No Other Source of Knowledge Except Revelation
The root of 'Ma'aad' 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'aad.
'Ma'aad' 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 will get reward or punishment according to his belief and deeds.
'Ma'aad' which begins with death and then passes through grave and then Barzakh and then Qiyamat-e-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'aad' 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 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 Aalam-e-Malakoot (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 trust in the truths made known by the Creator of this Universe.
Characteristics of the Hereafter have nothing to do with the Brain
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 him in this earthly life they can never succeed in their maneuverings at all. 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 impeccable are those to whom God Almighty, the Lord of the Universe sends Revelation.
Does A Dead Body Talk?
This discussion will prove that the doubts and distrusts expressed by some senseless fellows 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 at all be questioned in a grave? In other words, can stones also 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).
Talking Is Not Limited To The Tongue
Possibilities and probabilities are essential to brain. An intelligent man (having brain) hears a thing and if it is impossible according to his brain or intelligence, he doubts it's being either true or untrue. But if the one from whom he heard that thing is a sinless impeccable person then the former will at once say that whatever he has said is true. But if the hearer is unwise and ignorant fellow he will exclaim: What kind of talks are these which we fail to understand! So not to accept the words of the impeccable will be based on senselessness and foolishness. Such fellow is like a four-footed animal but has two feet whose sees senses are limited only upto eating, sleeping and having intercourse with the opposite sex. Obviously if it is hold 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 are mentioning below briefly what has been narrated by Ahle Bayt (Holy Progeny of the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s.) describing what happens right from the first stage (death) up to the last one (Resurrection).
Death: The First Station
Truth About Death: The dislocation or the breaking of the relation 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. 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 one person and this person is the same what is your soul and which becomes manifest through the said scenes which have been expressed through the above sentences. It is the soul that sees and hears but through the balls 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 the Almighty's Might in the dark house of body which shows its light through eyes and ears and other organs.
What Is Death?
Shifting of the lamp from one place to another place. For instance, suppose there is a hut having many holes. It a lamp is placed in it its light will go out 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 an example only for making it comprehensible. Otherwise:
The Soul Neither Enters The Body Nor Gets Out Of It
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 vacuumed. 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 of mother at the last moment of the worldly life, disconnects this relation between the body and soul. Only He is the bestower of life and of life. The Holy Quran says: “God gives life and only God causes death also.” (S. Zumar, V: 42) Some common people are very angry with Israel (Malak-ul-Maut- The angel of death). They do not like even to hear his name. They even condemn him though they know that this angel does not do anything of his own wish or authority. They have been employed by the Lord of the Universe and hence do everything by His order or command.
How the soul is taken
How soul is retrieved from body has been narrated in the hadiths about the Meraaj (ascension) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). In short, there is a board in front of Israel 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 breeze of wind blowing off thousands of lamps in a split second. All of it is with the might of the Almighty. Doubtlessly it is Israel who snatches who snatches souls but, as a matter of fact, it is only God Who causes because it is only His command and Will.
Who causes death? God, Israel or the angels?
Here comes up a question: Who takes away soul? It is God or Israel or the angels? There are three verses about this in the Holy Quran. At one place it says: God causes Death. At another place it is mentioned that: The angel of death takes away the soul. (S. Sajdah, V: 11). On yet another occasion it is mentioned: Angels collect souls. (S. Nisa, V: 97). 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 country. Similarly, it is also correct to mention that such and such commander captured such and such country. But in both the statement the truth remains that the country has been conquered by the king who owns and manages and directs the affairs of his state through the 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 Might of the Almighty.
The Lord Of The Universe Has Fixed Some Causes For Death
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 then even a light and ordinary thing can also become the reason of his death and the Lord of the universe takes away his life. It is also seen that some people die without even the slightest illness.
Appearance of Israel According To The Deeds Of The Dying Person
A matter pertaining to the angel of death is that when he comes to take the soul of any person he assumes a face fitting with 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 a Kafir (unbeliever denier)? The angel replied: You will not be able to look at that frightening shape. The friend of God repeated: I intend to see it. Then he saw that that angel appeared him in the form of a black man. His hair was standing on its end all over his body. Very foul smell was emanating from that frightening figure. His clothes were dark and flames were leaping out from his mouth and nose and so also smoke. Ibrahim (a.s.) became unconscious. When he came to sense he said: Even if the Kafir is not at all given any punishment only seeing you in this form is enough torture for him. Contrary to it the shape in which the angel of death appears before a believer has been mentioned in a number of hadiths. (Biharul Anwaar, Vol: 3, Chapter: Malak-ul-Maut).
