Life after death according to Islamic theology is a must subject for those who want to understand Islam. Like in all primitive and advanced religions, in Islam too there is a concept of existence of hell and heaven. Probably unique to Islam, fatalism, its theology says that fate of every human being - Muslim or non-Muslim - on whether he is going to hell or heaven is preordained i.e. has already been decided by Allah.
By now, it must be familiar to non-Muslims that, at least according to Islamic theology, the only place for non-Muslims, including Christians and Jews, is Allah's hell where they would be tortured for eternity by burning and other means as disbelief in Allah (or Islam) is unpardonable crime (Verse 4.48).
What about Muslims? Islamic theology says all Muslims, believers, will end up in heaven (paradise) where joys and pleasures are tangible and sensual.
Will Muslims go to paradise immediately after the death or on the day of judgment? Koran is bit ambiguous on this and one needs to look in to traditions for answer and we shall address this in separate post.
Similarly, is the Muslim's entry in to paradise with out tasting hell fire guaranteed? It looks not, but surest way to achieve entry in to paradise would be martyrdom in Jihad in the cause of Allah. Islam also says there are many grades in paradise and the best is reserved for those Muslims dying in Jihad. Very often quoted line of 72 houris being wedded to martyrs (shaheed) also comes in this line of theology.
When I read about Islamic concept of paradise and houris being part of that concept, I felt bit skeptical about this orgy encouraging suicide bombers as various reports on Taliban using this concept to con naive and gullible people in to suicide missions. Either way, it is simply disgusting, abhorrent and unimaginable to see the so called god 'Allah' offering women in return for killing. But then, there were reports of written wills by Palestinian terrorists of Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian media itself:
Sa'id Al-Hutari, who exploded himself and 23 Israeli teenagers at a Tel Aviv disco on June 1, 2001, wrote in his will: "call out in joy, oh my mother; distribute sweets, oh my father and brothers; a wedding with 'black-eyed' houris awaits your son in Paradise (Al Risala, the Hamas organ, July 7, 2001)Now, we have this report from Pakistan:
'I thought there would be a bit of pain, then I would be in Heaven': Maimed Pakistani boy, 14, tells of failed suicide bomb bid
A Pakistani teenager has told how he was brainwashed by the Taliban into becoming a suicide bomber because he believed he would go to paradise.
Umar Fidai, 14, and another schoolboy were behind the attack on a Pakistani shrine earlier this month in which scores were killed and many others injured.
Fidai survived because his bomb vest failed to detonate properly, although he has lost an arm and could yet lose his life because of his injuries.
Now in custody, he admits he made a terrible mistake and begs forgiveness for his deadly mission - for which his family have now disowned him.
He told the BBC he trained with the Taliban for five months, learning how to shoot, use a grenade and ultimately to be a suicide bomber.
He was told he would go Afghanistan to kill 'non-believers' but in fact the pair were taken to another part of Pakistan and ordered to blow up the shrine.
Umar told the BBC: 'The plan was that Ismail would blow himself up near the shrine, then I would wait and blow myself up near the ambulances when they came.'
He said he had no doubts at all about killing himself: 'All I was thinking was that I had to detonate myself near as many people as possible.
'When I decided it was the right time, it was a moment of happiness for me. I thought that there would be a little bit of pain, but then I would be in Heaven.'
Even when the jacket failed, Umar continued to try and bring about more carnage - reaching for a grenade in his pocket.
'We had been taught that if the belt does not go off, we should kill ourselves with the grenade.
'There were three policemen standing close by, and I thought if I killed them too, I would still make it to Heaven.'
As he attempted to pull out the pin, he was shot in the arm by police. He says when doctors and officers then tried to help him, he realised he had made a dreadful mistake.
Umar was persuaded to train with the Taliban by dogged recruiters who waited for likely young boys as they went to school.
The children were told studying was pointless and that killing 'infidels' would be a route to paradise.
'The Taliban prayed all the time and read the Koran, so I thought they were good people. My heart told me to go and train with them,' he said.
He admits he now 'did a very bad thing' and has realised suicide bombing is un-Islamic. The boy has not heard from his family since the blast.
He is still seriously ill and is worried the Taliban might come to kill him because he failed to complete his mission.}}}
Some passages from Koran and Hadith on Jihad, martyrdom and paradise:
Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory - Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). (YUSUF ALI; 4:74)
But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper. (YUSUF ALI; 9:88)
Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme. (YUSUF ALI; 9:111)
"Allah guarantees him who strives in His cause and whose motivation for going out is nothing but Jihad in His cause and belief in His word, that He will admit him into Paradise if martyred or bring him back to his dwelling place with what he gains of reward and booty." (Sahih Bukhari; 4.53.352)
"Whoever cheerfully accepts Allah, Islam and Muhammad is entitled to enter Paradise. But there is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred times higher, Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!" (Sahih Muslim; 20.4645)
".....In case you are killed in the way of Allah and you always fought facing the enemy, never turning your back upon him your sins will be blotted out...." (Sahih Muslim; 20.4646)
The Prophet observed: There is none who affirmed there is no God but Allah and died in this state and did not enter Paradise. I (Abu Dharr) asked: Even if he committed adultery and theft? He (the Prophet) replied: Yes even though he committed adultery and theft.(Sahih Muslim; 1.172)
Um Ar-Rubai'bint Al-Bara', the mother of Hartha bin Suraqa came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Prophet! Will you tell me about Hartha?" Hartha has been killed (i.e. martyred) on the day of Badr with an arrow thrown by an unidentified person. She added, "If he is in Paradise, I will be patient; otherwise, I will weep bitterly for him." He said, "O mother of Hartha! There are Gardens in Paradise and your son got the Firdausal-ala (i.e. the best place in Paradise) (Sahih Bukhari; 4.52.64)
The Prophet said, "The person who participates in holy battles in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostle, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward or booty if he survives or will be admitted to Paradise if he is killed in the battle as a martyr. Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not leave behind any army unit going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah's cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause." (Sahih Bukhari; 1.2.36)