The concept of the Day of Resurrection is a phenomenon of great importance in the belief systems of all divine religions. About this Day, the holy Qur’an declares:
فَكَيْفَ تَتَّقُونَ إِن كَفَرْتُمْ يَوْمًا يَجْعَلُ ٱلْوِلْدَٰنَ شِيبًا
“So how will you, if you persist in unbelief, save yourself from a Day which will turn the children gray-haired?” (Muzzammil: 17). The day here is in reference to the Resurrection Day.
In Islam, belief in the Resurrection constitutes part of the six (6) pillars of faith without which one is not regarded as a true Muslim. It briefly refers to the coming back of the dead into life to render accounts of their earthly life before Allah with the good servants receiving the reward of paradise as an internal dwelling abode and the disbelieving sinners condemned to eternal life in Hell. Almost all the two major religions-Islam and Christianity-agreed on the above conceptualization of the ordeal of Resurrection after death, though with different and sometimes similar accounts leading to that, necessitating for a scriptural comparison of both accounts in the light of the Glorious Qur’an and the Bible. This will be done by considering major issues pertaining to the Resurrection.
1-The resurrection shall be a bodily phenomenon. Both Qur’anic and Biblical accounts agree on the fact that the Resurrection after death is a bodily life. The Glorious Qur’an declares:
أَيَحْسَبُ ٱلْإِنسَٰنُ أَلَّن نَّجْمَعَ عِظَامَهُۥ
بَلَىٰ قَٰدِرِينَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن نُّسَوِّىَ بَنَانَهُۥ
“Does man think that We will not reassemble his bones? Yes indeed, We are Able to reconstruct his fingertips.” (Qiyaama :3-4)
In the Bible, it is said: “… That there shall certainly be a resurrection of both righteous and the wicked” (Acts 24:14-15)
2-Resurrection of the entire Creation together. The Bible, as does the Qur’an, presents the resurrection of all the creation as occurring together, and teaches that people will be raised on a specific day in a specific hour, not several times or according to different millenniums as preached by the Premillennialists (a Christian denomination who believed that Jesus will physically return to the earth to gather His saints before the Millennium, a literal thousand-year golden age of peace.)
The Glorious Qur’an declares:
وَنُفِخَ فِى ٱلصُّورِ فَصَعِقَ مَن فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَن فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ۖ ثُمَّ نُفِخَ فِيهِ أُخْرَىٰ فَإِذَا هُمْ قِيَامٌ يَنظُرُونَ
“And the Trumpet will be sounded, whereupon everyone in the heavens and the earth will be stunned, except whomever God wills. Then it will be sounded another time, whereupon they will rise up, looking on. (Az-Zumar: 68)
According to John in the Bible: “… An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice. And will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” Bible (John 5:28-29)
3-Another concern that comes to surface is the justice and fairness with regards to adherents and non-adherents to the Qur’an and adherents and non-adhrents of the Bible facing punishment.
The first thesis is that of punishment, this being the purpose of hell. Both Christianity and Islam define the purpose of hell as to retributively punish those whose earthly lives and behavior warrant it. What is understood logically is both heaven and hell are created out of God’s divine justice. The Qur'an talks in several places about the separation of the good doers and evil doers:
The Qur’an declares:
وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ ٱلسَّاعَةُ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَفَرَّقُونَ
فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتِ فَهُمْ فِى رَوْضَةٍ يُحْبَرُونَ
وَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ وَكَذَّبُوا۟ بِـَٔايَٰتِنَا وَلِقَآئِ ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ فَأُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ فِى ٱلْعَذَابِ مُحْضَرُونَ
“On the Day when the Hour takes place-on that Day they will separate. As for those who believed and did good deeds-they will be delighted in meadows. But as for those who disbelieved, and rejected Our signs and the encounter of the Hereafter-those will be hauled into the torment. ( Ar-Rum: 14-16).
In the Bible, it is read in Matthew 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
However, according to Christianity, regardless of a man’s ill doings, since he was a ‘believer’ in Jesus, he will be forgiven as per the Doctrine of Atonement, whilest non-adherents to the Christian faith will abide by Hell forever. Thus a Christian who commits even the most heinous crime against humanity will go free of accountability because their sins were carried by Jesus (peace be upon him). This doctrine however disagrees with the sayings of Jesus (peace be upon him) as recorded in Ezekiel 18:20 : "The person who sins will die. The son shall not bear the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”
In Revelation 21:8 it is said: “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
It must however be mentioned that, those who hold the sound faith in Islamic monotheism but perpetrated some sins other than idol worship may be forgiven by Allah if He so wills, or be punished in the hell fire as a retribution for their sins. These Muslims will however be removed from the Hell fire and then made to enter paradise for eternal life. Thus on the day of Resurrection the only people who shall be condemned to eternal punishment in the Hell are the disbelievers in Islam. The holy Qur’an declares:
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِۦ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَٰلًۢا بَعِيدًا
“God will not forgive that partners be associated with Him; but will forgive anything less than that, to whomever He wills. Anyone who ascribes partners to God has strayed into far error”. (An-Nisaa’ :116)