How is belief in the hereafter in Judaism and Christianity dealt with?

A- Belief in the hereafter in Christianity

According to what is stated in the Quran, when Hz. Isa  was a only a baby in the cradle, he talked about resurrection: "So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)" (Maryam, 33).

The fact that resurrection after death was informed by Hz. Isa when he was a baby in the cradle shows the importance of this belief and that it would have an important place in Hz. Isa's conveying the message of Christianity. Besides, that this issue is indicated by him in the cradle implies that the idea of the denial of the hereafter was widespread among the people in that era and that Hz. Isa would struggle against these deniers. As a matter of fact, that Hz. Isa was given the miracle of reviving the dead, that he struggled against the group of Jewish Sadducees, who denied the hereafter, and that he answered their claims show that denying the hereafter was widespread in that period; they also show that conveying this issue had an important place in the life of Hz. Isa. "Those who believe (in the Qur'an) and those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures) and the Christians and the Sabians, any who believe in Allah and the Last Day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord..." (al-Baqara, 62) [1] In verses like the one above, it is stated that some of the Christians living in the Era of Bliss believed in the hereafter. Furthermore, it is reported that this verse was sent down about Salman al-Farisi and his friends. His friends told him that the time for the Prophet (pbuh) to be sent was near and that they would believe in him if they saw him [2].

Some narrations show that this belief existed among the Christians of that period: Jabir (r.a.) said: "When those who had migrated to Abyssinia returned, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Will you tell me about the strangest thing you have seen in Abyssinia? " One of them said ,"O Messenger of Allah! While we were sitting there, and old nun of the Christians walked past us. She was carrying a pitcher full of water on her head. A young man pushed her by putting his hand between her shoulders. She had to kneel down and her pitcher broke. After she stood up, she turned to the young man and said, "O oppressor! When Allah establishes the Chair for the final court and gathers the people who lived in the past and who will live in the future, and when hands and feet tell about what they did, you will see the situation between you and me."

Jabir (r.a) said, "When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was informed about this incident, he said, 'The woman told the truth. How can Allah give importance to a nation that does not take the rights of the weak from the strong ones?'"  [3]

This incident is important in that it shows the existence of belief in bodily resurrection in real Christianity and shows that divine justice will definitely take the right of the oppressed people from the oppressor; it also shows that belief in the hereafter is a very important consolation and source of power for man.

That Negus said, "this word definitely comes from the same source of knowledge as Jesus"  [4] by crying when the Muslims who migrated to Abyssinia recited the first verses of the chapter of Maryam and that he confirmed what the Quran stated about Jesus shows how close to the Quran the realities declared by Christianity before it was distorted were.

The strangest thing in Judaism regarding the issue is the view that belief in the hereafter does not exist in the Torah; the strangest thing in Christianity is the view that  the being that will call people to account is not Allah, who is their Creator, but Jesus, who was created by Allah like the other people. This strange situation is definitely the result of distortion [5].

According to the Gospels, Hell torture is eternal [6]; however, some Christian sects claim that Allah will not break his promise but that He can give up his threat and put everybody in Paradise and that eternal torture does not befit Allah [7]. According to some religious scholars, those who are deprived of Paradise without a reason based on themselves will go to Paradise in the end [8]. Although the resurrection of the body together with the spirit and the material aspects of Paradise and Hell are mentioned in the Gospels [9], the widespread view among Christians is that there are no bodily pleasures like eating, drinking and marriage in Paradise [10]. For, the interpreters of the Gospel interpret the expressions that indicate bodily pleasures in Paradise as spiritual things like happiness and distort the meaning [11]. Furthermore, since the Era of Bliss [12], Christians have founded the issues like eating, drinking, having intercourse [13], houris, pavilions and palaces, rivers, rubies, pearls, etc in Paradise as odd; they have trifled with them and used them as a means of attacking Islam [14]. We can say that one of the reasons why Christians had such faith is the fact that they believed that the bodies would be different when they were resurrected, that man would attain a superhuman state in this body and that he would virtually become like an angel [15].

Although there exists the belief of a realm of barzakh in Christianity, not all sects unanimously agree on them. In Catholics, there is a belief of mathar (purgatory) [16], which can be likened to the torture of grave. According to this belief, those who die before having been purified of  their sins will stay in Hell until they are purified; then  they will ascend to the sky. However, there is no questioning by angels in mathar. The issue of the questioning of the spirit is not mentioned clearly. As for Orthodoxy and Protestantism, they do not have torture and bounties of grave [17].

