Is reincarnation mentioned in the Quran?
Transmigration of the soul and Reincarnation
Transmigration of the soul is the taking birth of a soul in another body after death. (1)
Although there are different forms of this belief that dates back to ancient times and that is felt strongly in the Indian philosophy (2), the people who believe in the transmigration of the soul are generally divided into two categories: According to the first group, after the souls leave their bodies they are transferred into the bodies of the same or different kinds of bodies. According to this belief the transmigration of the soul is of punishment or good deed. According to the second group after the souls leave their bodies they are transferred into the bodies of the same kind, not other kinds. (3)
Reincarnation means the transfer of the soul from one form to the other (4) and sometimes from humans to animals or from animals to humans, transmigration of the soul (5); however some groups that advocate this belief use it in a different meaning from the transmigration of the soul.
We see that in the West the transfer of the soul to another human body is called reincarnation and the transfer of the soul to the body of an animal is called transmigration (6), which is equal to the Turkish word tanasuh (7).
According to the people whom we can name as neotransmigranionists (8) and who advocate reincarnation today, coming to the world again has no relationship in terms of fundamentals and aims with the transmigration in the Indian philosophy and religions. They think the idea of evolution (increase in the degree or level of the existence) does not exist in transmigration. There is a kind of coming and going based on punishment and reward (9). As for reincarnation, the return of the souls, that have not been freed of worldly connections, to the world for evolution exists in reincarnation. It is accepted that there will be no return (degradation, retrogradation) in evolution (10).
In the past some groups outside Islam (11) in the Islamic world that believed in reincarnation and today some groups that have a special reincarnation understanding (some of these groups claim that reincarnation is not contrary to the belief of the hereafter in Islam and that it aims evolution) presented some of the verses in the Quran as examples in order to support their claims and said that several verses expressed or could express reincarnation.
Here we will try to deal with the verses that reject the transmigration and reincarnation definitely and than the verses that are claimed to express reincarnation.
1. Verses that express that there is no transmigration or reincarnation
It is clear in the Quran that human beings will be resurrected in the Day of Judgment, the term return means the resurrection in the Day of Judgment, this resurrection will only take place once and there will be no return to the world after death. There are several verses regarding it. Here is one of them: " (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 (12) till the Day they are raised up.( Al-Mumenoon, 99-100).
This verse states definitely and clearly that there will be no return to the world. After saying, "We should pay attention to three points that have been fully explained in the Quran and that have left no opening for confusion of ideas. Iqbal said the following as the second point by mentioning that verse: "It is impossible to come to the world again according to the Quran. (13)
When the Quran stated that the desire to return to the world was a nonsense word, the following verse is expressed for confirmation it is but a word he says. (14)
The expression" Before them is a Partition till the Day they are raised up " states that they will wait till the Resurrection Day in the world of partition, that is, they will be in a life between the world and the hereafter and will not be able to return to the world. "A baby that comes out of the womb cannot return there; similarly a soul that leaves this world and goes to the life of graves cannot leave the grave and return. (15)
After this clear explanation, it is obvious that the claims like this verse states that the soul will not return to the body it has left, not to this world (16) or it is not a proof for the nonexistence of reincarnation but a proof for the rejection of the wishes of some people who continuously want to return to the world and complete what they have left incomplete (17) do not reflect the reality. In this verse, there is no sign of a wish to return to the previous body nor a sign that the person uttering this sentence has come to the world several times. If that wish had been made by someone who had come to the world several times, he would have been answered as werent you sent to the world several times? As a matter of fact in a similar verse a denier who expressed his repentance was answered like this: Did we not give you long enough life so that he that would should receive admonition? And (moreover) the warner came to you. (Fatir, 37). In this verse it is mentioned that the human beings were given enough length of life to contemplate and take advice but it is not mentioned that human beings came to the world several times. Although this verse clearly rejects reincarnation, it has been claimed that people who lived in the world for 25 years cannot be regarded equal to people who lived for 100 years, that it will not be in accordance with Allahs justice (18); this verse was used as a proof for reincarnation and it was used to reach the conclusion that the people who did not live long and thus did not have enough time to take advice would be sent to the world again.
As a matter of fact such a claim is against the principle of reincarnation. According to this principle the reason why people come to the world again is the sinful, wrongful peoples not completing their evolution because of their own mistakes and faults. Why shouldnt a human being be given enough length of time so that the need for returning to the world would arise! Since it is possible to do it during the first coming why should the life be divided into parts?
