Muslims bury their dead in graves dug in the soft ground. The dead are mourned and grieved by those closest to them and prayers are also said for them. Most of the prayers are regarding the ease of the passage of the deceased from the grave. Muslims know that there is a Hell and there is a Paradise. Everyone will be sent to one or the other depending on his/her deeds in this temporary world. But that is not all because Muslims also face their future in the grave. If they are meant for Jannah, then the time in the grave will be easy but if their future lies in Jahannum, then the grave will be torment for them.
A hadith regarding a grave: It was narrated that Haani’ the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan ibn Affaan’ said when ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan stood by a grave he would weep 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 Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.” And the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2308; Ibn Maajah, 4567; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1684).
It is quite clear from the above narrative that the grave is not a quiet place where one can rest until Judgment Day but it is a place from which we start reaping for our sins. Anyone who has spent his life in sin will be punished, not only in Hell but also in the grave. Muslims should be scared of what is waiting for them in the grave and pray that Allah spares them the true horror.
Regarding the questioning of the angels
In the grave, the dead are asked questions by the angels. The questions are regarding their beliefs and faith. Someone who was a believer and performed good deeds will answer the questions correctly.
The following is part of a hadith regarding the questions asked by the angels in the grave and the answers given by a believer:
Angel: ‘Who is your Lord?’
The deceased says: ‘Allah.’
Angel: ‘What is your religion?’
The deceased says: ‘My religion is Islam.’
Angel: ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’
The deceased says: ‘He is the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).’
Angel: ‘What did you do?’
The deceased says: ‘I read the Book of Allah and I believed in it.’ [Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4753]
The passage of a believer through the grave is an easy one and for that of a disbeliever, it is most difficult. The torment of the grave is a real thing and disbelievers will be subjected to it.
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