Is death nothingness?
Death is the incident that spirit departs from body. What dies is not spirit but body. Essentially human being means spirit. Body is his residence or his dress. That his dress is changed, destroyed, or vanished does no harm to his existence. The One who puts this dress on us and sets up our relation with the universe, takes our spirit back from our dress and takes us away from this residence is Our Sustainer. After the life in our grave what we call the Intermediate Realm, when humans are resuscitated anew for an eternal life, spirits shall be given bodies proper to that realm. Death is not nothingness. Death is not nonentity.
In this matter, we would like to present this lesson of wisdom from the Risale-i Nur Collection:
Through the light of belief, it shows to the heart of a believer that death is not execution, but a change of abode; that the grave is not the mouth of a dark well, but the door to light-filled worlds; and that for all its glitter, the world is like a prison comparing to the Hereafter. For sure, to be released from the prison of this world and enter the gardens of Paradise, and pass from the troublesome turmoil of bodily life to the world of rest and the arena where spirits soar, and to slip free from the vexatious noise of creatures and go to the Presence of the Most Merciful is a journey, indeed, a happiness, to be desired with a thousand lives. (Words, p. 204)
Here is good news for you! Death is not destruction, nothingness, or nonentity; it is not cessation, or extinction; it is not eternal separation, or non-existence, or an event based on chance; it is not authorless obliteration. Rather, it is being discharged by the Author Who is All-Wise and All-Compassionate; it is a change of abode. It is being dispatched to eternal bliss, to your true home. It is the door of union to the Intermediate Realm, which is where you will meet with ninety-nine per cent of your friends." (Bediuzzaman, The Letters, 226)
Just as life comes into the world is through a creation and a determining, so too departure from the world is through a creation and determining, through a wise and purposeful direction. For the death of plant life, the simplest level of life shows that it is a more orderly work of art than life. For although the death of fruits, seeds, and grains appear to occur through decaying, rotting, and dissolution, their death is in fact a kneading which comprises an exceedingly well-ordered chemical reaction and well-balanced combining of elements and wise formation of particles; this unseen, well-ordered and wise death appears through the life of the new shoots. That is to say, the death of the seed is the start of life of the shoot; indeed, since it is like life itself, this death is created and well ordered as much as is life.
Moreover, since the death of the fruits of living beings and animals in the human stomach is the beginning of their rising to the level of human life, it may be said such a death is more orderly and created than their own life.
Thus, if the death of plant life, the lowest level of life, is thus created, wise, and ordered, so also must be the death that befalls human life, the most elevated level of life. And like a seed sown in the ground becomes a tree in the world of the air, so too a man who is laid in the earth will surely produce the shoots of an everlasting life in the Intermediate Realm. (Bediuzzaman, The Letters, 8)
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