Life After Death in the Quran and Ahadith
Updated: Jun 30
Death is a reality, and COVID-19 pandemics has turned it into an everyday experience. Approximately 150,000 people die daily. COVID-19 has added 4,000 more daily deaths in this tally since March.
Yet, it's a reality that most people do not want to acknowledge. They see death happening to others, but do not imagine them to be in the queue. This article gives a detailed account of death and life after death, as explained in the primary source of Islam, the Quran, and the secondary source, the hadith or sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad. No one has returned from graves to verify any of the details. Death is a reality, but life's accounts after death are matters of a belief system based on assumptions and conjectures rooted in the scripture of Islam and the sayings of the prophet.
Life is beautiful. Can one say the same thing about death? No one born was, is, and will live forever. But no dead has ever returned to tell what happens after death. Only dead experience the end. They are unable to tell others they are gone. Only those who are alive see the dead.
Yet, almost every religion has its understanding of Life after death. The world's 4,300 religions promote five major ideas about Life after death. The concept of reincarnation was one of the earliest ideas developed. Human beings perish physically, but their souls survive in different forms and shapes unless it joins the divine spirit. Hinduism and many other polytheistic religious traditions believe in this idea.
Hindusim describes death as the individual eternal spiritual soul exiting the temporary material body. The soul exits this body when the body can no longer sustain the conscious self (Life), which may be due to mental or physical reasons, or more accurately, the inability to act on one's material desires.
Bhagavad-Gītā, the holy text of Hinduism in chapter 2 verse 20, describes the soul in the following manner.
"For the soul, there is neither birth nor death at any time. It has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. It is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, and primeval. It does not perish when the body perishes."
It further elaborates in chapter 2 verse 13: "As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change."
Buddhism believes that the body disintegrates, but the soul becomes part of the universe wandering in the infinity. In Buddhism, death is a reminder of the value of being born as a human being, which is the only state in which one can attain enlightenment.
Purgatory is where the soul rests until purified before returning to God, an idea promoted by the Roman Catholic Church. Other Christians believe after death, they will be taken into God's presence and judged for the deeds they have done or failed to do during their lifetime.
In early Judaism, as documented in the Torah, there is a place called Sheol to which one goes down following this life. In later Judaism, the notion of a spiritual life after death developed.
Islam describes death as the beginning of a new life that will achieve its eternity after the Day of Judgment.
The common notion among all these five concepts is the living of the soul after physical death. But all these concepts are conjectural as no dead has returned to tell the journey after death. Religious texts are the primary sources of our theoretical understanding of the soul and Life after death. Only the science describes with certainty what death is. It is the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism that begins to decompose shortly after death. It is a process occurring in all living organisms.
In Islam, death is the termination of worldly Life. It is a separation of the soul from the body and a transfer from this world to the afterlife.
Muslim scholars discuss in detail as what happens before, during, and after the death. However, what exactly happens is not empirically known, and different scholars may end up with different conclusions. However, one canonical idea is, that the angel of death (Arabic: Malak al-Maut) appears to the dying to take out their souls. The sinners' souls leave most painfully while the righteous leave comfortably.
Later, the idea of two angels – Munkar and Nakir, appeared in Islamic literature. The two angels come to question the dead to test their faith. If the answers are correct, the soul lives in peace and comfort while the disbelievers fail suffering punishments. The stage between death and the Day of Judgment is called the Life of barzakh, literally meaning a curtain between the current and the future state.
Believing in an afterlife is one of the articles of faith in Islam. The Quran talks about the Day of Judgment and heaven and Hell but gives little details of what happens to the soul after death as it concurs with the physical disintegration of the body. However, the statements attributed to Prophet Muhammad called Ahadith, describe the phase of punishment and reward that begins immediately after the burial. The Quran gives the rationale of the Day of Judgment and explains that it is the only logical and rational outcome of divine laws spread in the universe.
Life after the Day of Judgment is not a mystery or an enigma. But the status of the soul before that phase is a mystery that only conjectures have tried to explain.
In Islamic belief, the soul and the body are together in this Life except during sleep when the soul may leave the body and come back in the morning, or Allah may take the soul at that time. "It is God [alone that has this power.- He] who causes all human beings to die at the time of their [bodily] death, and [causes to be as dead], during their sleep, those that have not yet died: thus, He withholds [from Life] those upon whom He has decreed death, and lets the others go free for a term set [by Him]. In [all] this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think! (39:42)
This part of our journey comes to an end with our death. No one knows where, how, and when one will die.
