The Cardinal Reasons why Islam Rejects Reincarnation
Belief in Islam requires belief in the Resurrection and Judgment, where
justice is meted out to each individual soul according to what it did
while alive. If the individual soul passes into different lives, in
which form or personality will it be resurrected, commanded to give
account, and be rewarded or punished?
• This world is created
for test and trial so that the soul can derive benefit thereby. One
focus of the test is belief in the Unseen. According to reincarnation,
those who live a bad life pass into a lower form of life after death. If
that is true, they will know the consequences of their former life, and
life as a test loses its meaning. To get around this, its adherents say
that the soul "forgets" its past existence. If that is true, what is
the point of a former life?
• If each individual passes
through the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth until eternal bliss
(enlightenment) is achieved, God's promises of reward and punishment are
meaningless. Why would God engage in such a meaningless activity?
• The Qur'an and other Divine Books state that sins will be forgiven as
a result of sincere repentance. The point of reincarnation is to "work
off" one's sins in order to obtain a better rebirth. Is it not more
logical to believe in the ability of God to forgive, when and as He
wills, rather than to go through this seemingly unending and cumbersome
process to achieve, in essence, the same result?
• Long and
tiresome cycles of rebirth are contrary to God's mercy, favor, grace,
and forgiveness. If He wills, He takes ordinary, worthless, inferior
things and turns them into what is purest, best, and beyond price.
Infinite indeed are His blessings and munificence.
followers of the Prophets led wicked lives before embracing Islam. Once
they converted, however, they reformed themselves within an incredibly
short time and became revered models of virtue for later generations.
Some of them surpassed previous followers and came to be even more
revered. This indicates that, by the favor of God, people can rise
easily and quickly to the summit even if they apparently were bound for
Hell. It also shows how unnecessary is the doctrine of souls
"graduating" to higher levels of being. Indeed, such a doctrine might
actually weaken any incentive to moral effort.
• To believe
that God, the All-Mighty, has created an individual soul for each person
is part of belief in His Omnipotence. To believe that only a limited
number of souls migrate from body to body argues the illogical
proposition that the Omnipotent is not Omnipotent. The sheer abundance
of life, its infinite variety, its refusal merely to repeat form is
everywhere evident. Out of billions of people, we now know how to prove
that each one is absolutely unique-no two fingerprints or genetic codes
are exactly alike. This fact of individual uniqueness is found in many
Qur'anic verses. Given this, why should we assume that the Omnipotent
cannot create an infinite number of individual souls and supply them
with an infinite number of bodies? • Why has no one ever come
forward and been able to prove, by means of some marks, signs, or
evidence that could confirm their "past-life" memories, adventures, and
experiences in different forms and bodies? Where is the accumulated
knowledge, experience, and culture of those who have lived more than
once or have completed their cycle? If this happened in only one out of a
million cases, should we not expect a great number of people now living
to have extraordinary virtue and competence? Should we not have met a
few of them by now? Where are they?
• When somebody reaches a
certain measure of physical maturity or age, should we not expect the
soul to emerge with all that it has acquired and achieved during its
past lives? Should we not expect prodigies? There have been quite a few
prodigies in recorded history. All of their special gifts can be
explained as a special combination of genetic characteristics occurring
in a particular time and place, which is attributable to Divine Grace
and Favor, together with the prodigy's efforts to understand this gift
in the tradition and context in which it is given.
specifically human faculty has ever been found in a non-human entity.
But if reincarnation is true, we should expect such discoveries. If a
lower form of life is the punishment for particular evil deeds in the
previous life, then, presumably, the good in that life also must be
carried forward. In other words, some part of the individual's previous
life should be retained in the next life. In this case, we would expect
the boundaries of particular forms to burst open frequently-with, for
example, plants suddenly showing properties associated with animals. Why
have we never seen such events?
• If being a human or an
animal is the consequence of one's deeds in a former life, which first
existed: the human or the animal, the higher or the lower? Believers in
reincarnation cannot agree on any form for the first creature, as every
generation implies a preceding generation, for how else can the
succeeding generation be considered the consequence of the former? If,
as some assert, physical life is an evil, why did the whole thing even
start? Why did life begin at all? Reasonable answers have not been
"Until, when death approaches any of them, he
prays: “O my God! Let me return [to life], so that I might act
righteously in whatever I have failed [aforetime]!” Nay, it is indeed
but a [meaningless] word that he utters: for behind those [who leave the
world] there is a barrier [of death] until the Day when all will be
raised from the dead!" (Quran 23:99-100)
The words of God,
in the Quran are clear. When a person dies, he or she is unable to
return to his or her old life. The soul stays in the grave and the
person experiences torment or bliss based upon his/her beliefs and deeds
until the Day of Judgment. Islam teaches that the purpose of life is
to worship God, no matter how short or long the life may be. The soul
is part of each unique created individual, it does not move from one
body to another and it will never become part of God, who is separate
from His creation. The reasons why human beings are not sent to the
world over and over again is also explained in the Quran, when God says
that if that were to happen they would just do the same things and
commit the same sins.
“But if they were returned to the world, they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden.” (Quran 6:28)