Can Mankinds Desire of Living eternally be a Proof for Resurrection?
Mans desire of living eternally is a proof for resurrection.
All of the human capacities, abilities and emotions point to the Hereafter; among his subtle faculties there is one that demands the eternal life; it cannot be content with anything other than eternity; it even prefers the torment of Hell instead of annihilation.1 This faculty which is called Latifa rabbaniyya (=faculty indicating the Sustainer) or ghariza mukaddasa (=divine nature) 2 is the source of the eternal living desire. This faculty is superior to other senses and faculties and is very important. Man is bestowed on food for his starvation feeling or water for his thirst; and being thirsty is a proof for water; similarly the desire of everlasting life manifests the everlasting world. 3
Everybody wants to live eternally. Man wants an immortal life beyond this world passionately. 4 People who do not find the eternal life in this world and who deny the Hereafter try to content themselves by means of giving importance to some dreams and imaginations which are not based on this truth and they try to give them eternal appearance. Therefore, kings, great men, as a matter of fact everyone want their names to exist in the books or in the names of strong buildings. They imagine that their lives will lengthen through their children. All of them are the witnesses of the desire of the eternal life embedded in mans nature. The testimony of true nature of man should not be underestimated. Everything embedded in our nature has a power on us and all of them are true. While the counterparts of mans desires, emotions and feelings embedded in him exist in this world, it is impossible to assert that the counterpart of his everlasting life desire does not exist. 5
All of the desires like living forever, possessing an eternal youngness that we cannot realize in this world indicate the existence of another endless world. Hands, feet, eyes, ears and other organs of a baby in the womb of its mother are not created for its life in that womb but are related to this world; similarly, many capacities, abilities and particularly endless life desires indicate the existence of an infinite life. The Owner of wisdom and mercy who provides bounties for the need of all particles of our body, from the stomach to the most obscure corner completely, verily, will fulfill the human spirits eternal living need and He will not leave this desire unanswered. 6
When someone beholds the fangs of a lion he understands that it is a predatory animal or when he observes the nature of a melon, he realizes that it is created for eating; similarly mans capacities and desires towards an endless and infinite life show and prove that his natural duty is worshipping and he came to this world to prepare for an eternal realm. 7 The testimony of the mans desire for an endless life is elucidated in a Persian proverb as follows: Eger ne hâh-i dâd ne dâd-i hâh (If He had not wanted to give, He would not have given the feeling of wanting.) 8 Abdulhak Hamid expressed this idea by writing the following beautiful verse:
Cû' olmada ekl ve şurbe sâik
Ümid-i bekâ bekayı nâtık.9
That is, feeling of hunger induces eating and drinking and proves the existence of food and beverages; similarly the hope of eternity, the desire of an everlasting life points to the eternity and an everlasting life.
There exists a natural desire in man for eternity. An endless life is just like the true residence for his spirit. That lost world is sought everywhere in this world. The peace of a calm lake or flickering light of the morning sun produces a sort of tranquility and delight in man. They comfort mans spirit. This comfort and feeling of peace is nothing but the evidence of the desire of an eternal life which effects always mans spirit. 10
One of the ancient philosophers, Seneque says: Cut one of my hands or one of my legs, hurt me, unripe my teeth but permit me to live forever; I consent to all of them. 11 Tolstoy, on account of inducement of this feeling, spent last thirty years of his life searching answers to the questions: Why do I live?, What is the purpose of my existence? How should I spend my life? What is death? How could I save myself from death?