Furthermore, the positions of the human beings in finding the right path are different from one another. It is possible that a person living 1000 years may not find the right path and that during a few hours of responsibility a person can find the right path and then die. It is not necessary to have a definite or long time to find the right path. The length of life given to a human being can be enough for him to find the right path. Allah knows who will get advice and when, so He may have given people the length of life accordingly. The verse indicates it. That length is a period for trial and it is enough to take advice. It does not matter whether it is long or short. Sometimes a longer life may be against a person. What is more, it is certain that Allah will treat and question people in accordance with their opportunities, the conditions they lived under, the length of time they lived (19). How will the situation of the people who came to the world just before the Day of Judgment be according to this claim?
Other verses that state the meaning expressed by the above-mentioned verse, that is, it is not possible to come to the world again:
" If thou couldst but see when they are confronted with the Fire! They will say: "Would that we were but sent back! then would we not reject the Signs of our Lord, but would be amongst those who believe! Yea in their own (eyes) will become manifest what before they concealed but if they were returned they would certainly relapse to the things they were forbidden, for they are indeed liars. (Al-Anaam, 27-28),
"... Have we no intercessors now to intercede on our behalf? Or could we be sent back? Then should we behave differently from our behavior in the past." In fact they will have lost their souls, and the things they invented will leave them in the lurch."(Al-Araf, 53),
" "Our Lord! bring us out of this: if ever we return (to evil), then shall we be wrongdoers indeed!"He will say: " speak ye not to Me!!.." (Al-Mumenoon,107-108).
The expression in the 28th verse of Chapter Al-Anaam " if they were returned they would certainly relapse to the things they were forbidden " is very important in terms of our subject. The reason why human beings are not sent to the world again is explained in this verse by stating that they would do the same things and commit things that Allah forbade.
The following verse clearly tells people who come to the world later that the people who were destroyed would not come to the world again.See they not how many generations before them We destroyed? Not to them will they return" If it is considered that the people who were destroyed were sinful, imperfect people, it will be understood better that this verse is a strong proof against reincarnation. In another verse having this meaning it is stated that there will definitely be no return to the world by using the word haram (ban) "But there is a ban on any population which We have destroyed: that they shall not return" (Al-Anbiya, 95).
The verse "It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when ye knew nothing" (An-Nahl, 78) is also a strong proof against reincarnation. According to the people who advocate this belief the reason why human beings come to the world again is for evolution. For evolution it is necessary to have accumulation from the previous life. Whereas this verse states that there is no such a thing and that the newborn babies come to the world without any knowledge.
It is stated in the following verse that death is tasted only once. "Nor will they there taste Death, except the first Death" (Ad-Dukhan, 56). Therefore reincarnation that makes several deaths necessary is rejected by this verse, too.
In the last verses of Chapter Al-Waqia after the positions of people during the time of death is described the following is stated: " if he be of those Nearest to Allah... And if he be of the Companions of the Right Hand... And if he be of those who treat (truth) as Falsehood, who go wrong..." (Al-Waqia, 88-94) listing where people will go (20), however it is not stated that imperfect, sinful and faulty people will return to the world; on the contrary it is stated that the people who treat truth as falsehood and the people who go wrong will go to hell: " And if he be of those who treat (truth) as Falsehood, who go wrong, For him is Entertainment with Boiling Water, And burning in Hell-Fire " (Al-Waqia, 92-94).
Some interpreters (mufassirs) say that the deniers said the following words What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but Time can destroy us." (Al-Jathiya, 24) to express the reincarnation belief of the polytheists (21); that Allah mentions their belief to reject it can be regarded as a proof against reincarnation.
Apart from the verses of the Quran, many hadiths that inform the torture and the blessings in the grave reject reincarnation (22). If reincarnation were true, wouldnt our Prophet (PBUH), who informed us about the phases and steps of the hereafter in detail, have mentioned reincarnation? Is it possible that he would not mention such an important subject about belief? If he had informed people about it, wouldnt some people have narrated it as a very good piece of news? Dont all of these show that reincarnation has no place in Islam?
2 . Verses shown as proof for transmigration and reincarnation
As for the verses claimed to express transmigration or reincarnation, at first we should state that the verses shown as proof for transmigration in the past are very few, no more than three or five, unlike those shown as proof for reincarnation. One of these verses is the following: " as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty " (Chapter Al-Nisa, 56).
It is mentioned clearly in this verse that the bodies will be renewed in order to express the severity of the hell torture; whereas it is claimed that the hell mentioned in the verse is the life in this world and that the verse is a sign for peoples transmigration into other bodies after their souls leave their bodies and that the soul that cannot become perfect in the body will enter into other bodies and return to the world which is a hell in order to suffer torture (23). It is obvious that this belief which resembles the belief of Batinis (24) is so false and invalid.
