Death & Life in the Grave : Kitab Al-Aqaid Author Sadrul Afazil Shaykh Sayyid Nayimuddin Muradabadi


Death & Life in the Grave

A period of time is apportioned to every person as their 'life'; it can neither increase nor decrease. When the person's time is over, the Angel of Death عليهم السلام takes out his [or her] soul.

When a man is about to die, he will see numerous angels on either side, as far as his eyes can see. If the dying man is a Muslim, he will see angels of mercy, but if he is a disbeliever, he will see angels of torment. The soul of a Muslim is taken out with honour and a disbeliever's soul will be removed with scorn and humiliation.

Various places are designated for souls. The souls of the pious are settled in places different to those where souls of evil people dwell. Wherever they might be, the relation [of souls] to their bodies remain and [therefore,] hurting their [deceased] bodies will cause them pain. The dead can see those who visit them and hear their voices.

A soul does not transmigrate from one body and enter another after death - this is an absurd idea borne out of ignorance. This is known as ava-gavan [in Urdu/Hindi].

Death means that the soul has separated from a person's body. But the soul does not perish after being separated from the body. When a person is buried, the grave squeezes the dead person. The dead man hears the sound of the waning footsteps of those who buried him. Two ferocious angels will descend in the grave, cleaving the earth. They will have blue eyes and will be terrifying to behold. One is named Munkar and the other is Nakir. They will make the dead body sit upright and ask the dead person the following questions:

1. Who is your Lord Sustainer (34) ?
2. What is your religion?
3. [Pointing towards our Prophet ﷺ, they will ask] What do you say about him?

A Muslim will answer thus:

1. My Lord Sustainer [Rabb] is Allah ﷻ.
2. My Religion is Islam.
3. He is the Messenger of Allah ﷻ.

I bear witness that there is no God except Allah, who is Alone and has no partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad ﷺ is His Slave and His Messenger.

The angels will say: "We knew that you would answer thus." The person's grave will then be illuminated and made spacious. A proclamation will be heard: "My slave has spoken the truth. Give him a bed from Paradise and give him clothes from Paradise. Open the doors towards Paradise."

A door looking out towards Paradise will be opened from his grave from which the fragrance of Paradise will reach the person and angels will tell him, "Rest thou in peace".

A disbeliever will not be able to answer the questions and he will reply: "I do not know the answer." It will be proclaimed from the heavens: "He is a liar 5. Unroll a bed of fire, and clothe him in the clothes made of fire and open the door towards Hell". The flames from hell and the scorching heat will reach that person. Angels will be appointed to rain upon him blows with powerful maces.

Questions-VI: After Death

1. Who believes in transmigration of souls?
Answer: Hindus (36).

2. Will every dead person be scrunched by the grave?
Answer: Prophets عليهم السلام are exempt from this. Other than prophets the grave will squeeze every person, whether a Muslim or a disbeliever. However, a Muslim is squeezed tenderly, like a mother cuddles her baby. A disbeliever is squashed such that his ribs are broken.

3. Is there anyone who is exempt from questioning in the grave?
Answer: Yes. There are some people exempt from being questioned in their graves, as mentioned in the hadith. For example, Prophets عليهم السلام and those Muslims who die on Fridays and in the month of Ramadan (are exempt from interrogation].

4. Concerning punishment in the grave is it only for disbelievers? Will Muslims also be subject to punishment in the grave?
Answer: Disbelievers will be subject to punishment. Also, [some] sinful Muslims will be punished in the grave. However, punishment will surcease on account of rewards of good deeds donated to them such as charity, or prayer, or recitation of the Qur'an etc. Allah ﷻ , by His Infinite Mercy will stop their punishment. Some scholars have said that the punishment of a sinful Muslim will cease as soon as the night of Friday arrives.

5. If the dead person is not buried, will he/she be questioned?
Answer: Yes. Regardless of whether the person is buried or not; or whether the person is devoured by an animal [or howsoever the body is destroyed: cremated, pulverised, vaporised, drowned, etc.] - the dead person will be questioned nevertheless, and will be punished if he/she is deserving of punishment (37).


(34) That is, Who is your God?

(35) The disbeliever lies when he says "I am not aware" because, the religion of Islam and the Prophethood of Sayyiduna Muhammad ﷺ was well-known and had spread from the east to the west. The kafir belied him ﷺ and disbelieved in his message and he stubbornly held on to his own polytheistic beliefs [Mirqat al-Mafatih, #131, 1/324; hadith reported in Abu Dawud #4753 and Musnad Imam Ahmad].

Liar because of his false alibi that he did not know about Islam or knew about Allah, the One God. Rather, he knew and he knowingly disbelieved. He beheld the miracles of the Prophet and yet disbelieved. So his lie' is that when he says: "I was not aware / I did not know," he is proferring a false alibi that he did not know about Islam and other aspects as mentioned earlier. [Mirqat al Mafatih, #1630, 4/97; hadith reported in Musnad Imam Ahmad #18534, narrated by Al-Bara'a ibn Aazib].

While the dead Muslim and disbeliever are asked the same questions, it is quite possible that the damnation upon the disbeliever mentioned in the hadith above could be for specific kafirs such as those in the time of the Prophet ﷺ and it is not necessary that every disbeliever is told thus Alloh taala knows best.

(36) Some other religions that are closely related, such as Buddhists, believe in transmigration of souls.

(37) This punishment will be experienced by the soul. Similar to the torment we feel in nightmares - those observing the sleeping person do not see, but the nightmare- the fear and pain experienced is real. People wake up in sweat and with fast-beating hearts; the torment of the grave will be for more intense and palpable, though not perceived by the living when they visit the places where the dead are interred or cremated.

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