He regarded art and literature as having secondary importance after that. 12
If mankind were told "you can have billion years of life and rule over the world, but in the end you shall become nothing," he would react with sorrow instead of pleasure. It is because his true pleasure is in its permanency. The cessation of pain is a form of pleasure, so the cessation of pleasure is a form of pain. The works of all metaphorical lovers, that is, the works of poetry on love, are all cries and laments of pain arising from imagining that pain. Transitory pleasures leave a legacy of constant pain with their passing. As man recognizes the end of those pleasures, he cries Alas and alack! which is the translation of his spiritual pain. Yes, man is created for eternity and his true happiness is through eternal things such as knowledge of Allah, love of Allah and true knowledge. 13
There are many verses indicating mans this desire of living eternally in the Quran. This desire, which is common for the entire mankind, is stated in the following verse by mentioning that the first human Hazrat Adam (Upon whom be peace) had this desire too: But Satan whispered evil to him: he said, "O Adam! Shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?"(Tâ-hâ, 120) This verse also demonstrates how strong Hazrat (UWP) Adams desire of living eternally was in his spirit. Satan deceived him (UWP) by promising to of carry out this desire. Perhaps Satan had tried to deceive him many times but failed However, Adam felt being obliged to believe Satan, because satisfying this desire was very important and was an irresistible demand.
Say: "The Death from which you flee will truly overtake you (The Assembly (Friday) Prayer (Al-Jumuá), 8). In this verse, the fact that man is scared, flees from death and demands the eternal life is described in a fluent expression.
"Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!" (Women (An-Nisa), 78). This verse informs that men will go to distant lands, they will even go to other planets if they can and will look for eternity there.
Mans desire of living eternally manifests itself in different ways: One of them is the search for the elixir of life which is believed to bring men the endless life. The elixir of life which is given different names like the water of Khidr, the water of Alexander, the water of existence and power, the water of eternity, etc can be found in almost every mythology and in every community in the world. Men mentioned this elixir of life in many masterworks of literature such as The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Story of Alexander. 15 In this way, they reflected their desire and, virtually, they wanted to slake their thirst of eternity by means of this elixir of life.
The immortality herb had been searched continuously as a result of this desire, too.
The great pyramids which the ancient Egypt Pharaohs built for themselves are like the materialized shapes of this desire.
Not only ancient Egyptians, but also many nations built such kinds of high and firm buildings and they hoped immortality in those buildings while living as well as after death. The following verses demonstrate their desire:
"And do you get for yourselves fine buildings in the hope of living therein (for ever)? (The Poets (Ash-Shuàráa), 129) Out of the mountains did they hew (their) edifices, (feeling themselves) secure. (The Rocky Tract (Al-Hijr), 82)
Similarly, as a manifestation of this desire, some people through building mosques or some other buildings and giving their names to them or by recording their names in the books expected to be immortal. They wanted to be consoled in this way, which is called social immortality. 16
Additionally, man wants to reach to a kind of immortality which is called moral immortality 17 by fighting against evil in the war between good and evil, hence spending his life for the sake of an elevated goal, he expects to be recalled well in minds.
Sometimes, parents want to have children. In this way, they seek survival and immortality by means of children who are parts of their parents. This kind of immortality (if is it an immortality) which is called biological immortality18 is another indication of the desire for everlasting life.
Another indication of this desire is Necrophobia (fear of death). The reason why man fears death is not because of the pain and sorrow at the time of dying but because of being separated from this world life which he is used to and in which he lives. This fear, which deniers who suppose death as an infinite annihilation feel stronger and deeper, is observed on other people and on believers too as a requirement of nature. For example, when the angel of death came to take the possession of the spirit of Hazrat Moses, he disapproved death because his duty had not been completed yet, but then he accepted death after realizing that he would die in the end whether he lived long or short. 20
As a proof of the desire of possessing an endless life, fear of death is mentioned in many verses of Quran: Say: "The Death from which you flee will truly overtake you (The Assembly (Friday) Prayer (Al-Jumuá), 8). In this verse, in the Arabic scripture, how profound this fear is explained by means of the phrase tafirrûna (you flee). Because fleeing from something shows fear and terror about it.
