What is the Islamic view of reincarnation (tanasukh)?


A lady from Austria wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa that people from different cultures, some Muslim sects and Muslim scholars and many other religions had expressed their views about reincarnation, an overview of which was as follows: God Almighty reincarnates man in order to establish justice. He brings man into the world repeatedly, so that he may go through different experiences like poverty, wealth, sickness and health etc., because it would be unjust for man’s soul to go through only one experience. 

She asked what the position of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was on this issue and whether the Promised Messiahas or any of his caliphs had said anything in this regard.

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 6 September 2021, provided the following guidance on this issue:

“The doctrine of reincarnation, in fact, stems from not understanding and not believing in the life of the hereafter, which is the eternal life. It is the result of unfamiliarity with God’s nature and His attributes, especially the attributes of creation, sovereignty and various other attributes related to His Rahmah, such as generosity, effacing of sins, forgiveness and mercy, etc. As per the doctrine of reincarnation, God Almighty is compelled not to grant everlasting salvation to any human being. If a person wishes to attain salvation by repenting from his wanderings and misdeeds during his life, God is unable to grant it to him, merely on account of his repentance and pure transformation. Rather, that person must, according to the doctrine of reincarnation, re-enter the world in another state, even if it means departing from human existence and transmigrating into a dog, a monkey or a pig. Moreover, this false doctrine also prevents a person from following the paths of purity, because, as a result of believing in this doctrine, it is possible, for instance, that the woman he marries in the reincarnated life, may have been his mother, sister or grandmother in the previous life. Apart from this, there are many other absurd and nonsensical aspects of this doctrine. 

“The Promised Messiahas has refuted this un-Islamic doctrine of reincarnation, which is completely inconsistent with the attributes and nature of God Almighty, in a very detailed and reasoned manner in several of his works (including The Philosophy of the Teachings of IslamChasma-e-Ma‘rifatArya DharamQadian Ke Arya Aur Hum). From among those works of the Promised MessiahasThe Philosophy of the Teachings of IslamChasma-e-Ma‘rifatQadian Ke Arya Aur HumLecture Lahore and Lecture Sialkot have also been translated into Arabic and are available online, along with their Arabic translations. [For the English translation of the Promised Messiah’sas works, visit www.lislam.org/books/hazrat-mirza-ghulam-ahmad — Editor, Al Hakam] There you will be able to find the Promised Messiah’sas refutation of the doctrine of reincarnation. As an example, the following excerpt from one of his works is reproduced below. Huzooras states:

“‘Transmigration — the returning of the souls to this world in different forms — is the other aspect of their doctrine which relates to the creation. Despite all their claims to reason and rationality, the Aryas believe that Parmeshwar is a hardhearted being who punishes the souls for millions of years as a penalty for a single sin and keeps throwing them back into the cycle of transmigration even though they are not His creation and He has no right over them. Would it not be more appropriate to punish them for a specific number of years, as earthly governments do? Greater punishment can only be justified if one has an equally greater right over the guilty, but when all particles and souls are self-existent and the Parmeshwar has no right over them — except, perhaps to cast them into repeated rebirths — He is surely not entitled to put them through such a long punishment.

“‘In Islam, although God says that He is the Creator of every particle and every soul, and the Source of all their powers, their life and their existence, He still says: 

اِلَّا مَا شَآءَ رَبُّكَ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيۡدُ

“‘i.e., they will dwell in hell for eternity, but this eternity should not be confused with God’s eternity, it only means a long period of time after which His mercy will intervene, for He is the Almighty and does what He wills. [Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.108] This verse has been explained in a Hadith where our lord and master, the Holy Prophetsa, says:

يأتي علٰي جهنّم زمانٌ ليس فيها احدٌ ونسيم الصّبا تحرّك أبوابها

“‘i.e., a time shall come upon hell when no one will be left in it, and its gates shall be moved to and fro by the morning breeze.

“‘But the Aryas present God as a rancorous and unforgiving being whose fury is never appeased and who does not forgive sins even after putting the souls through the cycle of transmigration for billions of years. […]

“‘Further proof of the falsity of the concept of transmigration is that it is contrary to the true moral and ethical values. For instance, when a man takes a woman for his wife, how can he be sure that she is not his mother or sister or granddaughter who might have died earlier on? Would such a person not be breaking the Vedic law by contracting such a marriage? Such a situation could be avoided if every child was born with a written record of its parentage in its past lives, but since no such arrangement has apparently been made by Parmeshwar, would one not be justified in believing that He Himself desires to spread such evil?

“‘We also find it difficult to understand what the transmigration of souls is really meant to achieve. Salvation — mukti — undoubtedly depends upon God-realisation — gayan — and if this is what transmigration is meant to achieve, then why is it that a soul loses all the stock of knowledge and awareness it has so laboriously earned in its past lives, and without which there can be no question of salvation. We see that every child comes into the world utterly devoid of knowledge, just like a spendthrift who has squandered away all his fortune and finds himself penniless. Even if one has read the Vedas a thousand times in his previous life, he will not remember even a page of it. It is hard to see how a soul can ever be delivered from the cycle of transmigration when it keeps losing all its stock of knowledge and awareness acquired in its past lives.

“‘The souls are indeed ill-fated, for they do not only lack God-realisation — gayan — to become deserving of salvation, but, according to the Arya belief, their salvation also lasts a short period of time after which they are thrown back into the cycle of transmigration.’ (Lecture Lahore, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 20, pp. 170-172)”

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here