by Mehdia Tariq
The story of God has always intrigued people from all different faiths, times, and places. It has been a question that nearly everyone has pondered over and a journey that all take at some point in their life. Morgan Freeman takes us on this journey in the new National Geographic documentary, The Story of God.
The first episode tackles the question— what happens after we die? In the episode Freeman discusses the beliefs of the life after death in the ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, Christians, and Hindu doctrines. For the ancient Egyptians spells were carved into the walls of the grave to guide their dead through the underworld, for the Aztecs human sacrifice was made, for the Christians, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for their eternal peace, and for the Hindus their good deeds brought them closer to Moksha. No matter how different the beliefs of life after death were the main goal was to achieve a sort of eternal peace. Even science has begun to quantify death and define the soul. Freeman met a robot, which stored the thoughts, belief and emotions of the maker’s spouse. The maker wanted to hold on to his spouse even after she died so he made this thinking machine.
Just like the doctrines mentioned in the episode, Islam also believes in achieving eternal peace not only in this life but also the life after death. Based on the teachings of the Quran and the traditions of Muhammad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad presented that life after death would not be material. Instead, it would be of a spiritual nature of which we can only visualize some aspects. It is our submission to the will of God and our good morals that will beautify our soul in this life as we begin to enjoy spiritual pleasures instead of carnal pleasures. This beauty that is innate within us is the first spark to eternal peace. We find contentment in our heart. We enjoy sacrifice instead of indulgence, forgiveness instead of revenge, and love with no selfish motives. It is a new birth within our soul, and that is the entity that carries on to the next life. This new birth would be related to our soul in the same way our soul and our physical body is related in this life.
Whether it is a spiritual essence or a reincarnation, death is an inevitable truth that we have always struggled to understand. No matter if you are a person of faith or an atheist, when we loose our most loved ones, we struggle to understand and accept what has happened and where they might be. It is part of being a human being to ponder over such truths like death. It is in these losses and questions that we should recognize the immense similarities we have as humans no matter what our faith or color is. In the documentary Freeman ended the show emphasizing the similarities we have in that we all feel the pain of death and we all keep our loved ones alive in our memories. I believe this documentary gives hope that the Story of God unites us as humans rather than dividing us.