Arrival Of Angels And Satans At The Time Of Death
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 (Ibid). 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. (Kamaa…Tub a Soon). 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 handsomeness of Hazrat Amirul Momineen (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 fulfillment of desire and passion then that lust of yours will become more intense at the time of death. But the one who had full faith has been given a promise by God that He will protect him and Satan will not be able to gain control over him. (Yusabbitullaah…Aakhirah, S. Ibrahim, V: 27).
When Abu Zakaria Raazi was about to die, those sitting around him asked him to recites: Laa Ilaah Illallaah. He replied: I will not recite. 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. Then he recited Shahaadatain and passed away from this world.
Verily, how Satan can subdue a man who had the believed 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.
Comfort And Discomfort At The Time Of Death
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 dragged out. In some it is said that the death time pain 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 death time pain 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 dying has been as pleasing as of smelling a fragrant glower. (Al La Zee Na…Ta'Maloon, S. Nahl: 32).
In some traditions it is mentioned by the impeccable that, for some people, death is like taking off dirty clothes and putting on 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 jail of this material world.
Sometimes Discomfort At The Time Of Death Redeems Sins
The death time discomforts or comforts mentioned above do not represent a hard and fast rule. It is not that a righteous person never experiences death time trouble. There are many a faithful whose soul departs easily. Also there are some good and faithful people who get God's mercy whereby their sins are wiped out through the death time pains and discomforts. This is because though one is faithful, he must also leave the world in a clean state (after removal of the dots of sins) so that he may be clean in the Hereafter also and many become eligible for divine grace right from the first stage of grave. In the case of Kafirs the death time pain is the starting point of his postmortem punishment and tortures. (Fa Kai Ka…Adbaarahum S. Muhammad V: 27).
Comfort On Deathbed, Reward Of Good Deeds Of The Dying Disbeliever (Kafir)
It is also seen sometimes that Kafirs and sinners die easily. It is because they had some good deeds in his life. His soul despairs comfortably so that this account may be cleared in this world (he never believed in the postmortem accounting). So he gets 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. It is like the trouble faced by Momin at death time which makes him clean from the impurities of sinning in lifetime. Anyway the fact of the matter is that, for a denier, 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.
Confiscating A Kafir’s Soul Through Torture
There is a hadith in Biharul Anwaar volume three. According to it once the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) went to visit his cousin brother Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.). The latter was suffering from an illness of 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 a 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 soul of a Kafir 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. Second, who eats the wealth of an orphan and the third is the one who gives false witness.
A Student Of Fuzail Who Died The Death Of A Disbeliever
Biographers have written that when the time of death approached his most knowledgeable and intelligent student, Fuzail and some other persons went to see him. Fuzail began to recite Surah Yasin. The unfortunate student at that time hit his teacher Fuzail saying: I do not want you to recite the Surah (Quran). Just think over the bad luck of a man who had learnt the Holy Quran throughout his life and who had spent a lot of his life time in mosques and madressas and assemblies of worships and prayers, at his last moment says: I do not want you to recite Quran before me! The unfortunate fellow did not recite even the Shahaadatain and 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 behavior 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. The three evils 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. (Sum Ma…Yastahzioo: S. Room, V: 10).
Dying In Disbelief Due To Sinning
The second evil habit was backbiting and inciting one against another. It causes separation even between a man and his life. Therefore if some one backbites someone else before you then you should not tell the latter the former was speaking ill of you. 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: Durooghe Maslehat Aameez Beh Az Raastiya Fitnah Angeez meaning: Untruth resulting in improvement of relations is better than a truth causing strife. Contrary to it, backbiting is the worst evil as it besides increasing ill will and enmity between two human beings, deprives the bitten one of his peace and calm. Then it sows a seed of trouble and unrest which is worse than murder. (Wal Fitnatu… S. Baqarah V: 191 and Wal…S. Baqarah V: 217).
