RESURRECTION. Belief in al-yauamu ‘l-akhir اليوم الاخر, “the Last Day,” is an article of the Muslim Faith. The terms used in the Qur’an are—
Yaumu ‘l-Qiyamah,”Day of Standing up” (Surah ii. 79).
Yaumu ‘l-Fasl, “Day of Separation” (Surah lxxvii. 14).
Yaumu ‘l-Hisab, “Day of Reckoning” (Surah xl. 28).
Yaumu ‘l-Ba’s, “Day of Awakening” (Surah xxx. 56).
Yaumu ‘d-Din, “Day of Judgment’; (Surah i. 3).
Al- Yaumu l- Muhit, “The Encompassing Day” (Surah xi. 85).
As-Sa’ah,” The Hour” (Surah viii. 186). There are very graphic descriptions of the Last Day in the poetical Surahs of the Qur’an. The five following belong to an early period in Muhammad’s mission:-
“It needeth not that I swear by the day the Resurrection,
Or that I swear by the self-accusing soul.
Thinketh man that we shall not re-unite his bones?
Aye! his very finger-tips are we able evenly to replace.
But man chooseth to deny what is before him;
He asketh, ‘When this day or Resurrection?’
But when the eye shall be dazzled,
And when the moon shall be darkened,
And the sun and the moon shall be together,
On that day man shall cry, ‘Where is there a place to flee to?’
But in vain—there is no refuge-
With thy Lord on that day shall be the sole asylum.
On that day shall man be told of all that he hath done first and last;
Yea, a man shall be the eye-witness against himself:
And even if he put forth his plea..
Move not thy tongue in haste to follow and master this revelation:
For we will see to the collecting and the recital of it;
But when we have recited it, then follow thou the recital,
And, verily, afterwards it shall be ours to make it clear to thee.)
Aye, but ye love the transitory,
And ye neglect the life to come.
On that day shall faces beam with light,
Outlooking towards their Lord;
And faces on that day shall be dismal,
As if they thought that some great calamity would befall them.
Aye, when the soul shall come up into the throat,
And there shall be a cry, ‘Who hath a charm that, can restore him?’
And the man feeleth that the time of his departure is come,
And when one leg shall be laid over the other,
To thy Lord on that day shall he be driven on;
For be believed not, and be did not pray,
But he called the truth a lie and turned his back,
Then, walking with haughty men, rejoined his people.
That Hour is nearer to thee and nearer,
It is ever nearer to thee and nearer still.
Thinketh man that be shall be left supreme?
Was he not a mere embryo?
Then ho became thick blood of which God formed him and fashioned him;
And made him twain, male and female. Is not He powerful enough to quicken the dead?”
Surah lxxxi. 1-19:-
“When the sun shall be folded up.
And when the stars shall fall,
And when the mountains shall be set in motion,
And when the she-camels shall be abandoned,
And when the wild boasts shall be gathered together.
And when the seas shall boil,
And when souls shall be paired with their bodies,
And when the female child that had been buried alive shall be asked
For what crime she was put to death,
And when the leaves of the Book shall be unrolled,
And when the Heaven shall be stripped away,
And when Hell shall be made to blaze,
And when Paradise shall be brought near,
Every soul shall know what it hath produced.
It needs not that I swear by the stars of retrograde motion,
Which move swiftly and hide themselves away,
And by the night when it cometh darkening on,
And by the dawn when it brighteneth,
That this is the word if an illustrious Messenger.”
‘When the Heaven shall cleave asunder,
And when the stars shall disperse,
And when the seas shall be commingled,
And when the graves shall be turned upside down,
Each soul shall recognize its earliest and its latest actions.
O man I what hath misled thee against thy generous Lord,
Who hath created thee and moulded thee and shaped thee aright?
In the form which pleased Him hath He fashioned thee.
Even so; but ye treat the Judgment as a lie.
Yet truly there are guardians over you—
Cognizant of your actions.
Surely amid delights, shall the righteous dwell.
