Punishment of the Grave

Darkness of the Grave

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) that a darkcomplexioned woman (or a youth) used to sweep the mosque. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) missed her (or him) and inquired about her (or him).

The people told him that she (or he) had died. He asked why they did not inform him, and it appears as if they had treated her (or him) or her (or his) affairs as of little account.

The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) then said;

“Lead me to her (or his) grave.” They led him to that place and he said prayer over her (or him) and then remarked:

“Verily, these graves are full of darkness for their dwellers. Verily, the Mighty and Glorious Allah illuminates them for their occupants by reason of my prayer over them.” R

Recorded by Muslim

Horror of the Grave

Hani a free slave of ‘Uthmaan bin ‘Affaan (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

“Whenever ‘Uthmaan came across a grave, he would cry until his beard would be wet. He was asked: ‘Why is it that whenever you remember Paradise and Hell you do not cry and whenever you remember the grave you cry?’

He said, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) saying:

“The grave is first station of the Hereafter. If a person is saved from its horror, whatever is after it is easier; but if a person is not saved from its horror whatever is after it will be more horrifying.”

Recorded by At-Tirmidhi

Since what is beyond the grave is easier for those who are saved from its horrors, when the believing slave sees what Allah has prepared for him of the bliss of Paradise he will say:

“Bring forward the Day of Resurrection so that I may go back to my family and wealth.”

As for a disbeliever or a sinner, when he sees the severe punishment that Allah has prepared for him he will -in spite of the torment he will say:

‘O Allah, do not let the Hour come.’ He will say this because the post-grave torment is more severe. We seek refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave and torment of Hell.

The Grip of the Grave

That is when a dead person is severely gripped in his grave that both his sides are compressed against each other.

This is an experience from which no one is exempted -regardless of whether one is righteous or impious, young or old.

It is mentioned in Hadiths that Sa’d bin Mu’adh was gripped in his grave in spite of his being the one for whose death the throne of Allah shook, the gates of heavens were opened and whose funeral was attended by seventy thousand angels.

Imam An-Nasaa’i reported with a sound chain of narration that that Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said about Sa’d (May Allah be pleased with him): “(his is the one for whom the throne shook and the gates of the heavens were opened, and whose funeral was attended by seventy thousand angels.’

Trial of the Grave and its Bliss and Torrent

Ahmad and Abu Dawood recorded with a sound chain of narrators that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Verily when the Muslim man has yet to reach the Hereafter, but he has already been cut off from this world, angels from the sky descend upon him having faces like the sun.

So they sit as far from him as the eye can see, with them are the burial shrouds from the burial shrouds of Pradise, and embalming perfume from the embalming perfumes of Paradise.

So then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his head, so he says, “Come out, O good soul to the forgiveness of Allah and His pleasure.” He said, “So it flows out as a drop flows out [from] a water-skin.

 So when he takes it, he does not leave it in his hand for the blinking of an eye. And there comes out from him a smell like the best musk to be found upon the face of the earth. So they ascend with him, and they do not pass by any of the angels except that he says;

“Who is this good soul?” So they say: “This is so-and so”. So the doors of heavens are opened for him, and they follow him through every level of heaven, until they reach the end of the seventh heaven.

It is then said, “Write his book in highness (‘illiyyeen).” He said, “So it is written.” Then it is said, “Return to the earth, because it is from there that We created you. And it is to there that We return you, and it is from there that We raise you up again.”

So the soul is returned to his body, then the angels come to him, then they say to him:

“Sit. Who is your Lord?

So he says, “My Lord is Allah”.

They say: ‘What is your Religion?’

He says, ‘My Religion is Islam.’

So they say: ‘Who is this man who was sent amongst you?’

He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him).’

So they say: ‘How did you come to know of him?’

So he says, ‘I read the Book of Allah, and I believed in it, and I attested to it.’ So it will be called out from the heavens: “Indeed he has spoken the truth, so make space for him in Paradise, and clothe him with the clothes of Paradise, and show him his place in Paradise.”

He said, So he will be allowed to see it and his grave will be made spacious for him as far as the eye can see.

A man with beautiful clothes, a handsome face, and a good smell will be presented to him; he will say:

“Receive the glad tidings that will please you upon this day that you were promised.”

So [he] will say: “May Allah have mercy upon you, who are you; because your face seems to represent goodness?”

He said, “So he says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.” 

He said, “However, if he was a disbeliever, angels with black faces will descend upon him, and with them are coarse woolen cloths.

So they sit as far from him as the eye can see.” He said, “And the Angel of Death comes and sits at his head, so he says, ‘Come out 

O foul soul to the anger of Allah and His displeasure.’ He said, ‘So he does not like to be taken out of his body. So he takes it out, he does not leave it in his hand for the blinking of an eye.

So the angels take it in the burial shrouds of coarse woolen cloth. And there emanates from him the most offensive smelling stench like the foulest smelling corpse upon the face of the earth.

