Hane', the servant of Uthman, Radi
Allahu Anhu, recalls, "Whenever Uthman (RAA) would stand over a grave he used to
cry, his beard would moisten from the tears. Some would ask him, 'When Heaven
and Hell are mentioned you do not cry, but when the grave is mentioned you
collapse crying, how come?' He (RAA) would say: I hear the Prophet (SAAS) say,
'the grave is the first stage of the Hereafter, whoever passes it will be at
ease after it, and if he does not pass it he will be in the most horrific of
conditions.' I also heard him say, 'Never have I seen a sight more horrifying
than the graveyard.'
In the hadith of Jibraeel, when he came to the Prophet (SAAS) and asked him
about Islam, Eeman, and Ihsan, the Prophet (SAAS) said about Eeman, "Eeman is to
believe in Allah, His Angels, His books, His Messengers, the Final Day, and
divine decree, the good and the bad thereof." Today we shall talk about the
Final Day. It has been asked, "when shall the Final Day be?" Dear Brothers and
Sisters, the Final Day begins when you die. And that shall be our topic for
today: What happens after death.
In the battle of Uhud, the Shuhada', after seeing their reward and honor with
Allah Ta'ala, longed to tell their brothers that had not yet met martrydom of
the blessing that they had recieved. The Prophet (SAAS) said, "When your
brothers were martyred at Uhud, Allah placed their souls inside green birds
which drink from the rivers of Paradise, eat of it's fruits and seek shelter in
lamps of gold which are suspended in the shade of the Arsh (the throne) When
they saw how beautiful their food, drink, and abode was, they pleaded, "Who will
tell our brothers about us, that we are alive in Paradise and being amply
provided for, so that they will not turn away from Jihad or abandon the
battlefields. Allah ta'ala said: "I shall tell them!" The verse was then sent
[Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead, Nay, they are
alive with their Lord, provided for/ They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed
upon them of His Bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not yet joined
them (i.e. not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they
grieve.] - Aali Imran 3/169-170
Let us sit and listen to a lesson given by the Prophet (SAAS) himself, the
journey of the soul. You will be taking this journey soon. Narrated Al-Baraa'
ibn 'Aazib (RAA): We followed the Prophet (SAAS) out to attend the funeral of
one of the Ansar men. When we reached the grave - before the man was buried -
the Prophet (SAAS) sat down (facing the Qiblah) and we sat down encircling him.
We sat still as if birds were on our heads, silent. The Prophet (SAAS) had a
stick in his hand with which he would scratch up the sand. [He gazed at the sky
and then down to the ground, repeating this three times] Then he said, "Seek
the protection of Allah from the punishment of the Grave." He then continued,
"When the believing soul is reaching the end of his time on earth, starting out
in the hereafter, angels with white faces shining like the sun descend upon him
from heaven, bringing with them one of the shourds of Paradise and Hanoot. They
sit down around him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes
and sits by his head and pronounces, 'O blessed soul, come out to the
forgiveness and pleasure of Allah.' The soul will then come out like a drop of
water coming out of the mouth of a waterskin. And the Angel of Death will take
it. [Until his soul comes out, every angel between the heavens and earth will
pray for him, as will every angel in heaven. The gates of heaven will be opened
for im, and the people in every level of heaven will pray to Allah to permit his
soul to ascend through their domain.
When the (Angel of Death) has taken the soul, the (other angels) do not leave it
in his hand for a moment; immediatly they take it and wrap in the shroud and
scent it with Hanoot. This is the meaning of Allah's words:
[...When death approaches any of you, Our Angels take his soul, and they never
fail in their duty.]
- An'am 6/61
At that moment a scent shall emerge from the soul, a scent not unlike the finest
musk found on earth. They shall take the soul up (to the heavens) and whenever
they pass a group of angels, the (angels) will remark, 'Who is this blessed
soul?' They will say, 'It is so-and-so, the son of so-and-so' using the best
names that they were addressed with in this world.
(They shall go on) until they reach the first heaven. They shall ask for it to
be opened and it shall open for them. In each heaven, those who are closest to
Allah will accompany him to the next heaven until they reach the seventh heaven,
where Allah - Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala - will say, 'Register the book of My slave
[And what will explain to you what 'Illiyyun is? (It is) a register (fully)
inscribed, to which bear witness those nearest to Allah] Mutaffifoon 83/19-21.
So his book will be registered in Illiyun. Then Allah (SWT) will say, 'Take him
back to the earth for this was my promise: I created them from it, I shall
return them to it, and I will resurrect them from it again.
He will be taken back to the earth, and his soul will be returned to his body.