It is also strange that Christians attribute deity to Jesus but they say he does not know the time of the Doomsday. Furthermore, according to what an interpreter of the Gospel says, Jesus determined the time of the Doomsday as a deity but he does not know its time as a human being(!) [18].

According to Christians, intercession (shafa'ah) takes place in this world. This belief gives great domination to the Christian clergy. According to them, Allah is subject to the deeds of the clergy; the decisions the clergy makes in the world are accepted and are valid in heaven, too [19].

In return for Allah's orders and prohibitions, the place where divine sanctions, rewards and penalties that will happen is described as the world in the Torah and as the hereafter in the Gospels. Thus, the Torah makes man turn toward the world life and the Gospels toward the otherworldly life. The Quran, which always shows the straight path, compromise and combine both ends in a happy synthesis, keeping away from extremism [20].

Now, let us give some examples related to the otherworldly issues form the Gospels that exist today:

The strike of the Doomsday is described in a way similar to that of the Quran: "... The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light."

In the Gospels, we see the examples of the incidents in which Jesus revive the dead with the permission of Allah: "... Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother" [21].

Jesus calling people to account on the Day of Judgment is narrated as follows: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." [22].

In the Gospel of Barnabas, which defends the creed of oneness, it is possible to see statements that are similar to the Quran regarding the issues like the hereafter, Paradise and Hell as it is the case with the other issues of creed. In this Gospel, there are detailed issues related to the hereafter. The answer give to the question whether there are different ranks in Paradise is an example of it: Said Bartholomew, 'O master, shall the glory of paradise be equal for every man? If it be equal, it shall not be just, and if it be not equal the lesser will envy the greater.' Jesus answered: 'It will not be equal, for that God is just; and everyone shall be content, because there is no envy there. Tell me, Bartholomew;: there is a master who has many servants, and he clothes all of those his servants in the same cloth. Do then the boys, who are clothed in the garments of boys, mourn because they have not the apparel of grown men? " [23].


[1]. See also al-Maida, 69; al-Hajj, 17.
[2]. Mawardi, I, 133.
[3]. Abu Abdillah Muhammad b. Yazid  b. Majah, expl., Muhammad Fuad Abdulbaqi, Daru'l-Kutubi'l-Ilmiyya, Beirut, n.d., Fitan, 20, II, 1329.
[4]. See Muhammad b. Ishaq b Yasar, Siratu Ibn Ishaq, expl., M. Hamidullah,  Konya, 1981, p. 196; Ibn Hisham, as-Siratu'n-Nabawiyya, expl., M. as-Saqa et al, Beirut, n.d. I, 336-337.
[5]. Although Christians believe in being reckoned after death, the belief that Jesus sacrificed himself relieved them. This belief implies that man will not be held responsible for what he does and that he will not be called to account (Ataurrahim, p. 174).
[6]. See Mark, III, 29.
[7]. Shahristani, p. 251.
[8]. Yıldırım, Mevcut Kaynaklara Göre Hıristiyanlık, Işık Publ., İzmir, 1996, p. 217.
[9]. See Matthew, X, 28; XIII, 43; Mark, IX, 43-48; Luke, XVI, 24; John, Revelation, XXI, 8.
Despite these verses, it is an example of the contradiction in the Gospels (even in the same Gospel) that Sadducees asked Jesus whom a woman who had married more than one man because her husband died would marry in Paradise, he said, "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven"  (See Matthew, XXII, 23-30).
[10]. See Abu Ataillah, p. 376 (al-Kanzu'l-Jalil fi Tafsiri Injil, I, from 464); Addison, p. 172.
[11]. Abu Ataillah, p. 376.
[12]. Somebody from the People of the Book asked the Messenger of Allah (pbuh),  "Do you claim that the people of Paradise will eat and drink?The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Yes, I swear by Allah in whose hand my soul is that a person is given the power of one hundred people in eating, drinking, having intercourse and lust. " The man said, "When a person eats and drinks, he will have to go to the toilet but there are no pain giving things in Paradise." The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "What needs to come out of the body comes out in the form of sweat drops giving off odor of musk. " (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, Daru'l-Fikr, Beirut, n.d., I, 63).
[13]. Christians claim that the existence of such things in Paradise is against its holiness. However, as it is stated in the hadith above, they will be transformed into a form that will befit Paradise. For, everything in Paradise will be suitable for that realm.  
[14]. Abdullah at-Tarjuman al-Andalusi,Tuhfatu'l-Arib fi'r-Raddi ala Ahli's-Salib, Hakikat Kitabevi, İstanbul, 1983, p. 53; Rahmatullah al-Hindi, Izharu'l Haqq, Daru'l-Kutubi'l-Ilmiyya, Beirut, 1993, p. 330; Abu Ataillah, p. 377.
In fact, in Islam, there is no claim stating that the bounties in Paradise are only material. Spiritual bounties are also mentioned and it is stated that they are superior. Besides, material bounties do not hinder spiritual bounties. In the following verse, it is clearly stated that attaining the pleasure of Allah, which is a spiritual pleasure, is superior to material bounties: "Allah hath promised to Believers men and women Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting stay. but the greatest bliss in the Good Pleasure of Allah: that is the Supreme Felicity" (at-Tawba, 72).
[15]. Louis Figuer. Le Lendemain De La Mort, Libraire Hachette, Paris, 1881, p. 60; Addison, s. 172.
[16]. Purgatory lexically means the place where the souls of believing Christians stay for a while, araf, a place and period of suffering so that they will be purified  (Saraç, p. 1134-1135). It is translated into Arabic as (place of cleaning) (see Jabbur Abdunnur, Suhayl Idris. al-Manhalu'l-Qarib, 4th impr., Daru'l-Adab, Beirut, 1983, p. 278.
[17]. Abu Ataillah, p. 95; Yıldırım, p. 217.
[18]. Abu Ataillah, p. 117.
[19]. ibid, 221.
[20]. see Draz, p. 154, 182.
[21]. Luke, VII, 14-15.
[22]. Paul, Corinthians 2, V, 10.
[23]. Barnabas İncili, transl by Mehmet Yıldız, Kültür Basın Yayın Birliği, İstanbul, n.d., p. 308.