So they ascend with him, so they do not pass by any one of the angels, except that he says, Who is this foul soul?

He says, “So and so,” using the most evil of names. So when they reach the heaven, they open the door, but it closes upon him, and it is called out:

“Return to the earth, since I created you from it, and to it I return you, and from it I shall raise you again.”

So he is placed back in his body, so the angels come to him and they say:

“Sit. Who is your Lord?’

He says, ‘Haah, [haah], I do not know.’ So they say:

‘What is your Religion?’

So he says, ‘Haah, haah, I do not know. I heard the people speaking.’

So they say: ‘Who is this man who was sent amongst you?’ He said, So it is called out from the sky:

“Verily he has lied, so make space for him in the Fire, and clothe him with the clothes of the Fire. And he will be shown his place in the Fire.

He said, ‘So he will see his place in the Fire, and he will be overtaken by its heat and its scorching air, and his grave will be constricted for him, until his ribs start to interlace.

And then there will be represented a man with an ugly face, repulsive cloths, and a repugnant smell, so he will say:

‘Woe to you, who are you? So by Allah your face seems to resemble evil.’ So he will say: O Lord, do not establish the Hour! [O Lord,] do not establish the Hour!”

FAQ's

Will the torment of the grave be upon the soul or the body or upon both?

Know that Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah believe that the soul is both detached from and linked to the body.

Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn (aymiyyah said, “The torment and bliss shall be for both the body and the soul, according to the consensus of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah. The soul will enjoy bliss or be subjected to torment separately from and together with the body.”

Are the dead aware when living people visit their graves?

Ibn Al-Qayyim writes in his book, ‘Ar-Ruh’:

“The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) recommended for his Ummah that whenever they visit graves and salute its dwellers, they should do so as if they are talking to them.

He recommended that they should say: ‘Peace be upon you, O dwellers of this abode from among the believers and Muslims!’

This statement is only addressed to those who hear and understand. If not, the statement would amount to addressing nonexistent or lifeless things.

The righteous predecessors are agreed upon this. There are many successive reports from them that the dead know about the visit of the living and are happy with it.

However, the dead do not hear this salutation until after their souls are returned to them for that purpose, according to the following authentic Hadiths.

It is reported in a Hadith that the dead person hears the knocking of the shoes of those who buried him as they leave his grave.

Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said;

“Indeed, when a man is put in his grave, he hears the knocking of the shoes of those who buried him as they leave.”

Ahmad, and it is a sound Hadith

Can a dead person hear living  person’s speech?

Three days after the Battle of Badr. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) halted at the edge of the well in which the corpses of the disbelievers who were killed during the battle were dumped and addressed some men among them saying: “O Abu Jahl bin Hisham, O Umayyah bin Khalaf, O ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah, O Shaybah bin Rabi’ah!

Have you found true what your Lord promised you?

For, I have found true what my Lord promised me.”” ‘Umar said, “0 Allah”s Messenger! You are speaking to bodies that have no souls!””

Allah’s Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad’s soul is, you do not hear what I say better than they do.”

Al-Bukhari

Some scholars say: “It is clear that the dead may generally hear the speech of the living but not always.

Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah dispelled the misconception of those who claim that Allah has removed from the dead the ability to hear citing His saying,

إِنَّكَ لَا تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَىٰ

“Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear.”
An-Naml 27:80

In response to this misconception, Shaykh Al-Islam (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Know that this kind of hearing is that of awareness which attracts no reward.

It is not the kind of hearingthat Allah refers to in His saying: “Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear.” The kind of hearing meant in this verse is that of acceptance and implementation.

For, Allah made a disbeliever like a dead person who cannot respond to the call of whoever calls him and like animals that hear sounds but do not understand their meanings.

As for the dead, even if he hears the speech and understands the meaning, he can neither answer the call of a caller nor comply with any command or prohibition. That is the situation of a disbeliever.

No command or prohibition can benefit him even if he hears the speech and understands the meaning.

Allah says,

وَلَوْ عَلِمَ اللَّهُ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا لَأَسْمَعَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ أَسْمَعَهُمْ لَتَوَلَّوْا وَهُمْ مُعْرِضُونَ

“Had Allah known of any good in them, He would indeed have made them listen; and even if He had made them listen, they would but have turned away with aversion (to the truth).”
Al-Anfaal 8:23

There are authentic texts indicating that the dead can, in addition to his hearing, speak. The angels, Munkar and Nakeer, will ask him questions in his grave.

The believer will be made to give true answers while the disbeliever will not succeed in giving correct answers. The dead also speak in other specified situations.

However, this speech is different from what the living are familiar with. It is the soul that is questioned and that speaks. It is the soul that will answer the questions and that will be tormented or have the bliss, though it is somewhat linked to the body.

The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) used to hear much of this. According to a Hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by two graves and said, “The (dwellers) of these graves are being punished and they are not being tormented for a major sin.””

 Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim Allah knows best.