Doctrines >Dialogue with the Rejecters of Resurrection

 

Dialogue with the Rejecters of Resurrection

On the subject of resurrection and the last day of judgment, Islam has faced challenges in the forms of decisiveness, ridicule, and having the conviction branded as a superstition, which,  I hasten to say, have no bearing on truth whatsoever.

Those who hold these views do not have a proof to support their claims, apart from speculation and dismissal of the idea of resurrection outright. They do this because they cannot comprehend how life can be brought into inanimate remains. How could dust, i.e. all that remains from man after his death, turn anew into a human being, live and kicking? How could life be breathed into matter that is lacking in every department of life?

The Holy Qur'an used a number of approaches to hammer the idea home in order to remove the doubt that the idea is highly far-fetched, on the one hand, and to anchor the assertion on a solid base, on the other hand.

Rationalism

Based on the rationalistic way of deduction, the Holy Qur'an has this to say to the proponents of the impossibility of resurrection:

And he makes comparison for Us, and forgets his own (origin and Creation: He says, "Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?" Say, "He will give them life Who created them for same Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! Ye kindle therewith (your own fires)!" Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like therefore?" Yea, indeed! For He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)! Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, "be", and it is! (36:78-82).

Man says: "What! When I am dead, shall I then be raised up alive?" But does not man call to mind that we created him before out of noting? (19:66-67).  

Thus, the issue of resurrection is as vivid and clear-cut as the vividness of life. If thinking about the unlikelihood stems from a na´ve conception, which is shocked by the idea of how life can rise from ashes that do not possess any quality of life, it can be proved to such a person that it is possible, i.e. by the parable of the beginning of life. One can pose the question of how it is possible for the seed, whose origins can be traced to dust, to be transformed into a human being. In answer to this question, we may possibly say that the Omnipotent, who brought the seed into being from dust, and gave birth to man from seed, gives the dust the secret of life, only to be transformed into a fully-fledged human being anew. The capability to move from nothingness to existence at the start can make it happen in the end. This is because the basis for existence and non-existence is one, i.e. indivisible and symmetrical.

Sensualism

The Holy Qur'an has also discussed the sensualistic way, which endeavors to advance the idea, alongside similar ideas in life, through the dynamics of renewal and transformation in the creation of man and flora. It aims to bring the idea closer to the human mind, which continually experiences sensual perceptions. The following Quranic verses demonstrate this aspect:

O mankind! If ye have a doubt about Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (Our Power) to you; and We case whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength: and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much), and (further), thou see the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs). This is so, because God is the Reality: it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who has power over all things. And verily the Hour will come: there can be no doubt about it, or about (the fact) that God will raise up all who are in the graves. (22:5-7).

It is a realistic attempt at wanting the issue of resurrection to be a system for life. This notion is very well represented in the staged covered by man's existence from inception, moving on, in each and every phase, from nothingness to being. It is also symbolized in the creation of plants, which die only to be reborn from the seeds sown in the soil.

Resurrection, a facet of God's Omnipotence

The third approach tackles the issue from the perspective of God's Omnipotence; this is able to render any dismissal of the idea implausibly senseless. Since God's mightiness is manifested in all the things He created, why is it, therefore, not possible for such almightiness to cause dead things to come to life again? That is, why should there be less reason to apply this mightiness towards the end, than was possible to use it at the beginning? Besides, resurrection is not a greater act than creating the heavens and the earth, and other manifestations of creation. This spirit is beautifully captured in the following Quranic verses:

On the contrary, they say things similar to what the ancients said. They say: "What! When we die and become dust and bones, could we really be raised up again? Such things have been promised to us and to our fathers before! They are nothing but tales of ancients!" Say: "To whom belong the earth and beings therein? (say) if ye know!" they will say, "To God!" "Yet will ye not receive admonition"? Say: "Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, and the Lord of the Throne (of Glory) supreme?" They will say, "(They belong) to God". Say: "Will ye not then be filled with awe?" Say: "Who is it in whose Hands is the governance of all things, who protects (all), but is not protected (of any)? (Say) if ye know". They will say, "(It belongs) to God". Say: "Then how are ye deluded". (23:81-89).

See they not that God, Who created the heavens and the earth, and never wearied with their creation, is able to give life to the dead? Yea, verily He has power over all things. (46:33).

Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof? Yea, indeed! For He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)! Verily, when He intends a thing, His command is, "be", and it is! (36:81-82).

As you may have discovered, these verses did not want to take issue with those who did not believe in resurrection by simply dismissing their case directly. Rather, the Qur'an has preferred to put a few questions to them about what surrounds them in the heavens and the earth: To whom does all this belong? Who created it? And who has the dominion over everything? This is with a view to guiding them to the omnipotence behind all this, on the way to recognizing God, who created all this and have power over it. This would, in the end, make them believe consciously that the Omnipotent who created the entire universe, would not find it difficult to breathe life into the dust and raise again from it a human being.

This is the approach that takes as a springboard for proving its argument, the sheer wisdom that catches the adversary unawares with the truth he has chosen to deny; yet it has defied him. This approach applies all this in such a way that the opponent's own convictions, which he could not abandon, serve as the cause for his surrender.

Resurrection in the realm of God's wisdom

The dialogue takes a turn in a different direction, i.e. away from what is possible and what is not, and who is capable and who is not. It has chosen to set the idea within the parameters of the rationale behind existence. It has treated the issue of denial of resurrection as equal to dismissing the issue of creation as lacking in purpose, a drawback that cannot be attributed to God. This is the subject matter of this Quranic verse:

Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)? (123:115).

So, entrusting man with the responsibility would certainly make him face the consequences, for without it, the whole issue would turn into a purposeless exercise, which is unworthy of the almightiness of God, and of His wisdom and flawlessness.

Conjecture is the root of denial

The dialogue thus returns to the notion we discussed at the beginning of this topic. That denial with which they face the idea stems from their misgivings, which are baseless, and lies, which have no foundation. This is skillfully encapsulated in these two Quranic verses.

And they say: "What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but time can destroy us". But of that they have no knowledge: they merely conjecture: and when Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them their argument is nothing but this: They say, "Bring (back) our forefathers, if what ye say is true!" (45:24-25).

Thus, guided by the narrative of the Holy Qur'an, the Prophet (p.) had set out from a premise that regarded proving an argument right or wrong as a basis for accepting or rejecting it. The phase in the dialogue is that of stimulating the human mind to search for the details in order to acquaint itself all aspects of the question. Should dialogue reap a conclusive result, it would have achieved its goal. Otherwise, the prudent position, in the context of belief, should be to give the opportunity to each and every idea to float and progress freely, provided that its movement does not result in a breach of the peace and order. Islam stretches its hand to those who differ with it from an ideological standpoint, so that it engages them in dialogue with that which is best:

"But if they hearken not to these, know that they only follow their own lusts: and who is more astray than one who follow his own lusts, devoid of guidance from God? for God guides not people given to wrong-doing. (28:50).