A detailed account of humanity’s experience of death, and the stages beyond it, including the status in one’s grave, Barzakh, the Day of Judgment (Qiyamah), and the final recourse in Heaven or Hell.
Many things have been written and said about death. But I could not find anything more effective and convincing than what the Martyr of the Prayer niche, the God-loving hero, Ayatullah Sayyid Abdul Husain Dastghaib (q.s.) had once said 25 years ago1and it is well known that he had full knowledge of Qur’anic verses, traditions and religious books.
Once during the month of Ramadhan, he delivered a speech in which he had said that death was the door of life and the first step in attainment of God’s Mercy. He described Barzakh (Purgatory) and its comforts in such a way that the audience became captivated by it.
Thereafter he also described the tortures of Barzakh in such a manner that people began to tremble due to fear. Consequently after hearing the quotations from Qur’an and Tradition many people gave up sins and turned towards good deeds and righteousness.
May your soul remain ever-happy O’ teacher of morality and O’ leader and teacher of the faithful! You guided people towards the truth during your lifetime. You became the means of taking people away from falsehood. But much more than that, you fulfilled your duty of propagating the truth through your martyrdom. As this dear friend has written, the blood of Ayatullah Dastghaib has proved more effective than his sermons.
He constantly said in his speeches and also wrote and published that “Death is not Extinction; rather it is the beginning of an everlasting life.” He repeatedly gave good tidings to the family members of martyrs that the Holy Qur’an has adjudged that your (martyred) relatives are alive.
“And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive. “(2:154)
Certainly we are the dead in comparison with them because (our life is perishable and) they have attained the everlasting life after which there is no death.
O Martyr of the Prayer niche! May your soul remain ever happy. You have made this matter clear through your martyrdom. Even two months have not yet passed since you have left us. But so many of your miracles have been seen and heard that many people are feeling sorry and restless because they could not know you as you should have been known. They feel strongly and ask themselves why they did not take proper benefit of your graceful life among them?
Here, regarding the discussion about this book and about Hereafter as well as with reference to your oft-repeated statement that “The martyrs are forever immortal” we’d like to mention an event which took place on the seventh day of your martyrdom which has become known to most of the residents of Shiraz to such an extent that it has also been reported in the press.
On the day after the 40th day of martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) of the year 1402 A.H. in the morning when I went, according of the routine, to my father’s house. The office secretary came to me and, after Salaam and inquiries about health etc, and began to talk about the dream of a Sayyid lady as follows:
“A respectable Sayyid lady whom I know very well and who lives in our neighbourhood, says, “Last night I saw the late Martyr of the Prayer niche (q.s.) in my dream. He told me, ‘Some pieces of my flesh are stuck between bricks in the wall in this street (where the late Ayatullah was shot). Please recollect those pieces and join them with my body.’”
At first I did not give importance to this news. I heard the discussions of people in the office and this continued for about two hours. Thereafter I stepped out along with some of them with the intention of participating in a program of ‘Fatihakhaani’ (recitation of Qur’an for gifting the divine rewards to the departed soul).
Per chance, we had to pass through the aforesaid street where my father was martyred. So when we reached that fateful spot, I suddenly remembered the aforesaid dream and I told about it to my companions as it was related to me that morning and said that there was nothing wrong if we walked looking around. Then suddenly our eyes fell for the first time on that wall and all of us saw that some pieces of flesh were stuck in the gaps between bricks at a spot on that wall.
Two of our companions went forward to collect those pieces of the body of the Martyr of the Prayer Niche (so they collected them and placed in a plastic bag safely). The news of this event spread in the city like wild fire especially due to fact that the 40th day of Imam Husain’s martyrdom had just passed and there was a total holiday in Shiraz.
During Friday eve, in the Jame Masjid of Shiraz, as usual, and as per the tradition of the Martyr of the Prayer niche for the last several years, a Dua Kumail prayer meeting was held and a huge gathering of mourners heard the event. Then and there it was announced that: This night at ten o’clock the remaining parts of the martyred Ayatullah will be buried.
So it was done and several groups of mourners continued their mourning rituals till late night in the courtyard of the shrine of Ahmed bin Musa Kazim. Finally, on the day of Arbaeen, with the fresh remembrance of the burial of the remaining part of the Holy body of Imam Husain (a.s.) the aforesaid two plastic bags containing the remaining parts of the Ayatullah’s body were brought and the contents were placed in the foot side hole dug in the grave of the great martyr.
In fact, this event was very wonderful and strange. I forgot to mention that on that very day when the scattered pieces of the Holy body were retrieved from the bricks of the said wall, a gentleman, who is one of the sincere persons belonging to the clergy and commands respect and reliability, told me that last night two other persons including a relative of the martyr had also seen the same dream.
After hearing this narration, this event assumed much importance in my opinion. So finally I sent a messenger to the aforesaid Sayyid lady and requested her to write back to us her full description of the said dream and also to mention her full name and address along with the names of her husband and other family members.
So the lady conceded to my request and sent me the accurate and detailed account, which is presently before me. I seek the consent of the honourable readers to quote a few parts of the said report so that it may be preserved as a part of history and be a means of admonition and guidance for future generations.
The lady writes, “Some particles of my flesh have been left stuck up in the wall.”
The vision (dream) was, “I was in a big garden. Suddenly I saw Ayatullah Dastghaib walking ahead of me. I was walking behind him. This was the middle part of the garden and the Ayatullah had put on a coffee coloured cloak. He asked me, “Please go and tell the people that some particles of my flesh have been left in that wall. He repeated these words several times. So I was extremely astonished when I woke up.”
You yourself may decide what truth this true dream tells. Talking testimony of a truth, which is more convincing than a whole book of admonition. The Martyr of the Prayer Niche had mentioned, “Death is not destruction; rather it is the door for attainment of Divine Mercy.” ‘The martyrs in the path of God are alive and they are getting provision from their Lord.
This learned Scholar has, in this book, given detailed description of events in the world of Barzakh (Purgatory between Death and Resurrection). Then he has turned towards the return of the soul to body. All these things are true. The martyr has personally proved this and announced thus.
Despite the limitations of this book, looking towards the contents, we conclude how nicely the author has encompassed all the conditions of death and Hereafter. The martyr (r.a.) has, in a very attractive style, in very appealing and effective words, described the journey to the Hereafter, which begins, from the moment of death. Then he describes the kind of death for the righteous and the offender. He has described the last moments on deathbed in such a way that the reader feels he himself is on the deathbed.
Thereafter he describes the conditions in Barzakh and quotes at length verses picturing the pleasing comforts of Paradise in the grave and thereafter a number of verses and traditions throw ample light on what happens during the torturous punishments in the grave (Barzakh period). He also narrates many true events and visions in support of this and shows what the reader has to pass through.
Thereafter he has presented arguments, verses and traditions concerning the events preceding Resurrection and the Day of Judgement and has discussed all this in a very simple style. He has also talked at length about the bridge (Sirat) and the Balance (Mizan) and the Paradise (Behisht) and the Hell (Dozakh) and Reward (Sawaab) and Punishment (Azaab) through several sources.
In short, it can very well be claimed that hundreds of thought provoking and eye-catching events have been covered like an ocean in a nutshell in this brief book.
May your soul remain ever happy and pleased, O Ayatullah Martyr of the Prayer Niche! So also the souls of your eighteen- year-old grandson, Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Dastghaib and all of your faithful companions may remain in peace and comfort forever.
Sayyid Muhammad Hashim Dastghaib
4th February 1981
The root of 'Ma’ad' (Hereafter) is 'Aud' which means to return or to come back. As on the Day of Resurrection souls will be made to return to their bodies, it is called Ma’ad.
'Ma’ad' is one of the principles of the Holy religion of Islam and to have faith in it is absolutely essential or obligatory and it is that everyone will, after his death, become alive again and would be rewarded or punished according to ones belief and deeds.
'Ma’ad' which begins with death and then passes through grave and then Barzakh and then Qiyamat al-Kubra (the great resurrection) and ends with either Paradise or Hell cannot be comprehended by the apparent senses and even though the occurring of the original 'Ma’ad' or Resurrection is proved by logic or brain (the details of which will be discussed later on), it is impossible for one to ponder in solitude over it and to understand what will happen after death, and through which stages one will have to pass.
For understanding this, there is no way except to rely on and take help from divine revelation because man wherever he is, his power of understanding cannot cross the limits of his world. For example, it is impossible for a baby in the womb to get the idea of the outside world and to fathom its vastness. Similarly it is also beyond his powers to understand the endlessness of the space and to know about the things therein.
Likewise, the man who lives in this world like a captive of matter and nature cannot have the ability to understand the world of angels and spirits, which is hidden from him. To reach that state will be possible only after getting freedom from this material world. In short, a man who is living in this material world, can never be able to know the details of the world after death, unless he puts faith and trusts in the truths made known by the Creator of this Universe.
So if anyone says, “It is far from my brain that such and such thing will happen after death,” then his saying so is absolutely unacceptable because the conditions and events after death have no relation with the bodily brain.
Even if all the thinkers and philosophers join together and make collective efforts to understand the conditions beyond death (in the other world) through the materials available to them in this earthly life they can never succeed in their manoeuvrings. So if we do have any source, it is only those things and those words, which the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) and His Holy Progeny have shown to us. Hence we also confirm them, as all of those great persons who are Infallible are those to whom God Almighty, the Lord of the Universe sends Revelation.
This discussion will prove that the doubts and distrusts expressed by some senseless people are totally baseless. For example, they say that the body of a man who has died is just like dust and stone or like dry wood and so how can it be questioned in a grave? In other words, can stones talk? If we fill up the mouth of a dead body with something and, on the next day, open his grave and see we will find that nothing has gone out of that mouth. (The answer to this question will be given soon).
Possibilities and probabilities are essential to intellect. An intelligent man (having brain) hears a thing and if it is impossible according to intelligence, he doubts it's being either true or untrue. But if the one from whom he heard that thing is an infallible person then the former will at once say that whatever he has said is true.
But if the hearer is unwise and ignorant he would exclaim, “What kind of talks are these, which we fail to understand!” So not to accept the words of the infallible would be based on senselessness and foolishness. Such a fellow is like a quadruped but has two feet whose senses are limited only to eating, sleeping and intercourse with the opposite sex.
Obviously if it is told to an ox or an ass that an angel appears before our eyes at the time of death or that there will be a questioning in our graves, they will not be able to agree because their intelligence is limited and cannot go far from their bellies and genitals. Only a higher level of soul can accept such news and matters.
There is no scope here to deal at length and with full details. Therefore, we mention briefly what has been narrated by Ahlul Bayt regarding what happens right from the first stage (death) up to the last one (Resurrection).
Truth About Death: The dislocation or the breaking of the relationship between body and soul is called death. Several examples have been quoted to explain this connection. Some say it is like the relation between a ship and its captain wherein death snatches away the ship from the control and authority of the captain. When you say my hand, my leg and my eye, this means 'I' (my) is something other than the said hand, leg and eye.
When you say: I walked, it is true that you moved but you walked through your legs. This shows that 'You' are something other than the limb called leg. Likewise, you say: I saw, I heard, I said. In all these three sentences the word 'I' (my) refers to a person and this person is the same as your soul which becomes manifest through the said scenes and which has been expressed through the above sentences.
It is the soul that sees and hears but through the eyeballs in the eyes and the holes in the ears respectively. These eyes and ears are, of course, the means of seeing and hearing. Soul is a lamp lighted by God's Might in the dark house of body, which shows its light through eyes, ears and other organs.
Death is like shifting of the lamp from one place to another place. For instance, suppose there is a hut having many holes. If a lamp is placed in it, its light would be emitted through those holes. But as soon as that lamp is moved out of that hut it will make the hut dark. Similarly, so long as the lamp of soul remains in the body it manifests its existence known through the light, which comes out from limbs like eyes and ears etc. But as soon as this lamp of soul is removed from the body, all its manifestations also cease and the body becomes dark. This is Death. This was just and explanatory example. Otherwise
It must be understood that the relation between the soul and the body is not by way of Hulool (penetrative migration). It is not like the entrance of water in a utensil or of air in vacuum. It also cannot be said that it remains out of body or it goes out of it at the time of death because soul is essence, not matter. There is no question of its entering or vacating. The only thing is that its relation with body is such that it remains fully attentive to the body. Death disconnects this relation.
It is also obligatory for us to believe that death occurs by the command of God. The same Power, which had, established this relation in the womb, at the last moment of the worldly life, disconnects this relation between the body and soul. Only He is the bestower of life and death. The Holy Qur’an says,
“God gives life and only God causes death also. “(39:42)
Some common people are very angry with Izra'eel (The angel of death). They do not even like to hear his name. They even condemn him though they know that these angels do not do anything of their own wish or authority. They have been employed by the Lord of the Universe and hence do everything by His order or command.
How soul is retrieved from body has been narrated in the traditions about the Me'raj (ascension) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). In short, there is a board in front of Izra'eel, which contains names of all the people. The name of the person whose time for death arrives is removed from that board and Israel at once takes possession of his or her soul.
It is also possible that names of thousands of people may be wiped out at one moment whereupon Israel takes the souls of all of them instantly. This is not astonishing. It is just like a gust of breeze blowing off thousands of lamps in a split second. All of it is by the power of the Almighty. Doubtlessly it is Israel who snatches souls but, as a matter of fact, it is only God Who causes it because it is only His command and Will.
Here comes up a question: Who takes away the soul? It is God or Izra'eel or the angels? There are three verses about this in the Holy Qur’an. At one place it says: God causes Death. At another place it is mentioned that:
The angel of death takes away the soul. (Surah Sajdah 32:11)1
On yet another occasion it is mentioned:
Angels collect the souls. (Surah Nisa 4:97)2
The fact is that all these statements are true because, the angel of death and his subordinate angels collect souls as commanded by God Almighty. Doubtlessly it is just like this: A king, through his army and its chiefs, conquers a country. It is correct to say that such and such army won such and such territory. Similarly, it is also correct to mention that such and such commander captured such and such country.
But in both the statements the fact remains that the country has been conquered by the king who owns, manages and directs the affairs of his state through officers and personnel under his command. This example also is only for making the matter understandable. Otherwise such examples cannot fully describe and explain the power of the Almighty.
It is agreed that it is only God who takes away life at the time of death. But you should also remember that God has made this world a world of causes. He has created causes for death also like falling from roof, becoming ill or being murdered etc.
Surely all these events become causes of death but the same is not absolutely essential because it can be also be seen that some people were seriously ill but they did not die of that illness. Of course when their lifespan comes to end even a light and ordinary thing can also become the reason of death and the Lord of the universe takes away his life. It is also seen that some people die without even the slightest illness.
A matter pertaining to the angel of death is that when he comes to take the soul of any person he assumes a face according to the deeds of the dying person.
It is mentioned in narrations that once Ibrahim (a.s.) asked the angel of death, “What shape do you assume while fetching the soul of unbeliever?” The angel replied, “You will not be able to look at that frightening shape.”
The Friend of God repeated, “I intend to see it.” He saw the angel in the form of a black man. His hair was standing on its end all over his body. A foul stench emanated from that frightening figure. His clothes were dark and flames and smoke leapt out from his mouth and nose. Ibrahim (a.s.) became unconscious. When he came to sense he said, “Even if the unbeliever is not given any other punishment, seeing you in this form is torture enough for him.”
On the other hand the shape in which the angel of death appears before a believer has been mentioned in a number of traditions.3
During the last moments of man's life, angles arrive and stand on his right side. Likewise the Satans (devils) also approach him and stand on the left side of the deathbed.4 The job of Satans is to deceive and betray, particularly at the time of death so that, if that person has any faith, it could be destroyed. The scale of man's luck or misfortune is his last word and deed.
The way in which he passes his life is the same manner and the state in which he has died, will be his state when he will be made to rise in Qiyamat. His wish at the time of his death will be what it was during his life and so he will die with the same ambitions.
If in your heart there was an aspiration to see the charm of Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) you will be able to observe that beauty at the last moment. But if, God forbid your wish throughout your life was only the fulfilment of desire and passion then that lust of yours will become more intense at the time of death. But the one who had perfect faith is promised by God that He will protect him and Satan will not be able to gain control over him.
“Allah confirms those who believe with the sure word in this world's life and in the hereafter... “(14:27)
When Abu Zakaria Razi was about to die, those sitting around him asked him to recite, Laa Ilaaha Illallaah (There is no God except Allah). He replied, “I will not recite it.” Then he became unconscious. When he gained sense he said, “Just now a man had come to me who said, 'If you wish to be lucky and fortunate then say: Isa is the son of God. I said, 'I will not say.' After a number of requests and denials that fellow said, 'Okay then say: There is no God but Allah.' Yet I said, 'Since you are asking me to say so I will not.' Suddenly there appeared a weapon, which killed that fellow. Now I am conscious and am reciting the Kalimah (formula of faith).” Then he recited the two formulae (Shahaadatain) and passed away from this world.
Verily, how Satan can subdue a man who had the belief that there is only one God at the time of his death? Of course the man who had been the follower of devil throughout his life will be a companion of devil on his deathbed also.
Much has been mentioned in narrations about comfort and discomfort at the time of death. In some, it (the trouble or pain) has been compared with the pain experienced when one's skin is peeled. In some it is said that the pain of death is much less compared to the revolving of a large stony door of a castle having nails, in one's eyes.
In yet another narration it is said that the pain of death is like that experienced when one's body is cut into pieces by scissors or torn with a saw. So it has come to notice that some dying persons have suffered pains beyond description, which make the observers tremble.
But, on the other hand, for some persons death has been as pleasing as smelling a fragrant flower.
“Those whom the angels cause to die in a good state, saying: Peace be on you: enter the garden for what you did. “(16:32)
In some traditions it is mentioned by the infallibles, that for some people, death is like taking off dirty clothes and putting on a clean dress. In some other narrations it is compared with liberating the body from chains and yokes, as if death is like being freed from the imprisonment of this material world.
Discomforts or comforts at the time of death mentioned above do not represent a hard and fast rule. It is not that a righteous person never experiences trouble at death time. There are many a faithful whose souls depart easily. Also there are some good and faithful people who get God's mercy whereby their sins are wiped out through the death pains and discomforts.
This is because though one is faithful, he must also leave the world in a clean state (after removal of the blemishes of sins) so that he may be clean in the Hereafter also and may become eligible for divine grace right from the first stage of grave. In the case of infidels the death time pain is the starting point of his post-mortem punishments and tortures.
“But how will it be when the angels cause them to die smiting their backs. “(47:27)
It is also sometimes seen that infidels and sinners die easily. It is so because they had some good deeds in his life? His soul departs comfortably so that this account may be cleared in this world (he never believed in the post-mortem accounting). So he gets the reward here instead of the Hereafter. For example, a man spent his money for some good cause or helped a poor oppressed person. As a reward of this good deed he is given ease at death so that he may get the reward of this good deed in this very world and may have no claim in the Hereafter.
The same is regarding the trouble faced by a believer at death time, which makes him, clean from the impurities of the sins of his lifetime. Anyway the fact of the matter is that, for an unbeliever, death is the beginning of his misfortune, be it comfortable or painful. For a faithful both pain as well as ease is the start of bounties and comforts of everlasting nature. So the deathbed condition indicates no fixed rule.
There is a tradition in the third volume of Biharul Anwar according to which once the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) went to visit his cousin ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.). The latter was suffering from an illness of the eyes. He was sighing and groaning due to acute pain despite the fact that he was a mountain of patience in bearing troubles. At that time the Holy Prophet gave ‘Ali frightening news, which made the latter forget his pain.
The Holy Prophet said, “O ‘Ali! The archangel Jibraeel has informed me that when the time of taking the soul of a disbeliever comes, some angels of torture arrive and retrieve his soul hitting him with bars and whips of fire.” ‘Ali (a.s.) asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Does such a terrible thing happen to anyone from your Ummah also?” The Holy Prophet said, “Yes, even in Muslims there are three groups whose souls are taken in this harsh manner: First is a tyrant ruler, secondly, who usurps the orphan's property and third is the one who gives false testimony.”
Biographers have written that when the time of death approached for his most knowledgeable and intelligent student, Fuzail and some other persons went to see him. Fuzail began to recite the Surah Yasin5The unfortunate student at that time hit his teacher Fuzail saying, “I don't want you to recite the Surah (Qur’an).”
Just think over the bad luck of a man who had learnt the Holy Qur’an throughout his life and who had spent his lifetime in mosques, madressas and assemblies of worships and prayers, and at his last moment he says, “I don't want you to recite Qur’an before me!” The unfortunate fellow did not recite even the Shahaadatain6and passed away from this world.
This made Fuzail extremely sorrowful. He took to a corner of his house and stopped going out until he saw his unlucky student in a dream and asked him the cause of his bad behaviour on his deathbed. The late student said, “I had three evil habits due to which I left the world in a state of a disbeliever. They were: I was jealous and never liked that anyone should surpass me.”
Yes, jealousy is the bad habit, which destroys faith just as fire reduces wood to ash.
“Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they rejected the communications of Allah and used to mock them. “(30:10)
The second evil habit was backbiting and inciting one against another. It causes separation even between a man and wife. Therefore if someone backbites about a person before you, you should not tell the latter the former was speaking ill of him. Rather, in order to remove dislike between the two, you may tell one that the other was praising and using good words.
Remember that it is no evil to tell untruth with a view to remove ill will and mistrust between two persons because the intention is only to improve relations between two brothers. There is a Persian proverb: Untruth resulting in improvement of relations is better than a truth causing strife.
Contrary to it, backbiting is the worst evil as besides increasing ill will and enmity between two human beings, it deprives the backbitten one of peace and calm. Then it sows seeds of trouble and unrest, which is worse than murder.
“And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers. “(2:191)
“...and persecution is graver than slaughter; and they will not cease fighting with you until they turn you back from your religion, if they can; and whoever of you turns back from his religion, then he dies while an unbeliever- these it is whose works shall go for nothing in this world and the hereafter, and they are the inmates of the fire; therein they shall abide. “(2:217)
The third evil, which was found in Fuzail's student, was that of alcoholism. These were the three greater sins, which cause a man faithless death even though he were a scholar and a high-class teacher.7
It is also very important to remember that one must be eager to meet the Lord. It means that a faithful servant should not dislike death and must never be afraid of it. This is not to say that one must long for death. May God protect! One must never think of suicide because it is possible that one may, in ones lifetime repent for sins and do more good deeds.
The meaning of being pleased with death is that whenever Almighty wants to him to die he should, in those circumstances, consider death a bounty because (according to Islam) he is a loyal and an obedient one of God and he will get great reward very soon and taste the sweetness of his good deeds and if he had been a sinner, his sins would come to an end and so also his punishment would decrease.
In short, a wise man should be pleased with death at the moment of God's will because death is the only means of scaling the peak of his good fortune, that is, to get rid of the web of deceptions and conspiracies and to enter the house of eternal happiness (Paradise) and to get nearness to God Almighty and to see the Holy Prophet and His Holy Progeny (a.s.) as well as to meet the shining souls of all pious people and Holy saints. The only way to get all this is death.
Similarly one must also like and be pleased with a long life and delay in death at the will of God so that he may, to the best of his or her ability, make provisions for the journey to the Hereafter.
It is also wrong and misplaced to abhor death and to be crazy after worldly life for enjoying more and more pleasures, as is the way of many. It is against both reason and Shariat.
It is unwise because, firstly, real pleasure cannot be achieved in this worldly life. There is a proverb that says: Until a mouth does not taste a hundred fists it cannot swallow a morsel. There is no pleasure in the world, which is not surrounded by hundreds of pains and troubles. If there is youth, old age and weakness is bound to follow it.
If there is health, which is primarily essential for enjoying every pleasure of life, then there are a number of ailments and illnesses, which pose threats to it. If there is wealth, which makes it possible to get comfort and ease, then it is not possible to gain it (wealth) without hard labour. Thus earning of wealth is also not without hazards. Any high position is not attained without labouring hard and facing deterrents and oppositions. Besides all this, what is most significant is that all such worldly gains and benefits, and comforts and positions etc are bound to perish one day.
According to a meaningful Persian proverb couplet: “Do not become an ardent lover of this world because this disloyal bride had not passed even a single night with sincere love to anyone”.
Deep involvement in material world is, from viewpoint of religion condemnable because the Holy Qur’an has regarded love for world an attribute of disbelievers. Almighty says,
“Surely those who do not hope in Our meeting and are pleased with this world's life and are content with it, and those who are heedless of Our communications: “(10:7)
It means that the unbelievers are happy with their worldly life.
At another place:
“...are you contented with this world's life instead of the hereafter? But the provision of this world's life compared with the hereafter is but little. “(9:38)
Which means: Have you given preference to the material worldly life over the Hereafter?
Referring to Jews it says:
“...everyone of them loves that he should be granted a life of a thousand years, and his being granted a long life will in no way remove him further off from the chastisement, and Allah sees what they do. “(2:96)
This means that every one of them likes that he should live in this world for a thousand years.
There are many verses like this in Holy Qur’an. Similarly there are innumerable traditions and narrations. Here we mention a famous tradition of the Holy Prophet from the book Usul al-Kafi:
The root all evil is love for this world.
Whatever we have mentioned above makes clear that if the dislike for death and longing for living longer in this world is because of one's madness (excessive affection) or due to the thought that death becomes a barrier between his beloved things depriving him of worldly pleasures and luxuries, then it is unwise from the viewpoint of reason and an unpleasant attitude from religious viewpoint too.
But if one dislikes death and desires its delay thinking that, in that case (in a longer life), he will continue to make more and more provision for his post-mortem journey to the Hereafter because death closes all possibilities to do good deeds in this world and hence he desires that death may not come very soon then it is a very good intention.
But if the wailing, crying and lamenting over the demise of beloved persons and to become angry on such occasions and to denounce the death is due to material reasons and thoughts then it also is wrong and undesirable. For example, to weep asking why the happiness of this worldly has been snatched from him or why he has been deprived of the comforts available from his deceased beloved relative then such wailing is also wrong and misplaced.
But if the unhappiness and sorrow and mourning is only because of the separation, like that of a co-traveller (who reaches first of all to his beloved native place) then his other companions will naturally be emotionally affected (even though the departing soul has reached his beloved place and joined his beloved ones) then also the said sorrow and unhappiness is very well, rather it is desirable that a faithful should mourn over the demise of his faithful brother especially when the departing person was helping the living one in his good deeds which formed a kind of provision for journey to Hereafter.
Since most of the people, especially women, are more inclined towards worldly matters they become all the more restless and agitated and go to extremes in crying and complaining, thinking as if they were to live in this world forever and imagining that the one who died has been annihilated. Had they thought correctly they would have realized that the departed person was a traveller who has reached his or her destination earlier and that he or she had to go there. Then they will not show such excessive impatience and restlessness.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) once saw a man whose son had died. He was crying and complaining too much. The Imam told him, “How is it that you are crying over this little calamity and have totally forgotten the far more hard and troublesome calamity (of the Hereafter)? If you yourselves would have been properly busy making provision for your travel to the other world, you would not have ever exhibited so much impatience and dislike over the demise of your beloved son. Your not being anxious and careful about your Hereafter is a calamity, which is harder than the calamity of your son's death.”8
Similarly, the condition of a man, regarding death should be like that of the one who had been in the service of a king for a few days. In the meanwhile he gets a word from the king that you will be, at an unfixed time, be made to stand in front of the king so that you may be rewarded and honoured by the king for your good service and loyalty.
Surely that man will feel happy due to these good tidings. But at the same time he will also wish that he might be called up somewhat later so that he may perform some more functions liked by the king and get more rewards.
Similarly a faithful person, though he feels happy at his death which is the door to the place of rewards and gifts, also likes and wishes that the said hour may be delayed somewhat so that he may perform more worship and at the same time remain satisfied and happy when God decides to call him up, with the conviction that God is most merciful and kind and with the longing to meet the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his Holy Progeny (a.s.) whom he respected and honoured very much during his lifetime.
It is mentioned in many traditions that the Holy Prophet and ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) and, according to some narrations, even the Holy five (Panjetan), and also all the fourteen Infallibles (a.s.) arrive at the head of the dying person. (More about their radiant faces and appearances will be mentioned henceforth).
One of the companions of Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) was on deathbed. The Holy Imam went to him and stood near his head. That man had closed his eyes at his last moments. Yet he said once, “At present the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.), Siddiqa Fatima Zahra (a.s.), Imam Hasan (a.s.), Imam Husain (a.s.) and all the Holy Imams right up to Imam Kazim (a.s.) have arrived here and I am getting the honour of seeing their Holy faces,” and added, “O Sir! Your honour's radiant face is also visible to me here.”9
In short, it is agreed that every person sees the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) at the time of his or her death and derives happiness in proportion to his or her love and respect for them.
According to a famous tradition narrated by Harith Hamadani, Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) said, “Everyone sees me on his or her death bed and will do so in future also, be he a believer or an unbeliever.10
Of course what is significantly important is that, for the faithful, the visit of ‘Ali (a.s.) will be a bounty because the handsome face of the Imam is the sweetest pleasure for the faithful, whereas, for an unbeliever, his frowning face will be showing God's terrible anger.11
After the soul leaves the body it remains hovering over it. Angels take the soul of the faithful towards the sky and that of the unbeliever is dragged downwards. When the corpse is being taken to the grave, if it is that of a faithful, it cries out, “Carry me to my destination as soon as possible.” If it is a disbeliever the soul says, “Do not make haste and do not rush me so speedily to my grave.” At the time of bathing body if the body is that of a believer, an angel tells him, “Do you desire to go back to the world?” The body (of the faithful) replies, “I do not want to be entangled in difficulty and sorrow again.”
The soul of the dead body remains present at the time of washing (Ghusl) and also during the funeral procession. It sees the washer as well as the carriers. It hears their talks. This is why it has been advised that people should not engage in unnecessary talk near the body and that they should be busy with reciting the Holy Qur’an and remembrance of God.
After the burial, as some tradition writers have said, “The soul gets reconnected with the body. It becomes gloomy observing that people have gone away leaving it alone in the grave.”
The very first good news given to a faithful in grave is: The Most Merciful God has forgiven you and all those who participated in your burial.
Here it may be mentioned that the faithful should take care to see that all religious rituals are performed at the time of death, washing, shrouding and burying etc. All that is desirable (Mustahab) must be performed. The legal heir of the deceased should, after all others leave the graveyard, return to the grave and recite Talqeen sitting near the grave. This has to be the last Talqeen. According to tradition it has to be recited twice before this: First when the body breathes its last and second after placing the body in the grave.
