference towards good deeds, indifference towards doing the right thing, or even thing, making the choice for even since everything would be okay. I think in that sense, it's contrary to that, it is quite possible to possibly just as a hypothesis, that maybe some of these might be satanic visions, to dope people into believing that
doesn't make much difference. Everybody's going to the city of lifes and rivers and music and all that type of thing, which, like I said, is not really
not even logical, let alone religion to equate good with evil. For the Muslim in particular, as I said earlier, in the program, the only authentic source of knowledge about the unseen is not speculation or experimentation or intellect. But for this unseen things that's beyond our understanding, one has to depend fully on divine revelation. And one final word on this point, near death is not,
in other words, an experience of someone who was about to die. And then he was cured. Somebody who's gone through a very dangerous operation and then survived it is totally different from the real thing, from the actual irrevocable death, an experience that nobody has seen that and came back to us to tell us everybody would have to find out for himself. Whether jamala we've exhausted our time for today. We want to
invite all of you back next week when we'll continue our discussion on the soul. We'd like to look at questions
such as the Islamic point of view on suicide. We want to talk about the soul and what happens to it in the life in the hereafter. That's our program for the day.
Thank you for watching.