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We believe that a true and comprehensive understanding of Islam would not be possible without careful recognition of the Prophetic Tradition and the Prophet's Household. And Allah is the Source of Strength.

Possibility of Raj'aat; The Return

This paper is a submission by Ghulam Abbas.
You can contact her through her email address []

Raj'aat ro Raj'ah is one of the few issues within Shiaism itself which divides the followers into two opposing groups. Both the groups have rights to believe in what convinces them but I hope that the banner of the Ahlulbayt (AS) is a greater source of strength and unity amongst their followers as compared to the power of the controversial beleifs to create disunity.

Raj'ah literally means the return;

Raj'a refers to the belief that before the day of qiyama, when the twelfth Imam (AS) reappears, Allah (SWT) will cause a number good and evil people to arise. Those who have done very good will triumph of the evildoers. Shi'a theologians have inferred ra'ja from Qur'anic verses like 2:55-56 and 45:26

It is the belief that after the twelfth Holy Imam (as) will establish the kingdom of peace, all the Imams (as) will return one after another to rule over this Islamic kingdom. It is also referred to as Al Karra sometimes.

If i was to believe and follow traditions blindly without reasoning them, analyzing them and weighing them against Quran, I was better off believing that Umer will be the next prophet  (God Forbid) as Sunnis quote traditions to support this blasphemous concept as well. But because I follow the Rasool (SAW) and his Ahluilbayt (AS), it is my duty to verify anything that I come accross and balance them against the Furqan, the distinguisher of Haqq from Baatil.

Raj'a is not a part of the Shia Usool e Deen and does not influence any Froo e Deen. It is neither a part of any fundamental beleifs of Islam and neither is directly communicated through the Quran (except through interpretations, which are not binding to be followed if found unconvincing). If it indeed is a part of Islam, then there is absolutely no proof of it being Haqq besides traditions, which can be challenged, but if it is not a part of Islam, then it becomes an innovation.

Because we are all answerable for our own actions based on our intentions, we must reason everything that we believe. 

Is the Rajjat conceptually flawed?

There�s no doubt about Allah being able to bring people to life after death. He can raise any one any time for any or no reason. As he says in the criterion:

What! do they not consider how Allah originates the creation, then reproduces it? Surely that is easy to Allah.
Quran [20:19]

Say: Travel in the earth and see how He makes the first creation, then Allah creates the latter creation; surely Allah has power over all things.
Quran [20:20]

Allah is able to give people lives after they have died. Let alone God, his creations, his Prophets, anyone who Allah gives the authority can bring people back from the dead;

And (make him) a messenger to the children of Israel: That I have come to you
with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust like the form of a bird,
then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah's permission and I heal the blind
and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah's permission and I inform you of
what you should eat and what you should store in your houses; most surely there is a sign
in this for you, if you are believers.
Quran [3:49]

In the past, there have been many instances about raising of the dead:

And when you said: O Musa! we will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook you while you looked on. Then We raised you up after your death that you may give thanks.
 Quran [2:55-56]

And when Ibrahim said: My Lord! show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He
said: What! and do you not believe? He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease. He said: Then take four of the birds, then train them to follow you, then place on every mountain a part of them, then call them, they will come to you flying;
and know that
Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Qiram [2:260]

Or the like of him (Uzair) who passed by a town, and it had fallen down upon its roofs; he said: When will Allah give it life after its death? So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him to life. He said: How long have you tarried? He said: I have tarried a day, or a part of a day. Said He: Nay! you have tarried a hundred years; then look at your food and drink-- years have not passed over it; and look at your ass; and that We may make you a sign to men, and look at the bones, how We set them together, then clothed them with flesh; so when it became clear to him, he said: I know that Allah has power over all things.
Quran [2:259]

Allah, who is the Mighty, the Wise, who has created us and this universe, can regenerate millions like us. It is easier for Allah to recreate creation and to bring back the dead to life than for us to blink our eyes.

He may, if he wills, make us die then bring us back to life several times. The point is, will He bring the Prophets and Imams to life again to punish the ones who disobeyed? Logically speaking, if that was true, what purpose would the Day of Judgment serve? 

Believers in the traditions of Rajja'at quote a few Quranic verses to support their claims.

