Religious Interpretations of Near-Death Experiences Based on the Teachings of Shia Islam

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Farhangian University, Alborz, Iran.

2 International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), Durham, North Carolina



Although most philosophers and theologians have simply disregarded the results of more than forty years of scholarly endeavor in near-death experiences (NDEs), many scholars believe that religious teachings have good capabilities for explaining different dimensions to such experiences. Using a descriptive-analytical design, the results of the present study indicate that if NDEs are considered as a glimpse into the afterlife, regardless of the problems to prove this claim, NDE elements conform to the prevailing spirit of Islamic eschatology derived from Shia hadiths. However, there are some conflicts and inconsistencies. Thus, recognizing the authenticity and significance of opposing epistemological propositions, focusing on their disciplined interpretation, and analysis of their compatibility with other credible and related propositions, along with a comprehensive, accurate, and valid understanding of NDEs and the interpretive nature of reports can greatly reduce such conflicts and inconsistencies. Other inconsistencies, as well as some of the most controversial issues in science and religion so far, will await further scrutiny by scholars and theologians.


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