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If in islam we dont accept the concept of reincarnation then what about raja’a where by we are told that the dead will come back to life. How do we understand raja’a???



The answer to your query is well mentioned by Ayatullah Jafar Subhani. Here is the excerpt from his book, Doctrines of Shii Islam: 

The Return (Raja’a)

In the Arabic language, raja’a means ‘return’; in Shii terminology it denotes the return of a group of Muslims to this world after the appearance of the Mahdi and before the Resurrection. Evidence for the possibility of such an occurence is forthcoming first and foremost from the Quran, which tells us, in the Sira al-Naml: 83, 87: And the Day when We shall gather out of every nation a host of those who denied Our Revelations, and they will be set in arrayAnd the Day when the trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and the earth will start in fear, except him whom God willeth. And all come unto Him humbled. As can be seen, the verses above speak of two days, the first of which turns one’s attention to the second. As regards the first day, there is mention made of the revival only of a particular group, whilst as regards the second day, the death of the whole of mankind is mentioned; we observe, then, that the first day is other than the Day of Resurrection.

A comparison between these two verses in the Sura al-Naml reveals that the world is awaiting two days, on one of which some, and on the other of which all, souls will be revived. Sayings transmitted in the Shii tradition maintain that the first day pertains to the period after the appearance of the Mahdi and before the Day of Resurrection. The return to life in this world of a group of righteous or wicked souls before the Resurrection should not, then, give rise to astonishment, for in previous communities also there were groups who, after their death, returned again to life, and after a time passed away for a second time.

The return of persons to life in this world does not conflict with reason, nor with sources transmitted by tradition, for as we have seen, the Quran explicitly refers to this return in respect of past communities, and there can be no better evidence than this for upholding the possibility of this phenomenon. There are some who regard the ‘return’ to mean the same thing as ‘transmigration’ (tanasukh); such an idea is utterly baseless, for transmigration holds that a soul, after dying, regains its life anew, either starting out from the embryonic state, or else by entering another body. The Return, on the other hand, has nothing to do with either of these false ideas. The principal authority for upholding the validity of the doctrine of the Return is derived from the revival of the dead in past communities, and the bodily Resurrection on the Day of Judgement; indeed, one might regard the Return as a minor foreshadowing of that ultimate Resurrection at which all without exception will be brought back to life.

There is an extensive debate regarding raja’a, and detailed explanations of its different aspects, in the Shii books of Quranic commentary, Hadith, and theology. In Shii sources there are also transmitted sayings regarding this question that have the highest degree of confirmation (tawatur); more than thirty Hadith scholars in over fifty books have transmitted such sayings.

Doctrines of Shii Islam by Ayatullah Jafar Subhani Article No. 129

Some writers have presumed that the idea of the ‘return’ (raja’a) has been derived from that of reincarnation. Does belief in the ‘return’ require belief in reincarnation? As we shall be seeing below, the doctrine of the ‘return’, according to most of the Shii scholars, consists in this: A number of believers and disbelievers will return to this world in the Last Days; and their manner of ‘returning’ is akin to the way in which the dead were brought to life by Jesus; or like the reviving of Uzayr after 100 years. Thus, belief in the ‘return’ has nothing to do with reincarnation. In our discussion below, further clarification of the meaning of the ‘return’ will be given.

Doctrines of Shii Islam by Ayatullah Jafar Subhani Article No. 110

Kumail Rajani