THE LAST BONE STANDING.
— SHEHU, Abdus-Salam Aladodo.
Atheists do not believe in life after death. Well, how will one who does not acknowledge the presence of a Supreme Being even come to the conclusion that a resurrection will happen after we have been laid underneath the earth? Take Richard Dawkins; an English ethologist, evolutionary Biologist, Author, Professor, and an outspoken atheist well known for his criticism of creationism for example. He started out his teenage life as a Christian, and along the line, he became an atheist because he came to the conclusion that the theory of evolution was a better explanation for life’s complexity, and ceased believing in a god. In 2006, he wrote a book titled “God Delusion” where he opined that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion. For Dawkins, the widespread belief in an afterlife among human/religious cultures is an attempt to comfort those who have lost loved ones and to address our natural desire for survival. Dawkins is not the first, there has been several atheist before him, and even people who believe in the presence of a Supreme Being but negates the idea of life after death.
Back in Makkah, in the earliest days of Prophethood, a group of Arab polytheists who hold no believe in the Prophethood of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), who do not believe in the Qur’an or Islam as the only religion of salvation, came forward to make firm their polytheism. They did this by bringing along with them some old rotten bones, they crushed the bones with their hands and asked: “Who will bring life to these bones after they have rotten away?” This display and questioning was born out of the fact that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his followers were preaching the monotheistic religion and telling people about life after death — rewards and punishment. These group of people held no believe in it, so they came forward with a charade-cum-questioning. After having displayed their ignorance, Allah replied their act with the following verses:
° Does man not consider that We created him from a [mere] sperm-drop – then at once he is a clear adversary?
° And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, “Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?”
° Say, “He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing.”
-Sura Ya-Seen, Ayah 77-79
The Qur’an also relate to us the tale of a man who passed by a desecrated town, and began to ponder upon how Allah will bring all the lost souls in the town back to life, then Allah made an example out of him to serve as a reminder for us all.
It narrates thus:
Or [consider such an example] as the one who passed by a township which had fallen into ruin. He said, “How will Allah bring this to life after its death?” So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years; then He revived him. He said, “How long have you remained?” The man said, “I have remained a day or part of a day.” He said, “Rather, you have remained one hundred years. Look at your food and your drink; it has not changed with time. And look at your donkey; and We will make you a sign for the people. And look at the bones [of this donkey] – how We raise them and then We cover them with flesh.” And when it became clear to him, he said, “I know that Allah is over all things competent.”
-Sura Al-Baqarah, Ayah 259
With the above verses, Allah made a declaration that giving life back to our bones after they would have been rotten beneath the earth is simple just as He has created us from nothingness; a mere sperm drop which no one could ever believe will become a clinging clot, then metamorphose into a lump of flesh — formed and unformed. Bringing us back after death to account for our deeds will be so easy in a way we can never imagine, so much that even our fingertips will not be spared:
° Does man think that We will not assemble his bones?
° Yes. [We are] Able [even] to proportion his fingertips.
-Sura Al-Qiyamah, Ayah 3-4
As Muslims, what makes our faith in Allah complete is to believe in the last day (the day of resurrection), before that day happens, we will have to die. Death is not the end of our journey, rather, it is the beginning of another long journey to our Maker. The deceased will be questioned in the grave, punishment will be melted out upon the disbelievers, and the believers will be made to rest till the trumpet is blown for the day of reckoning. When the trumpet is blown, we will all be resurrected after having decayed under the earth, our bones rotten, decayed and forgotten except for the little bone at the end of the coccyx.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘What is between the two Trumpet-blasts will be forty.’ Somebody asked, ‘Forty days?’ But I could not answer. Then he asked, ‘Forty months?’ But I could not answer. Then he asked, ‘Forty years?’ But I could not answer.” Abu Hurayrah added, “Then (after this period) Allah will send water from the sky and then the dead bodies will grow like vegetation grows. There is nothing of the human body that does not decay except one bone; that is the little bone at the end of the coccyx from which the human body will be recreated on the Day of Resurrection.” (Sahih al-Bukhaari).
So, after having died, we will be brought back to life, just as we were giving life before we even knew we ever existed. The Qur’an affirms this:
The Day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a [written] sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. [That is] a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.
-Sura Al-Anbiya’, Ayah 104
Therefore, for a Muslim, the dialogue of life after death happening or not should be ruled out because it will happen. Our major concern should be what we are putting in place to meet our Maker — our deeds, our steadfastness in the one who gave us life, and our unflinching faith in Him and His promises for those who believe.