The Spirit in the Intermediate World

proteinFollowing death, the spirit is taken to the Presence of God. If it led a good, virtuous life and refined itself, the angels charged with taking it there wrap it in a piece of satin and bear it, through the heavens and all inner dimensions of existence, to His Presence. During this journey, angels welcome it in every mansion or station it passes and ask: “Whose spirit is this? How beautiful it is!” The angels conveying it introduce it with the most beautiful titles it had while in the world, and answer: “This is the spirit of the one who, for example, prayed, fasted, gave alms, and bore all kinds of hardship for God’s sake.” Finally, God Almighty welcomes it and tells the angels: “Take it back to the grave where its body is buried, so that it can answer the questions of Munkar and Nakir, the interrogating angels.”

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Death and the Spirit after Death

All human beings have an intrinsic feeling of eternity, and so feel imprisoned in the narrow confines of the material world and yearn for eternity. Whoever can hear our conscious nature will hear it pronouncing eternity over and over again. If we were given the whole universe, we would still hunger for the eternal life for which we were created. This natural inclination toward eternal happiness comes from an objective reality: the existence of eternal life and our desire for it.

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The Spirit and Its Identity

The spirit is from the world of Divine Commands. There are many other worlds than those we commonly think of, such as those of plants, animals, human beings, and of the world of jinn. Our visible, material world addresses itself to our senses. From tiny particles to galaxies, this world is the realm where God Almighty gives life, fashions, renews, changes, and causes things to die. Science concerns itself with its phenomena.

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Will spirits of death ones feel pain od doomsday?

child10They will be grieved according to their degrees. They will be grieved in the same way that they are grieved at the overwhelming, wrathful manifestations of the angels towards themselves. In respect of his mind and conscience a person is affected by those trembling in the snow and cold outside while he himself is inside in the warm. Similarly, since they are connected to the universe, according to their degree, immortal spirits are affected by the awesome events of the universe. The Holy Book indicates and alludes to this and to the tormented being afflicted in a grievous manner, and those destined for happiness being struck by wonder and amazement, and even rejoicing. For the All Wise the Holy Book always mentions the extraordinary events of the resurrection in the form of threats; it says: “You will see it!” Whereas those who will witness it physically are those living at the Last Day. That is to say, the spirits whose bodies have rotted in their graves also have a share of those Qur’anic threats.

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Spirit is the basis of human life

010God acts in the material, visible world behind the veil of causes. However, besides this one, there are many other worlds or realms like the world of ideas, the world of symbols or immaterial forms, the world of the inner dimensions of things and the world of spirits, where God acts directly and which have nothing to do with matter and causes. The spirit is breathed into the embryo directly without the mediation of causes. It is a direct manifestation of the Divine Name, the All-Living, and therefore the basis of human life. Like ‘natural’ laws, which issue from the same realm from which the spirit is sent, the spirit is invisible and known through its manifestations.

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Spirit toward the present time

005Ancient philosophies have been re-evaluated and criticized in recent centuries. Free thinking has gained ascendancy. Even Divinely revealed religious texts have received their share of criticism. Love of truth and a zeal for knowledge and research have broadened the horizon of perception. New methods of thought have been developed and scholastic thought has been replaced with new considerations. Despite all these developments, the spirit has continued to attract the attention of circles of philosophy and thought.

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The considerations of the scholars of sufism about the spirit

3creaturesThe scholars of Sufism regard the considerations of philosophers and some theologians about the spirit to be a futile exercise. However, we see the traces of the doctrine of the Unity of Being in many Sufis’ views of the spirit.

The respectable scholar, Mustafa Sabri Efendi, quoting from Sa’du’d-Din at-Taftazani, divides the scholars of Sufism into two categories with respect to their views on existence. This division gives us distinct knowledge about the difference between their views on the spirit. For this reason, it would be useful to summarize the two different approaches of the Sufis to the matter of existence before proceeding to give their views on the spirit.

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