"Verily, the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). He who sends down rain, and He who knows what is in the wombs, nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn on the morrow. Nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily, with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things)." (31:34) Izrael, the angel of death, removes the soul out of the body and takes it to a place called the Barzakh.
"Say: 'The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls. Then shall you be brought back to your Lord." (32:11)
"Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up durable and high! "(4:78)
For those who led a life of evil, the removal of the soul is tight and stressful. But the soul of people who live a good life yearns to meet its Lord and leaves the body with ease. Then it ascends amid rows of angels, but those who are there cannot see or smell this. The disbelieving deceased is questioned, punished, beaten, and wails and cries out. All this happens while he/she lies dead, and the family is around them, but no one can hear or see it.
As explained by Islamic traditions, the soul after leaving the body returns to its pure state. The relatives in the Next World who are people of the Garden, come to meet it with yearning and great joy. They ask it about the condition of still alive and 'suffering' in this world. The angels then bear the soul from one heaven to the next until it comes into the presence of Allah, and then it returns and sees the washing of the body, the shrouding, and the funeral procession. It says either, 'Take me forward! Take me forward!' or 'Where are you taking me?' The living, of course, hears none of this. The soul comes back and stays floating above the body, and when the corpse is in the grave, it places itself between the body and the shroud to answer the questions.
At the grave of a believer, Prophet Muhammad used to say, "Seek forgiveness for your (Muslim) brother and pray for his steadfastness since angels are questioning him" [Abu Dawud]
The angels pray for the believer's soul, just as people pray over the body on earth. The soul hears the receding footsteps of the people who followed the funeral until the burial is complete.
The following statement of Prophet Muhammad explains the process: "When the believer is about to depart from this world and go forward into the Next World, angels with faces as bright as the sun descend from the heavens and sit around him in throngs stretching as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his head and says, "Good soul, come out to forgiveness and pleasure from Allah!" Then his soul emerges like a drop of water flows from a water-skin, and the angel takes hold of it. When he has grasped it, the other angels do not leave it in his hand even for the twinkling of an eye. They take it and place it in a perfumed shroud and fragrance issues from it like the sweetest scent of musk found on the face of the earth.'
"Then they bear it upwards, and whenever they take it past a company of angels, they ask, 'Who is this good soul?' and the angels with the soul reply, 'So-and-so, the son of so-and-so,' using the best names by which people used to call him in this world. They bring him to the lowest heaven and ask for the gate to open for him. The angels near Allah from each of the heavens accompany him to the subsequent heaven until he reaches to the domain where Allah the Great is. Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says, 'Register the book of My slave in 'Illiyun and take him back to earth. I created them from it, and I return them to it, and I will bring them forth from it again.'
"His soul then returns to his body, and two angels come to him. They make him sit up and say to him, 'Who is your Lord?' He replies, 'My Lord is Allah.' They ask him, 'What is your religion?' He replies, 'My religion is Islam.' They ask him, 'Who is this man sent among you?' He replies, 'The Messenger of Allah. Then a Voice from on high declares, 'My slave has spoken the truth, so spread out carpets from the Garden for him and open a gate of the Garden for him!'
"Then some of its fragrance and perfume comes to him, his grave is expanded for him as far as the eye can see, and a man with beautiful garments and a fragrant scent comes to him and says, 'Rejoice in what delights you for this is the day promised.' He asks, 'Who are you? Yours is a face which presages good.' He replies, 'I am your good actions.' Then he says, 'O Lord, let the Last Hour come soon so that I may rejoin my family and my property!'
"When an unbeliever is about to depart from this world and go forward into the Next World, angels with black faces descend from the heavens carrying rough hair-cloth and sit around him in throngs stretching as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his
head and says, 'Foul soul, come out to the wrath and anger of Allah!' Then his soul divides up in his body and drags out like a skewer out of wet wool. Then the angel takes hold of it. When he has grasped it, the other angels do not leave it in his hand even for the twinkling of an eye. They take it and wrap it in the rough hair-cloth, and a stench comes out of it like the worst stench of a corpse on the face of the earth.'
