Is there any life after death; if so, what kind of life is it? This question lies far beyond the ken of our perception. We do not have the eyes with which we could see beyond the frontiers of worldly life and find out what lies on beyond it. We do not have the ears with which we could hear anything from beyond these frontiers. Nor do we have any instrument by which we could determine with certainty whether there is any life beyond death. Therefore, the question whether there is any life after death lies completely outside the province of scientific knowledge which is concerned with the classification and interpretation of sense data. Anyone who asserts in the name of science that there is no life after death, therefore, makes a very unscientific statement. Merely on the basis of scientific knowledge, we can neither affirm that there is a life after death nor deny it. Until we discover a dependable means of acquiring knowledge about this matter, the correct scientific attitude would be neither to affirm nor to deny the possibility of life after death. The question is beyond its jurisdiction.
But can we possibly maintain this attitude in life? Can we afford to adhere to this neutrality? Theoretically speaking, this may hold good, but looking to the hard realities of life which we have to face on every turn and pass, our answer would be: certainly not. If we do not have the means to know a thing directly, it is of course possible for us, from a purely rational point of view, to refrain from either affirming or denying it. But if the thing is directly concerned with our everyday life, we cannot maintain that attitude and must either affirm or deny its existence. In order to live a full life on the earth we must have a definite attitude towards such problems. These questions simply cannot be avoided. For instance, if you do not know a person with whom you do not have any dealings, you may refrain from forming an opinion about his integrity and trustworthiness; but if you have to deal with him, you must do so either on the assumption that he is an honest man or on the supposition that he is not. You may also proceed with the idea that, until his honesty is either proved or disproved in practice, you will deal with him on the assumption that his integrity is doubtful. But this manner of dealing with him would, in effect, be no different from the way you would deal with him if you were convinced of his dishonesty. Therefore, a state of doubt between affirmation and denial is possible only as an abstract idea; it cannot form the basis of practical dealings, which require a positive attitude of either affirmation or denial.
The essential ingredients of this belief, as taught to by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), are as follows:
The life of this word and of all that is in it will come to an end on an appointed day. Everything will be annihilated. That day is called Qiyamah, i.e. that Last Day.
All the human beings who have lived in the world since its inception will then be restored to life and will be presented before God who will sit in judgment on that day. This is called Hashr (Resurrection).
The entire record of every man and woman – of all their doings and misdoings will be presented before God for final judgment.
That one who excels in goodness will be rewarded; one whose evils and wrongs outweigh his good deeds will be punished.
That those who emerge successful in this judgment will go to paradise and the doors of eternal bliss will be opened to them; those who are condemned and deserve punishment will be sent to Hell – the adobe of fire and torture.