One of the most important aspects of Islam is the belief in a Day of Judgment. It is one of the six articles of faith and is central to the Islamic concept of accountability. For Muslims, the present life is not the goal; rather, it is the life after death that is the focus. This does not mean that Muslims should not enjoy their lives, but it does mean that they have to be conscious of God in all aspects of their life knowing that they will be asked about their decisions.
The Day of Judgment is mentioned repeatedly in the Qur’an. Moreover, it has more than one name, including the Day of Accountability, the Day of Resurrection, the Hour, and the Last Day. Each of the names of that day highlight an aspect of it.Verse 30 in chapter 3 describes what will occur on that day:
On the day when every soul will be confronted with all the good it has done, and all the evil it has done, it will wish there were a great distance between it and its evil. But Allah cautions you (to fear) Him. And Allah is full of kindness to those that serve Him.
Another example, verse 185, comes from the same chapter:
Every soul will taste of death. And ye will be paid on the Day of Resurrection only that which ye have fairly earned. Whoso is removed from the Fire and is made to enter paradise, he indeed is triumphant. The life of this world is but comfort of illusion.
As these two verses illustrate, on this day, Muslims believe that they will be resurrected both physically and spiritually and will be asked by God about their lives, after which their final destination will be determined.
In Islamic belief, no one, including the Prophet Muhammad, knows when the Day of Judgment will occur, but that there are signs that will indicate its coming. Once that day occurs, the world as we know it will be completely altered. There are many examples, especially in the early revelations, in the Qur’an where that transformation of the world is described. One example is verses 1 through 5 on chapter 84:
When the Sky is rent asunder, (1) And hearkens to (the Command of) its Lord–and it must needs (do so)– (2) And when the Earth is flattened out (3) And casts forth what is within it and becomes (clean) empty (4) And hearkens to (the Command of) its Lord–and it must needs (do so)–(then will come Home the full Reality)(5).
The Day of Judgment underscores the belief in the importance of accountability and God consciousness in everything Muslims do. It is for this reason that there are many descriptions of this day and why it is considered one of the articles of faith that makes someone a Muslim.
What do you know about the Islamic belief in the Day of Judgment? What is your reaction to the descriptions in the Qur’an of that day? How do other faith traditions view the end of the world? What role does that belief have in the faith? Please share your comments below.