The third evil which was found in that student of Fuzail was that of wine drinking. These were the three greater sins which cause a man die faithful even though he was a scholar and a high-class teacher. (Greater sins have been discussed in detail in Hazrat Ayatullah Dastgaib's book in Gunahane Kabirah).
Being Pleased With Death
It is very important also to remember that one must like to meet the Lord. It means that a Banda-e-Momin (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 his lifetime repent over his sins and clean himself through Tawbah and penitence and also increase the number of 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 one's Islamic though) he is loyal and obedient to only one God, he will get great reward very soon and taste the sweetness of his good deeds and if he had been a sinner, the series of his sins will be cut off and so also his punishment would also decrease.
In short, a wise man should be pleased with death at the moment of God's will because death is the only means (Wasilah) of reaching the peak of his good luck, 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 also death.
Similarly one must also like and be pleased with length in 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.
Love For World And Inclination Towards It Is Condemnable Both From The Viewpoint Of Logic And The Commands Of Shariat
It is also wrong and misplaced to abhor death and to be mad after material worldly life for enjoying more and more pleasured, as is the way of many. It is against both reason and Shariat.
It is unwise because, firstly, real happiness of pleasure cannot be achieved in this worldly life. There is a proverb which means 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 then old age and weakness is bound to follow it anyhow. 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 making hard laborer. Thus earning of wealth is also not without hazards. Any high position is not attained without laboring hard and facing deterrents and oppositions. Besides all of 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 couplet of proverb: -
Dil Bar Jahaan Ma Band Ke een Bevafaa Uroos Baa Heech Kas Shabi Ba Muhabbat Basar Na Kard meaning: Do not become ardent lover of this world because this disloyal bride does not pass even a single with sincere love with anyone.
Love For This World Is An Attribute Of Kafirs And The Source Of Sins
Deep involvement in material world is, from viewpoint of religion condemnable because the Holy Quran has regarded love for world an attribute of disbelievers. Almighty says: Wa Razoo…(Al-Baqarah: 7) meaning: The deniers are happy with their worldly life.
At another place: A Razeetum…(Tawbah: 38) which means: Have you given preference to the material worldly life over the Hereafter?
Referring to Jews it says: Ya Waddu…(Baqarah: 96) meaning: Every one of them likes that he should live in this world for a thousand years.
There are many verses like this in Holy Quran. Similarly there are innumerable hadiths and narrations. Here we mention a famous hadith of the Holy Prophet from the book Usoole Kaafi: Ra's Kullu…(the root cause of all evils is the love for this material world).
Dislike For Death And Weeping Over Demise Of The Beloved
Whatever we have mentioned above make it clear that if the dislike for death and longing for living longer and 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 is unwise from the viewpoint of brain (logic) also 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 postmortem journey to the Hereafter because death close 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 and 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 because of only the separation, like that of a co-traveler (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 another faithful brother especially when the departing person was helping the living one in his good deeds which for med a kind of provision for journey to Hereafter.
Expression Of Impatience Is The Result Of Carelessness About The 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 traveler 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. (Uyoon al Akhbaar ar Reza, Vol.2, P.81)
Divine Mercies And Bounties
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 honored by the king for your good service and loyalty. Surely that man will feel happy due to this good tidings. But at the same time he will also wish that he may be called up somewhat later so that he may perform some more functions liked by the king and get more awards. 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 honored very much during his life time.
The Arrival Of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) At The Moment Of Death
It is mentioned in many hadiths that the Holy Prophet and Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib and, according to some narrations, even the Holy five (Panjetan), and also all the fourteen Infallibles (a.s.) arrive near the head of the dying person. (More about their radiant faces and appearances will be mentioned henceforth).
One of the companions of Imam Reza (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 Momineen, Siddiqa Fatima Zahra, Imam Hasan, Imam Hussein and all the Holy Imams right upto Imam Kazim (a.s.) have arrived here and I am getting the honor of seeing their Holy faces and added: O Sir! Your honor's radiant face is also visible to me here. (Biharul Anwaar, 3: Vol.3)
In short, it is agreed that every person sees the Ahle 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.
