15. "So God raiseth the dead to life, and shows you his signs, that per adventure ye may understand." (Surah 2: 67.)
C. ~ If God raised the dead to life (in the past), why does He not do so now? Will they all remain lying in their graves till the day of judgment? Is your God on tour in these days (that He cannot find time to administer justice)? Are these (raising the dead etc.) the only proofs (of the existence) of God? Are not the earth, the sun, and the moon, etc., His signs? Is the wonderful design so manifestly seen existing in the world of no significance?
Firstly, the reference is incorrect. The correct reference is 2:72-73.
Background of these verses
Let us read from verses 67-71,
"And recall when Moses said to his people: ‘Allah commands you to slaughter a cow [in order that you may swear oaths on its blood’. They replied: ‘Are you joking with us?’ ‘I seek refuge with Allah from becoming such a reckless person!’ he rejoined. They said: ‘Call on your Lord that He make known to us what should the cow be like’. Moses replied: ‘Your Lord says: “Let her be neither an old cow nor a young cow, but in between.” Do, therefore, as you are being bidden.’ They went on: ‘Call on your Lord that He make known to us what her colour shall be’. Moses replied: ‘Your Lord says: “Let the cow be golden, a bright golden pleasing to those who see [her]’. They said ‘Call on your Lord to fully explain to us the exact type of cow required for we are confused in this matter of cows. And if Allah wills we shall be rightly guided’. Moses replied: ‘Your Lord says: “Let her not be a working cow that ploughs the earth and waters the field; a cow of one colour and no other colour should be mixed in it.”’ ‘Now you have brought a clear picture,’ they answered. In this way they slaughtered that cow, and it did not look that they would do so." [Qur'an 2:67-71]
Through contact with neighbouring peoples, the Israelites had become infested with the attitude of sanctifying the cow, in fact they had even become accustomed to cow-worship. In order to disabuse the Jews of this, they were ordered to slaughter the cow. Their professed belief that God alone was worthy of worship could be tested only by making them slaughter with their own hands what they had formerly worshipped. This test was indeed a hard one since their hearts were not fully imbued with faith. Hence, they tried to shelve the issue by resorting to enquiries about the kind of animal they were required to slaughter. But the more they enquired, the narrower the strait became for them, until the indications were as obvious as if someone had put his finger precisely on the particular animal they were required to slaughter - the animal which had for so long been an object of their worship.
Now, let us turn to the verses in question,
وَإِذْ قَتَلْتُمْ نَفْسًا فَادَّارَأْتُمْ فِيهَا وَاللَّهُ مُخْرِجٌ مَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِبُوهُ بِبَعْضِهَا كَذَلِكَ يُحْيِ اللَّهُ الْمَوْتَى وَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
"And recall also the incident when you slew a man. Then [you swore false oaths and] started to blame one another for the deed and Allah decided to make known what you were concealing. So, We said: ‘Strike this [corpse] with a piece of that [cow which has been sacrificed for swearing oaths on it, and it came to life again]. In this manner, Allah will restore the dead to life and He shows you His signs that you may show understanding." [Qur'an 2:72-73]
A murder was committed among the Israelites in Moses' time. The method that God revealed to Prophet Moses to identify the killer was that the dead man's corpse be stuck with a piece of the cow which has been sacrificed. The dead man then resurrected for some time and named the murderer. At least one thing becomes clear from this statement: that the slain person was restored to life at least long enough to indicate his assassins. But the actual words in which the order 'Strike the corpse with a part of it' is couche tend to create a measure of ambiguity. Nevertheless, the meaning inferred by the early Qur'anic commentators - that the order was to smite the slain man's body with some part of the slaughtered cow - seems to me plausible. Two birds were thus killed with one stone: first, they were made to behold a sign of God's power; and second, the notion that the cow possessed any holiness or sanctity was shattered. For if the of the object of their worship - the cow - had any supernatural power, some calamity should have visited them as a consequenceof slaughtering it. But no calamity took place. On the contrary, killing the cow seemed to be beneficial insofar as striking a dead man with a part of it brought him back to life. This incident only took place once and was an exception to the norm.
The lesson in this instance was that life after death is no less a reality than life before death. Just as the dead corpse was revived, so every person will be raised up in the Hereafter and given new life.
God Almighty is not on a tour as Swamiji has said sarcastically. People who die in this world are transferred to another world altogether; an interim world between this life and the Day of Judgement. Who says that they are lying in the graves doing nothing? Listen to what the Quran says concerning Pharaoh and his followers,
النَّارُ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَيْهَا غُدُوًّا وَعَشِيًّا ۖ وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ أَدْخِلُوا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَشَدَّ الْعَذَابِ
"They are exposed to the Fire every morning and evening; and when the Last Hour will come to pass, a command shall be given: “Admit the Pharaonites to an even more severe chastisement." [Qur'an 40:46]
This verse is an express proof of the torment of barzakh, which has often been mentioned in the Traditions as the torment of the grave. Allah here has in clear words mentioned two stages of the torment; a lesser torment, which is being given now to Pharaoh and his people before the coming of Resurrection, and it is; this that they are presented before the fire of Hell morning and evening, which strikes terror in their hearts and they see the Hell which they will have to enter ultimately. After this when Resurrection comes, they will be given the real and greater punishment which is destined for them, i.e. they will be hurled into the same Hell, which they are being made to witness since the time they were drowned till today, and will continue to witness it till the Hour of Resurrection. And such a treatment is not especially meant for Pharaoh and his people: alI the culprits continue to witness the evil end, from the hour of death till Resurrection, which is awaiting them. On the other hand, the righteous people are made to see continually the pleasant picture of the good end, which Allah has got ready for them. A Tradition has been related in Bukhari, Muslim, and Musnad Ahmad on the authority of Hadrat 'Abdullah bin `Umar, saying that the Holy Prophet said: Whoever from among you dies is shown his final resting place morning and evening continually, whether he be a dweller of Paradise or of Hell. It is said to him: This is the place which you will enter when Allah will raise you back to life on the Day of Resurrection and will call you into His presence. "
Vedic literature also mentions about the Sususpta Avastha (dreamless sleep state). Shatapath Brahman mentions something similar to the Islamic concept. It is mentioned in Shatapath Brahman 11:2:7:33
"Now, as to that balance, the right (south) edge of the Vedi. Whatever good deed man does that is inside the Vedi; and whatever evil deed he does that is outside the Vedi. Let him therefore sit down, touching the right edge of the Vedi; for, indeed, they place him on the balance in yonder world; and whichever of the two will rise that he will follow, whether it be the good or the evil. And, verily, whosoever knows this, mounts the balance even in this world, and escapes being placed on the balance in yonder world; for his good deed rises, and not his evil deed."
Becuase of this state of sleep passing of time is not felt.
If only Swamiji read the Quran, he would have known that the Qur'an throughout its pages calls the wonders of the earth and heavens as signs for the people of intellect. Listen to the Quran,
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
"Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for people of understanding." [Qur'an 3:190]