They shall say: Our Lord! twice didst Thou make us subject to death, and twice hast Thou given us life, so we do confess our faults; is there then a way to get out?
Quran [40:11]

Some believe that there are two rising ups of people. The first one during Rajja'at, where the dead will be brought back to life and be rewarded or punished by the ruling Imams and / or Prophets while the second rising up will be at Qayamah.

However, these 40:11 is simply about Qayama�ah, and not Rajja�at.

How do you deny Allah and you were dead and He gave you life? Again He will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him.
Quran [2:28]

The human ego, which was not as it is now - a conscious self - is addressed here. The previous state is termed as "being dead". "Giving life" is the present conscious state. The departure of the conscious self from the body is death. The state after this departure is revivification. It is a continuous evolutionary transformation of a conscious self upto the communion with the infinite, not in the sense of annihilation, nor the absorption of the finite into the infinite, but in the sense of the realisation of the fact that nothing is real save Allah.
Tafseer of Surah 2, Verse 28, by Aqa Mahdi Puya

The first death was when we were non-existent, only souls, in Aalam e arwaah, not being given life. Then we were given our first life and were sent into this world through the process of birth. Then we go through the second death, the death after being sent to this world, after the physical life spent here, the death as we know it. After this, we are given life a second and the final time; raising up of all men from their graves, on the day of judgment, after the trumpet blows.

Even if we consider the life before our birth not as death (which the Quran clearly tells us), incorporating Rajja'at in our life cycle never adds up to two deaths and 2 lifes.

It will either be 3 deaths and 3 lifes, (Death 1: Before birth - Life 1: Birth - Death 2: Departure of soul from our mortal body - Life 2: Rajja'at, returning back from the death - Death 3: Death at the noise of the Trumpet -  Life 3: Raising up for Qayammah) or 2 deaths and 3 lifes (Life 1: Birth - Death 1: Departure of soul from our mortal body - Life 2: Rajja'at, living back from the death - Death 2: Death at the noise of the Trumpet - Life 3: Raising up for Qayammah)

And on the day when We will gather from every nation a party from among those who rejected Our communications, then they shall be formed into groups.
Quran [27:83]

In Tafsir al-Qummi, it is reported from Ibn Abi �Umayr, from Hammad, from Abu �Abd Allah (al-�Imam) Ja�far al-Sadiq (peace be upon him), that he said: What do people say about this ayah �And on the Day when We will collect from every people a party�? (Hammad says:) I replied: They believe this to be on the Day of Resurrection. He (�a) said: It is not that which they claim, but it is verily about the raj�ah (restoration to life) ... is it proper for Allah to resurrect a party of every Ummah (community) and leave the rest? (No) but the ayah on Resurrection (Day) be this one: �We will gather them (and) then leave not behind, of them any one.� (18:47).  It is also reported in the book �Aqa�id al-�Imamiyyah of al-Shaykh Muhammad Rida al-MuZaffar, that he said: The belief held by the Imamiyah in accordance with what is reported from Al al-Bayt (the Prophet�s Household), peace be upon them, that Allah, the Most High, will resurrect a group of the dead and return them to the world (dunya), with the same shapes they were before, dignifying some and humiliating some others, distinguishing between the rightful from falsifiers and the oppressed from the oppressors. This shall occur during the reappearance and rise of al-Mahdi of Al Muhammad, upon him and them be the best benediction and peace.

Firstly, Rajjat teaches that the best of the believers will also be raised along with the worst of the disbelievers. This verse, however, completely ignores the gathering of the believers.

Secondly, at other places in Quran, Allah has talked of the judgment day, and described the mankind to be moving in the form of small crowds. He, when painting the scene of dooms day, tells us about people going in groups towards His throne.

Surely the day of decision is (a day) appointed: The day on which the trumpet shall be blown so you shall come forth in hosts (crowds/ groups), And the heaven shall be opened so that it shall be all openings, And the mountains shall be moved off so that they shall remain a mere
Quran [78:17-20]

So it shall only be a single cry, when lo! they shall see. And they shall say: O woe to us! this is the day of requital. This is the day of the judgment which you called a lie. Gather together those who were unjust and their associates, and what they used to worship. Besides Allah, then lead them to the way to hell.
Quran [37:19-23]

Another verse about stratification of people being driven to hell; 

And those who disbelieve shall be driven to hell in companies; until, when they come to it, its doors shall be opened, and the keepers of it shall say to them: Did not there come to you messengers from among you reciting to you the communications of your Lord and warning you of the meeting of this day of yours? They shall say: Yea! But the sentence of punishment was due against the unbelievers.
Quran [39:71]

There are different grades in hell; for different classes of sinners, there are both major and minor sins. The people differ in their actions.