As per a famous hadith narrated by Harith Hamadani, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) has said: Every one sees me on his or her death bed and will do so in future also, be he a believer (Momin) or a Denier (Kafir). (Biharul Anwaar, Vol.3)
Of course what is significantly important is that, for the faithful, the visit of Hazrat Amir will be a bounty because the attractively handsome face of the Hazrat is the sweetest pleasure for the faithful, whereas, for a denier, his frowning face will be showing God's terrible anger. (As Salaam… : Ziyarate Sashum, Janabe Amir).
Even After Death
After the soul gets out of the body it (soul) remains over it. Angels take the soul of the faithful towards the sky and that of the denier is being dragged downwards. When the corpse is being taken up (for carrying it to grave), if it is body of a faithful (Momin), it cries out: Carry me to my destination as soon as possible. If it is the body of a Kafir (disbeliever) the soul says: Do not make haste and do not rush me so speedily to my grave. At the time of Ghusl (bathing or giving a wash to the body) if the body is that of a Momin, 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 sorrowfulness 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 Quran and remembrance of Allah.
After the body is buried in the grave, as some hadith/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 and washing and shrouding and burying etc. All that is desirable (Mustahab) must be done. The Vaali (guardian) 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 hadith it has to be recited twice before this: First when the body breathes its last and second after placing the body in the grave.
Questions And Answers In The Grave
Among those things in which one must have faith and which form the essentials of the Shia faith is Sawaal… meaning the deed person 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 hadiths and there is no specific description in hadiths and Akbar. Of course, Allamah Majlisi has, in Beharul Anwaar Vol. 3 and also in Haqqul Yaqeen, mentioned that reliable hadiths show that the question in the grave and the squeezing in the grave will be experienced by this worldly body in which the deceased had lived in the world. It is understood tat the departed soul will be made to return to either the entire body or in some part of it (that is upto the chest or the waist as is mentioned in hadiths) so that the deceased may be able to understand the questions and to give replies.
Questioning About Beliefs And Deeds
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 every one, the believer as well as the kafir. 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 Quran is the Book of God. They will not give clear and correct replies. In short, if the deceased is able to give true replies a gate is being opened near his or her head and his or her 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 (Fa Amaa… S, Waqiah, V: 88-93). Then the body will be told: Have a sweet and restful sleep (Nam… Usoole Kaafi).
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).
Why This Questioning In Graves?
God already knows that this person is faithful or faithless, righteous or sinful. Then what is the use (benefit) of the above mention questioning? 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 will 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 pupils 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.).
Unbelievers Will See The Divine Punishment And The Beginning Of their Pains
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 deniers. It is mentioned in narrations that the frightening angels will threaten the kafirs 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 denier and this is why they are named 'Munkar and Nakeer' (the abhorring ones).
The Disbeliever Will Fail To Reply All Questions
A man had passed his entire life without any though 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 longed for only leadership. 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 belief. Some who will reply rightly about beliefs will fail in the questioning about their deeds and actions.
There Will Be Questioning About Deeds Too
It is mentioned in 'Beharul Anwaar' 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 honor 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 kept mum and did not give any reply. (Do remember that it is one of the obligatory duties of every faithful Momin to help the oppressed persons). 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 not 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 made no fault?
The Masoom (a.s.) complains: 'Abkee….' (I am weeping remembering the questioning by Munkar and Nakeer in the grave). Then who are we?
Deeds Are The Companions In Grave
It is agreed that, in the grave, everyone's companions will be his deed as has been specifically stated in the Quran and hadith. Sadooq (a.r.) has in Khisaal and Amaali and Ma Aaniyul Akhbar, narrated from Qais bin Aasim 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 be benefitted, because, most of the time, we remain roaming in forests 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 (Hashir) on the Day of Qiyamat (Resurrection or 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 terribly frighten you and that companion is your aamal (deeds).
Qais instantly turned this admonition into a poem of advice, in Arabic language: Takhaiyar… Yaf Al (Select a companion from your deeds because, in the grave, the only companion of a man will be his Aamal or deed). Wa Laa…Yaqbal (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 in the Grand Gathering). Fa in…Tashgal (So if you are busy in any deed then beware and never engage yourself in any deed which is disliked by God). Fa Lan…Ya'mal (Be it before death or after death, man will have nothing with him except his deeds). Alaa…Yarhal (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).
