Intermediate Period (Barzakh)
One of the dreaded stages of the hereafter is ‘Barzakh’. ‘Barzakh’ literally means a curtain or a separation, which lies between two things and does not allow them to meet each other. For example, sweet water and bitter water both flow side by side, but Almighty Allah has set between them a barrier so they do not intermingle. As Allah says in the Qur’an,
“He has made the two seas to flow freely (So that) they meet together, Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass.” (Surah ar-Rahman, 55:19 - 20).
But Barzakh in this context means that Allah has placed a curtain between this world and the hereafter. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “By Allah! I fear a lot for your state in Barzakh.” The narrator asked Imam (a.s.) as to what was Barzakh? Imam Sadiq (a.s.) replied that, it is a period starting from death till Qayamat. (Biharul Anwar)
“And before them is a barrier (Barzakh) until the day they are raised.” (Surah al-Mo’menoon, 23: l00)
Barzakh is also called a corporeal or a non-material world (Alame Misali) because while it seems somewhat like this world, but its nature and matter is totally different. After we die the other world seems quite vast when compared to this world, seems quite vast when compared to this world, and this world can be compared to the womb of the mother. In the same manner the body of a human in Barzakh will be the likeness of the one in this world. It means that in Barzakh the physical components of a man will be the same as in this world, but will be independent of matter. In fact it will be more pleasant and lighter (Lateef) than air, and will be transparent.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “If you look at the corporeal/imaginal body (Badane Misali, in Barzakh), you will say that it the same one (as in this world).
If one looks at one’s dead father in a dream, he will surely say that his appearance and bodily components were the same as when he was alive. But the reality is that his body and matter lie buried in the grave.
The eyes remain the same but devoid of the shortsight, which may necessitate the wearing of spectacles. The other bodily parts also do not become exhausted or weak, the teeth do not fall off, and a believer rejoices in eternal youth, while a non-believer suffers the impediments of old age, which act as Allah’s chastisement.
Philosophers and thinkers compare this body (in Barzakh) to the image in a mirror, but with two differences: a) The corporeal Body (Badane Misali) is firm, free and independent of the mirror, and b) It is intelligent, wise, and understanding as opposed to the image in the mirror. It can also be compared to a dream in which we travel from one place to another in the twinkle of an eye.
In Barzakh the body consumes variety of food and drinks, and hears the music, the likeness of which cannot be found in this world. The spirit (rooh) also rejoices in the pleasures along with the corporeal body. In fact the food and drinks of that world are more tasty and free from material dirt and uncleanliness as stated in traditions (Ahadees).
One thing gets converted to another according to the wish of the believer. Plums turn into grapes, and grapes into any other fruit, as will be discussed in the incident of Hazrat Hamza (a.s.)
In the state of Barzakh the intellect of the corporeal body is very strong. The pleasures, which we derive in this world are nothing as compared to those in that stage because the reality lies there whereas here is the likeness of it. If a Hoorie’ looks towards this world and lifts up the veil an inch off her face, the light of the sun would seem nothing in front of the light emanating from her glowing face. And the eyes would turn blind, hence complete beauty lies 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 the best in deeds.” (Surah al-Kahf, 18:7)
Allamah Naraqi relates in ‘Khazaen’: In the days of my youth in Isfahan, one day I accompanied my respected father and companions to a friend’s place on the day of ‘Nawroz’ to meet him. The friend lived near a cemetery. To relieve ourselves of fatigue and also with the intention of getting reward, we stopped by the graveyard to recite ‘fateha’ for the departed mo’meneen. One of our friends who was humorous, turned towards a grave and said, “O occupant of the grave! will you accept us as your guests today on this day of Idd”? Back came the reply, “Sure, next week on Tuesday you all will be my guests.” We were horrified and concluded that only some days of our lives were left. We started performing good deeds and rectifying the bad ones.
We also started writing our wills. The day of Tuesday dawned but none of us died. We met together went to the cemetery. One of us went forward and called to the grave, “O occupant of the grave! Please do as you had promised,” and back came the reply, “Welcome.” Suddenly we realized that the curtains of the hidden were lifted off our eyes, and we saw a green and beautiful garden in which were flowing streams of cool and pleasant water. The gardens were laden with colorful fruits, and beautiful birds were praising Allah on the trees. We reached a mansion in the midst of the garden. When he saw us he got up to welcome. Different types of fruits and sweets were served, the likeness of which cannot be imagined nor described
We ate to our full, but were still not satiated, and wished to eat more. After finishing the meals we sat for sometime, then we got up to ask the person’s permission to leave. He bade us farewell and came to leave us till the door. My father asked him as to who he was, and why did Allah bestow His blessings on him so that he had got the capacity to feed the whole mankind, and also asked him as to what the place was. The man replied that, “I am a native of your town, a butcher by profession, and the reason for these blessings to be bestowed on me are: (i) I never weighed less at the time of sale, and (ii) I always recited the Prayers (namaz) on time all throughout my life. As soon as the voice of ‘Takbeer’ reached my ears, I left my work and proceeded for Namaz in the Mosque. Hence I am offered this position here.
