QUESTIONING IN THE GRAVE
Questioning in the grave is one of the teachings of Islam which other religions decline or have no idea of. Thus It is has been decreed by Allaah for a man to know how his akhira (life after death) or life in the grave will be at the verge of death. It is mentioned, the Prophet’s Hadith narrated from Al-Bara’ in which the angels of mercy say (to a dying, believing person),
أَيَّتُهَا الرُّوحُ الطَّيِّبَةُ فِي الْجَسَدِ الطَّيِّبِ كُنْتِ تَعْمُرِينَه اخْرُجِي إِلَى رَوْحٍ وَرَيْحَانٍ وَرَبَ غَيْرِ غَضْبَان
O good soul in the good body that you inhabited, come to “Rawh (rest) and “Rayhan (place of rest) and a Lord Who is not angry.
It is proven in the Qur’an and Sunnah that when a person dies, he will be called to account for every major and minor action he did in this world, whether it was good or bad. He will be rewarded for his good deeds and punished for his bad deeds. The first stage of that reckoning is in the grave.
The first thing a person will be asked will be: Who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who is your prophet?– as was narrated in the hadeeth of al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allaah be pleased with him), which was narrated by Abu Dawood in his Sunan(4753) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2979.
However, man made religions have different sayings about the life after death or life in the grave. Most of this religions believe once a person is dead, he will be resting in the grave till the day of judgement without been questioned. This religions have no divine ordination by the Creator (Allaah). Thus, this made Islam a distinct religion that teaches everything.
Muslims believe that after the dead is buried in the grave, divinely appointed interrogating angels arrive and ask the deceased about his faith and beliefs; if he had been a righteous believer, a door to Paradise is opened before him and he would enjoy the bounties of Paradise till Judgment Day; and if he had been a disbeliever, a door to Hell will be open before him and he will continue to suffer the chastisement of Hell till Judgment Day. Every person who dies will know upon his death if he is among the people of Paradise or the people of the Fire.
In fact there is no doubt about this, because a large number of traditions are recorded about this (life in the grave).
It is narrated in saheeh reports that the two angels whose task it is to question the deceased are black and blue, and one is called al-Munkar and the other is called al-Nakeer. Al-Tirmidhi narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When the deceased – or one of you – is buried, there come to him two black and blue angels, one of whom is called al-Munkar and the other al-Nakeer. They say: ‘What did you say about this man?’ and he says what he used to say: ‘He is the slave of Allah and His Messenger. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.’ They say: ‘We knew that you would say that.’ Then his grave is made spacious for him, seventy cubits by seventy, and it is illuminated for him. Then it is said to him: ‘Sleep,’ and he says: ‘May I go back to my family and tell them?’ They say: ‘Sleep like the bridegroom who will be woken by none but the dearest of his family to him,’ until Allah raises him from that resting-place of his.” But if he is a hypocrite he says: ‘I heard the people saying something so I said something like what they said. I do not know.’ They say: ‘We knew that you would say that.’ Then it is said to the earth: ‘Squeeze him.’ So it squeezes him until his ribs interlock, and he will continue to be tormented therein until Allah raises him from that resting-place of his.” This hadeeth was classed as hasan (sound) by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Imam Musa Kazim (R.A) has narrated from his father, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (R.A), that he said:“When a believer dies, seventy thousand angels participate in his funeral; when he enters the grave, Munkar and Nakeer come to him and pose questions to him; they ask him: ‘Who is your lord? What is your religion? And who is your prophet?’ The believer replies: ‘My Lord is Allaah, my prophet is Muhammad, and my religion is Islam.’ At that moment the grave is expanded as far as the eye can see and the foods of Paradise will be brought there for him and the breeze of Paradise will welcome him and thus, it is given salvation.
Allaah mentioned in the glorious Quran
فَأَمَّآ إِن كَانَ مِنَ ٱلْمُقَرَّبِينَ
And if the deceased was of those brought near to Allaah,
فَرَوْحٌ وَرَيْحَانٌ وَجَنَّتُ نَعِيمٍ
Then [for him is] rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure.
