The belief in the afterlife, or life after death, is a common factor in many religions of the world. Two of the major religions in Nigeria, Islam and Christianity, share this view too. In this article, we shall consider how it is described in both religions.
To start with, the most authoritative book in the Islamic faith is the Quaran. Jannah, or paradise, where those who do good will go after judgement is described as “gardens of pleasure”, in the Quran.
“Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds - for them are the Gardens of Pleasure,” Quran 31:8
The belief in everlasting life after death, in Islam, is known as Akhirah. Muslims regard life on earth as a test from Allah. Those who pass this test, in well-doing, will enter Jannah. Those who fail, having done more bad than good, will be sent to Jahannam. This will happen after Yalm al-din, the day of judgement. Jahannam is a place of physical and spiritual suffering.
The belief in being judged based on their actions, in relation to the dictates of Allah, help Muslims stay on their feet in doing good. Muslims believe that Allah is compassionate, and will not test them beyond their ability. Allah will also forgive people who have repented from their sins, and done good to others. However, some sins, like Shirk, are believed to be unforgivable. Shirk is the sin of regarding anything as equal or partner of Allah.
Most Muslims believe that after a person dies, he is questioned by two angels. If the questions are answered correctly, he will enter a state of waiting, called Barzakh, until the judgement day. However, if these questions are answered wrongly, the soul is tormented by angels. This torment is known as punishment of the grave.
Muslims believe that Allah decides how long a man will live.
“And it is not [possible] for one to die except by permission of Allah at a decree determined. And whoever desires the reward of this world - We will give him thereof; and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter - We will give him thereof. And We will reward the grateful.” Quran 3:145
In Christianity, the belief of life after death is fixed and unshaken.
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” – John 11:25
Jesus Himself is regarded, by the Bible, as the first begotten from the dead.
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Col 1:18
As revealed in a scripture quoted earlier, resurrection from the dead in Christianity is premised upon believing in Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus will be resurrected, while unbelievers will be damned.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29
Christians believe that the resurrection of the dead will happen at Rapture. Rapture is the word used to describe the reception of the saints from the earth at the second coming of Jesus. It is also believed that believers that are not dead yet, will be transformed. This transformation means that they will receive an incorruptible body.
It is believed that when believers die, they go and be with Jesus, while unbelievers go to hell.
Saints, after rapture, will keep living forever in the Life of God.
In this article, we have considered the concept of life after death in Islam and Christianity. I believe you now know more than you used to know.