Some of the transmigrationists in the past claimed that the people addressed in the verse, " O children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you..." (Al-Baqara, 40, 47, 122) were the Jewish people living at that time that Allah reminded them the favor they had forgotten a long time after they died and decayed. As a matter of fact, that kind of addressing is common in Arabic. A person can be addressed by seemingly addressing his grandfathers and ancestors. (25)
Transmigrationists claimed that the following verse had an indication that the animals and the birds in the world were equal to us and that the equality should be in all of the attributes and that it expressed transmigration. (26) "There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you (Al-Anaam, 38). According to them the equality is present potentially not actually. Human beings are equal to animals potentially (27). They claimed that the groups of animals that were described as communities in that verse were each sent prophets by Allah, based on the following verse (28): "Verily We have sent thee in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner " (Fatir, 24)
It is clear that the state of being equal in the verse is in terms of living in communities. It can be seen more clearly with the animals like ants and bees. There is no reason why the state of equality should be in all of the attributes.
Some of the transmigrationists said that the people with evil souls would be purified by transferring from bodies to bodies and that human beings that were in the body of a camel would be so purified as to pass through the eye of a needle by transferring into the body of a fruit worm, based on the following verse which was mentioned in order to express that the unbelievers would remain in the hell forever: (29) " To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the Garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle..." (Al-Araf, 40).
Unlike the few verses presented as proof for transmigration in the past, the number of verses mentioned by the people advocating reincarnation today in order to support their beliefs is surprisingly high! Some of them list about fifty verses regarding reincarnation (30). Most of these verses are similar to each other, expressing the same meaning. Some of them express clearly that there is no return to the world! Lets have a look at the verses presented by most of the followers of reincarnation.:
The first verse stated as a proof by people who advocate reincarnation today and who claim that this belief is present in the Quran is the following verse:
"How can ye reject the faith in Allah? Seeing that you were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will you return "(Al-Baqara, 28).
The foundation that the people who claim reincarnation is meant in this verse base their ideas on is that death and bringing to life are seemingly mentioned twice. According to them, the expression (Seeing that you were without life) in the verse means their deaths after completing their lives. That is the expression that causes the misunderstanding of the verse. Therefore when what is meant by this verse is explained, the problem will be settled (31).
When we look at the numerous interpretations (tafseers) written in the past, we see that none of the interpreters, even those who favor transmigration, understood this verse as expressing reincarnation or coming to the world several times; no claim like that has ever been seen. If there had been a claim like that, it would have been rejected by those who did not accept this idea and there would have been answers to it in the interpretations. The fact that there is nothing like that in the interpretations written in the past, shows that in the past there was no claim like that regarding this verse.
The expression (Seeing that ye were without life) was explained in different ways in the interpretations but all of them had a similar idea; the attitudes of human beings before they came to this world (32). The expression without life in the verse was interpreted as you were nothing (33), you were dead after Adams and his descendants oath, you were in the form of earth (34), you were in the form of sperm in your fathers bodies (35), non living things when you were about to be transferred into your mothers wombs (36), you were unmentioned things (37), all of which indicate their state before they came to this world. Therefore it is possible that one or more than one of these phases are meant in this verse. The usage of a plural noun in the original verse may be an indication of it. As a matter of fact some interpreters explained this verse by mentioning several of these phases (38). Razi said the ulama (knowers, scientists) agreed that this expression meant you were earth, sperms (39).
Ibn Ashur explains this expression as follows: the verse "Ye were without life, and He gave you life indicates that this creation is unique. A human being is made up of many things which were nonliving. The atoms of a human being were taken from dispersed elements in the air and soil and brought together in the food, which is another nonliving thing. Then blood and other compounds were extracted from the food, and they are nonliving things too. Then they were combined and the (alaqa) embryo and the (mudgah) clot were formed. All of these forms were before the existence of the man and they are all nonliving things. Then spirit was blown into it and it was given life till the time of death. What the unbelievers were to do was to see this as a proof that Allah was the only god. (40)
Thus it is seen clearly that there is nothing in the above-mentioned verses that hints transmigration or reincarnation.
