By: Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
Principles of Shi’ite Creed
The fifth principle of the primary principles of religion is the faith in the Resurrection.
The Resurrection signifies revival to bear the consequences. This principle, that is, the faith in the Judgment Day is one of the oldest beliefs of humanity its traces could be detected in nations with an old history.
Among the well-established religions of the world, the question of an immortal life in the hereafter constitutes one of the principal doctrines and any faith on whose agenda there is no place for the faith in the resurrection could not be called a divine faith.
The records of this faith among all nations of the world could establish its inherent quality because it is improbable that such a faith with so long a history and such a widespread purview could have flourished in the hearts of people unless it’s were inherent. At times, everyone will feel that his life won’t dissolve by death and death is not the final destination of his evolution and he has not been created for a transitory life replete with vicissitudes and disillusionments but rather this dark night will culminate in a bright daybreak and death is not but a doorway to an eternal life.
Therefore, it should be said that the faith in the Resurrection is inherent and does not need any reasoning at all, but despite that, for the sake of clarification, here we elaborate on two arguments for the necessity of the Resurrection.
The relationship between the divine justice and wisdom and the Resurrection
The world inhabited by mankind is founded upon justice and fairness. Its Creator is also just and fair and has commanded His servants to base their worldly lives upon justice and refrain from oppression and He has sent infallible prophets to guide and assist them in discriminating between good and evil.
But with respect to the divine commands and the edicts of the prophets people are divided in two categories:
1. One group is submissive and obedient and never deviates from the straight path of religion and morality and tries to abstain from corruption, indecency, and wrongdoing, or at least they are determined to purify themselves.
2. Another group is so steeped in debauchery and oppression and they behave as though no prophet had ever been sent to guide them and the straight path has not been revealed to them. In their lives, the only objectives they pursue are domination, gratification of lustful desires, deception, duplicity, and oppression and to achieve their goals; they won’t spare any brutality or ruthlessness. For instance, we read in history that a certain ruler, whose name evokes fear and terror, says, “I enjoy hurling the worshippers in the fire and listening to their whining and growling, because the moaning and whining of innocent people in the flames and under torture is the most melodious music.” He was a human being.
As opposed to this, we come across another person who says, “I swear by God that if they granted me the dominion of the whole world to oppress a feeble ant, I will never do that.” We all have known and continue to know some who do nothing but wickedness and indecency as well as those who have dedicated their welfare to that of fellow-Muslims.
Is it consistent with God’s justness that these two groups be treated equally? Does the Just God to whom every conduct of His servants is manifest and who is aware of the within and without of everyone treat these two groups equally?
The common sense dictates that these two groups are different and each should face the consequences of their actions. Those who have retained their faith in God and have done deeds of righteousness should receive their rewards and those who were non-believers and were contaminated by oppression and wrongdoing should face the consequences of their viciousness. Indeed, God’s justice dictates that there must be a distinction between the faithful and the virtuous and the unfaithful and the evil. There is no doubt that this distinction does not occur completely in this world because as we could see many infidels and oppressors enjoy a luxurious life and become prosperous by exploiting others.
As opposed to this we come across some virtuous people who dedicate their lives to serving and helping others and obediently perform their individual and social obligations but are afflicted by vicissitudes, indigence, torture or captivity and eventually die under these circumstances.
Therefore, due to God’s wisdom and justice, there must be a hereafter where the virtuous reap the reward of their good deeds and the vicious suffer the consequences of their evil deeds.
And this hereafter refers to the Resurrection which is stressed in every divine religion especially Islam, in which it is presented as one of the primary principles of the faith.