Lesson Fifteen: Life after death An Introduction to Ma’ad

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The Principles of Religion for Children

The “Principles of Religion” course has been collected and edited by volunteer experts and teachers in the Mohammad (PBUH) Scientific and Cultural Foundation Office for Kids and Teens (Khaane Koodak va Nojavan in Farsi). This course is appropriate for children between the ages of 8-12. The course aims to help students gain basic knowledge on Shia Islam, including beliefs and doctrine.

The course literature differs as the age group of students changes (e.g., eight years-old when compared to twelve years-old) allowing teaching attitudes and course structure to match with the students capacity for learning while the course objectives and learning outcomes remain the same.

  


 Lesson Fifteen: Life after death

An Introduction to Ma’ad

Zahra Moradi, Zahra Entezar Kheyr, and Sara Entezar Kheyr

Translated by: Shamsi Nasiri

Edited by: Marzie Salehi and Ali Mansouri


 

Instructive Note: This world is like a field and our deeds are like the seeds that we plant for the hereafter. If we plant goodness, we will have good life in the next world.

     

Content:

During the last few sessions, we explained that Islam has five principles. These included Tawhid, Adl, Nubuwwah, and Imamah. Today we will talk about the fifth and last remaining principle. Who can remember what that is?

{The instructor pretends to blow in a horn, to remind the children of Ma’ad}

Good job! That is Ma’ad.

Every human being comes to this world on one day, lives in this world for a time, and finally will die. But, does everything finish with death? Is death the end of person’s existence? If this is the case, this life would be quite silly and meaningless.

As we explained during the lesson about Adl, some people have lots of opportunities and blessings in this world, while some others live difficult, deprived lives. For example, they may be born with disabilities or live in poverty. Do you remember our discussion about how the differences in living conditions can be just?

First, we mentioned that God does not owe us anything. All the blessings we have are from God’s favour. Remember the example we talked about the friend that has a beautiful marker? What if they decide to let another one of your friends borrow it? Do you have the right to become angry and ask why they did not give it to you instead? The marker was not yours, it was theirs. They have the right to let whoever they want to use it. The same situation applies to Allah’s blessings. If He has given us something, it is from His favour, not duty. If we are deprived from a particular blessing, there has been no injustice done to us.

We also pointed out that our God is so merciful that even if, for whatever reason, he did not give us a certain blessing, or gave someone else something that we desired, He will compensate us in the next world. How? He will give us so many of good things instead that we would wish that we got less blessings in this world to have been able to get better things in the next. But what if there were no other life after this world? What if there were no other life in which God would compensate us for what he deprives us of here. That would be awful, wouldn’t it?

Thus, one of the advantages of the next world is that our life’s hardships or deprivations in this world will be compensated for.

God has informed humanity about the next world through sending prophets throughout the history. These Prophets and Imams were the most kind, merciful, and truthful servants of Allah and would never tell a lie or a useless word.

They sincerely showed people the right path of life. They proclaimed whoever does good deeds not only contributes to make this world a good place to live, but also will receive rewards in the next life.

If you were a kind person in this life helped your classmate understand their lesson, or gave some of your own money to a person in need, you would not only feel satisfied and make this world a better place, but also receive a special gift from God in the next world.

But, what if someone does not care about these things, and instead ignores people’s rights and hurts others? Would it be fair if God did not punish them while they were hurting others?

Although people’s bad deeds can be punished in this world through the law and police, not every evil deed gets punished. Bad people sometimes escape the law or have the power to do horrible things. For example, there have always been evil people throughout history who have caused disasters like war or oppression. These actions are so horrible that even after the person dies, their bad effects on human life will still continue on Earth. Would it be fair if such people receive no punishment for what they have done? Of course, it would not. Thus, it is not moral and just if human life ends with death. God is the most just and does not ignore how a person lived.

Our good prophets and Imams have mentioned that God not only rewards people for their good deeds and compensates for their life’s hardships but also punishes those who hurt or violate other people’s rights. In other words, whoever helps others and contributes to make the world a better place is not same as the one who oppresses humanity.

What do you think? Should the end of good people be the same of bad and evil ones? What do you think about everything ending with our death? Would it be fair?

{The teacher should let the students share their views about this}

Another point is many good and bad deeds cannot be fairly compensated in this world because the influence of their actions last for a long time. Imagine a person that lost his hands or burnt his face while trying to rescue a kid from a fire. What kind of compensation in this world could give him back what he lost or thank him for what he did? Or on the other hand, imagine someone killed many people, made them sick, or made them lose their homes? What kind of punishment in this life could truly compensate for the damages they did?

{The teacher should let the students share their views about this and discuss them}

Considering the previous examples, this short, small world does not have the ability to compensate for all goodness and badness within it. Justice requires another life after death. There must be a judgement day during which every person’s good and evil deeds can be rewarded or punished in a fairway. Every deed, no matter how small, must have an appropriate response.

We believe that there is a specific time after death when all people will be summoned and their life in this world will be assessed and judged. That time is called “Qiyamah” or “Ma’ad” and is one of the principles of Islam.

According to the principle of “Ma’ad”, our life is not limited to this world and we do not end with death. Instead, this world is like a field in which we can plant good or evil deeds and then harvest the results after our death.[1] Anyone who planted goodness will have a good life after death. Anyone who plants evil will not have a good condition in the next world. We can expect the results of the hereafter based on what we do in this life. If we plant wheat, we will harvest wheat and not rice! Likewise, we will have good or bad conditions in the next world based on what we have done in this world.

This world is like a pathway and the next world is like our destination. Our deeds in this world are like the materials with which we will build our life in the destination. The only way to build a good life is using proper materials. And while we will pass through this world, we are going to live in the next world forever. Thus, it would be wise to send good materials for our final destination! Our Prophets and Imams have shown us that the way to do this. Following the right path of life which they showed us will cause us to be happy and fortunate life in the hereafter. Otherwise, we can may easily lose our path or make a mistake, which will lead to a bad destiny and poor living conditions in the next world.

Our life will be assessed and judged during “Ma’ad” based on the values introduced by God. Therefore, we need to be very mindful of how we live and whose advice we should follow! God has helped us to distinguish good and evil by sending us messengers throughout the history. So, let’s not take a risk on the Day of Judgement! Let’s follow the prophets and Imams who are the most kind and trustable people to introduce us the true values and show us the right path of life.

 


[1] Refer to the prophet’s quote: “الدنیا مزرعه الآخره”, Warram Collection, Vol 1, Page 183.

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