And all have degrees according to what they do; and your Lord is not heedless of what they do.
Quran [6:132]

The grouping God mentioned is of that sort, where sinners of different grades are formed in to different groups.

It has seven gates; for every gate there shall be a separate party of them (who follow satan).
Quran [15:44]

Almost bursting for fury. Whenever a group is cast into it, its keeper shall ask them: Did there not come to you a warner? They shall say: Yea! indeed there came to us a warner, but we rejected (him) and said: Allah has not revealed anything, you are only in a great error. And they shall say: Had we but listened or pondered, we should not have been among the inmates of the burning fire. So they shall acknowledge their sins, but far will be (forgiveness) from the inmates of the burning fire.
Quran [67:8-11]


And on the day that the enemies of Allah shall be brought together to the fire, then they shall be formed into groups
Quran [41:19]

And those who are careful of (their duty to) their Lord shall be conveyed to the garden in companies; until when they come to it, and its doors shall be opened�
Quran [39:73]

So both wrong doers and righteous are formed into groups amongst themselves, then move to hell and heaven, respectively.

Coming back to the original topic of discussion, moving around in small groups, picking of parties from nations, as mentioned in 27:83, doesn�t mean it�s rajja�at and not qayaamaah. This is exactly how Allah has described the day of ressurection in many other verses, which are presented. 27:83 tells us how the worst of the people will be segregated from the rest and formed into a seperate distinguishable group at Qayamah and will be face the severest punishment with respect to their deeds.

And most certainly We will make them taste of the nearer chastisement before the greater chastisement that haply they may turn.
Quran [32:21]

On the commentary of the verse "And most certainly We shall make them taste of the nearer punishment before the greater punishment (32:21)," Mufadhdhal Ibn Umar narrated:
Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said: "The 'nearer punishment' is the punishment of al-Raj'a (i.e., when they return to this world). And the 'greater punishment' is the punishment of the Day of Judgment about which (Allah said) 'On the day when the earth shall be changed into a different earth, and the heavens (as well), and they shall come forth before Allah, the One,
the Supreme (14:48).'"

al-Bihar, v53, p24

Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS), one of the holy imams, signs of God, knew the Quran inside out. Being an Imam, he (AS), by our beliefs, possessed the knowledge, which was transferred from Rasool (SAW) himself, Imam to Imam. His explanations and commands are a must for us, only if proven that they really are his (AS).

I don�t understand, when God already explains the verse Himself several times in Quran, where He says evildoers will be reprimanded on their deeds in this world and the hereafter, why would this �nearer� chastisement be considered rajja�ah. The worldly chastisements will be the nearer reprimand.

Do they then who plan evil (deeds) feel secure (of this) that Allah will not cause the earth to swallow them or that punishment may not overtake them from whence they do not perceive? Or that He may not seize them in the course of their journeys, then shall they not escape; Or that He may not seize them by causing them to suffer gradual loss, for your Lord is most surely Compassionate, Merciful.
Quran [16:45-47]

He chastises whom He pleases and has mercy on whom He pleases, and to Him you will be turned back. And you cannot escape in the earth nor in the heaven, and you have no protector or helper besides Allah.
Quran [29:21-22]

Hence, the chastisement is not only of the here after, but it may come from anywhere unexpected, being the near chastisement.

And had it not been that Allah had decreed for them the exile, He would certainly have punished them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have chastisement of the fire.
Quran [59:3]

This is about the Jews of Bani Nadir who disregarded their agreement signed with messenger of Allah (saw), by trying to kill Rasul Allah (saw). Because of this conspiring against Prophet (saw), they were asked to leave the strategic position they were located at. They initially disagreed, relying on their fortresses and secret alliances, but when the Muslims marched towards them they had to leave. And then they were punished by God, as they had to demolish their properties by themselves, the same fortresses which they thought will save them from God�s wrath.

