Life After Death: Who Passes and Who Doesn’t?

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Question and answer details
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2012/12/08
Assalam Alaikum… It is said that after death a person lives forever either in jannah (Paradise) or jahannum (Hellfire)… My question is for how long will the person who enters jahannum suffer in it? Will he be sent to paradise once he completes his punishment for his sins?
AAI Editorial Staff
Answer

This answer was kindly provided by Brother Maan Khalife, a member of Ask About Islam Editorial Staff.

Salam dear sister,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

To begin with, there is no way for us to know how long a person will remain in hell before entering Paradise, if he or she happens to be one.  This is knowledge of the unseen which is only known to Allah.

We need to focus on knowing those human qualities which make people enter into Hell or into Paradise; or possibly both. To do this, we must define categories of believing and unbelieving people and places where punishment or reward could possibly be granted.

We must keep in mind that there is no way defining this subject accurately since this is Allah’s domain; He is the ultimate Judge.  For us, we may speak in general, but cannot specifically say that someone is destined to the Hellfire for example, since we may not know if Allah wishes to admit that person into Paradise.  After all, ultimately we only enter the Paradise by Allah’s mercy not by our extremely limited worldly judgment of people.

Also the reward for good deeds is multiplied at least ten folds, while a bad deed is only recorded once; and good deeds wipe away bad ones.  Allah is always giving us the chance to excel; so it all depends on us.

I will begin defining places of reward and punishment, these are:

1. On earth during our humanly lives.
2. In the grave which is the period from our death until the Day of Judgment.
3. On the Day of Judgment which will seize when Allah judges the last human being.
4. The hereafter which starts after the Day of Judgment and goes on forever.

In general, all of us experience some type of reward or punishment during our lives.  If we do something in this world whether good or bad and we don’t get rewarded or punished for it, Allah will reward or punish us for it in one of the subsequent stations in our lives.

As for punishment, it is easier to receive it in this world since as we move to each station, the punishment increases which make the punishment in the hereafter the worst, since it is repetitive and eternal, unless the person is eventually destined to Paradise.  In this life, punishment is applied once, avoiding further punishment for that specific deed. So if we commit a crime, it is better to receive its punishment in this world, in order to avoid Allah’s punishment.

Reward is completely different; one could be rewarded in this world as well all the subsequent stations.  Its effects could become exponential as was explained earlier. Obviously, the most rewarding is Paradise.

Also Allah by His ultimate mercy, grants people the chance to learn about His religion; those who deny the truth we call disbelievers while those who accept the truth we call believers.  Now we may define categories of people related to the subject matter:

1. People completely unaware of Islam
2. Disbelievers who are aware of Islam but are kind
3. Disbelievers who are aware of Islam but are evil
4. Believers who are evil
5. Believers who are kind

Beginning with the first and moving to the last, people completely unaware of Islam will not be punished since Allah says so in Quran what is translated as:

{Whosoever does right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he does right, and whosoever errors, errors only to its hurt. No laden soul can bear another’s load, We never punish until we have sent a messenger} (Al-Israa, Chapter 17, Verse 15)

Disbelievers who are kind will be rewarded in this world but not in the hereafter, since the key to Paradise is worshiping the creator alone without associating anyone or thing with Him.  The destiny for evil disbelievers is obvious; the Hellfire.

All believers are destined to the Paradise; however, the ones who committed too many bad deeds in this world will be punished in the Hellfire first; this is the category you are talking about.

So to go back to your question, the period that an evil believer spends in Hellfire depends on how many bad deeds he or she has committed and the severity of those deeds.

Also keep in mind that time in the hereafter seizes to exist as we know it.  It will be all relevant to rewards and punishments since forever is not constrained with time.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Paranormal team are helping to liberate Stoke Park’s ghosts

IWAS interested to see Steve England’s letter stating that Avon Paranormal team has now completed their investigations into ghostly events on the Stoke Park estate. There had been appearances of a man, thought to be Charles Beaufort, and of a young woman, thought to be his daughter Elizabeth.

She had died at the age of 17 when she fell from her horse.

Her father Charles had died some years before and her mother, Elizabeth Beaufort (nee Berkeley) at some time predating the accident.

The paranormal team caught on video the sound of a little girl’s voice in the woods, and a local man, walking there one night, heard a little girl’s voice pleading: “Do you want to play hide and seek”?

If this WAS the voice of Elizabeth Beaufort, then it suggests to me that she had been traumatised by the loss of her parents.

