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Akhira

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Ākhira (Arabic: الآخرة) in the Qur'an, Islamic culture and Islamic tradition, is equivalent to the term afterlife and is used as an expression to refer to the "other world"; the world after this mundane world in which all the people will see their rewards and punishments. In all revealed religions, some discourse on afterlife can be found.

Literal and Technical Meaning

The term akhira is used, as a single word (not combined with other words), 104 times in the Qur'an. Likewise, it is used nine times in the adjective or genitive combination with the word al-Dar "الدّارُ الآخِرَة، دارُالآخِرَة" literally meaning the last or final world. In one case, the term akhira is used as an adjective for al-Nash'a (النَّشأةُ الآخِرَة) literally meaning last or final realm. In five cases, it is brought with the term al-'ula (الْآخِرَةُ وَالْأُولَىٰ) which means the first and in 80 verses, it is brought with the term al-Dunya (الدُّنْیا) which means this world.

And in many verses, the combination "الیومُ الآخِرُ" (the last day) has been applied instead of "الْآخِرَةِ". In this context, dunya is considered as the "first day" and akhira is counted as "the other day". Likewise, one of the synonyms for this term in Qur'an is "دَارُ الْقَرَار" (Dar al-qarar) which means the world of final settlement.

Furthermore, we see some other combinations of the term such as: "أَجْرُ الْآخِرَة" (reward in akhira), "عَذَابُ الْآخِرَة" (punishment in akhira), "وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَة عَذَابُ النَّارِ" (punishment of the fire in akhira), " لُعِنُوا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَة" (curse in akhira), "خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ" (losses in akhira) and "حَرْثَ الدُّنْيَا" (harvest in akhira).

Afterlife in Hadiths

In hadiths by the Prophet (s) and Shi'a Imams (a), two terms of "الیوم الآخر" and "آخرة" are used in contrast to the term "الدنیا" (this world) and refer to the afterlife. Imam Ali (a) has stated:

One of the Pillars of Islam

In the Qur'an, the faith in the afterlife along with the faith in God and in Prophet (s) is one of the three pillars of Islam (usul al-din). In thirty verses, two concepts of faith in God and faith in afterlife are mentioned together. All the Islamic denominations consider the faith in the afterlife as one of the necessary Islamic beliefs. They count the deniers of the afterlife as Kafir.

Indeed, the faith in afterlife, in the Qur'an and hadiths, plays a substantial role in the Islamic thoughts pertaining to the life after death. Barzakh, qiyama, hashr, sirat, hisab, shafa'a, paradise and hell, all are some realities of the afterlife in Qu'ran and people have been called to believe in them.

Some Attributes of Afterlife in Qur'an

General information about the characteristics of akhira can be found in the Qur'an in the following verses:

  • There is none in the heavens and the earth but he comes to the All-beneficent as a servant. Certainly He has counted them [all] and numbered them precisely, and each of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection.(Qur'an 19:93-95)
  • And that nothing belongs to man except what he strives for. (Qur'an 53:39)
  • You were certainly oblivious of this. We have removed your veil from you, and so your sight is acute today.(Qur'an 50:22)
  • On that day Allah will pay them in full their due recompense, and they shall know that Allah is the Manifest Reality.(Qur'an 24:25)
  • (they will be served around with golden dishes and goblets, and therein will be whatever the souls desire and eyes delight in) 'and you will remain in it [forever].(Qur'an 43:71)
  • Except him who turns back and disbelieves. Him Allah will punish with the greatest punishment.(Qur'an 88:23-24)
  • Allah has promised the faithful, men and women, gardens with streams running in them, to remain in them [forever], and good dwellings in the Gardens of Eden. Yet Allah's pleasure is greater [than all these]; that is the great success.(Qur'an 9:72)
  • No indeed! They will be alienated from their Lord on that day. Then they will indeed enter hell.(Qur'an 83:15-16)
  • Observe how We have given some of them an advantage over some others; yet the Hereafter is surely greater in respect of ranks and greater in respect of relative merit.(Qur'an 17:21)

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from آخرت in Farsi WikiShia.