Ma'ad is one of the three pillars of the holy religion of Islam and one of the essentials of this pure religion. Every man (without any exception) can tell the difference between good and evil deeds with his Allah-granted nature and considers "benevolence" (although he may not practise it) to be 'decent and essential act to perform and "evil deeds" (although he may be performing these) to be indecent and an act to essentially avoid. Undoubtedly, goodness and badness, benevolence and malevolence are from the viewpoint of the results and rewards which these two qualities possess. Likewise, there is no doubt that not even a single day exists in this world when the rewards and retribution of good and bad deeds of benefactors and malefactors do not reach them; for we clearly observe that many benefactors spend their lives in extreme bitterness and misery, whereas many malefactors who are fully involved in committing crimes and misdemeanours, with their wicked behaviour and disgraceful character, spend their lives with happiness and prosperity.
For this reason, if in the future and in a world other than this world, no day had been fixed when good and bad deeds would be judged and appropriate recompense would be given, such an attention and care (that benevolence is good and essential and malevolence is bad and to be avoided) would not have been placed in the nature of man.
It should not be imagined that the reward of benevolence, which the man considers good is this that it establishes order in the society and people gain prosperity in their lives and that consequently the benevolent person himself receives a portion of the benefits of his benevolence. In the like manner, it should also not be imagined that a malevolent person, with his indecent conduct and behaviour, disrupts the order of the society and thus he himself finally gets entangled with its unpleasant effects.
Although this kind of thinking is to some extent applicable to disorganised and inefficient individuals; it does not apply to those people who have reached the peak of power and whose happiness and success are not at all influenced by the order and disorder of the society, on the contrary when disturbance and corruption prevail in the society and when the living conditions of the people become gloomy, these individuals get happier and more successful, thus there re mains no reason for the nature of such people to consider benevolence as good and malevolence as bad.
In like manner, although these people are prosperous in their short lives, it should not be imagined that their names will be disgraceful and will bear the dislike of the public forever because of their wicked acts.
This is because the manifestation of their disgraceful names and the unpleasant judgement of the posterity about them occur at a time when these people have passed away and have no impact on their lives full of happiness, pleasure, and enjoyment. On this account, there will be no reason for man to consider benevolence as good and to acquire it or to consider malevolence as bad and to refrain from it and tend towards the above-mentioned belief. Had there not been the Ma'ad, it would be a superstitious belief.
Therefore, through this pure and firm belief that the Creator of the world has placed in our nature, we should understand that the Almighty Allah will resurrect everyone after death and will look into their deeds. The Almighty Allah will give a good reward and an everlasting blessing to the benefactors for their deeds and will punish the malefactors for their deeds. And this day is called the Yawm al-Qiyamah (Day of Judgement).
MA'AD, RELIGIONS AND FAITHS
All religions and faiths, which call men to the worship of the Almighty Allah and enjoin human beings to do good deeds and prohibit them from bad deeds, express belief in Ma'ad and in the life Hereafter. They have no doubt that benevolence is worthy only when it is followed by a good reward and since this reward is not seen in this world, inevitably it will be given to man in another life in the world Hereafter.
Besides, signs and vestiges, that are observed in the most ancient tombs discovered by the archaelogists, indicate that the early human beings believed in the other life in the world Hereafter and according to their beliefs they used to perform certain formalities and provide things so that the dead may have comforts in the Hereafter.
MA'AD AS IN THE QUR'AN
The Holy Qur'an, through hundreds of Ayat reminds the people of the Ma'ad and negates any doubt regarding it. In many instances, the Qur'an reminds the people of Allah's absolute might in order to augment the knowledge of people and to eliminate the unlikelihood of the creation of primary things. The Holy Qur'an states:
"Does not man see that We have created him from the sperm? Then lo! he is an open disputant. And he strikes out a likeness for Us and forgets his own creation. Says he: Who will give life to the bones when they are rotten? Say: He will give life to them Who brought them into existence at first, and He is Cognizant of all creation (36:77-79)."