 Veysel Güllüce (Prof.Dr.)

B- Belief in the hereafter in Judaism

There are some traces of belief in the hereafter, whether weak or strong, in all of the religions that died in the past or that still exist. Doubtlessly, belief in the hereafter should be more deep-rooted and detailed in divine religions. However, when Judaism is considered, it will be seen in astonishment that the situation is not like that.

Indeed, Judaism is based on the messages of Hz. Musa (Moses) and a great divine book like the Torah but, it gives very little place to life in the hereafter; furthermore, this situation made some scholars think that there is no belief in the hereafter in Judaism.

Some contemporary writers state that the fact that the Old Testament, which is also called the Torah, whose original form was sent down by Allah, was completely isolated from the otherworldly life, resurrection and punishment, from encouragement to the hereafter is something that astounds man. (1)

Addison says that religious  traditions and customs based on a national principle played an important role in this state and adds that this state leads them to think about the future of Israel not what waits for each of them in the future and makes them ignore the hereafter. (2)

However, comprehensive and detailed research made about Judaism shows that what is stated above can be valid only for the first five books of the Torah [3], attributed to Moses, that resurrection and the hereafter are mentioned in the other books of the Torah, though not very much, and that indications about belief in the hereafter are present in the other religious references of Judaism like the Talmud [4]. We should state that Jews name only the first five books as the Torah. According to them, the Talmud is oral, in other words, reported Torah. (5) It is also stated that they learn the issues related to the hereafter orally from one another. (6)

Some Jewish scholars and people of literature mention belief in the hereafter in their books. One of them Sa'diya al-Fayumi, says, "The resurrection of the dead in the hereafter for punishment and reward is something that our Lord taught us." (7) Musa b. Maymun, a famous Jewish scholar says, "I definitely believe that the dead will be resurrected when Allah's will takes place and they will live forever." (8)  

It is necessary to state that Jews were divided into two groups as Samiriyya and Ibraniyya after they returned from Babylonia; each tribe believed in a different Torah; each of them described the Torah that the other tribe had as distorted. The Torah that the group of Samiriyya had mentioned the hereafter more than the other, though briefly. (9)

Some Jewish scholars state that the reason why the first five books of the Torah did not include resurrection and belief in the hereafter was due to the fact that belief in the hereafter was sound in the era of Moses hence it was not necessary to mention the hereafter  and that the issues that were necessary like the oneness of Allah were mentioned more because the Jews of that period had a polytheistic belief. Ibn Kamuna, another Jewish scholar says, "That there is no explanation regarding the issue does not prevent Children of Israel from being informed about the facts. Then, if it is asked why it is not mentioned in the Torah, it can be answered as follows:  

