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WHERE IS THE SUPREME PLACE OF MUSTERING?

True knowledge of everything is with God.

The sublime wisdom which the Wise Creator displays in everything (by attaching many instances of wisdom to a single small thing) is also manifested in the revolution of the earth: it does not revolve aimlessly, rather, it draws the periphery of a huge circle into which, through its revolution, it continually empties the outcomes of all events that have occurred within it. On the Day of Judgment, everyone will see the outcome of his whole life.

This huge circle drawn by the earth through its revolution will, according to a Prophetic tradition, be centered on the area of Damascus but in its expanded form in accordance with the dimensions of the Hereafter. The outcome of all events on the earth is continually transferred to the registers or tablets of the Place of Mustering, which is yet behind the veil of the Unseen, and it will be visible on the Day of Judgment to the inhabitants of the earth in their forms peculiar to the Hereafter. The earth, as a field (of seeds to grow and be harvested for the Mustering) or as a stream (which carries forward the deeds of mankind) or a measure of grain, a bushel (which measures and empties the outcome of the deeds of mankind), will have produced by the end of time enough quantities to fill up that great Place of Mustering. The earth functions as a seed, from which the Place of Mustering will be growing, like a tree, with all its content. Just as a radiant dot becomes a radiant circle by being spun fast, so, too, the earth, so small as a dot when compared with the greatness of the universe, is a means, through its rapid and purposeful movement and with the outcome of its life, for the formation of the Place of Mustering.

WHERE IS HELL?

None but God only knows the unseen.

Say: Knowledge is only with God. (67:26)

Hell is reported in some Prophetic traditions to exist under the earth. The earth, through its yearly movement draws a large cycle which will be the place of mustering after the resurrection. This implies that Hell is under the orbit of the earth. The reason why it cannot be seen is that it consists of fire which gives no light, and accordingly is veiled. In the cycle around which the earth revolves many creatures exist though we cannot see them because they emit no light. In the same way as the moon becomes invisible when it is hidden from the light of the sun, so such spheres and creatures as emit no light cannot be seen, even though they are in front of our eyes.

There are two Hells, one minor, the other major. The minor Hell is under the earth or in its center. As geology teaches us, heat increases by one degree centigrade for every 33 meters towards the center of the earth. This means that, at the center of the earth, there is a temperature of 200,000˚C, given that the radius of the earth is six thousand kilometers. This is in agreement with a Prophetic tradition concerning the subject.

The minor Hell is employed to fulfill in this world and the intermediate one, many of the major Hellís functions. It will be expanded into the major Hell in the other world. As the earth will empty out its contents into the place of mustering, which will be built in the orbit of the earthís annual movement, so, too, it will transfer the minor Hell to the major one at the command of God. What caused some leading figures of the Muítazilite school to form the wrong opinion, namely that Hell would be created later, is that Hell has not yet been fully expanded so as to contain all its future contents. Besides, the stations of the other world are veiled from us so that, in order to see them, we would have to either have eyes as penetrating as star-light or to diminish the universe into small enough areas. The major Hell however, as implied in some Prophetic sayings, has some sort of relation with this world. Intense summer heat, for instance, is described as Ďcoming from the heat of Hellí.

Though we can neither see the major Hell with our eyes nor comprehend it with the mindís eye, we can nevertheless glimpse something of its nature through (the telescope of) the Divine Name, the All-Wise:

The major Hell appears to have deputed to the minor one, which is in the center of the earth, certain of its functions. The sovereignty of an Omnipotent One of majesty, a Wise One of perfection, Who owns the absolute power of the commanding words Be! and it is, has bound the moon to the earth, and the earth to the sun with perfect wisdom and order, and set the sun, together with its satellites, moving, according to a theory, towards the ďsun of the sunsĒ with a speed almost as great as the speed of the earthís revolution around the sun. He has also made the stars, which may be likened to the electric lamps people hang up to adorn special occasions, as luminous evidences for the sovereignty of His Lordship and the greatness of His Power. It is not impossible for such a power and wisdom to make the major Hell function as the source of the Ďheat and fireí of the stars which look to the heaven of the other world and to illuminate them with the light of Paradise. He is also able to make some sections of Hell a place of torment and a dungeon for people who deserve it. It is also not impossible for the power of the Majestic, All-Wise Creator, who makes a fruit-stone the size of a thumbnail contain a tree, to make the minor Hell encapsulate the major one until an appointed time.