And sometimes the Holy Qur'an draws the attention of people to Ma'ad and entrance into spring after the winter death and reminds men of the power of Allah, as it states:
"And among His signs is this, that you see the earth still, but when We send down on it the water, it stirs and swells: most surely He Who gives it life is the Giver of life to the dead; surely He has power over all things (41:39)." And sometimes, by using logical reasoning, the Holy Qur'an awakens man's Allah-given nature to admit this reality, as it states:
"And We did not create the heaven and the earth and what is between them in vain; that is the opinion of those who disbelieve; then woe to those who disbelieve on account of the Fire. Shall We treat those who believe and do good like the mischief-makers on the earth? Or shall We make those who guard (against evil) like the wicked (38:27-28)?"
(This is because those who do good and the wicked will not receive their entire reward and recompense in this world. If ro other world (Hereafter) existed in which each of these groups received their rewards and punishments in accordance with their behaviours and deeds, then both groups would be equal in front of Allah and this is inconsistent with the Divine Justice.)
FROM DEATH TO THE YAWM AL-QIYAMAH [THAT WHICH DIES IS THE BODY NOT THE RUH (SOUL, SELF, OR PERSONALITY)]
From the viewpoint of Islam, man is a creature made of body and soul (body and ruh). The body of man is one of the materialistic compositions and is subject to laws, i.e., it has volume and weight, lives at a specific time and place, and becomes influenced by cold and heat and the like. Gradually, man's body gets old and worn out and finally gets destroyed in the same manner as it had come into existence some day by the will of the Almighty Allah.
But man's self is not materialistic and has none of the above-mentioned characteristics, rather the epithets of knowledge, perception, thought, will power, and other spiritual qualities such as affection, rancour, happiness, anguish, fear, hope, and the like are attributed to it. As the self or soul does not possess the above-mentioned materialistic characteristics, spiritual epithets are also far away from these characteristics; rather the heart, the brain, and all the parts of the body submit to the spirit and spiritual qualities in their own innumerable activities and none of the parts of the body can be specified as a centre of command.
The Almighty Allah states:
"And certainly We created man of an extract of clay, then We made him a sperm in a firm resting-place, then We made the sperm a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We covered the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation...(23:12-14)."
THE MEANING OF DEATH FROMTHE VIEWPOINT OF ISLAM
The meaning of death from the viewpoint of Islam is not that man becomes naught and vanishes, rather it means that the soul or self of man which is immortal cuts its attachment and relationship from the body and consequently, the body perishes while the soul continues its life without the body.
The Almighty Allah states:
"And they say: 'What! when we have become lost in the earth, shall we then certainly be in a new creation?' Nay! they are disbelievers in the meeting of their Lord. Say: 'The angel of death who is given charge of you shall cause you to die...' (32:10-11)." The Holy Prophet (SA) states: "You shall not be perished, but you shall be transferred from . one house to another".
THE WORLD OF BARZAKH (INTERVAL BETWEEN DEATH AND MA'AD)
Islam believes that man remains alive in a special manner after death. He enjoys blessing and happiness if he is a benefactor and he will be punished if he is a malefactor. He will present himself for public reckoning on the Day of Judgement. The interval between the death of a man and the Ma'ad is called "Barzakh".
The Almighty Allah states:
"...And before them is Barzakh until the day they are raised (23:100)." The Almighty Allah also states: "And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead: nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord (3:169)."
All these innumerable means of living, that are now available to man and that we endeavour to acquire and use them day and night, were not available to man from the beginning of his life on the earth. They have, gradually, been brought into existence by man's efforts and have been utilized.
But in any case, from the primitive man to the civilized man of today, human beings have never ceased working and striving and through their Allah-given nature, they have tried to provide better means of living. This is because if a man loses his energy and the internal and external organs of h is body such as his eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, and also if his brain, heart, lungs, and liver fail to function properly, he will be nothing but a dead person.
