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The Domain between Death and Resurrection (Aalam-e-Barzakh)

There is a domain connecting this world to the hereafter, which is called ‘Barzakh’. After death and before Qiyaamat, all the humans and Jins have to live therein as per their ranking. Barzakh is much larger than this earth. The comparison between this Barzakh and this world is like the womb of the mother compared to the earth. In Barzakh, some will attain comfort whilst others will face hardships.

Belief: Every person has a fixed lifespan on earth. It can neither be increased nor decreased. When the amount of time given to a person expires, Hazrat Izra’eel appears and removes his soul. The person observes the presence of Angels to his left and right, for as far as his eyes can see. Angels of mercy surround the believers whilst Angels of punishment stand to the left and right of the unbelievers. At that moment, the reality of Islam becomes more evident than the brightness of the sun to every person but declaring Imaan at this instance is not valid because the demand of Imaan is to bring faith on the unseen, as they are observing everything the demand of bringing faith in the unseen no longer exists.

Belief: Even after death, the soul is connected to the body of man. Even though the soul leaves the body, the soul knows and feels everything that is inflicted on the body, just as it occurs during the worldly life. Actually it feels and knows everything even more than before. On earth, the body receives the cold water, cool breeze, good food and all other good things, but the soul attains comfort through it. Even if the body feels pain etc. the soul experiences the discomfort caused by it. The soul also has its own sensations, through which it feels happiness or sadness. The exact same conditions continue to be experienced in Barzakh.

Belief: After death and according to one’s status (based on piety), The souls of the believers reside in different places. The souls of some reside on their graves, whilst some reside near the well of Zamzam, some reside between the skies and the earths, some reside in the first sky, and some reside in second sky and so forth, right up to the seventh sky, whilst some reside even higher than the skies. Some of the souls reside under the Arsh of Allah in lanterns of light, whilst others reside in Alaa Iliyain (exalted place) but no matter where the soul may be, it remains connected to its body. It recognises and observes those who come to its grave. It even hears their words. The power of seeing by the soul is not only restricted to near the grave. Its example has been explained in the Hadith as follows: ‘It is like a bird that was caged and has now been set free.’ The Great Imams have mentioned: ‘Verily when the pure souls are separated from their bodies, they unite with the exalted world above, and (from there) they see everything and hear everything as if they are present here.’It is mentioned as follows in the Hadith Shareef: ‘When a Muslim passes away, his path is cleared. He may go anywhere he desires.’

Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Delhvi writes:

‘There is no difference to the soul, whether the place it wishes to visit is distant or close.’

The accursed souls of the unbelievers remain at their crematoriums or on their graves, whilst some dwell in Chaah-e-Barhoot, which is a canal in Yemen. Others remain in the first, second and third earths, right up to the seventh earth and some even dwell below this, in a bottomless abyss called ‘Sijjieen’. However, no matter where they may be, they too recognise those who visit their crematoriums and graves. They see, hear and know what is being said. Their souls are however not afforded any freedom, as they are imprisoned.

Belief: To believe that soul enters another body after death, be it that of another human or animal, which is called ‘Tanasukh’ or ‘Awagawan’, i.e. re-incarnation, is baseless and kufr.

Belief: Death refers to the separation of the soul from the body. It does not mean that the soul dies. One who believes that the soul is totally obliterated is a Bud Madhab (misguided and deviant).

Belief: The deceased is also able to speak, and except for the ordinary humans and Jins, all the other animals etc. are able to hear him.

Belief: When the deceased is laid to rest in his grave, the grave squeezes him. If he is a Muslim, the grave gently squeezes him as a mother hugs her child very snugly with love and affection. If he is a kaafir, the grave presses him with such force, that his ribs from the right protrude from the left and the ribs from the left protrude from the right.

Belief: When the people return after burying him, the deceased hears the sound of their footsteps. Just then, two Angels appear, tearing through the earth with their teeth. Their appearance is very fierce and dreadful. Their bodies are black and they have huge blackish blue eyes, which are as huge as cauldrons, blazing with fire. They have long mattered hair and teeth that are many hand lengths long, with which they rip open the ground as they come towards the deceased. One is called ‘Munkir’ and the other is called ‘Nakeer’. They awaken the deceased by jolting him aggressively, before questioning and interrogating him in a severely harsh tone. Their first question to the deceased is:‘Who is Your Rub?’

