Some proofs of Resurrection may be provided that are in accord with human intelligence and the Holy Qur'an. One of those proofs is that since Allah is Just, Resurrection must be there. If there is no Resurrection, Allah's Justice will be in question. The explanation of this is that in the presence of the commandments of Allah and the Prophets there are two groups of people, the first group is in favor and the second is in opposition. The Holy Qur'an says:
He it is who created you, but one of you is an unbeliever and another of you is a believer, and Allah sees what you do. (Quran, 64:2)
On the other side suppose no reward or punishment is given for one's deeds in this world, or the punishment is so meager that it is not felt at all. However, sooner or later everyone has to depart from this world. Therefore, if there is going to be no accounting for the deeds and no reward or punishment is given in another place, that is, on the Day of Judgment, and everything is forgotten after death, then where does Allah's Justice stand? If Allah is Just and there is no recompense or punishment for our deeds in this world then it must be awarded in some another place. We now quote a question and its answer here.
Question: Why does Allah not reward or punish in this world? Was it not better to have this matter settled quickly by rewarding or punishing in this world and in that way there would have been no necessity of the Day of Judgment?
There can be several answers to this question but we give a few here.
i. Since by inflicting punishment in this world others also can be affected; therefore it would become a kind of cruelty. The explanation of this is like this: Suppose I slapped a man on his face and Allah paralyzed my hand. When I go home, my family sees my condition and they suffer a kind of pain though they have not been responsible for my fault. This world is a place of mutual relationship and here others will be affected by my pleasures and agony. In that case if the punishment is awarded in this world, it will be an injustice.
However, on the Day of Judgment all relationships will be vanished and everybody will be bothering for himself so much so that according to the Holy Qur'an man will avoid his wife and children and will only be worrying about his own salvation, and if the wrong doer is chastised there, nobody will be affected by it. It is just possible that you may now say that in this world no culprit should be punished because by this way his dear and near ones would be affected.
The answer to this plea is that if a thief is not punished, the letting off of such bad characters will create panic and sense of insecurity in the society and this will also amount to cruelty because for the sake of the relatives of a criminal we plunge the entire society into a dangerous situation. Thus in that case it will be better that we should give priority to the well-being of the society over that of the individuals.
ii. If Allah starts rewarding or punishing people in this world, people will become virtuous because of the fear of punishment but this will be out of expediency only. The real virtue lies in that man remains free and independent and then he commits no sin, otherwise if every farmer, mason, merchant or student performs any good deed and Allah rewards him with gardens, palatial homes, wealth, etc. then in that case everybody will become pious but there will be no value of such deeds. Man's virtues lie in that he himself should decide for performing noble deeds without any deterrent factor or incentives otherwise hundreds and thousands of angels were already there to worship Allah. Allah has so created man as to make him select for himself from two poles of desires a right path to follow.
Standard of Values in Islam
The Holy Qur'an basically praises those people who from two opposite paths, select for themselves the right path after suppressing their inordinate desires and ignoring glamorous way of life.
Prophet Ibrahim at the age of 100 years yearned for having a son. He offered supplication and invoked Allah. Then Allah gave him a son, Ismai'l. Then comes Allah’s command: "O Ibrahim! Slaughter your son with your own hand in the way of Allah". Prophet Ibrahim on the one hand was under the natural pressure of his love for his son, and on the other hand he had to make a response to the Call of Allah. He had to choose between these two things and ultimately he sacrificed his pressure of parental love for his child to the pleasure of Allah. That is the very exalted position of man before Allah. The Holy Qur'an narrates this event as follows.