Last week when you requested me for a feast, I had not obtained permission for it, while this week I have got the permission and hence invited you.” Then we individually asked him our ages and he answered. I asked him my age and he said that I would live for another fifteen years. Then he wished us farewell, and we reached the same place in the cemetery.
One of the peculiarities of ‘Barzakh’ is that it is eternal and permanent. None of the things of this world are immortal. Youth is overshadowed by the darkness of old age. Till the time the morsel of food remains in the mouth, a person derives pleasure and taste, and then it disappears. Flowers turn dry after a time period, and hence nothing remains eternal. But Barzakh and its pleasures are eternal because it is not made up of matter or elements like the other things and hence do not cease to exist.
A narrative in ‘Darus Salaam’ can explain this, where in Shaikh Mahmood Naraqi quotes from Shaikh Mahdi Naraqi. He says that: During my days in Najaf, there broke a severe famine. I left my house leaving behind my children who were crying with hunger and thirst so as to search some sustenance for them. I passed through ‘Wadi-us Salaam’ and entered there in with the intention of reciting ‘Fateha’ for the departed souls, as this act would pacify me and make me forget my sorrow.
I saw some people in the graveyard with a bier, and they requested me to join them in the funeral. Being an act of great reward I accompanied them. They carried the bier and suddenly we entered into a vast garden. They took the bier in a huge and beautiful place there in, which had all the amenities of luxury. I entered through the door and saw a handsome youth wearing splendid attires seated on a golden throne.
As soon as he saw me, he addressed me by my name and saluted me. He signaled me to go near him and I replied in the negative. He said “I am the same person whose funeral you are attending. I am a native of so and so town and the people you saw in my funeral were the blessed Angels, who brought me from my town to this Paradise for the intermediate (Barzakh) period.”
When I heard these words from the lips of the person, I forgot my sorrow and started adoring the beauties of the garden. When I came out of the garden, I saw some other places, and when I observed carefully I saw my departed parents and relatives standing at the doors. When they saw me, they invited me to enter in. I entered there in and they invited me for food, which was very delicious. While eating I suddenly remembered my wife and children who were dying of hunger and thirst and my face turned pale. My (father) understood and said, “O my son Mahdi! What is the reason for your sorrow”? I replied, “O father! While eating, I suddenly remembered that my wife and children are dying of hunger at home, and that made me sad.”
He pointed towards a stock of rice and told me to take as much as I desired. I spread out my cloak and filled it to the full. And as soon as I got up, I found myself standing in the same place in ‘Wadi-us-Salaam’, with my cloak filled with rice I hurried towards my house and we ate to our full. Quite some time passed, but the stock never got over. One day my wife asked me as to where I had got it from. She forced me to tell her, and I had to narrate the whole incident to her. She got up in excitement to take some rice from it so as to eat it, but it had disappeared.
Hence it can be concluded from this incident that the pleasures of Barzakh are eternal and not perishable.
On the other hand if we hear the voices of those who are being punished in Barzakh, we shall forget the sorrows of this world.
It is narrated in the third volume of ‘Biharul-Anwar’ that the Holy Prophet (s) said: Before the proclamation of Prophethood, once when I was grazing the cattle, I suddenly saw that the cattle stopped grazing and looked frightened. I wondered as to what was the reason for such a change, because nothing unusual happened at that time. When Jibra’eel came with the Revelation (Wahy) I asked him the reason for such a change. Jibra’eel answered, “O Prophet of Allah! When the people who are being punished in Barzakh scream with anguish and pain, while human beings and jinns do not hear their voices, animals can hear it and hence become tense. There are many incidents to support this.
It is written in ‘Darus Salaam’ that the great Scholar Allamah Sayyed Hashim Husain Bahrani says: In Najaf there lived a shopkeeper who counseled and advised people daily at his shop after Namaze Zohr. At that moment his shop would be full of people who gathered to hear the guidance.
One day an Indian prince came to settle in Najaf, and planed to proceed on a journey. He came to the shopkeeper to keep his ornaments and valuables as a trust with him, because he thought the shopkeeper to be a trust-worthy believer. After some days when he returned back from the journey, he went to the shopkeeper to take back the things entrusted to him. The shopkeeper totally denied having taken the valuables from him.