But verily the impure in Hell-fire
They shall be burned at it on the day of doom,
And they shall not be able to hide themselves from it.
Who shall teach thee what the day of doom is?
Once more Who shall teach thee what the day of doom is?
It is a day when one soul shall be powerless for another soul: all sovereignty on that day shall be with God.”
Surah lxxxiii. 44.20 :—
What! have they no thought that they shall be raised again.
For the great day?
The day when mankind shall stand before the Lord of the worlds.
Yes! the register of the wicked is in Sijjin.
And who shall make thee understand what Sijjin is?
It is a book distinctly written.
Woe, on that day, to those who treated our signs as lies,
Who treated the day of judgment as a lie!
None treat it as a lie, save the transgressor, the criminal.
Who, when our signs are rehearsed to him, saith, ‘Tales of the Ancients”
Yes; but their own works have got the mastery over their hearts.
Yes; they shall be shut out as by a veil from their Lord on that day;
Then shall they be burned in Hell-fire;
Then shall it be said to them. ‘This is what ye deemed a lie.’
Even so. But the register of the righteous is in ‘lliyun.
And who shall make thee understand what ‘Iliyun is?
A book distinctly written.”
Surah lxxxiv. 1-19: –
“When the Heaven shall have split asunder
And duteously obeyed its Lord;
And when Earth shall have been stretched out as a plain,
And shall, have cast forth what was in her and become empty,
And duteously obeyed its Lord;
Then verily, O man, who desirest to reach thy Lord, shall not meet him.
And he into whose right hand his Book shall be given,
Shall be reckoned with in an easy reckoning,
And shall, turn, rejoicing, to his kindred.
But he whose Book shall be given him behind his back
Shall invoke destruction:
But in the fire shall he burn,
For that he lived joyously among his kindred,
Without a thought that he should return to God.
Yea, but his Lord beheld him.
It needs not therefore that I swear by the sunset redness,
And by the night and its gatherings,
And by the moon when at her full,
That from state to state shall ye be surely carried onward.”
The following description belongs to a much later period than the former Surahs already quoted, and occurs in Surah xxii l – 7, which was given at Al-Madinah not long before Muhammad’s death:-
“O men (of Makkah) fear your Lord. Verily the Earthquake of the Hour will be a tremendous thing!
“On the day when ye shall behold it, every suckling woman shall forsake her sucking babe; and every woman that hath a burden in her womb shall cast her burden; and thou shalt see men drunken, yet, are they not drunken: but it is the mighty chastisement of God!
“There is a man who, without knowledge, wrangleth about God, and followeth every rebellious Satan; Concerning whom it is decreed, that he shall surely beguile and guide into the torment of the Flame, whoever shall take him for his lord.
“O men! if ye doubt as to the resurrection, yet, of a truth, have We created you of dust, thou of the moist germs of life, then of clots of blood, then of pieces of flesh shapen and unshapen, that We might give you proofs of our power! And We cause one sex or the other, at our pleasure, to abide in the womb until the appointed time; then We bring, you forth infants; then permit you to reach your age of strength; and one of you dieth, and another of you liveth on to an age so abject that all his former knowledge is clean forgotten! And thou hast seen the earth dried up and barren: but when We send down the rain upon it, it stirreth and swelleth, and groweth every kind of luxuriant herb.
“This, for that God is the Truth, and that it is Be who quickeneth the dead, and., that He hath power over everything:
“And that ‘the Hour’ will indeed come — there is no doubt of it — and that God will wake up to life those who are in the tombs.”
Very lengthy accounts of the Day of Resurrection, and of the signs preceding It, are given in all books of tradition, and works on dogmatic theology. (See Sahihu ‘l-Bukhari, Arabic Ed. Kitabu ‘l-Fitan, p. 1045; Sahihu ‘l-Muslim, Arabic Ed. Vol. II. p. 388; Mishkatu ‘l-Masabih, Arabic Ed., Kitabu ‘I-Fitan; Sarhu ‘l-Muwaqjf p.. 579.)