In conclusion, Paradise and Hell are two fruits growing on the tip of a branch extending from the tree of creation far into eternity. They are two opposite outcomes of the chain of being. The places of these outcomes are on opposite ends of the chain, the degraded one on the lower end, and the luminous, sublime one on the upper.

Paradise and Hell are also two storerooms of the flow of worldly events and the spiritual products of the earth. One of these storerooms, which is being filled with evil products, is below while its opposite is above. They are also two pools, where two streams of beings are emptied, one carrying the wicked and foul ones while the other carries the good and pure. Paradise is the place where the Divine favor and mercy manifest themselves. And Hell is the place where the wrath and awe of God are exhibited. The Gracious, All-Merciful One, Who is the All-Majestic and All-Omnipotent, manifests Himself (through His Names and Attributes) wherever He wishes.

The existence of Paradise and Hell was clearly argued in the Tenth and Twenty-ninth Words. We would like to add here only that the existence of the fruit is as evident as that of the branch, the results as that of the chain, the storeroom as that of the products, the pool as that of the stream, and the place of manifestation as that of mercy and wrath.

How will the Place of Mustering be built, and how will people be gathered together there? Will they be naked? How will we be able to meet friends there and find Godís noble Messenger to request his intercession? How will Godís Messenger meet countless people personally? How will the people of Paradise and Hell be clothed? Who will show us the way?

The answers to those questions are found very clearly in the books of Hadith. So, I will only mention a few points relevant to our way:

The earth draws a huge circle through its annual movement and empties every year into the tablets of that circle the immaterial outcome of its yearly life - the immaterial consequences of what has happened on it throughout the year. On the Day of Judgment, the total outcome of the earthís whole life will take on the form peculiar to the Hereafter. As the earth will submit, on the Last Day, the minor hell in its center, it will also empty its contents into the Place of Mustering, which will be built on the annual orbit of the earth.

It has been decisively proved that the dead will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment and assembled in the Place of Mustering.

How a single person - Godís Messenger - will meet everyone can be proved by this analogy. Just as a single sun can be present, by virtue of being a luminary, at the same moment in countless different places, so too, Godís Messenger can, through the luminosity of his spirit, be present at the same time in thousands of different places and meet millions of people.

God Almighty supplies in this life a natural covering for His living creatures except man. So, as a requirement of His being All-Wise, He will provide a natural covering in the Place of Mustering for people who will be naked of artificial clothes. Man wears artificial clothes in this world not only to shelter from cold and heat or to cover his private parts but also as a sign of his commanding position over other species of creation and disposal of them. If this was not so, he would be clothed quite simply. Without this wisdom, requiring man to be clothed somewhat elaborately, a man dressed in rags would be ridiculed among other conscious beings. However, since this wisdom will not be sought in the Place of Mustering, there will be no need for man to be dressed in artificial clothes.

The guide for those who, like you, sheltered in the world under the light of the Quran, will be the Quran itself. Look at the opening verses of the Quran beginning with Alif-Lam-Mim, Alif-Lam-Ra and Ha-Mim, and see what an acceptable intercessor, what a true guide and what a sacred light, the Qurí-an is.

Concerning the clothes of the people of Paradise and Hell:

A man of Paradise desires to get, at the same time, uninterrupted pleasure from every section of Paradise. Paradise has innumerable kinds of beauties with which he has continual intercourse. So, he clothes himself in specimens of those beauties, thus each becoming a miniature paradise. In the same way as a man grows in his own garden a sample of each kind of flower in his country, or a shopkeeper lists the examples of the items in his shop, or a man makes a piece of furniture out of the specimens of the creatures with which he has a relation, a man of Paradise will be dressed by Godís Mercy in a special garment showing the beauties of Paradise in a way to please each sense and feeling, and satisfy each faculty, of theirs, especially one who has been able to worship God in the world with all his senses and faculties and therefore deserves all the pleasures of Paradise. The garments to be worn by the people of Paradise will not be of the same kind; every one of them, from the most outer to the most inner, is of a different level to please senses and feelings in a different way with its different particular beauties. It is likewise in accordance with wisdom and justice that, since the people of Hell committed in the world sins with their eyes, ears, hearts, hands, intellects and so on, they will be dressed in garments of different kinds which will each cause them to suffer a special torment and be like a miniature hell for them.


Recommended Reading:
What is Tenasukh (Reincarnation)? Does it conform to the teachings of Islam ?

Last Updated on October 05, 2000

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