2. Resurrection - The Second Blast of The Trumpet and Raising of The Dead
When the trumpet is blown for the first time, heaven and earth will be crushed and the whole universe will come to an end. Not a living soul will be left. As stated in the Qur'an: "On the Day the earth is changed into a different earth, and the heavens likewise, mankind shall stand before Allah, the One who conquers all." (Surah Ibrahim: 48) Our Lord says the following about this new environment prepared for the Last Judgment:
They will ask you about the mountains. Say: 'My Lord will scatter them as dust. He will leave them as a barren, level plain on which you will see no dip or gradient.' (Surah Ta ha: 105-107)
This is the point at which people will rise from dead, gather and wait to give an account of their deeds. This is also the place where they will learn where they are heading for. The time has come for people to be raised from the dead and presented to Allah, the al-Qahhar (The Subduer). And then the trumpet will be blown for a second time. Those who denied the hereafter and resurrection in the world will be raised from their graves. This will be something they never expected. The following account of these happenings are given in the Qur'an as follows:
The Trumpet will be blown and those in the heavens and those on the earth will all lose consciousness, except those Allah wills. Then it will be blown a second time and at once they will be standing upright, looking on. And the earth will shine with the Pure Light of its Lord...(Surat az-Zumar: 68-69)
The Emergence of the Dead From their Graves
Allah gives a detailed account of the situations which will take place as the dead rise again by His will. As related in the Qur'an, this great event will occur thus:
—By the time the trumpet is blown for the second time, the dead will be called from the earth. Upon this call, they will rapidly "emerge from their graves with downcast eyes, like swarming locusts." (Surat al-Qamar: 7)
(...Then, when) He calls you forth from the earth, you will emerge at once. (Surat ar-Rum: 25)The Day the earth splits open all around them as they come rushing forth, that is a gathering, easy for Us to accomplish. (Surah Qaf:44)
—As if hastening on to a goal, they will follow the inviter who will call them with their necks extended towards him. This call will be dissimilar to any other call hitherto heard:
... On the Day the Summoner summons them to something unspeakably terrible. (Surat al-Qamar: 6)
On that day they will follow the Summoner who has no crookedness in him at all. (Surah Ta Ha: 108)
...That Day they will emerge swiftly from their graves as if rushing to rally to the flag. (Surat al-Ma'arij: 43)
Those who committed transgressions beyond the limits set by Allah, who did not obey Allah, insisted on their own ways, denied Allah, and remained arrogant, will suddenly become obedient and submit to Him as soon as they are raised from the dead. Without questioning, they will respond to this call. Because the test in this world will be over, they will have no other choice but to conform. Even if they so desired, they could not do otherwise. They could not even harbor such a wish. They will have no power to resist this call. That is why, they will feel deep inside that this is a "pitiless day":
With necks outstretched, eyes transfixed, rushing headlong to the Summoner, the unbelievers will say: 'This is a pitiless day!' (Surat al-Qamar: 8)
—Thus the unbelievers will run forward. Everyone will display an absolute obedience. That day, the one and only important thing people possess is faith. However, unbelievers are bereft of it. That is why, their hearts are "hollow" as they rush "headlong—heads back, eyes vacant." (Surah Ibrahim: 43)
They will slide towards Allah:
...the Day the Trumpet is blown and you come in droves (Surat an-Naba': 18)
The Trumpet will be blown and at once they will be sliding from their graves towards their Lord. They will say, 'Alas for us! Who has raised us from our resting-place? This is what the All-Merciful promised us. The Messengers were telling the truth.' (Surah Ya Sin: 51-52)
The exclamation "Alas for us!" which is revealed in the verse, is the expression of great panic and disappointment. The unbeliever who witnesses his own resurrection realizes that Allah's apostles who conveyed this message throughout his life had told the truth. He then grasps that he will be subjected to the "eternal torment" with which the unbelievers were threatened. At that moment, he sheds all doubts on the subject and comes to terms with the fact that there is just not anything like "eternal sleep". His disappointment is intensified by his diminishing hopes of salvation from the forthcoming torment.
— During the Day of Resurrection, unbelievers will feel fear, horror and they are desperate. Their general appearance is frightening; their faces are black, dust-covered. What is more, they will be humiliated:
Some faces on that Day will be downcast (Surat al-Ghashiyah: 2)
That Day some faces will be dust-covered, overcast with gloom. Those are the dissolute unbelievers. (Surah 'Abasa: 40-42)
On the Day of Resurrection you will see those who lied against Allah with their faces blackened. Do not the arrogant have a dwelling place in hell? (Surat az-Zumar: 60)
— Allah will raise unbelievers on the Day of Resurrection, blind.
