AALAM‑E‑BARZAKH: THE DOMAIN BETWEEN DEATH AND RESURRECTION
There is another world or domain between this world and the hereafter, which is called Barzakh. After death and before the day of Judgement all the humans and jinns have to live therein as per their status. Barzakh is much bigger than this earth. The comparison between this world and Barzakh is like the womb of the mother compared to the earth. In it, there is comfort for some and hardships for others.
- 1 Belief: Every person has a set lifespan on earth. It can not be increased or decreased. When the time of his life comes to an end, the angel of death, Izraeel (upon whom be peace) comes to remove his soul. The person sees on his left and right Angels for as far as his eyes can see. Angels of mercy come close to believers and Angels of punishment stand on the left and right of Kaafirs. At this moment, the reality of Islam becomes as evident as the bright shining sun to every person (on his deathbed), but to accept Imaan at this time is not acceptable, because the command of Imaan is to accept without seeing, and now everything is apparent and not unseen anymore.
- 2 Belief: Even after death the soul is in contact with the body of humans. Even though the soul leaves the body, the soul knows and feels everything that happens to the body, just as it was when it was alive and on earth. Actually it feels and knows everything even more than before. On earth, it is the body which receives cold water, cool wind, good food and all other good things, but it is the soul which receives comfort through this. Even if the body feels pain etc. the soul experiences this. The soul also has its own sensations, through which it feels happiness or sadness. The exact same things continue to occur in Barzakh.
- 3 Belief: After death and according to one’s religious excellence, the souls of the believers live in various places. Some on their graves, some near the well of Zam Zam, some between the skies and the earths, some in the first, second up to the seventh skies and some even more higher than this. Some of the souls remain under the ‘Arsh of Allah (The Exalted) in lanterns of light and some of them in Alal Aliyain (exalted place). No matter where the soul may be, it keeps continuous connection with the body. It recognises those who come to the grave and sees them. It even hears their words. The seeing of the soul is not restricted to closeness of the grave. The example of this has been explained in the following manner in the Hadith: ‘It is like a bird that was kept in a cage and has now been set free.’ The Great Imams have stated, ‘Verily when pure souls leave their bodies they connect with the exalted world and they see everything and hear everything like they are present here.’ It is in the Hadith, ‘When a Muslim passes away, his path is opened. He may go where ever he desires.’ Shah ‘Abdul Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) writes, ‘The Soul sees far and near alike’. Some of the cursed souls of the Kaafirs remain on their cremation area or on their graves, Some in Chaah‑e‑Barhoot, which is a canal in Yemen. Some of them are in the first, second and third earths, right up to the seventh earth and some even below this in a place called “Sijjeen”. Even their souls, no matter wherever they are, they see, hear and know what is occurring, but they can not go where they desire for they are imprisoned where ever they are.
- 4 Belief: To believe that after death the soul goes into another body or into the body of animal (re‑incarnation) is totally baseless and Kufr.
- 5 Belief: Death refers to the separation of the soul from the body. It does not mean the destruction of the soul. One who believes that the soul is destroyed is a mislead corrupt person.
- 6 Belief: The dead person also talks, but with the exception of the general humans and jinns, all the other animals etc. hear this.
- 7 Belief: When the deceased is laid to rest in his grave, the grave presses him. If he is a Muslim, then it is like when a mother hugs her child very tightly with love. If a Kaafir then the grave presses with such force, that the ribs from the right shoot out from the left and the ribs from the left shoot out from the right.
- 8 Belief: When the people leave after burying the deceased, he hears the sounds of their footsteps. At this time, two Angels appear to him, tearing the earth with their teeth. They look very fierce and frightful. They have black bodies and huge blackish blue eyes, which are as huge as pots and blazing like fire. They have long mattered hair and their teeth are of many hand lengths, with which they tear open the ground as they come towards the deceased. One of them is called ‘Munkar’ and the other ‘Nakeer’. They wake the deceased by jolting him and shaking him vigorously, questioning him in a very harsh voice. The first question they ask is ‘Man Rabbuka?’ Who is Your Lord? The second question is ‘Maa Deenuka’ what is Your Religion? And the third question is, ‘Ma Kunta Ta Qooolu fi Haazar Rajul’ what did you used to say about this person (whilst you were alive)? If the deceased is a Muslim, one will answer by saying Rabbi’ Allah (Allah is my Rubb) to the first question, Deeniyal Islam (Islam is my Religion) to the second question and Huwa Rasoolullahi sallal laahu alaihi wasallam (He is the beloved Rasool sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) to the third question.
The Angels will ask about who informed him of these answers and He will say, ‘ I read the Book of Allah (The Exalted) and brought faith on it and confirmed this.’ It has appeared in some narrations, that after the questions and answers are completed, the Angels shall say, ‘We knew that you were going to say what you have said’ then a voice will call out from the sky, saying, ‘My servant has spoken the truth. Lay down the bedding of paradise for him, dress him in the garb of paradise and open for him door of paradise’ 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 and it will be said to him, ‘Sleep like a bridegroom sleeps’ This is a privilege which shall be awarded to the chosen servants and for the general people, this is for whom it is willed. Otherwise, the expanding of the grave will vary for each person, depending on his religious status. For some the grave will be expanded up to seventy hands lengths and for some, for as much as they wish.
