Why should I believe in the Resurrection and the Afterlife?
After belief in God, this is the main way to secure a peaceful social order. If I don’t believe in personal accountability, why should I be honest and upright? The Holy Book declares: In whatever affair you may be, and whichever part of the Holy Book you recite, and whatever deed you do, We are witness over you when you are deeply engrossed therein. Not an atom’s weight in the Earth and in the heaven escapes your Lord, nor is there anything smaller or greater, but it is in a Manifest Book (10:61).
Angels record our actions, and God knows our thoughts and deeds. Those who live accordingly find true peace and happiness in both worlds. This belief prevents young people from wasting their lives, gives hope to the elderly, and helps children endure the death of loved ones. It is as necessary as air, water, and bread.
As this belief leads to a life of peace, intellectuals seeking public peace and security should emphasize it. Those who are convinced of: Whoever does an atom’s weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil shall see it (99:7-8) live responsible lives. A community composed of such people finds true peace and happiness, and its people serve their nation and humanity.
Children are easily affected by events. Their world becomes dark when they see death or are orphaned, and they become depressed. When one of my sisters died during my childhood, I frequently went to her grave and prayed sincerely: “O God, please bring her back to life and let me see her beautiful face once more, or let me die so as to be reunited with her.” What other than this belief and reunion with loved ones can compensate us for such losses?
How can you compensate the elderly for what they have lost? How can you remove their fear of death and the grave or make them forget death? More and newer worldly pleasures cannot console them. Only convincing them that the grave is a door or a waiting room to a much better world can accomplish this.
The Holy Book voices such feelings through Prophet Zachariah: This is a mention of your Lord’s mercy unto His servant Zachariah; when he invoked Him with a secret, sincere call, saying: “My Lord, my very bones have become rotten and my head is shining with gray hair. My Lord! I have never been disappointed in my prayer to You” (19:2-5).
Fearing that his surviving kinsmen would not be loyal to his mission, Zachariah asked his Lord for a son to continue it. This is the cry of all elderly people. Belief in God and the Resurrection tells them: “Death is only a change of worlds, a discharge from this life’s distressing duties, a passport to an eternal world where all kinds of beauty and blessing wait for you …” Only this console them and allows them to face death without fear.
What about our free will?
Our free will, which directs our life and makes us unique, is the manifestation of Divine Mercy. If used properly, it will cause us to be rewarded with the fruits of Mercy. Belief in the Resurrection is a most important and compelling factor urging us to use our free will properly.
Does it matter if I believe in the Resurrection?
The world is a mixture of opposites. Many instances of wrong (seem) go unnoticed, and many wronged people cannot recover their rights. Only belief in being resurrected in another world of absolute justice dissuades them from revenge. Similarly, the sick and unfortunate are consoled, for they believe that their suffering purifies them and that their loss will be restored in the Hereafter as a blessing, just as if they had been given as alms.
This belief changes a house into a garden of Paradise. A family without religion contains young people pursuing pleasure, children ignorant of religious sentiment and practices, and parents striving for “the good life.” Grandparents live in an old-folks or nursing home and console themselves with pets … Life is a burden. Belief in the Resurrection reminds people of familial responsibilities. By undertaking their duties, an atmosphere of mutual love, affection, and respect begins to pervade the house.
Spouses deepen their mutual love and respect. Physical love is temporary, of little value, and usually disappears quickly. But if spouses believe that their marriage will continue in a world where they will be eternally young and beautiful, their mutual love will remain…
Such a belief-based family life makes its members feel that they are living in Paradise. If a country orders itself accordingly, its inhabitants would enjoy a life far better than that imagined by Plato in his Republic or by al-Farabi in his The Virtuous City.
• The most terrible event is death. However, death is easier than what will follow it. People will be so terrified that sweat will cover their bodies until it becomes like a bridle around their chins, until it grows into something like a sea on which, if desired, vessels could be sailed.
• People will be resurrected in three groups: those who combined fear of God with expectation [fearing God’s punishment and hoping for His mercy and forgiveness], those who [frequently sinned and so] will try to go to Paradise “mounted on a mule” in twos, threes, fours … or tens. The rest will be resurrected into Fire [since they indulged in deeds deserving Hellfire]. If they sleep in the forenoon, Hell sleeps with them; when they reach night, Hell reaches night with them; when they reach morning, Hell reaches morning with them; and when they reach evening, Hell reaches evening with them.
God’s Messenger made sure his Companions understood exactly what Hell was, and roused in them a great desire for Paradise by conveying its good tidings. Thus they lived in great consciousness of Divine reward and punishment, as well as religious obligations and people’s rights
M. Fethullah Gulen