Corporal Resurrection in the Qur’an

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The resurrection phenomenon, that is to be revived after death, has been known to human kind since Prophet Adam (ALAYHISSALAM) who is the first man and the first prophet. The human mind mostly has been unable to comprehend that extraordinary truth. The geniuses like Ibn Sina (Avicenna) had to admit that they accepted that truth as a narration just because it is mentioned in the Qur’an but it is impossible to explain it reasonably. Yet, there are rational proofs for resurrection as well as scriptural proofs. However, in this article we are going to focus on how the Holy Quran handles and informs us on the issue of the bodily resurrection.

First of all, we need to state that none of the arguments that the Qur’an puts forward are without proofs. Thus, the Qur’an does not only state the arguments but also declares its proofs on the resurrection after death, and it touches upon the issue in many verses. We will just mention seven proofs here. Now, we shall inspect these verses below.


First Proof: Allah (SWT) says in the 55th and 56th verses of the sura al Baqara as follows: “And remember ye said: “O Moses! We shall never believe in thee until we see Allah manifestly,” but ye were dazed with thunder

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and lightning even as ye looked on. Then We raised you up after your death: Ye had the chance to be grateful.”

The Prophet Musa [Moses] alayhissalam climbed the Mount Sinai to meet with Allah (SWT). He took with him seventy most prominent people from the children of Israel. Those seventy people witnessed his speaking with Allah (SWT), but they said that they will not believe in Allah (SWT) unless they see Him clearly. Upon their stubbornness in remaining infidel in the face of all these evidences they were struck by lightning and all of them dropped in their tracks. Thus, the Prophet Musa cried and pled “O my Lord! You destroyed their prominent ones. What shall I say when I go back to children of Israel? If you wished you could have destroyed me and them before; however, do you destroy us because of the idiots among us?”

Then, Allah (SWT) resurrects them so that they render thanks due to the bounty appeared on them. Some of them saw how the others were resurrected. Their decease was a punishment for them. They were resurrected to complete their life span allocated for them.

Second Proof: It is said in the sura al-Baqara 73rd verse as follows: “So We said: “Strike the (body) with a piece of the (heifer).” Thus Allah bringeth the dead to life and showeth you His Signs: Perchance ye may understand.”

The event that is told in this verse is as follows: According to the narrations of Ibn Abbas and the other mufassirin (Qur’an commentators) a man from the children of Israel murdered one of his relatives to be inheritor of his fortune and he threw his corpse to a wayside. Then he took the case to Prophet Musa (alayhissalam) and said: “Report this event to your Lord on behalf of us so that He explains us the identity of the murderer.” The Prophet Musa asked Allah (SWT) about that event and Allah revealed to him as follows: “Allah (SWT) orders you to slaughter absolutely a cow…” The children of Israel were amazed at that order. They asked questions about the cow that they need to slaughter and the more they asked questions the more Allah (SWT) made the situation difficult for them. After they learned all details of the cow, they found out that that type of cow may be found in the flock of just one man. The man was selling the cow much more than it cost. They bought and slaughtered it. The Prophet Musa (ALEYHISSALAM) ordered them to take a piece (organ) of slaughtered cow and hit the deceased man with it. When they did this the dead man was resurrected and uttered the name of the man who killed him. To everybody’s surprise it came out that the murderer was the man who had come first to complain about the murder. They killed him under the lex talionis (retaliation law).

Third Proof: It is said in the sura al-Baqara 243rd verse as follows: “Didst thou not Turn by vision to those who abandoned their homes, though they were thousands (in number), for fear of death? Allah said to them: “Die”: Then He restored them to life. For Allah is full of bounty to mankind, but Most of them are ungrateful.”

