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glo
01-22-2010, 08:36 AM
Muslims and Christians make quite a thing of people accepting or converting to the faith before death, and making a public statement of some kind to do so.
The deathbed conversion seems to be the last chance to enter either faith.

I would like to explore this further.

Is there specific written evidence that suggests conversion has to happen 'whilst alive'? Or do we pursue this as believers, because - of course - after death a conversion would be unknown to us?

Is it possible that we can accept a faith after death, perhaps as we enter into the 'other world' and meet with God or his angels?

Please let me know what you think and understand about this, and give evidence where you can.
Comments from Muslims and Christians and anybody else are invited. :)

Thank you.
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ardianto
01-23-2010, 07:35 AM
Originally Posted by glo
Is it possible that we can accept a faith after death, perhaps as we enter into the 'other world' and meet with God or his angels?
Like Posthumous Baptism ?.

In Islam, if someone wants to be a Muslim, he/she must says shahada with his/her mouth, or in the heart if this person cannot speaks.

Of course, Muslim cannot says shahada for someone else who deceased or still alive.

:)
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glo
01-23-2010, 07:56 AM
Originally Posted by ardianto
Like Posthumous Baptism ?.

In Islam, if someone wants to be a Muslim, he/she must says shahada with his/her mouth, or in the heart if this person cannot speaks.

Of course, Muslim cannot says shahada for someone else who deceased or still alive.

:)
No, I don't mean somebody else declaring a faith for the person who has died.

I am speaking about the possibility of somebody accepting a faith (Christianity, Islam, or any other) in the spiritual world, after they have died and left their physical body.

Certainly Christians and Muslims emphasise the need of declaring one's faith (whether in words or, as you say, in thought) whilst alive.

What I am asking is if people still have a chance to come to faith after death? Why would God shut the door after a person has died?
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Yusuf Saeed
01-23-2010, 08:40 AM
Originally posted by glo
What I am asking is if people still have a chance to come to faith after death? Why would God shut the door after a person has died?
Hello!

It all comes down to why God created us and the answer is that God created people only for worshipping Him. And He has given us a certain time for doing this and actually for deciding whether we worship Him or not.

This time is limited with our death and after we die we can't take heed anymore. God will "shut the door after a person has died" because He has warned us several times through His messengers and has stated clearly that we have been given this life for worshipping Him. If we don't take heed withing our lifespan we have failed God rules and therefore don't deserve the reward of everlasting bliss.

It also explains why the Qur'an and hadiths teach us not to waste our time for wordly gain and to make the most of this little time we have as we never know if we will live to see the next day.
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glo
01-23-2010, 09:02 AM
Thank you, Yusuf.
Can you give me evidence from the Qu'ran that specifically says that God will shut the door after a person has died?


* * *


The reason I got thinking about this topic, is that I know many people who genuinely don't seem to be able to accept a faith. It's not that they are stubborn, or resist God, or just don't want to know ... but more like they simply cannot see the truth (I use that word, knowing that 'truth' means different things to different people)

For example, I know atheists who with sincerity say "I cannot believe in God. If I could, I would - but I simply do not have what it takes to believe ..."
For example, despite having done much reading and listening about Islam, I cannot find in me the conviction that it is God's truth. Like my atheist friends I have to say "I cannot believe it."
Muslims have said similar things to me about the Christian faith.

So, when people cannot accept a faith, as believers we like to think that they are hard-hearted or stubborn.
But what about other factors?
Believers aren't always the best advertisement for their faith ...
They may not always be able to explain their faith well ...
They may have the wrong perception about God, taught through traditions, culture etc ...

What I am saying is that any religion, however pure we may believe it to be, becomes tainted my the humans who represent it and teach it to others. (Do you know what I mean?).
God is perfect, but the human who represent him on earth are not!

If my atheist friends came face to face with God, I am sure they would fall to the knees and worship him!
Why would God not give them that chance after death, when they can see the truth without the confusion and complications human beings tend to add to things? :hmm:
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Cabdullahi
01-23-2010, 09:34 AM
[10:90] We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: "I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam)."
[10:91] (It was said to him): "Ah now!- But a little while before, wast thou in rebellion!- and thou didst mischief (and violence)!
[10:92] "This day shall We save thee in the body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee! but verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs!"

translation by yusuf ali


The Noble Qur'an - The women 4:17-18

Allâh accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allâh will forgive and Allâh is Ever All*Knower, All*Wise.

