Adhaab al-Qabr (Punishment Of The Grave)
According to the Aqaid (beliefs) of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah`, Adhaabul Qabr (punishment in the grave) is Haqq (true and established). (Sharhul Aqaid)
It (punishment of the grave) is proven from the Qur’an and Ahadith. Allah Ta’ala discusses the punishment given to Fir’awn. He says, ‘The fire is given to them in the morning and evening and on the Day of Judgment.’ The fire before the Day of Judgment refers to the punishment in the grave.
Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, ‘When a person is buried and the people go away, two angels approach the deceased and ask three questions, a) Who is your lord? b) What is your religion? and c) Who is this person (meaning Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam)? A believer will answer all three questions and he will be honored with the clothing of Jannah. The window of Jannah will be opened for him and he will enjoy the sight of Jannah. On the contrary, a disbeliever will not be able to answer, and will express regret at not being able to answer the questions. Upon that, an angel who is blind and deaf is appointed to punish him. Blind so that the angel does not see the punishment and feel mercy and deaf so that the punishment is not heard. The hammer used to punish a disbeliever is so heavy that it can reduce a mountain to dust. The disbeliever screams with pain and every creation can hear him besides human and Jinns.’ (Mishkat)
Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, ‘The grave is a garden of paradise or a pit of hell.’ (Ibid)
Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, ‘It has been revealed to me that the trial in the grave is similar to the trial of Dajjaal.’ (Tirmidhi)
Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, ‘If you are made to listen to the punishment in the grave, you will stop burying your deceased.’ (Tirmidhi)
Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam advised, ‘Seek protection from the punishment of the grave.’ (Ibid)
In one Hadith, two reasons have been cited for the punishment in the grave:
a) Not exercising precaution from the splashes of urine drops,
Ibn `Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) passed by two graves and said, “Both of them (the persons in these graves) are being tortured, and they are not being tortured for a cardinal sin. But indeed they are great sins. One of them used not to save himself from being soiled with his urine, and the other one 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).”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The torment in the grave will vary according to the sins committed by the person in this world, whether he was a kaafir or a disobedient Muslim.
Sumurah bin Jundub (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) very often used to ask his Companions, “Has any one of you seen a dream?” So dreams would be narrated to him by those whom Allah willed to relate. One day he (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Last night I had a vision in which two men (angels) came to me and woke me up and said to me, `Proceed!’ I set out with them and we came across a man lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. Behold, he was throwing the rock at the man’s head, smashing it. When he struck him, the stone rolled away and he went after it to get it, and no sooner had he returned to this man, his head was healed and restored to its former condition. The thrower (of the rock) then did the same as he had done before. I said to my two companions, `Subhan-Allah! Who are these?’ They said: `Proceed, proceed.’ So we proceeded and came to a man lying in a prone position and another man standing over his head with an iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man’s mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back (of the neck), and similarly tear his nose from front to back, and his eyes from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man’s face and did just as he has done with the first side. He had hardly completed that (second) side when the first returned to its normal state. I said to my two companions, `Subhan-Allah! Who are these?’ They said, `Proceed, proceed.’ So we proceeded and came across something like a Tannur (a kind of baking oven, a pit usually clay-lined for baking bread).” I (the narrator) think the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “In that oven there was much noise and voices.” The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) added, “We looked into it and found naked men and women, and behold, a flame of fire was reaching to them from underneath, and when it reached them they cried loudly. I asked, `Who are these?’ They said to me, `Proceed, proceed.’ And so we proceeded and came across a river.” I (the narrator) think he said, “– red like blood.” The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) added, “And behold, in the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank there was a man who had collected many stones. Behold, while the other man was swimming, he went near him. The former opened his mouth and the latter (on the bank) threw a stone into his mouth whereupon he went swimming again. Then again he (the former) returned to him (the latter), and every time the former returned, he opened his mouth, and the latter threw a stone into his mouth, (and so on) the performance was repeated. I asked my two companions, `Who are these?’ They replied, `Proceed, proceed.’ And we proceeded till we came to a man with a repulsive appearance, the most repulsive appearance you ever saw a man having! Beside him there was a fire, and he was kindling it and running around it. I asked my two companions, `Who is this (man)?’ They said to me, `Proceed, proceed!’ So we proceeded till we reached a garden of deep green dense vegetation, having all sorts of spring colours. In the midst of the garden there was a very tall man, and I could hardly see his head because of his great height, and around him there were children in such a large number as I have never seen! I said to my two companions, `Who is this?’ They replied, `Proceed, proceed.’ So we proceeded till we came to a majestic, huge garden, greater and better than any garden I have ever seen! My two companions said to me, `Ascend up’ and I ascended up.” The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) added, “So we ascended till we reached a city built of gold and silver bricks, and we went to its gate and asked (the gatekeeper) to open the gate, and it was opened; and we entered the city and found in it men with one side of their bodies as handsome as the most handsome person you have ever seen, and the other side as ugly as the ugliest person you have ever seen! My two companions ordered those men to throw themselves into the river. Behold, there was a river flowing across (the city), and its water was like milk in whiteness. Those men went and threw themselves in it and then returned to us after the ugliness (of their bodies) had disappeared, and they came in the best shape.” The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) further added, “My two companions said to me: `This place is the `Adn Jannah, and that is your place.’ I raised up my sight, and behold, there I saw a palace like a white cloud! My two companions said to me, `That palace is your place,’ I said to them, `May Allah bless you both! Let me enter it.’ They replied, `As for now, you will not enter it, but you shall enter it (one day).’ I said to them, `I have seen many wonders tonight. What does all that mean which I have seen?’ They replied, `We will inform you: As for the first man you came upon, whose head was being smashed with the rock, he is the symbol of the one who studies the Qur’an and then neither recites it nor acts on its orders, and sleeps, neglecting the enjoined prayers. As for the man you came upon, whose sides of mouth, nostrils and eyes were torn off from front to back, he is the symbol of the man who goes out of his house in the morning and tells lies that are spread all over the world. And those naked men and women whom you saw in a construction resembling an oven, they are the adulterers and the adulteresses. And the man who was given a stone to swallow is the eater of Ar-Riba (usury), and the bad-looking man whom you saw near the fire, kindling it and going around it, is Malik, the gatekeeper of Hell, and the tall man you saw in the garden is (Prophet) Ibraheem (Abraham – alayhisallam), and the children around him are those who died upon Al-Fitrah (the Islamic Faith of Monotheism).”’ The narrator added: Some Muslims asked the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) , “O Messenger of Allah! What about the children of Al-Mushrikun (i.e., polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam))?” The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied, “And also the children of Al-Mushrikun.” The Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) added: “My two companions added, `The men you saw half handsome and half ugly were these people who had mixed an act that was good with another that was bad, but Allah forgave them’.”
Another narration of Al-Bukhari is: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “One night two men came to me and took me to a blessed land.” (The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) told of the same incident as above) and said, “After a while of walking we came upon a pit like an oven, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom with fire raging in it. When the flames rose up (the people in it) also rose up till they were about to come out; and when the fire subsided they, too, would go down with it. In it were naked men and women.” (The remainder of the Hadith is the same as the above Hadith except that at the end of it, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “We came upon a river of blood in the middle of which there was a man standing, and at the bank of the river there was a man with plenty of stones before him…” In this narration we also find: “They made me climb the tree and they made me enter an abode so beautiful the like of which I have never seen before. There (I saw) old men and youth.” In this narration we also find: “`The first house you entered was the abode of the believers in general, and the other house was the abode of the martyrs. I am Jibril (Gabriel – alayhisallam), and this is Mika’il (alayhisallam). Raise your head.’ I looked up and saw something like clouds. They said to me, `That is your abode.’ I said, `Shall I enter it?’ They said, `You have not completed your term of life yet. When you do, you will certainly enter it.”’
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (rahmatullahi alaih) said:
This indicates that some sinners will be punished in al-barzakh (the interval between death and the Day of Resurrection).
[ Fath al-Baari, 12/445]
It was the noble habit of Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam to make du’a in Salat for protection from the punishment of the grave. May Allah Ta’ala save us, our families and the entire Ummah from the trials of the Qabr. And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.