The following, collected by Mr. Sale from various writers, is given, with some alterations, additions, and references.
It is the received opinion amongst Muslims of all sects that at the Resurrection the body will be raised and united to its soul, and that one part of the body, namely, the lower part of the spine, the as sacrum, in Arabic called ‘Ajbu ‘z-Zanab, “the root. of the tail,” will be preserved as .a basis of the future edifice. (Mishkat, book xxiii. ch. ix.)
This bone, it is said, will remain uncorrupted till the last day, as a germ from whence the whole is to be renewed. This will be effected by a forty days’ rain which God will send, and which will cover the earth to the height of twelve cubits, and cause the bodies to sprout forth like plants. For this doctrine Muhammad is beholden to the Jews, who say the same things of the bone Luz, excepting that what he attributes to a great rain will be effected, according to them, by a dew, impregnating the dust of the earth. (Bereshit rabbah.)
The time of the Resurrection the Muslims allow to be a perfect secret to all but God alone; the Angel Gabriel himself acknowledged his ignorance on this point when Muhammad asked him about it. (Mishkat, book i. ch. i) However, they say the approach of that day may be known from certain signs which are to precede it. These signs are distinguished into “the lesser” and “the greater.” The lesser signs (Isharatu ‘s-Sa’ah) are follows:-
(1.) The decay of faith among men.
(2.) The advancing of the meanest persons to eminent digity.
(3) A maid servant shall become the mother of her mistress (or master); by which is meant either that towards the end of the world men shall be much given to sensuality, or that the Muslims shall then take many captives.
(4.) Tumults and seditious.
(5.) A war with the Greeks or Romans.
(6.) Great distress in the world, so that a man, when he passeth by another’s grave, shall say, “Would to God I were in his place!”
(7.) The provinces of al-’Iraq and Syria shall refuse to pay their tribute.
(8.) The buildings of al-Madinah or Yathrib shall reach to Makkah. (Mishkat, book xiii. ch. Iii.)
The greater signs (‘Alamatu ‘s-Sa’ah) are as follows :—
(1.) The sun’s rising in the west, which some have imagined it originally did.
(2.) The appearance of the Dabbatu ‘l-Arz, or “beast,” which shall rise out of the earth, in the temple of Makkah, or on Mount as-Safa. This beast will be sixty cubits high, and will be a compound of various species, having the head of a bull, the eyes of a hog, the ears of an elephant, the horns of a stag, the neck of an ostrich, the breast of a lion, the colour of a tiger, the back of a cat, the tail of a ram, the legs of a camel, and the voice of an ass. She will appear three times in several places, and will bring with her the rod of Moses and the seal of Solomon; and, being so swift that none can overtake her or escape her, will with the first strike all the believers on the face, and mark them with the word Mu’min, “believer,” and with the latter will mark the unbelievers on the face likewise with the word kafir, “infidel,” that every person may be known for what he really is. The same heist is to demonstrate the vanity of all religions except Islam, and to speak Arabic. [DABBATU 'L-ARZ.]
(3.) War with the Romans or Greeks, and the taking of Constantinople by seventy thousand of the posterity of Isaac, who shall not win that city by force of arms, but the walls shall fall down while they cry out, ” There is no deity but God! God is most great!” As they are dividing the spoil, news will come to them of the appearance of Antichrist, whereupon they shall leave all and return back.
(4.) The coming of Antichrist, whom the Muslims call al-Masihu ‘d-Dajjal, “the false or lying Christ.” He is to be one-eyed, and marked on the forehead with the letter ك ف رK F R, signifying kafir, “infidel.” He will appear first between al-’Iraq and Syria, or, according to others, in the province of Khorasan. He is to ride on a white ass, be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Ispahan, and continue on earth forty days, of which one will be equal in length to a year. Another to a month, another to a week, and the rest will be common days. He will lay waste all places, but will not enter Makkah or al Madinah, which are to be guarded by angels; and at length he will be slain by Jesus, who is to encounter him at the gate of Lud. [MASIHU 'D-DAJJAL.]
