Reincarnation According to the Idea of Karma

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Karmic belief says that after people die they return to earth in another body. In other words it means reincarnation. This is a totally unfounded and superstitious belief.

Belief in karma is an important element in superstitious eastern religions such as decadent Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning "action" or "movement". In Indian religions, karma is conceived of as "the law of cause and effect". According to those who believe in karma, in the future people will experience the consequences of whatever they have done in the past. Good comes from good, and evil from evil. It therefore follows that the situation they are in today is the result of the past.

Reincarnation-the concept that people come back to the world in another body after their death-follows from the belief in karma and is absolutely fundamental to Indian religions. The relationship between karma and reincarnation is explained in a book entitled Dinler Tarihi (The History of Religions) in the following words:

Reincarnation is the belief that the soul passes from one body into another after death. Reincarnation is part and parcel of the philosophy of karma. According to this belief, a soul is either high born or low born in terms of its degree of development. A person may be reborn as a plant, an animal, a human being or a god, depending on his or her actions. (Thus, people are the architects of their own fates.) This rebirth takes place as a result of cause and effect. By means of reincarnation, it is possible for us to be given the moral and spiritual reward of our actions. Happiness in one's next life depends on right action. Every individual is responsible for his or her own situation. There is no need to fear death. Through continuous rebirths, people achieve their desires and enjoy continual satisfaction. They live in the god Brahma. It is claimed that this belief endows the native of India with a powerful optimism.2

As we see here, the belief in karma does not imply a belief in the afterlife; in place of this, there is a belief in rebirth into this world with the same soul but in a new body. This, however, is an erroneous and superstitious belief that conflicts with what Allah tells us in the Qur'an.

Another erroneous aspect of this philosophy that calls for attention is the belief that people can be reborn as gods. This is the most superstitious and unrealistic claim ever made in the history of mankind. Such a claim is polytheism. It is an open denial of Allah's indivisibility. It is obvious that no one can be a god; there is only one God and He has not given birth to anything, nor was He given birth to. Allah is the Lord, the Creator, the Protector and the Sole God of the whole universe and of all living things. He is Unique and has no equal. Our Lord, Allah, tells us this in the Qur'an:

Say: "He is Allah, Absolute Oneness, Allah, the Everlasting Sustainer of all. He has not given birth and was not born. And no one is comparable to Him". (Surat al-Ikhlas: 1-4)

Those who hold any belief other than this have departed from the right road and it will be to their detriment in the life after death.

Every self will taste death. You will be paid your wages in full on the Day of Rising. Anyone who is distanced from the Fire and admitted to the Garden has triumphed�br> (Surah Al�mran: 185)
... Do you then bear witness that there are other gods together with Allah?�Say: � do not bear witness.�Say: �e is only One God, and I am free of all you associate with Him.�br> (Surat al_ An�m: 19)

There is no reincarnation; death and resurrection happen only once

Reincarnation is a superstitious belief unconfirmed by any divine source. However, there are people all over the world, apart from those who follow Indian religions, who believe in reincarnation, or rather would wish that the idea of reincarnation were true. The reason for this is that people who do not believe in religion, who deny the existence of an afterlife and are afraid of either ceasing to exist or of living in Hell forever after their death, see reincarnation as a way of overcoming these fears. Belief in reincarnation necessitates believing that one should not be afraid of death; it misleads one into thinking that he will achieve his desires by means of rebirth.

However, the Qur'an tells us that death and resurrection occur only once. Every one of us has only one life to live in this world; after that life, we die, and after death we are brought to life again. Then we stay in the Garden or in the Fire for eternity, depending on what we have done in this world and whether we have worshipped Allah without associating partners to Him. In other words, we only live once in this world, and then we have an afterlife, which goes on forever. The Qur'an tells us quite clearly that we will not be able to return to this world after death:

There is a ban on any city We have destroyed; they will not return. (Surat al-Anbiya: 95)

When death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back again. so that perhaps I may act rightly regarding the things I failed to do!" No indeed! It is just words he utters. Before them there is an interspace until the Day they are raised up. (Surat al-Muminun: 99-100)

As we see from these verses, when some people meet death, they cherish the hope that they will be brought back to life again. However, at that moment it will be explained to them that this is not possible. In another verse, Allah says this about our death and rising from the dead:

How can you reject Allah, when you were dead and then He gave you life, then He will make you die and then give you life again, then you will be returned to Him? (Surat al-Baqara: 28)

Every human being will inevitably die. Yet that death will only happen once, and nobody will return to Earth after death. This is a certain truth revealed by Allah in the Qur'an. Another important truth is this; Death is not the end. Death is rather the end of people's short and transitory lives in this world and the beginning of their infinite lives in the hereafter. Every individual will spend his eternal life in the hereafter in either Heaven or Hell depending on his behaviour in the life of this world.

As we see from this verse, at the very beginning we are dead: we have no existence whatsoever. Then Allah gives us life and human form from this state. Some time after this when our lives are over, our bodies decay and disintegrate into earth once again. This is our second transition to the state of being dead. All that remains is for us to rise again. This happens in the next world. We will all rise again in the afterlife; then we will understand that we can never return again to the world, and we will account for everything we did in this world.

Then when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take him, and they do not fail in their task. Then they are returned to Allah, their Master, the Real. Jurisdiction belongs to Him alone and He is the Swiftest of Reckoners.
(Surat al_ An�m: 61-62)

In other verses, it is explained to us that after we have come into this world, we will only face one single death:

They will not taste any death there-except for the first one. He will safeguard them from the punishment of the Blazing Fire. A favour from your Lord. That is the Great Victory. (Surat ad-Dukhan: 56-57)

The above verses state clearly and unequivocally that we only die once. However much one may wish to adopt superstitious beliefs such as a belief in reincarnation in order to overcome the fear of death and the afterlife and so console himself, the reality is that we will never come back to this world again after our death. Everyone will die just once, and after death, in accordance with Allah's will, we will begin our everlasting life in the next world. Allah will reward a person in the Garden or punish him in the Fire for his living a life in harmony with His unity or his covering over that truth in this world. Allah is the source of eternal justice. He is infinitely Merciful and Kind, and gives humans the true and just reward for their belief or disbelief and actions.

Seeking consolation in superstitious beliefs because of the fear of death and the fear of going to the Fire will undoubtedly bring disaster. Any intelligent and conscientious person, if they are afraid of these things, will turn to Allah with a sincere heart in the hope of going to the Garden and escaping the torments of the Fire, and they will obey the Qur'an, our sole guide to salvation, and live by the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

2- Prof. Dr. Gunay Tumer, Prof. Dr. Abdurrahman Kucuk, Dinler Tarihi (The History of Religions), Ocak Publishing, Ankara 1993, pp. 91-92

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