[And he will hear the footsteps of his companions as they leave him.] Two stern
Angels will come to him, [rebuke him] and sit him up. They will ask him, 'Who
is your Lord?' He will answer, 'My Lord is Allah.' They will ask him, 'What is
your religion?' He will say, 'My religion is Islam.' They will ask him, 'Who
is this man who was sent among you?' He will say, 'He is the Messenger of Allah
Yu Thabbitul Allahu al ladheena Aamanu bil Qawl ath-thabiti fil Hayatid Dunya wa
A voice will call from Heaven, 'My slave has spoken the Truth, so furnish his
grave from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to
Paradise.' Some of its breeze and scent will reach him, and his grave will be
widened for him as far as the eye can see. There will appear before him a
handsome, well dressed, and finely scented man, saying, 'I bring you good news
which shall make you happy. I bring you good news of the good pleasure of Allah
and Gardens of eternal blessing. This is the day you were promised.' He will
say, 'And you, may Allah give you better news, who are you?' He will say, 'I am
your good deeds, and by Allah I only ever saw you hastening to obey Allah, and
ever reluctant to disobey Him, so may Allah reward you with good.'
Then a gate of Paradise and a gate of Hell will open for him. And it will be
said, 'this is your place if you had disobeyed Allah, but Allah has fiven you
this instead of that.' When he sees what is in Paradise he will say, 'My Lord!
Hasten the coming of the Hour...' It will be said, 'Dwell in patience.'
As for the Disbelieving (corrupt) man, when he leaves this world and enters the
Hereafter, stern and harsh angels come down to him from heaven, their faces are
black and they bring with them sack-cloth from Hell. They sit around him as far
as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his head and
says, ' Come out O evil soul to the anger and wrath of Allah!'
The soul will be dragged out of his body with as much difficulty as a
many-pronged skewer being dragged through wet wool (the veins and nerves will be
destroyed by it.)
He will be cursed by every angel between the heaven and the earth, and by every
angel in the heaven. The gates of heaven will be locked and the people of every
heaven will pray to Allah to not allow his soul to ascend through their domain.
He will take it and immediately put it into the sack-cloth, stinking like the
foulest stench of dead flesh ever experienced on earth. They will take the soul
up and whenever they take it past a group of angels, they will say, 'Who is this
evil soul?' They shall say, 'It is so-and-so, son of so-and-so,' using the
worst names he was addressed with on earth.
(They will go on) until they reach the first heaven; they will ask for it to be
opened for them, and it will not be opened. (Then the Messenger of Allah - SAAS
[..No opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the
Garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle..] A'raf 7:40
Allah ta'ala will say register his book in Sijjin, in the lowest earth. Then
Allah will say, take him back to the earth for this was my promise; I created it
from it, i will return them to it, and i shall resurrect them from it again. So
his soul will be thrown down from heaven until it reaches his body. Then he
[..If anyone asigns partners to Allah, he is as if he had fallen from heaven and
been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prays)
and thrown him into a far distant place.]Al-Hajj 22:31
So his soul will be returned to his body ( and he will hear the footsteps of his
companions when they leave him ). Two stern angels will come to him, rebuke him
and sit him up. They will ask him, 'Who is your Lord?' He will say, Haa Haa, I
do not know. They will ask him. 'What is your religion?' He will say, 'Haa Haa,
I do not know. They will ask 'What do you say about this man who was sent among
you? He will not even know his name. But he will be told. Muhammad. And he
will say, 'Haa Haa, I do not know. I heard the people saying such and such.'
He will be told May you never know.'
Then a voice will call from heaven and will say, 'He has lied. Furnish his grave
from Hell and open for him a gate from hell.' So some of his heat and venom
will reach him and his grave will be constricted until his ribs are crushed
There will appear before him a man with an ugly face, badly dressed, and foul
smelling. He will say, 'I bring you bad news, this is the day you were
promised. He will say, 'and you, may Allah give you even worse news! Who are
you? Your face brings bad news!' He will say, 'I am your evil deeds, by Allah I
only ever saw you reluctant to obey Allah and ever eager to disobey Him. May
allah repay you with evil.'
Then there will be sent to him one who is blind , deaf , and dunb. Who will
carry in his hand an iron rod which if he were to beat a camel with it, it would
turn to dust. He will beat him with it until he turns to dust. Then Allah will
restore him then he will be beaten again. He will emit a scream which the whole
of creation will hear except men and jinn. Then a gate will be open for him to
hell. And his grave will be furnished from hell. He will say, 'My Lord, may
the hour never come.'
This is the journey we shall all take. How many have stopped to think about and
prepare for this journey. If you were given warning that the Angel of Death
would visit you after Maghrib, what would you do till then? Wouldn't you pray
continously and cry at Asr Salah. Wouldn't you give Sadaqah and throw this
world from your heart. Wouldn't you come back to Allah with a sincere
repentance. One day, not too far from now, you will be going back to your Lord
and He will ask you all of that which you did.