(5.) The descent of Jesus on earth. He is to descend near the white tower to the east of Damascus, when the people have returned from the taking of Constantinople. He is to embrace the Muslim religion, marry a wife, get children, kill Antichrist, and at length die, after forty years’ — or, according to others, twenty-four years’ — continuance on earth, and be buried at Al-Madinah. Under him there will be great, security and plenty in the world, all hatred and malice being laid aside; when lions and camels, bears and sheep shall live in peace, and a child shall play with serpents unhurt. (See Sahih Bukhari.)
(6.) War with the Jews, of whom the Muslims are to make a prodigious slaughter, the very trees and stones discovering such of them as hide themselves, except only the tree called Gharqad, which is the tree of the Jews.
(7.) The appearance of Gog and Magog, or, as they are called, Yaju, and Ma’juj. These barbarians, having passed the lake of Tiberias, which the vanguard of their vast army will drink dry, will come to Jerusalem, and there greatly distress Jesus and His companions, till, at His request, God will destroy them, and till the earth with their carcasses, which after some time God will send birds to carry away, at the prayers of Jesus and His followers. Their bows, arrows and quivers the Muslims will burn seven years together; and at last God will send a rain to cleanse the earth, and to make it fertile. [GOG AND MAGOG.]
(8.) A smoke which shall fill the whole earth.
(9.) An eclipse of the moon. Muhammad is reported to have said, that there would be three eclipses before the last hour, one to be seen in the east, another in the west, and the third in Arabia.
(10.) The returning of the Arabs to the worship of al-Lat and al-’Uzza, and the rest of their ancient idols, after the decease of every one in whose heart there was faith equal to a grain of mustard-seed, none but the very worst of men being left alive. For God, they say, will send a cold odoriferous wind, blowing from Syria, which shall sweep away the souls of the faithful, and the Qur’an itself, so that men will remain in the greatest ignorance for a hundred years.
(11.) The discovery of a vast heap of gold and silver by the retreating of the Euphrates, which will be the destruction of many.
(12.) The demolition of the Ka’bah in the Makkan temple by the Ethiopians.
(13.) The speaking of beasts and inanimate things.
(14.) The breaking out of five in the province of al-Hijaz, or according to others, in al-Yam.
(15.) The appearance of a man of the descendants of Kahtan, who shall drive men before him with his staff.
(16.) The coming of al-Mahdi, “the director,” concerning whom Muhammad prophesied that the world should not have an end till one of his own family should govern the Arabians, whose name should be the same with his own name, and whose father’s name should also be the same with his father’s name, and who shall fill the earth with righteousness. This person the Shi’ahs believe to be now alive, and concealed in some secret place, till the time of his manifestation; for they suppose him to be no other than the last of the twelve Imams, named Muhammad Abu ‘l-Qasim, as their prophet was. [SHI'AH, MAHDI.]
(17.) A wind which shall sweep away the souls of all who have but a grain of faith in their hearts, as has been mentioned under the tenth sign. (Mishkat, book xxiii. ch. iv.)
These are the greater signs which, according to Muslim traditions, are to precede the Resurrection, but still leave the hour of it uncertain; for the immediate, sign of its being come will he the first blast of the trumpet. which they, believe will be sounded three times. The first. “the blast of consternation.” at the bearing of which all creatures in heaven and earth shall be struck with terror, except those whom God shall please to exempt from it. The effects attributed to this first sound of the trumpet are very wonderful for they say the earth will be shaken, and not only all buildings, but the very mountains, levelled; that the heavens shall melt, the sun be darkened. the stars fall on the death of the angels, who as some imagine, hold them suspended between heavens and earth, and the sea shall be troubled and dried up, or, according to others, turned into flames, the sun, moon, and stars being thrown into it; the Qur’an to express the greatness of the terror of that day, adds that women who give suck shall abandon the care of their infants, and even the she-camels which have gone ten months with young (a most valuable part of the substance of that nation) shall be utterly neglected. (Qur’an, Surah lxxxi.) A further effect of this blast will be that concourse of beasts mentioned in the Qur’an, though some doubt whether it be to precede the Resurrection or not. They who suppose it will precede, think that all kinds of animals, forgetting their respective natural fierceness and timidity, will run together into one place, being terrified by the sound of the trumpet and the sudden shock of nature.