"It is not permissible to debate and ask questions regarding divine issues. There may be a reason that we do not know behind it." Then, he explains why resurrection and punishment and reward in the hereafter are not mentioned in the Torah as follows: "Prophets are the doctors of the spirits with the guidance of Allah. A doctor tries to treat people with whatever he can find in his period; similarly, people in the era of Moses did not deny the reward and punishment in the hereafter. on the contrary, their problem was worshipping idols, stars and other things. That is, they worshipped beings other than Allah." Thus, Ibn Kamuna attributes the fact that the Torah does not include the issue of the reward and punishment in the hereafter to the fact that the Children of Israel knew this creed. He continues as follows: "If the problem of the Children of Israel had been the denial of the reward and punishment in the hereafter, they would have been mentioned a lot in the Torah. Since it was not the case, it was found sufficient to spread among the ummah and to imply the hereafter. Therefore, the Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead and the eternality of the spirit after death. They maintained this belief by transferring it the generations that came after them. They prayed for the dead and they repented when they felt that the time to die was near." (10)

However, it is very difficult to agree with these claims and explanations because the main purpose why a religion is sent after belief in the oneness of Allah is belief in the hereafter. It is necessary to warn man frequently, who constantly turns to the world due to the encouragement of his soul and desires, about the existence of the hereafter, Paradise and Hell. Especially if this nation is the nation of Jews, who are famous for its stinginess, they need more warning. Therefore, the life of the hereafter, Paradise and Hell are often mentioned in the Quran; it is also stated that the life of this world is transient. It is possible to see concise or detailed information in almost all chapters. Contrary to the claims of the Jewish scholars, it is clear evidence for the distortion of the Torah that reward and punishment in the hereafter, which are among the essentials of the divine message, are not mentioned in a book sent down by Allah. However, these explanations can be regarded to be important since they show that Jews believe in the hereafter.

There are almost no signs related to the hereafter in the first five books of the Torah today; the fact that life in the hereafter, Paradise and Hell are mentioned, though concisely, in the other books attributed to the other prophets is interpreted differently.

According to some scholars who made research regarding the issue, the reason for this change is not known. (11) Acting upon the similarities between the belief in the hereafter in Zoroastrianism and Judaism, some Holy Book theologians say that this belief entered Judaism toward the end of the slavery in Babylonia and developed gradually. (12) According to others, there are three probable external causes regarding the issue geographically and culturally: Mesopotamia, Kan'an and Iran [13].

Will Durant says, "The idea of resurrection in Jews settled after they lost the hope of dominating the earth. They probably received this idea from Persians. or, they received something from Egyptians. Messianism originated from this spiritual effect. (14) "Zaza, who wrote books on Judaism, agrees with this view and says, "Jews started to think about unseen and unknown issues after they lived in slavery in Babylonia and were dispersed by the Romans." (15)

In the statements above, it is claimed that belief in the hereafter in Jews originated due to the effect of some spiritual causes, as a result of the forcing of some conditions, with the purpose of consoling themselves and as a result of seeking happiness in another realm because they could not attain sovereignty in this world; such a claim is the claim of those who base the source of the religion on some worldly causes not on revelation.

Such an understanding means evaluating the source of religions with an evolutionistic viewpoint , which is contrary to the fact stated by the Quran: human beings were one single nation first; then they disputed. (16) Human beings physically originated from a single source; similarly, they were spiritually fed from the same source. When fluctuations and disputes occurred in the nature of human beings, they were improved and corrected by prophets again... (17)

It is controversial whether various expressions meaning akhiru'l-ayyam (last days) are used  for the day when people will be resurrected for penalty or reward or for the day when Jews will get rid of their troubles, will relax after wars and defeat their enemies. (19)

Some researchers agree that there is a kind of belief in the hereafter in Judaism but they say that this belief is not in the sense that Islam teaches, (20) that in the books of the Old Testament, Paradise and Hell are mentioned superficially and it was not enough to keep Jews away from the greed for the world [21]. Furthermore, according to some of them, this belief is completely different. According to those who make research on Judaism, Jewish people are divided into two. One group lived in the world freely and happily. They attained material wealth along with the consent of Allah. The second group lived in slavery and exile contrary to the first group. According to the Jewish thought, they will return to the world and benefit from the world bounties by receiving their shares. (22)

As it is the case with the term hereafter, it is controversial whether the term resurrection mentioned in the Old Testament means resurrection after death or the revival of the Jewish nation to attain worldly and political stability. For example, the statement, "Your dead people will revive, the dead bodies will stand up; O people of the ground! Wake up! " (23) is interpreted as follows by some interpreters of the Old Testament: It indicates the worldly revival of the Jews after their slavery. It is a kind of distortion to interpret these statements that indicate resurrection in the hereafter differently.

