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Offline Adil Husain

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What does it mean to die twice ?
« on: May 30, 2013, 11:39:12 AM »
40:11
[Progressive Muslims]
They will Say: "Our Lord, You have made us die twice, and You have given us life twice. Now we have confessed our sins. Is there any way out of this path"

40:11
[Abdel Haleem]
They will say, ‘Our Lord, twice You have caused us to be lifeless and twice You have brought us to life. Now we recognize our sins. Is there any way out?’

40:11
[Yusuf Ali]
The will say: "Our Lord! Twice hast Thou made us without life, and twice hast Thou given us Life! Now have we recognized our sins: Is there any way out (of this)?"

Yusuf Ali's Tafseer for 40:11:
4371. Cf. Sura 2:28. "How can ye reject the faith in Allah?-seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye return." Nonexistence, or existence as clay without life was equivalent to death. Then came true Life on this earth; then came physical death or the cessation of our physical life; and now at the Resurrection, is the second life.

I am not satisfied with this Tafseer . To die (for which a previous life is necessary) and to be lifeless are two different things.
Did we had a previous life before the life on this earth ?

http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=40&verse=11
'I must strive for reformation of myself and the world'

Offline HOPE

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Re: What does it mean to die twice ?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2013, 11:07:57 PM »
Salam Adil,

"  I am not satisfied with this Tafseer . To die (for which a previous life is necessary) and to be lifeless are two different things.
Did we had a previous life before the life on this earth ?"


I agree with you.  30 years ago I believed the verse was implying reincarnation.  I don't support that notion anymore but like you, I'm not satisfied with the explanations either.  At least we had some kind of existence before with consciousness to make a covenant with God that He is our Lord.

"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: What does it mean to die twice ?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2013, 11:13:15 PM »
Dear All,

May peace be with you.

Please see my response below to a similar question.

http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=116

I hope this helps, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline optimist

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Re: What does it mean to die twice ?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 07:37:15 PM »
Salam Adil,

"  I am not satisfied with this Tafseer . To die (for which a previous life is necessary) and to be lifeless are two different things.
Did we had a previous life before the life on this earth ?"


I agree with you.  30 years ago I believed the verse was implying reincarnation.  I don't support that notion anymore but like you, I'm not satisfied with the explanations either.  At least we had some kind of existence before with consciousness to make a covenant with God that He is our Lord.



Assalamu alaikum

I believe we are unnecessarily complicating things.   If we assume we had a previous life, it would then mean thrice Allah has given us life NOT twice (which will contradict the verse).   The main problem is that our minds are focused on creation story when we analyse facts (rather than Allah’s plan of evolutionary process).   The verse simply means,  before we were born into this world we were dead and Allah gave us life; then we died and again Allah has given us life. 
Kindly check the following verse; 

“How can you refuse to acknowledge God, seeing that you were lifeless أَمْوَاتًا and He gave you life, and that He will cause you to die and then will bring you again to life, whereupon unto Him you will be brought back?” (2:28)

The above verse explains only these stages (a) we were lifeless and nothing أَمْوَاتًا (b) God created us (c) we died (d) we were given life again.  It is not necessary that there should be a life earlier when Allah says we were أَمْوَاتًا “dead”.  Here the statement ‘How can you reject God when you were dead’ means that THAT was when we were created from mud.   We weren’t alive before it, that was our first time being alive.

We are not to die [again,] beyond our previous death (37:58)

Nor will they there taste Death, except the first death (they had encountered earlier). (44:56)


Look at the following verses;

And who is it that brings out the living from the dead* and the dead from the living? (10:31)

The rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead* (2:164)

A Sign for them is the earth that is dead*; We do give it life, and produce grain therefrom, of which ye do eat(36:33)

It is He Who sendeth the winds like heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy: when they have carried the heavy-laden clouds, We drive them to a land that is dead* (7:57)

*I believe, in all the above verses ‘dead’ does not necessarily mean the existence of a previous "life".

Regards,
Optimist
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline HOPE

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Re: What does it mean to die twice ?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 08:53:59 PM »
Peace Optimist,

*I believe, in all the above verses ‘dead’ does not necessarily mean the existence of a previous life.

I agree with your statement somewhat.
It appears like the chicken and egg conundrum.  In the natural world, life yields life, although the life maybe dormant or in the potential form.  When the life-sustaining conditions disappear, some plant forms lay dormant like prennials and come back to kinetic life when the time comes.  Dead land needs some kind of seed in the soil to become alive with vegetation.

God brings out the living from the dead means He causes the growing conditions to take  place for the transformation.

Remember we are not just physical beings.  The physical part comes from the matter- the mud  which houses the essence- the non physical part.  Like the analogy of hardware to software.  The Consciousness, Knowledge, Will all need  the physical body to run their programs. Maybe the ruh blown is the power to switch everything ON.