Another indication of mans eternal life desire is loving what he owns, worldly assets, as if he will possess them forever and never leave them, adhering strongly onto what he latches, giving great importance to it and demanding it to be eternal and permanent. Although mans share in this world is too little like a feather or hair, he behaves as if he will hold great rocks. 22 The Holy Quran points to it as follows: Thinking that his wealth would make him last for ever!(The Scandal-monger (Al-Humaza), 3) Also in another verse, Quran narrates what an owner of a garden who denied the Day of Judgement said to his friend: I deem not that this (garden) will ever perish, nor do I deem that the Hour (of Judgment) will (ever) come: (The Cave (Al-Kahf), 35-36)
Therefore, on the one hand, man denies the Day of Judgement, on the other hand he cries out the desire of an everlasting life. As the versebut he inclined to the earth (The Heights (Al-Aráf), 176) utters; sometimes man turns to the earth but not to the Heaven in order to find immortality. 23 He tries to slake the thirst which he feels towards the Divine One by inclining to the earth. 24
Seeking for a remedy for the death and running after immortality throughout the history, man searches the ways of immortality or at least of a longer life, through being encouraged by todays technological developments.
Nowadays, some physicians regard death as an illness and from this point of view, they search for a cure for this illness. To this end, the Foundation of Eliminating Death Committee was established in the USA and in France and this committee started to search for bringing immortality to man. 25 Moreover, some people want to freeze themselves and survive with the hope of immortality or so that a remedy for the deadly illness will be found in future. Today, there is a rumor that approximately fifty people have been frozen in -196˚C in the USA; they will be kept until a time when they can be cured or rejuvenated, although such a guarantee does not exist for the time being. 26 As these examples show, the desire of immortality prompts men to unthinkable ways; even a slight hope directs man to those ways by making great sacrifices.
However, the truth is that whenever man attempt to look for a remedy for immortality; he confronted the dark face of the death, each search has affirmed the reality al-mawtu haqqun (death is a reality). Then, researchers directed their studies towards looking for longer and healthier life opportunities. As for the ones who perceive the truth, they transformed this desire to the true direction to a capital to gain the Hereafter.
1. As matter of fact, Spanish philosopher, Miguel de Unamuno says he accepts never-ending burning in Hell instead of annihilation, because nothing seems as dreadful as nonexistence (Turan Koç, Immortality Concept, Iz Publishing, Ist . 1991, p.9-10) Also, Nursî says: when I was young, I asked my imagination: Do you want to live for a million years and rule the world but then cease to exist, or to live forever but have an ordinary and difficult existence? I saw that my imagination wanted the latter, feeling pain from the former, and said: I want to live for ever, even if in Hell! (Nursî, Suâlar (The Rays), p. 222-223).
2. Jawhari, VI, 1 section, p. 23.
3. Jawhari, VI, 1. Section, p. 23.
4. Lakhovsky, p. 197.
5. Jawhari, V,1. Section p.110.
6. See at. Tabbara, Ruhu'd-Dini'l-İslamî,p.118.; Alparslan Özyazıcı. From the Cell to the Body, p.47-48; Nutku, Human Body, p. 85.
Nevertheless, some philosophers like D. Hume and J. S. Mill claimed that trying to suppose the existence of the answer of desires by considering the existence of its desire is not an accurate way in terms of philosophy. According to Mill: supposing the existence of every desired thing, in these conditions of the universe, is not true by any means. (Aydin, p. 191) From the point of our conviction, this statement is the result of considering the matter from a narrow scope and from the scope of satisfying the desires. Whereas, if the factors such Allahs wisdom and mercy, the nonexistence of meaningless activity among His assignments, the importance of men before Him are considered, then the falseness of this opinion will be exposed. Additionally, this feeling is not among the sort of arbitrary desires and is not a casual desire or a useless imagination as Mill supposes. Contrarily, it is a passionate and universal feeling that has existed as a natural attribute of mankind throughout history and has surrounded the essence of men firmly. Perhaps, while defining the nature of man, representing him as the being who wants everlasting life would be true as well as describing him as a thinking creature. Therefore, this feeling is not a casual desire to be neglected. However, this desire is blunt for some people who love the world very much, but it is their fault. Otherwise, this feeling is very strong for the entire human beings.
