Punishment of the Grave

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Punishment of the Grave (Arabic: عذاب القبرʿAdhāb al-Qabr, also translated torment of the grave) is an Islamic concept of the period following death but prior to the Day of Judgement, when the souls of the unrighteous are punished in the grave. The Qur'an does not refer to the Punishment of the Grave but instead it is mentioned in the Hadith.

Prevalence of belief[edit]

Various early Muslim sects such as the Khawarij and some portions of the Mu'tazili denied the Punishment of the Grave.[1][full citation needed]

Punishment[edit]

In Islamic belief the grave constitutes a "third stage" of human existence, with the first two being the womb and then mortal life, and the fourth being eternity in heaven or hell.

The punishment of the grave applies regardless of manner of death or of the corporeal state of the deceased, and is measured by criteria unlike those of the living. The living cannot perceive these things with their eyes, ears or inner senses. However, the dead person is completely aware of them, but according to the criteria of the afterlife.[clarification needed][citation needed] Animals are able to hear the Punishment of the Grave while human beings cannot.[2]

Some Muslims also believe that the living can intercede for the dead who are undergoing punishment, to at least temporarily halt their suffering.

Muhammad said: "After he has died, the believer only gets the benefit of the following actions and good deeds: knowledge which he has taught and passed on, a righteous son or daughter he leaves behind, a copy of the Quran which he has bequeathed, a mosque he has built, a house he has built for the traveler, a water channel he has dug, or an act of charity which he spent out of his property when he was alive and in good health and which comes to him after his death."[citation needed]

Examples in Sunnah[edit]

The Sunnah contains numerous evidences and descriptions of the punishment of the grave. However, many Hadith are considered by some Islamic sects such as the Mu'tazilah to be non-authenticated, due to them having a single-chain of transmission (Ahad Hadith).

  • Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: Allah's Apostle passed by two graves and said, "Both of them (persons in the grave) are being tortured, and they are not being tortured for a major sin. This one used not to save himself from being soiled with his urine, and the other used to go about with calumnies (among the people to rouse hostilities, e.g., one goes to a person and tells him that so-and-so says about him such-and-such evil things). The Prophet then asked for a green leaf of a date-palm tree, split it into two pieces and planted one on each grave and said, "It is hoped that their punishment may be abated till those two pieces of the leaf get dried."[3]
  • From Abu Hurayrah who said: The Prophet said, “When one of you finishes the last tashahhud (testimony of faith in prayer), he should seek refuge in Allah from four things: From the Punishment of Hell, from the Punishment of the Grave, from the trials of life and death, and from the evil trials of the Maseehud-Dajjaal (Anti-Christ).”[4]
  • Anas reported Mohammed as saying: If you were not (to abandon) the burying of the dead (in the grave), I would have certainly supplicated to Allah that He should make you listen to the torment of the grave.[5]
  • Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "When a human being is laid in his grave and his companions return and he even hears their footsteps, two angels come to him and make him sit and ask him: What did you use to say about this man, Muhammad ? He will say: I testify that he is Allah's servant and His Apostle. Then it will be said to him, 'Look at your place in the Hell-Fire. Allah has given you a place in Paradise instead of it. “The Prophet added, "The dead person will see both his places. But a non-believer or a hypocrite will say to the angels, 'I do not know, but I used to say what the people used to say! It will be said to him, 'Neither did you know nor did you take the guidance (by reciting the Quran).' Then he will be hit with an iron hammer between his two ears, and he will cry and that cry will be heard by whatever approaches him except human beings and jinns."[6]
  • Umm Salama reported: The Messenger of Allah came to Abu Salama (as he died). His eyes were fixedly open. He closed them, and then said: When the soul is taken away the sight follows it. Some of the people of his family wept and wailed. So he said: Do not supplicate for yourselves anything but good, for angels say "Amen" to what you say. He then said: O Allah, forgive Abu Salama, raise his degree among those who are rightly guided, grant him a successor in his descendants who remain. Forgive us and him, O Lord of the Universe, and make his grave spacious, and grant him light in it.[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As quoted by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari in al-Maqaalaatul-Islaamiyyeen (p. 430)
  2. ^ The Soul's Journey After Death, An Abridgement of Ibn Al-Qayyim's Kitabar-Ruh, Commentary by Layla Mabrouk
  3. ^ Bukhari, Book 8, Volume 73, Hadith 78: Good Manners and Form
  4. ^ Related by Sahih Muslim (2/93), Abu Daawood (no. 983), and others from Abu Hurayrah
  5. ^ Muslim, Book 40, Hadith 6860: The Book Pertaining to Paradise, Its Description, Its Bounties and Its Intimates
  6. ^ Bukhari, Book 2, Volume 23, Hadith 422: Funerals
  7. ^ Muslim, Book 4, Hadith 2003: The Book of Prayers

External links[edit]