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This rejoinder by Mumbai’s Moin Don to Sultan Shaheen's illogical and self-contradictory piece ‘The concept of reincarnation in Islam’ [Times of India, 2 July 2001] was sent to TOI and as was expected never saw light of the day. Moin Don ( Readers are urged to send us such pieces which are ignored by the so-called ‘national media’ (ed.)

On the basis of some unknown and insignificant work of an obscure writer, the learned author has made an unsuccessful attempt to prove that ‘the reincarnation theory’ is a part of the Islamic ideology. And while doing so, he has also hijacked the well-established concept of the ‘Life Hereafter’ which is one of the basic tenets of Islam. There is no scholar worth his name or any worthwhile literature in the past 1500 years-old Islamic history which mentions anything similar to the concept of reincarnation or even gives a faintest idea in this direction. Thus Sultan Shaheen’s article is indeed nothing less than a new revelation.

The belief in the ‘life after death’ is an article of faith for Muslims. But at the same time, it differs in totality, from the concept of reincarnation. In an attempt to prove his point, the author has drawn inference from verse 2:28 of Holy Qur'an in favour of reincarnation, which is not only far fetched, but a complete distortion of the Islamic teachings. I have in front of me five translations / commentaries of the Holy Qur'an by contemporary and past Islamic scholars, who unanimously opine that the portion “And you were dead” in the above mentioned verse is being referred to man’s state of non-existence prior to his birth in this world.

There are any number of verses and Prophet’s saying, which make this fact abundantly clear, leaving no shade of ambiguity that we all shall be resurrected (as human beings) after our death, at an appointed hour and each and every individual shall stand accountable for his deeds in front of his Lord. The usage of phrases such as ‘the day you shall meet your Lord’ and ‘your hands and feet shall stand witness against you’ leave no scope for any misunderstanding in this respect.

The Holy Qur’an does speak of ‘moksha’ or salvation, but in the following terms: ‘ And whoever is saved from the Fire of Hell and admitted into Heaven, he indeed will have succeeded.’

Islamic teachings are firmly based on the unshakable foundations of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah. Opinions of sufis, saints, times of war and peace, interest by rulers or lack of it, do not make any difference to them in any way.

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