This first blast will be followed by a second, the “blast of examination,” when all creatures, both in heaven and earth, shall die or be annihilated, except those which God shall please to exempt from the common fate; and this shall happen in the twinkling of an eye, nay, in an instant, nothing surviving except God alone, with Paradise and Hell, and the inhabitants of those two places, and the throne of Glory. The last wise shall die will be the angel of death (Malalu ‘l-Maut).
Forty years after this will be heard the blast of resurrection,” when the trumpet shall be sounded the third time by Israfil, who, together with Gabriel and Michael, will be previously restored to life, and, standing on the rock of the temple of Jerusalem (as Sakhrah) shall at God’s command call together all the dry and rotten bones and other dispersed parts of the bodies, and the very hairs, to judgment This angel having by the Divine order, set the trumpet to his mouth, and called together all the souls from all parts, will throw them into his trumpet from whence, on his giving the last sound, at the command of God, they shall fly forth like bees, and fill the whole space between heaven end earth, and then repair to their respective bodies, which the opening earth will suffer arise, and the first who shall so arise according to a tradition of Muhammad, will be himself. For this the earth will he prepared by the rain above-mentioned, which is to fall continually for forty years, and will resemble the seed of a man, and be supplied from the water under the throne of God, which called living water by the efficacy and virtue of which the dead bodies shall spring forth from their graves, as they did in their mother’s womb, or as corn sprouts forth by common rain, till they become perfect all which breath will be breathed into them, a they will sleep in their sepulchers till they are raised to life at the last trump.
As to the length of the Day of Judgment the Qur’an, in one place Surah xxii. 4) tells us that it will last one thousand years, and another (Surah lxx. 4) fifty thousand. To reconcile this apparent contradiction, commentators use several shifts, some say they know not what measure of time God intends in those passages, others, that these forms of speaking are figurative and not be strictly taken, and were designed only to express the terribleness of that day it being usual for the Arabs to describe what they dislike as of long continuance, and what they like as the contrary, and others suppose them spoken only in reference to the difficulty of the business of the day, which, if God should commit to any of his creatures, they would not be able to go through it in so many thousand years.
That the resurrection will be general, and extend to all creatures, both angels, genii, men, and animals, is the received opinion and according to the teaching of the Qur’an (See Surah Ixxxi.)
In the resurrection those who are destined to be partakers of eternal happiness will arise in honour and security, and those who are doomed to misery, in, disgrace and under dismal apprehensions. As to mankind, they will be raised perfect in all their parts and members, and in the same state as they came out of their mother’s wombs, that is, bare-footed, naked, and uncircumcised; which circumstances, when Muhammad was telling his wife ‘Ayiasah, she, fearing the rules of modesty might be thereby violated, objected that it would be very indecent for men and women to look upon one another in that condition, but he answered her, that the business of the day would be too weighty and serious to allow them the making use of that liberty.
Others, however, allege the authority of their Prophet for a contrary opinion as to their nakedness, and say he asserted that the dead should arise dressed in the same clothes in which they died; although some interpret those words. not so much of the outward dress of the body as the inward clothing of the mind, and understand thereby that every person will rise again in the same state as to his faith or infidelity, knowledge or ignorance his good or bad works.