And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: "Now I repent;" nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.
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Insaanah
01-23-2010, 10:11 AM
Hi Glo,

We've been given this life on earth that we have to use wisely and make choices about how we live our life. This life is our test, our exam paper if you like. Once the exam is declared over (i.e. your time has come) and the invigilators appear (angels of death) to take in the exam paper (take your soul) it's too late. Once the paper's collected, you can't say, "Excuse me, I want to change one of my answers." This applies more so to the life we have.

To make any changes in your life, you MUST make those changes before death, i.e. while the exam paper is still open. Actually after death, the reward or punishment starts in the grave, further proof that you cannot change your mind or accept another faith then. We have a prayer seeking refuge from the punishment of the grave too.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in hadeeth:

"When any of you completes the last tashahhud of his prayer, let him seek refuge in Allaah from four things, saying, 'O Allaah, verily I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the Hellfire and the torment of the grave; from the fitnah of life and of death; and from the evil fitnah of the false messiah." [Muslim, Nasai & others]

"Allaah accepts the repentance of the servant so long as his soul has not arrived at his throat." [Tirmidhi, al-Haakim, Ibn Hibbaan]

Allah also tells us in the Qur'an:

"But their faith could not avail them once they saw Our chastisement. This has been Allah's way concerning His slaves. And the unbelievers lost utterly, then and there." [Qur'an 40:85]

"Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death approaches any of them and then he says, "Now I repent." Nor of those who die while in the state of unbelief. For them We have kept in readiness a painful chastisement." [Qur'an 4:18]

Hope that makes it a bit clearer. :)
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Yusuf Saeed
01-23-2010, 11:26 AM
Originally Posted by glo
Can you give me evidence from the Qu'ran that specifically says that God will shut the door after a person has died?
Hello!

Here are some ayats from the Qur'an (Sahih International translation) that explain this matter:

016.084
And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect from every nation a witness. Then it will not be permitted to the disbelievers [to apologize or make excuses], nor will they be asked to appease [Allah].

016.085
And when those who wronged see the punishment, it will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved.

016.086
And when those who associated others with Allah see their "partners," they will say," Our Lord, these are our partners [to You] whom we used to invoke besides You." But they will throw at them the statement, "Indeed, you are liars."

Why would God not give them that chance after death, when they can see the truth without the confusion and complications human beings tend to add to things?
God would not give them that chance after death because then the whole concept and idea of belief loses its meaning completely. Then it would not be a test anymore because as you said if an atheist would come face to face with God he or she would surely worship Him.

That is also why we don't have any certain knowledge about when the Last Hour will occur. If people would know it then many of them would just enjoy this world as much as possible until let's say a day before it occurs they start believing and behaving according to the rules given to them from God.
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Supreme
01-23-2010, 11:36 AM
I think there was an idea like this in Medieval Europe. Basically, it said the Jews would all convert to Christianity after they'd be resurrected on the Day of Judgement. And then I think they'd be spared Heaven.
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glo
01-23-2010, 12:30 PM
Thank you, Abdullahii, Insane Insaan and Yusuf. Your explanations seem to demonstrate the Islamic perspective quite clearly.

Supreme, I assume the idea you mention relates to those who loved and followed God's commandments, but could not have converted to Christianity, because they lived before Jesus implemented the New Covenant?

Thank you, all, for your contributions so far.
And I am glad this is not turning into a debate thread (at least not yet ... :D), as I love to hear people talking and explaining their faith much more than people trying to convince or debate with each other.
Better to let the new knowledge and wisdom sink in, and let God work within us!
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Grace Seeker
01-23-2010, 07:30 PM
I can't speak with regard to Islamic beliefs on this subject whatsoever, so pardon me for not engaging that aspect of the conversation going on in this thread. And as you might have guessed, in Christian teaching, there are a whole host of different views depending on who you talk to. However the dominate theme seems to be that it is in this life that we ultimately make irrevocable decisions (or indecisions even) that have permament consequences for us after death. The key text for this is Hebrew 9:27, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, ...."

On the other side are a whole host of minority positions, there are the universalist who think that ultimately everyone is going to be saved. Why? Because God is gracious and wills no one to hell. I don't have any text for this, though I suppose that they would have plenty, among them perhaps John 3:17, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

A minority position that I think has a little more merit is a reformulation of the old Christus Victor idea -- btw, the most popular view of the atonement and salvific work of Christ for the first 1000 years of Christianity. In this view when Jesus died he descended to the lower reaches of the earth where all the spirits of the dead reside. There he ministered to them and preached the gospel so that all might hear and have a chance to respond. Then he burst the bounds of hell and death and led a train of those once captive spirits to freedom with God in heaven. Support for this comes from Ephesians 4:8-10 and 1 Peter 3:19. In the new formulation, Jesus continues this ministry to all. Just as Jesus revealed himself to those who died before his life and they had an opportunity to declare faith in him, since as God Jesus is outside time, this event is for all time not just the past. And thus, Jesus continues to make himself known to people who might not have responded to the gospel in this life, but have one final chance after death.