But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one and on the Day of Resurrection he will come before Us blind.' He will say, 'My Lord, why have you brought me blind before you when before I was able to see?' He will say, 'Just as Our signs came to you and you forgot them, in the same way you too are forgotten today.' (Surah Ta Ha: 124-126)
Whoever Allah guides is truly guided. But as for those He leads astray, you will not find any protectors for them apart from Him. We will bring them before Us on the Day of Resurrection, flat on their faces, blind, dumb and deaf. Their shelter will be hell. Whenever the Blaze dies down, We will increase it for them. (Surah al-Isra': 97)
— The white part of the eye will turn to a bluish color. This color of the eye will intensify the frightening and disgusting appearance of unbelievers.
On the Day the Trumpet is blown, We will gather the evil-doers on that Day, their eyes dimmed (as if they were covered with a bluish film). (Surah Ta Ha: 102)
With this terrible and degraded appearance the unbelievers will be distinguished from the believers at first sight. This is the beginning of the end of this group of people who waged war against the verses of Allah and remained arrogant.
There Exists no Friendship, Kinship and Cooperation
On that day, a person will be too occupied to worry about others. He will even abandon his own mother, father, spouse and children. The intensity and inconceivable terror of the Day of Resurrection will make everyone concern himself over his own affairs. Allah describes the Day of Resurrection as follows:
What will convey to you what the Day of Judgment is? Again! What will convey to you what the Day of Judgment is? It is the Day when a soul will have no power to help any other soul in any way. The command that Day will be Allah's alone. (Surat al-Infitar: 17-19)
When the Deafening Blast comes, that Day a man will flee from his brother and his mother and his father, and his wife and his children: on that Day every man among them will have concerns enough of his own. (Surah 'Abasa: 33-37)
And thus the most precious social bonds that one worshipped in this life will come to a bitter end. The terror of that day will render all close relations and kinship meaningless. The only precious thing remaining will be faith:
Then when the Trumpet is blown, that Day there will be no family ties between them; they will not be able to question one another. Those whose scales are heavy are the successful ones. Those whose scales are light are the losers of their souls, remaining in hell timelessly, forever. (Surat al-Mu'minun: 101-103)
Bonds and family ties break down in such a way that people would give their so-called beloved sons, spouses, brothers and even all their relatives in ransom for their own salvation:
No good friend will ask about his friend, even though they can see each other. An evil-doer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment of that Day, by means of his sons, or his wife or his brother or his family who sheltered him or everyone else on earth, if only that meant that he could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze. (Surat al- Ma'arij:10-15)
This offer for ransom on the Day of Resurrection is actually an indication of the vanity of this life. Some people usually chase after trivial goals; they work for a life time for an admirable job, a beautiful house, for a career or money. However, as related in the Qur'an, in his desperate efforts to be saved, a person will be willing to pay, not just a single woman or a man, but all the women and the men in the world or all possible possessions in the world in ransom for his own personal salvation. However, these are all futile efforts.
The Gathering of People To Give an Account of Their Deeds
Allah states the real meaning of life in the Qur’an thus:
O Man! You are toiling laboriously towards your Lord but meet Him you will. (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 6)
No matter what we do in the course of our lives, we will eventually stand before Allah. The ultimate aim of this life is to be His servant. The most important time, on the other hand, is the Day of Resurrection, when we shall be giving an account of our lives.
Each passing day brings us even closer to that point in time. Each passing hour, minute or even second is a step taken towards death, resurrection and the moment of reckoning. Life, like an hourglass, flows continuously in this direction. There is no way to stop time or to reverse it. All people will be following this path. Allah states in the Qur'an:
Certainly it is to Us they will return. Then their Reckoning is Our concern. (Surat al-Ghashiyah: 25-26)
There are billions of people on the earth today. Adding this figure to the total number of people who ever lived in the past will give some idea of the crowd that will gather on the Day of Resurrection. All people, from the Prophet Adam (as), the first man on earth, to the last person who will ever live in the world will be there. This horde of human beings will present an amazing picture. Nevertheless, at the same time, it is certain that it will be a fearsome one. The situation of all people in the Presence of Allah is depicted in the Qur'an as follows:
On that day they will follow the Summoner who has no falsity in him at all. Voices will be hushed before the All-Merciful and You shall hear only the sound of marching feet.