Life is a physical process, opposite of death. Is there a death by itself or does it mean lack of life just like there is no darkness or coldness.  These are stages of  light and heat respectively.
Allah knows the best.  I am only pondering to the best of my ability.

"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline optimist

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Re: What does it mean to die twice ?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 04:18:58 AM »

Allah knows the best.  I am only pondering to the best of my ability.



Nice pondering!

:)
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline optimist

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Re: What does it mean to die twice ?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 08:47:01 AM »
Salaam Hope,

Related to the topic, let me give you some more points to think about.  There are certain verses which are normally taken to mean we had a previous life, verses like, 3:81 (taking a pledge from all prophets);  and 7:172 (taking pledge from all human being), etc.  I liked Muhammed Asad transaltion for the said verses;

(7:172) AND WHENEVER thy Sustainer brings forth their offspring from the loins of the children of Adam, He [thus] calls upon them to bear witness about themselves: "Am I not your Sustainer?" - to which they answer: "Yea, indeed, we do bear witness thereto!"139 [Of this We remind you,] lest you say on the Day of Resurrection, "Verily, we were unaware of this"; (7:173) or lest you say, "Verily, it was but our forefathers who, in times gone by, began to ascribe divinity to other beings beside God; and we were but their late offspring: wilt Thou, then, destroy us for the doings of those inventors of falsehoods?"

 139 In the original, this passage is in the past tense ("He brought forth", "He asked them", etc.), thus stressing the continuous recurrence of the above metaphorical "question" and "answer": a continuity which is more clearly brought out in translation by the use of the present tense. According to the Qur'an, the ability to perceive the existence of the Supreme Power is inborn in human nature (fitrah); and it is this instinctive cognition - which may or may not be subsequently blurred by self-indulgence or adverse environmental influences - that makes every sane human being "bear witness about himself" before God. As so often in the Qur'an, God's "speaking" and man's "answering" is a metonym for the creative act of God and of man's existential response to it.

Well, according to me, if  we accept the traditional transalation to mean that this was an incident that took place before the advent of human being,  we will find it difficult to explain  the meaning of the subsequent verse that follows "lest you say on the Day of resurrection, "Verily, we were unaware of this"; or lest you say, "Verily, it was but our forefathers who, in times gone by, began to ascribe divinity to other beings beside God; and we were but their late offspring: wilt Thou, then, destroy us for the doings of those inventors of falsehoods?"    BECAUSE, since NOT ONE human being remembers such a ‘promise’ made before Allah and it does not make any sense to hold anyone responsible for violating the promise.  As per the traditional understanding it would mean that there is no need to send warners and prophets because according to the verse this pledge was sufficient enough NOT TO come up with any excuses like being unaware of the fact or being mislead by forefathers!!  However, Quran says in 17:16 that  Allah will NOT GIVE any punishment to any people or nation or towns UNLESS Allah has sent or appointed a messenger and they are sufficiently warned.

Also, the following is the translation given by Muhammed Asad for 3:81 (normally translated by classical translators to mean an incident that took place when Allah gathered all the prophets at a particular moment of time before the advent of human being).

"AND, LO, God accepted, through the prophets, this solemn pledge [from the followers of earlier revelation]: "If, after all the revelation and the wisdom which I have vouchsafed unto you, there comes to you an apostle confirming the truth already in your possession, you must believe in him and succour him. Do you" – said He – "acknowledge and accept My bond on this condition?" They answered: "We do acknowledge it."Said He: "Then bear witness [thereto], and I shall be your witness." (3:81)

This covenant was that when any subsequent prophet comes validating the claims and promises made in their scriptures, they should accept him and also aid him.  The Quran described the issue in this way to show the unity of prophethood, and uniformity of their teachings.  In fact this verse is simply stating that  this solemn pledge was associated with prophethood of each and every prophet. 

Regards,
Optimist
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline Irfan

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Re: What does it mean to die twice ?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 07:12:41 AM »

Salam bro. Optimist:
Thank you for your comments.   I agree with them fully. Just as footnote about the mysterious "death without previous life", when I saw your quotes:
<<<The rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead*  (2:164). and, A Sign for them is the earth that is dead*; We do give it life, and produce grain there from, of which ye do eat(36:33)>>>,
a notion popped up into my mind.  As brother Hope mentioned, the 'dead land' has to have some seed hidden somewhere in it that comes to life with the rainfall. I am taking that analogy to a step further: I think most of us are familiar with some basic genetics which tells us that we, other animals, and most plants, are basically are the product of a reshuffling of the pre-existing genes that happen to come from two gene pools we call 'parents' or male/female. So the "first or mystery death without prior life" depicted in the verse of "two deaths / two lives" (4:11) can perhaps be understood in this sense---that the genes are already there in existence (likened to the “dead state”), just not re-united. When a new organism--and humans are organisms--is born, this reality of the 'dead state' of genetic existence come to life.
I am still in the thinking mode… as some of say "Allah knows best", so do I.