"Then they take it up, and whenever they take it past a company of angels, they ask, 'Who is this foul soul?' and the angels with the soul reply, 'So-and-so, the son of so-and-so,' using the worst names by which people used to call him in this world. They bring him to the lowest heaven and ask for the gate to open for him. It does not get opened.'
"The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, then recited,
'The gates of heaven will not open to them, nor will they enter the Garden until the camel passes through the eye of the needle.' (7:40)
Then Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, will say, 'Register his book in Sijjin in the lowest earth.' Then his soul is flung down. The Prophet, then recited,
'Whoever associates anything with Allah, it is as though he has fallen from heaven and the birds snatch him away, or the wind sweeps him headlong into a place far away.' (22:31)
"Then his soul returns to his body and two angels come and say to him, 'Who is your Lord?' He replies, 'Alas, alas, I do not know!' Then a voice calls from on high, 'My slave is not telling the truth. Spread out carpets from the fire for him, and open its gate for him. A hot blast from it comes to him, and his grave is made narrow for him pressing his ribs. A voice says, 'Grieve on account of what has brought you disgrace for this is the day promised.' He asks, 'Who are you? Yours is a face which presages evil.' He replies, 'I am your bad actions.' Then he says, 'O Lord, do not let the Last Hour come!'"
This grave or interspace is part of our journey. It separates heaven and earth, this world and the Next World or the period between death and resurrection. The reward or punishment of the grave, as explained by the books of Hadith, is not the same as that of the Hereafter, but rather something that happens between the two worlds.
In death, the body disintegrates while the soul is in the interspace or Barzakh between the two worlds. However, the two are still connected, so the bliss or punishment happens to them. When Allah desires reward or punishment for the soul, He joins it to the body. It is dependent on the will of Allah and dependent on a person's actions. The soul exists in more than one place at the same time. The Prophet (saw) saw Musa (as) on the night of the Night Journey standing in prayer in his grave, and he also saw him in the sixth and seventh heavens.
The souls either receive rewards or punishment with the body in the grave. The liberated souls visit each other and discuss the affairs and people of the world they have left. Allah says, "Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they are with those whom Allah has blessed, the prophets, the sincere, the martyrs and the righteous. Very excellent companions they are!" (4:69)
As the hadiths narrate, if the soul was a believing one, a door onto the fire opens for it to see the disbelieving people's status. Then the door closes, and another door onto the Garden opens for it to view the comfortable resting place. This door remains open until the Day of Judgment. Some of the sweetness and fragrance of the Garden reaches them, and their grave becomes spacious. The believer sleeps in peace, just as if they were in one of the Garden's meadows. Their narrow grave expands and stretches for the soul as far as the eye can see.
If a living person were to open a grave, they would not find any expanse, light, or greenery. They would not find an open door through which they could see the Garden. They do not see bliss or torment. It is only the soul of the dead person who is aware of these things and sees them. Allah, through His wisdom, has the power to veil this from the living. There are other creatures like the Jinn who live with us on the earth, but we do not see or hear them. Angels were fighting with the believers (at Badr), but the Muslims did not see or listen to them. Jibril came to the Prophet (saw) amid the people, and they did not see or hear him.
If the soul was disobedient, a door to the Garden opens for a short while for it to view the Garden of bliss. Then another door opens, and the blast of hot air from it continues to reach them until the Day of Rising. The earth presses in on him and crushes to the point that the ribs split apart.
This part of our journey in our graves is still a mystery and an unknown territory. Outwardly the burial place is still and quiets while inwardly, it contains secrets, which an ordinary person cannot perceive. The Prophet said that animals could hear the punishment in the grave while human beings cannot. "They face punishment, and the animals hear it."
Various forms of punishment rain down on a person in the grave according to the type of wrong actions they commit. There are hadiths of the Prophet (saw) about the Night Journey, which contain descriptions of the many types of punishment he saw in the interspace between the two worlds. Some are driven like cattle and forced to eat herbage more bitter than aloes and the bitter fruit of Zaqqum and driven on to Jahannam's hot stones because they did not purify their property by paying Zakat.
Some have to eat foul, putrid meat because they fornicated. Some have bellies as big as houses, and whenever one of them gets up, they are knocked down and say, "O Allah, do not let the Hour come!" They are in the path of the people of Pharaoh who come and trample them while they can do nothing but scream. These are people who devoured usury. Some of them are screaming with their mouths gaping open while eating hot coals that come out of their anuses. These are people who consumed the property of orphans.