The event took place in a town called Daverdan, close to Wasit, in Iraq. “The plague broke out in the town. The inhabitants of neighbourhood ran away. The ones who could not make it died. All the rest experienced various illnesses and calamities. When the plague and illnesses ended the people who had run away came back safely. Upon this, the ones who suffered plague said “These people wanted to live in this town more than us. If we had done what they did we would have get rid of the illnesses and calamities. If the plague breaks out here once again, we will get out of this town.” The plague broke out again and those who first suffered it and regretted not escaping from it ran away this time. There were thirty thousands of them. When they went out of their oasis, an angel ordered them “die!” from under and above the oasis. Then, all of them passed away and their corpses corrupted. Zulkifl (Aleyhissalam), called also as “Hazkil”, came across the corpses. When he saw or Ezekiel them he paused and began to contemplate; and Allah (SWT) asked him “Do you want me to show you how I will resurrect them?” He said “Yes”. He is ordered to address as “O bones! Allah (SWT) orders you to come together!” When he addressed so, the bones flied towards each other and all bones of skeletons were completed. Then he was ordered to say “O bones! Allah (SWT) orders you to wear flesh and blood.” When he addressed that way the bones were covered with flesh and blood. Then he was ordered to say “Allah (SWT) orders you to revive and stand up!” When he addressed that way, the corpses revived and stood up and said as follows: “O our Lord! We glorify you and present our thanks to You. There is no god other than You.” When they were resurrected that way, they returned back to their town. It was obvious from their face that they had experienced the death. Then they completed their lives according to their life span determined for them.

Fourth Proof: It is said in the sura al Baqara 259th verse as follows: “Or (take) the similitude of one (Uzair) who passed by a hamlet, all in ruins to its roofs. He said: “Oh! how shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?” but Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He (Allah) said: “How long didst thou tarry (thus)?” He (Uzair) said: (Perhaps) a day or part of a day.” He (Allah) said: “Nay, thou hast tarried thus a hundred years; but look at thy food and thy drink; they show no signs of age; and look at thy donkey: And that We may make of thee a sign unto the people; look further at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh.” When this was shown clearly to him, he said: “I know that Allah hath power over all things.”

The reason of revelation of that verse has been narrated from Ibn Abbas (RA) as follows: “Nebuchadnezzar captivated most of the children of Israel (Banu Israel) while he was fighting with them. There was a scholar called Uzair (ALEYHISSALAM) among the prisoners captivated in the war. Nebuchadnezzar brought the captives to Babylon. Thus, Uzair (ALEYHISSALAM), mounted on his ass, entered into the town which is mentioned in the verse and he put up under a tree and began to wander the town. Since the town had been devastated he asked himself “How Allah (SWT) will revive here after its total death?” Of course, he did not have doubts about the power of Allah (SWT), but seemingly it appeared to him impossible. There were some fruits on the trees and he ate grapes and figs and drank the grape juice and then slept. Allah (SWT) took his soul and made him dead as a young in his sleep which took a hundred years. However, the people, birds and wild animals could not realize that he was dead. A century later, Allah (SWT) resurrected him and asked “Oh Uzair, how long did your death sleep take?” He answered “One day”. Then, when he saw that the sun had not set down he added “perhaps it is less than one day”. Upon this, Allah (SWT) said “Nay, you have stayed for a hundred years in death sleep. Look at the fig and grape juice which are your food and drink. Their taste did not change. When he looked at the fig and grape juice, he realized that they were intact. Then Allah (SWT) said “Look at your donkey” and he looked at it and saw snow White bones which were dispersed randomly. Then he heard a voice saying “O decayed bones I am giving life to you” and then the dispersed bones came together; and each part of the donkey’s body came to its original place; then its head came to its old position. And then the veins and nerves formed. Then fresh flesh formed on this skeleton. Then a skin covered all the body and hairs grew on this skin. Finally, the spirit was blown into the body and the donkey began to heehaw. Just at that moment Uzair (alayhissalam) prostrated himself on the ground and said “I know that Allah (SWT) is Almighty over all things”.

Fifth Proof: Allah (SWT) has said in 260th verse of the sura al Baqara as follows: “Behold! Abraham said: “My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead.” He said: “Dost thou not then believe?” He said: “Yea! but to satisfy My own undertaking.” He said: “Take four birds; tame them to turn to thee; put a portion of them on every hill and call to them: They will come to thee (flying) with speed. Then know that Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