Such experiences, if not acknowledged, understood and witnessed, may become frozen in time.

Young Elizabeth’s mother, also Elizabeth, was born a Berkeley.

What experience, I wonder, did she bring to her marriage with Charles Beaufort? What was the cause of her death, and also the death of Charles? Were any issues left unresolved?

Is anything known of the Beaufort story at this time?

Without kind intervention I imagine that the ghosts of Stoke Park will continue to walk indefinitely. They may continue to repeat established patterns inherited from their ancestors without realising the origin of their suffering.

This is a vital lesson we may learn from the ghosts of Stoke Park – even if we are unable to liberate them.

Maxine Devizes

Westbury-on-Trym

Ghosts and Christmas: do they go together or not?

When you think of the commercialization of Halloween you automatically think of ghosts.  When you think of Christmas you automatically think of Santa Claus. To some ghosts have no place in being associated with Christmas or the winter time or do they?

 

Looking back over the previous centuries, we find the Bard of Avon’s (Shakespeare) predecessor Christopher Marlowe using it in the same fashion. In his play The Jew of Malta (1589), he has a character Barnabus saying -

 

Now I remember those old women’s words,
Who in my wealth would tell me winter’s tales,
And speak of spirits and ghosts that glide by night

 

 

There are some Shakespearian scholars that consider Hamlet as a ghost story.

 

And certainly the Christmas spirits enjoyed a veritable heyday in Victorian times. Supernatural fiction as a whole was immensely popular with the Victorians.

 

The Victorian period was an era of public crazes and fads, as the denizens of what was actually a forward-thinking and visionary society eagerly lapped up a succession of new thrills… And coupled with crazes for esoteric subjects such as spiritualism, ritual magic and all things Egyptian, it is hardly surprising that this was a golden age too for supernatural and weird fiction.

 

In addition to an embracing attitude towards death, that to us who are uncomfortable with contemplating our own mortality seems exceedingly morbid, it is no surprise that ghosts haunted all walks of life. For example, you may be surprised to learn that spooks and specters were even a staple of Victorian pantomimes, alongside the traditional versions of fairy stories that that are performed today.

 

 

So it appears that Ghosts and Christmas time do in fact go together as part of our culture.

Ghosts in the Attic: PW Talks with Wendy Webb

Wendy Webb believes in ghosts. By the time readers finish her new haunting novel, The Fate of Mercy Alban, they will too.

There’s a strong sense of place in your writing. Lake Michigan in your debut novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, and Lake Superior in The Fate of Mercy Alban are both almost characters. Was this conscious on your part?

The thing that inspires me to think up a story is the place; most specifically, the house. When I go into or see an old house, I wonder, what could happen there? What secrets are lurking around every corner? The first time I walked through Glensheen [a Jacobean-style mansion in Duluth built between 1905-1908 that is now a tourist attraction], I thought, what could happen in a big house like this, a rich family with secrets, on a big lake? There is a lot of magic around Lake Superior, and that tends to flow into my storytelling. People around here think Lake Superior is alive; I don’t doubt that. This all inspired The Fate of Mercy Alban.

How did a journalist who’s been trained to deal with facts and is an editor at a regional lifestyle magazine come to write ghost stories?

I’ve always been drawn to the paranormal. I love ghost stories; I love spine-tingling books and movies; anything with a mystery or paranormal element. It’s a guilty pleasure. Especially being a journalist, I love being able to escape into that world. But I don’t want the novels I write to be too out there: I want it to seem like you are just going along in your regular life and then all of a sudden you see something that’s magical or strange or not really there.

Do you believe in ghosts?

In my heart of hearts, I feel that’s real, that it could happen, and it has happened to people. It’s happened to me. One of the best things I’ve found at my readings is that people tell me of their own experiences: they’re very important stories to them. It’s always like, ‘when this person I loved so much died, this happened afterwards.’ It’s not like we’re just talking about the weather. It’s important stuff. I feel privileged to have heard all these stories. I don’t know why people are so afraid of ghosts, because that’s proof that there’s something beyond.

What writer has had the greatest influence on you?

Madeleine L’Engle. When I was about 13 years old, I read A Wrinkle in Time. When I closed that book, I thought, this is what I want to do for a living. I don’t know if it’s through that book that I became a writer or if I was a writer first and then that just sparked it. And I think I like to have paranormal and spookiness in my novels because she did in hers.