Author Ms. Seen Noon
‘O believers! Have faith in Allah, His Messenger, the Book He has revealed to His Messenger, and the Scriptures He revealed before. Indeed, whoever denies Allah, His angels, His Books, His messengers, and the Last Day has clearly gone far astray.’ (Surah An-Nisa Verse 136, 4:136)
Belief in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His messengers, is meaningless if one doesn’t sincerely believe in the Day of Judgement. Our merciful Lord has mentioned in the Quran countless times about ‘believing in Allah AND in the day of judgement’, together, in one place, so that the wise men and women can be reminded of the journey after our souls leave after bodies, while also refreshing our faith in our creator. A firm belief in life after death is one of the six fundamental beliefs mandatory for a believer to finalize his faith.
The following Hadith can aid to understand about the six beliefs of a believer:
Ibn Abbas narrates that the Angel Jibril once asked the Prophet ﷺ: “Tell me what is Iman?” The Prophet replied: “Iman is to believe in Allah, the Day of Judgment, His (Allah’s) Angels, Books and Prophets and to believe in life after death; and to believe in Paradise and the Fire, and the setting up of the Mizan (scales) to weigh the deeds; and to believe in the Divine Decree, the good and the bad of it (all). Jibril then asked him: “If I do all this will I be with Iman?” The Prophet ﷺ said: “When you have done all of this, you will be having Iman.”
Indeed, a curious mind in search of clarity about the existence of this world can gain a vast ocean of enlightenment regarding the life, death, trial of the grave, the resurrection and the final day of judgement, in the Quran or in the way of living of His messengers. Be it any religion, a follower is taught to do good, to help mankind, to earn a just earning and to refrain from evil. This humble way of living becomes a weighing scale for a person for fulfilling his desires and rejecting some in order to create a balance in his worldly existence.
Now when we talk about Islam, Allah and the Quran; a detailed graphic narration is available for us all to imprint in our minds that for each and every action of ours there will be an equal reaction. These reactions or consequences will not only affect us in this life but also the repercussions of our doings will be carried forward for our trials in our graves or the day of judgement. This direct correlation between the conducts of this dunya and our final resting place is part of our faith as a Muslim, and ultimately a moral compass leading towards our final abode.
The Trial of The Grave
Our lives in this world will eventually come to an end one day, as our rooh/soul leaves our bodies, our family and friends lay us down in our graves. People from different religions follow different practices; some cremate, some set fire to the dead, some drown the bodies in the water or some put the dead in front of the vultures. These traditions are just to provide their loved ones with a temporary resting place as their journey in this world ends.
As for the Muslims, our belief is, that when the ruh leaves the human body, the lifeless body is laid down in the grave as a resting place, till Allah will resurrect and make all the dead rise again so their good and bad deeds can be accounted for. In this intermediate time period, the dead are faced by a trial; the angels visit and question about who their Lord, religion, messenger is. The grave can either be a place of paradise where the angels visit the firm believers or a place of hell where the angels of punishment visit the weaker souls.
A Hadith from Abu Hurayra; Hazrat Prophet ﷺ was reported to have said the following:
“When a dead body is buried, two jet-black angels with blue eyes come. One of them is called Munkar and the other Nakir. They ask the dead person, What do you say about this man (the Messengerﷺ of Allah)? He says what he used to say when he was alive; “He is the slave and Messenger ﷺ of Allah. I witness that there is no god but Allah and I witness that Muhammad ﷺ is His slave and messenger. The angels say; “We already knew that you said it. Then his grave is expanded seventy times seventy ziras (1 zira = 75 cm) and illuminated. Then, he is told to lie down. He turns to them and asks; Shall I return and inform my family? They say, Sleep like the sleep of a groom that will nobody will wake except the person that he loves most. Thus, he sleeps in the place he is lying down until Almighty Allah revives him.
If he is a munafiq (hypocrite), he will say, “I would hear what people say and would repeat it. I dont know. The angels will say, We already knew you would say that Then they say to the earth, Squeeze him. The earth squeezes him and his ribs become intertwined. He is tortured in that place until Allah revives him.” (Tirmizi, Janaiz, 70)
The Final Resurrection
A day will come when the world as we know it will come to an end. Almighty will order His special angel to blow the horn, the inhabitants of the earth and the Heaven will fall unconscious except those who are mercifully spared. The earth will be flattened, mountains will turn to dust, the sky will crack, the planets will disperse, and the graves overturned. Then the dead will be raised from their graves with their bodies restored to their physical state as the second horn is blown. Every man, woman, child, jinn, demon, wild animal, will be brought before our creator and He will justly deal with them on account of their good and evil deeds. Those whose book of deeds is handed in his right hand would take a sigh of relief whereas the unfortunate who is handed his deeds in his left would regret and repent but it would be too late.
Allah narrates about the Day of Judgement in the Quran, in Surah Az-Zalzalah, verse 6-8:
‘On that Day people will proceed in separate groups to be shown ˹the consequences of˺ their deeds. So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it. And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.’ (99:6-8)
There is a bridge ‘As-Sirat’ built over hell extending to heaven, those who are firm believers will easily cross it, but unfortunately, the disbelievers will find it extremely difficult to cross it, ultimately falling in the pit of fire.
The pious believers who are able to reach heaven will stay in it forever, whereas there would be some who might need to spend some time in hell for their minor sins before reaching heaven. Allah’s judgement is very detailed and just, no good deed will be wasted or unaccounted for, similarly, no sin will be left undealt with. The bounties of heaven are limitless, and the people will stay in there forever, the hell on the other hand has extreme circumstances, and the dwellers would wish they hadn’t committed the sins.
Allah says in the Quran, Surah Az-Zumar, verse 54:
‘Turn to your Lord ˹in repentance˺, and ˹fully˺ submit to Him before the punishment reaches you, ˹for˺ then you will not be helped.’ (39:54)
May the Almighty be pleased with us and may we repent and get our sins forgiven, if Allah wills.