Among those things in which one must have faith and which form the essentials of the Shi’a faith is that the deceased one will have to face questioning by Munkar and Nakeer (angels) in the grave. It is agreed that man must believe that there will be questioning in the grave.
We need not go in details like whether this material worldly body will confront the said questioning or another Misaali (similar) one or it will be this dusty grave or any another pit or whether the questions will be addressed to the soul and/or whether the material physical body will also be affected by it or not etc.
It is not obligatory for us to know all these details also because there is no source of knowing it except traditions and there is no specific description in traditions and reports. Of course, Allamah Majlisi has, in Biharul Anwar Vol. 3 and also in Haqqul Yaqeen, mentioned that reliable traditions show that this worldly body in which the deceased had lived in the world will experience questioning in the grave and the squeeze.
It is understood that the departed soul will be made to return to either the entire body or in some part of it (that is up to the chest or the waist as mentioned in traditions) so that the deceased may be able to understand the questions and give replies.
We should also know about the things involved in questioning in the grave. It will be about beliefs and actions or deeds. It will be asked, “Who is your God? Who is your Prophet? Which religion were you following?”
These questions will be asked to everyone, the believer as well as the unbeliever. Of course lunatics or mentally retarded persons and minor children will be exempted from it. If the dead had faith in true beliefs it will state his or her beliefs and will testify to the Oneness of the Lord of the worlds and the Messengership of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and to the Imamat of the Holy Imams (a.s.). Otherwise the dead will remain dumb and will not be able to speak. Frightened by the said two interrogating angels some will say, “You are my Gods.” Sometimes they will say, “People say Muhammad is the messenger of God and Qur’an is the Book of God.”
They will not give clear and correct replies. In short, if the deceased is able to give correct replies a gate is opened near his or her head and the grave is widened as far as one can see. Thus the door of Barzakh (which will continue till Resurrection) is the door of comfort and spaciousness:
“Then if he is one of those drawn nigh (to Allah), Then happiness and bounty and a garden of bliss. And if he is one of those on the right hand, Then peace to you from those on the right hand. And if he is one of the rejecters, the erring ones, He shall have an entertainment of boiling water, “(56:88-93)
Then the body will be told: Have a sweet and restful sleep.12
If the deceased is unable to give correct answers, a door of the Hell of Barzakh will be opened for him or her and a breath from the breaths of Hell will fill up his or her grave. (All these sentences have been taken from narrations. Original text has not been mentioned for the sake of brevity).
God already knows that this person is faithful or faithless, righteous or sinful. Then what is the use of this interrogation? Questioning in the grave is, in fact, for the faithful, the beginning of the manifestation of Divine bounties. How much happy and pleased will be the faithful; when he will see the beautiful and pleasing face of the angel and smell the fragrance of the gardens of paradise accompanying the said angels. That is why such angels are called (have been named “Mubasshir and Basheer” (announcers of good tidings).
Moreover, the said questioning will be a cause of happiness for a faithful person. You must have seen students who had carefully and painstakingly studied their lessons in the school. They feel happy at the thought of being examined or questioned so that they may be able to show their talents and merits. Likewise a faithful servant of God also entertains a wish that he should be questioned about his Lord so that he may to give satisfactory testimony to the Oneness of the only one God and the Messengership of His Beloved Messenger Muhammad (s.a.w.s.).
Whereas the questioning in grave will make a believer happy, as it will herald an era of eternal happiness for him, the same questioning will for the faithless turn out to be the start of misfortune and torture. The very arrival of angels will terrorize the unbelievers. It is mentioned in narrations that the frightening angels will threaten the infidels in a terribly harsh tone. Flames will be leaping out from their eyes. Their hair will be very long, dragging on the ground. These are the angels who will approach the unbeliever and this is why they are named 'Munkar and Nakeer' (the abhorring ones).
A man who had passed his entire life without any thought of God and who never cared to know his Lord Creator. It can be well imagined what he will face. He will be asked about his God. But he had worshipped (was mad after) only money and wealth. He was devoted only to name and fame. He only longed for power. He had nothing to do with the Lord of the worlds. So he will tremble and shiver in such a way that he will not be able to reply any question.
Some of such fellows will reply rightly about God but they will fail to reply regarding the Holy Prophet. Some will be unable to reply rightly about all the true beliefs. Some who will reply rightly about beliefs will fail in the questioning about their deeds and actions.
It is mentioned in Biharul Anwar, vol. 3 that a man was questioned about his beliefs in the grave. He gave correct replies. Then only one question was put to him, “Do you remember that on such day you had seen that a person was being oppressed but you did not go to help him? You saw that his honour was being trampled upon and his wealth was being grabbed. You were in a position to help him but you did not do so?”
That fellow did not give any reply. (Do remember that it is one of the obligatory duties of every faithful to help the oppressed). As he failed in fulfilling his responsibility in this respect, the angels told him, “A punishment of a hundred lashes has been ordered for you.” Then they inflicted the first lash, which filled his grave with fire. Yes, this is the punishment of giving up an obligatory duty or deed.
The aim is that you should not say that all your deeds are good and that there is no risk or danger. Suppose your beliefs are true and you leave the world with the same beliefs in your heart. But then, what about your deeds? Can you say that you have committed no mistake?
The Infallible complains, “I am weeping remembering the questioning by Munkar and Nakeer in the grave.” Then who are we?
It is agreed that, in the grave, everyone's companions will be their deed as specifically stated in the Qur’an and traditions. Sadooq (a.r.) has in Khisaal, Amali and Maniul Akhbar, narrated from Qais bin Asim that once he went to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) along with a group of people from the tribe of Tameem.
He submitted, “O Messenger of God! Give us some admonition by which we may benefit, because, most of the time we roam in wilderness and deserts (and have few chances of visiting your honour).” The Holy Prophet gave them a number of admonitions. One of them is: O Qais! It is necessary for you to have a companion to be buried in the grave. That companion will be alive whereas you will be dead.
So if that companion (you will necessarily have) is a nice and kind person, he will keep you in a respectable condition. If he is a bad fellow he will leave you there in your grave in total solitude without any help or assistance. (Also remember that) that companion will be necessarily with you in the grand gathering (Hashr) on the Day of Judgement. You will also be asked only about him. So it is very essential for you to select a good companion. If he is a good person he will make you happy. But if he is a corrupt fellow he will frighten you terribly and that companion is your deeds.
Qais instantly turned this admonition into a poem of advice in Arabic language:
Select a companion from your deeds because, in the grave, the only companion of a man will be his deed.
It is essential for you to reserve a companion for life after death, for the Day when man will be called and he will attend at once the Grand Gathering.
So if you are busy in any deed then beware and never engage yourself in any deed disliked by God.
Be it before death or after death, man will have nothing with him except his deeds.
Beware! Man is only a guest among his family members in this world.
He stays with them only for a few days and then marches off.
There are many Qur’anic verses showing that after a man dies his companion will be his deeds, that is, the result of the deeds done by him in the world.
Here we suffice with only one verse. The Almighty God says,
“On the day that every soul shall find present what it has done of good and what it has done of evil, it shall wish that between it and that (evil) there were a long duration of time; and Allah makes you to be cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and Allah is Compassionate to the servants. “(3:30)
It is God's Mercy that He has conveyed innumerable admonitions and warnings to mankind through His Messengers.
His honour, Qazi Saeed Qummi, in his book Arbaeen, quotes Shaykh Bahai (a.r.) thus: A friend of mine was living in the graveyard of Isfahan. He used to remain busy praying near a tomb. I used to visit him frequently. Once I asked him, “Have you ever, during your stay in the graveyard, observed any astonishing thing?”
He said, “Yes. Only the other day people brought here a body, buried it in this corner and went away. After sunset, a very foul smell spread, the like of which I had never known. Then all of a sudden I saw a terribly horrifying form of a black dog. The foul smell was emanating from its body. That fearsome form came nearer and disappeared after approaching the aforesaid new grave.
After a little while, a very sweet and pleasing fragrance began to spread around the like of which also I had never felt in my life. In the meantime, I observed a very handsome form, which also approached the aforesaid grave and disappeared. (All these are the wonders of the world of spirits, which appear in such forms).
Anyway, after a few moments, that beautiful shape (form) emerged out of that grave but in a wounded and bloodstained condition. I exclaimed, 'My Lord! Explain to me what is this all that I am observing? Who are these two forms?' (In my sleep) I was informed that the good-looking form was that of the good deeds done by the dead person and the ugly form was of his evil deeds.
As the bad deeds were more than the good ones, the latter (bad deeds) remained with him as his companion in the grave. Only God knows when this fellow will become clean of his sins! Who knows when he will have a good companion in the form of that handsome being?”
Allamah Majlisi says in Haqqul Yaqeen:
Muslims have a unanimously agreed belief that the squeezing of grave and both reward and punishment therein are real facts. According to reliable traditions, the grave will press the same body, which was been buried. Of course, every body is not necessarily squeezed in the grave. It depends upon the deeds, that is, this punishment is inflicted only on those who have earned it by sinning. The degree of squeeze will also depend on the severity of his sins. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said that the squeezing of the grave is the expiation of the sin of wasting away the bounties granted by God.
Shaykh Kulaini (r.a.) has, reliably narrated from Abu Baseer that he asked Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s), “Is any body spared the squeeze in grave?”
The Imam replied, “Refuge God from this matter! Very few people escape the squeeze of the grave.”
When Ruqaiya, the stepdaughter of the Prophet expired, the Prophet stood at her grave raising his head towards the sky. Tears flowed from his eyes. Then he told the people, “I remembered the calamity this lady has just passed. It made me extremely gloomy and I prayed: O Allah! Forgive her. You are Most Merciful. Please save her from the squeeze of the grave.'“ Then he said, “God has pardoned her.”
It seldom so happens that a person is saved from the squeeze of grave. This is because the squeezing of the grave is the result of sins. The matter is so sensitive that even an unwise and unjust behaviour with one's own family members can cause squeeze in the grave. As a testimony to this statement and with a view to show the importance of this squeeze, we narrate below a tradition related to Saad bin Muaaz Ansari.
Saad was a chief of the Ansars as well as a respected person in the eyes of the Holy Prophet and also in the opinion of all Muslims. Once he was riding to visit the Holy Prophet. The latter asked Muslims to receive him.
The Holy Prophet himself had also stood to welcome him. The Holy Prophet had once appointed Saad as arbiter in a case concerning some Jews. When he (Saad) expired, seventy thousand angels joined his funeral procession. The Holy Prophet shouldered all the four corners of his coffin and said, “There were columns and rows of angels in the funeral of Saad. My hand was in the hand of Jibraeel. I was following him (Jibraeel) wherever he moved.”
In short, he was such a nice gentleman that, besides all these things, the Holy Prophet lowered his body in the grave. Seeing this, the mother of the deceased cried out, “Congratulation to you, O Saad! Congratulations for winning paradise.”
The Holy Prophet asked that lady, “From where did you know that your son has reached paradise? Right now he is under squeeze of the grave.” The companions asked, “O Messenger of God! Is a pious man like Saad is also being squeezed in the grave?” The Holy Prophet replied, “Yes.”
According to another narration, when people asked the reason for the squeeze of Saad's grave, the Holy Prophet replied that Saad was not behaving nicely with his family members and his attitude towards his wife was rather bad.
The respectable scholar, Kulaini (r.a.) has narrated from Yunus that he asked Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) in the matter of one who was hanged. (In the past people were not only being hanged but their corpses were also left hanging for days. Zaid, the martyr was kept thus hanging for three years and birds had made nests in his body). The Imam replied, “Yes. The Almighty God commands air to squeeze the body.”
Imam Ja'far (a.s.) has been quoted in another tradition saying that the Lord of the earth and air is one. He orders air to squeeze the hanging body more forcibly than the force of a grave. The same is the case of those who drown in water.
It is known from the above that wasting (not appreciating) the bounties granted by God causes grave squeeze. Similarly not behaving nicely with family members is also a reason for such squeeze of the grave. (Details about non-appreciation of Divine graces and bad behaviour with wife can be seen in the second volume of Ayatullah Dastghaib's book Gunahane Kabira (Greater Sins)).
Some other causes of such squeeze are, not purifying oneself after urinating, backbiting, making false allegations etc. The soul is squeezed. It is also likely that the body is also affected.
Contrary to this, the graves of those whose behaviour and attitude towards all is good become spacious in proportion to their nice manners. For some the width goes up to seven yards or seventy yards. For some it is up to the reach of one's eyesight. Consequently their souls live in comfort and ease.
The literal meaning of 'Barzakh' is a veil or a barrier that stands between two things and which does not allow the two to meet. For example, that part or region of the ocean in which waves of both the sweet and the salty waters bounce and yet God has provided between them an invisible barrier whereby one cannot overcome another.
“He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together: Between them is a barrier, which they cannot pass. “(55:19-20)
It is called Barzakh. But technically Barzakh is a realm kept by the Lord of the Universe between this world of ours and the forthcoming Hereafter in such a way that both might maintain their individual limits. Barzakh is a state between these worldly and otherworldly affairs.
After entering the world of Barzakh one does not experience physical pains like headache, toothache and such other troubles. Such suffering forms a part of the essentials of the material world. But there, in Barzakh, it is the realm of abstracts or of incorporeal beings. Of course, it can also not be called the Hereafter, which may mean that there will be only darkness for the sinners and only light for the obedient ones.
Some people asked the Imam (a.s.) about the duration of Barzakh. He replied, “It is from the moment of death up to the time when all will rise from their graves regaining life.1
The Holy Qur’an says:
...and before them is a barrier until the day they are raised. (23:100)
Barzakh is called Facsimile World also, because it is just like this world. But is so in shape and form yet different and distinct from the viewpoint of its substance and speciality. After our death, we enter a realm, which, in comparison, is like this world vis-à-vis a mother's womb.
Similarly, out bodies also will be facsimile bodies in Barzakh. This is to say that they will appear quite like our worldly material bodies but, factually, they will not be this body (containing skin and flesh). It will be an elegant, fine and exquisite body. It will be finer than air. There will be no barriers for it, which our bodies face in this material world. It (the Barzakh body) can see anything and everything from everywhere every time. There will be no difference for observation whether some thing is on this side of a wall or on the other.
Imam Ja'far (a.s.) says, “If you see that facsimile body you will say: Lo, it is the same worldly body.”2
For example, if you happen to see your father in your dream, you will observe him only in his worldly material body whereas his body (and matter) is in the grave and this form, which you see in the dream, is his facsimile form. The Barzakh body also has eyes but there is no fat or liquid in them. Those eyes do not suffer any pain till the Day of Resurrection. Those eyes can see things and can see well but they never become weak nor they require spectacles. Here is an example for more explanation:
Scholars and experts of scholastic theology have compared the Barzakh body with what one sees in a mirror. Of course there are two differences. First, the said picture is actual (not a mere reflection) and second, it achieves senses. The facsimile body is real and it also senses and understands things.
An incomparable example is dream. Therein we travel immeasurable distances in a split second. In no time we reach Holy Mecca, Holy Mashhad and all other places. We also see and hear people over there and also talk there. But all these things are not performed by physical organs. Not only this, better, higher and finer things like various kinds of tasty food, good-looking faces and pleasing fragrance as well as melodious songs etc are instantly available to the facsimile body, things which are unimaginable here. All these things are found in Barzakh and the souls can benefit from all these things in their facsimile bodies.
“And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord; “(3:169)
Since the foods, drinks, fruits and all such things in Barzakh are fine and have nothing to do with matter; it is quite possible for them, as mentioned in narrations, to combine in one thing according to the desires and wish of the faithful. For example, there is date fruit but you wish to eat (taste) an apple. The former instantly turns into the latter or in any other form of your liking. All of it depends on your wish.
It is mentioned in a report that the Holy Prophet once said, “I saw my respectable uncle Hamza after his martyrdom. A plateful of heavenly pomegranate was in front of him. He was eating from that plate. All of a sudden, I saw that the pomegranate at once changed into date fruit.”
Summary of the rest of the narration is that the Holy Prophet said, “I asked my honourable uncle what kinds of deeds are most beneficial there (in the Hereafter)?” He replied, “Three things count here the most, Giving water to the thirsty, reciting Salawaat for the Prophet and his Progeny and love for ‘Ali Ibne Abi Talib.” In short, the things of that realm are subtle (fine) and are not made up of matter, one thing turns into another and into many other forms and shapes instantly at the will of the faithful.
Compared with this world, one of the specialities of the realm of Barzakh is effectiveness. In the science of medicine there is a theory, the description whereof is of no use for the common masses. So we will proceed after only hinting towards it. It is that there are two things, one that affects something and the other that is affected. According to the aforesaid theory the more these two things are subtle, the more profound will be the effect.
Fruits, sweets and the pleasure, which we derive in this world, are like a drop in the ocean in comparison with those in the realm of Barzakh. The tastefulness there is immeasurably more than it is here. If only a part of the face of a heavenly Houri is unveiled, it will dazzle the eyes of the whole world. If the entire of beauty of that fairy opens it will outshine the sun. Indeed, absolute beauty is available only there.
“Surely We have made whatever is on the earth an embellishment for it, so that We may try them (as to) which of them is best in works. “(18:7)
Meaning: We have made whatever is in the world an adoration but it is a beauty which is a test or trial. The intention is to differentiate between child and a major person whereby it may be known as to who becomes mad after this toy (this material world) and who does not pay any attention to this plaything. The real pleasure lies in the real beauty and in trying to attain it.
The power of effect is so much in the realm of Barzakh that it cannot even be imagined in this world. Sometimes we come across events, which can guide the people living in this world. One such effective event has been quoted by the late Naraqi in his book Khazain: During my youth I was busy, along with my father and other relatives, in visiting people on the occasion of Navroz holiday.
It was Tuesday and we had gone to a friend's house, which was situated near a graveyard in Isfahan. We were told that he (my friend) was not present in his house. As we were somewhat tired we turned towards the graveyard with a view to take some rest and also to visit the graves of the faithful. There we sat down at a spot.
One of our companions, pointing his finger towards a nearby grave, said jokingly, “O resident of the grave! These are holidays. Will you not host us?” We heard a voice from that grave, “On next Tuesday you will be my guests here.” All of us became spellbound and also frightened thinking that perhaps, all of us would be dead by next Tuesday. So we engaged in performing as many good deeds as possible and also began to write our wills. Then arrived the following Tuesday and yet all of us were safe and alive. We gathered at a place and after consultations decided to go to that grave and see what happen. Perhaps that voice might not have meant our death but might have any other aim behind it.
So when we approached that grave someone from us said, “O occupier of this grave! Fulfil your promise.” Suddenly we heard a voice from that grave, “Welcome!” (Here it should be understood sometimes, Lord Almighty removes that veil in front of eyes which prevents us from observing the things belonging to the realm of Barzakh so that people may take lessons of admonition)
At once, we saw that it is a very big green garden. Pure water streams are flowing in it. Trees therein are full of various kinds of fruits available in every season. Colourful birds of innumerable kinds are busy singing melodious sweet songs. In the midst of that garden there stood a spacious grand mansion, which was fully decorated. All of its windows opened towards the garden. When we entered that building we saw that a very handsome man was sitting there. When he saw us he stood up in respect. Then he put before us various kinds of foods, drinks and sweets the like of which we had never seen before, nor even imagined. We fully enjoyed this feast.
More significant was his statement, “We had never seen so much tasteful things before and that our desire was never satiated even after taking it and that the more we ate the desire increased. Then many other kinds of eatables were also brought and we went on enjoying them. Thereafter when we got up, the gentleman accompanied us until we got out of that garden.”
Before leaving, my father asked that gentleman, “Who are you? For what did the Almighty God grant you so much honour and position that you are able to host even the whole world if you so desire? What is this place of residence?”
The gentleman replied, “I belong to your native place and was selling meat in such and such street.” People asked, “How did you get this high position and lofty rank?” He said, “It is all due to only two things. During my entire time I never gave less to buyers and I also never failed to offer prayer at the earliest hour. If I heard the call for prayer (Adhan) while weighting meat I used to leave my shop at once and rush to the Mosque. So the Lord of the worlds granted me this place after my death. Last week you had asked me to host you. At that time I did not have permission to accede to your wish. I have obtained it this week.”
Thereafter, one of us asked him about the duration of his age. He told the questioner, “You will live for ninety years”, and that man is still alive. Then he told me, “You will live for so many years”, according to which there are yet ten to fifteen years to go. All of us bade him goodbye. He saw us off. As we turned our face we found ourselves sitting by his grave as before.”
Another specialty of the realm of Barzakh is its eternity or everlasting nature. Here (in this material world) nothing is everlasting. Beauty fades out soon. Food remains tasty only up to the time it is in the mouth, that is, only for a few moments.
Same is the case with marriage and marital joy. These foods and fruits are also not long lasting. After sometime they rot and are, useless distasteful and foul. Nothing here is everlasting. But nothing gets deteriorated or corrupted in the realm of Barzakh because that world (in the Hereafter) does not depend on matter.
Everything is everlasting there. As a testimony to what I have mentioned here, I would like to mention a case involving the great scholar and religious jurisprudent Allamah Shaykh Mahdi Naraqi. By the way, let me also say that presenting some truths while narrating an event in a nice way makes it easily comprehensible. That is why actual events and true happenings are also presented during the discussion of religious beliefs and doctrines.
Shaykh Mahmood Iraqi, at the end of his book Darus Salam, quotes the late Naraqi (r.a.). He said, “When I was a caretaker of the Holy Najaf, there fell a severe famine. One day, I came out of my house. My children were hungry and crying for food. I went to the Valley of Peace with a view to seek the removal of our sorrow and gloom through the medium of the visit to the dead among the faithful.
There I saw that some people brought a dead body and also told me, “You may also accompany us. We have come here for making this body join with pious souls of this Holy place.” Then they took that corpse to a wide big garden and placed it in one of the palaces situated in that garden. All means of comfort were available in those palaces. When I saw all this, I also followed them and entered that palace along with them. There I saw a young man dressed in resplendent clothes sitting on a golden throne.
When he saw me, he called me by my name and made me sit by his side very respectfully. Then he told me, “You do not recognize me. I am the same body, which has been just brought here. My name is so and so. I was a resident of such and such city. The group, which you saw in my funeral procession, was that of the angels who brought me from my city up to this garden. This is one of the heavenly gardens.”
Hearing these things my gloom disappeared and I desired to see that garden thoroughly. When I got out of that palace I saw a number of such palaces. When I looked into them I found my parents and many other near and near ones. They made me their guest. I thoroughly enjoyed the eatables served by them. In the midst of these comfortable and luxurious moments, I suddenly remembered my family members and imagined how much hungry they were.
This thought made me gloomy once again. My father asked, “What happened to you all of a sudden?” I replied, “My family members are restless due to hunger.” My father said, “Here is a heap of rice, take it.” I took off my cloak and filled it with that heavenly rice. My father told me to it for my family.
When I lifted up the cloak, I found myself in the Valley of Peace. My cloak was, of course, full of that rice. I took it to my house. My wife asked, “From where have you brought this?” I replied, “What have you to do with it?” Briefly speaking we ate that rice for quite a long time but it never depleted. At last my wife forced me to tell her the true story. Thereafter when we went to take out that rice we found nothing.”
A similar event is recorded in the book Darus Salam. Interested readers may refer to it.
The aim of this discussion is to throw light on the perpetuality of the other world (Barzakh), be it regarding bounties or about their tastefulness or joy. On the other hand, the calamities of that world are also very hard and everlasting. May God protect! If a man gets entangled the torture in Barzakh and if we hear any of his terrible shrieks, all the terrible things of our world will appear nothing to us compared to that in Barzakh.
It is mentioned in Biharul Anwar, Vol. 3, that the Holy Prophet said, “I was grazing sheep before I was made His messenger by Almighty God. During those days I used to observe (as you might have also) that goats and sheep were becoming still all of a sudden as if shocked deeply by something. You might have also observed that sometimes poultry birds like hen jump off and stop picking their food even when no danger (like animal) is seen anywhere near them.
After I began getting revelations, I asked for the reason of such unusual happenings and Jibraeel told me that in the realm of Barzakh, sinners get divine punishments. Their cries are heard by all except men and jinns. Such voices shock animals and they stop taking food etc.”
It is mentioned in Darus Salam of Allamah Noori that, as per a narration in the book of Sawabul Aamaal of Shaykh Sadooq (r.a.), an exceptionally handsome and good-looking youth who was a solider in the army of Umar bin Saad in Karbala’, was also the killer of one of the brothers of Imam Husain (a.s.).
The narrator says, “I could see that the face of that fellow had become very black after the event of Karbala’. He had also become very thin and extremely weak. I inquired about his conditions from his neighbours. They said that ever since he returned from Karbala’, every night, he shrieks and cries loudly in his dreams awaking us also. I went to him and asked about the matter. He replied, 'At night time the Hashimi youth who was killed by me, comes in front of me and pushes me towards fire. It makes me cry loudly and I cannot sleep.'“
There are many events in this world to prove the existence of Barzakh. Their description will become unduly lengthy so we suffice with only one such happening. The famous pious scholar Sayyid Hashimi Bahrani (r.a.) is quoted in Darus Salam3 that: There was a perfumer in Najaf al-Ashraf who used to give advice (admonition) to people at his shop daily after the mid-day prayer. Many people used to gather in his shop. A prince from India had become a resident of Najaf al-Ashraf.
Once he had to undertake a journey. So he went to the said perfumer and gave him, as his trust, a bag containing precious stones and pearls etc. Then he went on his journey. Upon his return when he came to the perfumer to take back his trust the latter denied saying I do not know about any such trust. The prince became very uneasy and finally went to the Holy tomb of ‘Ali (a.s.) and said, “O ‘Ali! I left my comfortable residence just to live near your Holy Shrine for some time. I had left my precious property as a trust with such and such perfumer in Najaf. Now he is denying of any such trust. I have no wealth except that, nor have I any proof of depositing my property with that perfumer. Now there is none except you who can help me with justice.”
During that night, he saw ‘Ali (a.s.) in his dream saying, “Next morning, when the gate of the city opens, you go out and demand your trust from the very first person you see. He will make your trust return to you.” Accordingly that man went out of the city gate and saw a weak and aged pious man carrying firewood on his shoulders. He wanted to sell it for fulfilling the needs of his family. The Indian felt ashamed of asking anything from such a poor gentleman. So he did not say anything and returned to the Holy Shrine of Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.).
The following night also he saw the same dream and got the same order from ‘Ali (a.s.). The next morning also he saw the same poor old man and did not tell him anything. During the third night too he saw ‘Ali (a.s.) in his dream and heard the same words. The following morning, he told the wood seller his need explaining to him what had happen. After thinking for a while, the old man said, “Come to the perfumer's shop tomorrow after Zuhr prayer. I will arrange for the return of your trust.”
Next day when people gathered at the perfumer's shop, the old man said to the perfumer, “Today let me share in the duty of giving advice to people.” That man agreed. The pious man began his talk, “O dear listeners! I am so and so and son of so and so. I am very fearful in the matter of observing rights of others. By the grace of God I have no greed for money at all. I am a contented man and have taken to a corner for worship. Yet, I have come into a difficult situation. I want to make you aware of it. I advice you all also to fear God's anger and the fire of hell.
Once I had to take a loan due to urgent need. I took a loan of ten Qiran4 from a Jew and gave him a word that I would return it within twenty days paying him half Qiran daily. I did accordingly for five days. But thereafter I could not find that Jew. On making inquiries, I was told that he had left for Baghdad. After a few days, I saw in my dream that it is Resurrection and I and many other people have been made to stand in a counter for giving replies in the Divine Court.
By the Grace of God, I got relief soon and then, joining the successful people, went towards paradise. When I reached the Sirat Bridge I heard the roar of hell. Then I saw that the creditor Jew leapt like a flame of fire from hell, came across my path and said, “Pay me back my five Qiran and proceed further only after doing so.” I implored him humbly and earnestly saying, “I was in search of you for paying up the debt but you could not be found.”
But he said, “I will not allow you to go further unless you pay up my money.” I said, “I have nothing here just now.” He said, “Okay then allow me just to put my finger on your body.” I agreed. When he touched my chest with his finger, it burnt my body so severely that I woke up crying loudly. I saw that my chest had a burn and it is still painful. I undertook many treatments but to no avail.” Then he showed his chest to the gathering at the perfumer's shop. Seeing it, people began to weep fearing their own Hereafter. The perfumer also became very fearful of God's anger. He took that Indian to his house, returned his trust to him and begged for his pardon.
Reason says that if we come across a thing, which is difficult to comprehend, it should not be instantly and outrightly rejected or denied. Logic says that it can be possible. For example, if an astronomer says that there are some stars around Mars and that they too revolve around Mars just as the moon revolves round the earth. Should this claim be rejected at once? No. It may be true. The great scientist Ibne Sina says, “If you hear news or event you should imagine it as possible until its impossibility is not established logically.”5
Suppose you hear that a baby is born with two heads. As this is not logically impossible, say that it may be so.
First: News for the inadmissibility of which there is no logical proof should not be rejected or denied.
Second: News, which has some proofs thinking over which intellect may decide that it should be accepted.
Third: If the one who brought news has, with him, some testimony from the Lord of the universe which is called a miracle. In this case intellect decides that it should not be rejected in comparison to the second stage it should be definitely accepted and one must remain satisfied.
Just think over. Is there any argument of any of the kinds mentioned above to reject the news of life after death? Can anyone argue and give any logical proof to show that there cannot be any questioning after death and that the grave cannot squeeze or there is no realm of Barzakh or the other world called Qiyamat or Resurrection or Ma’ad?
O you owners of intelligence! Just decide whether there is any difference in the news given by an astronomer that Mars and Jupiter have four thousand stars or planets and the news given by the Prophet of God (s.a.w.s.) that there are ninety-nine pythons in the grave to punish the unbeliever of God? Is there any difference so far as the giving of news is concerned? Perhaps somebody may say that the claim of the astronomer is based on perception or that it is after seeing.
Then we will say that, doubtlessly, the messenger has also said everything after observing and feeling. During the night of Me'raj (ascension) he had seen and felt all things with his physical organs. Rather, his holy soul covers the knowledge of all worlds and realms. The sight or faculty of seeing can make a mistake but the sight of the soul of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) can never err. There can be a defect in the eyesight of an astrologer or an astronomer but there is no question of any error in the feeling, observation and intelligence of the Messenger of God.
