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,

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3.4. The life after death and the life after the end


In the current Christian doctrine the Kingdom of God designates two distinct things: the place where people go after death (Heaven or Paradise), and the Church, or the community of believers that accedes at Christ’s teachings.

To start with, the Church is not represented by the institution with its ecclesiastical hierarchy and the material constructions (namely the church), but by the universality of believers who adopted the Christian principles and ideas. Secondly, the Church experiences an evolution and stages of development, in accordance with the progressive revelation of God. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is one and the same thing with the Church, and does not refer only to the ideal state established with Parousia. In fact, the Kingdom of God, or the revealing of Christ’s teachings, started with the First Coming. Jesus Christ speaks in his parables both about close and distant times; likewise, he refers to the Kingdom of God (the Church) in different stages and contexts. If the existence of a future

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2.3. The afterlife and the transmigration of souls


Although the human soul is immortal and survives the physical death of the body, Judaism focuses on the importance of the actual earthly life, and not on a future reward. At death the soul passes in the afterlife and it is sent in one of the two places: the Garden of Eden or the Purgatory. According to the Mishnah, the belief in resurrection is necessary in order for a Jew to be part of it: “All Israel have a portion in the world to come ... but the following have no portion therein: he who maintains that resurrection is not a biblical doctrine, that the Torah was not divinely revealed, and an apikoros [apostate]” (Sanhedrin 90a).19

The afterlife refers both to the life after death and the existence during the reign of the Messiah, but it is not clear what category of people will be resurrected and what will happen with the souls of the ones not resurrected. Most medieval scholars argue that during the Messianic Age the spiritual and material realms will merge and people will be able to directly communicate with God. The resurrection of the dead at the coming of the Messiah is one of Maimonides’s “13 principles of faith.” He says that until

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