Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Metamorphosis with Death

Most people are familiar with the butterfly's life cycle. It's born a caterpillar, it then goes to sleep inside a cocoon and when it wakes up days later it now is a butterfly. When we die, our soul separates from our body. The grave is our cocoon where we will be free of our bodies or of time. This is similar to not having a good sense of the time passing when you're sleeping or unconscious. 3 years can feel like 3 minutes, remember the "seven sleepers" (ashab-i kehf)? Our ancestors who died a million years ago will not feel they're "sleeping" longer than we will after we die. Finally, on the Judgment Day, our bodies will be recreated in a completely new form. Just like by looking at the crawling caterpillar one cannot possibly imagine it will turn into a flying butterfly, or by examining a seed it is impossible to imagine it will turn into a tree let alone to know what kind of tree, had we not seen these unbelievable changes happen before; in the same way we cannot possibly imagine what our bodies might look like in the next world. Nor can we imagine what the next world would look like, if this world is a seed, the next world is an orange tree!

Answer to 1st comment: 

There is a saying "sleep is death's little brother"; meaning just like when we sleep we experience an altered world/existence/perception of time & space, when we die we will experience a different life form. Just like the Ashab-i Kahf (Seven Sleepers) slept for 3 centuries thinking it was a day or two, people who die will not perceive time in the same way we do with our Earthly bodies. Our experience of time and space is specific to our earthly bodies and earthly lives. The spirit's perception of time & space is different, so too will the perception of our Heavenly bodies be different. We can only make inferences and guesses based on such parables and what the revelation teaches us.
Also this verse from Aşık Veysel Şatiroglu: 
"The path is one minute long, I keep on going day and night"
reminded me of this Qur'anic verse: 
79:46 (Asad) On the Day when they behold it, [it will seem to them] as if they had tarried [in this world] no longer than one evening or [one night, ending with] its morn! [19] 
Note 19 (Quran Ref: 79:46 ) (note by translator Asad)
As in many other places in the Qur’an (e.g., in 2:259, 17:52, 18:19, 20:103-104, 23:112-113, 30:55 etc.), this is a subtle indication of the illusory, earthbound nature of man's concept of "time" - a concept which, we are told, will lose all its meaning in the context of the ultimate reality comprised in the term "hereafter" (al-akhirah).(Quran Ref: 79:46 )


  1. A good post, but I couldn't understand how you concluded that we were released from time while in the grave. Could you please help me understand how you came to that conclusion? Thanks!

  2. I've been looking for an elegant way of answering this and I'm not sure I found it but here I try-hope it helps (wow took me a year :) hehe ) I'm including the answer at the bottom of the post above.