However, it is true that there are some verses indicating tribal revival in the Old Testament. (24) For example, it can be said that what is meant in the following verse is not otherworldly resurrection but the revival of the Jews as it is also stated by Christian scholars: "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." (25) For, the awakening of the multitudes, not all, of those who sleep is mentioned in the verse. The otherworldly resurrection will take place with the revival of everybody. (26) However, the phrases like "who sleep in the dust of the earth ", "everlasting life, shame and everlasting contempt " support the view of those who claim the opposite. As a matter of fact, according to some scholars, this verse clearly expresses the idea of the hereafter. (27)

It is understood that the Jews living in the Era of Bliss believed in torture in the grave. A Jewish rabbi came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and said, "We learn that Allah will put all the heavens on one finger, and the earths on one finger, and the trees on one finger, and the water and the dust on one finger, and all the other created beings on one finger. Then He will say, 'I am the King.' Thereupon the Prophet (pbuh) was surprised and confirmed what he said by smiling. Then, he recited the following verse: [28] "No just estimate have they made of Allah, such as is due to Him: on the Day of Judgment the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand..." (az-Zumar, 67).

It is understood from some narrations that the Jews living in the Era of Bliss believed in torture in the grave. According to a narration, a Jewish woman came to Hz. Aisha and prayed as follows: "May Allah protect you from the torture of grave!" [29].

As a matter of fact, in the Old Testament in the first periods, it is mentioned that only a kind of shade of man remains after death; it is called sheol in Hebrew and translated into Arabic as maqarru'l-mawta; it is stated that everybody, whether they are just or not, goes down into a hole under the ground and gathers there; (30) it is possible that this hole is the realm of the grave. However, acting upon what we have mentioned above, we can say that there is a realm of grave in Judaism but such a realm of grave looking like one in the primitive religions is different from the one in Islam. (31) In Judaism, the bounties and punishment in the grave are only for the spirit; angels that ask questions are not mentioned. (32)           

In today's Jewish resources, it is stated that there are no material things, eating, drinking, marriage, sexual intercourse, mountains, gardens and rivers in Paradise. (33) However, according to what is understood from the narrations, unlike the Jews living today, the Jews living in the Era of Bliss believed that there were material things and pleasures in Paradise. A Jewish scholar asked the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) what believers first ate in Paradise and what they will eat and drink afterwards, when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) answered, he confirmed him by saying, "You told the truth." (34) This is one of the evidences showing that distortion in Judaism has continued  throughout history.

The books of the Old Testament describe Hell as a horrible place where people will gather in the presence of Allah and that cannot be returned from [35]. According to Jews, staying in Hell is for a short period as it is also stated in the Quran through the tongue of Jews. (36) The good and the bad will receive eternal bounties in the end. Nobody will stay in Hell eternally except for those who committed suicide and led people astray. (37)

In Judaism, there is nothing about the signs of the Doomsday in the Old Testament. However, such a sign can be deduced from the words of the Jewish scholar Sa'diya al-Fayumi. He says, "Do we, believers in the oneness of Allah, not believe that the Sublime Creator will revive all of the dead in the land of the hereafter to reward or punish them? Then, can it be denied that our dead are granted bounties by being given extra time, being resurrected and that these lives of theirs will added to the life of the hereafter? Is it not justice for those who were exposed to misfortunes and troubles? As a matter of fact, our ummah was tested by big things. Therefore, we deserve to be given such extra time. Thus, they will be the best ummah in terms of grant as they are in terms of patience and suffering." (38)

We see that different sects of Jews have different understandings of the hereafter. For instance, one of the late sects, Kostanis, accept the hereafter, reward and punishment but Dustanis belive that reward and punishment will take place in this world. Essenes, one of the oldest Jewish sects, believe in the eternality of the spirits. (39) Sadducees deny the hereafter completely. (40)

We can list the outlines of life in the hereafter in Judaism in three items:

1. The Torah today, that is, the first five books of the Old Testament attributed to Moses, does not include life in the hereafter, resurrection, reward and punishment.

2. The books of the Old Testament attributed to the other prophets have some signs regarding the issue.

3. The interpreters of Talmud Jewish creed mention life in the hereafter. (41)

We find it appropriate to mention the statements regarding resurrection and life in the hereafter as a result of scanning the Old Testament. Thus, it will be seen more clearly how much the issue is mentioned in the books of the Old Testament attributed to Moses and those attributed to the other prophets.

The statements in the Old Testament regarding resurrection and life in the hereafter:

"So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken." [42]

"I put to death and I bring to life." (43)

"So they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet." (44)

"He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.", "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.", "That the evil man is spared from the day of calamity, that he is delivered from the day of wrath." (45)

"Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (46)

 "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.", "Always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. " [47]

"But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. …the earth will give birth to her dead." (48)

"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge. " (49)

Similarly, the story of the Children of Israel who were dead in a plain and who were then revived is narrated; (50) this story reminds us the story of those who abandoned their country due to the fear of death and Hz. Uzayr in the Quran.