Before Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) declared his Prophethood, the people of Mecca used to call him, 'As Sadiq - Al Amin' meaning: The most truthful and trustworthy person. There was not even a single person who had ever found any untruth in what he had said or done nor had anyone found any dishonesty in his dealing, behaviour or attitude towards all. So, apart from his witness and testimony, the permanent proof of Muhammad's Messengership and the everlasting miracle, Qur’an also tells us about Resurrection, punishment in grave and rising bare-bodied on the Day of Judgement, is it reasonable not to believe it?
When Fatima BintAsad, mother of ‘Ali (a.s.) breathed her last, Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) went weeping to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and said, “My respected mother has expired.” The Holy Prophet said, “It is my mother who has expired.” There was a wonderful affection in the relation between the Holy Prophet and Fatima BintAsad. The latter had looked after the former just like a caring and loving mother for quite a long time.
At the time of her burial, the Holy Prophet took off his shirt and told people to dress the late Fatima in it. People did so. Then first the Holy Prophet himself lay in that grave for a few moments and prayed for her forgiveness. After the grave was filled up, he stood near it and, after a while, said loudly, “Your son, your son, but not Ja'far and Aqeel.” People asked about the reason of doing so. The Holy Prophet replied, “Once I was talking about the rising of the bare-bodied dead on the Day of Resurrection. Fatima BintAsad came to me weeping and said, 'I wish that you might cloth me in your shirt after I die.' She was very fearful also about the squeeze of the grave. So, before she was buried, I myself slept in her grave for some time and prayed,
'O God! Protect her from the squeeze of the grave.' But the reason of my uttering the words 'Your son..' was that, when the angels asked her about God, she replied, 'Allah', when they asked about the Prophet, she replied, 'Muhammad' but as for Imam she could not give any reply (because this event was much prior to Ghadir al-Khum when ‘Ali (a.s.) was announced as the Chief of the believers). So I advised Fatima to say, 'Your son (‘Ali) not Ja'far or Aqeel.'“
Despite the fact that Fatima bintAsad was very great pious and graceful lady who had the honour of being the mother of Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) and who had been the guest of God for three days in the House of God (Ka'ba) (on the occasion of ‘Ali's birth) and who was the second woman to put faith in the Messengership of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and who was a very great and humble worshipper of only one God was so much afraid of the events to take place after her death and the Holy Prophet did to her as mentioned above. Then who and what are we in comparison? Let us all seriously think and worry about our own future.
Well, let us go back to the main issue. The truthful announcer of everything, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says that there will be questioning and squeeze of the grave and rising bare-bodied on the Day of Judgement.
Though it will be the soul, which will be rewarded or punished, it is also possible that the body may also feel it. Sometimes it does so happen that, owing to the soundness of the soul, the body also does not disintegrate in the grave. It remains fresh even for a thousand years. There are many testimonies to this fact. For instance, the body of Ibne Babawahy (r.a.), around one hundred fifty years after his death in the time of Fateh ‘Ali Shah, was found fresh. Not only this but, more astonishingly, even his shroud was not worn out nor the colour of henna on his nail faded after such a long time!
It is written in Rawzaatul Jannaat that a hole had developed in the grave of Shaykh Sadooq (r.a.) due to heavy rain around the year 1238 H.E. People thought of filling it up. So they entered the tomb and found that his body was safe and sound though his physique was rather bulky. The colour of henna was also traceable on his nails. This news spread in Tehran. When Fateh ‘Ali Shah heard it, he, along with some government officials as well as religious scholars, went to the tomb to enquire. They all saw what they had heard. The king ordered to close the hole and to rebuild the tomb over the grave with decorations.
Similar is the event of Hurr Ibne Yazid Riyahi. Muhaddith Jazaeri has mentioned it in Anwarun Nomaniya like this: Shah Ismail Safavi went to visit Karbala’ and when he came to know that some people have no good opinion about Hurr, he ordered the excavation of his grave. So when the grave was opened people saw that the martyr's body was exactly in the same condition as it was on the day of his martyrdom in Karbala’.
There had been no change at all in it. So much so that even his handkerchief also was intact on his head. Since it was historically known to all that the chief of all martyrs, Imam Husain (a.s.) himself had tied his own handkerchief on the wounded head of Hurr Shah Ismail ordered that the kerchief may be untied so that he may take it to put it in his own shroud as a good luck sign.
As soon as the kerchief was removed people saw blood gushing out of his wound. So it was replaced immediately and the blood stopped flowing. Thus people knew that Hurr's condition was good (that God was pleased with him and had given him a good reward due to his assistance to Imam Husain (a.s.) in Karbala’). The king built a grand tomb over his grave and appointed a caretaker over it.
The tomb of Shaykh Kulaini (r.a.), author of Kafi, is situated near the bridge in Baghdad. A fellow from the oppressor rulers thought of destroying the Holy shrine of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) so that people may stop visiting Kazmain. His minister was a Shi’a (in heart). He became restless to find out a way to stop that fellow from his evil intention was unable to say anything openly because any doubt of his being a Shi’a was enough to put his life in danger. Anyway, they proceeded to Kazmain with the aforesaid evil intention.
As soon as they approached the Baghdad bridge, the minister said, “Here is the grave of a big Shi’a scholar who was one of the delegates of Imam Kazim (a.s.), and people say that his body is still fresh and that it will always remain fresh and safe. If the king agrees this may be checked. If it is found that what people say is correct then it would not be wise to touch the tomb of Imam Kazim (a.s.).”
The ruler agreed and, as per the king's command, the grave of Kulaini (r.a.) was opened. They saw that his body was quite fresh and not only that, more surprising was the existence of the fresh and safe body of a little child by Kulaini's side. It could not be known whether the child was related to Kulaini (r.a.) or not. What is worth noting is what can a soul do. If any other person also comes close to a pious soul it is also affected thereby. No doubt the Holy Progeny of the Messenger are the fountainhead of good and so their corpses are also alive and people can see occasional miracles from their graves.
Contrary to it, if somebody is a person of hell, the chastisement to his or her soul also affects the body. Accordingly, when Bani Abbas overpowered Bani Umayyah and destroyed them totally and even dug out their graves it was observed that nothing except some body traces could be seen in the grave of the cursed Yazid.
Quoting narrations of some reliable and trustworthy people, the late Shaykh Mahmood Iraqi has mentioned in Darus Salam that once we went to the graveyard of Imamzada Hasan (Tehran). Sun had not yet set.
One of our companions sat down on the stone of a grave. Suddenly he shouted, “Please lift me up.” When we lifted him we saw that the stone was almost red hot.
Just think. How great is the chastisement meted out to the soul that even the gravestone becomes so hot. He says, “I recognized the owner of that grave but I would not disclose his name so that he may not be defamed among people.”
Also it is said about another man who was buried in Qum that flames of fire leaping out of his grave had burnt down carpets over there.
Shaykh Shustari (r.a.) mentioned in his admonitions that the Lord of the worlds has said: 'Hot fire'. Is there, then, any cold fire also? Yes. If it is possible to make comparison, the fire in our world is cold compared to the fire of Barzakh. Nature speaks of two types of fires in this world itself, which if compared can tell us which one is really hot.
Shaykh Shustari (r.a.) says that if a comparison is made between the fire of wood and charcoal and lightning in the sky it will be known that lightning is a thin (fine) fire, which is created by the bouncing and hissing of clouds. It is so hot that it burns out everything it touches and then slips away instantly. It neither returns nor stays anywhere.
Nothing can cool it. If it falls on a tree it turns it into coal at once. If it falls on an ocean it burns it up to its bottom and fries even the fish in the bottom of the sea. Only lightning is the real fire. The embers in a hearth also is fire but that fire can be put off by pouring a little water or some dust on it. Its heat and burn has some limitations.
Now you will have understood that the fire of Barzakh cannot be compared with the fire of this world, not even with lightning. If someone's facsimile body and soul are under torture in Barzakh, it is possible (though not always necessarily) that his or her material body may also get affected. What is contrary to it is also observed.
Pleasing and sweet fragrance spread in the absence of any scent, or flowers or burning of aloes wood from the graves of some dear servants of God have also been witnessed.
In the news and traditions of Holy Imams there are tidings showing that some good servants of God are protected by God from the fear and punishment in the grave during the period of Barzakh. Some of them are those to whom reminder (Talqeen) was recited. Here we mean the third Talqeen, which is recited after the burial.
Yahya Bin Abdullah says, “I have heard from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that: What prevents you from reciting the words which protects your dead from seeing Munkar and Nakeer in their graves? I asked: Master! What should we do? He said: When the dead has been buried, its legal heir should sit near the grave and taking his mouth nearer to the head of the dead, recite loudly:
O so and so son of so and so. Are you on the same covenant on which you were when you parted from us? That covenant is the testimony of the fact that there is no God but Allah, Who is only One and Who has no partner. And the testimony of the fact that undoubtedly Muhammad, may the Peace of Allah be on him and his progeny, is the slave and prophet of Allah and is the lord of all the prophets and is the last of them. And that '‘Ali is the chief of the believers and the leader of all the successors. And indeed whatever is brought by Muhammad is truth and the death is truth and the rising is truth and Allah would raise those who are in the graves.
Then he said: Munkar and Nakeer tell one another to return as the proof has been taught to this dead.”6
The first Talqeen should be recited at the last moments and the second at the time of lowering the body in the grave.
It is likely that someone may say: What can a dead person understand? But, as we have described earlier, the soul (spirit) of the dead remains near its body and hears better than we can. Some may also ask: How can an admonition (Talqeen) recited in the Arabic language be understood by a non-Arab body? The reply is that, when one goes away from this material world of water and earth all languages are equally comprehensible for him or her. Linguistic limitations belong only to the material world.
Another group of people who are protected from the squeeze of the grave, fear and Barzakh torture are those who die between time of Zuhr on Thursday and Friday, as these are the hours when divine mercy rains allowing such persons its full benefit. God covers them in His kindness. This is also a kind of divine kindness that God showers on His servants.
The burying of two green branches of date tree or palm or pomegranate (Jareedatain) along with the dead body is one of the things about which it is promised that these things come in the way of the chastisement in grave. Of course date branches are the best and they must be green.
There are many narrations on this matter in Wasa’il ush-Shi’a, Book of Purification, Chapter 13. One by Imam Baqir (a.s.) is as follows: The Imam (a.s.) says: The body is not punished until the said branches remain green and God wiling, it will not be punished even after the branches dry.
Another protecting thing is the testimony of fourteen or more persons about the true belief of the dead and their prayer for the forgiveness of the dead. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is quoted in Anwarun Nomaniya that he said, “If forty persons gather near a dead person and say: O God! We know nothing except the good deeds done by this person. God responds: I have accepted your testimony and have forgiven all of his sins not known to you.”
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is also reported to have said that there was a worshipper among Bani Israel about whom God revealed to Dawood (a.s.) that he (said worshipper) was a hypocrite. When he died, Dawood (a.s.) did not offer prayer on his body.
Others went and forty persons prayed for the salvation of the dead, saying: O Lord! We know nothing about this man except that he was doing good deeds and You know better. So kindly forgive him. When that body was given a wash another group of forty persons arrived and also uttered the same words, as they did not know about the hidden matters of that deceased.
Then it was asked through revelation to Dawood (a.s.), “Why did you not pray for him?” Dawood (a.s.) replied, “O Lord! I did not pray, as You had informed me that he was a hypocrite.” A voice came from heaven, “Though it is true, a group of people has testified that he was a good man so I also confirmed it, accepted their testimony and forgave him.” It also is a very great kindness of the Almighty that He pardons His servants and does not punish them even though they were not eligible for such salvation.
It was because of this that pious people, especially earlier religious scholars used to keep their shrouds ready beforehand and to request their friends and the faithful people to write their testimonies on it. Muhaddith Jazaeri (r.a.) writes that his teacher Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) used to request his believing friends to write their testimonies with the earth of Karbala’ on his shroud and they used to comply by writing: Doubtlessly he was a faithful person, and put their seal under it.
Among all such things done for protection from the chastisement in grave effectively is to place the Holy earth of the grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) in one's grave and also to anoint the forehead and both palms of the dead with it.
Among the beneficences of good deeds, which benefit one in the grave, are the good deeds, which are being performed in this world by proxy or the reward of such good deeds, which is being given to the dead as a gift. The foremost among them is the repayment of his debts and the performance of the missed prayers and fasts.
Similar to it is the performance of the Hajj, which the dead could not or did not undertake, and also to give charity in the way of God and to pray and seek pardon for the dead. There are many narrations by Ahlul Bayt on this subject.7
The summary of these narrations is that if someone performs good deeds like Prayers, Fast, Hajj and alms-giving etc for a deceased person, the Lord of the Universe makes its reward reach the dead and also grants a manifold reward to the performer of such good deeds.
Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) says, “It also happens that a body is under squeeze in grave and then he is given ease and comfort. Angels tell him or her that this is the result of such and such good deed sent to you by your such and such well wisher in the world. Such rewards are very big in proportion to the good deeds performed for them.”
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has been quoted in Wasa’il ush-Shi’a that Almighty God commands seventy thousand angels to proceed towards the grave of that fortunate person. Every angel has, in his hand, a plate full of heavenly bounties of Paradise. They tell the dead, “Be you in peace and safety, O servant of God! O friend of God! This gift has been sent to you by such and such friend.” Then his grave lits up brightly and God the merciful grants him a thousand cities, a thousand houries and a thousand precious robes and fulfils one thousand of his wishes.
It is mentioned in Maniul Akhbar that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “Go on sending gifts to your dead.” The companions asked, “O Messenger of God! What can be a gift for the dead?” The Prophet said, “Supplications and alms.”
Then he added, “Every Friday eve, the spirits of the dead come to the nearest sky and, standing in front of their homes, cry out weeping sorrowfully, 'O my family members! O my children! O my parents and O my near and dear ones! Be kind to us. God will be kind to you. We have to account here for what wealth and property we had in the world and by which others benefit there. Please do us some favour, be it through a dirham or bread or a cloth. God will adorn you with heavenly dress…'“(Up to the end of narration).
Some may think as to where such a vast world of Barzakh is situated? Our intellect is unable to comprehend it. We will only say that the realm of Barzakh is in a veil and hence invisible to the physical eye. There are many narrations to make us understand this matter.
For example: This world of ours, along with its vast lands and skies, if compared with the realm of Barzakh, is like a tiny spot in an endlessly big forest. So long as a man lives in this world, he is like a silk worm or like an unborn child in mother' s womb. When he dies, he becomes free.
Of course, he remains in this very world and does not go away and out of it, but now he has no limitations like time and space because these things are limited only to this material world.
If it is said to a baby in the womb that there is a very vast world beyond your present station, which is nothing in comparison with that one he would be unable to comprehend it. Similarly, we, who are able now to see only through the physical eyes, cannot comprehend the other world, which is hidden, from our eyes.
Almighty God says in the Holy Qur’an:
“So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes; a reward for what they did . “(32:17)
That is, nobody knows what things have been provided for him or her that can cool their eyes. This is the reward of the good deeds done by them in the world. We only know that as the Trust Informer (Prophet) has informed us of it and we testify to it. The realm of Barzakh has encircled and covered our present physical and material world just as this world has covered the world in womb. No other example is more explanatory.
Asbag bin Nubatah says, “I saw my master, Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) standing at the gate of Kufa looking towards the desert. It appeared that he was busy talking with someone but there was no one. I also stood up. After a long time I felt tired. So I sat down and got up again after a while. But ‘Ali (a.s) was still busy talking. I went a step forward and asked, 'O Amirul Mu’minin! Who is it you are talking to?'
He said, 'This talk of mine was to please the spirits of the faithful.' I asked, 'Which faithful? No one from those who have passed away is present here.' He said, 'Yes, they are present here.' I again asked, 'Are they present here physically or in spirit?' He replied, 'Their spirits. Had you been able to do so, you could have seen how they gather at a place, talk mutually and please one another remembering the gifts and bounties of God.'“
It is mentioned in other traditions that any faithful person who passes away either from the east or the west of this world finds that his spirit or soul which, remains in his facsimile body has its place in the Valley of Peace in the neighbourhood of Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.).
In other words, Najaf al-Ashraf is an exhibition of the higher world. Likewise, for unbelievers their abode is Wadi al-Barhoot, which is situated in Yemen in a fearful and barren land where even birds do not venture. This is a place for the appearance of mean souls.
Whatever you have heard about importance of nearness to Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) is about spiritual neighbourhood, whatever one's physical distance from Najaf al-Ashraf. In fact nearness to ‘Ali (a.s) is attainable through knowledge and actions. When a man commits a sin he becomes away from ‘Ali (a.s) in proportion to the seriousness of his sin.
Very nice if the soul is with ‘Ali (a.s) and body also gets buried near him in Najaf al-Ashraf. It is indeed a very big fortune. But if, God forbid, one is physically buried in Najaf al-Ashraf but his soul is under torture in Wadi al-Barhoot, it is a terribly bad luck.
So all of us should try our best to make our spiritual relation with ‘Ali (a.s) more and more strong and close. Doubtlessly, physical burial in Najaf al-Ashraf also is not without benefits and has perfect effectiveness because being buried there, is in a way, a means to nearness to the Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.).
It is mentioned in Madinatul Ma'ajiz that, one day, ‘Ali (a.s) was sitting with his companions at the back of the gate of Jufa. Looking up he said, “Do you also see what I am seeing?” People said, “No, O Amirul Mu’minin!”
He said, “I can see two persons who are bringing a dead body on a camel to bury it here. It will take three more days for them to reach here.” On the third day thereafter ‘Ali (a.s) went again with the companions to see who comes. First people could see that a camel was coming towards them with a body on its back. A man was holding the rein of that camel in his hand. Another man was walking behind.
When they came nearer, Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) asked, “Whose body is it? Who are you and from where do you come?” They replied, “We are from Yemen and this is the body of our father who had willed that his body should be carried to Iraq for being buried in Najaf al-Ashraf.” ‘Ali (a.s) asked, “Did you ask him the reason for it?” They replied, “Yes, Our father was saying that a man will be buried there who will be able, if he likes, to make intercession for the entire gathering on the Day of Resurrection.” ‘Ali (a.s) said, “By God. I am indeed that man.”
In connection with benefits for those who are buried near ‘Ali (a.s)'s tomb Muhaddith Qummi (r.a.) has given a very appropriate example in Mafatihul Jinan. There is an Arabic proverb meaning: Such and such person is superior than the one who gives shelter to locusts. The story is as follows: A man named Madlaj bin Suwaid who belonged to the tribe of Tai was, one day, sitting in his tent. He saw that a group belonging to the Tai tribe was approaching his tent holding huge bags and many utensils.
He asked their condition. They said: Many locusts have descended around your tent. We want to catch them. Hearing this, Madlaj got up, took a spear in his hand and ascending his horse declared, “By God, I will kill anyone who even touches these locusts. These grasshoppers are my neighbours and they have come in my shelter. How can you catch them? It will never be allowed.” Then he defended his locusts till the sun rose and it became hot and the locusts flew away. Then he said, “Lo. Now the locusts have left my neighbourhood. Now it is your look out to deal with them.”
In short, it is obvious that if someone comes in the neighbourhood of ‘Ali (a.s), thereby taking his shelter will surely benefit by his support.
Muhaddith Jazaeri (r.a.) mentions at the end of Anwarun Nomaniya: If you ask when souls live in facsimile bodies in the Valley of Peace, why we have been asked to visit graves (for reciting Fatiha and prayers)? And how do the souls understand that a visitor has arrived when they are not present in the graves?
The reply is that it has been narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s) that though the souls live in the Valley of Peace, their relations with graves remain intact and they know about the visitors and recognize them. The Holy Imam has said that souls are like sun. The sun remains in the sky but its rays cover the whole earth. Likewise, the souls' covering or encirclement is concerned with knowledge and comprehension.
Just as the appearance and reflection is relatively much more at a mirror the attention of souls and their covering is more at their graves. It is so because the soul had lived in those bodies for several years and gained much favours due to them. That is why they will focus their attention there. This also provides an answer to the one who asks as to why we should go to the grave when the Imam is present at every place and thus, there is no difference in one place and the other.
Doubtlessly the graves of Holy Imams and religious leaders are the centres of the attention of Holy souls and the places where divine favours keep raining. Angels come and go there. So, if anybody wants to get full benefit from those Holy personalities he should never give up visiting the Holy shrines and must try their best to go there.
Some people raise here a weak doubt and say: The soul after one's death gets connected with a fine body called facsimile body which is just like this earthen body, as described earlier, and also sees (tastes) reward or torture with the same facsimile body.
Now here arises a question: When man had worshipped God in this earthen body how reward is given to the other body? Or man had committed sins in the material body, which has been disintegrated now after death then how is it that the punishment is meted out to the other body? There can be several answers to this question.
As Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) has written, the facsimile body is not any outward thing which may be brought near the grave after one's death and then, for example, it may be said to it: O soul! Now live in this body. Rather, a facsimile body is a fine body, which lives even now in this world with man's earthly body.
Every soul has two bodies: A fine (subtle) body and a thick (dense) body. Man has prayed and sinned in both these bodies. This matter must be well understood. So we are giving the example of a dream. During a dream, these two bodies get separated. What a man sees in his dream is the behaviour or deed of this facsimile body, which walks, talks etc.
Within twinkling of eye man reaches Karbala’, Holy Mashad, tours from east to west. This shows that the facsimile body remains with man always. But after death, it separates from the material body. This statement of Majlisi (r.a.) is a very studied one. There also are many more testimonies.
Another answers is that, after death, human soul turns into the same earthen form of body. It does not get connected with any outside body. Rather the soul takes up the form of material body. Now, you may call it a facsimile body, Barzakh body or spirit. But, as it is fine, elemental or material eyes cannot see it.
Summarily speaking, it was only the spirit, which had committed sins in the world and hence it is only the spirit that is being punishment after death. Now, it may be chastised either by getting it connected with the facsimile body or it may be getting punishment absolutely by itself, constantly. Of course, on the Day of Judgement, all will rise and gather only in this worldly and material body.
“The fire; they shall be brought before it (every) morning and evening and on the day when the hour shall come to pass: Make Firon's people enter the severest chastisement. “(40:46)
It means that they will be thrown in fire in the morning and in the evening and when Qiyamat will occur (it will be ordered): Inflict the severest punishment on the followers of Firon.
This is one of those verses of Qur’an, which testify to punishment in Barzakh. The above verse refers to those people of the Pharaoh who drowned in the Nile. Ever since that day, they are regularly brought near fire every morning and every evening. This will continue till the Day of Judgement whereafter they will be given the severest chastisement.
Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s) says that there is no morning or evening in the Hereafter, and that the said punishment in morning and evening refers to the world of Barzakh.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “If the dead person is one of the people of hell, his place in hell is shown to him every morning and every evening in his grave (Barzakh period). If he or she is of the people of paradise, he or she is shown his or her palace in paradise and told that this will be your station in the Hereafter.”
The Holy Qur’an says:
“So as to those who are unhappy, they shall be in the fire; for them shall be sighing and groaning in it:
Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord please; surely your Lord is the mighty doer of what He intends.
And as to those who are made happy, they shall be in the garden, abiding in it as long as the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord please; a gift which shall never be cut off. “(11:106-108)
The Imam (a.s.) says that this verse also refers to the realm of Barzakh and the reward and punishment mentioned in it is also the consequence in Barzakh because, there is no question of earth or sky in the Qiyamat as the Holy Qur’an says:
“On the day when the earth shall be changed into a different earth, and the heavens (as well), and they shall come forth before Allah, the One, the Supreme. “(14:48)
“It was said: Enter the garden. He said: O would that my people had known; Of that on account of which my Lord has forgiven me and made me of the honored ones! “(36:26-27)
This holy verse refers to Habib Najjar who was Faithful despite belonging to the community of Firon. When he invited his people to put faith in God's messengers, people threatened him (as described at length in the explanation of Surah Yasin).8
Finally they hanged him on an impaling stake and beat him to death. After his death, when he got his reward he said: I wish my community had known that God has pardoned me and that my Lord has placed me among the respected.
Here comes the Divine Word: “He was told: Enter paradise.” Imam (a.s.) says: Here paradise means the paradise of Barzakh. In another narration, it is mentioned that it means worldly heaven, which is lower than the Paradise of the Hereafter.
In short, this verse shows that as soon as the Faithful of the people of Firon was martyred he entered paradise instantly. Since his community till then was in the world, he wished that they might know how many bounties the Most Merciful Lord had given to him (so that they too would have obeyed and repented for their misdeeds and turned towards God.
The Qur’an says:
“And whoever turns away from My reminder, his shall be a straitened life, and We will raise him on the day of resurrection, blind. “(20:124)
Most commentators are of the opinion that here 'Straitened Life' means chastisement in the grave. Imam Sajjad (a.s.) also is reported to have taken this meaning.
Again the Qur’an says:
Until when death overtakes one of them, he says: Send me back, my Lord, send me back; Haply I may do good in that which I have left. By no means! it is a (mere) word that he speaks; and before them is a barrier until the day they are raised. “(23:99-100)
This verse shows that man indeed has a life after death and before the Day of Judgement. It is in between the two. It is known by the name of Barzakh.
In short, thinking over this verse and many other verses, it is clearly understood that human soul is a reality, which is different from body. There surely is a connection between the spirit and the body. Soul governs the body through intention and intelligence and manages the latter's affairs. In fact, a man's personality belongs to his or her soul and not to the body, which ends with death. (Every movement comes to end and body turns into a heap of dust).
Following the disintegration of its parts, the body becomes dust. Man's reality and personality or individuality is his spirit which survives even after man's death and lives either in permanent happiness or eternal trouble depending on his pre-death intentions and performance, having nothing to do with the condition of his or her earthly (worldly) body. This is a universal truth.
Islamic scholars have, in order to prove that soul is something different from body and that it does not vanish due to death and that the rules governing it are different, put forth many arguments and logical evidences. But, after the presentation of the Word of God and the traditions and statements of the holy Prophet and pious Imams (a.s.) there is no need of reiterating the said scholarly statements. This issue is now brighter than sun for us.
One of the Barzakh-related verses in the Holy Qur’an are the last verses of Surah Al-Fajr:
O soul that art at rest!
Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him),
So enter among My servants,
And enter into My garden. ( 89:27-29)
In these verses the satisfied soul is being addressed at the moment of death: “Enter My Paradise.” It has been explained as the paradise in Barzakh. Similarly it is said, “Join and enter the group of My servant” (meaning: Muhammad and his Progeny). There are other verses also hinting at heaven and hell in Barzakh but what we have said is enough.9
Many traditions discuss reward and punishment in Barzakh. Here we suffice with a few.
In Biharul Anwar Vol: 3 there is a quotation from the Tafsir of ‘Ali bin Ibrahim Qummi (who has quoted Imam ‘Ali.) according to which the Holy Prophet said, “When the offspring of Adam (man) enters the last day of this worldly life and the first one of the Hereafter, his wealth and children and his deeds appear before him. He turns his face towards his wealth and says, 'By God! I had too must lust and greed for you and was also very stingy. Now how much of mine is with you for me?'
The wealth responds, 'Take only that much which can suffice for your shroud.' Then he looks at his children and says, 'By God. I loved you very much and was always protecting and defending you. Show me how much of my portion is now with you for me.' They reply, 'We only will take and bury you and that is all.' Finally he turns towards his deeds and says, 'By God, I was very careless with regard to you and I had disliked you. Yet am I to get any share from you?' The deed says, 'Yes. I will be your companion and friend in grave and will also remain with you in the Hereafter, until both of us would be made to stand before Almighty Lord.'“
If this person was an obedient one and so a friend of God, his deed will approach him in beautiful and handsome shape adorned in the best attire full of pleasing fragrance and say, “I give you good tidings that you will get Rowh and Raihaan (heavenly bounties) and divine graces. Welcome.” He will ask, “Who are you?” He will reply, “I am your good deed. Come; let us proceed towards paradise form this world.”
This body recognizes the one who gives a wash to it and asks him, giving him an oath, to carry it speedily to his destination. When this body enters grave, two angels who examine every dead, come to him in a fierce form dragging their lengthy hair on the ground and tearing the earth with their teeth. Their eyes dazzle like lightning and their voice furiously roaring.
They ask the body, “Who is your Lord? Who is your Prophet? What was your religion? (Etc).” The body says, “My Lord is only one God who has no partner and my prophet is Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and my religion is Islam.” Then the angels tell him, “May God keep you steadfast on the things, which you like.” The same has been hinted in the Holy Qur’an:
“Allah confirms those who believe with the sure word in this world's life and in the hereafter, and Allah causes the unjust to go astray, and Allah does what He pleases. “(14:27)
Then they widen his grave as far as eyes can see and open therein a door in the direction of paradise, telling him, “Now you sleep restfully with cool eyes just as a lucky and successful youth goes to sleep.”
Similarly, God has given a hint in this verse also:
“The dwellers of the garden shall on that day be in a better abiding-place and a better resting-place. “(25:24)
But if the body is that of an enemy of God, his bad deed approaches him in the worst kind of dress emanating foul smell and tell him, “Take tidings of getting hot hell water as drink of entering hellfire.” He also sees the one who washes him and tells on oath to the bearers of his body to leave him alone and not to take him to his grave. When they bury him, two examiner angels arrive. First they drag out his shroud and then ask him, “Who is your Lord? Who is your Prophet and what is your religion?”
He replies, “I do not know.” The angels tell him, “May God not allow you to know and be guided.” Then they hit him with a fire mace so harshly that it frightens everything in the world except men and animals. Then they open up a door facing hell in his grave telling him, “Now you may sleep in the worst condition.” Then they squeeze his grave to such an extent that it is almost sandwiched, making his brain matter come out from his nails and flesh and God makes snakes and scorpions etc. attack him and to bite and sting painfully till the Day of Resurrection. On that Day, he will be made to rise from his grave. The torture will be so severe that he will wish Qiyamat to come soon.
There is a narration from Imam Sadiq (a.s) in Amali of Shaykh Tusi (r.a.). At the end of it, the Imam has said, “When Almighty God recovers one's soul, He send his soul in its worldly form and shape. There they eat and drink and when a new man (spirit of another dead) arrives to them they recognize him in his worldly face, form and shape.”
In another tradition the Imam has said that the spirits of the faithful meet one another and talk with one another and recognize one another so much so that if you happen to see anyone of them you will say this is so and so.
In another tradition, the Imam said, “The spirits dwell in body forms in a garden in paradise. They recognize and know one another. They ask questions and get replies from one another. When a new spirit comes to them they say, 'Leave it (as it is) because it is arriving towards us after being freed from a great calamity (that is death).'
Then they ask it, 'What about so and so and such and such person?' If he replies, 'He was alive until I came here', the spirits express their hope that (God willing, he will also come to them). But if the newly arrived soul says that he had already left the world they say, 'He has fallen down.' It means that when he has not yet come here, he surely must have gone to hell.”