The prince was dejected and went to the Shrine of The Commander of the faithful Ali (a.s.) and called out, “O Ali I left my motherland and came and settled here near your grave, and entrusted my wealth to the shop-keeper believing him to be a trustworthy person. But alas, now he denies having my wealth and I have no witness to prove my claim except you.” In the night he dreamt that Hazrat Ali (a.s.) came and told him to go in the morning to the gate of the city. And when the gate opens, the first person to enter there in would help him acquire his lost wealth. He got up the next morning and went to the city-gate.
The first person to enter the gate was an old and feeble man, who looked virtuous and was carrying a load of wood on his head. He entered the city and sat down to sell the wood so as to earn some thing for his family. The prince felt ashamed to ask for his help and returned to the Shrine. He again dreamt the same, and the next day again went to the city-gate and saw the old man and returned back. When on the third night he dreamt the same, in the morning he went to the gate and finding the old man related the whole incident to him. The man thought for a moment and told the prince to come to the shopkeeper’s place after (midday prayer) - mamaze zohr, and he would get his wealth back if Allah desires. After the namaz people as usual gathered at the shop and the shopkeeper got up to advice. Suddenly the old man got up and requested the shopkeeper to let him say something, to which he agreed.
The old man said, “O people! I am so and so, the son of so and so, and I am worried about the rights of people (Haqqun Naas). Praise be to Allah! For I have no lust for the wealth of this world, and am a connected man and passing my days in solitude. I would like to narrate to you an incident of my life and warn you about the wrath of Allah, and the punishment of Hell, and the hardships of Qayamat. Once I was in great debt and hence borrowed ten ‘Qiraat’ (equal to 21 dinars) from a Jew and promised him to pay half a ‘Qiraat’ daily. I fulfilled my promise for ten days.
On the eleventh day the Jew was not to be found anywhere. I inquired about his whereabouts and was told that he had migrated to Baghdad. After some days I dreamt that Qayamat had dawned, and I was being brought for reckoning along with others. After giving my account, I was sent towards Paradise. While passing on the bridge of Serat, I suddenly saw the Jew appearing from the raging fire below and he stopped my way.
He asked me to return him back the five ‘Qiraats’, which I owed him. I told him that I had no intention of usurping his money, and that I had searched for him, but he was nowhere to be found. He said that he would not permit me to go any further until I return his trust back to him I said that I did not have anything at that moment, to which he replied that in that case I should allow him to place his finger on my chest.
I agreed to it. As soon as he placed his fingers on my chest, I felt intense pain, and I woke up from my sleep. I saw that there was a wound on my chest, which is not yet cured, and is still fresh. Whatever treatment I do is of no avail.” Saying this the old man opened his shirt buttons and showed the wound to the people. When the people saw the wound, they started weeping and wailing and asked repentance from Allah. The shopkeeper who was also hearing this was very much affected and regretted his sin. He called the Indian prince and returned him his wealth and apologized sincerely for his sin.
The spirit receives reward or punishment (as the case may be) in the grave. But due to its long relation with the body, the body also feels pain and is affected. Those people who say that it is of no use to visit the graves, for the spirit (Rooh) of the believer is not present there but is in ‘wadi-us salaam’, this is not true. The answer to this ignorant talk is the tradition (Hadees) of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) who says that Verily the Spirit (Rooh) of the believer is in ‘Wadi-us-salaam, but it surely keeps an eye on what is happening in the grave. It also looks at the people who have come to visit his grave. Imam (a.s.) compares the spirit to the sun. Even though the sun is not on the earth but is on the sky, the entire earth is illuminated by it’s light, in the same manner the spirit is in ‘Wadi-us-Salaam’ but it keeps contact with the body.
The great Traditionist (Muhaddis) Sayyed Ne’matullah Jazaeri narrates an incident in his book “Anware No’maniyah” that once Shah Isma’il Safawi came to Karbala. He heard the people denying and doubting the faithfulness of Hurr bin Yazid ar-Riyahi (one of the companions of Imam Husain, who was martyred in Karbala). He gave the order to dig the grave of Hurr.
When the grave of Hurr was opened people saw the corpse of Hurr lying afresh. A kerchief was tied on his forehead, regarding which it is related, that on the day of ‘Ashoora’ (the tenth of Moharram), Imam Husain (a.s.) himself had tied a kerchief on the bleeding forehead of Hurr. Shah Isma’il ordered that the kerchief should be removed and given to him so as to be kept in his shroud. As soon as the kerchief was removed blood started oozing from the forehead of Hurr, hence it was tied back.
Shah Isma’il ordered another kerchief to be tied instead of it. When this was done the blood flowed ceaselessly. The Shah was helpless and ordered the kerchief to remain at its original place. He then acknowledged the faithfulness and high honor of Hurr. Then he ordered a Shrine to be erected on the grave.
In the same manner Shaikh Kulaini and Shaikh Sadooq (two great Shi’ah Ulama)’s graves were opened, and their bodies were found fresh there in as if sleeping in peace. The Henna applied on the hands of Shaikh Sadooq also remained intact even after so much time. The signs of life were visible from his body.