That statements regarding the hereafter in the Old Testament are so few is the biggest evidence that it was distorted. It is not impossible for a divine book not to mention anything about the hereafter in the first five books as many researchers say. Despite this, some Christian interpreters of the Old Testament distorted those verses again and interpreted the statements indicating the otherworldly resurrection as the resurrection of the Jews in the world; so, they isolated the Old Testament from the hereafter completely and transformed it into a secular book. Thus, Jews, who admire and love worldly life very much, as the Quran puts it, (51) became more associated with the world. For, man could protect his soul from the love of the world and the soul with great difficulty despite the frequent warnings about the otherworldly punishment and reward; that the Old Testament hardly had any warnings regarding the issue made Jews people who think only about the world, do not think about the hereafter and who feared  death.

So far, we have explained the views and evaluations of the scholars who described Judaism based on Jews, their supporters and Jewish resources. Now, let us deal with Judaism and the Torah from the viewpoint of the Quran:

According to the Quran the Torah is a book that was sent to Moses by Allah and that contains guidance and light.

When we refer to the verses mentioning the content of the Torah, we see that the Torahs is described as a bookexplaining all things in detail: "Moreover, We gave Moses the Book, completing (Our favour) to those who would do right, and explaining all things in detail,― and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord"(al-An'am,154),   "And We ordained laws for him in the Tablets in all matters, both commanding and explaining all things, (and said): "Take and hold these with firmness, and enjoin thy people to hold fast by the best in the precepts: soon shall I show you the homes of the wicked― (how they lie desolate)." (al-Araf,145).

Doubtlessly, one of the primary things explained in detail is the issues regarding the hereafter. As a matter of fact, it is stated through the following statement at the end of the first verse that the most important reason why Moses was given the Torah is belief in the hereafter: "…that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord." The following statement at the end of the second verse states that the place the unbelievers will go in the end is Hell: "…soon shall I show you the homes of the wicked." (52) In other verses, we see that the issues related to the Doomsday and the hereafter are among the things revealed to Moses. In a verse, Moses is addressed as follows: "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." (Taha, 15) In Another verse, Moses and Aaron say,"Verily it has been revealed to us that the Penalty (awaits) those who reject and turn away." (Taha, 48)

In the chapter of al-A'la, after it is mentioned that the evil ones will be thrown into a big fire, that those who purify their souls will attain salvation and that the otherworldly life is better than the worldly life, it is stated that this information exists in the first pages (books) of Abraham and Moses:"And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelations)― The Books of Abraham and Moses" (al-A'la, 18-19).

We see that this belief settled in the people who believed in Moses. What the magicians who believed in Moses says is the best example of it. After the magicians believed, they did not heed the threat of the Pharaoh that he would kill them in a horrible way; they said, "Never shall we regard thee as more than the Clear Signs that have come to us or than Him Who created us! So decree whatever thou desirest to decree: for thou canst only decree (touching) the life of this world. For us we have believed in our Lord: may He forgive us our faults, and the magic to which thou didst compel us: for Allah is Best and Most Abiding. Verily he who comes to his Lord as a sinner (at judgment)― for him is Hell: therein shall he neither die nor live. But such as comes to Him as Believers who have worked righteous deeds--for them are ranks exalted. Gardens of Eternity, beneath which flow rivers: they will dwell therein for aye: such is the reward of those who purify themselves (from evil)." (Taha, 72-76) (53)

It is clearly seen that in the verses above magicians who believed in Moses had a strong and steadfast belief and that Moses explained his nation the issues related to the hereafter in detail.

It is stated in several verses that the Torah was distorted in the periods that followed: "Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places..." (an-Nisa, 46) (54) "Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: "This is from Allah" to traffic with it for a miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby." (al-Baqara, 79) The truth is expressed clearly and those who distort the book of Allah are condemned severely in the verses above and similar ones.

Doubtlessly, the statements about the hereafter, Paradise and Hell were also influenced by this distortion. The Old Testament today is a clear witness of it. However, it is understood from the verses reporting the statements of the Jews living during the Era of Bliss about Paradise and Hell that the Jews living at that time had belief in the hereafter though they had some wrong ideas. It is also seen in the hadiths. 