The moment of giving accounts, which unbelievers neglected for a lifetime, while believers zealously prepared for it, has come. A glorious location is created for this great court. As related in the Qur'an, on that day:
"Heaven will be split apart, for that Day it will be very frail. The angels will be gathered round its edge. On that Day, eight will bear the Throne of their Lord above their heads." (Surat al-Haqqa: 16-17)
On the Day when the Spirit and the angels stand in ranks, they shall not speak; except him who shall receive the sanction of the Merciful and says what is right. (Surat an-Naba': 38)
Allah, the Lord of the heavens and earth will demand an account of their deeds from His servants. A source of infinite torture is also created for the unbelievers. No one can inflict the type of anguish Allah will give on that day. In the Qur'an Allah states:
No indeed! When the earth is crushed and ground to dust and your Lord arrives with the angels rank upon rank and that Day hell is produced, that Day man will remember; but how will the remembrance help him? He will say, 'Oh! If only I had prepared in advance for this life of mine!' That Day no one will punish as He punishes and no one will shackle as He shackles. (Surat al-Fajr: 21-26)
If man fails to serve His Creator in the world and to prepare for this great day, then he shall suffer a keen regret. On that day the unbelievers will say "Oh, if only I were dust!" (Surat an-Naba: 40) Yet, this regret will be of no avail. On the contrary, it will become a new source of anguish and add to the torment he will be subjected to in hell.
The Giving out of the Books and Just Balances
Right after the resurrection, the unbelievers become struck with fear and grief. This is because they will give an account of their deeds in the Presence of Allah. All the deeds they engaged in throughout their lives and all their thoughts will be disclosed. No minor detail is forgotten. It is stated in a verse as follows:
... even if something weighs as little as a mustard-seed and is inside a rock or anywhere else in the heavens or earth, Allah will bring it out. Allah is All-Pervading, All-Aware. (Surah Luqman: 16)
When the people are questioned, they will see what they had presented for their eternal life. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
That Day people will emerge segregated to see the results of their actions. Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it. Whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it. (Surat az-Zalzalah: 6-8)
As mentioned in the Qur'an, unbelievers will receive their books from their left, while believers will receive theirs from their right. The experience of the people of the "right" is described as follows:
On that Day you will be exposed—no concealed act you did will stay concealed. As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will say, 'Here, come and read my Book! I counted on meeting my Reckoning.' He will have a very pleasant life in an elevated Garden, its ripe fruit hanging close to hand. 'Eat and drink with relish for what you did before in days gone by!' (Surat al- Haqqah: 18-24)
Contrary to the happiness and joy of believers, unbelievers will have an acute feeling of malaise and regret. They would like to die, even to disappear. Their desperate mood is indicated in the Qur'an as follows:
But as for him who is given his Book in his left hand, he will say, 'If only I had not been given my Book and had not known about my Reckoning! If only death had really been the end! My wealth has been of no use to me. My power has vanished.' (Surat al-Haqqa: 25-29)
Allah reveals the difference between the people of the right and left as follows:
As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will be given an easy reckoning and return to his family joyfully. But as for him who is given his Book behind his back, he will cry out for destruction, but will be roasted in a Searing Blaze. He used to be joyful in his people. He thought that he was never going to return. But in fact his Lord was always watching him! (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 7-15)
The deeds recorded in the Books are measured by just balances. That day, in the Presence of Allah's justice, everyone will be justly treated:
We will set up the Just Balance on the Day of Resurrection and no soul will be wronged in any way. Even if it is no more than the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, We will produce it. We are sufficient as a Reckoner. (Surat an-Anbiya': 47)
Every deed engaged in this life, even of a minor nature, is placed in this balance. The indicator of this balance determines whether one will be sent to eternal torment or to eternal bliss and salvation. If the balance is well weighed down with good deeds, the person being judged is sent to paradise. If not, he will be destined for hell. No one, no power can help him but Allah:
As for him whose balance is heavy, he will have a most pleasant life. But as for him whose balance is light, his motherland will be the Abyss. And what will convey to you what that is? A raging Fire! (Surat al-Qari'a: 6-11)
Then, all men give their accounts one by one. Here, positions and ranks in the world lose their meanings. A president of a country or an ordinary person are both the same; they receive the same treatment in the Presence of Allah. Here, they are subjected to arduous questioning as to whether or not they served their Creator and obeyed His commands. All sins, wicked deeds, and inner thoughts of an unbeliever are disclosed:
...on the Day when the secrets are sought out and man will have no strength or helper. (Surat at-Tariq: 9-10)