On the other hand, when the spirits of the non-believers are being punished, their bodies are also effected. When Bani Abbas gained victory over Bani Ummayah and entered Damascus, they started exhuming their graves. When the grave of Yazid ibne Mu’awiyah was opened, only a lump of mud was found instead of his body. When a person was being buried in a graveyard in the city of Qum, a flame of fire erupted from his grave, which destroyed all its surroundings. In Pakistan too many such incidents have taken place, which have been reported in newspapers.
A question may arise in the minds of people as to where does such a vast event of Barzakh take place. A human’s intellect is beyond it’s understanding. In traditions (Ahadees) this universe is compared to the mother’s womb, and the state of Barzakh to the expansive world outside it. If a child in the mother’s womb is informed about a vast and expansive world outside, it will be difficult for it to grasp it. In the same manner human intellect cannot understand the state of the expansive Barzakh. As is said in the Holy Qur’an:
“So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes.” (Surah as-Sajdah, 32:17)
Whatever has come down to us from the Holy Aimmah (a.s.) has to be relied upon. It is related in traditions that whenever a believer (Mo’min) dies anywhere in the east or the west, his spirit is taken to the Valley of Peace (Wadi-us-Salaam) in Najaf near the grave of the Commander of the faithful Ali (a.s.). In another tradition Najaf is described as an assembling place for the high-honored and blessed Angels (Malaeka). And if the dead man is a believer in the Holy Aimmah (a.s.), and is buried in Najaf, he rejoices in abundant bliss. While if a sinful person is buried in Najaf and his spirit is being punished in ‘Wadi-e-Barhoot’, his spirit strengthens its union with the body and hence is relieved of the punishment, as has been related in earlier incidents.
The Valley of punishment (Wadi-e-Barhoot) is situated in the barren lands of a deserted valley in Yemen, which is devoid of food or water. This is the dwelling place of the evil spirits (rooh) who are made to stay there during Barzakh and taste severe chastisement.
One day a man came to the presence of the Holy Prophet (s) in a manner that fear had overtaken him and his face had turned pale. He said that he had witnessed an astonishing event, which was the cause of his restlessness. On the Prophet’s inquiry he said: “My wife has a disease, for the cure of which she requested me to fetch some water from the well at Wadi-e-Barhoot (Mineral water has got the power to cure skin diseases). I took a leather bag and a bowl and left. When I reached there, the eerie surrounding made me fearful and I hastily started searching for the well.
I found one well and was about to fill water in the bag, when I heard the noise of chains from above me. I heard a voice requesting me for water for he was dying of intense thirst. When I looked above I saw a man hanging by a chain, which was bound around his neck. I was confused but agreed to his request for water. When I extended my hand to offer him water, the chain was suddenly pulled on top, and the man reached just near the blazing sun. I was dumb- founded and scared, and started filling the water bag when I saw the man being sent down again.
He again requested me for water, and like before when I extended my hand to give him, the chain was pulled up. This happened thrice. On the third time I was totally frightened and ran away from there. O Prophet! I now request you to explain to me the incident.”
The Holy Prophet (s) replied, “The man whom you saw in the Wadi-e-Barhoot was none other than the accursed Cain (Qabeel, the son of Prophet Adam), who had mercilessly murdered his brother Abel (Habeel). He will be punished in the same manner in the valley, and on the day of Qayamat he will be fed to the blazing fire of hell.”
Sayyed Mo’min Shablanji Shafe’i in his book ‘Noorul Absar’ relates from Abul Qasim bin Muhammad, who says: One day I saw some people gathered near the ‘Maqame Ibraheem’ in the Masjid-ul-Haraam (Ka’bah), and asked them the reason for it.
They said that a Christian hermit had converted to Islam and had an astonishing incident to narrate. I went and saw an old man wearing woollen clothes sitting there and inquired of him.
He said, “One day I was seated outside my hut gazing at the river and adoring it. Suddenly I saw a huge bird having the head of a donkey descending from the sky. It came down and sat on a bowlder. It spitted something from its mouth and flew away. I observed properly and saw that it was a quarter part of a human body. The bird returned again and spitted another quarter part of the human body. This happened four times. When all the four parts collected together, a man arose from it.
I was astonished, when I saw the bird coming again. The bird started biting the man and severed a quarter part of his body and swallowed it without chewing and flew away. It returned four times until it had swallowed the whole body in parts. I wondered as to what was happening and who the person might be. I regretted not having asked the person when the bird was away. On the second day I saw the same thing happening and gathered courage and went up to the person and asked him as to who he was, and why was he being troubled in such a manner.
