Islam and Buddhism on Death and Afterlife
Questions of life and death have always been one of the most puzzling, disturbing and mysterious for people of different cultures. Since ancient times, people have tried to conceive answers to them through a variety of exercises and religions. This is not surprising because the knowledge of who we are and what will happen to us after this life is closely associated with such important for the human concepts as the meaning of life, limb, or eternity. This paper is addressing such issues as the nature of the human soul, death, and the process of transition to the other world, as well as the after-life existence with perspectives of Buddhism and Islam.
As for the Muslims, they reject reincarnation of any form completely but support the idea of the otherworldly state of existence after death. According to Quran (Mizra 49), God created Paradise and Hell which have a physical form rather than spiritual one. Paradise is described as an incomparably large garden filled with beautiful trees and flowers among which rivers of milk and honey flow. Besides, there are all the types of fruits and meat of birds from which humans will select what to eat. Every female will be accompanied by male, and they will decide how to spend their time together. The only purpose of afterlife existence is to obtain sensual enjoyment. No work and efforts will be needed to live in Paradise. It will be a perfect life without diseases, fears, disappointments and other unbearable feelings. To the contrary, Paradise is a place where souls will be condemned to suffer. What is important is that Paradise and Hell have seven levels and gates: the highest level of Paradise means the best and happiest state of life. Meantime, there are seven terrifying levels of Hell where the lowest level is the worst and most disgusting. Consequently, those people who were true believers and respected lives of other human beings and lived in peace with God’s will would be sent to Paradise, and the most sinful would be stuck in Hell for eternal sufferings.
However, opposite points of view on the otherworldly reality which tends to be more spiritual are presented in Islam as well. Mizra Ghua Ahmad, the founder of Ahmadiyya, states that human soul will be re-born into a specific entity after death which will take the same position to the soul as the soul occupies in relation to the human existence on earth. It means that rightful humans who obey the rules of God will be experiencing pleasure in spiritual form. It will be a new soul which enjoys being good towards other people and sharing unselfish love with others. According to Mizra Ghua Ahmad,
If our lives here are spent in submission to the will of God and in accordance with His commands, our tastes gradually become cultured and attuned to enjoying spiritual pleasures as against carnal pleasures. Within the soul a sort of embryonic soul begins to take shape. …