Refutation of Those Who do not believe in Life after Death

Allah tells us about the disbelievers who think it very unlikely that the Resurrection will happen and who say, in a tone of denial,

أَءِذَا كُنَّا عِظَـماً وَرُفَـتاً

(When we are bones and fragments.) meaning earth. This was the view of Mujahid. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that it means dust.

أَءِنَّا لَمَبْعُوثُونَ خَلْقاً جَدِيداً

(should we really be resurrected (to be) a new creation) meaning, on the Day of Resurrection after we have disintegrated and become nothing, and have been forgotten. Allah tells us about them elsewhere:

يَقُولُونَ أَءِنَّا لَمَرْدُودُونَ فِى الْحَـفِرَةِ – أَءِذَا كُنَّا عِظَـماً نَّخِرَةً – قَالُواْ تِلْكَ إِذاً كَرَّةٌ خَـسِرَةٌ

(They say: “Shall we indeed be returned to (our) former state of life Even after we are crumbled bones” They say: “It would in that case, be a return with loss!”) (79:10-12). And,

وَضَرَبَ لَنَا مَثَلاً وَنَسِىَ خَلْقَهُ

(And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation.) until the end of two Ayat. (36:78-79) Allah commands His Messenger to respond to them, so He says:

قُلْ كُونُواْ حِجَارَةً أَوْ حَدِيداً

(Say (O Muhammad): “Be you stones or iron,”) – which are more difficult to restore than bones and fragments,

أَوْ خَلْقًا مِّمَّا يَكْبُرُ فِى صُدُورِكُمْ

(Or some created thing that is yet greater (or harder) in your breasts.) Ibn Ishaq narrated from Ibn Abi Najih from Mujahid: “I asked Ibn `Abbas about that, and he said: `This is death.”‘ `Atiyah reported that Ibn `Umar explained of this Ayah: “If you were dead I would still resurrect you.” This was also the view of Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Salih, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and others. This means that if you were to assume that you would become dead, which is the opposite of living, Allah will resurrect you when He wills, for nothing can stop Him when He wills a thing.

أَوْ خَلْقًا مِّمَّا يَكْبُرُ فِى صُدُورِكُمْ

(Or some created thing that is yet greater (or harder) in your breasts.) Mujahid said: “This means the heavens, earth and mountains.” According to another report, “Whatever you want to be, go ahead, Allah will still resurrect you after you die.”

فَسَيَقُولُونَ مَن يُعِيدُنَا

(Then, they will say: “Who shall bring us back (to life)”) meaning, who will resurrect us if we are stones or iron or some other strong created thing

قُلِ الَّذِى فَطَرَكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ

(Say: “He Who created you first!”) meaning, He Who created you when you were nothing, then you became human beings, walking about. He is able to create you anew, no matter what you have become.

وَهُوَ الَّذِى يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ وَهُوَ أَهْوَنُ عَلَيْهِ

(And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him.) 30:27

فَسَيُنْغِضُونَ إِلَيْكَ رُؤُوسَهُمْ

(Then, they will shake their heads at you) Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah said, “They will move their heads in a gesture of mockery.” This view expressed by Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah is what the Arabs understand from the language, because the word used Fasayunghidun indicates an up-and-down movement Nughad. A word derived from the same root, Naghd, is used to refer to the young of the ostrich, because when it walks, it walks quickly and moves its head. The same word is used to describe a tooth when it becomes loose and is detached from its place.

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هُوَ

(and say: “When will that be”) This shows that they thought it very unlikely that it would happen, as Allah says:

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَـذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ

(And they say: “When will this promise (i.e. Resurrection) be fulfilled, if you are truthful”) (36:48)

يَسْتَعْجِلُ بِهَا الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهَا

(Those who believe not therein seek to hasten it the Hour) 42:18

قُلْ عَسَى أَن يَكُونَ قَرِيبًا

(Say: “Perhaps it is near!”) meaning, beware of it, for it is at hand and will no doubt come to you, and what will be will be.

يَوْمَ يَدْعُوكُمْ

(On the Day when He will call you,) meaning the Lord, may He be blessed and exalted:

إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ دَعْوَةً مِّنَ الاٌّرْضِ إِذَآ أَنتُمْ تَخْرُجُونَ

(When He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth) 30:25 meaning, when He commands you to come out from the earth, for nothing can oppose Him or prevent His command from being fulfilled. Rather, it is as He says:

وَمَآ أَمْرُنَآ إِلاَّ وَحِدَةٌ كَلَمْحٍ بِالْبَصَرِ

(And Our commandment is but one as the twinkling of an eye) (54:50)

إِنَّمَا قَوْلُنَا لِشَىْءٍ إِذَآ أَرَدْنَاهُ أَن نَّقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ

(Verily, Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: “Be!” – and it is) (16:40)

فَإِنَّمَا هِىَ زَجْرَةٌ وَحِدَةٌ – فَإِذَا هُم بِالسَّاهِرَةِ

(But it will be only a single Zajrah. When behold, they find themselves (on the surface of the earth) alive (after their death).) (79:13-14), meaning, it will be just one definitive command, then the people will have come out from the inside of the earth to its surface, as Allah says:

يَوْمَ يَدْعُوكُمْ فَتَسْتَجِيبُونَ بِحَمْدِهِ

(On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with (words of) His praise) meaning, you will all rise up in response to His command and in obedience to His will.


(and you will think) means, on the Day when you rise up from your graves,

إِن لَّبِثْتُمْ

(that you have stayed) in this earthly abode,

إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً

(but a little while.) This is like the Ayah:

كَأَنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَهَا لَمْ يَلْبَثُواْ إِلاَّ عَشِيَّةً أَوْ ضُحَـهَا

(The Day they see it, (it will be) as if they had not tarried (in this world) except an afternoon or a morning.) (79:46). Allah says:

يَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِى الصُّورِ وَنَحْشُرُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ يَوْمِئِذٍ زُرْقاً – يَتَخَـفَتُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ إِن لَّبِثْتُمْ إِلاَّ عَشْراً – نَّحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ إِذْ يَقُولُ أَمْثَلُهُمْ طَرِيقَةً إِن لَّبِثْتُمْ إِلاَّ يَوْماً

(The Day when the Trumpet will be blown: that Day, We shall gather the blue or blind-eyed with thirst. They will speak in a very low voice to each other (saying): “You stayed not longer than ten (days).” We know very well what they will say, when the best among them in knowledge and wisdom will say: “You stayed no longer than a day!”) (20:102-104).

وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يُقْسِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ مَا لَبِثُواْ غَيْرَ سَاعَةٍ كَذَلِكَ كَانُواْ يُؤْفَكُونَ

(And on the Day that the Hour will be established, they will swear that they stayed not but an hour – thus were they ever deluded.) (30:55)

قَـلَ كَمْ لَبِثْتُمْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ عَدَدَ سِنِينَ – قَالُواْ لَبِثْنَا يَوْماً أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ فَاسْأَلِ الْعَآدِّينَ – قَالَ إِن لَّبِثْتُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً لَّوْ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

(He will say: “What number of years did you stay on earth” They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account.” He will say: “You stayed not but a little, if you had only known!”) (23:112-114).

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