Grave: The first stage

بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

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The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is reported to have said:

أريد كلكم أن يدخل الجنة؟ قالوا: نعم, جعلنا الله تعالى فداءك يا رسول الله, قال: قصروا الأمل واستحوا من الله حق الحياء. قالوا: يا رسول الله كلنا نستحي من الله تعالى. قال: ليس ذلك بالحياء, ولكن الحياء من الله تعالى أن تذكروا المقابر والبلى, وتحفظوا الجوف وما وعى والرأس وما حوى

“Does every one of you want to enter Paradise?’ They said, ‘Yes! May Allaah sacrifice us for you, O Messenger of Allaah!’ He said, ‘Sever your long hopes and be shy of Allaah as He truly deserves.’ They said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, we are all shy of Allaah.’ He said, ‘That is not shyness. Rather, shyness of Allaah, The Most High, is to remember the graves and its trials, to preserve the chest and what it gathers, and to preserve the head and what it contains.” [Saheeh al-Jaami’]

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1. Haani’ the freed slave of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan رضي الله عنه narrated:

كان عثمان بن عفان إذا وقف على قبر بكى حتى يبل لحيته فيقال له : قد تَذكر الجنَّةَ والنَّار فلا تبكي وتبكي مِن هذا ؟ فيقول : إن رسول الله  صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : إن القبر أول منازل الآخرة فإن نجا منه فما بعده أيسر منه وإن لم ينج منه فما بعده أشد منه ، وقال رسول الله  صلى الله عليه وسلم : ما رأيت منظرا إلا والقبر أفظع منه

“When ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan stood by a grave he wept until his beard became wet. It was said to him, “You remember Paradise and Hell and you do not weep, but you weep because of this?” He said, “The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: ‘The grave is the first stage from the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, what comes after will be easier (for him), but if he is not saved from it (then) what comes after will be worse (for him).” And the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.”

[Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 2308; Ibn Maajah, 4567; see also Bazzar, 444 – graded as ‘hasan’ by Ibn Hajar in ‘Futuhat ar-Rabbaniyah, 4/192 and ‘saheeh’ by Ahmad Shakir in his tahqeeq of Musnad Ahmad, 1/225 ]

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2. Abd-Allaah ibn Muhammad Al-Mubarakfuri رحمه الله تعالى commented on this narration of Uthman in his ‘Mirat al-Mafatih’ (sharh of Mishkat al-Masabih), 1/229:

إن القبر أول منزل – أي : فهو أقرب شيء إلى الإنسان ، وأيضاً شدته أمارة للشدائد كلها
من منازل الآخرة – ومنها : عرصة القيامة عند العرض ، ومنها : الوقوف عند الميزان ، ومنها : المرور على الصراط ، ومنها : الجنة أو النار
فإن نجا منه – أي : من عذاب القبر
فما بعده – أي : من المنازل
أيسر منه – أي : أسهل وأهون ؛ لأنه يُفسح للناجي من عذاب القبر في قبره مدّ بصره ، وينوَّر له ، ويُفرش له من بسط الجنة ، ويُلبس من حللها ، ويُفتح له باب إلى الجنة فيأتيه من روحها وطيبها ، وكل هذه الأمور مقدمة لتيسير بقية منازل الآخرة
وإن لم ينج منه – أي : لم يخلص من عذاب القبر ، ولم يكفر ذنوبه ، وبقي عليه شيء مما يستحق العذاب به
فما بعده أشد منه – ؛ لأن النار أشد العذاب ، فما يحصل للميت في القبر : عنوان ما سيصير إليه

– The grave is the first stage – meaning it is the closest thing to man and a (first opportunity) to gauge the hardships (to come).

– (from) the stages of the Hereafter – (It is also from) the land where we will be resurrected, including our standing on the Meezan (balance), including our passage through the Siraat (bridge), including our entering into Paradise or the Fire.

– whoever is saved from it – Meaning the torment of the grave

– what comes after – Meaning of the (next) level or destination

– will be easier – Meaning easier and lesser (in suffering) because he was allowed protection from the torment of the grave and given insight (to see his place) and (his grave) was illuminated and Paradise was extended towards him and he was furnished with clothing (of Paradise) and the door to Paradise was opened allowing him to smell of its fragrance. All these things are presented to facilitate (and make easier) the rest of the Hereafter.

– if he is not saved (from it) – Meaning not saved from the torment of the grave as his sins were not expiated and thus was left with that which deserved punishment

– what comes after will be worse – The (severest of) torment in the fire (of Hell) and what will happen to the (sinful) deceased in the grave (i.e. what he will be subjected to).

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3. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

فلولا أن لا تدافنوا ، لدعوت لله أن يسمعكم من عذاب القبر الذي أسمع منه

“…Were it not (for the fear) that you would stop burying your dead (upon hearing the torment in the grave), I would have asked Allaah to make you hear from the torment of the grave as I hear it…” [Saheeh Muslim, 2867]

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4. Q&A on explanation of ‘hearing the torment of the inhabitants of the grave‘, by Sh. Abd Al-Kareem al-Khudayr حفظه الله تعالى

5. For those who are subjected to the punishment of the grave, then this will ‘insha Allaah be an atonement and purification for them.

Some of the reasons why the punishment in the grave occurs

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6. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in response to a question:

قد دلَّت نصوص الكتاب والسنَّة : على أن عقوبة الذنوب تزول عن العبد بنحو عشرة أسباب : أحدها : التوبة ، وهذا متفق عليه بين المسلمين… السبب الثامن : ما يحصل في القبر من الفتنة والضغطة والرَّوعة ، فإن هذا مما يكفر به الخطايا

“Texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah have shown that the punishment for sin is lifted from a person and one of the ten reasons (for its lifting) is repentance; and this is agreed upon by all Muslims… The eighth reason (for the lifting of punishment) is from what occurs in the grave of fitnah (i.e. trials and punishment) – this is from the things that atone for sins.” [See ‘Majmu’ Fatawa, 7/487-501]

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And only Allaah’s Refuge is sought from His Punishment.

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