He replied that his name was Abdul Rahman ibn Muljim, the murder of Ali ibn Abi Talib, and the bird was sent by Allah to punish him regularly for the grievous crime (murder of Hazrat Ali), which he had committed. Having got the reply, I left my hut and came about to inquire as to who this Ali (a.s.) was. People told me that he was the cousin, son-in-law, and the Vicegerent (Wasi) of the Holy Prophet (s) of Islam. I have thus accepted Islam because of this event and have come to Mecca to perform the Pilgrimage (Hajj), Lesser Pilgrimage (Umrah), and the Ziarat of the grave of the Holy Prophet (s).
Allamah Qutubud din Rawandi quotes from ‘Lubbe Labaab’ that it is related, that on the night of every Friday, the spirits (rooh) for the dead ones come to the doors of their houses and call out: “O my children! O my relatives! Favour me by performing such acts, which may prove helpful to me, and may also become the cause of Allah’s blessings to be bestowed on you.
Give us a place in your hearts, and do not forget us, have mercy on our wretched state. Surely we are in a state of imprisonment, loneliness, and anxiety. So do not hold your hands from giving alms (Sadqa) on our behalf, and pray for our forgiveness. It is possible that Allah may hear your prayers and bestow his mercy upon us, do so before you too may become like us. Alas! some day we were also strong and healthy as you are now. O’ servants of Allah! Listen to our words, and pay heed to them.
It is no doubt that the enormous wealth, which you now enjoy, was once ours. We did not spend it in the way of Allah, but acted miserly and even usurped the rights of others. And verily this is the cause for our damnation, and your enjoyment. So now favor us by offering on our behalf a dirham or a morsel of food. We see that soon you too shall weep over your deeds, but it will be of no avail. Try and rectify your mistakes and save your selves from regret.”
It is narrated from “Jame’ul Akhbaar” that one of the companions (Ashaab) of the Holy Prophet (s) heard him saying that, “Send gifts to your dead.” I asked him as to what gifts could we send to the people who are dead. He replied, “It is to give alms (Sadqa) on their behalf or pray for their forgiveness.”
The Prophet continued, “On every Friday the spirits (rooh) of the dead come to the homes and call out: O people of my house! May Allah bless you, have mercy on us. Whatever we have done in this world, we are facing its consequences now, while the fruits of our toil is being enjoyed by others. Favor us by giving on our behalf a dirham, or a bread, or clothes, so that Allah may reward you with a heavenly attire.”
The Holy Prophet (s) started crying and we also started weeping. He cried so bitterly that he became exhausted and said, “These are your Muslim brethren who lived a lavish life, and now lie pressed beneath the earth. They now regret their mistakes and weep over the deeds, which have become the cause of their affliction.
They say: Alas! if only we had spent our wealth in the path of Allah, and not have acted miserly, we would not have to be dependent on you now. We now beg of you to send us some Sadqa.”
In the same book it has been narrated from the Holy Prophet (s) that he said that, “Whatever alms (Sadqa) is given on behalf of the deceased person, the blessed Angels adorn it on an illuminated tray (whose light spreads across the seven heavens) and take it to the head of the grave and say: Peace be on you, O’ inhabitant of the grave! Your relatives have sent this gift to you. The deceased person takes the tray into his grave, as a result of which the entire grave gets illuminated, and the grave expands in length.”
He then continued “Those who favor their departed relatives by giving alms on their behalf, it’s reward is as big as the mountain of Ohud in the sight of Allah, On the day of Qayamat, Allah will give the person shelter under His Throne (Arsh), when there will be no other shelter except this. Hence this sadqa proves useful for the living person as well as the dead one.”
Allamah Majlisi narrates in “Zadul Ma’ad” says that do not forget your dead, for they have no power to perform good deeds, and they totally rely on their children, brothers, and relatives. They eagerly await the favors. Particularly pray for them in the Midnight Prayers (Namaze Shab), and after every Obligatory Prayers (Wajib Namaz). And never forget to pray for your parents more than anyone else whenever you visit. The sacred places, and perform good deeds on their behalf. It is also narrated that there have been such children who were disowned by their parents during their lifetime, but were later forgiven because they performed good deeds on their behalf after their death. The best deed to be performed on behalf of one’s parents or relatives, is to pay their debts (Huququn Naas), and to perform worship acts (Huququllah, Namaz, Roza etc.) on their behalf. One should also perform the Pilgrimage (Hajj) for them, which they left in their lifetime.