Although most of the interpreters say that the following verse:" They will say:" Our Lord! twice hast Thou made us without life, and twice hast Thou given us Life! Now have we recognised our sins: is there any way out (of this)?" (Al-Mumin,11) resembles the 28th verse of Chapter Al-Baqara, others say it is different from the 28th verse of Chapter Al-Baqara and indicates the torture in the grave. Here the unbelievers mention two deaths. Since one of them is the death in the world, the other should be in the grave (41). According to Razi, the death here cannot be the embryo, the clot, etc as in the 28th verse of Chapter Al-Baqara. In the verse it is mentioned that Allah made them without life (killed them). Killing depends on the existence of life. If death had been existent beforehand, killing would have been impossible. Killing of the death would have been necessary, which is impossible. In the 28th verse of Chapter Al-Baqara, the situation is different. It is mentioned there that they were nonliving things, it is not mentioned that Allah made them without life (killed them). (42)
However, Zamakhshari gives the following examples by saying that in terms of the Arabic language the word kill can be used to express that they were created in the form of nonliving things: The making small and making large in the following expression (Glory be to Allah who made the body of a fly small and the made body of an elephant large) does not mean to make it small although it was large or to make it large although it was small but to create them as they are now; the same is valid for the verse. What is meant by killing is to be in the form of dead. Another example is to say narrow the mouth of the well and widen the base to an excavator. What is seemingly understood from this expression is not to narrow the mouth of the well while it is wide and to widen the base while it is narrow but to make the mouth narrow and the base wide. The same thing is valid in the verse. (43)
As it is understood from these explanations this verse either has the same meaning as the 28th verse of Chapter Al-Baqara or expresses the deaths one of which we can see and the other that takes place in the grave after the questioning by the angels. Neither of these situations is related to reincarnation. It is clear in the verse that the unbelievers utter these words in the hell, because they say they want to leave that place. Reincarnation, according to people who advocate it, will take place after death in this world, that is, before the Day of Judgment.
What the respected scholar Veli Ulutürk says about the possible meaning of this verse is as follows: You killed us once in the world, and you killed us a second time here (in the hereafter) by putting us into hell. That is, you destroyed us; you made us exposed to torture. The people of paradise die only once as it is mentioned in the 56th verse of Chapter Al-Dukhan. That is, the second death is metaphorical and means being exposed to torture in the hell. When it is taken into consideration that an unwanted, troublesome life is frequently described as death metaphorically, it will be understood better that this explanation is appropriate. As a matter of fact when the state of the people of the hell is described in the following verse, the life in the hell is likened to death:" In which they will then neither die nor live (Al-Aaâ, 13).
Another verse that the advocates of reincarnation try to show as a proof for their claims is as follows: Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because of the things your hands have wrought, and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness "(Ash-Shura, 30).
Based on this verse it is claimed that the troubles and misfortunes that the children suffer are the punishment for their mistakes and riots that they had committed. According to the people who claim it, children are innocent and they did not commit crimes that deserved this punishment. (44)
As a matter of fact it is clear that the people addressed by this verse are responsible people who have completed the period of childhood. Only responsible people can be questioned about what they had done. It is valid for throughout the Quran. The addressed people are always aqil (sane) and baligh (grown-up, mature) people. Therefore it cannot be expressed that the misfortunes that children suffer are due to only what they had done.
It will not be appropriate to make a decision based on only this verse. In another verse it is stated that sometimes innocent people can suffer misfortunes: " And fear tumult or oppression which affecteth not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong !" (Al-Anfal, 25). This is because this world is a place for trial.
The troubles and misfortunes children suffer can be a trial (45) for their fathers and a means of spiritual development and good deeds for the hereafter. After all, good and evil are relative things. A person cannot fully understand what is good and what is evil for his family. Something that he sees as evil can be good for him and something he sees as good can be evil for him. (46)
It is We Who created them, and We have made their joints strong; but, when We will, We can substitute the like of them by a complete change (Al-Insan, 22). The verse above and verses similar to it, Al-Waqia 60-62, Al-Maarij 40-41, were used as proof for reincarnation (47). Those who showed these verses as proof for reincarnation tried to catch a clue based on the word like.
As a matter of fact, when these verses are examined carefully, it will be seen that some of them are mentioned as proof for resurrection. That is, the verse means that He who created you once can create you again after your death. He can create the same of you or the like of you. (48) The verses that we mentioned above and that were claimed to be as proof for reincarnation (Al-Insan, 28 Al-Waqia, 60-62, Al-Maarij, 40-41) are like that. It is clearer in the following verse: "Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?!.."(Yaa-Seen, 81). In the other verses the denying nations were threatened that they would be destroyed and people like them from other tribes and nations would substitute them. The verses Al-Insan, 28 and Al-Maarij, 40-41 can be understood like that. The sixth verse of Chapter Al-Anaam is a good example to this effect: yet for their sins We destroyed them, and raised in their wake fresh generations (to succeed them)"
Likewise the interpreters interpreted these verses denoting the same meaning. For instance, the word the like used in the verse is interpreted to possibly denote the resurrection in the hereafter in the same form or in a similar form (49): " Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?!.." (Yaa-Seen, 81). The verses: " when We will, We can substitute the like of them " (İnsan, 28), "... We can certainly― Substitute for them better (men) than they; and We are not to be defeated (in Our Plan) " (Al-Maarij, 40-41) are interpreted as Allah is capable of destroying those people and substitute them with people who are better, obedient, and not rebellious and who will do contrary things to them. (50)
Razi expresses this reality in the interpretation of the 28th verse of Chapter Al- Insan as follows "That is, if We want, We will destroy them and bring the like of them or substitute them. This verse is like the following verse: " and We are not to be frustrated From changing your Forms and creating you (again) in (Forms)..." (Vakıa, 60-61). What is meant by the verse is that there is no need at all to them. It sounds as if the following is said to them: We definitely do not need any creatures, even if we do, we do not need those tribes because we are able to destroy them and bring the like of them. The following verses have the same meaning too (51): " If it were His will, He could destroy you, O mankind and create another race" (An-Nisa, 133) ve " If He so will, He can remove you and put (in your place) a new Creation " (İbrahim, 20)
As it is seen in verses like these, the disobedient people are warned that they will be destroyed and substituted by others as a threat. If the same people are brought again, then the threat is meaningless. The style of the verse is not appropriate for such a meaning. Here the meaning is like the addressing of a chief to one of his officials who does not work properly as do what you are to do or else I will dismiss you and hire another person.
