Even as a person’s body is being lowered into the grave and buried, his or her soul is brought down with it by the angels. We will hear the dirt being shoveled in and also the footsteps of the people as they walk away. Then we are alone, but not for long. By the way, it doesn’t matter whether our body is destroyed or remains intact. Our soul will stay near the place where our body was last placed. So a person who dies in a fire and whose body is destroyed will find his or her soul sinking into the ground there.
Even if the body is cremated and the ashes put in an urn and displayed on a shelf, the soul will sink into the earth somewhere along the way.
Now the life in the grave begins. The term for this life stage is Barzakh, or the Partition.
It is sometimes referred to as “soul storage.” Our soul will wait in this time-less existence until the Day of Judgment. No contact with the living or the souls of the other dead is possible, and we will be aware of nothing except our own self.
Islam does not believe that the spirits of the dead can be contacted by clairvoyants or that departed souls can inhabit the bodies of the living. Muslims believe that evil jinns work with psychics and spirit mediums and fool people into believing that they really did talk to their long dead aunt or grandmother. Islam says death is final and there is no coming back.
So what happens to us in the grave?
According to the Prophet Muhammad, two angels with black faces and blue eyes are sent to us shortly after burial with an interesting mission. Their names are Munkir and Nakir.
When they arrive, they force our soul to snap to attention. These angels are the Questioners of the Grave, and they ask us three questions:
“Who is your Lord?” “What was your way of life?”
“Who was your prophet?”
Islam accepts that there were other prophets sent by God to the world before the Prophet Muhammad. In fact, as mentioned earlier, Islam teaches that all people in the past received some type of divine guidance through an authentic prophet.
Muhammad(SAW) is merely the last of the prophets in a long chain. So the correct answers to those three questions are: “God”, “Surrender to God’s will,” and then the name of the prophet we followed, whether Muhammad(SAW), Jesus(AS), Moses(AS), or whoever.
If we answer all three questions correctly, then something amazing happens. Our good deeds become personified into a being resembling a person who says to us, “I’m here to give you good news. Allah has accepted what you did, and you will receive eternal gardens of delight. This is the day you were promised. I am your good deeds.
By Allah I only knew you to be quick in obeying Allah and slow in disobeying Him.
May God reward you with good.” Then a door is opened to Heaven and another to Hell.
We are shown where we would have gone in Hell if we were bad and then we’re told to look at the place we will go to in Paradise instead. Then the angels expand the size of our soul storage bin to the size of a large room. A soft warm light fills the space, and we will be told to go to sleep and to dream peacefully until the Day of Judgment. Every day an angel will come and nudge us in our dreams and open a window through which we will see our place in Heaven again.
If we don’t answer the questions correctly, and only a true rebel against God will fail the test, then something horrible happens. The angels appear terrifying to us. They strike our spirit body with a heavy mace, and they command our soul storage bin to squeeze in upon us until we feel suffocated. Our bad deeds become personified into a being resembling an ugly person who says,
“I’m here to give you some bad news. I am your evil deeds. By God I only knew you to be slow in obeying God and quick in disobeying Him.
May God repay you with evil.” Then the angels come to us and open a window through which we see our future spot in Hellfire. We stay tormented and screaming until the Day of Judgment.
Islam teaches that animals can hear the screams of those being tormented in thegrave. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said that if we could hear their cries, we would faint in terror. He often encouraged us to pray for protection against the Punishment of the Grave, as it is called. Time has no meaning there in the real sense, but this experience can be either a pleasant or a terrifying one, and, as Islam says, we will all have to undergo it.
IT IS written.
Prophet Muhammad(SAW) told an interesting story about Death. It seems the angel of death was sent to Moses and when he went to him, Moses slapped him severely, spoiling one of his eyes. The angel went back to his Lord, and said, “You sent me to a slave of Yours who does not want to die.” Allah restored his eye and said, “Go back and tell Moses to place his hand over the back of an ox, for he will be allowed to live for a number of years equal to the number of hairs coming under his hand.” (So the angel came to him and told him the same). Then Moses asked, “O my Lord! What will happen after those years pass?” He said, “Death will happen.” Moses said, “Then let me die now.
The least you should know.
- Islam counts our time in the womb and our lying in the grave as stages of life.
- Abortion is all but prohibited in Islam. Saving the life of the mother is the
only valid reason for abortion.
- Islam says faith can render any situation, good or bad, into a way to please God.
- When we die, our soul lives in the grave until Resurrection Day.