Muhammad taught (Mishkat, book xxiii. ch. x) that mankind shall be assembled at the last day, and shall be distinguished into three classes. The first, those who go on foot, the second, those who ride; and the third, those who creep, grovelling with their faces on the ground. The first class is to consist of those believers whose good works have been low; the second of those who are in greater honour with God, and more acceptable to Him; whence ‘Ali affirmed that the pious, when they come forth from the sepulchers, shall find ready prepared for them white-winged camels, with saddles of gold, wherein are to be observed some footsteps of the doctrine of the ancient Arabians; and the third class will be composed of the infidels, whom God shall cause to make their appearance with their races on the earth, blind, dumb, and deaf.
But the ungodly will not be thus only distinguished; for, according to the commentator al-Baizawi (vol. ii p. 480), there will be ten sorts of wicked men on whom God shall on that day fix certain discretory marks. The first will appear in the form of apes; these are the backbiters. The second in that of swine ; these they who have been greedy of filthy lucre, and enriched themselves by public oppression. The third will be brought with their heads reversed and their feet distorted these are the usurers. The fourth will wander about blind; these are unjust judges. The fifth will be deaf, dumb, and blind, understanding nothing; these are they who glory in their works. The sixth will gnaw their tongues, which will hang down upon their breasts, corrupted blood flowing from their mouths like spittle, so that everybody shall detest them; these are the learned men and doctors, whose actions contradict their sayings. The seventh will have their hands and feet cut off; these are they who have injured their neighbours. The eighth will be fixed to the trunks of palm-trees or stakes of wood; these are the false accusers and informers. The ninth will stink worse than a corrupted corpse; these are they who have indulged their passions and voluptuous appetites. The tenth will be clothed with garments daubed with pitch; and these are the proud, the vain-glorious, and the arrogant. In the Traditions, Muhammad is related to have said:—
The first person who shall receive sentence on the Day of Resurrection will be a martyr, who will be brought into the presence of the Almighty, then God will make known the benefits which were conferred on him in the world, and the person will be sensible of them and confess them; and God will say. ‘What didst thou do in gratitude for them?’ Ho will reply, ‘I fought in Thy cause till I was slain. God will say, ‘Thou liest, for thou foughtest in order that people might extol thy courage.’ Then God will order them to drag him upon his face to hell. The second, a man who shall have obtained knowledge and instructed others, and read the Qur’an. He will be brought into the presence of God, and will be given to understand the benefits he had received, which he will be sensible of and acknowledge and God will say, ‘What didst thou do in gratitude thereof?’ He will reply, ‘I learned knowledge and taught others, and I read the Qur’an to please Thee.’ Then God will say,’ Thou liest, for thou didst study that people might call thee learned, arid thou didst read he Qur’an for the name of the thing.’ Then God will order him to he dragged upon his face and precipitated into hell. The third man to whom God shall have given abundant wealth: and he shall be called into the presence of God, and will be reminded of the benefits which be received, and he will acknowledge and confess them; and God will say:- ‘What return didst thou in return for them?’ He will say. ‘I expended my wealth to please thee, in all those ways which Thou hast approved.’ God will say, Thou liest, for thou didst it that people might extol thy liberality’; after which he will be drawn upon his face and thrown into the fire.”
As to the place where they are to be assembled to Judgment, the Qur’an and Traditions agree that it will be on the earth, but in what part of the earth is not agreed. Some say their Prophet mentioned Syria for the place: ethers, a white and even tract of land, without inhabitants or any signs of buildings. Al-Ghazali imagines it will be a second earth, which be supposes to be of silver; and others an earth which has nothing in common with ours, but the name; having, it is possible heard something of the new heavens and new earth, mentioned in Scripture (Rev. xxi. 1); whence the Qur’an has this expression, ” on the day wherein the earth shall to changed into another earth.” (Surah xiv. 49.)
The end of the Resurrection the Muslims declare to be, that they who are so raised may give an account of their actions, and receive the reward thereof. And that not only mankind, but the genii and irrational animals also shall be judged on this great day; when the unhorned cattle shall take vengeance on the horned, till entire satisfaction shall be given to the injured.