And when he was old enough to go about with him, he said: 'O my son! I saw in a dream that I was sacrificing you. So what is your opinion?' He replied, O my father! Do as you are commanded. If Allah pleases, you will find me of the patients '. When they both submitted to the will of Allah he (Ibrahim) laid him (his son) down upon his forehead. And We called out to him saying, 'O Ibrahim! You have indeed confirmed your dream ' Thus do We reward the doers of good. (Quran, 37:102—105)
Self-sacrifice of Ahlul Bayt
Imam Ali and Lady Fatimtuz Zahra break their fast with water only and despite being intensely hungry, give away their food to the hungry ones. The Holy Qur'an praises their generosity as follows:
And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive. (Quran, 76:8)
About those who at the dead of night despite deep sleep rouse from their beds and get themselves busy in supplicating and invoking the blessings of Allah, the Holy Qur'an says:
Their backs do not rest on their beds and pray to their Lord in fear and hope, and spend (benevolently) of what We have given them. (Quran, 32:16)
They slept little in the night. And every morning they asked forgiveness. (Quran, 51: 17,18)
In short the standard of one's deeds before Allah is that man should be quite free to choose for himself a righteous path despite having before him material interests and natural temptations, otherwise none of his deeds will be of any worth. Of course, if man keeps mum despite having a tongue and controls his anger, it is a good and valuable quality. If a man is dumb or he does not show his temper in ordinary circumstances it does him no credit.
A Reminder: You will pose a question that if in this world everybody gets his reward for his deeds they will out of fear turn virtuous, but this will be of no value. However there arises another question: "Would the promise of Paradise and warning of Hell not make people pious?"
The answer to this is: Since Paradise and the Hell are not before the people, man does not feel compulsion to become pious. There is a difference between a man who has got to pay his dues only tomorrow and a man who has to do this after several months. The first one is shaky and scared of, while the other one who has several months at his disposal feels relaxed.
In fact, from the human point of view, there is a lot of difference between reward and punishment being awarded at once and those to be awarded after a lapse of time rather after a long time. Therefore, Allah has given relaxation in matter of awarding reward and punishment so that people should not get scared and should gradually overcome their inordinate desires and proceed to the Right Path of Allah.
To a question as to why Allah does not award us for our deeds in this very world, the answer is that because of diversities it is not possible. As for example what reward the Holy Prophet got for his great services to liberate the mankind from ignorance, superstitions, polytheism, disunity and dissensions? Do we have any better food than honey and roasted meat, and bed better than silk or a transport better than an air-plane?
Are these foods, bed, and transport, not the same one which are enjoyed by sinners also? So what was the reward of the Holy Prophet? Is there any martyr who has laid down his life for a noble cause and whom you can compensate for his sacrifice?
Apart from this there are sinners and criminals who massacre hundreds and thousands of innocent people. How can you punish such a person with an appropriate punishment in this world? If, at most, he is sentenced to death; then it will be only one killing in place of massacres of hundreds and thousands of innocent people. What will become of the spilling of the blood of those innocent people?
Tooth for Tooth, Nail for Nail
Our discussion is that punishment in the next world shall be thorough and severer. This punishment should not exclude those punishments which are awarded to some in this world only. The Qur'anic verses tell us that Allah punishes some in this world. The Holy Qur'an says:
Corruption has spread over land and sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return to the right path. (Quran, 30:41)
They shall meet with disgrace in this world, and severe punishment in the Hereafter. (Quran, 2:114)
But in fact these punishments are just a part of the punishments which they will receive on the Day of Judgment.
It will be better to quote some more verses here:
Those who disregard their covenant with Allah after He has taken such a pledge from them, who sever the proper relations that Allah has commanded them to establish, and those who spread evil in the land, will have Allah's condemnation instead of reward and will face the most terrible end. (Quran, 13:25)
And thus do We chastise him who is extravagant and does not believe in the signs of h is Lord; and certainly the chastisement of the Hereafter is severer and persistent. (Quran, 20:127)
We shall certainly make them suffer worldly torments before suffering the great torment so that perhaps they may return to Us. (Quran, 32:21)
Turning away haughtily that he may lead (others) astray from the way of Allah, for him is disgrace in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection We will make him taste the punishment of burning. (Quran, 22:9)
We sent upon the people of 'Ad a violent wind during a few ill-fated days to make them suffer a disgraceful torment in this life. Their torment in the life to come will even be more disgraceful and they will not receive any help. (Quran, 41:16)
So far we have quoted those verses which tell us that Allah will make the sinners taste the punishment in the world also but the actual place for reward or punishment is the Day of Resurrection. In the traditions also we come across the worldly punishment. As for example we read in a tradition, "Those who wish ill of others themselves fall into the ditch of misfortune. Allah punishes those who treat their parents disgracefully, oppress the people and who are ungrateful in this world and He never puts it off for the Day of Resurrection". (Safinatul Bihar)
Examples of Worldly Punishments
It will not be out of place if we mention here a few examples of the punishments that are awarded in this world, though the real punishment will be awarded on the Day of Resurrection as this world is too small to account for awarding rewards and punishment here.