When it is paid attention to when and why the verses are mentioned, there will be no place for misunderstanding.
Another verse that is shown as proof by the advocates of reincarnation is the following verse: " and of you there are some who are sent back to a feeble age, so that they know nothing after having known (much) " (An-Nahl, 70) Öztürk says when the expression feeble age in the verse is interpreted as old age and senility the wit of the verse is eliminated and adds: Firstly, in the verse the verb send (yuraddu) is used for the feeble age not throw or push. That verb does not have a pejorative meaning like push. It means to return or start from the beginning. So, feeble age is the beginning of life, the lowest point of the evolution. Secondly, why should a mans living till old age, not being able to walk, and having a weak memory be a disgrace or baseness for him? A human being is in the most prestigious and mature period of his life in terms of creation laws. Allah will not talk about a person who is in his closest period to Him by using such a bad adjective. (52) As a result Öztürk says this verse expresses taking the form of a new body in a miraculous style.
In my opinion whether that verb means throwing or pushing; returning or starting from the beginning, it is not right to seek evidence for reincarnation based on just one word. It is natural to talk about old age with a verb like that as a simile since the period of old age resembles childhood. In addition, in the verses like, " To Him is referred the Knowledge of the Hour (of Judgment: He knows all) (yuraddu)" (Fussilat, 47), " and on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty (yuraddûne)" (Al-Baqara, 85) this verb is not used in the meaning of returning or starting from the beginning. Therefore it is possible that the verb is not used in this sense in the above-mentioned verse.
It is not right to qualify the feeble age as the beginning of life and the lowest point of the process of evolution. This expression is not suitable for such an approach. Arzal (feeble) means something that is turned away from because of its meanness and baseness (53). Why should the beginning of life or the lowest point of the process of evolution be turned away from? As Ibn Ashur says the state of being arzal is related to the health not the mood (54). That is, in the verse the adjectives senile or base are not used for old people but for that period of life, and there is such a period. Isnt the state that some old people become weaker than children when they are old divine providence? Then why should something like that is found strange? As a matter of fact, the word minkum (some of you) is used in the verse to express that it is valid for some people. It is not valid for all of the old people. The fact that our Prophet (PBUH) took refuge in Allah from being in such a state and prayed as follows: I take refuge in you from falling down to the state of feeble age(55), shows that feeble age is the hard times of the period of old age. The expression so that they know nothing after having known (much) in the verse indicates it. Not to know anything after having knowledge is a sign of weakness of mind, old age. If it were for reincarnation, it would be meaningless to take shelter in Allah. If it is accepted that the verse expresses reincarnation, then the reason why human beings are returned to earth will be something strange like not to know anything after having knowledge. In addition the expression and takes your souls at death; and of you there are some who are sent back to a feeble age" in the verse shows that the person in the period of feeble age has not died yet. A person to be reincarnated has to be dead.
The expression so that they know nothing after having known (much) both confirms the meaning the interpreters express and rejects reincarnation. What is the use of returning to the world if a person is in a state of knowing nothing? Is it possible to improve this way? What is the use of suffering a punishment when a person is born again if a person does not know what his sin in his previous (!) life was? The fact that it is stated so that they know nothing after having known (much) in this verse and " It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when ye knew nothing " (An-Nahl, 78) in another that a human being knows nothing when he comes to the world out of his mothers womb shows that what is meant by the word yuraddu in the former verse is being returned to his first state, that is the infancy period when he knew nothing.
Like the verse we have just tried to explain, the following verse If We grant long life to any, We cause him to be reversed in nature " (Yaa-Seen, 68) is interpreted as follows: people who do not make use of the time given to them and waste it will be turned upside down to the feeble age (56).
