“Until,when death comes to one of them,he says:My Lord,send me back,so that I may do some good I did not do(in the word).But Nay! These are mere words which he utters and behind them is a barzakh until the day of their Resurrection.”(Surah Al Mu’minun 23:100)
Syed Shauzab Abidi
I dedicated this book to my grand father Late Maulana Syed Najmul Hasan Abidi and my brother Late Syed Naqibul Hasan Abidi,please recite surah fatiha for both
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BARZAKH………………………………………………………………3 SEVEN STAGES OF PUNISHMENT………………………………..4 SQUEEZING IN THE GRAVE………………………………………..5 OMITTING PRAYER INTENTIONALLY…………………………….5 FORNICATOR IN THE BARZAKH………………………………….6 SINGING AND HYPOCRISY………………………………………...6 IHTIDHAAR…………………………………………………………….7 MOURNING AND CONDOLENCE………………………………….7 VISITING THE GRAVE YARD………………………………………8
way min waraaihim barzakhu ilaa yawmi yubathoon ”...And before them is barzakh (a barrier) till the day of Qiyama. Suratul Mu’minun 23:100 Barzakh is the period of time in the grave from burial upto the day of Qiyama. Life in barzakh is characterised by the liberation of the nafs from the fetters of the body. The nafs is also no longer harassed by passion and instinct. There is no question of time or space in barzakh just as in dreams, thus the horizon of a human being’s vision is vastly enlarged. Everything can be imagined in a single instant. The nafs of he/she who is virtuous is no longer constricted in the cage of the world and will delight in roaming freely through the infinite. However, to the mu’mineen whose sins have not been cleansed by death, and by the squeeze in the grave, Our 6th Imam has said: ”We will intercede for you on the day of Qiyama, but by Allah, I am worried about you for the period when you will be in barzakh.” The nafs is on a different realm after death, yet it does not completely sever it’s relationship with the body which it used as it’s vehicle for it’s destiny. It is reported in Vol 3 of Al-Kafi that a companion of Imam Ali (A.S) was once with the Imam at the cemetery of Waadi us Salaam. He said: ”Imam stood in the cemetery as though he was addressing a gathering. I remained standing with Imam until I became tired and sat down. When I got tired of sitting I stood up again and remained standing until I got tired again and sat down once more. Finally, I stood up and said to Imam - I fear for you, seeing you stand for so long, please rest a little!” Imam replied: “O Habba! I am standing here talking to the mu’mineen!” Habba asked: “Do they have conversations with each other?” Imam replied: “Yes! Once the veil is lifted you will see them gathered in circles talking to each other.” ”Are you speaking of their bodies or their arwaah?” Imam replied: “Their arwaah” It is reported in Al Mahaasin that Abu Baseer - a companion of our 6th Imam says that there was a discussion on the arwaah of righteous mu’mineen in the presence of Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (A.S.). Imam said; ”The arwaah of mu’mineen meet each other....they talk to each other and recognise each other, when you see someone there, you will say. ‘This is so and so.” Those in barzakh can also establish contact with those in the world. In Vol 1 of Al-Kaafi it is reported that Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (A.S.) has said: “...Amongst the believers (who have died) are those for whom Friday is a day of visiting, and there are also those the balance of whose deeds permits them to see them.” In the same volume it is reported that someone asked Imam Ali (A.S.) whether the dead were allowed to visit their relatives. Imam confirmed that they were and the questioner asked - when and how often? Imam replied: “Every week, every month, or every year depending on their spiritual rank and capacity.” Those in barzakh can be divided into 4 groups: 1. 1. The true mu’mineen. Perfect in faith and with taqwa in their actions. Any mistakes or sins were cleansed by worldly troubles and/or the pangs of death. They are therefore at peace in Barzakh eagerly awaiting qiyama. 2. 2. The confirmed unbelievers and hypocrites whose reward for good deeds has been recompensed in the world and/or ease at death. They also, if required, are further recompensed by ease in barzakh. However, they do not wish for the day of qiyama. 3
3. 3. Those who are neither of the above two groups. Children, those afflicted with lunacy and those who were so far away from the message of Islam that they do not know of the word of Allah. They will be in a state of slumber, their fate to be decided by Allah on the day of Qiyama. 4. 4. The final group is those of mu’mineen whose sins were not cleansed by worldly troubles, the pangs of death and the squeeze of the grave. For these, barzakh will be a place of punishment.