For this reason, man works not only out of necessity, but also because he is a human being, he displays various activities. Since by his commonsense he realizes that he should arrange for the happiness and prosperity of his life in any way possible, he engages in work and effort and moves in the direction of his demands. Therefore, living in any environment and in any manner, religious or non-religious, legal or despotic, urban or nomadic, man feels the necessity of a series of duties and obligations for himself (those things which are indispensable for living). If these duties and obligations are carried out, the reasonable desires of man will be fulfilled and he will lead a happy, comfortable, and prosperous life.
Certainly, the value of these duties and obligations, which are the only means of prosperity, is the humanity itself. We cannot perceive anything more precious and valuable than the humanity and which cannot be exchanged with any other commodity.
Therefore, 'dutifulness' and its implementation are the most important practical matters that man confronts in his life, for its value is exactly the same as that of man himself. Whoever refrains from performing his indisputable duties, or sometimes neglects them, he proportionately lapses in morality from the eminent position of humanity and naturally accepts his humility and worthlessness. With every violation of his human duty, such an individual inflicts blows after blows on the body of his society and indeed on his own body as well.
The Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur'an:
"Most surely man is in loss, except those who believe and do good and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience (103:2-3)." The Almighty Allah also states:
"Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought... (30:41)."
DIFFERENCE OF OPINION IN THE IDENTIFICATION AND SPECIFICATION OF DUTIES
The importance attached to the identification of duties and their implementation are indisputable obligations in the world of humanity. Never can a human being possessing human nature be found who would deny this reality. Since human duties have an absolute relationship with man' s prosperity and life and because the religion differs with non-religious isms and practices as far as views regarding man's life are concerned, naturally religious duties will differ from the du ties of other non-religious isms and practices.
Religion believes that man has an infinite and endless life which does not terminate with death. The capital of pure and true beliefs, praiseworthy ethics, and good deeds that man has acquired in this world prior to his death, serves as the great investment for his infinite life in the Hereafter.
Therefore, in obligations and duties that religion has formulated for the individuals and the society, the life in the everlasting Hereafter is also taken into consideration.
Religion establishes its provisions in the sphere of theism and the worship and servitude of Allah, the obvious consequence of which will become manifest on the Day of Resurrection.
Non-religious isms and practices (whatever these may be) only take the short and transient life of this world into consideration and formulate duties through which man can benefit more from his materialistic life and material profits which are common between him and other animals.
Indeed with a reasoning which originates from feelings and sentiments of grazing animals and beasts, they draw up an animal life for man. They pay no attention to man's realism and his everlasting life full with intellectualities. Therefore, the sublime human ethics (as definite experience indicates) gradually disappear from non-religious communities and the moral decadence of their members becomes clearer and more manifest day by day.
Some people argue that the base of religion is following and also the unquestionable acceptance of a series of duties and regulations; whereas, social policies can be justified by the current logic.
Those who have said so neglect the fact that the rules and regulations which are implemented in the society must be carried out indisputably. No one has ever heard or seen the people of a country following the prevalent laws after argument and scientific discourse or be exempted and free from following the laws whose philosophy they do not understand. Th us, in this respect, the religious and non-religious practices do not differ.
Indeed, through a study of the natural and social conditions of a country and on inquisitiveness in its general policies, one can find out the philosophy behind the generalities of the laws of that country and some of their details (not all).
This also holds true in the case of religious laws. By means of realism and inquisitiveness about creation and man's natural requirements, one can discover the generalities of the laws of religion which is an innate policy and some of their details. The Holy Qur'an and many ahadith call the people to reasoning, reflection, and pondering and in some precepts refer to the brief expedience behind the commandments. There are many ahadith available to us from the Holy Prophet (SA) and the Ahl al-Bayt (AS) which state the reasons behind the precepts.
