Says the Shaykh Abu Ja'far: Our belief concerning this is that verily these mountain-passes ('aqabat) have each a specific name; some are called fard, (compulsory duty) others, amr (command); yet others, nahy (prohibition).2 So when a man will reach a mountain-pass called fard, and he had neglected it (in his life), he will be stopped there and the dues of Allah will be demanded of him.
Now if he goes out of it by means of some good act performed by him in the world, or by the mercy of Allah reaching him, then he escapes from it and goes on to another 'aqaba. He will not cease to be sent from one 'aqaba to another, and be stopped and questioned regarding his shortcomings in respect of each stage.
If he escapes safely from all the stages, he arrives at the Abode of Permanence (daru'l-baqa'). Here he comes upon life everlasting, and perpetual beatitude, without any affliction whatever. He will reside in the neighborhood of Allah, with the Prophets, and His Proofs (Imams), the veracious ones, the martyrs and the righteous ones from among His slaves.
And if he is stopped at a pass, and is questioned about a certain due in respect of which he is found wanting, and neither a good action on his own part, nor the mercy of Allah reaches him, his step will stumble and he will be hurled down in the fire of Hell, may Allah protect us from it.
All these passes are on the Bridge (as-Sirat). The name of one of them is al-walaya (love of Imams). All mankind will be stopped before it and questioned as regards their love for the Prince of Believers, 'Ali, and for the Imams who followed him.
He who will have a proper answer will be saved and will be permitted (to cross the Bridge safely). And he who is unable will tarry and be hurled down (in the fires of Hell). And (the proof) of this is the saying of Allah, the Mighty and Glorious:
“And stop them for they must be questioned” (Qur'an 37:24).
And the name of another pass is Mirsad (watch) and that is on account of the saying of Allah, the Mighty and Glorious:
“Lo! Thy Lord is ever watchful” (Qur'an 89:14).3
One of the passes is called ar-Rahm (kindness); another, al-Amana (trust); another, as-Salat (prayer). There is a special 'aqaba named after each (act which is) fard (compulsory), or amr (command), or nahy (prohibition); and before each one of these the individual will be detained and questioned.6