There are some narrations in Biharul Anwar, Kafi and other books. Their gist is: The spirits living in Barzakh come to visit their near and dear ones. Some of them come daily, some once in two days, and some once in three days, some on every Friday, some once in a month and some once a year. This difference depends on their condition, places of dwelling and their freedom or captivity.
According to a narration, a faithful soul sees nothing except the well being and pleasing things about his or her near and dear ones. If there is anything contrary to it, that thing is not shown to him or her (soul in Barzakh). Such disturbing things are kept unknown so that it may not be come unhappy. The spirit of an unbeliever sees nothing except bad and painful things about its near and dear ones.
Abdullah bin Sinan is quoted in several books of traditions and narrations. He asked Imam Sadiq (a.s) about the Pool of Kauthar (a heavenly spring). He replied, “Its length is equal to the distance between Basra and Yemen (Sana).” When he expressed his astonishment, he asked, “May I show it to you?” I said, “Yes, O my Master!” Then the Imam took him out of Medina. There he kicked the ground on one spot and said, “See!” (Veils before his eyes were removed by the order of the Imam)
He says, “I saw a huge spring flowing, the shores of which were not visible except the spot on which we stood and which was like a small island. I saw a spring at one bank of which snow white water was flowing in waves and on the other bank whiter than snow milk flowing and in between the two, flowed wine, which had fine red colour that was more attractive than topaz both in sheen and fineness. I had never before seen such a wine of the best quality flowing between pure milk and snow white water.”
I said, “O Master! May I be sacrificed on you. From where does this spring flow?” The Imam replied, “As mentioned by Almighty God in the Holy Qur’an, there is a spring of milk, a spring of water and a spring of wine in paradise. All these three springs come from there.”
The narrator says, “I saw many trees on both the banks of this spring and a houri near every tree. She had such beautiful hair the like of which I had never seen before. There was a utensil in the hands of every houri. The said vessels were so beautiful that I had never seen such utensils in the world. They did not belong to this material world. He hinted to a houri to serve water. She filled that utensil from that spring and presented it to the Imam. He drank from it.
He asked her again to fill it. She complied with the command and the Imam gave that utensil to me. I drank from it and found that I had never tasted such a nice, delicious and pleasing drink ever before. It had a fragrance of musk. I said, 'May I be sacrificed on you. Whatever I observed today is such that I had not only never seen before but also never even imagined before, (that such things could ever be available in the world).'“
The Imam said, “What you have seen is only a small specimen of the bounties provided by God Almighty for our Shi’as. When somebody leaves the world his or her spirit is taken to this stream and around this garden of paradise. He eats its fruits and drinks its wines. Whenever our enemy dies, his soul is being taken to Wadi al-Barhoot. He remains in its torture forever. He is forced to eat 'Zaqqoom' (a thorny cactus tree) and drink hot hell water. So pray to God for being protected from the said Barhoot valley.”
Among those who were shown the paradise of Barzakh in this world are companions of the chief of the martyrs, Imam Husain (a.s.) to whom the Holy Imam had shown their places and stations in Barzakh.
In Biharul Anwar, Vol: 3, it is mentioned that Imam Baqir (a.s) said, “No believer leaves this world unless, at his last moments, angels make him drink the Kauthar water. Likewise no unbeliever dies until he is made to drink Hameem (Hell water).
As stated earlier, 'Wadi-us-Salam' (the Valley of Peace) is the abode of the fortunate souls who gather there and Barhoot, which is a barren arid desert, is the place where dirty and evil souls are put to torture. It is a specimen of Hell of Barzakh. The following tradition makes the matter clearer:
One day a man went to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) the last messenger of God, and, expressing his restlessness and anxiety, said, “I have seen a very strange thing.” The Holy Prophet asked, “What is it?” He replied, “My wife became seriously ill. People told me, 'If you bring water from a well situated in the Vale of Barhoot, her illness can be cured.' (Some skin diseases are cured by mineral waters).
So I got ready and proceeded towards that valley with a skin to fill that water and also a cup for fetching it from the said well. There I saw a very frightening forest. Despite being afraid, I gathered courage and went on in search of that well (At last I found it). Suddenly I heard the clanking of a chain from above. That chain came down. I saw a man caught in that chain requesting me to give him some water as he was dying of thirst. When I raised my head to offer him a cup of water I saw that he was fastened to that hanging chain.
Whenever I tried to give him water he was dragged up to the red-hot sun. Then I tried to fill my bag with water. That man was again lowered by the dangling chain suddenly and complained bitterly about his deadly thirst. I tried to hand over the cup to him but again he was pulled up right up to the sun. It happened for the third time too. At last I tied my water bag and could not give any water to him. I have become terribly frightened by observing all this and have come to your honour to ascertain the reason of all this.” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied, “That unfortunate man is Qabil, son of Adam (a.s.). He had killed his brother Habil.
“Then his mind facilitated to him the slaying of his brother so he slew him; then he became one of the losers. “(5:30)
He will remain in this condition of torture till the day of Judgement and will finally fall in the painful punishment of Hell.”
Suppose we had no religious texts and had there been no arrival of all Prophets and messengers who have informed us that a day will certainly come for taking account of human deeds and who told people that, “You will have to, on one day, answer for all of your words and deeds,” reason and logic itself is a very big proof and testimony indicating that this revolving of skies and the initiation of the creation of every being and everything is not without any aim or intention.
Every wise and intelligent man, whenever he looks all around him, he observes that day and night come one after another and man eats and drinks and sleeps and goes in privacy and fulfils all of his desires; that a child grows up and turns into a youth and then an old man and then dies.
Is all this huge and vast unending movements and happenings which all of us always observe with our own eyes aimed only at these movements and is it limited only up to here? Has it no aim or object? If it is so, then it only means that man has been created just for creating dirt. This is merely a false and aimless notion. There were animals to fulfil such deeds like eating, drinking, sleeping and gratifying passions. There was no need at all for the creation of man.
Those who do not believe in the Hereafter, in fact, do not believe in the wisdom and intelligence of God Almighty (God forbid). This denial only means that all of this vast and huge universe has been created without any aim or object.
“And Allah's is the East and the West, therefore, whither you turn, thither is Allah's purpose; surely Allah is Amplegiving, Knowing. “(23:115)
But to think thus is the fault and error of their thinking. Whenever and wherever we look at anything we find that it has thousands of wisdoms (proper aims) and that man can hardly comprehend even a few of them. Even the most trifling and ordinary atom is not without wisdom behind its creation. Then what to say about bigger and higher things!
This hair and fingernail too are not aimless. For example, take the case of a fingernail. One of the wisdoms behind its creation is that, despite it's being a short and apparently insignificant part of human body, it serves as a support for fingers. Whenever one wants to pick up something, it is only this fingernail, which enables the fingers to bear the pressure. Otherwise it was not possible to bear such crushing weight for the fleshy fingers. That is why; if nails are drawn out from their base it will be difficult to lift things. What would then have happened had there been no nails at all?
Moreover, these nails help us in scratching. Again, dirty and excessive matters within the body also go out through these nails. That is why it has been ordered that nails must be cut at least once a week (specially on Friday).
Not a single strand of hair on our body is without wisdom or strategy. Imam Sadiq (a.s) tells Mufaddal Ibne Umar, “Some ignorant people say it would have been better were hair not to grow on certain parts of the body. They do not know that those are the parts where excess and dirty (impure or unclean) body matter concentrates. Was that dirt not to be driven out through hair human body would become ill and diseased.”1 That is why we have been commanded to remove this hair as soon as possible (within two weeks at the most).
If man ponders deeply he will realize that all the elements of the world of creation are full of wisdom and strategy.
It is said that the famous physician Galen once looked at the dirty insect cow dung beetle and expressed his opinion saying, “I do not see any wisdom in the creation of this thing. Why, after all, had God created it?” After sometime he developed severe pain in his eyes. Despite using all medicines in his expert knowledge no remedy worked on that trouble. Other doctors also tried in vain. At last there came an old woman and said, “I have a pill. It is very effective for the illness of eyes.” When Galen used it, he became all right. He asked how the pill was prepared. She said it was a paste having cow dung beetle as one of its ingredients.
Not even a single particle in the world of existence is created without any wise aim. Can then the entire universe be aimless at all? In the human body, even a nail and a hair are not without utility. Can then the whole human body have been created without any aim or intention? Never! All modern day scientists are unanimous in their opinion that they have not been able to comprehend all the wisdoms and strategies behind all the things in this world.
Only God knows how many new and astonishing things will come to light in future. About half a century ago, people in Europe were of the opinion that in our body at the end of intestines there is an extension called appendix; that it is of no use. So, many healthy persons got it removed. But soon thereafter they were to realize that they were wrong.
So, they announced that healthy persons should not remove it because now they had come to understand that the said extension was a sort of alarm. When much impurities pile up in intestines, this extension exudes pain thus cautioning them before the impurities could havoc. So, the patient becomes alerted and resorts to remedy. It is also possible that it may have other benefits too which have not yet come to our notice despite research and about which we may know in the days and years to come.
In human mouth not a single tooth is void of usefulness. The job of the molars cannot be performed by canines. Not a single bone out of the 248 in human body is useless, that is, if even one of them is missing, and it renders the whole body defective. Similar is the case with veins, nerves and fats etc. Can then the entire body be ever void of utility and wisdom behind it?
After recognizing the creator of the universe as most wise and after realizing that even the tiniest atom is not useless here, it is now our duty to try to understand the wisdom and aim behind the great creation. We see how many benefits we derive from various kinds of innumerable stones, vegetables and animals.
The clouds, wind, moon and sun all are busy in their duties so that, O Man! You may get bread and do not eat it unheeding. All these are busy, worrisome and obedient to you. Is it, then, not very unjust that you do not obey the commands of your Lord?
Is the aim of man's creation only this worldly and material life? Is there nothing after death? Are we to be totally and suddenly annihilated? If it is taken for granted that the only aim of human life in this universe is eating, drinking, resting and pleasure-hunting to gratify passions, lust, greed and desires and had it been so that man would not ever taste what is pain, trouble and difficulty and grief and sorrow throughout his life then, in that case, also the creation would have been aimless.
The reason for this conclusion is that even though the said life is full of pleasure and happiness it is yet unreliable and untrustworthy because, after all, it is passing and it is bound to end one day. So it is unthinkable that such a wide and huge universe should be for anything, which is to perish while human life is, from it's beginning to end, full of different kinds of difficulties, troubles, pains and sorrows.
As the poet Aasoodeh has said:
I have seen in this world only one person called 'happy' (Aasoodeh). But then, it was only his penname.
Another poet says:
You will not find any man in this world who has no worries. If he has no worry then he is not the son of Adam.
The fact is that, if man is to perish after his death and if his life is limited only to this world of matter which is made up of various kinds of sorrows, physical and spiritual and mental troubles, sufferings, mischiefs, fornications, usurpations, illness of children, death of progeny, separation from friends then this life is totally senseless and void of wisdom.
This is against the divine attribute like the Just, the Kind, the Most Merciful, the Most Wise etc. In that case the creation of human beings in the world would be like an example in which, suppose, a generous man invites guests in a house which has all kinds of harmful animals like tigers, leopards, wolves snakes, scorpions and wasps.
And when the guest arrives he may be served with eatables in that very horrible house, but any morsel taken by him is accompanied by the stings of several troublesome and poisonous insects. Not only this, there also may be some attackers with swords in their hands ready to attack that guest even before he completes his feast (and thereafter nothing at all)! Just say, is there any use of such a feast? Is it not a futile endeavour?
What can be surmised from the above discussion is that, for man, another life or world will surely arrive in which all of his pleasures and joys will be available. It is absolutely essential that he (a good man or woman) must get a joy and relief and comfort which has no pain with it and also an everlasting happiness which must not be followed by any trouble, grief or sorrow. The deserving persons must get comforts which should never end.
Very happy will be the day when I will walk away from the passing world for finding out peace for soul and to meet the beloved. (Persian Couplet)
So it has been established from viewpoint of logic and reason and it is now realized that God Almighty has created man for eternal and everlasting happiness. He has detained man for a little temporary period so that he may prepare to be eligible for the sure and permanent life, which is full of joys and bounties. God has given him two wings of knowledge and action with which he may fly high to gain extreme heights in the eternal realm.
The fact is that if man turns towards his God-given mind and nature and thinks deeply he will very soon find that there can be a doubt in each and every possible thing but there is no room for any doubt at all in the belief in God, His creation and the Hereafter, eternal life after death and reward or punishment in the everlasting Hereafter.
“And because the hour is coming, there is no doubt about it; and because Allah shall raise up those who are in the graves. “(22:7)
Of course, some people, because of their drowning in desires and constant engagement in material affairs and continuous commitment to sins have disfigured their nature thereby falling in doubt about the above-mentioned doubtless matters.
“Nay! man desires to give the lie to what is before him. “(75:5)
So the verdict of reason has established that there is an aim, utility and wisdom behind the creation of the earth, the sky and each and every part of the human body which will be known to him on the day when he will have to leave this material world. On the basis of all this, the coming of another world or realm is a must after the end of this world.
While describing the attributes of the Lord Almighty during the discussion of the Oneness of the Creator of the Universe, we have said that God is Just and so He has provided each and every essential thing for everything and every being, without being requested.
A Persian couplet says:
We were inexistent and we never requested to come into existence. But the Mercy and Kindness of the Merciful Lord even hears our unsaid pleas.
One of the demands of God's justice is to give reward to those good people who, as we see, passed their whole lives in obedience, worship and piety but, in this world of ours, they got no reward in proportion with their labours and hardships.
Likewise, the Just Lord's attribute of Justice also demands that He should punish offenders who, as we see, have indulged in various mischiefs and conspiracies and devastating corruption but no punishment is or has been given to them in this world. They pass away from this world continuing their offences and sins. Often it also happens that mischievous offenders live easy and luxurious lives whereas good people live in difficulties.
We also see how much cruelty man shows towards man. They loot one another's property; kill one another and trample others' honour under their feet. Since God Almighty is Just, certainly a day will come when everyone will get his due based on his good or bad deeds. Right of everyone will be restored to him or her.
“This day every soul shall be rewarded for what it has earned; no injustice (shall be done) this day; surely Allah is quick in reckoning. “(40:17)
Those who had oppressed others will, surely be thrown into fire on that Day as warned:
“Surely We have prepared for the iniquitous a fire, the curtains of which shall encompass them about… “(18:29)
The poor person who was unjustly killed will be able to take revenge from the evil oppressor.
“And when the female infant buried alive is asked for what sin she was killed, “(81:8-9)
And God may give reward/compensation to the oppressed victim. Good people may get rewards and evil ones may get chastisement so that His justice is manifested.
All the Messengers and Prophets who were most true in the entire universe and whose word is an exhaustive argument for us have given the news that Qiyamat will surely come. Pious and religious minded people belonging to every religion and sect believed in life after death. In fact religion is based only on two principles: Origin and returning to life. Most verses of Holy Qur’an concerning faith in God at the same time demand faith in the Hereafter and Resurrection.
“The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life). “(3:14)
And all the religions and faiths are unanimous about the aforesaid two principles of Origin and Hereafter.
In short, not one or two but thousands of true announcers have given the news of the arrival of the Day of Judgement. (So also) logic demands it must be accepted, understood and believed that the Day will certainly come.
As said earlier, the issue of resurrection is not against logic. Whenever mind thinks about it, it says that it is a 'possibility or a likely' thing. Moreover, all the true informers whose number is one lakh twenty-four thousand (Messengers and Prophets) and so also all of their legatees have said so and the word of each and everyone of them is sufficient for the intellect to accept.
Some ill informed persons have tried to create a doubt that coming back of a perished thing is impossible. They say how is it to appear again? But they have no proof (argument) in support of this claim. The only word which they have with them is 'necessity'. Taking support of this word they say our argument in this matter is the said necessity. In any case, if anybody puts forth a logical argument, our reply is as given earlier.
First, we put forth the words of Khwaja Nasiruddin Tusi. He says: In Qiyamat, there is no returning of a perished thing. It is, rather, the reconnection of separated and scattered elements. The explanation of this word is that the body was a mixture and collection of many atoms and elements. After death it got scattered in different particles.
When Qiyamat will occur, all of these scattered particles will, by the Command of God, rejoin one another. Thus the meaning of 'Ma’ad' is the rejoining of scattered particles and the joining of soul with body after their separation. Thus it is understood that Resurrection is not the return of perished things. (Apart from this, this issue is also not an agreed one).
Secondly, for the existence of anything, the possibility of the existence of something similar to it is the best and greatest argument or proof. Every man should think over the earlier condition of his body. He will know that in the beginning there were many innumerable particles including dust, air, and some were mixed with air in atmosphere.
With God's imperative power they came together, and took the forms of various different things like food articles, vegetables, seeds, grains, fruits and animals etc. All these things, after getting down the throat of a father entered his stomach and, for a second time, scattered in the forms of the limbs of the father.
Then at the time of passion or sexual arousal the substance which was made up of all digested materials and which contained the essence of all useful eatables and had taken the form of semen, got dragged from all parts of the body and jumped out of his sexual organ and settled in the womb of a mother. (This is why it is obligatory to wash each and every part of the human body while taking the post-coital bath). It is because the semen was drawn from all body.
In short, everybody was, in the beginning, in different forms of separate elements. God collected them in one substance, first in the hearts of earth (dust), water and air,
“O people! if you are in doubt about the raising, then surely We created you from dust, “(22:5)
Secondly, it remained scattered in the physical parts or organs of a father's body.
After seeing and knowing about the said separation and recollection on two occasions, is there anything which cannot be believed if it is said that in the grave, for the third time, after the decomposing of body and scattering of body particles, the said elements will be recollected for the third time too?
“And certainly you know the first growth, why do you not then mind? “(56:62)
You have known about the first worldly creation and the first birth, then why do you not, O man! Recollect that you were dust, Our Hand of Power collected you, that you became a part of the father's body in the form of edible matter, then, after these parts were scattered in the father's different body organs, We recollected you, that is, after ejecting you in the form of semen made you enter your mother's womb.
You have already seen this scattering and recollection in the worldly life. Now, even after this observation, why do you get astonished when you are told that We will after the scattering your body particles throughout the universe, recollect them for the third time too?
On several occasions the dead do come to life in this world also. Just look at the vegetable world. You observe in the spring season that trees become alive after their death due to drying up. They once again get a fresh spirit or life. The earth, which had died, also becomes alive.
“then gives life therewith to the earth after its death; “(30:24)
On a number of occasions a dead man has also become alive again. People who had died had come to life through Isa (Jesus, a.s.) and also Infallible Imams (a.s.). Some such events are recorded in history and biography books we present here two events mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.
The Lord of the Universe has, in verse 259 of Surah Baqarah, mentioned the story of Uzair (a.s.).
“Or the like of him (Uzair) who passed by a town, and it had fallen down upon its roofs; he said: When will Allah give it life after its death? So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him to life. “(2:259)
The summary, cause of revelation and explanation of this verse is that Uzair was one of the Prophets in Bani Israel. He had memorized the whole Torah by heart and also was a leader and teacher of Jews in Jerusalem. Once he was travelling on his donkey. He had some bread and few grapes with him.
When he reached a village wherein all its residents had died years ago and there was no sign of their life except their worn and torn bones. Uzair threw a glance full of gloom and astonishment at those bones and exclaimed: How will God turn these torn and worn bones into living beings again? (This statement of Uzair was only by way of wonder. He never doubted God's might and never denied Resurrection).
The Lord of the Universe, in order to make Uzair (a.s.) understand that Resurrection might be an astonishing thing for him but for Him it is nothing strange or difficult, made him die instantly. So Uzair (a.s.) remained in the condition of death for one hundred years. The bones of his ass decayed. Of course what was wonderful to human eye was that grapes were fresh and sweet despite passing of such a long time. There was no change even in their colour!
God made Uzair (a.s.) alive after one hundred years. An angel came to him in human form and asked him, “How long have you remained here?” He replied, “For one day or a part of it.” The angel said, “No, but you have stayed for a full period of a hundred years. Just look at your food. It has not at all decayed or deteriorated. (But) look at your donkey. Its bones have become rotten. Now you see what happens before your eyes and realize the Might of your Lord.”
Uzair (a.s.) saw that the particles of the decayed body of the ass began to move and instantly joined with one another, restructuring its legs, head, eyes and ears etc. The donkey soon got up. Then Almighty Lord said, “See how We are able to recollect and reassemble the particles of the body of the donkey and to give it a new life. So understand that God is able to do everything.”
When Uzair (a.s.) returned to Baitul Maqdas (Jerusalem), there also he found a totally different scene. The city had been totally altered. None of the people known to him was found there. In a very astonished state of mind he knocked at the door of his house. People inside asked, “Who is it?” He said, “It is I, Uzair.”
People rushed out and said, “Are you joking? There is no trace of Uzair for the last one hundred years. Have you any of his signs of identification?” (Uzair was one of those whose prayer was answered by Almighty God). An old lady stepped forward and said, “If you are Uzair, then I am his aunt and I have become blind. Pray to God so that I may regain my eyesight.”
Uzair (a.s.) prayed to God Almighty and that lady could see again. Then both described what had happened during the past years. All understood what had happened and the story became a reminder for all.
Another event mentioned in the Holy Qur’an concerns Ibrahim (a.s.). Once he submitted to the Almighty God, “My Lord! I want to see how You make the dead alive, so that my heart may get satisfaction.” Came the Command, “Take four birds (four kinds viz. a crow, a cock, a dove, and a peacock).
Slaughter them and dissect their bodies into pieces and mix up their pieces of all of them with one another. Then make four heaps of the said mixed up meat and put one heap each on four different hills. Then call up each one of the birds by their names. Every one of them will fly and come to you within no time.
“And when Ibrahim said: My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He said: What! and do you not believe? He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease. He said: Then take four of the birds, then train them to follow you, then place on every mountain a part of them, then call them, they will come to you flying; and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. “(2:260)
It is mentioned in the commentary that Ibrahim (a.s.) had held the heads of all the four birds in his hands and he was calling them one by one. Then he saw that the body particles (dissected portion) began to join with one another and to reform the bodies as they were re-assembled the head-less birds flew speedily towards their heads in the hands of Ibrahim (a.s.).
In order to check the accuracy, Ibrahim (a.s.) tried to make the body of one bird join with the head of another but he could not succeed as every body was rushing towards its own head and finally got joined. All the four birds thus became alive.
It is likely that some may think how many forms (due to change) might have been taken in the scattered particles of a dead body. How then it is possible for them to reassemble as before? But such thinking is only the result of ignoring the all al-ncompassing power of Almighty God.
When we have learnt in the discussion about God's Oneness that God's knowledge covers everything and that not a single particle from the particles of each and everything is beyond His knowledge. He also has power of everyone and everything. After this there is no scope at all for any doubt about the fulfilment of His Wish.
It is true that a dead body, after a long time, becomes scattered and also emanates foul smell and also becomes the food of ants and many other insects and that even if it does not go in the stomach of any animal it does turn into dust which also is swept far and wide by winds. Then it becomes the ingredients of wheat, barely, seeds and vegetables or is used up in house building materials. In any case it still remains in this world and by no means goes out of the all al-ncompassing Knowledge of God.
Then, at His Will, Almighty Allah recollects and reassembles them from wherever they may be and in whichever form they may be (rather they themselves get remixed at God's Command). We have seen this in the story of Ibrahim (a.s.) and four birds. It is mentioned there that, as ordered by God, Ibrahim (a.s.) cut the birds in to pieces and then mixed up that meat. Then dividing the mixed meat into four heaps, he placed those heaps on four hills…
In short, Almighty Allah knows each and every particle in the universe (His creation) even if they have changed forms on thousands of occasions. Likewise, He is also able to reassemble them and to take them to the station (place) of either reward or punishment.2
To show the Might of Allah and in order to prove that He can do whatever He likes and that He can do everything, we give below some examples as testimony to this truth.
“He Who has made for you the fire (to burn) from the green tree, so that with it you kindle (fire). “(36:80)
The trees named Markh and Aqaar are such that if a branch is torn off from any of the two, waters, drips therefrom. One of the two is masculine and the other feminine in nature. Water drips from both. But when one is brushed against the other, it gives out fire. These two trees are considered very important in the Arabian Peninsula. In olden times there were no matchboxes.
People used to ignite fire with the help of the branches of these trees. How wonderful that if they remain apart they give out water but if they are brushed against one another they give out fire! How these two opposites are placed in one and the same thing? If it is wet and has not yet become dry it should not emanate water. Scholars of science say that except the tree of Unnab, there is hidden fire in every other tree. Then cannot such Mighty and Powerful creator reassemble a dead body and put soul (life) in it again?
And he strikes out a likeness for Us and forgets his own creation. Says he: Who will give life to the bones when they are rotten?
“Say: He will give life to them Who brought them into existence at first, and He is cognizant of all creation, “(36:78-79)
Once Ibne Abi Khalaf came to the Holy Prophet with an old bone in this hand. He was pressing and crushing it with his hand. When it all became powder he blew it off with his mouth and asked, “Who will make this stuff alive?” In the above verse, Almighty Creator of the universe, talks about this foolish and ignorant talking of this man and scolds him. God Almighty says, “This man gives us an example but forgets his own creation. (O the one who takes such objections! You were nothing. God brought you into being after you were nothing; from non al-xistence to existence).
Say (O Messenger!) Only He will make them alive, Who had created them first. He has knowledge of every creation.” O Man! You also were nothing before and now you are something. The same powered elements of human body of faithful persons are like particles of gold, distinct from all other particles. When it rains, it sweeps aside the particles of dust and golden particles begin to shine out. Here there is no room for doubt. The elements of everybody's will be re-assembled by Almighty Allah through His Command.
As we have described in the story of Ibrahim (a.s.) and four birds, he caught and cut into pieces a crow, a cock, and dove and a peacock. Then he mixed their minced meat so that it could not be separated from one another. Then, as per a narration, made seventeen heaps of it and put them at seventeen places on different hills.
Then he took the head of dove in his hand called it out. In response, all the particles of its meat flew from every station and re-assembled to form the body as it was before being slaughtered and then it joined with its head. Then Ibrahim (a.s.) called out the peacock; all the particles of its meat flew from every station and re-assembled to form the body of the peacock. Ibrahim (a.s.) put the head of the cock before it but it did not join. One's head was not being joined with another's body. In short, there is no chance of any error in the knowledge of God.
“Certainly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of the men, but most people do not know. “(40:57)
To create the skies and the earth, to fix separate orbits for the rotation of each of them, and to arrange their affairs etc are works, which are greater and more complex than the creation of man. Now what is to be seen is that the One who created skies will He not be able to create a man again and to take account of his deeds?
“His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is. “(36:82)
As and when He will wish, the Qiyamat will come up instantly. The moment Allah wishes all will become alive.3
If intelligence tells that there is a likelihood of harm at a certain place something must be done which can avoid or remove that harm.
For example, while passing through a forest or path there is a danger of a carnivorous animal or of bandits or thieves who can harm our lives and or property then, even if this possibility is not certain, reason demands that we should not take that path and go by any other avenue where there is certainty of safety.
Of course, such harms can also be of various degrees and kinds. For instance, if the danger is about falling down due to rough roads then man does not pay much attention to it. But if there is a danger of jumping over a pass, which can risk life, then surely it is a very serious matter. Then how dangerous and risky it would be to cross the bay of hell?
So it is absolutely essential to take utmost care for avoiding every likely danger. Even the slightest possibility of a great harm makes it compulsory to take defensive steps. Here is an example for further clarification.
If a child tells you that there is a scorpion under your clothes and that it is crawling upwards. Will you tell him, “You are a child. You do not know anything. We cannot believe you?” No. You will never say so because there is a likelihood of a great harm. What is more important is a scorpion, not a straw or a stalk. You will, at once, take off your shirt and try to find out the scorpion even though you had no certainly of its presence. There was merely a likelihood or possibility. Yet intelligence says that such possibility is worth taking cognisance.
Or for example, you want to proceed on a journey. Someone tells you that you will not get any water anywhere on this route. The demand of intelligence then is that you should keep a container full of water with you. Now, if you get fresh water on your way, you will throw away the old water and fill up your container with fresh water.
By so doing you will suffer no loss and save yourself from the possibility of remaining thirsty. But, if thinking that this is merely a possibility, you did not take water with you and found no water enroute then you will have to die of thirst and you will get nothing except grief and sorrow.
After understanding this logical problem, now we say that one hundred twenty-four thousand (124,000) Messengers and Prophets came to the world and all of them unanimously warned humanity of a danger saying, “O People! All of your words and deeds are being constantly and instantly being recorded. God has appointed two angels for every person. Whatever good or bad you do, they note it down:
“He utters not a word but there is by him a watcher at hand. “(50:18)
Suppose even if you are not sure about the coming of Qiyamat or of the Day of Judgement (Resurrection), if you have any brain, your intelligence will call upon you to take precautionary action and to be cautions. There is indeed a possibility of Qiyamat if not certainly.
So, responding to this demand of reason, do not oppress anyone, do not be unjust towards anybody, and do not attack anyone's honour. I would now like to give some admonition and give a logical argument about Resurrection to make one understand that it is the demand of reason and logic to put faith in Resurrection.
It is mentioned in Usul al-Kafi, Tradition 2; in Kitabut Tawheed that Imam Sadiq (a.s.), during his sermons, told Ibne Abil Awjaa, “If what the religious people say is true, and doubtlessly it is true, then the believers will certainly get salvation, and you will be destroyed. And if what you say (denial of Hereafter and accounting) is true, though it is certainly not true, even then both of you (the believers and the unbelievers) will be on an equal footing.”
Ibne Abil Awjaa said, “Is not our and their word the same?” The Imam said, “How can it be same or equal when they (religious people) believe that Qiyamat will surely arrive and there also will be reward or punishment and when they also believe that the sky is full of its residents and that the Creator of all the skies and the earth is Only One God, you say that skies are void and that there is no God…”
You have seen that in this tradition Imam (a.s.) used the argument of cautiousness for proving Resurrection. This is the minimum argument. Otherwise there must be certainty of belief about the Day of Judgement. Doubtfulness or hesitation is not at all enough, not even mere imagination.