As mentioned in the beginning of this book, the holy religion of Islam is a general and permanent programme that has been descended to the last Prophet, Muhammad (SA), from the Almighty Allah for human life in this world and the Hereafter to be carried out in the human society so as to pull the ship of humanity out of the whirlpool of ignorance and tribulation and carry it to the coast of salvation.
Since religion is a programme of life, it has inevitably specified duties for man on things which are linked to his life and asks him to carry them out.
In general, our life is connected to:
(1) The Almighty Allah Who has created us. Our moral obligation towards His blessings is greater than any other duty and our dutifulness towards His Holy Presence is more obligatory than any other obligation.
(3) Our fellow creatures with whom we are obliged to live and perform our duties and tasks with their cooperation and assistance. Thus, according to the order, we have three general duties: duty towards Allah, duty towards ourselves, and duty towards others.
(1) THE DUTY OF MAN TOWARDS ALLAH (COGNIZANCE OF ALLAH)
Our duty towards the Almighty Allah is the most important duty of all and we must perform it with a pure heart and a sincere intention. It is the first and foremost duty of man to know his Creator. Since the Almighty Allah is the source of existence of every creature and the originator of every existing phenomenon, the cognizance and knowledge of His pure Entity also illuminates every realistic person. Being inattentive to this moral reality is total ignorance, lack of insight, and irresponsibility. Whoever pays no attention to cognizance of Allah, he consequently puts out the light of his own conscience and thus will have no way of attaining the real human happiness.
As we see, those who refrain from cognizance of Allah and pay no heed to this reality in their lives are completely away from the human spiritualities and have no logic other than the logic of grazing animals and beasts.
The Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur'an:
"Therefore turn aside from him who turns his back upon Our reminder and does not desire anything but this world's life. That is their goal of knowledge... (53:29-30)."
Certainly, it should be pinpointed that the cognizance of Allah is necessary and natural for man who is a realistic being endowed with the instinct of reasoning, for man, with his Allah-given commonsense, notices the signs of the Presence of Allah and His Knowledge and Might wherever he looks in the world of creation. Thus, the cognizance of Allah does not mean that man should bring it into existence fox himself, rather it means that the man should not disregard this obvious reality which cannot be covered by any curtain, giving a positive response to his conscience which invites him to Allah and eliminating any doubt from his mind by following this philosophy.
THE WORSHIP OF ALLAH
After cognizance of Allah, our second duty is the worship of Allah. This is because, while recognizing the truth, this reality becomes clear that happiness and prosperity, which are our only objectives, will be attained by implementing and executing the programme which the Almighty Allah has Specified for our lives and has communicated to us through His messengers. Therefore, obeying Allah's orders and serving him are the only duties of man compared to which other duties seem insignificant and trivial.
The Almighty Allah states:
"And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him...(17:23)."
The Almighty Allah also states:
"Did I not charge you, O children of Adam! that you should not serve the Shaytan? Surely he is your open enemy. And that you should serve Me; this is the right way (36:60-61)."
Thus it is our duty to recognize the status of our servitude and needs and to keep in mind the infinite Grandeur and Greatness of Allah. We must consider that Allah knows and sees our deeds in every respect and we must obey His commands. It is our obligation not to serve any but Allah and not to obey anyone else except the Holy Prophet (SA) and the A'immat al-Huda (infallible Imams of Guidance) whom we are commanded to obey by the order of Allah.
The Almighty Allah states:
"O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you...(4:59)."
Surely, due to the obedience of Allah and the authorities of religion, we should actually maintain a great respect for anything attributed to Allah. We must respect the holy name of Allah and the names of the leaders of religion. We must endeavour for the honour of the Divine Book (the Holy Qur'an), the honoured Ka'bah, and the holy mosques and the holy shrines of the leaders of religion, as the Almighty Allah states: "...and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts (22:32)."