Bukayr ibn Aamir said, "If it was said to Abd Ar-Rahman ibn Abi Nu'aym that the
Angel of Death was about to visit him (and take his soul) he would not find room
for any extra actions. (i.e. He lived his day as if the Angel of Death were
coming at night, and lived his night as if the Angel of Death were coming in the
Very often after someone dies, relatives and friends want to give that person
rewards while he is in the grave. This is something recognized by the Shariah
in certain cases:
Firstly: Making Dua' for the deceased. This is understood from the institution
of Janazah Salah when everyone gathers to pray sincerely for the dead body.
Secondly: The Deceased feels comfort from the presence of the community after
the burial for a period of the time taken to sacrifice a camel and distribute
Amr ibn Al-AAs (RA) said, "When you bury me, stay around my grave for the time
it would take to sacrifice a camel and distribute it's meat, so that i may be
comforted by your presence, until i see how I shall answer the Messengers of my
Thirdly: A Dua' of strength and forgiveness (not in congregation) for the
deceased immediatly after he is buried.
Uthman ibn Affan (RA) said, "Whenever the Prophet (SAAS) had finished burying
someone, he would stand by the grave and say, 'Ask forgiveness and strength for
your brother, for at this moment he is being questioned.'"
The Prophet (SAAS) said, "When a person dies his deeds are cut off except for
three: continuous charity, knowledge that benefits others, or a pious
son/daughter who will pray for them."
After death, people try to give rewards to the dead in a manner that is in many
times against the principles of the Quran and Sunnah. Some follow traditions
passed down through their fathers, others do it as a source of income.
The main phenomenon that happens is the Quran Khani, where people gather, each
participant given a part of the Quran to read, afterwhich a feast is served.
And some claim that the food is food of charity meant to be on behalf of the
deceased. In modern times, some even distribute invitation cards and all types
of food are prepared and enjoyed on what is meant to be a sorrowful occasion.
In many countries of the Muslim Ummah this is a normal practice, and certain
days are fixed for this Quran Khani: the 3rd day, then the 7th day, the 10th and
40th, and then annually. And unfortunately, this practice is often given more
importance than some Fard duties, hence the scholars have considered it to be an
innovation (bid'ah) and sinful. This is the opinion of the Ulema'. Ibn Al-Humam
Al-Hanafi said in Fath Al-Qadeer, a renowned book on the fiqh of Abu Hanifah,
"Gathering to feast at the house of the deceased is a sign of joy and
happiness. And to do so is bid'ah."
These practices are taken from the Hindu religion, as a famous Historian, Al-Bairooni
(303 AH) mentions in his book, Kitaab Al-Hind, "Hindus have fixed days and dates
for the deceased person's family on which they should invite people and provide
food, etc.. (the 11th day after death, 15th, annually and specifically the sixth
day of the month). The family members are expected to provide food and water
for nine days. Otherwise, according to the Hindu belief, the soul of the
deceased will wander in hunger and thrist around the home."
In support of this, another Indian scholar, Ubaid Ullah also mentions, "Every
year a certain date is fixed when they try to convey rewards to the deceased.
This tradition is named 'Saraadh'. When preparation of food for the Saraadh is
done, no one may touch it until the Hindu Priest (Pandit) comes and blesses it
by reading something." From Tuhfatul Hind, p.91.
Muslims are only following these practices giving it a different name. In place
of a Pandit, an Imam is called to bless the food, etc. And if someone does not
want to come to the Quran Khani for fear it is against what the Prophet (SAAS)
came with, for fear that it is against Islam, for fear that it will be rejected
by Allah, the people and the community condemn him and say he is disrespecting
the dead and is against giving rewards to the deceased.
And finally, when someone dies we see people telling others to recite Al-Fatiha.
This is an act which requires proof from the Quran or Sunnah or Sahabah because
that person is specifiying a time and fixed verses to recite, something which
can only be specified by Allah and His Messenger.
What do we do then when someone dies?
1.We should make food for the deceased family, they should not make food for the
visitors as they are in a state of sorrow and the last thing they want to do is
cook for dozens of people. The Prophet (SAAS) said, "Make food for the family
2.Condolences should be given to the family of the deceased, but there is no
fixed place for this. It could be in the Masjid, on the street, or at their
house. However, if it is at their house, we should not spend too long lounging
in their living room. It should be a short visit.
3.We should have sympathy and make a dua of forgiveness for the person. This is
what the Prophet (SAAS) used to do and his companions likewise.
If you want Thawab, now dear brothers and sisters is the time to collect it.
Ali ibn Abi Talib stood with a companion of his near a grave one day and asked
him, "If he could come back to this Dunya, what do you think he would do?" He
replied, "He would do nothing but good deeds." The Ali (RAA) said, "If it is
not going to be him, then let it be you!"