As a matter of fact it is clear that the turning upside down mentioned in the verse is not about the human soul but human body, because in the verse the word fil-khalq (in nature) is used. In addition, people who do no not make use of their lifetime, etc are not mentioned in the verse but all of the people that reach old age are mentioned. If there was a sign for coming to the world several times and completing perfection in the verse, instead of If We grant long life to any, We cause him to be reversed in nature "a phrase like will improve would be used...
In the verse " And Allah has produced you from the earth, growing (gradually), And in the End He will return you into the (earth), and raise you forth (again at the Resurrection) " (Nooh, 17-18) it is stated that the people addressed by Hazrat Noah are the polytheists and that they will be taken out from the ground sent to the world in order to undergo the punishment and become perfect.
It is necessary to ask this question here: Did Hazrat Noah know that they would die as polytheists and addressed them like this, He will return you to earth?. As a matter of fact in this verse the power of Allah to resurrect the dead is stated; the fact that it will be as easy for Allah to resurrect people after death as to produce human beings from the earth at the beginning and plants out of the earth is stated. In other words, the creation of human beings and the resurrection of human beings after they die are likened to the sprouting of the seed and its coming out of the ground.
Furthermore, there is nothing like producing the human beings from the earth in the theory of reincarnation. According to the owners of this claim people will return to the earth before the Day of Judgment. Peoples resurrection from the earth will take place during the Day of Judgment. Therefore the producing from the earth in the verse cannot be related to reincarnation. On the contrary it is an expression against reincarnation. It expresses bodily resurrection.
It is strange that the verse " Is it (the case) that we shall not die Except our first death, and that we shall not be punished?!" (Saaffat, 58-59) told by one of the people of the paradise sarcastically to a person in the hell who denied the hereafter and made fun of him in the world by reminding him his words in the world when the situation of the people in the paradise is explained in the Chapter As-Saaffat is used as proof for reincarnation. Öztürk translates these verses as Are we, the people of the paradise, going to die again? No, only our first death and we shall not be tortured. This is a really great success. and says as it can be seen it is stated in the verse that the people of the paradise, that is, those who completed their perfection will not be killed again and that will be their difference from the people of the hell. (57)
First of all, it seems to have been forgotten where this event takes place. The hereafter has started, the people of the paradise are in the paradise and the people of the hell are in the hell, the earth has been transformed into another form and the heavens have been transformed into other forms; how can returning to the earth be mentioned? Furthermore, such an expression of a person from the paradise does not show that the person from the hell will be killed and resurrected again. What is more, the meaning that Öztürk expresses is in agreement with the meaning expressed by many interpreters, but we think this meaning is a bit distant. The meaning that is in agreement with the precedent of the verse is what we have mentioned just after the verse and what Sabuni (58) expressed in his interpretation and what Çantay (59) expressed in his translation. According to them the expression There is nothing beyond our first death, and we shall not be raised again is the continuation of the words of the person of the paradise to the person of the hell. The person of the paradise reminds the person of the hell his words by using a sarcastic style and tells him that his claim There is nothing beyond our first death did not take place. As a matter of fact it is stated in a verse that the deniers of the hereafter say: " There is nothing beyond our first death, and we shall not be raised again " (Ad-Dukhan, 35) So the words that the person from the paradise utters sarcastically are like the words that his unbeliever friend uttered in the word sarcastically.
There are some other verses that are presented as proof for reincarnation (60). For instance, the following verse"... Then, doth He make His path smooth for him; Then, He causeth him to die, and putteth him in his Grave; Then, when it is His will, He will raise him up (again) " (Abasa, 20-22) because past tense used in it (61), and this verse "He Who created Death and Life" (Al-Mulk, 2) because death is stated before life (62) were used as proof reincarnation; what is more the following verse: "It will be said: "Turn ye back to your rear! Then seek a light (where ye can)!" (Al-Hadid, 13), in which the unbelievers who were in the darkness in the Day of Judgment and who looked for a light were told sarcastically that the place to look for a light was the world and that it was in vain to look for a light then, was also presented as a proof for reincarnation. (63)
To say that there will the world life again after the Day of Judgment necessitates the recurrence of the Day of Judgment (64), which will be approaching the views of the transmigrationists (65) who claim that the universe and ages will go on forever and in each age similar happenings will take place.
As it is seen the Quran definitely rejects the return to the world. The claims of those who advocate the opposite are not coherent.
1 see. Jurjani, Şerhu'l-Mevâkıf, VIII, 300.
