Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Happiness and Misery in the Grave


I want to know what will one face immediately after death, in the grave. Where will be one’s soul till the Day of Judgment? Another question is: what are the surahs or supplications that can be read to ease the grave pain? Also, please tell me about as-siratul mustaqim (the straight path over Hellfire on the Day of Judgment).

Name of Counselor
Taqwa Saifulhaq
Salam, Sa. Thank you very much for your question. Sheikh Hamed Al-Ali, instructor of Islamic heritage at the Faculty of Education at Kuwait University and imam of Dahiat As-Sabahiyya Mosque, says: “The verse of the Qur’an where Allah, Exalted be He, tells about the dead people says what means:
*{And behind them is a barrier until the day when they are raised.}*( Al-Mu’minun 23:100)“This means that behind dead people there is a world of barzakh where they will stay until the Day of Judgment. No dead person can exceed the stage of barzakh. Al-barzakh means interval or a barrier between two things, and technically it stands for an intermediary stage between this life and another life in the Hereafter; it’s an interval between death and the Day of Resurrection. “A number of hadtihs state that if the dead person is righteous in his/her life, he/she will be in one of the gardens of Paradise. His/her soul will be in Jannah (Paradise) just like the souls of martyrs will be in Jannah. But this will be different from entering Paradise in the Hereafter.
However, if the person does not comply with the rules of Allah in this life, he/she will be in one of the pits of Hell-Fire.” As far as the question of punishment in the grave is concerned, it is directly proved by authentic hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Though the Qur’an does not directly mention it, Muslims must believe in it without doubt since it is based on the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “While one does not find any explicit mention of punishment in the grave in the Qur’an, such punishments are definitely mentioned in the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) which we must accept as valid because rejecting these will be akin to rejecting the Qur’an itself. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has been entrusted not only with the duty of conveying the Qur’an to us, but also with the task of explaining its teachings. Therefore, we must accept such narrations of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) as being part and parcel of Islamic teachings that must be adhered to without questioning. “Having said this, I must add that matters of punishment in the grave or what happens after death, including Heaven and Hell, are all beyond the limits of human cognition and, therefore, we must not speculate about them based on our limited human reason.
To use reason to judge or evaluate such matters is no different from using a scale meant for measuring gold to weigh a mountain.” Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: Canadian Muslim News. Regarding your question about the straight path, we believe that as-sirat (path over Hellfire on the Day of Judgment) is set up over Hell. People pass over it according to their deeds, the first of them as fast as lighting, then as fast as wind, then as fast as birds, and then as fast as a running man. The Prophet will be standing on the path saying “Lord, Save! Save!” as some people’s deeds will fall short. Some of them will come crawling. At both sides of the path there are hooks designed to take whom Allah wills: some are saved but bruised; others are thrown into Hell (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Muslims believe in all that is mentioned in the Qur’an or the prophetic sayings concerning that Day, may Allah save us from its horrors. A great asset to believers is the Muslims’ belief in the intercession (shafa`ah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for good people to enter Paradise. This intercession is exclusively limited to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: Islam World. The two distinguished scholars supplied us with a very good answer (may Allah reward them for their good deeds). However, I want to mention another idea about the grave and its torment. Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an what means:
*{Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful.}* (Az-Zumar 39:53)This great verse in the Qur’an makes us feel so optimistic that we have a God Who is All-Knowing, the Most Forgiving and the Most Merciful. So, why do we restrict ourselves to thinking of the torment of the grave when we have this verse? Are we in a position to judge our own actions? Why not think of the great pleasure we are to have in the grave, in sha’ Allah, if we are obedient servants? The grave, dear sister, might be a place of blessings as well as a place of Hellfire. We need to be sure that our deeds are not to be judged by an oppressor God; that’s why we only need to take care of our own actions and try to act according to what Allah Almighty commands us to do—the five daily Prayers, fasting, and so on. That’s why we need to leave the judgment to the Most Merciful God Who will never be unjust to us. I hope that this answer is satisfactory.

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