Friday, November 22, 2013

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.

• Many 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.

• No 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 forthcoming.

"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)
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