"The fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days" (al-Baqara, 80),"None shall enter paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian" (al-Baqara, 111), "Say: "If the last Home with, Allah, be for you specially, and not for anyone else, then seek ye for death, if ye are sincere." (al-Baqara, 94) The verses above and similar ones show that they believed in the hereafter, Paradise and Hell but that there were some mistakes and distortions in this belief.

The fact that their greed, ambition and love of the worldly life is mentioned in some verses indicates that their belief in the hereafter was weak: "Thou wilt indeed find them, of all people, most greedy of life-even more than the idolaters..." (al-Baqara, 96)

Through the explanations above, we see that the Quran emphasized various points while dealing with the Torah and Judaism:

1. In the Torah, life in the hereafter is mentioned briefly, not as detailed as in the Quran; Moses conveyed this belief to his nation; the believers who heartily believed in Moses at that time definitely believed in the existence of the hereafter, Paradise, and Hell.

2. The Jews living in the Era of Bliss believed in the hereafter, Paradise and Hell but this belief was weak due to the distortions in the Torah and their love of the world and it was filled with wrong ideas.

3. In the Quran, the attributes of Jews like the excessive love of the world and adherence to it and fear of death are mentioned; thus, it is implied that they will be a nation that will give importance only to the world in every era and that will not think of the hereafter, Paradise and Hell.

As it is seen, the most correct information, away from extremism, about Jews is given by the glorious Quran, as it is the case with all issues.