We hear news about Qiyamat but imagine that it is an ordinary matter, though we give much importance to this world, the same world which the Lord Creator of the Universe has termed a 'plaything':
“The life of this world is only idle sport and play,“ (47:36)
But about Qiyamat, which is an ordinary thing in our (mistaken) view has been given much importance by God and He has called its news “The Great Event”:
“Of what do they ask one another? About the great event, “(78:1)
Doubtlessly Qiyamat is very great. It will be the Day when all the first and last (earlier and latter) human beings will be made to assemble. Such a huge gathering will be such that in it, everyone will be worrying about his or her result (consequences of deeds before death). All will be weeping and wailing save a few about whom we shall talk later on.
Amr bin Ma’adikarb was one of the most famous brave and courageous men among Arabs. History of Islam has recorded him as one of the greatest warriors in a number of battles. Once, when he was a polytheist, he visited the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) invited him to Islam, and said, “If you believe in Islam, God Almighty will protect you from the greatest fright on the Day of Resurrection.”
He asked, “O Muhammad! What is the great fright? I am so tough-hearted that nothing can frighten me.” The Holy Prophet said, “O Amr! It is not so, as you imagined. It will be a tremendously frightening sound, which will make all the dead alive and make the entire living die, except those whom God wishes that they should not die. Then again there will be terrible roar which will make all the dead stand and line up. The sky will be fragmented. All the mountains will break up and become scattered. Thus there will be no living being whose heart will not be palpating due to fear, remembering the sins committed by it. All will be worrying only about their own selves except those whom God wills (that they may not become restless). O Amr! What do you think?”
In short, the Holy Prophet described the frightening events of Qiyamat in such a manner that the whole body of Amr began to tremble. He said, “What should I do to avoid that fright on the most terrible day?” The Holy Prophet said, “Say 'Laa Ilaah Illallaah' (There is no God except Only One God).”
So Amr instantly became a Muslim then and there along with his entire people.
On that day, wherever will a man look he will see only frightening things. The condition of this earth will be totally changed. In addition to all that we have said earlier, the ground of Resurrection will also become alive and intelligent. It will remain stable, calm and wise under the feet of the believers but, the same ground will turn into a burning piece of land under the feet of an unbeliever and will be red hot, giving out flames.
No curtain or barrier will be seen over there, no tree or a mountain. Everyone will look at one another. All will be human beings but their faces will be changed. In this world all are alike but on the Day of Judgement, they will take shapes and forms according to their deeds (before death).
“The day on which the trumpet shall be blown so you shall come forth in hosts, “(78:18)
It is mentioned in Tafsir Majmaul Bayan that Muaaz asked for the explanation of this verse from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) who replied, “You have asked a very important thing.” Then the eyes of the Holy Prophet became tearful.
He said, “On the Day of Judgement, my community (Ummah) will be divided into ten groups. God Almighty will cut all those ten from the Muslims. He will change theirs faces and appearances. Some will come in the shape of monkeys, some in the form of swines, hands and legs of some will be cut off, and some will be blind, some deaf and dumb. One of those groups will arrive in the grand field chewing their own tongues, dirt dripping from their lips the bad foul of which will make all restless.
One group will arrive upside down and will get punishment in the same position. One group will be hanging on branches of fire. One group will be spreading an obnoxious and foul smell, which will be worse than that of corpses. One group will be wearing shirts made of Qitraan, which will stick to their bodies.
People asked, “O Messenger of God! Who will be these people?”
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “Those who will assume the forms of monkeys will be backbiters. They create enmity between two parties and carry one's talk to the other, and make them quarrel.”
“Those who will be seen as swines will be eaters of unlawful earning. For example, who give (in trade or business or bargaining) less then due, who are dishonest in their dealings with others and who mix up bad things with good to earn unlawfully and who usurp the properties of others. Those who will arrive on their heads will be eaters of interest, the usurers.
Those who will be chewing their own tongues will be the scholars who did not act according to what they taught to others, whose deeds were different from their words. They had given many sermons but never acted accordingly. Others had benefited from their advices and admonitions but they themselves had remained unfortunate and unlucky. Such scholars will chew their own tongues and will worry very much but to no avail.”
“Those who will arrive with their hands and feet cut off will be those who had harassed their neighbours. Those who will come blind were oppressive rulers who did not do justice. Who were proud and self-centred will come dumb and deaf. Those who were putting innocent people to trouble by reporting falsely against them before rulers will be clinging to branches of fire. Foul smell will emanate from those who were gratifying their passions by resorting to unlawful sexual pleasures and also those who did not pay poor tax (Zakat or purifying deductions). Those who were making a show of their pomp by wearing clothes of pride will be, on that Day, wearing shirts of fire.”
It is mentioned in another tradition that there will also be some people with rods of fire in their eyes. They will be those who were casting their lustful eyes starring at prohibited men and women.
Muhaddith Faiz quotes in his book Ainul Yaqeen, “When a drunkard will arrive in the Grand Gathering (Mahshar), a bottle of wine will be dangling from his neck and a cup of wine will be stuck to his hand. His body will be spreading obnoxious and foul smell, which will be worse than any dead body's smell. All in the gathering will understand that this fellow was a drunkard in his worldly life. Everyone passing by him will curse him.”
The singers and musicians will have their music instruments in their hands, which will be hitting their heads. On that Day everyone will be recognized by his condition as to what he was in the world.
“The guilty shall be recognized by their marks, so they shall be seized by the forelocks and the feet. “(55:41)
In the aforesaid book it is also mentioned that some people will arrive with faces looking worse than the faces of monkeys and pigs. (These animals will seem good looking compared to them).
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said, “People will be made to come to the Mahshar field in three conditions: Some on backs of animals, some on foot and some on their own heads (upside down).” People asked, “O Messenger of Allah! How will they walk on their heads?” The Prophet replied, “The one who enabled them to walk on their feet in the world will also enable to walk on their heads.”
“And warn them of the day that draws near, when hearts shall rise up to the throats, “(40:18)
The fear and fright of that terrible Day will make hearts jump from their chests and to stick to their throats. They (hearts) will neither go back to their original place (so that they may feel ease) nor they will jump out so that life may end and one may feel freed. On that Day people's hearts will be full of worries and sorrows.
In short, the fear of that Day will make hearts jump from their chests and they will be sticking to throats and block the passage of breathing. This is a Divine Word of the Holy Qur’an. Lord Almighty has repeatedly warned of such a fear some day and also said that, on that Day, a brother will run away from his brother and hide his face from him. Man will keep distance from his own parents too and so also from his family members.
“The day on which a man shall fly from his brother, And his mother and his father, And his spouse and his son”(80:34-36)
In this Holy verse the Lord of the universe has described the frightful condition of man saying that the terrific fright will disrupt even the closest relations like that between man and wife, father and children and brothers and sisters. All relations will be cut off and everyone will worry breathlessly about himself or herself and will find no time to think about others. So, he will avoid everyone.
The reason for such avoidance could also be that he will fear the demand of their rights, which were trampled by him in the world. Man will become almost breathless. Despite such a big gathering the only voice audible on that Day will be like that of bees.
“On that day they shall follow the inviter, there is no crookedness in him, and the voices shall be low before the Beneficent God so that you shall not hear aught but a soft sound. “ (20:108)
There will also be some groups about whom the Holy Prophet has promised that they will be in safety and peace on that Day of Resurrection. One such group will be of those who became old and aged as Muslims. Giving honour and respect to such Muslims will provide safety and peace from the great calamity of Qiyamat.
If those (respectable) people were their weak aged parents, then giving respect to them will bring further peace. Secondly, help and assistance to poor and suffering people. If a man had helped such deserving persons, for instance had raised up a fallen man or had removed the worry of someone etc.4
The mosque in which one was praying regularly with a sincere and zealous heart will be, on the Day of Judgement, be brought in the form of a saddle to the grave of that person and he will be made to ride thereon and thus he will be carried to Paradise.
It is mentioned in narrations that a faithful believer will ask, “Where is Sirat (the Bridge)?” Angels will reply that it has already passed from beneath your mount. He will ask, “What kind of a rider is it? He would be replied, “This is the changed form of those Masjids in which you were regularly and zealously offering Prayers sincerely.”
Undoubtedly Mosque is the house of God. So it must be given every respect. No stone should be left unturned in maintaining its dignity.
Among those who will be saved from the fear and fright of the Day of Judgement are also those who die or get buried either in Mecca or Medina. Similarly those also who die while going to the said Holy places or while returning from there.
Among such fortunate persons are also those who had regarded their desires as their enemies (they did not consider others as their foes). The apparent meaning of a tradition sentence is that while passing life in the society, if he finds unpalatable things in others he would not blame others but only himself. He will scold only himself for having hoped otherwise from others. Such people would ask themselves, “Why not find fault with one's own self? Why find faults with others at all?”
It is no manhood and fortitude to find faults with others. Look also into your own self. You will realize that you too are full of sins.5
The third group which has been promised to be protected and safe are those who, despite being able to react angrily and thereby to do something unwise, restrain themselves just due to remembrance of God. Thus, they suppress their anger only for God's sake.
Such are the people who will be protected from the fright on the Day of Judgement because they did not indulge in any carnal desire and any selfish act to save their prestige but only for fear of Almighty Allah. One of the Divine Mercies mentioned in books is that if a Faithful puts his hand on one's grave and recites Surah Qadr seven times, the body in that grave also remains protected from the fear and fright of Qiyamat.
The real and true guarantee of protection from the terrible fright on the Day of Judgement is the guardianship and love of Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.). It is called the greatest good (Hasana). No other good can surpass this good. Everyone having this good in his heart will remain safe on the Day of Judgement:
Surely (as for) those for whom the good has already gone forth from Us, they shall be kept far off from it;
They will not hear its faintest sound, and they shall abide in that which their souls long for.
The great fearful event shall not grieve them, and the angels shall meet them: This is your day which you were promised.
“On the day when We will roll up heaven like the rolling up of the scroll for writings, as We originated the first creation, (so) We shall reproduce it; a promise (binding on Us); surely We will bring it about. “ (21:101-104)
The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, “O ‘Ali! You and Your Shi’as (followers) will remain in peace from the terrible fright. And this refers only to you.”
Similarly, the Hasana, which is the 'absolute good', is the Love and friendship of ‘Ali (a.s.) and the progeny of ‘Ali (a.s). Qur’an has promised that on the Day of Resurrection, the one who will come with 'absolute good' will get the best reward and he will remain in peace from the fright of that Day:
“Whoever brings good, he shall have better than it; and they shall be secure from terror on the day. “ (27:89)
In the Qur’anic commentaries of the Ahle Sunnat people like Tafsir Kashshaf of Zamakhshari, Tafsir Kabir of Fakhruddin Raazi, Tafsir of Tha'labi and Tafsir Ruhul Bayan etc, it is mentioned that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said that the one who dies with the love and
friendship with Aale Muhammad (a.s.) in his heart will die as a repentant and clean one and when he is raised from the grave he would enter the grand field of gathering (Mahshar) happily. He will neither feel afraid nor any uneasiness overtake him. Paradise will be decorated for him just as the bridal apartment is adorned for the bride…(till the end of the lengthy narration).
What I wanted to present was the part showing that the followers of ‘Ali (a.s.) will be in peace in Qiyamat.
The aim of this admonition is to create the fear of the Almighty God through these Holy verses and thereby to make ourselves ready for the forthcoming events. So, make arrangements for protecting yourselves from the fears and terrors about which you have read; for example, the three or four matters just mentioned.
All say that we should think and worry about the future and make preparation for it. It is true and wise. But what is regrettable is that they take precautions in the wrong way. They do not understand the reality. If we want to prepare for the future (Hereafter/life after death) what is the way to be safe there? Is it to deposit amounts in banks?
Is the life span of fifty years (even less in some cases) so insignificant that man should spend this precious time of his life only for gathering wealth and then go away leaving it all here? This is sheer ignorance and nonsense. Is one to remain hungry materially after death so that he should collect more and more wealth and money? How many people have you met who died of hunger?
Yes, of course, if there is a famine, hunger may be one of the reasons for people's death, which has been destined. But, in normal conditions, no one's future is in danger of starvation to death, however long his age. It is so because, God Almighty has guaranteed sustenance for everyone:
And in the heaven is your sustenance and what you are threatened with.
“And by the Lord of the heavens and the earth! it is most surely the truth, just as you do speak. “(51:22-23)
He provides sustenance to every living being and He will continue to do so.
“And there is no animal in the earth but on Allah is the sustenance of it, “(11:6)
But, in the matter of Hereafter (life after death) it is ordered, with emphasis and encouragement and warning also that everyone must worry before reaching the dangerous place (Hereafter) and make advance arrangement for it. Man must try and make efforts so that he may not stand empty-handed in the grand gathering (for giving accounts) in Mahshar.
All of us say that God is Bountiful and Generous (Kareem). Quite true. But if we really consider Him bountiful then why do we not regard Him so in the worldly (material) matters. Why do we make so much strenuous efforts in the worldly affairs, especially in the matter of sustenance? This shows that what we say is not based on real conviction. We are not truly convinced that God is Bountiful.
If you really and factually want to make arrangements for your future (after death) then you should open your 'Saving Accounts' with God. These prayers and charity are your savings, which are being credited to your account with God and the Generous God protects it in a better way and also gives better reward for it on the Day of Resurrection and in this world also.
“Whatever of good you send on beforehand for yourselves, you will find it with Allah; that is best and greatest in reward; “(73:20)
The Lord of the Universe has, in the Holy Qur’an, told His Prophet (s.a.w.s.): Warn My servants about the events of future (Hereafter). Now all of us know very well that all of us have to face a Day, which will be full of hardships, dangers and anxieties.
When God will intend to bring forth Resurrection, the first thing to happen will be the blowing of the Trumpet as described earlier. God of the Universe mentions this several times in the Holy Qur’an:
“And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except such as Allah please; then it shall be blown again, then lo! they shall stand up awaiting. “(39:68)
Qur’anic verses, traditions, and narrations show that there will be two blowings of the trumpet. First, when the trumpet will be blown all will die except those about whom God desires otherwise. Then the trumpet will be blown again which will cause all formers and latters to become alive.
God says in the above quoted verse: “When the Trumpet will be blown all in the earth and the sky will be destroyed except those whom God may desire that they should not die. Then the trumpet will be blown for the second time when all the formers and the latters will become alive and it will be Resurrection and all will stand staring.”
The summary of this discussion is that there are four favourite or esteemed angels with God (Jibraeel, Mikaeel, Israfil, and Izra'eel). Each of them has a separate and distinct responsibility. Jibraeel has to convey Divine Message (Revelation) from God to Prophets and Messengers (a.s.).
Mikaeel has been entrusted with the responsibility of providing sustenance. Izra'eel is in charge of collecting of souls and the job of Israfil is to blow the trumpet at the time of Qiyamat. He is ready to carry out his work with the trumpet in his hands, waiting for Divine Command. (As mentioned in narrations) when Almighty God will order him, he will come down to the earth from the sky and perform his duty.
When Israfil will proceed from the sky, those in the sky will tremble with fear. When he will reach the earth and reaching the Holy House, stand opposite the wall of Ka'ba and announce through the
trumpet, “Die, all of you.” Then no living thing will survive. There will be none who will not breathe his or her last. It is mentioned in narrations that at that time many people will be busy in markets. They will die then and there. No one will get any respite even to make his will or to return home. So the Lord of the Universe says, in the Holy Qur’an:
“So they shall not be able to make a bequest, nor shall they return to their families. “(36:50)
Then will come the Divine Command that the trumpet should be blown towards those who are in the sky. So (Israfil will do so). No one in the skies will remain alive. Then Israfil will be commanded, “You too die.” So he also will be no more.
“(Of) the day when they shall come forth, nothing concerning them remains hidden to Allah. To whom belongs the kingdom this day? To Allah, the One, the Subduer (of all). “(40:16)
Then a voice will be heard: O Revolters! O Traitors! O Arrogants! O those who were always shouting 'I'! Where are you now? Tell whose kingdom and rule prevails today?” No one will reply. Then again a voice will be heard, “Today rule and kingdom belongs only to Allah, the Only One, the Almighty.” A period of time will pass after the blowing of the first trumpet. Then will come the blow, which will make everyone alive. After that would be the Day of Judgement.
People asked the infallibles as to what will be the length of the gap between the first trumpet (killing) and the second one (making all alive)? It is mentioned in narrations that the Imam replied, “Forty years.”
According to another report it will be a period of four hundred years. Yet another tradition says that astonishing events (as mentioned by us earlier) like splitting of skies, their breaking into pieces, earthquake, crushing of mountains into dust and the flaring up of oceans etc will take place during the said period. Then will come the Divine Command for rain. So it will rain for forty years continuously all over the entire earth.
After all living things will die and after the intermediate period passes, the first one to become alive will be Israfil who will have to blow the trumpet for the second time. Taking the trumpet to his mouth, Israfil will announce, “O the souls! Come out of your scattered bodies. O flesh and O worn out bones and O hair! All of you come together so that your account may be taken. Run and rush speedily for giving the account of your deeds.”
Then it will be revealed to the earth, “Throw out whatever is inside you.” “And the earth brings forth her burdens, “(99:2)
Thereafter earth will, through severe jerks, throw out all the particles of bodies lying in it. In short, all the particles of bodies will come together and retake the form of their earlier bodies. Souls would be put into them once again and all will rise up at once.
There is no deterrent or impossibility in the collection of particles and the entering of spirit in them after the second formation of bodies. For God Almighty, there is no difference in the affair of creating one person and the recreation of millions of people:
“Neither your creation nor your raising is anything but as a single soul; surely Allah is Hearing, Seeing. “(31:28)
God will command and all would become alive and gather at once.
Though all the earlier and the latter will come together in the grand field of Mahshar their appearance and talk will be different. The obedient and faithful servants of God will, while coming out from their graves, would be praising and thanking their Lord Who fulfilled His promise and held the Judgement so that they may get rewards of their good deeds.
“And they shall say: (All) praise is due to Allah, Who has made good to us His promise, “(39:74)
But, on the other hand, there also will be people who will lament regretfully, “Alas! Who made us rise from our graves?”
“They shall say: O woe to us! who has raised us up from our sleeping-place? “(36:52)
According to some narrations, one of their legs will be in the grave and the other one out of it and they will stand there spell bound for three hundred years. This will be the beginning of the chastisement.
One day Jibraeel came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and asked, “Would you like to observe the condition of people on the Day of Gathering?” “Yes,” the Prophet replied. Jibraeel, the trustworthy angel, took the Holy Prophet to the graveyard of Baqi (Medina). He kicked a grave and said, “Get up at the order of your Lord.” The grave split at once and a man with radiant face raised his head from the grave saying,
“(All) praise is due to Allah, Who has made good to us His promise, “(39:74)
Thereafter, he kicked another grave and said, “Rise up at the command of your Lord.” At once, another man with a very ugly and frightened face came out of this grave and said, O woe to us!
Jibraeel said, “The faithful and the unbelievers will rise up from their graves in this condition.”
It is mentioned in narrations that the faithful would wish in their graves that God may establish Judgement soon as they had already tasted samples of the bounties of Paradise and hence they desire it early. On the other hand, the unbelievers and offenders will say, “O God! Let us remain here only, because they have seen samples of the chastisement of hell here.”
“Abasing (one party), exalting (the other), “(56:3)
On the Day of Resurrection, those who were low and weak materially but had the riches of God's fear will become masters and great. Contrary to this, those who were materially great and powerful in the world but had no piety will become dishonoured and degraded. 'Degrader' and 'Upgrader' are two Qur’anic names of the Resurrection Day.
Another thing, which will happen on the Day of Judgement is all those things, which were kept hidden in hearts, will become open and manifest. In this world there are veils on everyone's beliefs and deeds. But in Qiyamat both the inner and outer state will become same, fully apparent.
So, O people who are very mindful of your positions! Have you also thought about protecting yourselves from shame on that Day? On that Day those whose hearts are clean and bright like angels will have similarly shining faces. Those whose hearts are full of passions and lust will, on that Day, have faces of monkeys and dogs.
Have you done anything for the stages to come after death so that you may not have to be ashamed in front of all the past and later people? Do you know how difficult problems you will have to confront, like being naked in the Great Gathering? Have you done anything to save your honour on that Day?
“And clothing that guards (against evil), that is the best. “(7:25)
On the Day of Judgement, when all will come out of their graves, everyone will be naked, except some people who have been promised that they will not be without clothes on that Day. They are those who feared God in the world.
The one who will leave this world as a God fearing person will appear in the Grand Gathering of Mahshar adorned in the Divine attire of Taqwa. Likewise, also those faithful people who died without repenting but who became purified by suffering hardships in graves. Of course, God forbid, if anyone enters Field of Mahshar without becoming purified, he will aspire to go to hell at the earliest so that his shamefulness in front of the greatest gathering may end.
The father of mankind, Adam erred by discarding a desired thing (Tark al-Oolaa) and he was driven of out of paradise naked. Now, finding himself naked in front of angels, he hid his organs of shame with foliage at once:
“And they both began to cover themselves with the leaves of the garden; “(7:21)
Remember that the one who is sinful will not be eligible for Divine raiment. It may be you or I. No day ever passes in which we do not add a sin in our account of deeds. Should we not worry about the hardships of Qiyamat, if we don't have the dress of Piety?
It was the Infallible Imam Zainul Aabedeen (a.s.) who used to pray till dawn during nights of the Holy month of Ramadhan, remembering the nakedness of the Day of Judgement:
I am weeping remembering the naked rising from grave.
Come; let us all join the prayer of the sinless Imam (a.s.):
O Lord! Dress me in Your Bountiful Mercy so that my mistakes may be covered and forgiven.
“The guilty shall be recognized by their marks, so they shall be seized by the forelocks and the feet. “(55:41)
The first stage in the Gathering field will be astonishment which is mentioned a number of times in the Holy Qur’an:
“Hastening forward, their heads upraised, their eyes not reverting to them and their hearts vacant. “(14:43)
Eyes will make no movement due to extreme astonishment when one will be a sinner having a sign of that sinfulness along with him or her, which will make known to all in the grand gathering what sin he or she had committed.
A bottle of wine will be stuck to his hand when a drunkard will arrive in the field of Mahshar. (If you can remember, we have quoted the narration of Muaaz while explaining this.) God has sworn by His Might and Honor saying He will make the drunkard drink as much wine in hell as he had drunk in the world.
It is mentioned in the book Layaliul Akhbaar that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “When a drunkard will arrive in the field of Qiyamat his face will be dark, he eyes blue, his lips hanging and his saliva flowing over his chest up to his feet. His tongue will project out of his mouth.
Anyone who passes by him will suffer a lot of uneasiness due to the stench emanating from the drunkard's mouth.” The Holy Prophet also said, “By the God Who made me His messenger, the drunkard will die thirsty; that he will remain thirsty in his grave; that he will continue crying due to thirst for a thousand years. Thereafter, he will be made to drink the water of Hell (Hameem).”
When a usurer will rise from his grave, his belly will be so enlarges that it will drag on the earth. He will not be able to get up despite trying to do so. He will be sitting head bowed down. Everyone in the field of Mahshar will recognize him as the usurer.
It is mentioned in the book Anwarun Nomaniya that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “One who plays violin will have a dark face and will be holding a violin of fire in his hands which will be knocking at his head. Seventy thousand angels of chastisement will hit on his head and face. A singer will rise deaf, dumb and blind.”
It is mentioned in narrations that those who have two tongues, meaning those who say one thing in front of people and another (opposite) thing behind their backs will be having two tongues of fire on the Day of Judgement. Those who were harming others with their tongues will have their tongues uprooted from their base in their mouths.
There also will be a group in the field of Mahshar, which will be weak and insignificant like ants. They would be the people who showed their pride before others in the world. Such an offensive smell will emanate from the private parts of adulterers in the field of Mahshar that all will shriek and complain against them. Narrations indicate that every bad and sinful habit will give a similar shape or form to the sinner in Qiyamat whereby all will know what kind of deeds he was doing in the world.
“The measure of which is fifty thousand years. “(70:5)
A tradition related from the Infallible is recorded in the third volume of Biharul Anwar, which says that there will be a halt of one thousand years at every station according to our system of counting of days (solar or lunar).
“The measure of which is a thousand years of what you count. “(32:5)
There arises a question that when, in the realm of Qiyamat, there will be no day or night, in the absence of the sun and the moon, then what is the meaning of 'The Day of Judgement'? Why is it called a Day?
The answer is: We call that part of time a Day in which things become bright because of the light of the sun and thereby human eyes can see those things which are not visible to them during night. Likewise those things, which were hidden from people in the world such as their inner condition, their right or wrong beliefs, their good or bad deeds and their consequences will come to be known to all and their consequences too would become apparent in Qiyamat.
Qiyamat is the Day on which all the secrets and hidden things of man would be unravelled.
“And what they never thought of shall become plain to them from Allah. “(39:47)
This world is a night, darkness. No one knows about others. Rather man is unaware of even his own self (inner self). People's deeds are hidden from one another. But Qiyamat is a Day, which is a 'day' in its real meaning with which there is no night.
The Day will be of fifty thousand years' duration when the sun of truth will shine. In Qiyamat we will realize what we are and what others are.
We have mentioned above that there will be several stations in Qiyamat. The station astonishment has been described earlier. Another station is that of fear which causes silence and stillness as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“And the voices shall be low before the Beneficent God so that you shall not hear aught but a soft sound. “(20:108)”
And warn them of the day that draws near, when hearts shall rise up to the throats, “(40:18)
The third station is that of talks and conversation, of questions and answers between people:
“And some of them shall advance towards others, questioning each other. “(37:27)
They will ask one another about their good and bad deeds.
One of the stations will be that of fleeing and running away wherein all will run to avoid one another. Father will run away from son, wife and husband from one another, brother from brother. Everyone would try to avoid one another. All will try to hide their faces. The Holy Qur’an has likened it with scattered moths:
“The day on which men shall be as scattered moths, “(101:3)
In Surah Qamar God says:
“Their eyes cast down, going forth from their graves as if they were scattered locusts, “(54:7)
Fear will show out of the eyes of the unbelievers. When they will come out of their grave, they will scatter like locusts in the field of Mahshar.
You must have observed that when an army of locusts arrives how everyone of them flies in different direction, some upward, some downward, some in the right, some in the left. They remain scattered in an unorganised manner. Husband and wife, father and son etc will also, in the field of Mahshar, on the Day of Resurrection, remain scattered likewise for avoiding one another. But this fleeing of theirs will be useless.
As mentioned in the explanation of Surah Rahman on that day, God will command that angels on the first sky should come down to earth and take the entire mankind in their control. The angels of the second sky will stand encircling the angles of the first sky. Similarly angels of all the seven skies will line up. These will be the Divine armies, which will encircle and the Grand Field of Gathering (Mahshar):
“O assembly of the jinn and the men! If you are able to pass through the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass through; you cannot pass through but with authority. “(55:33)
On that Day men will ask, “Where should I run away?” There is no place or room for escaping except towards the Lord. This also is only for one who had some connection with God. Otherwise, for others, there is no escape.
One more station will be that of asking and begging. Everyone will request his acquaintance to offer one of his goods (reward fetching deeds) but no one will oblige because he himself is also in dire need of it.
A father will say to his son, “How many hardships I suffered for you sake in the world. How much trouble I took for training you? Now, you please give me one of your good deeds.”
The son will reply, “At this time, I myself am in dire need of the good and I am more needy than you.” Similarly a brother will tell his brother. But none would be able to help the other. All would be in terrible anxiety and will not care for others.
Whether they use paper and ink or have any other way. Only the eye of the Messenger can see it.
In short, Even the slightest step that you take is being noted down by the angels. They record even the intention of doing a good deed. Of course no evil (sin) is noted until it is committed.
The narrator asked the Imam (a.s.) how angels know good intention of a faithful person? The Imam replied, “As soon as a servant thinks of doing a good deed his body emanates a pleasing fragrance. So the angels understand it and they record that good intention.”
When a fellow thinks of committing an evil, the bad smell of it hurts the angels. If a man thinks of doing good, a good is at once noted in his record of deeds. Then, if he carries out that good deed, ten goods are noted in his record.
“Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it, and whoever brings an evil deed, he shall be recompensed only with the like of it, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly. “(6:160)
Just see His generosity. The one who will do a good deed will get ten-fold reward of it. But if a man commits an evil he will be punished only for that one crime or offence and he will not be dealt with unfairly.
One of the mercies and generosities of the Most Merciful One is also this kindness that when a servant intends to do an evil the angel named Ateed wants to note it down. But the angel Raqueeb tells him, “Just wait. Give him some respite. Perhaps he may feel ashamed at his intention and may repent over it.”
So that person is given a respite of about five to seven hours and no evil is entered in his work sheet. It is all right if he repents during this time. Otherwise, the angels say, “How shameless is this servant.” Then they enter his crime.
Narrations show that there are two records for every person. One is the record of good and another of evils. Each and every deed is recorded in one of the two records. So much so that if a man blows in furnace or fire that action too is noted down. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“And everything they have done is in the writings. And everything small and great is written down. “(54:52-53)
Shaykh Sadooq (a.r.) has mentioned in his book Aqaid that one day, Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) was passing by a place where he saw a group of youths who were busy in senseless talking and joking. The Imam said, “Are you darkening your records of deeds by such foolish deeds?” They replied, “O Amirul Mu’minin! Do angels note even such gossips?” The Imam (a.s.) replied, “Yes, they record even a blow in fire.”
Yes, even if you pick up and throw away a little thorn from a thoroughfare, your eyes will be bright and cool tomorrow in Qiyamat, because you saved the servants of God from harm. If you find a peel of banana or any other fruit on a road and if you remove it with an intention of saving God's servants from falling down, then remember, even this small and insignificant deed will also not go unrewarded.
Here arises a question that when God is All-knowing Himself why any need of recording deeds of His servants?
“Nay! Most surely the record of the righteous shall be in the Iliyin. “(83:18)”
Nay! most surely the record of the wicked is in the Sijjin. “(83:7)
Why all this giving the record of good people in their right hands by the angels and their carrying upwards and the records of evil fellows downwards? The answer is that the Most Merciful God likes it that His servants may not even go near evils and sins. If he knows that there is someone who is recording his deeds as per God's Command, he will remain cautious.
O sinful servant! Beware! The Lord of the Universe has appointed two spies over you in addition to your own body organs so that man may have some shame. On the other hand, they may be encouraged to do good through their knowledge about the recording of deeds and its importance and their good consequences. For a clearer understanding we explain as follows:
How much happiness the student feels who stands first in the examination. He jumps and shouts so that all may know about his shinning success. “Come and look at my mark sheet!” shouts the student, “I have stood first.”
Tomorrow, on the Day of Judgement too, a believer will be given his scroll of Deeds in his right hand his happiness will know no bounds and he will very joyfully tell everyone, “O friends! O my acquaintances! Just read my Record of deeds.”