With regard to the bravery of the supporters of the Prophets and their steadfastness the Holy Qur'an says.
And whoever desires the reward in this world, We shall give it, and whoever desires the reward in the Hereafter, We shall do that. We shall certainly reward those who are grateful. (Quran, 3:145)
About Prophet Ibrahim the Holy Qur'an says.
And We gave him what is good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the good. (Quran, 16:122)
It also says about the Prophets' supporters and their help and assistance.
Most surely We help Our Messengers and those who believe, in this world's life and on the Day when the witnesses shall stand up. (Quran, 40:51)
Perhaps we have drifted from our main topic but not too far. Yes, the main topic of discussion was as to why in this world one is not wholly rewarded or punished. We have now reached the answer to the third question that the worldly punishments are just a part of the main punishments that will be awarded on the Day of Resurrection.
You have now known answers to the three questions regarding the punishments that are not given in this world. Now we come to the fourth answer of this question which we derive from the Holy Qur'an. It says.
Was Allah to seize people immediately for their injustice, no living creature would be left on earth. He gives them respite for an appointed time. When their term is over, they will not be able to change the inevitable. (Quran, 16:61)
Were Allah to punish people for their deeds immediately, not one creature would have survived on earth. However, He has given them a respite for an appointed time, and when their term comes to an end, let it be known that Allah watches over His servants. (Quran, 35:45)
Thus the Wisdom and Will of Allah lie in that a creature like man should remain alive as a free and independent being for a limited period of time so that the disobedient may also get some respite otherwise if such disobedient persons were to be killed there would remain no living person on earth. After all is there one, who has not disobeyed Allah, and is the punishment for his disobedience and insolence lesser than death?
Though the worldly punishments are meant to serve as a warning, yet if every sinner receives his punishment in full it will amount to lack of Allah's Grace and Blessings for it is just possible that a sinner may one day repent and seek forgiveness and give up disobedience to the commands of Allah and unravel the truth which he has so far hidden. We have seen many sinners or heard of them that they repented of their sins before death and changed their ways. Therefore, is it not proper and fair that man who is so weak and prone to inordinate desires and is apt to be prey to evil forces, be granted a respite so as to make amends for his bad deeds at the last moment and it may be just possible that his heart may become enlightened?
Though it is certain that some people may take wrong advantage of this respite but still this will help the Muslims generally. Therefore, it is the Blessings and the Grace of Allah that man should not be punished in this world so that he may seek forgiveness of his sins before death comes to him. The rewards and punishments will only be justifiable if we consider not only the deeds but their causes also. The Holy Qur'an says:
It is We Who bring the dead to life and record man 's deeds and their consequences. We keep everything recorded in an illustrious Book. (Quran, 36.12)
Suppose a man abruptly came into a meeting and after extinguishing the lamp ran away. There cannot be any severe punishment for extinguishing the lamp. Instead, a slap on his face will be a sufficient punishment, perhaps. But here it is to be seen what problems this extinguishing of the lamp would have caused? Maybe the carpet on the floor could catch fire by the falling of the lamp. Somebody might injure someone with a knife or some weapon. Someone might fall down from the staircase. Someone could strike his head against the wall. Some utensils could fall down from the table and get broken. So on and so forth. If we catch hold of the culprit, the problem before us would not be the mere extinguishing of the lamp but the justice would demand to assess the damage that this act might have caused. After citing this example we now come to the main discussion.
When someone introduces the use of harmful drug like heroin, or a life-saving medicine like an antibiotic it will not be fair to reward or punish such a person immediately. We should wait until the end of the world to know to what extent heroin caused damage by taking the life of the people and to what extent the other drug benefited the sick people. Thereafter, we should think of giving recompense.
Similarly if a man by means of a film strip, book or a cassette or any other such thing causes damage for a considerable length of time in that case we should not be in haste but should wait until the end of the world to assess its evil or good effects. This thing not only appeals to reason but it is justified also according to twelfth verse just quoted above as well as the traditions.