Some of them cut pieces from their sides and eat their flesh. They are the slanderers and those about whom the Prophet (saw) said, "We saw people cutting flesh from their sides and eating it. They were told that "As you used to consume the flesh of your brother!" I asked, "Who are they?" and I was told, "Those of your community who slandered." Some of them have brass nails with which they scratch their faces and chests. They are those who were backbiters and maligned people's honor.
Part of the Night Journey's Hadith is as follows: "Some people were cracking open their heads with a stone. Every time they did this, their heads rejoined to what they were like in the first place. It went on and on without stopping. I said, "Jibril, who are they?" Jibril replied, "They turned away from the prayer."
The grave is an embrace from which neither believer nor unbeliever can escape. Our souls stay in the Barzakh and visit the cemetery regularly for rewards or punishments. Afterward, our journey continues, and the believer is relieved of its pressure while the unbeliever remains in the sentence.
The next part of our journey includes the rebirth from our bodies. This method of the revival of human beings is like the rebirth of a plant from its seeds. Plants carry seeds that have their genetic traits embedded on chromosomes. The genes on the chromosomes carry everything needed to bring the plant back to its shape, height, variety, chemical composition, and other characteristics. In the same way, the embryos of human beings germinate, and the new Life will start on the Day of Rising.
The Hadith books narrate that Allah instructs Angel Israfeel to blow the horn twice. The first is to ready every seed for germination. The water of life falls upon these seeds in their graves. The soul comes back from the barzakh to join its biological entity at this time. The second blow of the trumpet helps those seeds to germinate and produce every person back to normal. They come out of their graves in a state of shock, naked.
And [on that Day,] the trumpet [of judgment] will blow, and all [creatures] that are in the heavens on the earth will fall senseless unless they are such as God wills [to exempt]. And then it will sound again - and lo! Standing [before the Seat of Judgment], they will begin to see [the truth]! (39:68)
And [then] the trumpet [of resurrection] will blow - and lo! Out of their graves towards their Sustainer, will they all rush forth! They will say: "Oh, woe unto us! Who has roused us from our sleep [of death]?" [after that, they will be told:] "This is what the Most Gracious has promised! And His message-bearers spoke the truth!(" (36:51–52)
Everyone will rise with the same identification features down to our very fingerprints. "Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? Nay, we can put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers." (75:3–4)
After our rebirth, our journey continues as each of us will reach a place of Assembly.
AND ON that Day," We shall [call forth all humankind and] leave them to surge like waves [that dash] against one another, and the trumpet [of judgment] will blow, and We shall gather them all together. (18:99)
All will be waiting for the Court of Allah, the Court of Justice to decide for them. The Day of Assembly is a day of fear, agony, and anxiety. It is a day when each of us will be worried about what will happen to us personally.
"At length, when there comes the Deafening Noise — that Day shall a man flee from his brother, and his mother and his father, and his wife and his children. Each one of them, that Day, will have enough concern (of his own) to make him indifferent to the others." (80:33–37)
With the heat of the sun, sweating, and overcrowded place, the situation will be horrifying and chaotic.
"O humankind! Fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgement) will be a thing terrible! The Day you shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed). You shall see humankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk, but dreadful will be the Chastisement of Allah." (22:1–2)
On this Day, seven groups of people have the protection of Allah. Hadith mention these: "Seven types of people will be under the shelter of mercy on the Day when there will be no shade other than that of Allah's mercy:
1) A just imam,
2) A young person who kept busy in Allah's worship,
3) A person whose heart is attached to the masjid,
4) Two people who loved each other for Allah's sake gathered for His purpose and parted, remembering Him,
5) A man invited by a beautiful and charming woman but declined her offer, saying "I fear Allah";
6) A person who gave charity so secretly that their left hand did not know what was given by the right hand, and
7) A person who remembered Allah privately, so that their eyes brimmed with tears." [Bukhari, Muslim]
Each person shall be behind his or her leader, Prophet, Messenger, mentor, celebrity, etc. All will be put in lines waiting for the Court of Allah to take place and our journey to continue. "On the day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams" (17:71)
Judgment Day will be our next stop. It is the Day when Allah personally will judge everyone directly with absolute justice. Abu Hurayrah related that the Prophet (saw) said: "Every servant of Allah will remain standing before Allah on the Day of Judgment until he has answered five questions about five things: His life — how he spent it; his knowledge — how much he acted upon it; his wealth — how he acquired it and how he spent it; and his body (and health) — how he used it." [Muslim]
Each person will then receive their book that contains everything they have done from the time of birth till death. This book includes activities, appearance, and intention. Such a book could be similar to videotape, which records all these three parameters. It is not unfathomable to think about this in a time in which we have CD Roms whose glinting thin surface contains encyclopedias full of information.