“Then as for him who is given his book in his right hand, he will say: Lo! read my book: “(19:69)
Look at this testimonial about the acceptance of my prayers, my fasting and my good deeds! I was always worrying about the accounting of this Day.
“Surely I knew that I shall meet my account. So he shall be in a life of pleasure, “(69:20-21)
But how unlucky is the child who has failed in his examination. He will walk towards his home bowing his head in a very unhappy state of mind. He will be telling to himself: Had I died and not seen this dark day of shame.
Sometimes such badly affected child also becomes ill. Multiply the degree of effect of this example a thousand times. You will have an idea of the pitiable condition of sinners when they will be given their record of deeds in their left hand.
And as for him who is given his book in his left hand he shall say: O would that my book had never been given me:
“And I had not known what my account was: O would that it had made an end (of me): My wealth has availed me nothing: My authority is gone away from me. “(69:25-29)
He will say so only because he will observe that his record has nothing but shame. He will wish for death after which there would be no death again and everything would end permanently. Then he will wail, “Neither my money help me nor my land and my power all have left me lurking in pain and shame.”
There also will be some people in the field of Mahshar on the Day of Judgement, who will be handed over their records of deeds from behind:
“And as to him who is given his book behind his back, He shall call for perdition, And enter into burning fire. “(84:10-12)
This (giving of record from behind) can be in two ways: First, both of his hands may be tied to his back and his head will be turned so that he can read his record. Another way can be that his left hand will pierce in his chest forcing it to come out of his back and then his face will be turned and he will be ordered to read his record:
“Read your book; your own self is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day. “(17:14)
He will himself read back-biting, false allegations, lies, shameless utterances and actions, assaults on others' honour and all other evils committed by him in his worldly life. Likewise, he will also read the offences done by his physical organs. He would start wailing, “This book is such that it has not left even any big or small deed of mine without writing it down.” Whatever he has done in the world will be now before his own eyes.
“And the Book shall be placed, then you will see the guilty fearing from what is in it, and they will say: Ah! woe to us! what a book is this! it does not omit a small one nor a great one, but numbers them (all); and what they had done they shall find present (there); and your Lord does not deal unjustly with anyone. “(18:49)
Some people will be such that reading their records of deeds all the joints of their bodies will disintegrate. Blood and dirt will begin to flow from their eyes. It is mentioned in a tradition of the Holy Prophet that, at that time, a voice will come, “Is there in this record even a single deed which you had not done?” He will reply, “No, O My Lord! Everything recorded in this sheet is true.” Then he will bow his head in shame.
On the Day of Judgement, man will, in a split second, remember all of his lifelong deeds and also see them recorded in a scroll or sheet. It would be a very strange realm. Everyone's record will appear clear before everyone's eyes. Some people will be able to become free of accounting within seconds. They will be the righteous people.
But some would remain suspended in their accounting for a thousand years, not because their record will be very lengthy but what will be aimed at will be the pain and hardship due for them. Some people's accounting will take very little time, just as for milking a sheep. The time taken for some people's account will be, so to say, from noon to Asr afternoon. Some will remain suspended in accounting for forty years, a thousand years and even up to fifty thousand years in some cases.
And the return of the creation is towards you and their accounting is upon you.
It is mentioned by Shaykh Mufeed (r.a.) through consecutive evidences in Biharul Anwar vol. 3 that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said, “On the Day of Judgement God Almighty will entrust the accounting of our Shi’as to us. Then if there will be anything due to God, we will request God to grant it to us and it will be granted. Then whatever will be due to us from them we will forgive. Then the Imam recited this verse:
“Surely to Us is their turning back, Then surely upon Us is the taking of their account. “(88:65-66)
In the third volume of the same book of Biharul Anwar there is another narration relating to the accounting on the Day of Judgement wherein the Imam says after the mention of God's rights and Imam's rights (which will be forgiven), “If Shi’as have to pay up the dues of people, the same will be paid up to the concerned people by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).”
May the Most Merciful Allah make us the Shi’as of Aale Muhammad (a.s.) and also raise us with them on the Day of grand gathering. Amen.
The good tiding for Shi’as is that, on the Day of Judgement, Almighty Allah will call every community with their Imam. Glory be to Allah! How lucky is the deed the auditor of which will be Hazrat Hujjat Ibn-ul-Hasan (a.t.f.s.).
When the Imam will look at our deeds, though we will be bowing our heads down due to our shameful deeds, we will be hopeful because of being his lovers that he will intercede for us. Thanks to the Merciful God that our accounting will be in the hands of the one who will be extremely generous and who will be having a very high status in the court of God Who alone is worth worship.
The Balance (Mizan) of the Divine Justice in which there is not the slightest chance of deviation or mistake is the Holy Prophet or Amirul Mu’minin ‘Ali (a.s.). If the Prayers of all the earlier and the latter people are compared with the prayer of ‘Ali (a.s.) the latter's prayer will surpass all other's prayers.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said, “The balances or scales which will be established on the Day of Judgement, for weighting the deeds of people will be the Prophets and their legatees.” They are the Aale Muhammad (a.s.). Our prayers will be brought to the field of the Grand Gathering (Mahshar) and it will be observed whether or not they have any resemblance with the prayers of ‘Ali (a.s.).
Whether or not we have anything like the high virtues of ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) like generosity, courage, bravery, self-respect, manliness, kindness, justice and fair-play etc. Have we any of it and up to what extent?
Of course, it is established fact that doubtlessly it is impossible that our deeds, prayers, fasting and our virtues could ever be like those of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.). The only thing to be seen is that our deeds must not be contrary to the character of Amirul Mu’minin and the Holy Imams (a.s.); that they should not be deviated or divergent from that. So, God forbid, if you have extended your hand towards any prohibited thing or have eaten the property of others unlawfully then do remember that you have turned away from the balance of the truth.
Has a man who is religious, who walks straight and acts with justice any deprivation compared to one who adopts an irreligious and unfair path? What does the former lack? These veiled women who observe religious commands; are they lacking in anything when compared with the free thinking unveiled women?
What comfort is not available to the religious woman? Do not imagine that more pleasure of life is available to the unveiled women. If there is any happiness, it is for the faithful also. If there is illness and pain, it inflicts both.
There is no difference between them. Both are participating in the pleasures of marriage. Both are equal in the matter of legal and lawful worldly joys, though such joys too are not permanent. On the contrary, we often see how an irreligious person suffers several deprivations. Let me give an example.
Such an irreligious man looks at a beautiful woman in a cinema hall and his heart becomes uncontrollable. Sometimes he becomes mad after such desire. But does he succeed in what his heart longs for? Whatever troubles he may take, it is not necessary that he must succeed in his desire, because, it is possible that the said woman may be married.
How sorry will that man be after knowing this? Or think of the drunkards. It is quite possible that in their condition of intoxication they may quarrel or kill one another and then lead a lonely life behind bars for several years. This applies to other matters too.
A trader who cares for what is permissible and what is unlawful knows that the guarantor of his sustenance or provision is Almighty God. So he does not indulge in dishonestly and unfair dealing in his business. He does not worship the buyer. He does not flatter or deceive his buyers. But the unlucky trader who does not care for truth and justice and fair play, flatters his buyers and deceives them in various ways.
From every angle, we find such trader wrong and wayward. If we look from the material viewpoint, we will find that the deviated people are in no way superior to the righteous ones. Rather if there is anything like true happiness and peace of mind and comfort it is available only to the righteous and religious people:
“Those are they who shall have the security and they are those who go aright. “(6:82)
The summary of our discussion is that those who abide by the balance of truth have not lost or missed anything in this world also, nor are they now at any loss. Rather, even if there is any profit they alone are benefited by it. On the contrary, those poor people who deviate from the true path are certain to bear the loss in the Hereafter. Their profit in this world is also doubtful. Rather, they get nothing but loss and harm.
For example, if he has gained a profit of ten dollars by way of cheating or unfair dealing, he spends its hundred fold in medicines. So, O people who seek satisfaction in this world! Never deviate from the true path. Let me know, have you ever suffered any loss due to walking on the straight path? If you have not told a lie even in any single matter, have you definitely suffered any loss due that truthfulness? Then why should we ever leave the path of truth?
Come, let us all take an oath that we will never deviate from the balance of truth and the balance of truth is the person of the Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.).
On the Day of Resurrection, people will be divided into four groups on the basis of their accounting: Some people will enter paradise without any accounting. They will be the friends of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) who never committed any unlawful deed or they left the world after repenting. Another group will be quite opposite of them, that is, they will go to hell straight away without any accounting. About them God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:
“These are they who disbelieve in the communications of their Lord and His meeting, so their deeds become null, and therefore We will not set up a balance for them on the day of resurrection. “(18:105)
There will be no accounting of those who leave the world without Faith. There will be no value of their deeds because they had died without Faith.
The third group is of those people whose deeds will be worth weighing. They will remain suspended at the stage of Qiyamat. But at last, since their good deeds will be more (than evils) they will get salvation. Of course their suspension in the station of accounting will be in proportion to their sins. Therefore, once the Holy Prophet told Ibne Masood, “Man will remain suspended for a hundred years in Mahshar due to one sin (though finally he will enter paradise).”
Of course, the narration does not specify as to what kind of sin it will be. So a faithful must fear the suspension in the station of Mahshar accounting. He should refrain from all big or small sins.
The fourth group will consist of those people the number of whose sins will be more than that of their good deeds. If they are lucky to get the intercession of the Infallibles and if God showers His mercy on them, they will get salvation and will go to paradise. Otherwise they will be awarded the punishment in hell.
They will have to remain in hell till they get purified by the chastisement. Then they will get salvation and angels will take them to paradise. No person who had even the slightest Faith will remain in hell forever.
Only the unbelievers and the enemies of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) will live in hell permanently. It means they will get no reward (everything will be given to them either in the world or in Barzakh). Even if his good deeds are numerous, he will never get a place in paradise because the basis of entrance to paradise is belief in Almighty God and His Signs (verses). How can one who does not have faith in God and who dies in such a condition ever see paradise?
It is mentioned in the tradition regarding a Bedouin and the lizard that the Holy Prophet once said, “I will guarantee the provision of righteousness to the one who provides journey provisions to this Bedouin.” Salman asked, “O messenger of God! What is the provision of righteousness?” The Prophet said, “Saying Laa Ilaah Illallaah at the time of death. If you say so at that time, you will see me. Otherwise you will not see me.”6
It must be understood here that reciting the formula faith in the oneness of God means dying with faith in heart. So if one is in the state of dying and is unable even to move his tongue and to utter anything, the said faith in heart is enough. In such a condition if people recite the reminder (Talqeen) to him, he must take it to heart.
And (as for) those who disbelieve, for them is destruction and He has made their deeds ineffective. That is because they hated what Allah revealed, so He rendered “their deeds null. “(47:8-9)
We intend to describe this matter in a style understandable for all. The fact is that if a man leaves this world with no faith in God even after doing only good deeds throughout his life, he will not be benefit by it. 'Ahbaat' means to nullify, making void, to end and finish. Dying faithless nullifies all good deeds. If somebody asks, “Is it not written in the Holy Qur’an:
“So he who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it. “(99:7)
The reply is: The person who died faithless has himself destroyed his deeds, because, after denying God, there is no meaning for him of getting any reward and entering paradise (that is, whatever good he did, he did not do in obedience to God, but he did it only because it was good in his thought).
Therefore, God also paid him the reward of that good deed in the world, as He has said that He does not destroy anyone's deed. As we have said earlier, for example, it is possible that he may get relief during the agony of death or he may not become ill or regain health soon, may not suffer any monetary losses etc.
It is also likely that good deeds of an unbeliever may cause curtailment in his punishment in the Hereafter. Accordingly it is said that since the generosity of Hatim Tai and the justice of Nausherwan was famous, hellfire does not burn them though they are in it.
“And repentance is not for those who go on doing evil deeds, until when death comes to one of them, he says: Surely now I repent; nor (for) those who die while they are unbelievers. “(4:18)
Also it is mentioned at another place:
“And (as to) those who reject Our communications and the meeting of the hereafter, their deeds are null. Shall they be rewarded except for what they have done? “(7:147)
That is, One who goes as an unbeliever from this world, his deeds will go in vain.
All the verses and traditions, which were mentioned so far, about going of deeds in vain, were regarding atheism and polytheism. But what about other sins or offences? Do they also make good deeds go in vain?
Yes! Some of the sins are such according to some specific narrations. For example, regarding disobedience to parents, it is mentioned by the Infallibles (a.s.) that:
A voice will be heard: O disobedient to parents! Do whatever you wish; none of your good deeds will ever be accepted.
If someone has made his or her mother unhappy, her complain will burn down into ashes good deeds even if they are Himalayan in size. Some other sins like making false allegations against others also make one faithless. Likewise it is also mentioned that if one is much jealous and openly so, causing pain to others, then according to a narration: Jealousy devours faith like fire devours wood.
The root of 'Takfeer' (disbelief) is 'Kufr'.
“That He may cause the believing men and the believing women to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein and remove from them their evil… “(48:5)
It means covering (hiding) and to remove the effect of sins. There is no doubt that becoming a believer removes the effects of earlier disbelief. So if one was faithless from the beginning of his life but he believed (became Muslim) at the end and dies, he will certainly get salvation.
But the thing, which can remove the effects of sins committed by a faithful person, is true repentance. The Holy Qur’an says:
“So these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; “(25:7)
It means that the kind and Merciful God changes their sins and offences into good deeds and virtues.
Do any other good deeds except true Repentance also remove sins? The answer is:
Surely good deeds take away evil deeds; (11:114)
This apparently shows that doing good deeds removes the effects of evil ones. But it could not be made specific as to which good deeds are so effective. Of course there are many narrations that speak about such good deeds.
For instance, it is mentioned in Biharul Anwar, vol. 15, that a person came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and submitted, “O messenger of God I have committed a very big sin (he had, when he was an unbeliever, buried his daughter alive). So please show me a good deed that may result in my forgiveness by God.” The Prophet asked, “Is your mother alive?”
He replied in the negative. (This indicates that behaving nicely with mother is the best remedy for the removal of great consequences of great sins). The Holy Prophet then asked, “Is your aunt (mother's sister) alive?” He said, “Yes.” The Prophet said, “Go and behave nicely with your aunt (it will turn into a good behaviour with your mother due to her close relation with your late mother).” Then the Holy Prophet added, “It would have been better had his mother been alive,” because good behaviour with mother is very effective in removing consequences of such sins.
It is mentioned at many places in the Holy Qur’an that the Messengers and the communities will be asked,
“Most certainly then We will question those to whom (the apostles) were sent, and most certainly We will also question the apostles; “(7:6)
The messengers and Prophets will be asked, “We had sent you to invite people towards Us. Did you convey the message to them?” They will submit, “Our Lord! You are witness that we left no stone unturned in this matter.” A voice will be heard “Who is your witness?” All will reply, “O Our Lord! Our witness is the last prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.).”
“And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you; “(2:143)
Similarly, Isa (a.s.) will be asked, “Did you tell people to worship you and your mother?” Prophet Isa (a.s.) will tremble and say, “My Lord! Had I said so, You must have known it at once. What I said was only that I am a servant of God. So worship only my Lord and your Lord.”
“And when Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah, he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); “(5:116)
Communities will also be questioned, “Did your messenger not inform you about the events of today?” All would reply, “Yes, O Lord, they did!”
On the Day of the Grand Gathering one of the questions will also be about bounties granted to us by the Lord of the Universe as to what was our attitude regarding the same.
“Then on that day you shall most certainly be questioned about the boons. “(102:8)
Meaning, “Did you thank God for the bounties or you lived and behaved ungratefully?”
There are different narrations regarding thanklessness. The combined summary is that there are several standards of bounties, the most important and the highest rank is that of the bounty of guardianship (Wilayat) of Aale Muhammad, rather it is the only absolute bounty.
Imam (a.s.) said to Qatadah, “What do you Sunnis say about the Holy verse:
“Then on that day you shall most certainly be questioned about the boons.” “(102:8)
He replied, “There will be questioning about these food articles like bread and water etc.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “God is far higher than the questioner of such queries. Will you ever invite a guest and, after serving him good food, ask him about what he ate?” Qatadah asked, “Then what is meant by 'boons'?” The Imam replied, “It is the bounty in the form of our, the Aale Muhammad's love.”
It will be asked on the Day, “How did you deal with Aale Muhammad? To what extent you loved them? How much did you obey them?” Enemies of Ahlul Bayt would be asked, “Why did you have enmity towards this great bounty?”
Nothing would be asked about food and water, except extravagance made in it or about gaining it from prohibited sources and about spending it in prohibited ways. Likewise it will be asked, “Why did you commit such and such prohibited deed?”
Specific questions will be asked regarding some bounties. One of them is man's lifespan. It is mentioned in narrations that angels will not allow people to go further in the field of Mahshar until they reply four queries:
1. How did he spend his life and in which deeds was he engaged during his youth.
2. Where from and how he or she earned money and where and how they spent it?
3. There will be questioning about the Wilayat of Aale Muhammad (a.s.) and the Divine Law will be enforced very strictly in this matter.
4. Where did one spend the wealth? If it were given to poor for making a show of generosity, it will draw punishment.
“And stop them, for they shall be questioned: “(37:24)
The first question in the Gathering would be about Prayer.
If Prayer is accepted all other deeds would also be accepted…7
Were the obligatory prayers offered in their proper times or not? Since Prayer is the greatest pillar of religion and the greatest trust of God, was it offered properly? Then there will be inquiry about all other worships and prayers.
Amirul Mu’minin ‘Ali (a.s.) says in Nahaj-ul-Balagah:
Sins are of three kinds: The one, which will be forgiven, two; the doer of which can hope for pardon and three; the sin which would never be forgiven.
The forgivable sin will be that which might have been paid for in the world. For example, the offender might have been punished according to Shariat Law because God is far higher than to punish anybody twice for one and the same offence. Another kind of sin, which can be hoped to be pardoned, is the sin the compensation for which might not have been made in the worldly life but the offender had made a true repentance.
The third type of sin, which is not at all forgivable, is the taking away of someone's right or oppressing somebody. These are the rights of people. God will never overlook them. If one has taken unfairly or oppressively even a little trifling thing of somebody unjustly, Almighty Allah will make the oppressor repay it to the oppressed. That is meant by 'Mirsad' in the verse:
“Most surely your Lord is watching (Mirsad). “(89:14)
It is described as the 'Valley of people's rights', that is to say; your Lord is there to secure everyone's right.It is described as the 'Valley of people's rights', that is to say; your Lord is there to secure everyone's right.
Muhaddith Qummi has, in Manazelul Aakhirah, recorded the story of a famous pious man Sulaiman Daaraai, the well-known worshipper. He writes that after he died, some people saw him in their dreams and asked about his condition.
He said, “I have remained suspended for one year in a valley. The reason is that, one day, some people were carrying bundles of hay to the city. I just took one straw from a bundle for using it as a toothpick. After my death, I am in this chastisement for the last one year for the sin of not obtaining the consent of the owner of the hay before taking up the straw from his bundle. They (the angels) ask me, 'Did you know that the owner would have permitted it?'“
Do not ask, “Does a straw have any worth?” It is true that its value is insignificant. Yet, it is anyway a property of someone. Some people take up some things from the property in the presence of the owner (and the owner keeps quiet by way of regard or respect). Such taking away of other's property is called 'Shameless taking' about which it is mentioned in narrations that it is just like usurpation and hence prohibited.
Perform such deeds that, while leaving this world, there may not be even the slightest burden on your shoulders. If you were careless about this till now, still try to obtain the agreement of the owners of the usurped things. This valley of rights too has stages depending on the people. It is written that for some, such suspension will be for a thousand years.
God Almighty will deal with people in two ways. One dealing will be based on Justice and another on Grace. Everyone who has to pay someone's rights will be compensated by snatching away some good deeds of the oppressor and giving them to the oppressed one. This dealing will be based on Justice. For instance, somebody had put a
false allegation on someone or had backbitten him or her. Now only God knows how many of the good deeds of the backbiter should be taken from him and given to the oppressed one. Now, in case, the oppressor has nothing like a good deed in his account, the demand of Divine Justice will be that a proportionate sin of the oppressed may be added to the account of the oppressor or backbiter.
There is a lengthy tradition in Rauzatul Kafi regarding the accounting and dispensing of justice on the Day of Resurrection. Therein Imam Zainul Aabedeen (a.s.) is reported to have said, “God Almighty says, 'I am the Only One God. No one except Me is worth worship. I am the Ruler and the Judge Who says nothing against truth. I deal with you on the basis of justice. Today no one will wronged in My Most Supreme Court.
Today I will take from the mighty wrongdoer the compensation of the oppressed weak. I will recollect from the debtor the due debt and will make the payment of one another through exchange of good and bad deeds done by them. Today is the Day on which, from this difficult path, no one can pass from My sight without accounting for the rights, which were usurped by him. O people who have gathered in the Grand Field of Mahshar! Catch hold of every concerned oppressor and obtain whatever is due to you. I Myself am the witness against the oppressors.'”8
It is mentioned at the end of the aforesaid tradition that a Quraishite man asked the Imam (a.s.), “If some dues are to be paid to a faithful by an unbeliever what will he obtain from the latter who will be in hell?”
The Imam (a.s.) replied, “A proportionate cut will be made in the sins of the believer and its punishment will be added to the chastisement of the unbeliever.”
The Quraishite inquired, “If a Muslim has to obtain his right from another Muslim how will it be retrieved?”
The Imam replied, “A proportionate cut will be made in the good deed (reward) of the oppressor and it will be added to the reward of the latter whose dues had remained unpaid.”
Again the Quraishite asked, “What if there is no good in the scroll of the oppressor?”
Imam (a.s.) said, “A proportionate cut will be made in the sins of the oppressed and its punishment will be added to that of the oppressor.”
It must not go unmentioned that if an unbeliever has to get his right from a Muslim, since the unbeliever is not qualified to obtain a believer's good, the demand of divine justice will be that a proportionate cut be made in the punishment due to the unbeliever. For a further understanding of this problem please refer to the story of a Jew who had to be paid five Qiraan from a worshipper believer. It has been mentioned in this book earlier.
Imam Zainul Aabedeen (a.s.) has been quoted in Layaliul Akhbar at p. 548 that on the Day of Resurrection, the hand of a person will be held and raised high so that all could see it. Then it will be announced, “If anyone has to take his dues from this person he should come forward and take it.” No other thing will be more difficult than this situation for the people in the field of Mahshar that one's acquaintances should see one. He will fear lest they may not claim their unpaid dues from him.
In the same book, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said to his companions, “Do you know who is poor?” They replied, “He among us is poor who does not have any money nor any property or assets.”
The Holy Prophet replied, “In fact, the poor in my Ummah is the one who will bring with him his prayers, fasts, Zakat and Hajj but he had also given a bad name to somebody, had taken someone's property unjustly or had shed somebody's blood wrongly or had beaten someone unlawfully. So all of his good (rewards) will be distributed to the aforesaid claimers in proportion to their usurped rights until all of his good will be finished and yet he will remain indebted. Then the sins of the rightful claimers will be thrown in the account of the indebted fellow.”
The person, who will be showered with Divine Mercy, will, even though he remains suspended in the station of people's rights, as he will have to repay some unpaid rights he will be dealt with gracefully. At the time some persons will be drowning in their own perspiration. The Most Merciful Allah will, and then show to the gathering a palace of paradise. Then a voice will be heard, “O people! Who claim any right from this one of my servants! Listen. If you desire to dwell in this heavenly palace then, give up your dues and free him.”
Truly, a man who behaves straight with God, his dealing remains straight everywhere. How it is ever possible that God may not straighten it? That is why Imam Sajjad (a.s.) weeps, “O God! Who except You will save and protect me tomorrow from the claimers of their rights.”
Come, let us all also pray, “O Lord! Please deal with us on the basis of Your Grace and Generosity and Kindness.” The Imam had taught a prayer to Abu Hamzah Thumali in which it is mentioned at many places: My God! I beseech Your Grace and Mercy.
The Qur’an says,
“Surely We have given you Kauthar, “(108:1)
One of the Islamic matters about which there is specific mention in the Holy Qur’an and so also in both Shi’a and Sunni narrations is The Pool of Kauthar: “That abundant good which has been granted by the Lord of the Universe to His Messenger Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.).”
The length of this cistern, as mentioned earlier, is equal to the distance from Sana to Basra. Cups equal to the number of stars in the sky will be on its bank, which will be filled by the hands of Houries and will be served to the Believer. These cups will be of various kinds; some will be made of heavenly silver and some of flint glass.
According to some narrations, this Hauz or cistern will be divided into three parts:
Heavenly wine, milk and honey will be flowing in streams.
Anyway, it is certain that the contents of this cistern of the Holy Prophet will be sweeter than honey and cooler than ice. Glory to God. What to talk of the cistern the drinking from which will be very pleasing and after drinking which one will ever be thirsty.
And quench our thirst from the Cistern of his ancestor, by his cup and by his hand…(Dua Nudbah)
Shaykh Shustari has, in Khasais, and other tradition writers too, have in their works, mentioned that the distributors of the Pool of Kauthar will be the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) and that every believer will get the water of Kauthar.
The mourners of Husain (a.s.) have one additional distinction with respect to the Pool of Kauthar. Imam Sadiq (a.s) says, “The mourners of Husain (a.s.) will on arrival at the Pool of Kauthar make the pool happy.”
For more details please refer to the first part of the late Khaybani's book Muharram Wa Waqaiyal Aiyaam.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said, “The Lord of the universe has created a thousand tress around this pool. Every tree has three hundred and sixty branches full of leaves and every leaf gives out (releases) different songs. If you want to hear those sweet and pleasing sounds, then you must make your ears worthy of it, that is, you should not lend your ears to worldly music and the non-sense that accompany it.”
Owner of the Liwaul Hamd flag and the praised position (Maqam al-Mahmood)
One of the stations of Qiyamat will also be that of appearance of the grandeur and greatness of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and the progeny of Muhammad (a.s.).
Liwaul Hamd means the flag the high span of which will be equal to the distance covered in a thousand years' journey. There will be three parts in that flag and each one of them will be equal to the distance between the east and west. It is mentioned in another narration that every part of that flag will be bigger than the sun and the moon. On one of them will be written 'In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful', on the second, 'Praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds' and on the third, 'There is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah'.
All the messengers, prophets, pious and righteous people and the faithful will camp beneath that flag the bearer of which will be the conqueror of Khaibar Amirul Mu’minin ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.).
“And bring near to the Wasilah”
In the aforesaid words of the prayer, 'Wasilah' means that particular pulpit of light, which will be established in the field of Mahshar. It will have one thousand steps and every step would be cemented with another by emerald, chrysolite, ruby and gold and all these precious things will be from paradise.
The topmost step will be reserved for the last Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and the one below it will be for the immediate legatee of the Holy Prophet, Amirul Mu’minin ‘Ali (a.s.) and those lower will be for Ibrahim (a.s.) and other messengers and legatees according to their ranks.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) will occupy the pulpit so elegantly and will be initiating the praise of Almighty Allah in such a magnificent way that none of the formers and the latters will have ever heard such praise.
After the said glorification of the Lord Almighty, the Holy Prophet will say to the angels, the messengers, the righteous people and the faithful, “What to say about the fortune whereby of the first person of the realm of existence who he may remember on this high place. O Lord! Place us among this pious group.” Read this sentence carefully in the Ziyarat of Ashura:
I beseech Allah for reaching the Maqam al-Mahmood (the praised stage) which (O Aale Muhammad!) God has reserved for you.
This high station is the reward of the Holy Prophet's waking during nights and early rising at dawn:
“And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud (the midnight prayer) beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory (Maqam al-Mahmood). “(17:79)
The Holy Prophet did not rest during nights for ten years till dawn and he worshipped so much that his legs became swollen.
At the said Maqam al-Mahmood, the most beautiful angel will come to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and salute him and say, “I am Rizwan, the keeper of paradise.” Then he will submit the keys of paradise to the Holy Prophet.
Thereafter a very fearsome and ugly angel will approach the Holy Prophet and submit the keys of hell to him. The Holy Prophet will entrust all the keys to the Amirul Mu’minin ‘Ali (a.s.). The Amir (a.s.) will come to the Sirat Bridge and only he will go to paradise those he permits. The leaping flames of hellfire will drag others to Hell.
The Holy Prophet will tell Amirul Mu’minin, “O ‘Ali! The obedience of the hell fire to you is much more than the obedience of a slave to his master.”
“And most surely those who do not believe in the hereafter are deviating from the way. “(23:74)
Sirat too is one of the things belief in which is obligatory and it is one of the Essentials of Faith. So one must have an overall faith in it.
The literal meaning of Sirat is 'Path'! Those people who had remained on the right path, that is, who had not deviated from the right way of truth, honesty and righteousness will, in the Hereafter too, pass securely and safely on the path over hell.
Some of them will cross that bridge as swiftly as lightning, some like mounted men and some falling and rising. Briefly speaking, they will cross that bridge in the same way in which they had crossed the path of their lives in the world.
Explaining the Holy Verse:
“And hell is made to appear on that day. On that day shall man be mindful, and what shall being mindful (then) avail him? “(89:23)
The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, “On the Day of Resurrection, hell will be brought forth in such a manner that it will have a thousand bridles and every bridle will be held by a thousand angels. Thus a million angels will be dragging hell. Hell will be shrieking and flames will be leaping high from it. It will encircle the entire gathering in Mahshar like the bezel of a ring.
People of hell will be so restless that some of them will be almost dead. At that time will come the Command of God to bring forth Sirat. A bridge will be raised over hell and each and everyone will have to pass over it without any exception. The following verses explain this matter:
And there is not one of you but shall come to it; this is an unavoidable decree of your Lord. And We will deliver those who guarded (against evil), and We will leave the unjust therein on their knees. (19:71-72)
Both the people of paradise and the people of hell will have to cross that bridge. Then the Holy Prophet said, “There will be seven valleys in that path and there will be some stations in every valley and every station will be of a length of seventeen thousand farsakhs (1 farsakh=6 km) and seventy thousand angles will be posted in every valley. All will have to cross all of these valleys compulsorily.”
You will be stopped at the beginning of the bridge. “O the one who had broken off relations with your father and mother and brother!” Bad consequences of bad behaviour with these close relatives do appear even before death like decrease in lifespan and removal of bountifulness from wealth. One will be asked about this offence in Qiyamat at the start of Sirat also. The Holy Qur’an asserts:
“And be careful of (your duty to) Allah, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship; “(4:1)
If anyone of your close relatives becomes ill, visit him, help him if he is poor and needy. Support him if required. Do visit him at appropriate hours without fail.