In the traditions also we read as follows: "If someone initiates a useful practice or sets a precedent for something good he will be sharing the reward with the people who will be following it, but because of this sharing the people's share will not be reduced. Similarly if a person sows the seeds of discord or makes the people deviate from the right path, the people will be sinners of course but the one, who initiated an evil, will, besides being the sinner himself, bear the burden of the other sinners also". (Safinatul Bihar, vol. II, p. 261)
In short, the first proof of Resurrection is the Justice of Allah. That is from three following premises it is proved that the coming of the Day of Resurrection is just in accordance with Justice of Allah:
(i) Regarding the commandments of Allah and the Prophets people are divided into two groups—the followers and the dissenters.
(ii) From the six answers that we have already given, this world is not the place for rewards and punishments.
(iii) It has been established without doubt by logical reasoning that Allah is Just and He will definitely reward or punish the people for their deeds and, therefore, there must be some day for it, and that is the Day of Resurrection.
There is No Obstacle in the Resurrection
Normally obstruction is for smaller forces as for example for a vehicle which is bound to run on one track there can be no remedy for it. A big stone lying on its way can serve as an obstacle for its motion, but this very stone cannot be a hurdle for a bird which does not follow a specific course for its motion. Of course the greater the force or strength of knowledge the lesser will be the number of obstacles.
There are two conditions for the dead coming back to life:
(i) Immense knowledge and
(ii) Infinite Power.
Therefore, how can there be any obstacle in the way of Allah Who has Infinite Knowledge of the location and condition of each and every particle of the earth? The Holy Qur'an says:
We know indeed what the earth diminishes of them, and with Us is a writing that preserves. (Quran, 50:4)
There can be no doubt about the assembling of the scattered particles before the Infinite Power of Allah and no obstacle can be conceived in the way of Allah. The Holy Qur'an has said about forty times:
Surely Allah is All-Powerful. (Quran, 2:20)
We ourselves are made of earth particles and we are only in this world because of wheat which grows from earth and we are alive because of rice and fruits which grow from earth. We came into existence first in the shape of a sperm of our father and then remained for some time in the womb of our mother and ultimately saw the light in this mortal world. Yes, each and every cell of our body must have come from one part of the earth or the other. The Infinite Power Who made us from the earth particles will again bring us back to life from the decayed bones and scattered particles of our dead body.
However, it is the Satan which makes us skeptical about our coming back to life again but the Holy Qur'an by such verses as "This is easy to Allah", which have come in the Holy Qur'an again and again, says that for Allah bringing the dead ones back to life is quite easy.
Real Difficulty That Faces Us
The real difficulty of ours is that we view Allah's Power and Knowledge from our own narrow thinking. Since we ourselves are limited we cannot conceive the infinity. In the Qur'anic narrations we come across from the beginning to the end this reality that Allah wants to broaden our mental horizon so as to let us come out of our limited frame of mind. For instance Allah says:
We produced a male child from virgin Maryam. (Quran, 19: 20)
We made the new-born child speak from the cradle. (Quran, 19:30)
We destroyed the people mounting on elephants by birds called "ababil " (swallows). (Quran, 105: 3, 4)
We produced the stream of water by the striking on the ground with a staff. (Quran, 2:60)
We made the dead ones come to life by the blowing of the mouth's breath by Prophet Isa. (Quran, 5:110)
We made an old and infertile woman give birth to a male child, Prophet Yahya. (Quran, 11:72)
We got Prophet Musa to be brought up by Fir'aun himself. (Quran, 28:8)
These and hundreds of other such instances are, in fact the means to broaden the limited horizon of man's materialistic approach so as to let him think beyond his limited frame of mind. The recommendations for reading the Holy Qur'an are meant to train the mind so as to make him comprehend these Qur'anic statements. We should therefore not confine our thoughts to the natural laws and phenomena as it is Allah Who does everything whenever He wills. It always happens when He wills. In short before Allah's Infinite Power and Knowledge nothing is impossible and no obstacle comes in His way.
Muhsin Qara'ati , Lessons From Qur'an , Publisher: Islamic Seminary Publications, ISBN 0-941724-51-4