It is related in a trustworthy tradition that Imam Ja’far- as-Sadiq (a.s.) used to recite two units (Rak’at) Namaz during the night for his children, and during the day for his parents. In each Rak’at after Surah al-Hamd he recited once Surah al-Qadr, and in the second Rak’at after Surah al Hamd once Surah al-Kausar.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, that sometimes it happens that a dead person faces trouble and difficulty, and suddenly Allah grants him peace and prosperity. It is said unto him: this is so because your such and such brother in faith has recited Namaz on your behalf. A person asked him, “Can two dead persons be included in the same Namaz”? Imam (a.s.) replied, “Yes, you can do so, for verily the dead man becomes happy when this prayer reaches him through you.” He (a.s.) added, “Perform Prayers (Namaz), Fasting (Roza), Pilgrimage (Hajj), give alms (Sadqa), and do other good deeds on their behalf, for these enter his grave and are also written on his scrolls of deeds (Name’ A’amaal).”
It is also narrated in another tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that he said that, “Perform good deeds for the deceased, for Allah doubles the reward, and this proves useful for them.”
It is also narrated that when someone gives alms (Sadqa) on behalf of the dead man, Allah commands Jibra’eel to take seventy thousand Angels along with him and go to the grave of the person. Each one of the Angels carries with them a tray full of blessings from Allah, and they call out: O friend of Allah! Your such and such friend has sent this gift for you. His grave then becomes illuminated, and Allah grants him one thousand cities in Paradise, and weds him with one thousand Houries, and gifts him one thousand attires, and fulfills one thousand wishes of his.”
My respected teacher Allamah Husain Noori narrates in ‘Darus Salaam’, that Allamah Sayyed Ali b. Hasan al Husainee Isfahani told him that: When my father died in Isfahan, I was studying in the Theological School (Hawza) in Najaf. The pending works of my father, which were to be fulfilled, were assigned to the care of my brothers, regarding which I was not aware. Seven months after my fathers death my mother died too. She was brought to Najaf and buried there. One day I dreamt that I was seated in a room. Suddenly my father entered therein. I got up as a sign of respect and saluted him. He sat with me and listened carefully to my conversation. I was aware that he had died, and so I asked him as to how did he reach there when he had died in Isfahan. He replied, “After people buried me, I was shifted here in Najaf, and now this has become the place of my dwelling.”
Then I asked him whether my deceased mother was with him. He replied in the negative, which made me shiver. He then replied that she too was in Najaf, but at a different place. I then concluded that my father was a Scholar (Aalim), and that a Scholar’s status was more than an ordinary man.
Then I asked him about himself and he said that, “Formerly I was in deep trouble and faced many difficulties. But praise be to Allah, the trouble is now eased, and I am in peace.” I was surprised and asked him the reason for it. He replied, “I owed some amount to Haji Ridha, the son of Aqa Baba, but I died and hence was punished because of it.” I woke up from my dream and thought over. I then wrote a letter to my brother who looked after the property of my father.
I wrote to him the whole incident, and requested him to find in the records of the book of loans (of my father) if any amount was due to Haji Ridha. After some days my brother wrote back that he had searched in the creditor’s register, but could not find any outstanding amount due to Haji Ridha, I wrote back to him to go personally to the said person and ask him. After some days my brother wrote back that he visited Haji Ridha. He said that he owed 18 tumans to our father, but had no witness for it except Allah. He said that after the demise of our father, he had asked my brother if his name was written in the creditor’s register but he said no.
He thought to himself that if he claimed the amount he had no witness for it. He relied on our father that he would surely have written it in his register, but when his name was not found he thought that he must have to record it. When my brother tried to repay him the amount, he refused to accept the money and said that he had forgiven our father, and freed him from the loan, which he had owed him.
Allamah Husain Noori relates in ‘Darus Salaam’ from Hajj Mulla Abul Hasan Mazandarani who says that: I had a friend named Mulla Ja’far b. Muhammad Husain Tabrisani who lived in a town named Teelake. Once there broke out an extreme epidemic, and many people died because of it. People had appointed Mulla Ja’far as their trustee to distribute their loans if they died. But it so happened that after some time Mulla Ja’far himself fell prey to the epidemic, and the money was left undistributed.
When I went to Karbala for the Pilgrimage (Ziarat) to the Shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.), one night I saw in a dream a man in whose neck was bound in chains, from which fire was spurting out, and two men held him. The tongue of the imprisoned man was hanging out from his mouth and lying on his chest. When he saw me, he came near and I recognized him to be my deceased friend Mulla Ja’far. I was shocked and asked him the reason for this punishment. When he tried to answer me, the two men pulled the chain and dragged him behind. This happened thrice, and I woke up from my sleep with a loud cry.
Hearing my screams, my fellow-student Aalim who was sleeping besides me also got up. I narrated to him the whole dream. Coincidentally it was the time of opening the gates of the Shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.). I told my companion that it would be better if we went to the Shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.) and offer salutations, and ask for Mulla Ja’far’s forgiveness. It is possible that Allah may forgive him. We went and prayed for him.