Some of the Muslims will also receive punishment in their graves, then through the intercession of their Mashaa’ikh (Shaykhs), the Imams of the schools of thought (Madh-hab) and the Awliyah Allah, Allah (The Exalted) will accept this intercession through His Mercy and they shall be spared from the torment of the grave. Some have stated that the torment of the grave for a believer who was a sinner is only until the eve of a Friday. When this time arrives, then the punishment is removed (and Allah Knows). It is, however, evident from the Hadith, that any believer who passes away on the eve of a Friday, or on a Friday, or in the month of Ramadaan, he is spared from the questioning of the grave and from the punishment of the grave. It has also been mentioned that a window of paradise shall be opened for a believer, in this manner, that first the window of hell shall be opened for him from his left side through which he will experience the intense heat and foul odour of hell. It will then be closed immediately and the window of paradise shall be opened on his right and it will be mentioned to him, ‘If you had not answered the questions correctly, then that (hell) was for you. Now this, (Paradise) is for you. This shall be done, so that the deceased may acknowledge the Grace of his Rabb, that how He spared him from such calamity and blessed him with such a great blessing.
The procedure for the hypocrites will be totally opposite to the above mentioned procedure. First, the window of paradise shall be opened for him and he shall experience the fragrant breeze of Paradise and realise its beauty. It will then be immediately closed. This shall be done, so that he may realise what a great bounty he has lost and how great a calamity he has been plunged into, for disrespecting and saying blasphemous words in the Court of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). If the deceased is a hypocrite, he will answer the questions of the grave by saying, ‘Haa Haa Laa Adree’ unfortunately, I do not know anything’ He will then say, ‘I used to hear the people say this and I too used to say the same.’ Then, a voice will be heard from the skies, saying, ‘He is a liar. Lay down for him the bed of fire and dress him with the garb of fire and open for him a door of Hell. He will feel the intensity of the heat and two Angels shall be appointed to deal out punishment to him, who will not have the ability to hear or see and in their hands, they will have with them a powerful metal rod. The force of this rod will be such that if it were struck on a mountain, then the mountain would turn to dust. They will beat him severely with this rod. Snakes and scorpions will also dispense punishment to him by constantly biting and stinging him. Even his evil deeds shall be transformed into vicious dogs, wolves and other forms. These too shall punish and torment him. The good deeds of a person shall take a pleasant form and give him immense comfort.
- 9 Belief: The Punishment of the grave and reward in the grave are both a reality. Just as we have mentioned earlier whilst explaining this topic that punishment or reward is for both the body and the soul. Even if the body, is burnt, disintegrated or turned to dust, its original particles shall still remain in existence. All the pain and comfort will be through these particles and on the day of Judgement, the physical body shall be raised again through these particles. These are minute particles, which are found in the spinal column. These particles are known as “Ajabuz Zamb” These particles are so small, that they can not even be seen through a microscope neither can they be destroyed by fire, nor can they be eroded by the earth. These particles are in reality the seeds of the physical body. The souls will thus be re‑entered into the original bodies on the day of Judgement. This change or lessening does not change the human body in any way.
A perfect example of this is a child, who is so small at birth, yet the child grows so quickly into an adult. Another example is that of a strong muscular youth who becomes weak and feeble due to illness. After recovering from an illness, the same youth becomes strong and healthy again. After all this occurring, it can never be said that the person has changed in any way. The situation on the day of Judgement is thus very similar. If a body has been disintegrated and the bones and flesh have turned to dust, no matter where ever its particles may be, Allah (The Exalted) will gather all of it and bring it back into being from its original particles which do not disintegrate. This is known as “Hashr” (The Resurrection). One who rejects the punishment and rewards of the grave, is a mislead person.
- 10 Belief: The Questions of the grave will be asked to a person wherever he lies and it is there that he will receive either reward or punishment. In other words, if a person was eaten by a lion, then the questions shall be asked to him in the belly of the lion and his reward and punishment too will take place in the belly of the lion.
Rule: The sand does not devour (eat) the bodies of the Prophets, Awliyah Allah, The scholars, martyrs, Hafiz-ul-Qur’aan who acted in accordance with the commands of the Qur’aan, the one who is on a level of true love, one who never disobeyed Allah (The Exalted) and one who spent his time in reciting Durood. Any person who says that the Nabis “Are dead and mixed in the sand” is a corrupt and mislead person and worthy or the punishment for blasphemy.
 False Belief: The Prophet (alayhis salaam) stated: “I too will die one day and turn to dust, then how can I be worthy of prostration? Sajdah (prostration) can be done to that One Being who can never die”. (Taqwiyatul Imaan, pg. 53)
Correct Belief: This is a totally false accusation against the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). In fact there is a Hadith in “Mishkaat” where the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated: “Indeed Allah has made it Haraam on the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets. Hence, the Prophets of Allah are alive and given sustenance”.