While, I really value the liberation aspects of the Christus Victor idea, I'm not quite ready personally to swallow the more modern revisionist form of it. My own thought tends more to the direction of our heart being the final determining factor. I see a gracious God, a God who knows me probably better than I know myself. A God who died for me when I was yet a sinner and who wills that no one be lost. So, I think he gives us every chance. And based on the idea of John 14:6 -- "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." -- what so many others see as exclusivity, I see exactly the opposite. I see here that no one will come to the Father except by Christ, but in no way do I see this excluding anyone. For I believe that there may be people brought to the Father by Christ who have no idea that this is what is in fact happening to them. I see Jesus in his grace looking into the hearts of men and women everyone and saying, "Though this one did not every claim it, perhaps was not even aware of my existence, I know him/her and this heart is the type that belongs in my kingdom. Therefore, I'm claiming him/her as one who belongs to me. I will take this one home to be with the Father. So, not in our own efforts, not even by our acts of faith, but purely by the activity of God's grace Jesus becomes for us the way to the Father. But for who this is true, I can't tell you. I only know that he promises it for those who trust in him (belief and trust being synonyms), and for the rest we will just have to wait and see.
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glo
01-24-2010, 10:27 AM
Thank you, Grace Seeker.
I appreciate how you not only explain your own view, but that of others too.

What a powerful thought to be claimed by Jesus as one of his!
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CosmicPathos
01-24-2010, 10:39 AM
@ glo: I see that you are from the UK which was once predominantly Christian. How do you view the decline in faith in the UK which has occurred over the centuries? Do you feel sad that your country and most of the countrymen (I read that almost 50% are atheists?) have left what once used to be its essence: Christianity? I am asking this because I would personally feel quite saddened if for example my country or countrymen become increasingly secular and the government starts ruling by other than what Allah (swt) has said.
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Salahudeen
01-24-2010, 01:18 PM
I think if Britain was more Christian there would be less crime, less teenage pregnancies between unmarried teenagers and less abortions. And what gets shown on media like TV would be strictly moderated.

Infact that's how it used to be in Britain if I'm not wrong , it used to be very praticing Christian, like if a women had sex or a baby outside of marriage she would be looked down up in society.

And women would dress more modestly, I remember some one saying but I can't remember the time period I think it was 1940s or something, but over the decades we've seen a decline in these values and a increase in ....
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YusufNoor
01-24-2010, 01:32 PM
Originally Posted by glo
Muslims and Christians make quite a thing of people accepting or converting to the faith before death, and making a public statement of some kind to do so.
The deathbed conversion seems to be the last chance to enter either faith.

I would like to explore this further.

Is there specific written evidence that suggests conversion has to happen 'whilst alive'? Or do we pursue this as believers, because - of course - after death a conversion would be unknown to us?

Is it possible that we can accept a faith after death, perhaps as we enter into the 'other world' and meet with God or his angels?

Please let me know what you think and understand about this, and give evidence where you can.
Comments from Muslims and Christians and anybody else are invited. :)

Thank you.
there IS a hadeeth about a "woman" who at one point gives water to a thirsty dog. according to the hadeeth, she is granted Jannah. was she a Muslim before she died? Allah knows best!

Allah's Mercy is such that we aren't even familiar with 99% of it. THUS, to those whom He grants entrance into Jannah SOLELY by His Mercy, even if only based on 1 act of kindness, i'm willing to gamble and say that THAT person AT THAT TIME would now be classified as a believer!

i just can't imagine someone being resurrected, being granted Jannah and having them "turn it down" or them having an argument with Allah.

:wa:
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glo
01-24-2010, 02:58 PM
Greetings, Wa7abiScientist

I won't reply to your question is this post, because it really has nothing to do with the topic I am trying to explore in this thread. I hope you understand. :)

If you are really interested in my thoughts on your question, give me some time and I will try to remember to answer you via PM.
(In fact, I am about to go out on my afternoon stroll. I will ponder your question while I'm doing that. :))
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