Another station is that of trustworthiness. It is not concerned only with money. If someone tells you something and also says that it should be kept secret and then if you tell it to someone else then also you have done a dishonest thing (a breach of trust).
A gathering is a trust. That is whatever is disclosed to you in a private gathering is considered a trust with you.
If you have dishonoured or disgraced somebody, then you have been dishonest with him. For example, someone pledged his house with you and took a loan from you. Now, if he returns your money at the fixed time and you do not return his house to him, you have committed dishonesty, because, it will be an excessive use (contrary to contract conditions).
Similarly, if you have taken someone's house or shop on hire or lease you must vacate the said premises as soon as the period ends. In short, be the dishonesty verbal or in deed, you will be questioned about it.
One more station in the very first valley, which has been mentioned in many Sunni and Shi’a narrations, is the Wilayat of ‘Ali (a.s.). In commentaries like that of Thalabi, the explanation of verse:
“And stop them, “(37:24)
Is shown as: Stop them! They will be asked also about the Wilayat of ‘Ali, that is, whether or not they were friendly with ‘Ali (a.s.)?
Hamuyuni and Tabari both are famous Sunni scholars. They have said that the Holy Prophet remarked, “O ‘Ali! The one who will possess the permit of your Wilayat (friendship) will cross the bridge.”
There are many other narrations also which we omit for brevity sake.
After crossing the first valley (Wilayat, Trust and Family relations) man will reach the second valley where he will be asked about daily prayers (Salat), prayers for Signs (such as eclipses) and missed prayers etc. as hinted earlier.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “The one who missed prayers will not receive my intercession. The last Will of Imam Sadiq (a.s) was, “Our intercession can never reach those who underestimated the value of Prayer”9, for example, who prayed Morning Prayer at sunrise or just before it, or offered Afternoon Prayers near the sunset. Such people will also not get the intercession of the Infallibles (a.s.). Then what to say about those who do not pray at all? “
It is mentioned in narrations that one who gives up prayers dies thirsty and he will also rise thirsty on the Day of Judgement.
A point which I want to emphasize and which I wish that all should know and convey it to others also is the responsibility, which is on us with regard to our children. We must make our children habituated to prayers even before they become adult.
It is incumbent on all of us to train our children in such a manner they may become regular worshippers. There is no doubt in it that we will get its reward. The reward of whatever good deeds the children do before majority (as a result of the parents' efforts) will reach the parents. Even after the children become adults, their parents will benefit by their good works, as God will be pleased with the parents who trained their children nicely.
You might have heard that once a messenger was passing by a graveyard with his companions. At one spot, the Prophet told his companions, “Walk away from this spot quickly because the person in this grave is being punished.”
One year thereafter, that messenger was again passing with the same companions by the same graveyard but then there was no sign of any chastisement. The messenger said to God, “O Lord! How is it that now this body is not being punished?”
Came a voice, “He had a son. After this man died, people took his son to a Madressa where the teacher taught the child to recite 'Bismillah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Raheem'. So when the child recited this and remembered Me with my attributes of Rahman (kind) and Rahim (Merciful) We too removed from this child's father his punishment as he was the means of this child's birth.”
Thus a child's prayers and worship acts also benefit the parents. So it is our duty and the first demand of Amr Bil Maaroof and Nahy Anil Munkar (Commanding of good and prohibition of evils) that we should pay our attention first to our children and thereafter to other near and dear ones.
“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones; “(66:6)
If someone had failed to pay even one dirham of Khums or Zakat (poor tax) then he will be stopped in the third valley. There are many narrations regarding those who do not pay Zakat. In one of them the Infallibles (a.s.) have said, “God will make 'aqraa' overpower the fellow who did not pay Zakat and it will cling to his neck.” (When a python becomes too much full of poison its hair fall down and such a gigantic bald python is called 'aqraa' in Arabic).
In another narration, the Imam says, “If a farmer does not pay Zakat on his land, the same land along with all of its seven layers turns into a heavy stone clung to his neck.
Similarly, it is mentioned that Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will, in the time of his appearance, kill the one who stopped Zakat payment.
So beware! Not a single dirham of Zakat should remain unpaid because, if you had collected gold, silver and wealth and had not paid the Zakat for it, those dirhams and dinars will be made red hot in hellfire for branding the sides of that offender.
“On the day when it shall be heated in the fire of hell, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it; this is what you hoarded up for yourselves, therefore taste what you hoarded. “(9:35)
By the way, let it also be understood that there is no difference between the Zakat of wealth and the Zakat of body. You should pay the Zakat of your body (Fitrah) during the night of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Now remains the problem of Khums. Narrations in this matter show that this questioning will be harsher than that regarding Zakat. Only one of many such narrations is sufficient for emphasis.
In Kafi and in Tahzeeb and also in Man Laa Yahzaruhul Faqih, it is written that Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s) said, “On the Day of Judgement, that hour will be extremely hard for people when those entitled to Khums will raise their claims and they will ask their dues from those who did not pay the same.” It is enough (for showing the importance of this matter and the seriousness of this offence) to mention that those who are intercessors will come up as opponents.
There will be questioning about the fasts of the Holy month of Ramadhan in the fourth valley.
Fast is a shield against fire.
The Holy Imam (a.s.) said that one who fasts gets two pleasures: The first is at the time of breaking the fast (sunset) when one gets a very pleasing feeling. Another is at the time of death or while crossing the Sirat when he or she will meet his or her Lord.
If a person, during any period of his life, gets the ability to perform Hajj (according to relevant conditions) and yet he does no perform it, then he will be stopped in this valley. Rather, on the basis of a narration, there are two groups who will be told at the time of their death:
You are dying as a Jew or a Christian (non at as a Muslim).
Those two groups consist of people who did not pay the due Zakat and those who did not perform Hajj. It is enough for the condemnation of one who does not perform obligatory Hajj to say that the Lord of the Universe has, in the Holy Qur’an, used the word unbeliever for him:
“And pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, (upon) every one who is able to undertake the journey to it; and whoever disbelieves, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above any need of the worlds. “(3:97)
No more discussion on these subjects is advisable as, by so doing, we will be going out of the discussion of Principles of Faith. Our only intention is to provide their list to most of the believers.
Ibne Abbas is reported to have said that Taharat (ritual purity) means all the three types of cleansing, that it, Wuzu (ablution), Ghusl (bath) and Tayammum (dry ablution). Some tradition writers have said that what is meant is absolute cleanliness.
If someone is not regular in cleaning (women must especially take care of their cleanliness at particular times, otherwise) such persons will be stopped in the sixth valley for questioning in this regard. Rather, it is also found in some narrations that, as mentioned by us earlier, that being careless about cleanliness results in the punishment of the squeeze of the grave.
This valley is also called the Valley of Justice and the Valley of People's Rights. In the Holy Qur’an, it is called Mirsad, which means ambush:
“Most surely your Lord is watching (in ambush). “(89:14)
If anyone was slapped unjustly the offender will be detained in this valley for five hundred years and his bones will be crushed as a punishment for this crime.
O shopkeeper! What right have you to beat your servant? O teacher! On what legal ground are you punishing a child whereby it leaves bruised on the child's body? O Mr. Husband! Why are you beating your wives? From where did the husband get a right to whip his wife?
Of course, there are some exceptions. But such circumstances are rare and they are out of our subject and hence not discussed here. Otherwise we would have dealt with them also. The Qur’an says:
“And (as to) those (women) on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them (but only to the extent that there is no bleeding and no limb breaks); then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great. “(4:34)
In short, who is there who can claim that he has never breached and trampled the rights of others? The Infallible (a.s.) has said, “If somebody has withheld someone's right, for example, not returned his trust then he will be detained in the valley for forty years and that nothing will be said to him. H
e will keep crying and weeping during all this time. Then an announcer will announce, 'This is the fellow who kept some property of others with him.' Then he will be reprimanded for another forty years. Then he will fall down in hell.”
Of course, this punishment will be awarded in case his scroll of deeds had no good deed. Otherwise, his good will be, proportionately, given to the rightful claimant as mentioned earlier. It is mentioned in some narrations that the reward of seven hundred units of prayers will be given for non-payment of single dirham.
It is written in Mustadrak of Noori that according to what is mentioned in Anwaar-ul-Maziyyah (by Sayyid Gayasuddin Najafi, a Shi’a jurisprudent and a famous scholar among Imamiyah): In our village situated near Hilla there lived a man named Muhammad bin Abi Azeenah.
He was the trustee of a mosque. He used to attend that masjid daily as a routine. One day, when he did not come to mosque, we inquired about him. We came to know that he was ill. We wondered very much because on the very previous day, we had seen him hale and healthy. When we went to see him, we found him burnt from head to feet. He used to faint; them become conscious and again faint. In one such interval, I asked him what had happened to him?
He replied: Last night in my dream I was shown Sirat and then I was ordered to walk over it. So I proceeded. In the beginning the ground under my feet was levelled. Then I found that it has become thin. Initially, it was soft but later on it turned very sharp. I was putting my steps very slowly, balancing myself to avoid falling. Dark flames of fire from beneath leapt upwards. I observed that many people were dropping down like leaves in autumn.
Once I felt that there was nothing except a hair like rope under my feet. Then suddenly the fire dragged me to it and I also fell down in that cave of fire. The more I tried to come up the more I was going down. (Hellfire has the quality of drawing people to it, and that, according to a narration; the depth is equal to the length of a seventy-year journey).
As soon as I realized that I was about to be finished, I remembered that whenever I was falling or stumbling or falling, I used to exclaim O ‘Ali! And saying O my master, O Amirul Mu’minin, save me. I felt inspired to look upward. So when I looked up I found that a saintly person was standing by the side of the Sirat.
He extended his hand, caught me and fetched me out. I submitted, “O Master! I am burnt down. Please help me.” The Imam passed his Holy hand over my body from my knee to femur. Suddenly I woke up to find that particular part of my body had no sign of burning and that it had healed but the rest of my body was burning.
That person remained bedridden for three months, weeping and complaining. Various medicines were given by a number of doctors and he became healthy after three months when new flesh appeared on his body. It is also written in the book of Mustadrak that whenever that person was describing this even he was getting fever and was trembling.
Doubtlessly there is only one medicine and it is to cling to the Wilayat of the pious Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) has promised that he will guide the visitors of his shrine on the bridge of Sirat. Moreover, Imam Husain (a.s.) is also reported to have given many good tidings to those who cling to the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) with regard to Sirat. So much so that, in one narration, Imam Sadiq (a.s) is reported to have said that the Chief of Martyrs (Imam Husain) will obtain salvation of Muchtar (r.a.) also.
Another thing, which has been accepted as an essential is the belief in intercession on the Day of Judgement. Those pious persons who have attained nearness to God and who are also respectable in the Divine view will hold the hand of the fallen weak and unable ones to free them from the chains and shackles of hell. It can also happen that they will raise someone's rank in paradise.
For instance, a man enters paradise due to his good deeds but as he got a lower rank he is unable to be benefited by nearness to Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.). So the Pure Imams (a.s.) will intercede on their behalf and get a higher rank for them. In brief, everyone is in need of such intercession.
According to Biharul Anwar, Abu Aiman is reported to have said that he once requested Imam Baqir (a.s), “O Son of the Messenger of Allah! You saints have made people proud (careless) by promising intercession to them.” This infuriated the Imam. He said, “Woe unto you. On the Day of Resurrection, all the formers and the latters, including even messengers, will be in need of the intercession of my great grandfather, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). Have you become proud imaging that you need no intercession?”
The main intercession is the intercession by Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and the Aale Muhammad (a.s.). rest of intercessors are branches of the main one. This is to convey that they got this privilege because of the former. For example, among the rest of the intercessors are scholars and righteous people who will help many in entering paradise. Can they ever be other than the followers of Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.)?
Likewise, among the intercessors will be the faithful. The Infallible (a.s.) says that every believer will intercede in favour of a hundred persons. From where did the believers get this honour? Only from Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.).
Also for instance, the intercessors will also include the Sayyids. Have they not been given this respectable position only due to their belonging to the Holy Progeny? Similarly the Holy Qur’an and the Holy mosques will also intercede on the Day of Resurrection. They too are among the symbols of the aforesaid Holy persons.
The main place of intercession is the field of Mahshar (Qiyamat). But there are evidences to show that intercession is effective not only in Barzakh but also in this world. For example, some kind of calamity is about to fall at a certain place but that trouble is removed as a result of the intercession of Hazrat Waliul Asr (a.t.f.s.).
Or, for instance, a body is under chastisement in the grave (barzakh) but someone from his relatives in the world approaches the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and after much weeping makes them a medium. The Merciful God pardons the aforesaid dead relative or friend due to the holiness of the said saints. If all our said masters will intercede God will surely forgive us. Many such events have taken place.
In this connection, Martyr Dastghaib Shirazi has, in his commentary of Surah Najm quoted two events. Those who wish may refer to the chapter 'Shafat by Hazrat Abul Fazl Abbas'. The story of Sayyid Humairi is also to be found in many books.10
An event of healing by Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.) is also recorded in our world and that is the story of Haji Mirza Khalil. It is a recent event. Some aged people even today may remember it.
At first Haji Mirza Khalil was a student in Madressa Darus Shifa in Qum. Once when he was sitting in his room, an old lady came running anxiously and said, “My mistress has a serious heart trouble. Do you know of any medicine?” The Haji who had no concern with medical science, at once replied, “Give such and such medicine to her.”
The next day he saw people coming to him with plates full of tasty foods as compensation for his prescription. Thereafter neighbours knew that a very knowledgeable doctor has arrived in the Madressa who cures serious illnesses only through prescriptions. As a result, people began to rush to the Haji's room.
He also thought that the arrangement wouldn't do. So he purchased Hakim Momin's book 'Tohfaa' and after studying it, engaged in the work of a medical practitioner regularly. He became an expert physician soon and people took him to Tehran and he remained in that profession for long. Once he thought of going to Karbala’ but he was not in a hurry for it.
One night, he saw someone in his dream who was telling him, “If your intention is to visit Karbala’, then make haste for there is a likelihood of a ban on visits to the Holy Place after about two months (and the same happened).”
The late Haji Khalil proceeded towards Karbala’ within two months and witnessed what he had seen in his dream and understood that it was a true dream. He stayed in Karbala’ for quite a long time and continued his medical practice there also. One day, two ladies came to him. One of them showed him her hand, which had a strange kind of wound on it.
The Haji said, “This illness is called Khorah, which has reached the bone and hence become incurable.” That lady returned very disappointed. But her companion came back and said, “O Haji! Did you not recognize that lady?” “No,” said the Haji. She said, “That woman is a Sayyid lady and she is one of the Indian princesses. Her longing for Ziyarat of Husain (a.s.) has dragged her up to Iraq along with all her wealth. Now she has also become poor due to this ailment since long. You too have made her hopeless!”
The Haji said, “Please bring her back at once.” When that lady returned, the Haji said, “O respected madam! Though this ailment is very complicated and hard, I will give you some medicines. Insha Allah you will soon recover.”
So the treatment began and the lady's hand was cured. After this, that lady was so impressed by the Haji that she stayed in his premises and behaved like a kind mother with him.
After a few days, Haji Khalil saw the same person in his dream that he had seen earlier (and who had advised him to hasten to Karbala’). Now he told the Haji, “You will fall ill and die after ten days.” Haji made his will. He became ill after a few days and his condition turned for the worse until on the tenth day; he was almost dead.
When the Haji was breathing his last, that Sayyid lady came up to him. Seeing the Haji's serious condition she became very fearful. She told the people not to touch the Haji until she returned. She proceeded directly to the Holy tomb of Imam Husain, caught hold of the enclosure and said, “O Grandfather! I will obtain the Haji from you. Please take back his life from Almighty God.”
Then she wept so much that she fainted. In her consciousness she saw that the Imam (a.s.) was telling her, “O My Daughter! What has happened to you? The lifespan of the Haji has ended and the time of his death has arrived.” That lady persisted, “I know nothing of it. I want the Haji from you.”
The Imam (a.s.) said, “All right. Since you insist so much, I am praying to Almighty Allah. If He wills, He will return the Haji to this world.” After a short time, the Imam smiled and said, “God has answered my prayer and He has returned the Haji to the world and has also doubled his lifespan.” At that time the Haji was thirty years old. Thereafter he died at the age of ninety years. During that period he had four sons, one of them being the great Jurist Al-hajj Mirza Husain and another was a famous doctor.
Briefly concluding, when the Sayyid lady heard this good tiding and returned to Haji's residence, she found him sitting in a good condition. He exclaimed, “O respected Sayyid Madam! May God give you a great good reward.”
One of the admonitions mentioned in Haji Khalil's will was his instruction to his son that he must take care of Sayyids, especially their respected and honourable ladies, as they are very esteemed in the highest court of Almighty Allah.
There are many similar examples in books. In Darus Salaam of Iraqi, the last chapter of which is about wonders resulting from the medium of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) there is a story of a child who had died after falling from the ceiling of his house.
(O Mercy for the Mankind!) What fear is there to the wall of the community when a personality like you is its support?
What fear can there be of ocean waves for one whose ship is being navigated by Noah (a.s.)!11
It is mentioned in the third volume of Biharul Anwar that the Holy Prophet said, “A prayer of every messenger is necessarily answered. Earlier messengers made that prayer concerning this world and God accordingly answered it here and fulfilled their aim. I have left that prayer for the Hereafter so that the sinners of my community may be forgiven.” Let us hope that this great mercy will include us also.
There are several narrations regarding intercession by Fatima Zahra (s.a.) based on the sayings of the Holy Prophet and the Holy Imams (a.s.). According to one of such narrations, the Infallible (a.s.) has said, after making a mention of Fatima's arrival in the field of Mahshar and her welcome there, “Every woman who never missed an obligatory prayer, compulsory fast, Hajj and payment of Zakat dues and whose husband was also not displeased with her, will certainly be entitled to the intercession of Fatima Zahra (s.a.).”
Of course it must always be remembered that intercession must not make one proud or careless, imagining that as the said intercession is certainly from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) we may do whatever we please. No, it is never so. There are some sins, which result in man's departure from this world as an unbeliever. In that case there is no question of intercession. Again there are some sins the punishment for which must be suffered in hell till the sinner is purified and only thereafter he may become qualified for intercession. So one must remain fearful of God at every moment and along with it, he must also remain hopeful of the Most Merciful's Mercy.
“And on the most elevated places there shall be men who know all by their marks, “(7:46)
That is some people will be on Araaf who will recognise everyone by looking at their foreheads.
According to the news given by Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) Araaf is a high place on Sirat Bridge. God Almighty will allow room for the Holy Prophet and Ahlul Bayt there. One with a shining forehead will be recognized as a friend of Aale Muhammad and ‘Ali (a.s.) will allow him to proceed to paradise. Accordingly the meaning of the above verse will be: Muhammad and ‘Ali (a.s.) will recognize everyone passing over the bridge by their faces.
Another explanation of Araaf is that it is a wall, which will be erected between people of paradise and people of hell on Sirat as mentioned in Surah Al Hadid. The Lord of the Universe says: (O My Dear Messenger!) On that Day, you will see the Faithful in such a condition that their radiance will enlighten their front and their side. (A voice will be heard): Good tidings to you for you will get the eternal paradise beneath which rivers flow. It is indeed a great success of yours.
On that Day, the hypocrites will tell the Faithful: Just look at us also! We too may benefit from your radiance. They will be told: Return to the world and find out some other light. Then a wall will be raised between the said two groups. There will be a door in that wall. On one side of it will be only Mercy (for the Faithful) and on the other only punishment (for the unbelievers and hypocrites).
“Then separation would be brought about between them, with a wall having a door in it; (as for) the inside of it, there shall be mercy in it, and (as for) the outside of it, before it there shall be punishment. “(57:13)
It is mentioned in commentaries that the Radiance is front of believing men and believing women will be the light of their beliefs and love and friendship of Aale Muhammad (a.s.). The Noor at their right will be the radiance of the prayers and worship acts. The Noor of some will be so bright that it will make things visible for eyes and that of some will be sometimes bright and sometimes dim. Such people will go on falling down and getting up and crying:
“Our Lord! Make perfect for us our light, “(66:8)
Here one's noor will be of no avail to another. Though the hypocrites and the offenders will go on asking for the light of the fortunate ones it will be of no use. A wall will be erected between them and the believers. According to Qur’anic commentary, it is Araaf.
“They will cry out to them: Were we not with you? They shall say: Yea! But you caused yourselves to fall into temptation, and you waited and doubted, and vain desires deceived you till the threatened punishment of Allah came, while the arch deceiver deceived you about Allah.
So today ransom shall not be accepted from you nor from those who disbelieved; your abode is the fire; it is your friend and evil is the resort. “(57:14-15)
By the way, let there be some admonition also so that we may worry today about the light of that Day before the arrival of the moment when there will be no remedy or escape.
Third explanation of Araaf is that it is a place (between paradise and hell where those people will dwell who were helpless such as minors, lunatics, and children. Though they will not be as happy as those in paradise, they will be saved from the punishment of hell.
For the fairies of heaven, Araaf is hell. But if you ask the people of hell, they will reply that Araaf is paradise.12
The Lord of the universe has reserved a place in the Hereafter for those people who leave this world with fear of God in their heart. There, God has kept innumerable and unimaginably tasteful things for the righteous befitting that highest host. To get an idea of those comforts, tastes and pleasures of that place in the Hereafter is as difficult for the residents of this world now as are the things in this world for an unborn child.
That is why, it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes; a reward for what they did. “(32:17)
It is also said as a general hint about the heavenly bounties:
“They have therein what they wish and with Us is more yet. “(50:35)
It means, in paradise, there are all those things, which they (the people of paradise) will desire and what is with Us is even more than what they can wish.
At yet another place it is said:
“They will not hear its faintest sound, and they shall abide in that which their souls long for.“ (21:102)
In brief, paradise is the place wherein there will be no sign of failure, grief, sorrow, difficulty, hardship, trouble, weakness, old aged, illness, tiredness and idleness. There will be safety and security in every sense. That is why it is named the abode of peace (Darus Salaam). It is the real kingdom, in a sense that man has so much power that whatever he wishes will be available at once. It is available only to the people of paradise.
“And when you see there, you shall see blessings and a great kingdom. “(76:20)
Here we hint at some of the heavenly bounties mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“And the flesh of fowl such as they desire. “(56:21)”
And fruits such as they choose, “(56:20)”
And abundant fruit, Neither intercepted nor forbidden, “(56:32-33)”
In both are fruits and palms and pomegranates. “(55:68)
In paradise, there will be springs of pure and clean water which will never get depleted and there will be rivers of milk the taste of which has neither changed nor will change and there will be canals of grapes wines which will be pleasing to drinkers (will not be foul smelling as is the case with worldly wines and which are also intoxicating and harmful) rather the heavenly wine will be good, fragrant, tasty, harmless, awakening and purifying.
“And their Lord shall make them drink a pure drink. “(76:21)
“And rivers of honey clarified and for them therein are all fruits and protection from their Lord. “(47:15)
There will also be many springs in paradise. The speciality and tastefulness of each and every one of them will be different. They have been named as per their specialities, for example: The Camphor Spring, The Zanjabil Spring, The Salsabeel and The Tasneem.
The most important of them all is The Kauthar which is flowing from beneath the Divine Throne and which is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey, softer than butter. It will contain precious stone pebbles (at the bottom) and they will be of Chrysolite, Ruby and coral. Its grass will be saffron and its mud will be more fragrant than musk.
Narrations mention that Kauthar will flow from beneath the Divine Throne; that it is flowing like a river in paradise and that it takes the shape of a big cistern in the field of Mahshar, as said earlier.
Almighty Allah says in Surah Kahf:
“Ornaments shall be given to them therein of bracelets of gold, and they shall wear green robes of fine silk and thick silk brocade interwoven with gold, “(18:31)
At another place in the Holy Qur’an it is mentioned:
“They shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and (with) pearls, and their garments therein shall be of silk. “(22:23)
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said that when a believer will enter his heavenly palace a crown of glory will be put on his head and he will be made to wear seventy robes of various colours embedded with heavenly precious jewels. It is also mentioned that if any of those dresses is brought to the people of this world they will not be able to gaze at its brightness.
Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said that the Lord of the Universe will provide a miracle to the faithful every Friday in Paradise. On that day, He will send to the believer dresses through an angel. Then that believer will put one of it on his waist and another on his shoulders. Then from wherever that man will pass the entire environment will brighten up with his radiance (Noor).
God has promised in many places in the Holy Qur’an:
“Allah has promised to the believing men and the believing women gardens, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and goodly dwellings in gardens of perpetual abode; and best of all is Allah's goodly pleasure- that is the grand achievement. “(9:72)
God Almighty says:
“But (as for) those who are careful of (their duty to) their Lord, they shall have high places, above them higher places, built (for them), beneath which flow rivers; (this is) the promise of Allah: Allah will not fail in (His) promise. “(39:20)
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said that those chambers will be made of pearls, Rubies and Emeralds and their roofs will be golden. There will be two golden gates in every chamber and there will be a guard and a sentry at every gate.
According to Qur’anic commentary the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, “There is a palace made of pearls in paradise, in that palace there are seventy apartments made of red topaz, in every apartment seventy halls made of Emeralds. In every hall there are seventy thrones.
On every throne there are seventy carpets of various colours. There is a Hourie on every carpet. In every hall there are seventy dining tables. Tasty eatables of seventy kinds are served on every table. There are seventy maids in every hall. Almighty God will grant the faithful strength enough to enjoy all these bounties.”
“Reclining therein on raised couches; excellent the recompense and goodly the resting place. “(18:31)
He says in Surah Waqiah:
On thrones decorated, Reclining on them, facing one another. (56:15-16)
He says in Surah Rahman:
Reclining on beds, the inner coverings of which are of silk brocade; and the fruits of the two gardens shall be within reach. (55:54)
The Holy Qur’an has named some heavenly attires such as Israbraq, Hareer, Sundus, Rafraf, Namaariq and Zarabiyya which can only be seen and enjoyed as their description is beyond words and description.
Regarding the heavenly vessels or containers. Almighty Lord says:
“Round about them shall go youths never altering in age, With goblets and ewers and a cup of pure drink; “(56:17-18)
In paradise handsome lads will be taking rounds with goblets of gold, silver and various jewels for the people of the paradise. Their containers will be overflowing with the wine of grapes. They will enjoy the 'pure drink'.
It is mentioned in Surah Dahr:
“And there shall be made to go round about them vessels of silver and goblets which are of glass, “(76:15)
The people of paradise will be served drinks in cups made of silver and flint glass, that is, those containers will have the clarity and sheen of flint and softness and whiteness of silver.
Since the greatest physical bounty in paradise are houries the Holy Qur’an makes a mention of them on various occasions. The houri is called a houri because it denotes a female having a fair body and 'Een' means a large al-yed lady.
As both these specialities are found in houries they are called Hourul Een. It also may be so because the whiteness in their eyes will be extremely white and the blackness extremely black and it will make them highly attractive. The reason of naming them Houries can also be that eyes will become 'hairaan' (spellbound) by looking at them.
Almighty Allah says:
“And Hoorun Eenun (pure, beautiful ones), The like of the hidden pearls: “(56:22-23)
Meaning: The Houries will be like pearls hidden in shells. There will be no dust on them. Neither any man nor jinn will have touched them.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said that, in paradise, light would flash. The people of paradise will exclaim, “What radiance is this?” A voice will ring, “A Hourie has just smiled to her husband. This light spread from her teeth.”
The Lord Almighty also said:
“Surely We have made them to grow into a (new) growth, Then We have made them virgins, “(56:35-36)
Meaning: We have created these Houries with Our perfect might (without parents) and We have made them ever youthful.
The Houries would love their husbands. They will be sweet- voiced having pleasing gestures. All of them will be 16 years old. So men in the paradise will be of 33 years of age.
Almighty Allah says:
“In them shall be those who restrained their eyes; before them neither man nor jinni shall have touched them. “(55:56)
Meaning: There are Houries in heavenly gardens who keep their eyes lowered except before their husbands. They have not been touched by anyone from men or jinn except by their husbands. All of them will be as if carved in Ruby and Pearls.
“As though they were rubies and pearls. “(55:58)
It is reported that despite wearing seventy robes the inner part of the calf of the Houries will be visible as a white lining is visible from behind a Ruby.
The Lord of the Universe says:
“And they shall have pure mates in them, and in them, they shall abide. “(2:25)
Meaning: For the faithful and righteous people there are Houries in paradise who are pure and clean in every sense. They do not menstruate. They are always free from impurity and uncleanness. They are also not proud and self-centred and they do not envy one another.
It is reported that on the right hand of the houri is written in shining letters:
“Praise be to Allah who has fulfilled what He promised.”
And on her left hand:
“Praise be to Allah who has relieved us of grief.”
It must not remain unmentioned that the beauty and charm of those faithful ladies who will die with perfect faith and will enter paradise will have a charm and beauty far more surpassing that of Houries of Paradise. While explaining the meaning of the verse:
“In them are goodly things, beautiful ones. “(55:70)
It is said that there will be women in the gardens of paradise who will have the best of bodily charm and the best of spiritual excellence. Thereby it is meant only those faithful Muslim and believer women who will be entitled to paradise.
Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) has narrated Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that 'goodly things' means faithful, knowledgeable Shi’a women who will enter paradise and who will be married to the believers.
It is related that those women who did not marry in this world, or those women whose husbands had not entered Paradise, will be given the freedom to choose the believer whom she desires, and they shall be married to them. But if a woman's husband is present in Paradise, she will be permitted to marry him with her consent. If in the world she married more than once, the man who has the greatest status (in Paradise) and has performed more good deeds will be chosen for her.
In Surah Rahman Allah refers to that person who fears standing in front of his Lord for accounting (for his deeds), and thus refrains from sinning:
“And for him who fears to stand before his Lord are two gardens. “(55:46-47)
It means that one who fears of standing in front of his Lord (that is for the accounting in Qiyamat as mentioned earlier and who will not have sinned) will get two gardens in paradise wherein will be all kinds of bounties and various vegetables, flowers and fruits.
Allamah Majlisi narrates from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said, “If one of the 'houries' of Paradise descends on the first heaven on a dark night and looks down towards the earth, the entire universe will be filled with her fragrance.”
It is related from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that the fragrance of the perfume of Paradise will reach up to the distance equal to a thousand years. The sand of Paradise is of musk. It is related in many traditions that the walls, doors, and the floor of Paradise are covered with grass of saffron.