As to mankind, when they are all assembled together, they will not be immediately brought to judgment, but the angels will keep them in their ranks and order while they attend for that purpose: and this attendance, some say, is to last, forty years, others seventy, others three hundred: nay, some say no less than fifty thousand years, each of them vouching their Prophet’s authority. During this space they will stand looking up to heaven, but without receiving any information or orders thence, and are to suffer grievous torments, both time just and the unjust, though with manifest difference. For the limbs of the former, particularly those parts which they used to wash in making the ceremonial ablution before prayer, shall shine gloriously. And their sufferings shall be light in comparison, and shall last no longer than the time necessary to say the appointed prayers; but the latter will have their faces obscured with blackness, and disfigured with all the marks of sorrow and deformity. What will thou occasion not the least of their pain, is a wonderful and incredible sweat, which will even stop their mouths, and in which they will be immersed in various degrees, according to their demerits, some to the ankles only and some to the knees, some to the middle, some so high as their mouth, and others as their ears. And this sweat will he provoked not only by that vast concourse of all sorts of creatures mutually pressing and treading on one another’s feet, but by the near and unusual approach of the aim, which will be then no farther from them than the distance of a mile, or (as some translate the word, the signification of which is ambiguous) than the length of a bodkin. So that their skulls will boil like a pot, and they will be all bathed in sweat. From this inconvenience, however, the good will he protected by the shade of God’s throne; but the wicked will be so miserably tormented with it, also with hunger and thirst, amid a stifling air, that they will cry omit, ” Lord, deliver us from this anguish, though thou send us into hell-fire!” What they fable of the extraordinary heat of the sun on this occasion, the Muslims certainly borrowed from the Jews, who say that, for the punishment of the wicked in the Last Day, that planet shall be drawn forth from its sheath, in which it is now put up, lest it should destroy all things by its excessive heat.
When those who nave risen shall have waited, the limited time, the Muslims believe God will at length appear to judge them, Muhammad undertaking the office of intercessor, after it shall have been declined by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, who shall beg deliverance only for their own souls. (Mishat, book xxiii. ch. xii.) On this solemn occasion God will come in the clouds, surrounded by angels, and will produce the books wherein the actions of every person are recorded by their guardian angels, and will command the prophets to bear witness against those to whom they have been respectively sent. Then everyone will be examined concerning all his words and actions, uttered and done by him in this life; not as if God needed any information in those respects, but to oblige the person to make public confession and acknowledgment of God’s justice.. The particulars of which they shall give an account, as Muhammad himself enumerated them are of their time, how they spent it ; of their wealth, by what means they acquired it, and how they employed it of their bodies, wherein they exercised them: of their knowledge, what use they made of it. It is said, however, that Muhammad has affirmed that no less than seventy thousand of his followers should be permitted to enter Paradise without any previous examination; which seems to be contradictory to what is said above. To the questions, it is said each person shall answer, and make his defence in the best, manner he can, endeavoring to excuse himself by casting the blame of his evil deeds on others; so that a dispute shall arise even between the soul and the body, which of them their guilt ought to he imputed the soul saying, ” O Lord, my body received from thee for thou createst me without a hand to lay hold with, till I came and entered into this body; therefore punish it eternally, but deliver me.” The body on the other side will make this apology – “O Lord, thou createdest me like a stock of wood, having neither hand that I could lay hold with, nor foot that I could walk with, till this soul, like a ray of light, entered into me, and my tongue began to speak, my eye to see, and my foot to walk ; therefore punish it eternally, but deliver me.” But God will propound to them the following parable of the blind man and the lame man, which, as welt as the preceding dispute, was borrowed by the Muslims from the Jews. (Gemara, Sanhedr., ch. xi.)