Thus if the Banu Nadir were not made to leave their houses, and demolish their own constructions, they�d have been put through some other punishment for what they did, in this world. They will be punished separately in the here after, as per word of Allah.

So We sent on them a furious wind in unlucky days, that We may make them taste the chastisement of abasement in this world's life; and certainly the chastisement of the hereafter is much more abasing, and they shall not be helped.
Quran [41:16]

So when they saw it as a cloud appearing in the sky advancing towards their valleys, they said: This is a cloud which will give us rain. Nay! it is what you sought to hasten on, a blast of wind in which is a painful punishment,
Quran [46:24]

So when Our decree came to pass, We turned them upside down and rained down upon them stones, of what had been decreed, one after another.
Quran [11:82]

And Ad and Samood and the dwellers of the Rass and many generations between them. And to every one We gave examples and every one did We destroy with utter destruction. And certainly they have (often) passed by the town on which was rained an evil rain; did they not then see it? Nay! they did not hope to be raised again.
Quran [25:38-40]

Reprimand is both in this world and the world after, depending on the deviation of an individual from the right path.

Allah has chastised the previous nations in this world, which was the 'nearer chastisement', and will chastise them with the 'greater chastisement', which will be Qayamah itself.

And it is binding on a town which We destroy that they shall not return.
Quran [21:95]

Muhammad Ibn Muslim as well as Abu Basir narrated: On the commentary of verse: "And (We) have made binding on the society which We destroyed that they shall not return. (21:95)" Imam al-Baqir (AS) and Imam al-Sadiq (AS) both said: "Every society that Allah has destroyed by punishment do not return in al-Raj'a. Thus this verse is one of the greatest signs for al-Raj'a since no one among the People of Islam denies that all people return in the Day of Judgment whether they are destroyed by punishment or not. Therefore His saying 'they shall not return' points to al-Raj'a (returning to the world). This is while they shall return to the Day of Judgment in order to enter the Fire."
Tafsir Ali Ibn Ibrahim, as quoted in al-Bihar, v53, p52, Hadith #29

 Fair enough. However the verse must be seen in the sequence of release.

And it is binding on a town which We destroy that they shall not return. (until) Even when Gog and Magog are let loose and they shall break forth from every elevated place. And the true promise shall draw nigh, then lo! the eyes of those who disbelieved shall be fixedly open: O woe to us! surely we were m a state of heedlessness as to this; nay, we were unjust.
Quran [21:95-97]

Looking at the Arabic: Laa yarjeyun � will not return, Hatta � till, Izaa � when; so the translation becomes a little different than what Shakir has translated. And that is how the other two main translators have translated the verse:

Until the Gog and Magog (people) are let through (their barrier), and they swiftly swarm from every hill.
Quran [21:96], Translation by Yusuf Ali

Until, when Gog and Magog are let loose, and they hasten out of every mound,
Quran [21:96], Translation by Pickthal

The society that God has destroyed will not be brought to life again 'until' Gog and Magog have appeared and Qayama�ah approaches. It simply means they, the dead and the destroyed, will not be raised until the invasion of the God and Magog followed by Qayamah.

One verse again is of interest:

Most surely what you are threatened with must come to pass. So when the stars are made to lose their light, And when the heaven is rent asunder, And when the mountains are carried away as dust, And when the messengers are gathered at their appointed time To what day is the doom fixed? To the day of decision
Quran [77:7-13]

It clearly says that this is the day when messengers will be gathered at their Appointed Time. This is The Decission Day � the Day of Judgment. This again points out that the messengers will not return before Qayamah, where as Rajjat teaches us the return of the Imams along with some or all prophets.

We must also realize that Allah has never warned any of the creation against Rajjah but has always warned against the Qayamah;

O people! guard against (the punishment of) your Lord and dread the day when a father shall not make any satisfaction for his son, nor shall the child be the maker of any satisfaction for his father; surely the promise of Allah is true, therefore let not this world's life deceive you, nor let the archdeceiver deceive you in respect of Allah.
Quran [31:33]

To summarize;  

It is irrelevant if Rajjah will occur or not, for we know for sure that we all will return again, on the day of Qayamah and that day is to be feared by the believers. This life which we have, is our only chance to prove the worth of our existence; we must not waste this chance.

Islam is simple and Allah has made our lives easy, let us not complicate things on purpose.

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