Literally, the term al-Ma'ad (Resurrection) means ‘the return’ or ‘the place of return’. In its technical meaning, however, al-Ma'ad (Resurrection) refers to the belief that after death humans will be resurrected, or brought back to life, to be judged for their actions and rewarded or punished, depending on their worldly conduct.
All religions and faiths, which call men to the worship of God and enjoin human beings to do good deeds and prohibit them from bad deeds, express belief in the day of resurrection (popularly known as al-Ma'ad in Islam) and in the afterlife. They have no doubt that benevolence is worthy only when it is followed by a good reward; and since this is not seen in this world, inevitably it will be given to man in another life in the world Hereafter.
Besides, signs and vestiges, which are observed in the most ancient tombs discovered by the archaeologists, indicate that the early human beings believed in the afterlife and accordingly performed certain formalities and provided something for the comfort of the deceased in the Hereafter.
Every man (without exception) can tell the difference between good and evil deeds with his God-granted nature, and considers "benevolence” (although he may not practise it) to be a decent and essential act to perform and "evil deeds” (although he may be performing these) to be indecent acts that must be avoided. Undoubtedly, goodness and badness, benevolence and malevolence are from the viewpoint of the results and rewards which these two qualities possess. Likewise, there is no doubt that sometimes in this world the rewards and retribution of good and bad deeds of benefactors and malefactors do not reach them; for we clearly observe that many benefactors spend their lives in extreme bitterness and misery, whereas many malefactors who are fully involved in committing crimes and misdemeanours, with their wicked behaviour and disgraceful character, spend their lives with happiness and prosperity.
Thus, if, in the future and in the next world, no day had been fixed for the judgment of good and bad deeds, such an instinct (that benevolence is good and essential and malevolence is bad and to be avoided) would not have been placed in the nature of man.
In the holy religion of Islam, Resurrection is the pillar of Islam and one of the essentials of this pure religion.
Death the unknown reality
The question we shall answer in this section is: Why most people fear death?
Death has always been imagined by most people to be a terrifying, frightening monster and merely thinking about it takes away the sweetness of life. Research and studies have confirmed it that the basis for this fear is simply one of the following two things:
1. The interpretation of death as annihilation: Human beings are always fleeing from disease because it means the lack of good health. Also, they are afraid of darkness because it means the absence of light.
If we believe and know that death is the end of everything, and assume that with this death, everything ends, we have a right to fear it and even be terribly frightened by hearing the word. Why? We have to, because death will take everything from us.
On the other hand, if we believe death to be the beginning of a new and eternal life, dignity and nobility, we will not be terrified. Rather, we move towards it without fear.
2. Black files: We all know of a group who do not interpret death as being annihilation and non-being and they would never deny life after death. But, in spite of this, they have a great fear of death. Why? It is because the file of their deeds is so black that they are afraid of the punishments after death. Such people have a right to fear death. They are like prisoners who fear the day they will be executed.
Resurrection gives meaning to life
If we take this world into consideration, without concerning ourselves with any other, it will be meaningless and empty.
Why are we alive? To eat, wear clothes and sleep? Why would we go through these daily routines for no reason at all?
Are this extensive universe, this expansive world, and all the knowledge and experiences we gain, all simply for eating, drinking and putting on clothes?
It is here that the meaninglessness of this life will be clear to those who do not believe in the next world because they cannot reckon this small issue to be the goal of life and they do not believe in the next world either.
Resurrection in the light of Qur’an and the traditions of Prophet and Imams (Peace be upon them)
The Qur’an and the Hadiths of the Prophet and Imams (peace be upon them) make it clear that belief in al-Ma’ad is part of the faith and those who reject it are not considered Muslims. Belief in al-Ma’ad prepares us for events of the hereafter. One of the major events of the hereafter is the Day of Judgement when God decides who goes to heaven and hell.
Al-Ma’ad is the term we use to describe the events beginning with the moment of death right up to the entry into heaven or hell. Muslims believe that after our spiritual and physical resurrection we will face divine judgement.
The Qur’an is very clear on the events of al-Ma’ad and has referred to it in many verses, including:
"And because the hour is coming, there is no doubt about it and Allah resurrect those who are in the graves”
"On the day when We will roll up heaven like the rolling up of the scroll for writings, as We originated the first creation, (so) We shall reproduce it; a promise (binding on Us); surely We will bring it about.”
More than a quarter of all the verses in the Qur’an mention the life of the hereafter. They can be divided into groups as follows:
1. The first group emphasizes the necessity of faith in the hereafter.
2. The second group of verses talks about the denial of both faith and the hereafter.
3. The third group talks about the eternal bounties.
4. The fourth group refers to the everlasting chastisements.
In the several verses the relationship between good and bad actions and their results as well as the necessity of Resurrection have been emphasized and explained by different methods. The doubts concerning the hereafter are explained and answered and it is shown that denial of the hereafter is the very reason for the corruption and deterioration of societies and civilizations. The Holy Qur’an states:
"Does not man see that we have created him from the sperm? Then Lo! He is an open disputant. And he strikes out a likeness for Us and forgets his own creation. Says he: who will give life to the bones when they are rotten? Say: He will give life to them who brought them into existence at first, and He is cognizant of all creation”.
And sometimes the holy Qur’an uses parables to draw the attention of people to al-Ma’ad, like entrance into spring after the winter. To sensitize human beings that the power that can revive plants and others through a change from winter to spring can do the same on resurrection of human, the holy Qur’an says:
"And among His signs is this, that you see the earth still, but when We send down on it the water, it stirs and swells: most surely He who gives it life is the Giver of life to the dead; surely He has power over all things”.
On several occasions, the holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) and the Imams (peace be upon them) mentioned the features of the Day of Judgement (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). Here are a few of the traditions:
The Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) said: "The Day of Resurrection will be a field of activity wherein a successful man will be delighted at what he has bagged for himself, and a regretful man will grieve at what he has missed out on”.
Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said: "And the day when Allah will gather all people from the first to the last, standing in subjugation in order to discuss the account (of their deeds) and the recompense for their actions. They will be bridled with their own sweat while the earth trembles under them. Those among them in the best state will be those who manage to find a stable place for their feet to stand and a pen space for them to breathe!”
Imam Ali (peace be upon him) also said, "This life is an epoch whilst the hereafter is eternity”.
In order to achieve and arrive at eternal felicity and perfection, man must contemplate upon the following:
1. Does man’s life terminate with death or is there life after death?
2. Does the transformation of man from this life to the other life resemble traveling from one city to another in this life, whereby one can obtain the goods required in the city of one’s destination? Or does the other life depend on the groundwork prepared in this life?
Unless these issues are resolved, there will be no opportunity for organizing and directing one’s life towards the goal, because if one does not know the destination one will never recognize the path.
In conclusion, we will like to make the point, that no matter how weak the possibility of the other life might seem to be, it is sufficient enough for an intelligent and sensible individual to investigate the issue of the resurrection.
 - Allamah Sayyid Muhamad Husain, Tabataba’i, Islamic teaching in Brief, page 156
 - Although in Shi’a Islam it (Ma’ad) is one of the five pillars of faith.
 - Ayatullah al-Uzma Nasir Makarim, Shirazi, Lessons about Allah, Prophet, Justice, Leadership and Resurrection, page no. 169
 - Qur’an, 22:7
 - Qur’an, 21:104
 - Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi, Misbah Yazdi, Theological instructions, page no. 305.
 - Qur’an, 36:77-79
 - Qur’an, 41:39
 - A’alam al-Din, page no. 341
 - Nahjol-Balagha, sermon no. 102
 - Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 8298