Now twenty years passed but I received no further news about him. I presumed that the punishment was being meted out to him because he did not make haste in passing on the loans of the deceased people to their creditors. By the grace of Allah, I got the opportunity to go for the Pilgrimage (Hajj), and then I went to Madina. Suddenly I fell ill, and my state worsened to the extent that I could not even walk. I requested my companions to bathe and clothe me, and carry me on their shoulders to the Shrine of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s).
They thought that it was my last wish and carried me to the Shrine. When I entered therein, I became unconscious. My companions left me to their respective chores. When I regained consciousness they took me near the tomb and lay me there. I recited the ‘Ziarat’ (Salutations). Then they carried me behind the Shrine to the house of Hazrat Fatema (a.s.).
When I was laid there, I requested Her to give me cure, and I also said, “O’ Sayyedah! We have heard that you hold your son Husain (a.s.) very dear, and I am one of the care-takers of his shrine, hence, for his sake please request Allah Almighty to grant me health.” Then I turned towards the grave of the Holy Prophet (s) and asked my wishes from him. Then I asked him to forgive all my deceased friends taking each name till I reached the name of Mulla Ja’far. Suddenly I remembered the dream and started weeping.
I requested Allah to forgive him, because twenty years back I had seen him in a dream in a terrible state. With sincerity and solemnity I prayed for his forgiveness. Suddenly I felt my weakness to be eased. I got up, and without taking the help of others reached my place. Hazrat Fatema (a.s.) answered my Prayers and I was totally cured. We left Madina and went to the mountain of Ohad. We recited Ziarat of the Martyrs of Ohad.
It was there that after twenty years I again saw my friend Mulla Ja’far in a dream. He was wearing a beautiful white dress, a turban was wound on his head, and he held a staff in his hand. He came towards me, saluted and said, “Verily a friend has to do the same as you have done for me. Previously I was in great trouble until you prayed for me. Allah relieved me from the punishment just before you came out of the shrine. The Angels then bathed me in clean water.
The Holy Prophet (s) gifted me this dress, and Hazrat Fatema (a.s.) presented me with this cloak. I am now in peace, and have come to offer you thanks for what you have done. I also give you the good news that you have been cured of your illness, and will soon return to your family who are fine.” I awoke from my sleep and offered thanks to Allah.
It is written in ‘Darus Salaam’ that Shaikh Hajj Mulla Ali relates from his father Hajj Mirza Khaleel Maiharani, who says that:
I was in Karbala, while my mother lived in Tehran. One night my mother came to me in a dream and said, “O’ my son! I have died, and am being brought to you for burial in Karbala, and my nose has been broken.” I awoke frightfully. After some days I received a letter from my brother stating the news of the demise of my mother. It was also written in it that her corpse was being sent to me at Karbala to be buried there.
The people from the caravan who brought the corpse told me that the bier was kept in a guesthouse.
I accepted the reality of the dream, but was confused regarding the statement my mother made that “my nose has been broken.” I lifted the sheet from her face and saw that her nose was broken. I asked the people of the caravan regarding it.
They replied that when they brought my mother’s corpse here, they kept it in a guesthouse along with other corpses. Suddenly there ensued a quarrel amongst themselves, and in the collision the corpse fell down. May be that would have been the reason for it. I was grieved and took her corpse to the Shrine of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and placed it near the grave, and said, “O Abul Fazl! My mother was not serious about Prayers (Namaz) and Fasting (Roza), and sometimes neglected it. Now she lies here near you, so please ward off her difficulty. O’ my Master! I take responsibility to offer fifty years of the elapsed (Qaza) prayers and fasting on her behalf.”
Then I buried her but later forgot to fulfill as promised. After some days I dreamt that some people had gathered in front of my house I came out and saw that my mother was bound to a tree, and was being lashed severely. I screamed and asked them the reason for this punishment.
They replied that they had been commanded by Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) to punish her until so and so amount is not paid on her behalf. I entered my house and brought the money and gave it to them.
Then I untied my mother, and took her inside my house. I got up from my dream and calculated the sum, and found it to be equal to the amount for the performance of fifty years of elapsed Namaz and Roza. I took the money and went to the great Aalim of our time Sayyed Ali, and requested him to do the necessary arrangement to offer the elapsed Namaz and Roza of fifty years on behalf of my mother. The author of the book Mirza Husain Noori says, that the above incident is stated here to demonstrate the severity of the punishment due to laziness in worship, and sanctity of the places of Pilgrimage (Ziyarat).
Hajj Shaikh Mulla Ali quotes from his father Hajj Mirza Khaleel Malharani who says that: In Tehran there lived a person named Ali Talib who worked in a bathhouse. He did not offer Prayers (Namaz) nor fasted (Siyam). One day he went to a mason and told him to construct a bathhouse for him, and agreed to offer the payment.