This process is grueling for those who did not live by the laws of Allah but by their own desires or by the distorted values, beliefs and principles of their environment. In the following verses, Allah gives an account of this great day:
When the baby girl buried alive is asked for what crime she was killed, when the Pages are opened up, when Heaven is peeled away, when the Fire is set ablaze, when the Garden is brought up close: then each soul will know what it has done. (Surat at-Takwir: 8-14)
No one can deny what he engaged in in the Presence of Allah. All his deeds, good and wicked, are disclosed. Even if he denies anything, there are witnesses to tell the truth. People who witnessed him during the course of his life are also brought to the fore to testify. Allah states in the Qur'an as follows:
And the earth will shine with the Pure Light of its Lord; the Book will be put in place; the Prophets and witnesses will be brought; and all will be judged with fairness; none shall be wronged. (Surat az-Zumar: 69)
In the course of giving accounts, there are other unexpected witnesses awaiting the unbelievers. The senses of hearing and sight as well as human skins are endowed with the faculty of speech by the Will of Allah and testify against them. The betrayal of even one's own organs, which one assumed to belong to oneself for a lifetime, adds to the depression one will suffer on that day. Allah describes this fact in the Qur'an as follows:
On the Day, We crowd the enemies of Allah into the Fire and they are driven in close-packed ranks; when they reach it, their hearing, sight and skin will testify against them concerning what they did. They will ask their skins, 'Why did you testify against us?' and they will reply, 'Allah gave us speech as He has given speech to everything. He created you in the first place and you will be returned to Him. You did not think to shield yourselves from your hearing, sight and skin testifying against you and you thought that Allah would never know much of what you did. It is that thought you had about your Lord that has destroyed you, so now you find yourselves among the lost.' If they are steadfast, the Fire will still be their residence! If they ask for pardon, they will not receive it. (Surah Fussilat: 19-24)
Unbelievers bear the great guilt of rebelling against the Creator, Who created them and made living possible for them. That is why, on the Day of Resurrection, they are not allowed to defend themselves. No opportunity is given to them to voice their defense. Humiliated and desperate, they wait for the verdict to be given thus:
On that Day, woe to the deniers! This is the Day they will not say a single word, nor will they be allowed to offer any excuses. On that Day, woe to the deniers! This is the Day of Decision. We have gathered you and the earlier peoples. So if you have any cunning, use it against Me now!' On that Day, woe to the deniers! (Surat al-Mursalat: 34-40)
That day, the unbeliever feels an inner loathing for his own deeds and his own self. However, Allah's feeling of aversion is more intense. The unbelievers will be addressed thus:
…Allah's abhorrence of you, when you were called to the faith but then chose to disbelieve, is even greater than your hatred of yourselves. (Surah Ghafir: 10)
Encountering Allah's wrath, the unbeliever falls into a state of profound hopelessness, sorrow and shame, and wishes he would never rise from the dead. He wishes that death had put an end to his life for all eternity. However death is not an end, but only a beginning. And there is no death other than this. Their state of mind is thus expressed in the Qur'an as follows:
It may be that those who are unbelievers will wish that they had been Muslims. (Surat al-Hijr: 2)
In contrast to the difficulties the unbelievers will experience on that Day, the way believers will give their accounts will be quite easy. After giving their accounts before Allah, the believers will remain in eternal bliss. Allah, the Most Merciful, will forgive their sins, as they have lived by the principles laid down by our Creator. They thus attain paradise, a place filled with Allah's boundless favors and are kept remote from hellfire.
O Man! You are toiling laboriously towards your Lord but meet Him you will! As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will be given an easy reckoning and return to his family joyfully. (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 6-9)
The Desperateness of Unbelievers
On that day, the unbeliever intends to comply with all orders, yet, he fails to do so. That is because, he no longer has any energy to accomplish anything. When he is called upon to prostrate himself, he wants to do so. However, he cannot even succeed in doing this. Just like a person having a bad dream, he wants to scream but cannot. Neither can he move his legs or hands. Fear, terror and despair leave him almost paralyzed. This situation the unbelievers experience is described in the Qur'an thus:
On the Day when legs are bared and they are called on to prostrate themselves, they will not be able to do so. Their eyes will be downcast, darkened by debasement; for they were called on to prostrate themselves when they were in full possession of their faculties. (Surat al-Qalam: 42-43)
One of the purposes of calling upon the unbeliever to prostrate himself in the hereafter may be to intensify the regret and sorrow he feels at not having complied with the call made when he was in the world, and to remind him that this disobedience, unlikely to be compensated for, will be a source of eternal sorrow and hopelessness.