A certain king having a pheasant garden, in which were ripe fruits, set two persons to keep it. One of them was blind, and the other lame, the former not being able to see the fruit nor the latter to gather it. The lame man, however, seeing the fruit, persuaded the blind man to take him upon his shoulders, and by that means he easily gathered the fruit, which they divided between them. The lord of the garden coming some time after, and inquiring after his fruit, each began to excuse himself; time blind man said he had no eyes to see with, and the lame man that he had no feet to approach the trees. But the king, ordering the lame man to be set on the blind, passed sentence on and punished them both. And in the same manner will God deal with the body and the soul. As these apologies with not avail on that day, so will it also be in vain for anyone to deny his evil actions, since men and angels and his own members, nay, the very earth itself, will be ready to bear witness against him.
Though the Muslims assign so long a space for the attendance, of the resuscitated before their trial, yet they tell us the trial itself will be over in munch less time, and, according to an expression of Muhammad, familiar enough to the Arabs, will last no longer than which one may milk an ewe, Or that the space between two milkings of a she-camel. Some, explaining these words so frequently used in the Qur’an, “God will be swift in taking an account,” say that he will judge all creatures in the space of half a day, and others that it will be done in less time than the twinkling of an eye.
At this examination they also behave that each person will have the book wherein all the actions of his life are written delivered to him, which books the righteous will receive in their right hand, and read with great pleasure and satisfaction; but the ungodly will be obliged to take them against their wills in the left, which will be bound behind their back, their right hand being tied up to their necks.
To show the exact Justice which will be observed on this great day of trial, the next thing they describe is the mizan or ” balance,” wherein all things shall be weighed. They say it will be held by Gabriel, and that it is of so vast a size that its two scales, one of which hangs over Paradise, and the other over hell, are spacious enough to contain both heaven and earth. Though some are willing to understand what is said in the Qur’an concerning this balance allegorically, and only as a figurative representation of God’s equity, yet the more ancient and orthodox opinion is that it is to be taken literally; and since words and actions, being mere accidents, are not capable of being themselves weighed, they say that the books wherein they are written will be thrown into the scales, and according as those wherein the good and the evil actions are recorded shall preponderate, sentence will be given; those whose balances laden with their good works shall be heavy will be saved, bat those whose balances are light will be condemned. Nor will anyone have cause to complain that God suffers any good action to pass unrewarded, because the wicked for the good they do have their reward in this life, and therefore can expect no favour in the next.
The old Jewish writers make mention as well of the books to be produced at the last day, wherein men’s actions are registered, as of the balance wherein they shall be weighed, and the Scripture itself seems to have given the first notion of both. But what the Persian Magi believe of the balance comas nearest to the Muslim opinion. They hold that, on the day of judgment two angels, named Mihr and Surush, will stand on the bridge as-Sirat, to examine every person as he passes; that the former who represents the divine mercy, will hold a balance in his hand, to weigh the actions of men; that according to the report he shall make thereof to God, sentence will be pronounced, and those whose good works are found more ponderous, if they turn the scale but by the weight of a hair, will be permitted to pass forward to Paradise: but those whose good works shall be found light will be by the other angel, who represents God’s Justice, precipitated from the bridge into hell.
This examination being past, and every one’s works weighed in a lust balance, that mutual retaliation will follow, according to which every creature will take vengeance one of another, or have satisfaction made them for the injuries which they have suffered. And since there will be no other way of returning like for like, the manner of giving this satisfaction will he, by taking away a proportionable part of the good works of him who offered the injury, and adding it to those of him who suffered it. Which being done, if the angels (by whose ministry this is to be performed) say, “Lord, we have given to every one his due, and there remaineth of this persons good works so much as equalleth the weight of ant.” God will of his mercy cause it to be doubled unto him, that he may be admitted into Paradise. But if, on the contrary, his good works be exhausted, and there remain evil works only, and there be any who have not yet received satisfaction from him, God will order that an equal weight of their sins be added unto his, that he may be punished for them in their stead, and be will be sent to hell laden with both. This will be the method of God’s dealing with mankind.
As to brutes, after they shall have likewise, taken vengeance of one another, as we have mentioned above, He will command them to be changed into dust, wicked men being reserved, to more grievous punishment, so that they shall cry out, on hearing this sentence pronounced on the brutes, “‘Would to God that we were dust also!”
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam