This lunch time our conversations focused more on the afterlife than the present life. The students shared their view of life after death from a Muslim perspective: that when you die, your soul is taken through the 7 levels of heaven up to God, but you won’t see God – just a part of his glory, then you go back to the grave and you sleep until the day of judgement, whilst you are ‘sleeping’ in the grave – you are kept company by either an angel with sweet smells or a demon that continually hits your limbs until your soul comes out. Once the day of judgement arrives you will be asked 3 questions – Who is your God? Who is your prophet? Who is this man? those who give the right answers and have done more ‘good’ deeds than bad are taken to be with God in paradise, those who cannot answer those questions correctly are taken to hell for eternal fire and torture. However, those who die martyrs for Allah are taken straight to heaven – bypassing this process.
I then shared with them my Christian view of the afterlife – that when you die you are dead. You are asleep waiting for Jesus to return to the earth. When Jesus returns to Earth every soul will be woken and the sheep will be separated from the goats (as in Matthew 25) and those ‘sheep’ will be taken to heaven for 1000 years where they will judge the earth. Those left on the earth will wait with Satan and his angels on the Earth for 1000 years, with Satan rallying support for his army against God. After 1000 years are up, God and the Saints will return to the Earth and God will destroy the earth with fire (with the fallen angels and those people who didn’t make it to heaven), and Satan will be locked up forever. Defeated.
Our conversations then diverged onto the topic of how you are saved, and in collaboration – our differing concept of the love of God. The students shared that the five pillars are prerequisites for going to heaven. They all count toward your ‘good’ deeds and earn you the reward of paradise with God – this life is therefore a test for the afterlife – with the reward a place in paradise. The essence of Islam: you save yourself – no one will be there with you on the day of judgement.
The conversation ended here as the class for the final lesson of the day started to enter the room and we wrapped up – we’ll continue next week, with me sharing the Christian view on the love of God and how Christians are saved.