In the Qur'an we are also informed about how believers and unbelievers will look on that day. The inner joy of believers is seen on their faces; their eyes shine brightly. Unbelievers, on the other hand, realize how they ungratefully and unwisely conducted themselves and start to wait for the torment they will be subjected to. Contrary to the joyful expressions on the faces of believers, disbelievers' faces are dull and gloomy:
You love this fleeting world and you disregard the hereafter. There will be faces that Day which will be radiant, gazing at their Lord. And there will be faces that Day which will be glowering, realizing that a back-breaking blow has fallen. (Surat al-Qiyama: 20-25)
Allah informs us in Surah Maryam that all people, both believers and unbeliever, will be assembled around hell on their knees:
Man says, 'When I am dead, will I then be brought back to life again?' Does not man recall that We created him out of the void? By your Lord, We will collect them and the devils together. Then We will assemble them around hell on their knees. Then We will drag out from every sect the one among them most insolent towards the All-Merciful. Then it is We who will know best those most deserving to roast in it. There is not one of you who will not come to it. That is the final decision of your Lord. Then We will rescue those who feared Us and We will leave the wrongdoers in it on their knees. (Surah Maryam: 66-72)
As we see from the above verses, on the Day of Resurrection, people will be gathered around hell on their knees. Unbelievers and believers alike will all hear the horrible noise and roar of the fire together and witness stunning images. However, believers are saved with Allah's approval after some time and unbelievers are left on their knees. Then, they are cast into the hellfire.
Having a better grasp of Allah's wrath and being grateful to Him can be considered as one of the purposes of the presence of believers among the crowd gathered around hell. A believer witnessing the wrath in hell looks like comprehends how a great favor the faith granted to him is. Because hell is a terrible place, even being saved from torment means bliss for the human being.
Witnessing hell, the believer can make comparisons and thus better appreciate paradise, a place of blessings where he will reside for all eternity. Even in the world, to be saved from pain is a great boon. For instance, someone facing the danger of being frozen on a mountain rejoices at finding an old hut with a fireplace. He perceives this hut almost as if it were a luxury hotel room. For someone who has not eaten anything for days a loaf of bread is a feast. The end of pain is an unsurpassable reason for joy, happiness, peace and gratefulness.
A believer who sees hell at close quarters and is saved from it by Allah, attains this kind of bliss. Moreover, being rewarded with paradise makes believers attain the salvation mentioned in the Qur'an. Having seen the greatest torment in hell, the believer very well understands the value of paradise overflowing with blessings. For the rest of his eternal life, he never forgets what hell looks like and hence takes greater pleasure in paradise.
On the Day of Judgment, people hear the following words of those who recognize believers and unbelievers from their faces:
There will be a dividing wall between them and on the ramparts there will be men who recognize everyone by his look. They will call out to the people of the Garden: 'Peace be upon you!' But they will not enter it yet for all their ardent desire to do so. When they turn their eyes towards the inmates of the Fire, they will say, 'Our Lord, do not cast us among these wrongdoers!'
After Resurrection, it is the time when believers, "the best of creatures", (Surat al-Bayyina:7) and unbelievers, "the worst of creatures", (Surat al-Bayyina: 6) are separated from one another. This day is described in the Qur'an as follows:
When the Messengers' time is appointed—until what day is that deferred? Until the Day of Decision. And what will teach you what the Day of Decision is? On that Day, woe to the deniers! Did We not destroy the earlier peoples, then cause others to follow them? That is how We deal with evil-doers. On that Day, woe to the deniers! (Surat al-Mursalat: 11-19)
In the Surah Qaf, the journey believers and unbelievers take to their real abodes is related as follows:
The throes of death come revealing the truth. That is what you were trying to evade! The Trumpet will be blown. That is the Day of the Threat. Every soul will come along with one who drives it on and one who testifies against it. One will say: "You were heedless of this so We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp.' His inseparable comrade will say, 'My testimony is ready to hand.' (And it is said): 'Cast into hell every obdurate unbeliever, impeder of good, doubt-causing aggressor, who has set up another deity besides Allah. Hurl him into the terrible punishment.' His inseparable comrade will say, 'Our Lord, I did not make him overstep the limits. He was, in any case, far astray.' He will say, 'Do not argue in My Presence when I gave you advance warning of the Threat. My Word, once given, is not subject to change and I do not wrong My slaves.' On the Day He says to hell, 'Are you full? 'it will ask, 'Are there no more to come?' And the Garden will be brought up close to the righteous. (And it is said): 'This is what you were promised. It is for every careful penitent: those who fear the All-Merciful in the Unseen and come with a contrite heart. Enter it in peace. This is the Day of Timeless Eternity.'(Surah Qaf: 19-34)