“Rawh” and “Rayhan” means:
“Paradise and delights.”
Qatadah said that “Rawh” means mercy.
The near believers who die will earn all of these; mercy, rest, provision, joy, happiness and good delights,
(and a Garden of Delights).
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ata’ bin As-Sa’ib said,
“The first day I saw Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Layla, I saw an old man whose hair had become white on his head and beard. He was riding his donkey and following a funeral. I heard him say, `So-and-so narrated to me that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
مَنْ أَحَبَّ لِقَاءَ اللهِ أَحَبَّ اللهُ لِقَاءَهُ وَمَنْ كَرِهَ لِقَاءَ اللهِ كَرِهَ اللهُ لِقَاءَه
He who likes to meet Allah, Allah likes to meet him, and he who hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him.
The people around him started weeping, and he asked them why they wept.
They said, `All of us hate death.’
لَيْسَ ذَاكَ وَلكِنَّهُ إِذَا احْتُضِرَ
It does not mean that. When one dies:
فَأَمَّا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ
فَرَوْحٌ وَرَيْحَانٌ وَجَنَّةُ نَعِيمٍ
Then, if he be of the near believers, then for him are “Rawh”, “Rayhan”, and a Garden of Delights.
فَإِذَا بُشِّرَ بِذلِكَ أَحَبَّ لِقَاءَ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، وَاللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لِلِقَائِهِ أَحَبُّ
and when this good news is conveyed to him, he likes to meet Allah the Exalted and Most Honored and Allah the Exalted and Most Honored likes, even more, to meet him,
وَأَمَّا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ الضَّالِّينَ
فَنُزُلٌ مِّنْ حَمِيمٍ
But if he be of the denying, the erring, then for him is an entertainment with “Hamim”. And entry in Hellfire.
فَإذَا بُشِّرَ بِذلِكَ كَرِهَ لِقَاءَ اللهِ وَاللهُ تَعَالَى لِلِقَايِهِ أَكْرَه
and when this news is conveyed to him, he hates to meet Allah and Allah hates, even more, to meet him.”
This is the narration that Imam Ahmad collected; and in the Sahih, there is a Hadith with this meaning collected from A’ishah.
Then the Imam said:“When a disbeliever dies, seventy thousand angels of Hell accompany him to the grave. In this condition the dead person will plead to them in a voice, which would be audible to all except humans and jinns: ‘If only I had been able to return to the world and had become of the faithful. And he says: Send me back to the world, perhaps I may do good in that, which I have left. Angels of Hell would say: ‘By no means! It is a (mere) word that you speak,’and one of the angels would say: ‘If you are sent back to the world, you will again do the same. When his dead body is interred and people go away from there, Munkar and Nakeer come to him in the most terrible form and they raise him up for questioning. They ask him: ‘Who is your lord? What is your religion? And who is your prophet?’ Since the disbeliever had no sincere faith in them, he would stammer and fail to reply. Thus those two angels would lash him in a punishment that everything will be terrified of it. They would ask him: ‘Who is your lord? What is your religion? And who is your prophet?’ He would reply: ‘I don’t know. So they would tell him: ‘Neither you know, nor you were guided to the right path.’ Thus a door would be opened to Hell before him and the scalding fluids of Hell would come down to him.
Allaah mentioned in the Holy Quran
وَأَمَّآ إِن كَانَ مِنَ ٱلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ٱلضَّآلِّينَ
But if he was of the deniers [who were] astray,
فَنُزُلٌ مِّنْ حَمِيمٍ
Then [for him is] accommodation of scalding water
That is, in the grave he would be welcome with boiling water
And burning in Hellfire
That is, in the hereafter, he would be consigned to Hell.
May Allaah guide, protect and preserve the ummah of Rosulullah (peace be upon him) Aamyyn.
By Bashir Habeebullah