[1]. M.A. Draz, Kur'ân Ahlakı, trnsl by, Emrullah Yüksel, Ünver Günay, İz Publ., İstanbul, 1993, p. 153; Muhammad Ghazali, al-Mahawiru'l-Khamsa li'l-Qur'an'il-Karim, Cairo, 1989,  p. 149; Abu'l-Hasan Ali an-Nadwi.  as-Sirau  bayna'l-Iman wa'l-Maddiyya, Daru'l-Qalam, Kuwait, 1981, p. 17.
We felt the need to deal with and search the issue more due to these claims about the Torah and Judaism. 
[2]. See Addison, p. 158.
[3]. The first five books of the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy
[4]. Fawi, p. 146;  Abu Ataillah, p. 147; see also Francine Kaufmann- Josy Eisenberg,Yahudi Kaynaklarına Göre Yahudilik, (Mehmet Aydın, Din Fenomeni içinde, Konya, 1995, p. 99-100)
[5]. Abu Ataillah, p. 140. (Ibn Kamuna. Tanqihu'l-Abhath fi'l-Milali'th-Thalath, quoted from p. 40).
Talmud is a legal, ethical and religious law surrounding every moment of the lives of Jews. According to Talmud, the Torah has seventy aspects. According to Cabbala, the traditional reading of the Torah is esoteric. (Kaufmann- Eisenberg, p. 102-103, 111)
[6]. ibid, 144.
[7]. ibid, p. 55 ( Sa'diya al-Fayumi, al-Amanat wa'l-I'tiqadat, London,  quoted from p. 211). The death year of Sa'diya al-Fayumi is 942 and of Musa b. Maymun is1205.
[8]. ibid, p. 55 (al-Fikru'd-Diniyyu'l-Israiliyyu Atwaruhu wa Madhahibuh, quoted from p.159).
[9]. ibid, p. 144-145. The famous sects of Jews are as follows: Essenes, Zealots, Sadducees, Pharisees (Kaufmman- Eisenberg, p. 101)
[10]. ibid p. 140-142 (Ibn Kamuna,  quoted from p. 40).
[11]. Randles- Hough, p. 18.
[12]. Addison, p. 157; Mehmet Paçacı.Kur'ân'da ve Kitab-ı Mukaddeste Ahiret İnancı, Nun Publ. İstanbul, 1994, p. 72. Jacob rejects such a claim and states that this belief is related to a more general desire. (see Edmond Jacob, Theologie de L'Ancien Testament, Neuchatel (Switzerland), 1968, p. 253).
[13]. Mahmûd Es'ad, İslam Tarihi, Marifet Publ. İstanbul, 1983,  p. 316.
[14]. Abu Ataillah, p. 153 ( Will Durant. Qissatu'l-Hadara, II, quoted from p 345).
[15]. ibid, p. 54 al-Fikru'd-Diniyyu'l-Israiliyyu Atwaruhu wa Madhahibuh, quoted from p.109).
[16]. see al-Baqara, 213; Yunus, 19.
[17]. see Kılıç, "Kur'ân'a Göre Fıtrî Safvet Dönemi ve Tevhid'in Yozlaşması", Mitoloji Kitab-ı Mukaddes ve Kur'ân-ı Kerîm, p. 209-210.
It is strange that some Muslim thinkers like Ibn Rushd said, "Those who mentioned for the first time about the resurrection of the bodies (hashru'l-ajsad) are the prophets of the Children of Israel that came after Moses."  (Abu'l-Walid Muhammad b. Ahmad Ibn Rushd. Takhafutu't-Takhafut, expl. S.J. Maurice Bouyges, 2nd impr., Daru'l-Mashriq, Beirut, n.d., p. 580) For, it is not right to reach such a conclusion acting upon a distorted book. What is right is to make a judgment based on the Quran. As it will be seen in the verses to come, the verses of the Quran support the opposite of it.
[18]. "That day", "at the end of days", "days that come", etc (see Jacob, p. 257-258).
[19]. Abu Ataillah, p. 54.
[20]. ibid, p.16.
[21]. Ghazali, Muhammad, al-Mahawiru'l-Khamsa, p.149-150.
[22]. Çelebi,al-Yahudiyya, Maktabatu'n-Nahdati'l-Misriyya, Cairo, 1978,  p. 202-204
[23]. Isaiah, XIX, 26.
[24]. see Jacob, p. 250.
[25]. Daniel, XII, 2.
[26]. Abu Ataillah, pp.132-133
[27]. Randles- Hough, p. 18; Addison, p. 163.
[28]. Muhammad b. Ismail Bukhari, as-Sahih, al-Maktabatu'l-Islamiyya, İstanbul, n.d., Tawhid, 19, VIII, 184; Muslim b. Hajjaj, Munafiqun, 19, 21, (IV, 2147-2148)
[29]. Bukhari, Janaiz, 87, I, 102; for a similar narration, see Muhammad al-Manbaji al-Hanbali, Tasliyatu Ahli'l-Masaib, expl. M. Hasan al-Khumsi, Daru'r-Rashid, Beirut, 1988, s. 284
[30]. Randles- Hough, p. 18;  Jacob, p. 243; Addison, p. 158, 227; Abu Ataillah, p. 98.
[31]. see Addison, p. 158.
[32]. Abu Ataillah, p. 100.
[33]. ibid, p. 285 (Zafaru'l-Islam Han.Talmud Tarikhuhu wa Taalimuh, p.78; Fayumi, al-Amanat wa'l-I'tiqadat, quoted from p. 263).
[34]. see Muslim, Hayd, 34, I, 252.
[35]. Abu Ataillah, p. 99, 286.
[36]."And Jews say: 'The fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days'..." (al-Baqara, 80).
[37]. Abu Ataillah, p. 287 (S. Y. Muyal. Talmud Asluhu wa Tasalsuluhu wa Adabuh, from ps. 143).
[38]. ibid, p.118-119 (Fayumi, al-Amanat wa'l-I'tiqadat, quoted from p. 226).
[39]. Muhammed Ataurrahim, Bir İslâm Peygamberi Hz. İsâ, İnsan Publ., İstanbul, 1985, p. 30.  For detailed information about Essenes, see ibid. p. 27-35.
[40]. Abu Ataillah, p. 156-157.
[41]. ibid, p. 139.
[42]. Genesis, III, 23.
[43]. Deuteronomy, XXXII, 39.
[44]. Kings,  XIII, 21.
[45]. Job, XII, 22; XIX, 26; XXI, 30.
[46]. Psalms, 16. Psalm, David's Psalm, 10-11.
[47]. Proverbs, XXIII, 13-14, 17-18; XXIV, 14.
[48]. Isaiah, XXVI, 19.
[49]. Daniel, XII, 1-4.
[50]. see Ezekiel, XXXVII, 1-14.  
[51]. "Thou wilt indeed find them, of all people, most greedy of life…" (al-Baqara, 96).
[52]. This view is the view of Hasan Basri and Mujahid; Mawardi mentioned this view first when he dealt with the meaning of this expression. Mawardi mentions three more views that the land of the destroyed ummahs in the past are indicated with this expression. (see Ali b. Muhammad b. Habib  al-Mawardi, an-Nukatu wa'l-Uyun (Tafsiru'l-Mawardi), Daru'l-Kutubi'l-Ilmiyya, Beirut, 1992, II, 261).
[53]. These verses and the statements in verse 74, 75 and 76 can be the reported form of what the magicians said or information given by Allah about the people of Paradise and Hell (see Jarullah Mahmud b. Umar az-Zamakhshari, al-Kashshaf an Haqaiqi't-Tanzil wa Uyuni'l-Akawil, Daru'l-Ma'rifa, Beirut, II, 546).
[54]. See also al-Maida, 13, 41.

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