Atif was my best friend. Though our religious feelings and ideologies were different, it had not affected our friendship. Many of our acquaintances thought we were brothers or close relatives.
Now, Atif is no longer among the living. He was involved in a fatal car accident. At his funeral, friends, relatives and neighbours paid their respects and offered condolences to the family. After the funeral prayer, his body was buried in the graveyard with respect according to tradition and custom.
I glanced around and there were rows and rows of graves, some very old and some new. As we were walking back, I started thinking about the people who were buried there, young and old, even small children.
We come into this world, live for a while, and then death claims us. Medical science has progressed but still has no clear answer. Why do we die? How can we overcome it? Who can defy death? Not only bad but also good people die.
Both Muslims and Christians believe that there is a day coming when all the dead will be raised to face judgement. However, from the Bible we learn that there is only one person so far who gained victory over death and he is Jesus. According to the scriptures he died, was buried, and he was raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
It was not a coincidence. Before his death and resurrection Jesus knew that he was going to gain victory over death. He explained that he came to this world to give his life for many and that on the third day he would rise from the dead (Matthew 16:21; 20:28; Mark 9:31; 10:45).
Jesus being himself victorious over death, is able to grant us eternal life. According to his teaching we will depart this life, but he will raise us to eternal life. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). He claimed, “I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18). To enable us to be victorious and inherit eternal life, Jesus taught many other things which can be found in the New Testament section of the Bible. If you would like a copy in the English language, please write to the address below.
All biblical quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Published in Great Britain by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.