I was recently told that there is a belief in reincarnation among certain people of Islamic faith who promote this view, and I was asked to share my opinion on this. I decided to share my thoughts here. For those who do not know what reincarnation is, the idea behind it is that when we die, we are brought back to this world in a new body, a life that continues through a new existence. Basically like this image shows…
Certain arguments for this line of thinking were raised. Let’s investigate and consider the points. The following ayat were pointed to…
سورة المؤمنون ١٠٠-٩٩
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ
لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ ۚ كَلَّا ۚ إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا ۖ وَمِن وَرَائِهِم بَرْزَخٌ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ
Surah Al-Muminoon 23:99-100
(In Falsehood will they be) Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “O my Lord! send me back (to life),-
“In order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected.” – “By no means! It is but a word he says.”- Before them is a Partition till the Day they are raised up.
The argument was that, if reincarnation did not exist, we would never think to ask about it… it exists because we know about it and can ask for a return… “O my Lord! send me back (to life)“. Ok… if we follow this logic, then Hogwarts, the school of wizardry and witchcraft and the Wizarding world of Harry Potter are also true… because someone thought to write about it. The author J.K Rowlings would never have been able to write a single word about it, if it did not exist. “Imagination” is not necessarily true just because our minds are filled with such ideas.
Let’s take a more solid example. Is Allah a human? The belief exists… is it Islam? No. And the belief in reincarnation… is it Islam? No. (But there are faiths that follow these different types of understanding).
By saying all this, I want to strongly highlight that we should not be disrespectful towards people of other faiths. We are all brothers and sisters in humanity after all and should strive towards peace. But we should be careful to say things about our own faith and separate between religions, not take portions of other faiths and apply it to our own and then call it “Islam”. Such acts will mislead people.
سورة آل عمران ٧٨
وَإِنَّ مِنْهُمْ لَفَرِيقًا يَلْوُونَ أَلْسِنَتَهُم بِالْكِتَابِ لِتَحْسَبُوهُ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمَا هُوَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَقُولُونَ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ وَمَا هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ وَيَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
Surah Aal-i-Imraan 3:78
There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, “That is from Allah,” but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!
How can we tell truth from fiction?
Another aya that was pointed to as an argument for reincarnation was this one…
سورة الأعلى ١٣
ثُمَّ لَا يَمُوتُ فِيهَا وَلَا يَحْيَىٰ
Surah Al-A’laa 87:13
In which they will then neither die nor live.
This aya is refering to hellfire… in which they, (the ones in the wrong), will neither die nor live. The argument around this aya was that a person will be given a chance to return to this life to improve their ways.
Let’s say a student of an exam fails in his or her test. Will the person be given a chance to retake the exam countless times until they get it right?
People are easily tricked into following a certain line of thinking if it feels and sounds right. Despite lack of evidence. Believe it with your heart they say. It sounds “logical” so it has to be true. I could make the claim that all the Prophets were aliens sent to Earth. They had advanced technology that gave them the ability to do things, like parting the Red Sea and bringing things to life. Ah! Some people may be like… “Wow, that’s right! It is the only explanation!” What does the Quran say?
سورة آل عمران ٤٩
وَرَسُولًا إِلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنِّي قَدْ جِئْتُكُم بِآيَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ أَنِّي أَخْلُقُ لَكُم مِّنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ فَأَنفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ وَأُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ
سورة الشعراء ٦٤-٦٣
فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ ۖ فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ
وَأَزْلَفْنَا ثَمَّ الْآخَرِينَ
سورة يونس ٦٥
وَلَا يَحْزُنكَ قَوْلُهُمْ ۘ إِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا ۚ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
Surah Aal-i-Imraan 3:49
“And (appoint him) a messenger 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;
Surah Ash-Shu’araa 26:63-64
Then We told Moses by inspiration: “Strike the sea with thy rod.” So it divided, and each separate part became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain.
And We made the other party approach thither.
Surah Yunus 10:65
Let not their speech grieve thee: for all power and honour belong to Allah: It is He Who heareth and knoweth (all things).
It is one thing to come up with theories, but we should be careful to spread theories as part of the faith. At the end of the day, a person would only have actual knowledge of what happens after death if they had died and then returned to life to tell about it. Apart from that, it’s just a person’s own ideas and thoughts. The same can be said, not just for this case, but for any claim relating to “higher knowledge” that no human can possibly know with absolute certainty.
سورة النجم ٣٥
أَعِندَهُ عِلْمُ الْغَيْبِ فَهُوَ يَرَىٰ
سورة الطور ٥٢
أَمْ لَهُمْ سُلَّمٌ يَسْتَمِعُونَ فِيهِ ۖ فَلْيَأْتِ مُسْتَمِعُهُم بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ
Surah An-Najm 53:35
What! Has he knowledge of the Unseen so that he can see?
Surah At-Tur 52:38
Or have they a ladder, by which they can (climb up to heaven and) listen (to its secrets)? Then let (such a) listener of theirs produce a manifest proof.
If we take the case of reincarnation through the eyes of Islam, we need to ask ourselves what the point of continuous returns would be. Everything has a time limit. That includes the existence of this entire universe.
سورة طه ١٥
إِنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِيَةٌ أَكَادُ أُخْفِيهَا لِتُجْزَىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا تَسْعَىٰ
سورة الأنبياء ١٠٤
يَوْمَ نَطْوِي السَّمَاءَ كَطَيِّ السِّجِلِّ لِلْكُتُبِ ۚ كَمَا بَدَأْنَا أَوَّلَ خَلْقٍ نُّعِيدُهُ ۚ وَعْدًا عَلَيْنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ
سورة البقرة ٢٥٦
قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
سورة آل عمران ١٣٩
وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
سورة آل عمران ١٥٩
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
Surah Taa-Haa 20:15
“Verily the Hour is coming – My design is to keep it hidden – for every soul to receive its reward by the measure of its Endeavour.
Surah Al-Anbiyaa 21:104
The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books (completed),- even as We produced the first creation, so shall We produce a new one: a promise We have undertaken: truly shall We fulfil it.
Surah Al-Baqara 2:256
Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
Surah Aal-i-Imraan 3:139
So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in Faith.
Surah Aal-i-Imraan 3:159
For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).
I hope you found this an interesting input and that it has brought something to consider.
The best of times to you all inshallah.
Peace, happiness, and stay faithful.