On Barzakh (Life Between Death and Resurrection)
The Ahadith that are being presented in this section are translations from an Urdu book entitled Kalam-e-Nubuwwat by Muhammad Farooq Khan. The notes that follow are either based on the author’s, with some modifications, or supplemented by the translator.
I. ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar says the Prophet (saws) said: “When one of you dies, his final abode is shown to him morning and evening. If he is to be of the people of Paradise, then (it is) Paradise, but, if he is to be in the Fire, then the Fire. He is told, ‘This is your abode – (wait) until Allah resurrects you on the Day of Judgement.’”
~ (Bukhari, Muslim)
Although some ahadith say that this happens in the grave, we have no sure knowledge as to where this questioning occurs. The word “Qabr” used in the ahadith has to be interpreted “as somewhere in the other world,” or the `alam al- barzakh, which can be rendered as a world in between this and the next worlds.
II. Abu Hurayra reports the Prophet as saying: “When a (believing) man dies, he is raised in a state of peace and fearlessness. He is asked, ‘On what belief were you?’ He replies, ‘That of Islam.’” He is asked, ‘Who is this man?’ He says, ‘Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, who came to us with signs from our Lord. We believed in him.’ He is asked, ‘Have you seen Allah?’ He says, ‘It is not possible for anyone to see Allah.’ 1 Then an opening is made for him and he sees Hell a part of which eating away another. 2 He is told, ‘Look at what Allah has saved you from.’ Then an opening is made for him and he sees Paradise. He looks at its beauties, and he is told, ‘This is your final abode as reward for the belief on which you were, and on which you died, and on which you will be resurrected insha Allahu ta`ala.’
“(In contrast) the wicked man is raised in his grave in fear and terror. He is asked, ‘On what (faith) were you?’ He says, ‘I don’t know.’ He is asked, ‘Who is this person?’ He says, ‘I heard people say some things about him and I used to repeat the same things.’3 Then an opening is made for him towards Paradise. He looks at its beauties and is told, ‘Look well at what Allah has denied you.’ Then an opening is made for him and he sees Hell of which a part is eating away another. He is told, ‘This is your final abode, because of the doubt which you bore, on which you died, and on which you will be resurrected, insha Allahu ta`ala’.”
~ (Ibn Majah)
1. That is, it is not possible to see Allah in this world. This statement proves that the man had known the Qur’an well, since the Qur’an tells us that no one can see Allah in the present life. It will be possible to see Him, as stated in the Qur’an and several traditions, only in the Hereafter when man will be in a higher spiritual state. But, of course, not all. The unbelievers will be barred from seeing Him, being in a low spiritual state.
2. Boiling within itself, Hell will be in such a state of anger then that some of its parts will be eating others – like the acid in a man’s stomach which are supposed to attack and break down food. But when a man’s stomach overproduces these acids, because of external worries and tension, then it starts attacking the intestine walls, whenever finding no food to attack.
3. It can imply two things, involving two kinds of people. One, involving the believer, who only heard about the Prophet from his parents and people around, as to how great a person he was, how true a Messenger, and so on, but never bothered to know who he really was and what is it that he had brought. He lived in total neglect of him who had brought the means of salvation to him. Second, involving the unbeliever, who hears all sorts of stories about the Prophet from ignorant people of his like, who present a distorted picture of the great benefactor of mankind. The unbeliever accepts their opinions a true, despite his own rule that he does not trust others for knowledge in other affairs and makes his own enquiry, and, despite the knowledge that these people hold prejudiced opinions about him. Yet, while he has time to read about the figures of history who brought death and destruction during their rule, he has not time to read about a man who, as admitted by the historians, changed the intolerable world of his time to a liveable one. The two kinds of people will learn in the grave that they were only parroting what others were saying about the Prophet – good or bad.
III. Jabir says that when a (believing) person dies, it is made to appear to him as if the sun is setting. (When he is raised) he sits up rubbing his eyes and says, ‘Let me do my prayers.’
~ (Ibn Majah)
IV. Abu Hurayrah says the Prophet said: “When a believing person’s time of departure arrives, the angels come to him with a white silk sheet. They say, ‘Come out (O spirit), the well-pleased, the pleasing – to the Mercy of Allah …to fragrance … and to the Lord who is not angry.’ So he comes out like the very pleasant fragrance of musk. They coddle him from hand to hand until when they reach the gates of the Firmament of this world they (the inhabitants of this Firmament) say, ‘Ah! What a pleasant fragrance that has come to you from the earth.’ They take him on to join him with the other spirits of the believers there and they are more pleased to meet him than one of you is when meeting a dear one who had been away for a long time. They ask him the news of the hose left behind, as to how so and so is doing and how so and so is faring. Others say, ‘Leave him alone, he was in distress in the previous life (so let him rest awhile now).’ He, (the newly arriving spirit) asks, ‘So and so died. Didn’t he show up here?’ They say, ‘No. They took him to the bottom of Hell.’ And when a disbelieving person’s time of departure arrives the angels of torture come to him and say, ‘Come out you, the enraging, the accursed one, to the punishment of God. He comes out like stinking smell from a carrion. When they reach the Firmament of this world with him, the inhabitants there say, ‘How sickening this smell is!’ They dump him among the spirits of the unbelievers.”