The Lord Of The World Warns
There are many Quranic 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 ayat:
Almighty Allah says: O Messenger! Remember the Day when every person will see his good deeds before him. Similarly he will also face his bad and evil deeds and will wish that he may be distanced from them. But those evil deeds will not go away from him and O People! Your Lord warns you of His anger and frowning. And God is always kind to His servants. (Yawma…bil ibaad, Surah Aale Imran: 3)
It is God's Mercy that He has conveyed innumerable admonitions and warnings to mankind through His Messengers.
The Disbeliever Will Be Accompanied By A Fearsome Face
His honour, Qazi Saeed Qumi, in his book Arabaeen, quotes Shaykh Bahai (a.r.): A friend of mine was living in the graveyard of Isfahaan. He used to remain busy praying near a tomb. I was going to see him off and on. Once I asked him: Have you ever, during your so many days in a 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 then 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 mean time, 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 blood stained condition. I exclaimed: My Lord! Explain to me what is this all that I am observing? Who are these two kinds of forms? (In the state of dreaming) I was informed that the good looking form was that of the good deeds done by the dead person. So also, the ugly form also was of his evil deeds. As the number of bad deeds done by the buried person was bigger than that of his good deeds, 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?
Pressing Of The Grave Is An Agreed (True) Fact
Allamah Majlisi says in Haqqul Yaqeen: All Muslims have a unanimously agreed belief that the squeezing of grave and both reward and punishment therein are real facts. According to reliable hadiths, the grave will press the same body which was been buried. Of course, every body is not being 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 pressure will also depend on the severity if 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.
Saikh Kulaini (r.a.) has, reliably narrated from Abu Baseer that: I asked Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s): Is any body spared from the sandwiching in grave?
The Hazrat replied: May God save. Very few people escape from the pressure in grave.
When the stepdaughter of the Holy Prophet, whose name was Ruqaiya, expired the Holy Prophet stood at her grave raising his head towards the sky. Tears flew from his eyes. Then he told the audience: I remembered the calamity from which this lady has just passed. It me extremely gloomy and I prayed: O Allah! Forgive her. You are Most Merciful. Please save her from the pressurizing of grave. Then he said: God has pardoned her.
It seldom so happens that a person is saved from the pressure 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 also causes such squeezing in the grave. As a testimony to this statement and with a view to show the importance of this pressure, we narrate below a hadis 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 going riding a horse, to visit the Holy Prophet. The latter asked Muslims to receive him. The Holy Prophet Himself had also stood at his arrival. The Holy Prophet had once appointed Saad as a Hakam (arbiter) in a case concerning some Jews. When he (Saad) expired seventy thousand angels had joined his funeral procession. The Holy Prophet had shouldered all the four corners of his coffin and had said: There were lines and rows of angels in the funeral of Saad. My hand was in the hand of Jibreel. I was following him (Jibreel) 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! Congratulation 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 pressure of the grave. The companions asked: O Messenger of Allah! Is a pious man like Saad is also being pressurized in the grave? The Holy Prophet said: Yes.
According to another narration, when people asked the reason for the sandwiching 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 ugly.
Pressurizing Of Grave Is Possible Everywhere
Kulaini (r.a.) has narrated from Yunus that he asked Imam Reza (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. Shaheed Zaid 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 pressurize the body.
Imam Jafar (a.s.) has been quoted in another hadith saying that the Lord of the earth and air is One. He orders air to presses the hanged body more forcibly than the force of a grave. The same is the case of those who drown in water.
Reasons of Pressing In Grave
It is known from the above that wasting (not appreciating) the bounties granted by God causes grave pressure. Similarly not behaving nicely with family members is also a reason for such sandwiching of the grave. (Details about non-appreciation of Divine graces and bad behaviour with wife can be seen in volume two of Aayatullaah Dastgaib (r.a.)'s book Gunaahaan-e-Kabeerah (Greeter Sins).
Some other causes of such pressure are not being clean after urinating, backbiting, making false allegations etc. The soul is pressurized. 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 width goes upto seven yards, seventy yards. For some it is upto the reach of one's eyesight. Consequently they, that is, their souls live are comfort and ease.