Muslims believe in an afterlife and with the death of an individual, the door to the next life is opened.
Allah (God) says in the Quran:
”AND KEEP YOURSELVES FROM A DAY WHEN YOU WILL BE RETURNED TO ALLAH. THEN, EACH SOUL WILL BE COMPENSATED FOR WHAT IT HAS ACHIEVED, AND THEY WILL NOT SUFFER INJUSTICE. ” [HOLY QURAN 2: 281]
“Each soul will experience death. And, only, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be compensated with your prizes. Then, whoever is distanced from the Fire and introduced into Paradise, in effect, will triumph. And earthly life is nothing but fallacious enjoyment. [Holy Quran 3: 185]
As most people know, death is the only certainty in life, and no matter who you are or where you are, death will eventually come to you. This is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an:
“Wherever you are, death will come to you, even though you are in high towers.” [Holy Quran 4:78]
Belief in the afterlife is one of the Six Pillars of Faith in Islam, and it is a prerequisite to believe this to become a Muslim, as mentioned in the Quran:
“O you who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He brought down on His Messenger, and on the Book that He had brought down before. And whoever disowns Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day, will, in effect, go forward with a deep way. ” [Holy Quran 4: 136]
In addition, this is mentioned in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him), who said of the resurrection:
“.. [AND] ALLAH WILL SEND THE WATER FROM HEAVEN AND THE CORPSES WILL GROW AS THE VEGETATION GROWS …” [BUKHARI: 4935]
Belief in the afterlife is very important for Muslims and, as they firmly believe in it, because they have been informed by Allah, believing in it also helps to improve their actions and behaviors in this life. This gives the humble and the oppressed a hope and an anticipation for a higher justice that no one will escape, and makes people fearful, for they know that one day God will judge among people about their beliefs and actions.
It is a constant reminder for Muslims to think about every action they take, and whether they will be asked about it on Judgment Day or not. A perfect example of this is in the statement by ‘Umar ibn Abd Al-‘Aziz, who was one of the rulers of the Islamic empire and great-grandson of one of the most ancient disciples of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. It is mentioned that once when a man verbally abused him, he commented:
“If it weren’t for the Day of Judgment, I would have answered you.”
The belief in life after death is not only unique to Muslims, other religions also have a concept of life after death, although they disagree as to the exact nature. For example, Jews believe in an afterlife that includes a physical resurrection from the dead, although some in the same religion believe in reincarnation. Christians, like Muslims, believe in Judgment Day, Paradise and Hellfire, but differ in the specifics of each stage. On the other hand, Buddhists and Hindus do not believe in a physical resurrection, but only in a spiritual rebirth of the soul.
In conclusion, belief in an afterlife is a fundamental aspect of Islamic belief and always occupies a central place in the mind of a Muslim, in the sense that any and all actions are thought before the undertaking, in relation to whether it will be of benefit or loss in the life to come.