4.4. The afterlife and salvation


God is the most compassionate and merciful (Quran 1:1), but also the most just. Islam prescribes a literal Hell for those who disobey God and commit critical sins. God will make every person, Muslim or non-Muslim, responsible for his actions (Quran 74:38). At the end of times Israfil the Archangel will blow the horn and there will be a resurrection of the dead, Muhammad being the first revived.43 All mankind will assembly in front of God for Judgment (Quran 64:9), the book of life will be opened and every person will be called to account for everything what he did and spoke during his lifetime (Quran 54:52-53). The actions during childhood will not be judged. The Judgment consists of balancing between good deeds and sins. If a person has more good deeds than sins, then he will enter Paradise. If not, he will be sent to Hell (Quran 2:81-82). If good deeds and sins are equal, then Allah will decide what he will do with that person. But there are sins that condemn a person to Hell no matter the amount of good deeds: lying, dishonesty, corruption, ignoring God’s revelation (Quran 9:63), denying the resurrection, refusal to feed the poor, self-delectation with riches and ostentation, economic exploitation of others and social oppression. The punishments from Hell include pain, very powerful torture (Quran 29:55; 43:48) or disgrace (Quran 16:27; 11:39). However, the general tendency is to portray a merciful God (Quran 29:21; 2:284; 3:129), who has the gates of Paradise opened for everyone, and in the end all people, after a sojourn in Hell, will be forgiven and welcome for eternity in the proximity of God.

Islam depicts Paradise as a place of welfare and happiness, divided, like Hell, on levels. The highest levels are reserved to the most virtuous: the prophets, the martyrs, the ones who helped orphans and those who never told a lie (among many other categories mentioned in the Quran and hadiths). Paradise is often described as an incredibly beautiful garden or park, with crystalline rivers and food of all sorts, in which the believers enjoy physical pleasures. But, despite the graphical descriptions of the physical pleasures, there are clear references about a joy greater than all the others: the grace of God (Quran 9:72).44

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