Fragrance will be emitting from it, and the effect of its fragrance will be such that an old man proceeding towards Paradise will reach such a place which is far from Paradise at a distance of a thousand years, yet he will turn young by just the fragrance.
The Lord Almighty says:
“They shall find therein neither (the severe heat of) the sun nor intense cold. “(76:13)
Which means that people in paradise will not see the sun and its heat nor will they experience cold and chill, that is, they will dwell in a moderate atmosphere. They will not require sun or its heat. Rather their own light of faith and good deeds will be enough for them as has been mentioned earlier.
It is related that the light of the 'houries' will be more than the light of the sun, they will be like walking lanterns. Palaces of Paradise adorned with pearls, corals, rubies, topaz and emeralds will emit a colourful light and make a pleasant environment. The floor, vessels, and dresses will be scattering light, and these glowing lanterns will turn Paradise into an illuminated place.
The bounties of various kinds which we see in this world and so also all the good tastes and feelings are but only an atom of what is available in the paradise. This applies to good sound and voice too. The best and perfect of it all is found in paradise only. If even a single song of paradise is made to be heard in this world the residents of this world will not be able to hear it and they will die.
The voice of the Prophet Dawood (a.s.) is well known as called as 'Lahne Dawudi'. Though this voice was in this world none was able to bear it. When he was reciting Zaboor different kinds of animals used to gather around him and were fainting together and some even died.
Describing the events of messengers (a.s.) Amirul Mu’minin (a.s.) says in one of his speeches in Nahjul Balagha: In Paradise Prophet Dawood will entertain its inhabitants with his pleasant voice, and will be a reciter of Paradise.
It means that he will make the people of paradise hear his recitations. Of course it will be a melodious song of paradise and those in paradise will have the ability to hear it.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have been quoted in Majmaul Bayan: The best of the songs of paradise will be those sung by the houries for pleasing their husbands. Their voice will be so wonderfully pleasing that none before would have ever heard like it. It will not be in the tune of musical instruments but would be based on the glorification and praising of the Lord of the universe, Only One God.
It is mentioned in narrations that the birds of paradise will sing in the best of voices.
People once asked Imam Sadiq (a.s), “Will there be music and songs in the paradise?” He replied, “There is a tree in paradise. God will order the winds of paradise to move. It will make the tree give out various kinds of songs. The sounds will be such as never heard by anyone in this world from neither any singer nor any musical instrument.” Then the Imam said, “This is the reward of discarding music and songs for fear of God in this world.”
There also will be various kinds of spiritual bounties to imagine which, is beyond our power of understanding. One of them is that veils will be lifted off the eyes, that is, eyes will here witness what we had only known to exist. What one had wished to know from Divine Truths, one would gain it here, especially the sight of and meeting with Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.).
In Tafsir Safi, in explanation of the Holy verse:
“Then shall some of them advance to others, questioning each other. “(37:50)
It is mentioned that the people of paradise will discuss matters about knowledge and Grace of God and the Holy Prophet with one anther.
Among all other bounties will also be the respect and honour granted by God. For example, everyone who will be fortunate to enter paradise will, by his intercession, keep his parents, wives and children with him, provided they had died with faith and were entitled for paradise.
This will be as a respect to the true faithful, though his parents and wives and children etc were not entitled to the high status. Hence the Lord of the universe says in the Holy Qur’an:
“The gardens of perpetual abode which they will enter along with those who do good from among their parents and their spouses and their offspring; “(13:23)
When the righteous people will reach their respective places in paradise, God Almighty will appoint one thousand angels for visiting them. They will give them greetings. There will be a palace for the believer and that palace will have a thousand doors. There will be an angel at every door to salute the faithfuls.
And the angels will enter in upon them from every gate:
“Peace be on you because you were constant, how excellent, is then, the issue of the abode. “(13:23-24)
The highest honour available to the faithful will be the honour of communicating with the Lord of the universe. There are many narrations in this respect. But what the Lord in Surah Yasin mentions is sufficient:
““Peace! A word from a Merciful Lord.” “(36:58)
In Tafsir Minhajus Sadiqeen a narration of Jabir bin Abdullah has been quoted according to which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said that the people of paradise will be immersed in the bounties of gardens when a light will suddenly flash on then giving out a voice 'As Salaamo Alaikum Yaa Ahlal Jannah'.
Hence it is said that all those bounties which were available only to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in the world, including having a word with the Almighty Lord, will be made available, to the people of paradise also in the Hereafter.
There are detailed traditions about the divine lights in volume two of Biharul Anwar, one of them being the 'Position of Satisfaction' (Maqame Rizwan), which is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an too:
“Their Lord gives them good news of mercy from Himself and (His) good pleasure and gardens, “(9:21)
“And best of all is Allah's goodly pleasure- that is the grand achievement. “(9:72)
Among all other bounties of paradise is the neighbourhood of Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.) and meeting with them. The Holy Prophet has said, “O ‘Ali! Your Shi’as will be sitting with bright faces on the pulpits of light and all of them will be my neighbours in paradise.”
Also among the said bounties is permanent dwelling in paradise. When the faithful will know that these highly precious bounties will never end (nor will they be diminished) they will experience a wonderful delight in their hearts, which is indescribable.
One of the spiritual bounties is that one will be meeting frequently with the messengers, the righteous and faithful persons. Almighty God says in the Holy Qur’an:
“On thrones, facing each other. “(37:44)
Meaning they will be sitting on thrones facing one another happily.
It is mentioned that the people of paradise will be going to visit a Messenger (a.s.) daily and they will be their guests. Of course, on every Thursday, they will be the guests of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), the Last Prophet. On every Friday they will be invited to the nearness of the Highest One.13
Above was a brief narration of the bounties of paradise. We will have to fairly think, will any wise man want to deprive himself of the said spiritual joys and pleasures and high positions?
How much trouble a man takes for getting the worldly positions and ranks even though it is not always certain that he will attain the same.
Even if he gets them after suffering and undergoing a lot of difficulties and hardships, there is every possibility of being deprived of the same due to his death. But the same person does not make any effort for getting the exalting places and everlasting bounties even though here it is certain that if he strives he would reach his goal.
The reason for this carelessness is man's lack of courage and his drowning in the engagement in the world's short-lived pleasures, passions, lusts and greed even though there are thousands of impurities in them as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“Nay! man desires to give the lie to what is before him. “(75:5)
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) says in one of his sermons in Nahjul Balagha:
“(O Lord!) I believe You are pure and clean of all those things which are not fitting Your greatness. You are the Creator of all the creation and You are, in the sight of Your creation, the Owner of all secrets concerning nice taste. Accordingly You have created a place named Paradise. Therein You have provided, for Your guests, all niceties of feasts and of dining and beautiful houries and handsome servant boys and highly comfortable apartments, extremely pure and clean springs and rivers of tasty drinks and green fields and gardens and delicious fruits.
Then You raised Your representative Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) who goes on inviting people to the said paradise of lasting pleasures. So (it was the misfortune of mankind that) they neither responded to the true caller towards Truth nor did they incline towards the things You called them to nor did they like what You desired them to like and long for. On the contrary, they remained stuck to fraudulent and dead world as a result of which they became disgraced.
They befriended one another on the basis of their connection with this valueless world. So whoever befriended this untrustworthy world and became mad after it, became totally blind, so blind that he does not understand what is detrimental and a loss for him. His heart became sick for what was beneficial to him and befitting to him. So he sees with weak and sickly eyes and hears with unhealthy ears. Doubtlessly, worldly desires have made his heart and soul dead and destroyed his intelligence. He has become a slave of this world and also of everyone who owns anything from the worldly wealth.”
In spite of the fact that there are only two paths before us - no third alternative - man will either to go to Paradise or to hell - Now if one does not take and follow God's path He will not only be deprived of all the bounties mentioned by us above briefly, his dwelling place forever will also be only hell which is full of pains. Only an iota of its pain and troubles are described in the following pages.
Hell is a fathomless, wide and spacious pit. God's anger will turn into fire in it. It is the last prison wherein will be various kinds of punishments, chastisements, pains, troubles, hardships and calamities. They will be such that we cannot even imagine them.
We cannot even understand them. In fact it is exactly opposite to paradise. In paradise, there will be every kind of comfort, pleasure and joy and not even an iota of pain or trouble. But in hell, there will be nothing except hardships, troubles, sorrows, griefs and sufferings. There will be no room at all for peace, happiness and comfort. Here are some of the tortures being meted out to offenders in hell as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“Then shall you, O you who err and call it a lie! Most surely eat of a tree of Zaqqoom, “(56:51-52)”
And fill (your) bellies with it; “(56:53)
That is due to sheer hunger you will have to fill your stomachs with it.
“Then drink over it of boiling water; “(56:54)
That is you will have to drink extremely hot water (due to extreme thirst you will have no alternative but to drink it).
It is mentioned in traditions that the people of hell will be given the punishment of hunger so that they will willy-nilly eat the fruit of the Zaqqoom. Thereafter they will be made to taste the chastisement of thirst so they may drink more and more from Hameem (boiling hell water):
“Like those who abide in the fire and who are made to drink boiling water so it rends their bowels asunder. “(47:15)
That water will be so hot that it will tear their intestines into bits. It is related that if a drop of that water be put on a mountain (in this world), it will be reduced to dust.
“And drink as drinks the thirsty camel. “(56:55)
They will drink that water like a camel who is thirsty for many days, and drinks whilst shivering. 'Heem' (the water referred to in this verse) is the plural of 'Aheem' which means a camel suffering from a disease. This disease is equivalent to dropsy, which usually happens to a camel, in which it keeps drinking water but is not satiated until it dies. this will be the state of the dwellers of hell.
“This is their entertainment on the day of requital. “(56:56)
This 'Zaqqoom' and 'Hameem' will be given to them in Qiyamat as an introduction to Allah's wrath. And whatever is destined in hell (for the disbelievers) is far more harsh and beyond description.
The Lord of the universe says:
“Surely the tree of the Zaqqoom, Is the food of the sinful Like dregs of oil; it shall boil in (their) bellies, Like the boiling of hot water. “(44:43-46)
It is said that they will be unbelievers and inimical fellows and that Zaqqoom is a thing, which will be melted in fire like copper. It is also said that 'Muhl' will be the boiling olive oil, which will boil in stomach like boiling water.
Zaqqoom will boil in the stomachs of unbelievers like water boiling on fire or like olive oil heated on fierce fire. Then this boiling water will be shed on their heads, which will melt all the outer and inner organs of the sinners:
“Then (as to) those who disbelieve, for them are cut out garments of fire, boiling water shall be poured over their heads. “(22:19)
It means that We have huge shackles which cannot be unlocked and fiercely leaping fire and foods which will get stuck up in throats and very a painful punishment.
Imam Baqir (a.s.) is reported to have said that the tree of Zaqqoom will rise up from the deep pit of hell. Its leaves, thorns and fruits all will be of fire. It will be bitter than Aloes and worse than a stinking corpse and harder than iron.
Ghisleen is one of the food to be given in hell:
“Nor any food except refuse, “(69:36)
It is mentioned in Tafsir Majmaul Bahrain that whatever will come out the stomachs of the people of hell after eating Zaqqoom will be their food once again.
One of the hell foods will also be Zaree. It is said that it will be like a thorn, bitter than aloes and worse smelling than a corpse or carcass and more inflammable than fire itself.
One more hell food is Sadeed:
“Hell is before him and he shall be given to drink of festering water (Sadeed): “(14:16)
It will be the dirty blood and pus flowing from the private parts of the adulterers in hell.
Another hell food will be Ghassaq:
“But boiling and intensely cold water (Ghassaq), “(78:25)
Some commentators have written that it is a spring in hell. Poisons of various poisonous animals flow in it.
Then (as to) those who disbelieve, for them are cut out garments of fire, (22: 19)
Clothings of fire have been prepared for the people of hell. It is said that it will be a dress made up of molten copper.
Almighty Allah says:
“Their shirts made of pitch and the fire covering their faces. “(14:50)
Pitch is a black foul-smelling thing, which grows in the skin of a camel afflicted by a disease-causing itch. It is being burnt along with the afflicted part of the animal's skin and it burns out very swiftly.
It is mentioned that if such a dress of hell is made to hang between the sky and earth its foul smell and heat will kill all on the earth.
“The guilty shall be recognized by their marks, so they shall be seized by the forelocks and the feet. “(55:41)
It means that the sinners will be identified by their facial signs, which will be blue eyes and black cheeks. At that time they will be dragged towards hell by catching hold of their forelocks and sometimes their legs; or that some would be caught by their forelocks and some by their legs and flung into hell.
“When the fetters and the chains shall be on their necks; they shall be dragged. Into boiling water, then in the fire shall they be burned; “(40:71-72)
“And on the day of resurrection you shall see those who lied against Allah; their faces shall be blackened. “(39:60)
“The fire shall scorch their faces, and they therein shall be in severe affliction. “(23:104)
It means that fire will burn their faces and they will become very ugly. Like the burnt down heads of sheep their teeth will be visible and their lips hanging.
“Over it are angels stern and strong, they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded. “(66:6)
It means that the Guardian angels of hell will be harsh who will never be kind or soft to the people of hell. They will never do anything against the command of God, which is their duty.
“And for them are whips of iron. “(22:21)
There will be iron clubs with which they will hit those trying to flee from hell.
About the weight of the said club it is mentioned that even if all the men and jinns join together to lift that club they will not be able to lift it.
It is also mentioned that both the eyes of the said guards of hell will be dazzling like lightning flashes and their pointed teeth will be as big as mountains and flames of fire will be leaping out of their fearsome mouths. The distance between their two shoulders will be equal to a year's journey. They are able to throw seventy persons in hell with one hand at a time.
“It has seven gates; for every gate there shall be a separate party of them. “(15:44)
Sinners will enter hell through these gates as fixed for them. According to ‘Ali (a.s.) the seven gates of hell are as under:
The last and the lowest level is 'Jahannam'. The zone above it is 'Lazzaa', above it 'Hutamaa', above it 'Hutamaa', above it 'Saqar' and above it 'Jaheem'. Above it is 'Saeer' and above it 'Haaviyah'. There is no doubt that chastisements in all of them will be different in harshness and pain.
The words of the Holy verses indicate that, contrary to this world's fire, the fire in hell possesses sense and intelligence. Almighty Allah says:
“On the day that We will say to hell: Are you filled up? And it will say: Are there any more? “(50:30)
Meaning: The Day when We will ask hell: Are you full? It will reply: Are there more worthy of punishment still? It means: I still have room to accommodate them and a wish to burn these who are worthy of being burnt.
Moreover, hellfire recognizes those who deserve punishment. It will attack them. It has power of drawing (magnetic attribute). It will also scream.
Almighty Allah says:
“When it shall come into their sight from a distant place, they shall hear its vehement raging and roaring. “(25:12)
Meaning that when hellfire will see the people of hell from a distance it will, out of anger scream fiercely and it will be heard by the sinners.
“Almost bursting for fury. “(67:8)
It is mentioned in narrations that, when a faithful will be passing over the Sirat Bridge he or she will hear the voice of hell. O faithful! Please pass away quickly from above me as your light is cooling my flames. Since a believer has kindness and hellfire has anger, the Mercy of the Lord overtakes His anger.
O, One Whose Mercy precedes His Anger.14
Thus there are many evidences with us to show that hellfire too, like all other substances in the Hereafter, possesses life, wisdom and intelligence. It is the friend of the friends of God and the enemy of the enemies of God.
On of the attributes is also that despite its ability to accommodate all men and jinn and even then remaining empty, the sinners will live in extreme congestion like a nail in a wall:
“And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them as scattered floating dust. “(25:23)
When the sinners will be hurled in the congested corner of hell, bound by chains of fire. Being harshly pressed they will desire death and say: Woe unto us!
As the righteous will be in ease and comfort and spaciousness and in light, those in hell will be in darkness and eternal terror quite like the one who is caught at the bottom of a sea, engulfed by layers of darkness over darkness.
Almighty Allah says:
“When he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light. “(24:40)
That is the darkness will be so grave that he will not be able to see his own hand despite trying to.
For the people of hell, there will be mental and spiritual tortures too in addition to physical punishments and pains. One of them will be that they will always remember and realize that they have to remain in this terrible condition forever and to bear these troubles endlessly.
They will never be saved from this chastisement. This will be the most unbearable thing for the sinners. There is no doubt that those unbelievers and hypocrites who died faithlessly despite the fact that arguments were completed before them, will forever remain in hellfire torture.
Lord Almighty says:
“Their reward with their Lord is gardens of perpetuity beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein for ever; Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him; that is for him who fears his Lord. “(98:8)
And at another place:
“That is the reward of the enemies of Allah- the fire; for them therein shall be the house of long abiding; a reward for their denying Our communications. “(41:28)
So the punishment for the enemies of God is hellfire in which they will dwell forever.
Rather, God has termed the exit of an unbeliever from hell as impossible. He says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Surely (as for) those who reject Our communications and turn away from them haughtily, the doors of heaven shall not be opened for them, nor shall they enter the garden until the camel pass through the eye of the needle; and thus do We reward the guilty. “(7:40)
That is, it is impossible, for an unbeliever to enter paradise. There are many traditions in this connection. Anyone who will have even an iota of Faith will not remain in hell forever.
Another spiritual torture is that a sinner in hell will always remember and lament that he has been deprived of innumerable Divine bounties of various kinds. Not only that, he will never get God's mercy but only His anger.
Says the Holy Qur’an:
“Nay! most surely they shall on that day be debarred from their Lord. “(83:15)
That is, they will not obtain Divine mercy, grace and reward. At another place:
“Surely they shall have no portion in the hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them, nor will He look upon them on the day of resurrection nor will He purify them… “(3:77)
It means that there is no reward in the Hereafter and God will not even communicate with them and will have no mercy or kindness for them.
One of the spiritual or mental tortures in hell will be the regret and sorrow, which will make one desirous of death, had it been possible to die there daily. The Lord of the universe says about their grief pointing to their deeds:
“Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire. “(2:167)
“And the day when the unjust one shall bite his hands saying: O! would that I had taken a way with the Apostle. “(25:27)
Imam Sadiq (a.s) is reported to have said that when the people of paradise and the people of hell will be settled in their respective places windows will open up between paradise and hell. An announcer will announce: O people of Paradise! Just look at the situation of the people of hell and their condition.
Had you also disobeyed the Divine Commands you too would have been in this state in hell. Then will come another voice: O people of Hell! Look at the high-rise apartments of the people of Paradise. Had you obeyed Allah this comfort would have been for you also. This will make the sinners so gloomy that had it been possible to die in the Hereafter they would have died of their sorrow.
Among various tortures is the scolding, threatening and humiliation. All of theses will be meted out to the hell dwellers not only by God and Angels but by the people of paradise also, even by satans as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“O assembly of jinn and men! Did there not come to you apostles from among you, relating to you My communications and warning you of the meeting of this day of yours? They shall say: We bear witness against ourselves; and this world's life deceived them, and they shall bear witness against their own souls that they were unbelievers. “(6:130)
Again God says:
“Did We not preserve you alive long enough, so that he who would be mindful in it should mind? And there came to you the warner; because for the unjust, there is no helper. “(35:37)
There are many other similar addresses: The angels guarding hell will also scold them as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“Whenever a group is cast into it, its keeper shall ask them: Did there not come to you a warner? They shall say: Yea! indeed there came to us a warner, but we rejected (him) and said: Allah has not revealed anything, you are only in a great error. And they shall say: Had we but listened or pondered, we should not have been among the inmates of the burning fire. So they shall acknowledge their sins, but far will be (forgiveness) from the inmates of the burning fire. “(67:8-11)
Even devils will taunt people of hell and they will make a mockery of them. It is mentioned that the sinners will not weep and cry and complain loudly for fear of being mocked by the devils. Says the Lord:
“And the Shaitan shall say after the affair is decided: Surely Allah promised you the promise of truth, and I gave you promises, then failed to keep them to you, and I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you obeyed me, therefore do not blame me but blame yourselves: I cannot be your aider (now) nor can you be my aiders; surely I disbelieved in your associating me with Allah before; surely it is the unjust that shall have the painful punishment. “(14: 22)
The people of paradise will also scold the hell dwellers. God Almighty says:
“And the dwellers of the garden will call out to the inmates of the fire: Surely we have found what our Lord promised us to be true; have you too found what your Lord promised to be true? They will say: Yes. Then a crier will cry out among them that the curse of Allah is on the unjust. “(7:44)
Also God says:
“So today those who believe shall laugh at the unbelievers; “(83:34)
It means that indeed today the faithful will laugh over the unbelievers and make them targets of mockery and humiliation. It will be an answer to what the unbelievers were doing to the believers in the world.
“Surely the disbelievers are rewarded as they did. “(83:36)
Among the spiritual punishments is also that of living with Satans and with all other hell dwellers. While the people of paradise will enjoy one another's company, the hell dwellers will abhor one another and they will be hating one another strongly. This has been hinted at in the Holy Qur’an:
“And whoever turns himself away from the remembrance of the Beneficent God, We appoint for him a Shaitan, so he becomes his associate.
And most surely they turn them away from the path, and they think that they are guided aright: “(43:36-37)
It means: “Those who will close their eyes from remembering Allah, We will make Satans overpower them who will be their permanent companion. Those Satans will restrain them from adopting the true path. But such people will (falsely) imagine that they had found the true path until the unbeliever will, along with his same devil fellow traveller come before Us in the place of punishment. Then he will say to the Satan: Alas! How nice it were had there been a distance of east and west between you and me because you are a bad companion.”
It is narrated that both will be bound in one and the same chain and hurled into hell.
Regarding the enmity between the helpers of oppressors and the followers of misguiding leaders, the Lord says:
“When those who were followed shall renounce those who followed (them), and they see the chastisement and their ties are cut asunder.
And those who followed shall say: Had there been for us a return, then we would renounce them as they have renounced us. Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire. “(2:166-167)
Regarding enmity between hell dwellers, God Almighty says at another place in the Holy Qur’an:
“Then on the resurrection day some of you shall deny others, and some of you shall curse others, and your abode is the fire, and you shall not have any helpers. “(29:25)
Again He says:
“The friends shall on that day be enemies one to another, except those who guard (against evil). “(43:67)
Meaning that those who were friends in the world will become enemies, except faithful and righteous people. They will be friendly with one another as they were in the world.
It is mentioned that a friendship, which was not for the sake of God in the world will turn into enmity in the Hereafter.
Further the Almighty says:
This (shall be so); and most surely there is an evil resort for the inordinate ones; Hell; they shall enter it, so evil is the resting-place. This (shall be so); so let them taste it, boiling and intensely cold (drink). And other (punishment) of the same kind- of various sorts. (38:55-58)
It is mentioned that when the misguiding leaders will be thrown into hell and when their followers will also be made to join them therein, the leaders will ask: Who are these people? (The keeper of hell will reply): This is a group, which will remain with you in all the hardships of hell. The leaders will say: Bad indeed (ominous) is their arrival.
They are people of hell. The followers will reply: But you are ominous because you are the cause of our chastisement. So hell is a bad dwelling place. Then they will say: O our Lord! Give double punishment to those who caused this chastisement to us because they themselves were misguided and they misguided others also.15
The events, condition and dialogues quoted above are doubtlessly true. That is how the people of hell will quarrel with one another.
Some doubts can possibly arise, in people's minds. We are briefly hinting to them here with their replies. One such question can be how man will be able to bear so much hard and painful punishment the lowest degree of which cannot even be imagined in the world?! He will be finished in the first strike. How hard is the punishment and how weak is man's body?!
The answer to the above mentioned doubt is that though it is quite true that man will have this same body in the Hereafter too, but, by the power of God the Almighty, it will be made so strong that it cannot be compared with its previous form. In fact, in the Hereafter, the physical condition of man will be subject to his spiritual condition, both in hardness and softness. Just as the soul of the faithful was very soft and smooth in the world and it was being affected while facing every truth (as has been said by the Amirul Mu’minin (a.s) in Nahjul Balagha similarly, in the Hereafter too his body will be soft and smooth like their souls. Likewise bodies of unbelievers will be as hard and tough as their souls were in the world.
God says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness; “(2:74)
Just as it is not bending before truth in the world it will remain harsh and stiff in the Hereafter too (like his heart).
It is mentioned that, in the Hereafter, the teeth of unbelievers become as big as the mountain of Uhad (then what would be his body like?). In other words, in the Hereafter the reality will overcome outward appearance. All facts will come out in the open and the inner and outer will become manifest.
“On the day when hidden things shall be made manifest, “(86:9)
Qiyamat is the Day of the unveiling of secrets. It is also mentioned that when the inner and outer organs of body will disintegrate and tear up by chastisement (such as eating Zaqqoom and drinking Hameem) all these body parts will recover soon again (rather the skin will be changed a number of times).
The Holy Qur’an mentions this clearly:
“(As for) those who disbelieve in Our communications, We shall make them enter fire; so oft as their skins are thoroughly burned, We will change them for other skins, that they may taste the chastisement; “(4:56)
Another doubt, which can come to man's mind, is: Are such severe punishments commensurate with Divine Justice?
Such doubt is the result of thinking that the Divine punishment is like the tortures inflicted by the despotic rulers of this world. But this imaginary likeness is in no way correct because what the worldly tyrants do is for taking personal revenge and for pleasing themselves by punishing their offenders. They want to cool their anger in that way. They frown upon those who oppose them; they boil in anger.
In order to subside their wrath, they order their imprisonment, torture and even killing etc. But the Divine punishment will not be like that. There, whatever will happen will be caused by what had happened in the world. If the sin is serious its punishment will also be serious and if the error was light its punishment will also be proportionately light.
The result of faithlessness will be to remain in perpetual darkness. Turning away from God will result in permanent sandwiching and squeeze. The result of every trampled right will be everlasting blindness and deafness. The consequence of following devilish leaders will be dwelling with them forever. The essential result of eating the property of an orphan will be flaring of fire in the devilish devourer's stomach.
This makes it clear that man will get hell fire by way of his own earning. He will be liable to various punishments in hell only because of his own misdeeds and evil character and misbehaviour. In the light of what is said in the Holy Qur’an the fuel of hell fire also will be wrongdoer persons:
“Then be on your guard against the fire of which men and stones are the fuel; “(2:24)
It can be understood from the above that the reasons of getting punishments in hell will have been provided by the sinner himself. He had behaved wrongfully, unjustly and oppressively with himself. God never oppresses anyone:
“Surely Allah does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselves. “(10:44)
How at all an unbeliever ever be given entrance to paradise which is extremely Holy and soft place while that fellow had indulged in dirtiness, harshness, rebellion, deviation and disobedience to God? Paradise is a very secure and peaceful place where only healthy people can enter who do not have any foul illness.
How can a man who is full of internal illnesses like envy, malignity, enmity, stinginess, pride, egotism, be allowed to enter paradise? The residence of such ill people is a hospital of hell, not the paradise that is a place of permanent peace.
The truth is that to allow an unbeliever entry to paradise is just like pouring scented oil on the head of a man who has lost his faculty of smelling due to severe cold. It is like putting a thing at an inappropriate place. (It is never commensurate with Divine Wisdom). It is called 'injustice' (zulm) in Arabic.
Therefore hurling an unbeliever in hell is in no way against Divine Justice because in Arabic, Justice (Adl) means to put a thing in its appropriate place (God is Adil=Just). That is why entry of an unbeliever in paradise is impossible.
It is totally against divine justice. He (the Unbeliever) can never enjoy paradise because it is just like a beautiful bride who adorns herself for a blind fellow or sings before a deaf person.
Even after all that has been said above, it is likely that someone may ask: How can God, the Most Merciful, Who loves His creation beyond measure, will put his beloved creation to fierce punishments? The answer is that though God is most soft and lenient, He also is wrathful and mighty. Just as He is 'Rahman' and 'Rahim', so also He is 'Jabbar' and 'Qahhar'.
Just as paradise is the manifestation of extreme kindness, so is the hell the manifestation of extreme anger and wrath. “O, One Whose Mercy precedes His Wrath…” is the attribute according to which He is not happy that His creation should become Unbeliever by disobeying Him and go to hell. “He is not pleased with the disbelief of His servants.”
But when the creation, despite knowing His displeasure, opts for the road leading to hell, He also does not prevent them forcibly because it is against His wisdom. God is absolutely independent of every or any need. He is also not in need of our faith.
Yet He has, on the basis of His mercy and kindness, towards His creation made true repentance the cause of protection from the above-mentioned punishments. He has kept this door open until the last breath of man. But if the creation turns away its face from this kindness also, He also does not force them to repent because a forced repentance will not be repentance at all.
Doubtlessly, God is Merciful and Beneficent and it is because of it that He has ordered the creation to follow His commands and to carry out all obligatory and voluntary good deeds leading to paradise and He guided us towards it. Similarly He also commanded us to refrain from all evil, prohibited and indecent things, which take one away from God and make him near to Satan and consequently lead to hellfire.
Thus it can be understood that all these religious commands and duties are due to His vast mercy and kindness. Therefore, a faithful person should also take care and he should never lag behind in fulfilling his religious duties. He must realize that failure to do any obligatory duty is his permanent loss, which is irreparable. In this way he will be depriving himself of divine mercy. No other thing can avert this loss.
One more objection can also be that if an unbeliever got a lifespan of say fifty or sixty (or more) years. Then, how can it be justified that he should suffer forever endlessly in hell? The answer is: The unbeliever who, spent his entire life in disbelief had, in reality, in that very short lifespan by misusing his freedom of action, gathered such a huge and permanent evil that its essential consequence is entrance to everlasting hell.
In other words, he opted for such a darkness for himself, where no ray of light can ever reach till eternity. Likewise, the faithful who left this world with piety and fear of God earned in his short life an undiminishing success, that is, he earned an inextinguishable light.
It is mentioned in Biharul Anwar that Abu Hashim asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) why the dwelling in paradise or hell would be permanent? The Imam (a.s.) replied, “The people of hell will live in hell forever because their intention in the world was that had they to live in the world forever they would disobey God forever.
Likewise the reason of the people of paradise living therein permanently is also that their intention in the world was that if they had to live in the world forever they would always obey God and would never defy His commandments. So, it is the intention that results in the permanent residence of the people of paradise in paradise and the permanent dwelling of the people of hell in hell. Thus Allah says in the Holy Qur’an that everyone acts according to his intention.
Wa Aakhiru Daa Waanaa Ani Hamdu Lillaahi Rabbil Aalameen Wa Sallaallahu Alaa Muhammad Wa Aalihit Taiyibeen Wat Taahireen