According to the narration the event that caused Prophet Ibrahim (ALAYHISSALAM) say “My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead in order to satisfy my own undertaking” is as follows: One day he saw a corpse in the shore of a sea. The sea and land animals had nearly allocated the corpse among themselves. When the sea grabbed the body the animals in sea would feed on it and when it was washed up onto the shore the animals in land would feed on it. The remainings were dispersed by the wind. The Prophet Ibrahim asked to Allah (SWT): O my Lord! I know that you can resurrect this body which is in pieces but I want You to show me how do this so that I see this event with my eyes and my heart to be satisfied.” Allah (SWT) asked: “Do not you believe that I am able to resurrect?” Prophet Ibrahim (alayhissalam) said: “Yes, I believe but I want to be convinced by seeing.” Allah (SWT) said: “Then take four birds and get to know each of them. Then, cut them into pieces and leave each piece on a mountain.” They say that these birds were rooster, pigeon and crow. According to commentators Allah (SWT) ordered Prophet Ibrahim (ALAYHISSALAM) to slaughter these birds and pull their feathers and cut them into pieces and mix their pieces, feathers and blood together and finally divide the mixture into four and leave each on different mountains. Then the Prophet was ordered to call as “Summon by the will of Allah (SWT)!” When Ibrahim (ALAYHISSALAM) called them to gather, he saw surprisingly that those pieces, disintegrated from each other, formed into four different birds in the air!

Sixth Proof: In Sura al Alu Imran 49th verse the miracles of Prophet Isa (alayhissalam) is shown as the proofs of resurrection after death: “And (appoint him) an apostle to the Children of Israel, (with this message): “‘I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe.”

That verse mentions some miracles of Prophet Isa (alayhissalam). One of these was his making a bird out of clay. Muhammad b. Ishaq summarises as follows: “One day while the Prophet Isa (alayhissalam) was together with the Youngers who were learning literacy he took a part of clay and asked “do you want me to make bird out of this clay?” They asked: “Can you do that?” The Prophet said, “Yes, I can do by the will of my Lord” Then he made a figure of a bird out of clay and blew it saying “Turn into a bird by the will of Allah (SWT)” Then the clay turned into a bird and flied away. The Youngers went to their teacher and told about the event and spread it around. The Banu Israel searched about Prophet Isa (alayhissalam). So, Maryam (Mary) took him and ran away with a donkey.

The other miracle of the Prophet Isa (alayhissalam) was curing the blind people. It is narrated that fifty thousand people got recovered from chronicle illnesses through Prophet Isa (ALAYHISSALAM). Another miracle of his was to resurrect the dead. Isa (ALAYHISSALAM) would request Allah (SWT) to resurrect a dead person and Allah would accept and resurrect him. The ones who were resurrected by him were four people. One of them was Sam, the son of Prophet Noah (ALAYHISSALAM). Sam died again just after he was resurrected and spoke to Isa (ALAYHISSALAM), yet the other ones continued to live and even they got married and had children.

Seventh Proof: Sura Anbiya 84th verse mentions the Prophet Ayyub as follows: “So We listened to him: We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his people to him, and doubled their number, as a Grace from Ourselves, and a thing for commemoration, for all who serve Us.”

According to a narration the Prophet Ayyub had a grat fortune. He was a man of integrity and compassion and treated the poor well. He helped orphans and widows and provided their supplies and was hospitable to the guests and he helped to those who are on travel and thanked to Allah (SWT) because of the bounties that He had granted him. Allah (SWT) tested him by taking his health, family and fortune from him. He became so sick that his flesh fell onto the ground in pieces and his body got wormy. At last the people exiled him out of the town. His wife served him. He remained in that situation nine years, six months.

When Allah (SWT) willed to rescue him, He ordered: “(The command was given) “Strike with thy foot: here is (water) wherein to wash, cool and refreshing, and (water) to drink.” (Sad, 42) That will be healing for you. I granted you your family, fortune and children and two times more of them.” According to Ibn Masud (RA) his seven sons and seven daughters had passed away. After he was cured from his illness his children were resurrected as well. And his wife gave birth to seven sons and seven daughters more.

Of course resurrection in the Qur’an is not made up of only these seven proofs. When we notice that one third of the Qur’an consists of the verses related with resurrection, that fact is comprehended at once. The morning after every night and the spring after every winter and the awakening after the sleep are the proofs of the resurrection. The blossoming of the seeds hidden

under the soil in the spring is regarded as the evidence for resurrection of people in the Judgement Day. The reason of incomprehension of corporeal resurrection of people is being unaware of the power of Allah (SWT). Nevertheless, the Qur’an asks man pointing out the first creation as follows: “Are you suspicious of Our resurrecting you once again while it is We Who created you out of nothing?” It is stated that the resurrection is possible for power of Allah (SWT) in the verses 78-79 of Sura al Ya sin: “And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (origin and) Creation: He says, “Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?” Say, “He will give them life Who created them for the first time! For He is Well-versed in every kind of creation!” What may be difficult for the One Who created whole the universe from top to bottom?