"Then he who is given his Record in his right hand, soon will his account be taken by an easy reckoning, and he will turn to his people, rejoicing!" (84:7–9)
"And he that will be given his record in his left hand will say: "Ah! Would that my records remain hidden of me!" (69:25)
Their faces will be in the gloom, and they will be distressed with fear and anxiety. They will wish and beg to start their life all over again on the earth.
Allah will also select a third group of people:
"And those Foremost (in faith) will be Foremost (in the Hereafter). These will be those Nearest to Allah. In Gardens of bliss: several people from those of old, and a few from those of later times. (They will be) on Thrones encrusted (with gold and precious stones), reclining on them, facing each other." (56:10–16)
It is where we near the end of our journey. We shall enter the everlasting domain, which comprises of the Garden and the Fire. There is no trip after it, for it is the Domain of Eternity. We shall pass over Hellfire, some of us remaining while others continue.
"Not one of you but will pass over it: this is, with thy Lord, a Decree which must accomplish. But We shall save those who guarded against evil, and We shall leave the wrongdoers therein, (humbled) to their knees." (19:71–72)
The Prophet (saw) said: "The mildest punishment to be inflicted upon a person in Hell is that he will wear a pair of sandals made of fire, which will be so hot that they will make his brain boil like things boil on a stove. He will imagine that no one is undergoing punishment more severe, although his punishment, in reality, will be the mildest in Hell." [Bukhari, Muslim]
Others who are not qualified to enter Paradise or Hell may be in a waiting station called Al- A'raf, (border between Hell and Paradise) to wait until forgiven through the Mercy of Allah. Others will finally end their journey with their Life in Paradise. It is the last destination and hope of every person to arrive here. It is for believers who submitted themselves to Allah and followed His teachings. They are the ones whose loyalty and obedience was to Allah. Paradise has all the beauties of life to enjoy without ever being tired. It is a life of excitement, peace, and happiness. The Prophet (saw) said: "Allah, the Almighty, says, 'I have prepared for My righteous servants that no eyes have ever seen, no ears have ever heard, and no heart has ever conceived.'" [Bukhari, Muslim]
The Quran refers to the Life Hereafter as the true Life, and the experience in this world a superficial. "What is the Life of this world but amusement and play? But undoubtedly the Home of the Hereafter — that is Life indeed if they but knew." (29:64)
Among the dreams of the early Muslims is one related by Yazid bin Nu'ama who said, "A girl died in the al-Jarib plague. Her father met her in a dream. She said, 'My father, this is a big subject you have raised. We know but cannot act. You can act but do not know. By Allah, one or two acts of glorification and one or two units of the prayer in the book of my actions are preferable to me than the world and all it contains.'"
The Prophet (saw) related in an actual dream he had:
"He saw one of the Muslims. The Angel of Death came to take his soul, but his correct behavior towards his parents came and drove the Angel of Death away from him.'
"He saw another of the Muslims surrounded by shaytans. Then his remembrance of Allah came and made the shaytans fly from him.'
"Then he saw a third Muslim surrounded by the angels of punishment. His prayer came and rescued him from their hands.'
"The tongue of a fourth Muslim was lolling out from thirst, and whenever he approached a pool of water, he was stopped and driven away. Then his fasting of Ramadan came and gave him water to drink.'
"He saw another man and the prophets sitting in circles. Every time the Muslim approached one of the circles, he was stopped and driven away. His ghusl for janaba came, took hold of his hand, and sat him down in the circle.'
"Another Muslim had darkness in front of him, behind him, on his right, on his left and above him. He got lost in it. Then his hajj and umrah came and led him out of the darkness into the light.'
"Another Muslim was being pursued by flames and sparks of fire. His sadaqah (charity) formed a veil between him and the fire and shaded his head.'
"Another Muslim was speaking to a group of believers who would not speak to him. His upholding of kinship came and told the group of believers that he had maintained ties of kinship and ordered them to speak to him. Then the believers spoke to him and shook hands with him.'