In addition, in order to quieten this nature sourced voice and to close this way, which indicates the hereafter, some people suggest and utter that it is because man can not achieve completely what he desires in this world and they add that if he obtains an absolute happiness, this feeling will vanish. (See at. Han, al-Islamu Yatahaddâ, p. 94). It is obvious that this opinion is baseless because a natural desire is just like mans requisite and can be vanished by no means. Moreover, even if man becomes affluent, or even if he obtains felicity, this world life will not console him. The high frequency of committing suicides in affluent communities is a testimony of this truth. Additionally, a transitory world does not satisfy a sensible man no matter how luxurious it is. Nothing of this world makes a man, who goes to death gradually, happy. The beauty and the adornment of the environment will not console a man who walks to the gallows. Therefore, one of the deniers of the Day of Judgement, B. Russell had to say: While animals live in peace and tranquility in this world, men who deserve such happiness more are bereft of this felicity. (Han, ea-Islamu Yatahaddâ, p. 94) Some deniers tried to deny this firm desire by means of some theories. Such people, for example, by attributing to the evolutionary theory said: The ancestors of mankind did not have such a desire. They did not have such a desire in the process of evolution, either. Therefore, man does not possess such a desire. They ignored and wanted to deny the testimony of their true nature.
7. See. Nursî, el-Mesneviyyu'l-Arabî (Arabic Mesnevi), p. 300.
8. Nursî, Mektubat (The Letters), Envar Publishing, İstanbul, 1994, p. 302.
9. Emin, Muhammed. p. 228.
10. Sayyid Husayin Nasr, Knowledge and Divinity, p. 234
11. Avni, p. 50 .
12. See I. Tolstoy, Resurrection after Death, translated by N. Yalaza Talay, M.E. Publishing, Ist.1967, p. 6.
13. Nursî, Asâr-ı Bediiyye (Wondrous Treatises), p. 268; Ishãrâtul-Icâz (Signs of Miraculousness), p. 247, 248.
14. Old Turks called life with this word (Hançerlioğlu, p.11).
15. See Ahmet Sait Ocak, "Ab-ı Hayat= the Elixir of Life", D.I.A, I, 1.
16. See Aydın, p.190-191; Ahmed Zeki Bedevî, Mustalahâtu'l-Ulûmi'l-İctimaiyye (A Dictionary of the Social Sciences), Mektebetu Lübnan, Beyrut (The School of Lebanon, Beirut), 1986, p. 208; Hacaloğlu, p. 97
17. Bedevî, p. 208
18. See Aydın, p.190-191; Bedevî, p. 208; Hacaloğlu, p. 97
19. See Lakhovsky, p. 200.
20. See Bukhârî, Anbiya, 31, IV, 130-131; Muslim, Fadâil, 158, IV, 1843.
21. See Nursî, el-Mesneviyyu'l-Arabî (Arabic Mesnevî), p. 371.
22. Nursî, el-Mesneviyyu'l- Arabî (Arabic Mesnevî), p. 223.
23. See Kılıç, Fıtratın Dirilişi (=the Rise of the Nature), Nehir Publishing, Ist. 1991, p.161.
24. Martin Lings, Antik İnançlar Modern Hurafeler (Antic Beliefs Modern Superstitions, translated by E. Harman, U. Uyan, Ist. 1980, p. 54.
25. Thomas, p.115.
26. Thomas, p. 30,115.
- Will you prove the necessity of the resurrection and the existence of the eternal life through evidences?
- What is the purpose of the creation of man? Why was man created?
- How does the religion of Islam evaluate death?
- What are the Stages of Life in the Hereafter?
- Twenty-Fourth Letter: It explains an important secret of the obscure secrets of the universe, and wisdoms behind the manifestations the divine names of ar-Rahim (All- Compassionate) al-Karim (The Generous) and Wadud (Loving). It consists of two stations.
- Fourth Proof: It explains the benefits of belief in the hereafter for the family life.
- About death
- Can there be a logical explanation related to the existence of the hereafter? Will you evaluate the possibilities for the existence or non-existence of a life after this worldly life?
- Can you explain the role of “khalifah” (vicegerent) attributed to man by the Quran from an ecological point of view?