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Shia's belief about Raj'ah. What is Restoration to life?

By Dr. Tijani Samavi

This is exclusively held by the Shi'ah. I investigated and searched in all the Sunni books but failed to find any trace of it.

In this regard, the Shi'ah depend upon akhbār (reports) and narrations they quoted from the pure Imams (peace be upon them), which indicate that Allah, the Glorious and the Exalted, will resurrect some of the believers and some corrupt culprits so as the believers revenge against their and Allah's enemies in this worldly life before the hereafter.

These reports, through being sahih (correct) and mutawātir (narrated through authentic chains), but are not necessarily binding upon Ahl al-Sunnah if they trust not their veracity, and consequently it is not incumbent upon them to believe in them, just because Ahl al-Bayt Imams reported them from their grandfather the Messenger of Allah (S)! Nay, as we have committed ourselves to be equitable in research, and discard bigotry, so we never task them but only with that they bind themselves to, and report in their Sihāh, since the traditions on raj'ah have never been cited in their books or transmitted by them. Therefore, they are quite free to disbelieve in these reports, and reject them, in case anyone of the Shi'ah intends to let them be acquainted with such narrations.

Due to the fact that the Shi'ah have never imposed on or coerced anyone to believe in the raj'ah, nor they charge with impiety anyone denying it, so no need is there for all that vilification and exaggeration against the Shi'ah, specially when taking into consideration their interpreting some Qur'ānic verses in a way denoting this meaning and confirming it, such: "And on the Day when We will collect from every people a party from those who belied our signs, then will they be formed into groups" (27:83).

In Tafsir al-Qummi, it is reported from Ibn Abi 'Umayr, from Hammād, from Abu 'Abd Allāh (al-'Imām) Ja'far al-Sādiq (peace be upon him), that he said: What do people say about this āyah "And on the Day when We will collect from every people a party"? (Hammād says:) I replied: They believe this to be on the Day of Resurrection. He ('a) said: It is not that which they claim, but it is verily about the raj'ah (restoration to life) ... is it proper for Allah to resurrect a party of every Ummah (community) and leave the rest? (No) but the āyah on Resurrection (Day) be this one: "We will gather them (and) then leave not behind, of them any one." (18:47)

It is also reported in the book 'Aqā'id al-'Imāmiyyah of al-Shaykh Muhammad Ridā al-MuZaffar, that he said: The belief held by the Imamiyah in accordance with what is reported from Al al-Bayt (the Prophet's Household), peace be upon them, that Allah, the Most High, will resurrect a group of the dead and return them to the world (dunyā), with the same shapes they were before, dignifying some and humiliating some others, distinguishing between the rightful from falsifiers and the oppressed from the oppressors. This shall occur during the reappearance and rise of al-Mahdi of Al Muhammad, upon him and them be the best benediction and peace.

And no one will be resurrected but whoever attained the extremest degree of faith (imān) or the extremest degree of corruption, who all shall be caused to die afterwards, and then to nushur (gathering for reckoning) and to get the thawāb (reward) and 'iqāb (punishment) according to what they deserve. It is exactly as stated by the Almighty Allah in His Noble Book, about those resurrected ones, who were never reclaimed through restoration to life, deserving consequently Allah's wrath, desiring then to be resurrected for the third time with the hope of being reclaimed: They shall say: "O' our Lord! Twice dist Thou cause us to die, and twice didst Thou give us life, and (now) we do confess our sins: Is there then a way to get out (of this)?"

My view is that if Ahl al-Sunnah never believe in the doctrine of raj'ah, they are quite rightful in this respect, but they have no right whatsoever to revile and defame whoever believing in it, due to the establishment of the texts regarding it for him.As that who knows not has no authority over that who knows, and also the ignorant has no authority over the learned, and disbelieving in something can never be an evidence on its non-existence or falsehood, as there are many irrefutable proofs being approved by the Muslims while being disapproved by the people of scripture (Ahl al-Kitāb) including the Jews and Christians.

And there are numerous beliefs and narrations held by the Sunnis concerning God's friends (Awliyā') and the pious, and followers of the Sufi creeds, that seem impossible and abominable, but not calling for vilification and exaggeration against the Sunnis' faith.

On the other hand, the doctrine of raj'ah has a support in the Qur'ān and the Prophetic Sunnah, besides its being not imposible for Allah, Who cited for us examples about it in the Qur'ān, like His saying:

"Or (didst thou not see) like him who passed by a town and it had fallen on its roofs, he exlaimed, (Oh) How can God (ever) bring it to life (again), after (this) its death," Where-upon God caused him to die a hundred years and thereafter raised him (again to life)." (2:259)

Or the Almighty's saying:

"Didst thou not see those who went forth from their homes, and they were in thosuands, for fear of death; then God said unto them, 'Die ye!' (and they died) and thereafter He restored them to life ..." (2:243)

Allah caused some people from among the Children of Israel, and thereafter restored them to life, in accordance with the following verse:

"And (remember ye!) when ye said, "O' Moses! Never will we believe in thee until we see God manifestly," the Thunder seized you while ye looked on. Then We raised you after your death that haply ye might be thankful." (2:55, 56)

Further, about the fellows of the Cave who stayed dead in their cave for more than three hundred years, God says: "Then We raised them up that We might know which of the two parties reckoneth best the duration of their stay." (18:12)

Thus we noticed how the Book of Allah indicates that the raj'ah happened for the previous nations, so its occurrence for the Ummah of Muhammad is not impossible, especially when it is to be reported and confirmed by Ahl al-Bayt Imams, peace be upon them, who are the truthful and knowledgeable.

But there are some intruders who claim that to believe in raj'ah is the same as believing in the tanāsukh (transmigration), which is held by some of the atheists. This claim is manifesty devious and false, the purpose of which being no more than vilification and tahwil (exaggeration) against the Shi'ah. Since those believing in the principle of tanāsukh, never hold that man is restored to life with his own body, soul, shape and nature, but say that the soul is transmitted from the body of a man died to that of another man born anew, or even to an animal.

This, as known by all, is absolutely far off from the creed and beliefs of Muslims who say that Allah will raise up the dead from their graves with their bodies and souls. While the raj'ah in fact has nothing to do with the tanāsukh, which is held only by the ignorant and illiterate people who have no knowledge, or the impious who have evil intentions.

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