2 Addison; p. 125; Fâvî, p. 36.
3 See. Fâvî, p. 51.
4 Munîr Ba'lebekkî, el-Mevrid-90, 24. imp., Dâru'l-İlm li'l-Melâyîn, Beirut, 1990, p.773.
5 Tahsin Saraç. Büyük Fransızca Türkçe Sözlük, Adam yay., İstanbul, 1985, p.1192.
6 The meaning of transmigration is migration of soul, migration to another being (see. Saraç, p.1413).
7 See. Addison, p. 87, 92, 125.
8 See. A. Zeki Tuffâhe, en-Nefsu'l-Beşeriyye ve Nazariyyetu't-Tenâsüh, Beirut, 1987, p. 90.
9 Bedri Ruhselman. Ruh ve Kâinât, Ruh ve Madde yay., İstanbul, 1977, p.152.
10 Leon Denıs, Après La Mort, Libraire des Siciences psychiéues, Paris, tsz., p. 312; Sinan Onbulak. Ruhî Olaylar ve Ölümden Sonrası, Dilek yay., İstanbul, 1975, p. 344.
11For these groups and people see. Şehristânî, p. 54; Kurtubî, IV,105; Müyesser, p. 205; M. Şemseddin, 192, 210, 211; Abdulmu'ti, p.70
12 For the word barzakh in the verse, the sahabah and tabeeen are reported to Express the following ideas: The curtain between the death and the resurrection, the barrier between the dead person and his returning to the world, the term until the day of judgment... (Maverdî, IV, 66-67).
13Muhammed İkbal. İslâm'da Dinî Düşüncenin Yeniden Doğuşu, İstanbul, 1984, p. 160.
14Ibn Ashur, XVIII,123. İbn Aşur adds the following " This expression is like an example stating that the demand of the polytheist as Oh my Lord! Return me to the world is a nonsense, meaningless and unacceptable demand. This is an unprecedented expression of the Quran, not used in Arabic before that.
15 Celal Kırca, Kur'ân ve İnsan, Marifet yay., İstanbul, 1996, p. 175.
16 Ateş, Yüce Kur'ân'ın Çağdaş Tefsiri, Yeni Ufuklar Neşriyat, İstanbul, 1991, VI,118.
17 Yaşar Nuri Öztürk. Kur'ân'daki İslâm, 6. imp.,Yeni Boyut, İstanbul, 1994, p. 312.
18 See. Öztürk, p.153.
19 See. M. Said Şimşek, Günümüz Tefsîr Problemleri, Esra yay., Konya, 1995, p. 288.
20 See. Gazalî, Muhammed. el-Mehâviru'l-Hamse, p.183.
21 See. Beyzavî, V, 467; Nesefî, IV,137; Ebu's-Suûd, VIII,137.
22 See. Bûtî, Kübrâ'l-Yakiniyyâti'l-Kevniyye, s. 315.
23 See. Ateş, II, 303 (Resâil-i İhvan-ı Safa, IV,from ps 190-196).
24 Batiniyyah, say the verses have literal meanings and hidden meanings (see. Bekir Topaloğlu, Kelâm İlmi, İstanbul, 1981, p. 231). However, Batinis do not accept to act on the literal meaning of the Quran. They say what is wanted is the hidden meaning. They have groups like İsmailiyyah, Qaramitah, Karamite, Sab'iyyah and Huramiyyah.( Sabunî, et-Tibyân fî Ulûmi'l-Kur'ân, 3. imp., Daru'l-Kalem, Dımeşk, 1408, p. They show their wrong beliefs as the hidden meaning of the Quran. They have no proof to support their ideas. In this aspect the batini interpretation movement is completely different from ishari (sufistic) interpretation. In the acceptable ishari interpretation there is no contradiction to the literal meaning and no claim that what is wanted is only the hidden meaning. They have possible meanings. It is not contrary to reason or Shariah. It does not confuse the minds. Batini interpretations do not have these properties. For instance, to interpret the verse, "And Solomon was David's heir" (An-Naml, 16) as Imam Ali was the Prophets heir in ilm (science, knowledge) is a batini interpretation (see. Sabunî, et-Tibyân, p. 240).
25 Suyutî, el-İklîl, thk. Seyfuddin Abdulkadir, 2. imp., Dâru'l-Kütübi'l-İlmiyye, Beyrut, 1985, p. 29.
27 İbn Sinâ, el-Adhaviyye, p. 120.
28 Razî, XII,177.
29 Ibn Sinâ, el-Adhaviyye, p. 95.
30 For the example see. Sönmez Akbay. Bilinmeyene Doğru, İzmir, 1983, p. 217-225.
31 What is meant by the other expressions in the verse is clear: First resurrection is coming to this world, the killing after that is the death at the end of the life in this world, and the resurrection after this death is the resurrection in the day of judgment. (Şimşek, M. Said, p. 261).
