Questions asked in the Grave and the Punishment in the Grave

Al-Bara’ bin Azib (رضي الله عنه‏) reported that they (the companions) went out with Allaah’s Messenger
(صلى الله عليه وسلم) to the funeral of a man from al-Ansar. They reached the location of the grave before it was dug. The Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) sat down facing the Qiblah; and they sat around him quietly, as if afraid to disturb the birds standing on their heads. He held in his hand a stick with which he was moving the earth. He looked towards the sky, then toward the earth, raising and lowering his eyes three times. He said to them (two or three times),

“Seek refuge in Allah from the punishment in the grave.”

Then he said (three times): “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the punishment in the grave.”

THE BELIEVER

He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) continued:”Verily, when a believing abd (slave/servant) is at the point of departure from the worldly life, and is about to enter the next life (i.e. he is close to death), angels descend from heaven. Their faces are white (and bright) like the sun. They carry with them a shroud from the clothes of Jannah, and embalmment from the fragrance of Jannah. They sit away from him at the limit of his eyesight. The angel of death then arrives, sits by his head, and says, “O good and peaceful soul, depart to Allah’s forgiveness and pleasure.”

On hearing this, the soul leaves the body (as easily) as water drops flow from the sprout of a water skin; and he (the Angel of Death) takes it. When the soul leaves the body, all angels between the heavens and the earth, and all angels in the heavens, pronounce salah on him (i.e. they ask that he be forgiven). All the gates of the heavens open for him; the guardians of every gate implore Allah that this soul ascends in their direction.

When the Angel of Death takes the soul, they (other angels) do not leave it in their hand for as little as the blinking of an eye. They take it and place it in their shroud and embalmment. To this apply Allah’s words:

“…Our messengers (the angels) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty.” [Al-Anam 6:61]

There emanates then from the soul the best smelling scent of musk that ever existed on the surface of the earth.

The angels then ascend with it. As they pass by the gathering of angels, they ask them, “What is this good soul?” They (the angels holding it) reply, “He is so and so, the son of so and so,” using the best names with which he had been addressed in the first life. When they reach the lowest heaven, they ask for permission to enter; and the gates open for them. The most elite (angels) of each heaven escort him to the next one, until he reaches the seventh heaven. Allah then says,

“Write My servant’s record in illiyyun, And what will make you know that ‘Illiyyun is? An inscribed register, witnessed by those nearest (to Allah – among the angels)” [Al-Mutaffifin 83:19-21]

Thus, his records are inscribed in Illiyyun; and the angels are told, “Take him back to the earth, because I promised them that from it I create them, into it I return them, and from it I resurrect them once again.” [Taha 20:55]

He is then returned to the earth; and his soul is returned to his body, so that he hears the thumping of his companions’ shoes as they walk away from his grave.

Two angels of severe reprimand then come to him, and shake him. They make him sit up, and ask him, “Who is your Lord?” He replies, “My Lord is Allah.” They ask him, “What is your Deen (religion)?” He replies, “My Deen is Islam.” They ask him, “Who is that man who was sent to you?” He replies, “He is Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).” They ask him, “What did you do?” He replies, “I read Allah’s Book, believed in it, and obeyed it.” They shake him again, asking, “Who is your Lord? what is your Deen? Who is your Prophet?” And this is the last fitnah (trial) to which the believer is subjected. In this regard, Allah says:

“Allah keeps the believers firm with firm words in the fist life, and in the last one.” [Ibrahim 14:27]

He repeats, “My Lord is Allah, my Deen is Islam, and my Prophet is Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم).” A caller then calls from the heavens, “My servant has spoken the truth; so provide him with furnishings from Jannah; clothe him from Jannah; and open for him a door to Jannah.” Thus he receives provision and perfume from it; and his grave is spread to the extent of his eyesight. Before him appears a man with a pleasant face, nice garments and a good smell. He says to them, “I am to give you glad tidings that will please you: tidings of Allah’s acceptance, and gardens with everlasting bliss. This is the day that you have been promised.” He responds, “Glad tidings from Allah be to you too. Who are you? Your face is one that brings goodness.” He says, “I am your good deeds. By Allah, I only knew you quick in obeying Allah, and slow in disobeying Him. May Allah reward you with good.”

