The most depressing error of Materialism is the supposition that finite consciousness exhausts its object. Philosophy and science are only one way of approaching that object. There are other ways of approach open to us; and death, if present actions has sufficiently fortified the ego against the shock that physical dissolution brings, is only a kind of passage to what the Quran describes as ‘Barzakh’.

The records of Sufistic experience indicate that Barzakh is a state of consciousness characterized by a change in the ego’s attitude towards time and space. There is nothing improbable in it. It was Helmholtz who first discovered that nervous excitation takes time to reach the consciousness. If this is so, our present physiological structure is at the bottom of our present view of time, and if the ego survives the dissolution of this structure, a change in our attitude towards time and space seems perfectly natural. Nor is such a change wholly unknown to us. The enormous condensation of impressions which occurs in our dream-life, and the exaltation of memory which sometimes takes place at the moment of death, disclose ego’s capacity for different standards of time.

The state of Barzakh, therefore, does not seem to be merely a passive state of expectation; it is a state in which the ego catches a glimpse of fresh aspects of Reality and prepares himself for adjustment to these aspects.

Note: summarized from the essay, The Human Ego- His Freedom and Immortality. (pp. 119,120) (Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam).

Notes: Barzakh in Islam refers to the after-death life in the grave. Literally, meaning ‘interval’, Barzakh is a short time-period before the Resurrection. In the essay, Iqbal says that Barzakh may be an environment where one experiences a kind of Time and Space different from what we have on at present. But there is nothing impossible in it as Iqbal suggests.- Jaihoon