Their second question to the deceased is: ‘What is your Religion?’

Their third question to the deceased is: ‘What did you use to say about this person?’

If the deceased is a Muslim, he will reply by saying: ‘Allah is my Rub’.

His reply to the second question will be: ‘Islam is my Religion’.

His reply to the third question will be: ‘He is Allah’s Beloved Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم’

The Angels will ask the deceased as to who informed him of this, and he will say:‘I read the Book of Allah and believed in it, confirming whatever is in it.’

Other narrations have mentioned that after receiving the reply to the questions, the Angels will say:

‘We knew that you were going to say this’ Then a voice will call out from the sky saying:

‘My servant has spoken the truth. Prepare for him the bed of Jannat, adorn him in the garb of Jannat and open for him a door leading to Jannat.’ The cool and fragrant breeze of paradise will flow into his grave and his grave will be extended for as far as his eyes can see. It will then be said to him:

‘Sleep like a bridegroom sleeps’ This privilege will be generally exclusive to the chosen servants of Allah. However, if Allah wills then ordinary believers can benefit from this as well. Otherwise, the expanding of the grave will vary for each person, depending on his religious status (i.e. piety). The grave will be expanded up to 70 hand lengths in length and breadth for some, whilst others will be given as much space as they wish for, even as far as the eye can see. Some of the deceased will receive punishment in their graves, depending on the extent of their wrongs. However, through the intercession of their ‘Peers’ and ‘Masha’ikh’, i.e. Spiritual Guides and Spiritual Grandmasters, and through the blessing of the Imams of the Madhab and the Awliyah Allah, or merely through His Mercy, Almighty Allah will grant them salvation when He Wills. Some have mentioned that the torment of the grave for a sinful believer is only until the eve of a Friday. As soon as this night comes, the punishment is lifted (Allah ta’aala Knows Best). It is indeed evident from the Hadith that a believer who passes away on the eve of a Friday, or on the Friday, or during any day or night in Ramadan, will be spared from the questioning of the ‘Nakeerain’ and the punishment of the grave. It has also been mentioned that a window leading to Jannat will be opened for a believer. This is in the sense that, first the window of hell shall be opened unto him from his left, through which he will experience the intense heat and foul odour of hell. It will then be closed immediately and the window of Jannat shall be opened to his right. He will then be told: ‘If you had not been able to answer the questions correctly, then that was for you. Now this, (Paradise) is for you.’ This will be done, so that the deceased may acknowledge and truly appreciate the Grace of his Lord, reflecting on how He spared him from severe torment and blessed him with such a great blessing. The procedure for the Munafiqs (hypocrites) will be entirely opposite to the above mentioned procedure. First, the window leading to Jannat will be opened unto him, from which he will experience the fragrant and cool breeze of Paradise and as he realises its magnificence, it will be immediately closed. This will be done so that he realises what a great bounty he has been deprived of, and so that he realises the severe torment that he is about to face, for disrespecting and saying blasphemous words in the Court of the Prophet عليه السلام. If the deceased is a hypocrite, he will reply to the questions of the grave by saying: ‘Unfortunately, I do not know anything’.He will then say:‘I used to hear the people proclaim something and I too proclaimed the same.’ A voice will then call out, saying, ‘He is a liar. Prepare for him the bed of fire and dress him in the garb of fire, and open for him a door leading to Hell’. He will experience the intensity of its heat, and two Angels will be assigned to inflict punishment on him. These Angels will not have the ability to hear or see, and in their hands, they will have powerful metal rods, which will have the capability of turning a mountain into dust if the mountain were struck with it. They will continuously beat him with this rod. Snakes and scorpions will also inflict punishment on him, constantly biting and stinging him. Even his evil deeds will be transformed into vicious dogs, wolves and other forms, and these too will inflict punishment and torment upon him. The good deeds of a person will take pleasant forms, giving him immense comfort and tranquility.