"Another Muslim was surrounded by the Zabaniyya (angels of Jahannam). His commanding the right and forbidding the wrong came and rescued him from them and put him among the angels of mercy.'
"Another Muslim was kneeling with a veil between him and Allah. His good character came, took his hand, and Allah let him enter His presence.'
"Another Muslim had received his book in his left hand. His fear of Allah came and took his book and placed it in his right hand.'
"The scales of another Muslim were light in the balance. Those of his children who had died young came and made the scales level.'
"Another Muslim was standing on the brink of Jahannam, Hellfire. His hope in Allah came and rescued him from it, and he withdrew from it.'
"Another Muslim had fallen into the fire. The tears that he had wept out of fear from Allah came and rescued him from it.'
"Another Muslim was standing on the Sirat trembling like a leaf in a strong wind. His good opinion of Allah came, and he was able to go on.'
"Another Muslim was crawling on the Sirat, sometimes creeping, and sometimes just clinging on. His prayer came and put him on his feet and rescued him.'
"Another Muslim reached the gates of the Garden but found it locked against him. His testimony that there is no god, but Allah came and opened the gates for him and let him into the Garden."
The universe we live in is not a haphazard entity. Everything that exists in it follows specific laws. We call them—the fixed and permanent laws of Return. Every action taking place in this universe creates its reaction and consequence. We notice some results immediately and others later. The response and outcome are eternal. For instance, if we do not know how to swim and throw ourselves in Deep Ocean, according to the Law of Return, we would perish.
The Quran calls such consequences immutable and divinely created scales or criteria. It has been Allah's Sunnah (practice), and there will never be a change in this (48:33, 17:77, 35:43): "… the scales fixed by Allah. (33:38)"
The laws are self-evident in the physical universe. In the spiritual world, sometimes, the consequences appear instantly and sometimes later. This concept of Law of Return at a later phase of existence is the foundation of the Hereafter.
Thus the concept of a hereafter is the logical culmination of the Law of Return. Akhira or Hereafter is the concluding phase of existence. Akhira is the essence of faith. It leads to the beginning of a new period of reality that is different from the previous one. The word Akhira has in r different meanings in the Quran.
There is a tomorrow or a future for everything present.
The tomorrow of individuals emerges from their today.
There is a tomorrow for humanity.
The tomorrow of humanity comes on the heels of its existence in the world.
The tomorrow of humankind is different than its today
The ultimate tomorrow of individual and humankind is Akhira, who would close every chapter of today and usher in into a new phase
The belief in the Hereafter completes one's faith in divine guidance. The Quran describes the believers …and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. (2:4) See also (27:3, 31:5)
The Quran declares the belief in the Hereafter as a fixed condition for understanding divine guidance. It describes those who do not believe in this concept as Mushrik or a polytheist. Furthermore, it says that Evil forces can quickly overtake those who do not accept the Hereafter as the ultimate reality.
This concept asserts the supremacy of the Law of Return. There will be a world where everything human beings do in this world would be accounted for, and consequences will be delivered, and a new beginning of existence will come into being.
The Law assures that human beings will exist after death, and the Qiymat is the phase of the physical resurrection of human beings. This resurrection will be a vast assembly, and every action that human beings indulge in the world would manifest itself before everyone.
What happens after death? The common belief among Muslims is that after death humans body will receive punishment or reward. The Quran does not say so. It mentions two deaths and two lives.
They will say, our Sustainer, twice have you made us without life, and twice have you given us Life! (40:11)
How can you reject Allah's belief - seeing that you were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to Life, and again to Him will you return. (2:28)
Before we came into this world, we were dead, and our birth ushered into Life. Death is the end of this Life. After that, God will raise us again on the Day of Judgment. What the Quran calls Barzakh is an interim period between death and resurrection.
The Day of judgment would determine the final destination of every human being. Those who did not believe in the concept of Life Hereafter and the Law of Return and indulged in actions that defied the divine guidance would live a phase of new Life that would be full of pain, turmoil, destruction, and upheavals. This Life will be their Hell. Those who live their lives according to the divine guidance will have a life of peace and contentment, prosperity, success, and achievement. It will be Paradise.
The Life of these two categories of people will be eternal. Thus the concept of Akhira is to help human beings to prepare for eternal life. The Law of Return, based on the nature of consequences, will determine the final phase of one's eternal existence.