Death (isl.)

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(Arab. Maut, Turk. Ölüm)

Death means the end of life. Death is a consequence of the dissolution of the unity of body and soul. Muslim scholars have tried to explain death in the context of the definition of the relationship between body and soul.

There are two different positions. According to one view, the soul is considered a variable property (accident), while the other view holds the soul to be an immutable substance. This results in two interpretations of death: Those who define the soul as accidental assume that it cannot continue to exist after the death of the body, as it is necessarily connected with the body. In this case, the presence of the soul in the body means life, while its departure means death. A renewed life is possible only through re-awakening of the person, or through the individual’s re-creation. In the Qur’an, this view is expressed in the idea that on Judgement Day both heaven and earth, and every single person, will be created anew. Yet these people brought into existence through their creation anew will maintain the same traits that they had developed in their previous respective identities (14:48). The deceased is thus created anew, in his or her complete mental and physical state.

Other Muslim scholars consider the soul connected to the body to be indestructible and understand death as a separation of body and soul. In contrast to the above view, here the existence of the soul is not predicated on the body; hence, the soul exists independently of the body. According to this view, the body is reduced to a tool, one subordinate to the soul.

Death – whether of body and soul, or of the body alone – is an event that befalls every living being. The Islamic religion states that the phenomenon of death signifies only the transition from one area of existence to another existence, from life in the world to life in the hereafter. Seen in this way, then, death does not mean destruction or end, but rather a transition from a finite existence to an infinite one.

Şaban Ali Düzgün

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