A door is opened for him to Jannah and another one to the Fire; and he is told, “This (the Fire) would have been your dwelling had you disobeyed Allah. But Allah has substituted it for you with this (Jannah).” When he sees what is awaiting him in Jannah (of pleasures), he says, “O my Lord, speed up the arrival of the Hour (of Resurrection), so that I may rejoin my family and property.” He is told, “Calm down.”

THE DISBELIEVER

And verily when a disbelieving (or disobedient) ‘abd is at the point of departure from the worldly life, and is about to enter the Hereafter, strong hulking angels with dark faces descend to him from the heavens. They bring with them tough fabrics from the Fire. They sit away from him at the limit of his eyesight. The Angel of Death arrives, sits by his head, and says, “O malicious soul, depart to a wrath and anger from Allah.” (On hearing this) it becomes terrified, and clings to the body; but he extracts it (by force), like a skewer is pulled from wet wool, causing the veins and nerves to burst.

Every angel between the heavens and the earth, and every angel in the heavens, curses him. The gates of heaven are shut; the guardians of every gate implore Allah that this soul does not ascend in their direction.

When the Angel of Death takes the soul, they (the other angels) do not leave it in his hand for as little as the blinking of an eye. They put it in the fabric that they have (from the Fire); and from it emanates the most repugnant odour of a decaying cadaver that ever existed on the surface of the earth.

The angels then ascend with it. As they pass by gatherings of angels, they ask them, “What is this malicious soul?” The angels holding it respond, “He is so and so, son of so and so,” using the worst names with which he had been addressed in the first life. When they reach the lowest heaven, they ask for permission to enter; but the gates are not opened for him. (Here the Messenger recited: “For them (the disbelievers), the gates of heaven will not be opened; and they will not enter Jannah until the camel goes through the eye of the needle.”) [Al-A’raf 7:40]

Allah then says, “Write his record in Sijjin (a place most low/a place of imprisonment) in the lowest earth.” And they are told, “Take him back to earth, because I promised them that from it I create them, into it I return them, and from it I resurrect them once again.” [Taha 20:55] His soul is then cast down from the heavens without regard; and it falls into his body. (Here Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) recited:

“As for the one who joins partners with Allah, it is as if he plunges down from the skies – whereupon birds snatch him off, or the wind casts him away to a remote place (from Allah’s mercy).” [Al-Hajj 22:31]

His soul is restored to his body, so that he hears the thumping of his companions’ shoes as they walk away from his grave.

Two angels of severe reprimand come to him and shake him. They make him sit up, and ask him, “Who is your Lord?” He replies, “Alas, alas, I do not know!” They ask him, “What is your Deen?” He replies, “Alas, alas, I do not know!” They ask him, “Who is that man who was sent to you?” He cannot recall his name, and he is told, “(His name is) Muhammad!” He says, “Alas, alas, I do not know. I just heard the people say that.” He is then told, “You did not know; and you did not recite (the Qur’an)! A caller calls from the heavens, “He lies! So spread for him furnishings from the Fire; and open for him a door to the Fire.”

Thus its heat and fierce hot wind reach him; and his grave is tightened around him, causing his ribs to break;

Before him appears a man with an ugly face, repulsive clothes, and a foul smell; he says, “I am to give you evil tidings that will displease you. This is the day that you have been promised.” He responds, “Evil tidings from Allah be to you too! Who are you? Your face is one that brings evil.” He says, “I am your malicious deeds. By Allah, I only knew you slow in obeying Allah, and quick in disobeying Him. May Allah repay you with evil.”

A blind, deaf, and dumb person is appointed for him. He carries in his hand a sledgehammer that, if it hits a mountain, would turn it to dust. He hits him (with it) once; and he becomes dust. Allah then restores him as he was; and the person hits him again; he sounds a shriek that is heard by everything except men and jinns.

A door is opened for him to the Fire; and he is given the furnishings from the Fire. He then says, “O my Lord! Do not establish the Hour.”

Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and others; verified to be authentic by Al-Albani (Sahih ul-Jami’ no. 1676)

About islamtees

The Qur'an and Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih (Righteous Predecessors).
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