The mason asked him as to where he got such a huge sum, to which he replied that it was none of his business. The mason did as ordered, and the bathhouse was built which became famous by his name. Mulla Khaleel further says that:
Once when I was in Najaf, I dreamt that Ali Talib was in ‘Wadi-us-Salaam’ in Najaf. I was surprised and asked him as to how could a person like him who did never ever offered prayers nor fasted be in ‘Wadi-us-Salaam’ in peace. Ali Talib replied: “When l died, I was bound in chains and shackles, and was being taken to be punished. Then I received news that Hajj Mulla Muhammad Kirmanshahi, one of the great Ulama of Tehran, had favored me by appointing so and so person to perform the Pilgrimage (Hajj) on my behalf, so and so person do perform my elapsed prayers (namaz) and fasts (siyam), and so and so person to pay the (zakat) and atonement of rights (radde mazalim) on my behalf. He left no dues pending on me, and thus I was freed of the punishment. May Allah have mercy on him.”
Mulla Khaleel Maiharani says: I awoke from my sleep and was astonished. After some days a group of people came to visit Najaf from Tehran. I asked them about Ali Talib. They said that he had died, and Mulla Muhammad Kirmanshahi had appointed so and so persons to pray, fast, perform hajj, and give zakat and radde mazalim on his behalf. The names of all the persons they mentioned was the same as told to me in the dream by Ali Talib.
This incident is in accordance to the tradition which says that whatever good-deeds are performed on behalf of the dead person, surely benefits him. It is possible that sometimes a dead person faces troubles and difficulties, but such good deeds performed by others on his behalf, relieves him. It is also demonstrated through the above incident that any believer (mo’min) who dies in the east or in the west, his spirit (rooh) is taken to ‘Wadi-us-Salaam’. It is also narrated by Ma’soom (a.s.) that it is as if I see the group of dead people conversing with one another.
Shaikh Sa’eed Qummi narrates in “Arba’eenat” from a trustworthy authority, who told him that Shaikh Baha’uddin Ameli once went to visit a wise man who lived near a cemetery in Isfahan. The wise man told Shaikh Baha’i: Some days back I witnessed an astonishing incident, which I would like to tell you. Some persons came here with a dead body, buried it and went away. Suddenly I smelt a fragrance the likeness of which I had never smelt before. I turned towards the left and right to see where it came from. I saw a handsome young man wearing splendid clothes going towards the newly made grave.
He went and sat near the grave. I was all the more surprised when I saw the young man disappear into the grave. After sometime I smelt a bad odor the likeness of which too I had never smelt before. I saw an ugly dog going towards the grave and disappear in it. My astonishment knew no bounds. I was wondering about what actually was happening, when I saw the young man coming out of the grave in a bad state. His whole body was bruised.
He started running away from the grave and I followed him. I stopped him and asked him the reason for running fearfully. The young man replied, “I am the dead man’s good deeds, and was commanded to accompany him in his grave. Suddenly the dead man’s evil deeds came in the form of a dog. I tried to keep him away from the dead man, but it bit me and wounded me all over.
He made a bad state of me and I could no longer remain in the grave. Hence I have come out leaving the dead man to the mercy of his evil deeds.”
(The dead man’s evil deeds were stronger than his good ones). When Shaikh Baha’i heard this incident, he told the wise man, Verily the incident is true, because it is narrated that the deeds (good or bad) which a person performs in his life-time, are given a physical form.”
Shaikh Sadooq in his book ‘Amali’ narrates that once Qays bin Asim Minqari came to the presence of the Holy Prophet (s) accompanied by some people of Bani Tameem. He requested the Prophet to advice him. The Holy Prophet (s) replied, “O Qays! When you die, a companion will also be buried along-with you, who will be alive while you will be dead.
If the companion would be blessed, you will get peace, and if he would be accursed, you will fall in anguish. Compel your companion to become good, because if you will be good, you will love him and respect him. While if you will be bad, you will hate him and neglect him. Verily this companion is your good deeds.” Qays said, “O Prophet of Allah! I wish that this advice be framed in a beautiful couplet, so that it could become the reason for our honor.”
The Prophet (s) sent someone to fetch Hisan bin Sabit, a poet. At that moment Salsal bin Walahmas was present there, and he compiled a couplet.
Shaikh Sadooq relates from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) who says that the Holy prophet (s) said, “Once prophet Isa (a.s.) was passing from near a grave which was engulfed in the wrath of Allah. After one year when he again passed from near that same grave, he saw that the punishment had been lifted off.
He asked Allah the reason for such a change. Allah revealed to him: O Isa! The dead man has left behind him a virtuous son, who when he reached adolescence, rectified the mistakes done by his father.
He helped the orphans and sheltered them. Hence I have forgiven him because of his son’s good deeds.”