32 Maverdî expressed six and Andalusi seven opinions to this effect and six ishari interpretations. (see. Maverdî, I, 91-92; Ebu Hayyan Muhammed b. Yûsuf el-Endelusî, Tefsiru'l-Bahri'l-Muhît, 2. imp., Daru'l-Fikr, 1983, I,131-132). In none of these opinions reincarnation or transmigration is stated or implied. In all of these opinions the meaning is abot the attitudes of human beings before coming to this world. Only Abu Salih states that the state of being death in this verse is the dead in their graves and the first resurrection are for questioning in the grave and then they will be killed and resurrected again in the day of judgment, but Tabari regards this opinion as distant. The condemnation and blaming of the unbelievers in the verse is because of the sins they committed. The unbelievers are invited to obedience from disobedience and to belief from disbelief. Whereas there is no repentance in the grave. Therefore this opinion does not conform with the precedent and the antecedent of the verse. Even if this opinion is correct, it is clear that it is not an indication of transmigration or reincarnation .
33 See. Taberî, I, 222-223; Maverdî, I, 91.
34 See. Taberî, 223-224.
35 See. Taberî, I, 223-224; Maverdî, I, 91; Zemahşerî, I, 270; Şevkânî, I, 59; Câvî, II, 8; Vâhidî, II, 8.
36 Andalusî, I, 131.
37 Maverdî, I, 92.
38 For those who interpret this verse like this see. Taberî, I, 225-226; Endelusî, I,131-132.
39 Razî, II,139.
40 İbn Ashur, I, 375. İbn Aşûr, at the end of his statement, points to why this verse is mentioned. That is, it is used as proof for things like tawheed and hashr that human beings know. Maraghi used similar expressions (see. Maraghi, I,75-76).
41 Razî, XXVII, 36.
42 Razî, XXVII, 36.
43 Zamakhsharî, III, 418.
44 See. Öztürk, p. 257-258.
45 As it is stated in the following verse" Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives and the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere " (Al_Baqara, 155).
46 See. Müyesser, p. 207-208.
47 After saying that these verses can indicate reincarnation Öztürk says many interpreters from Razi to Elmalılı put forward the second meaning with their explanations but they did not mention reincarnation by conforming to the traditional agreement. However, we examined many interpretations of these verse including Razi and Elmalılı, but we did not see anything like that.
48 The word mithl (plural amthal) can be used to mean something similar as well as the same. In the following verse it is used in this meaning there is nothing whatever like unto Him " (Ash-Shura, 11).
49 See. Alûsî, XXIII, 56; Tabatabaî, XVII,118; İbn Aşûr, XXVII, 317.
50See. Taberî, XII, 242, 325; İbn Kesîr, IV, 488.
51 Razî, XXIX,156.
52 Öztürk, 282-283.
53 See. Rağıb, Mufredât, p.194.
54 See. İbn Aşûr, XIV, 212.
55 Buharî, Cihâd, 25, III, 209; Müslim, Zikr, 52, IV, 2070; Nesâî, İstiaze, 5, VIII, 647; İbn Hanbel, I, 54.
56 See. Öztürk, p.153.
57 Öztürk, p. 250.
58 See. Sabunî, Safvetu't-Tefâsîr, III, p. 34.
59 See. Hasan Basri Çantay, Kur'ân-ı Hakîm ve Meâl-i Kerîm, 13. imp., III, 798.
60 For the verses and their answers to this effect see. Şimşek, M. Said, p. 257-282.
61 See. Ateş, X, 327. This seen a lot in the Quran; something that will happen in the future is expressed using past tense in order to confirm it, to express that it will definitely happen, to express that it should be accepted as something that happened. (see. Ateş, IX, 150-151).
62 See. Ateş, IX, 527; Öztürk, p. 319-320. The reason why death is mentioned before life in this verse is that the life in the hereafter, which is the real life and a great blessing, is reached through death. Therefore death is accepted as a blessing like life in the verse. Something that is used as a means to reach a blessing is a blessing itself. (see. Rağıb, Tafsîlu'n-Neş'eteyn ve Tahsilu's-Saadeteyn, p. 183).
63 See. Öztürk, p.709.
64 Şimşek, M. Said, p. 290.
65 See. Müyesser, p. 205.
- The Fallacy of Reincarnation Part 1: What is Reincarnation?, Does reincarnation (transmigration of the soul from one body to another) exist in the Quran?
- The Fallacy of Reincarnation Part 5: Questions about reincarnation and their answers
- The Fallacy of Reincarnation Part 3: What are the views of the Islamic scholars on reincarnation?
- Will some people turn to animals after they die?
- The Fallacy of Reincarnation Part 4: Does reincarnation comply with the mind and reason?
- The Fallacy of Reincarnation Part 2: What does the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) say about Reincarnation?
- How was Belief in the Hereafter Observed in Various Communities throughout History?
- Can you give some information about reincarnation? How can we prove that it is a wrong belief?
- Can man feel that he will die just before his death? Will Azrail be visible to him?
- What are the views of ancient philosophers regarding the hereafter?