The Day of Judgment

The Qur'an describes the Day of Judgment as a day of happiness for the believers and a day of panic and fear for those who rejected God. God will sort the people into groups, review their records, and either bless them with His Mercy or punish them. God is a perfect Judge, and He will be balanced and fair, taking into account every aspect of a person's life. “On that Day will men proceed in groups sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they had done. Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it” (Qur'an 99:6–8).

Islam contends that it is not consistent with God's perfect Justice that all people be treated the same, whether they were good or bad, whether they believed or disbelieved. Rather, God's Justice requires that there should be reward for faith and good works and punishment for disbelief and evil works. God's Mercy overshadows all.

The Book of Deeds

Every person on earth will have a book that contains a record of everything he or she said or did during his or her lifetime. The Qur'an explains the reaction people will have when reading their own book: “And the Book will be placed before you. And you will see the sinful in great terror, because of what is recorded therein. They will say, ‘Oh, woe to us! What book is this? It leaves out nothing, great or small, but takes account of it.’ They will find all that they did, placed before them. And not one will your Lord treat with injustice” (Qur'an 18:49).

Personal Responsibility

On the Day of Judgment, each person will be responsible only for his or her own faith and actions. In Islam, there is no concept of original sin or any sort of “fall from grace” of mankind. Islam rejects the notion of atonement, that someone (even God Himself) could sacrifice himself to save others. According to the Qur'an, “Who receives guidance, receives it for his own benefit; who goes astray does so to his own loss. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another, nor would We punish until We had sent a messenger to give warning” (Qur'an 17:15).

The Scales of Justice

The Qur'an describes how God will use perfect scales of justice to weigh a person's good and evil deeds. “We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be no more than the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it into account” (Qur'an 21:47).

Based on the results, a person will find reward in Paradise, or punishment in Hell. “Then those whose balance of good deeds is heavy, they will be successful. But those whose balance is light will be those who have lost their souls. In Hell will they abide” (Qur'an 23:102–103). Throughout this process, God will show compassion and mercy to those who strove to believe and do the right thing.

The Bridge over Hell

Islam teaches that after the Judgment, people will cross a bridge called As-Siraat (the Path). This bridge is described as being sharper than a sword and thinner than a strand of hair. Those crossing the bridge will look down and see the horrors of Hell. The blessed will go on to the open gates of Paradise, where angels will greet them in peace and welcome them. Those who are destined for punishment in Hell will fall off the bridge into the pit below.

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