2-THE SEVEN STAGES OF PUNISHMENT ARE
1. i) In this world 2. ii) When death comes 3. iii) The squeeze of the grave 4. iv) Barzakh 5. v) Day of Judgement 6. vi) The bridge of sirat (From mahshar to Janna over Jahannam) 7. vii) Jahannam The Punishment therefore is on a graded basis. If ones sins have been answered for in this world and tawba done then Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (A.S.) says that death is like a fragrant breeze. However, if the sins have not been cleansed then death is painful. Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (A.S.) says: “Whatever a mu’min suffers at the time of death, it is for the purpose of cleansing him/her from sins so that he would come into the hereafter pure and unblemished deserving the eternal reward of Allah without any obstacle between him/her and the reward.” After burial, and when those who have buried the dead person have gone away, two angels visit the grave. One is Munkar and the other Nakeer. The soul re-enters the body and they ask questions on belief: Who is your Lord? What is your religion? What is your book? What is your qibla? Who is your Prophet? Who are your Aimma? This questioning is the composition of talqeen which is recited at the time of burial. Talqeen (which means to teach) should be recited daily at bed time so one is in a constant state of preparation for answering Munkar and Nakeer. Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (A.S.) has said: ”Who so ever is subjected to the questioning in the grave, is also squeezed in the grave”* For some it will be like the embrace of two friends but for those whose sins have still not been cleansed by death, it is severe. *Be it a grave in water, earth or where ever, for it is the abode of the soul. After the questioning in the grave by Munkar and Nakir the angels, Mubashir and Bashir, come to congratulate the believers if they have answered successfully. Again the love for Imam Ali (A) helps during the questioning. Our Holy Prophet (S) told Imam Ali (A): ”Those who love you will be glad in three places: At the time of death. (Because you will be there visiting them) At the questioning in the grave (As you will be teaching them the correct replies) At the time of coming before Allah (and you will be there introducing them).” If he is not a believer, and does not answer correctly, then the angels punish him with and a door is opened from the hell into his grave. After the questioning in the grave, the soul of a believer is sent to Wadius Salaam (the Valley of Peace); and that of an unbeliever to Wadiul Barhut (the Valley of Turmoil/Trouble). The Valley of peace is said to be in Najaf, where the soul of the believers remain in peace waiting for the Day of Judgement; and the Valley of trouble is said to be in Yemen, where the souls of the hypocrites and unbelievers remain in turmoil, afraid of the approaching of the Day of Resurrection.
3-SQUEEZING IN THE GRAVE: (Fishare Qabr)
Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (A) has said: ”Whoever is subject to the questioning in the grave, is also squeezed by the grave therein, and the one who is exempted from questioning, is exempted from the squeeze also.” For some believers the squeeze will be like two friend embracing each other. For some sinful believers, the squeezing will be severe enough to fracture the ribs. For non-believers, the squeezing will be worst. The squeezing is not dependent upon the corpse being buried in the earth. In the words of Imam (A.S.): “The lord of the earth is also the lord of the atmosphere.” And the corpse would be squeezed, if it deserved it, no matter in what condition or place it happens to be. Once a companion of Imam Ali ar Ridha (A) asked him as to what he had to say about those dead ones who, though liable to be subjected to the squeeze in the grave, could not actually be buried in the ground. Imam (A) replied: ”If by virtue of their deeds they are entitled to punishment in the grave, they will receive it, no matter where they lie dead, or in whatever form they happen to be in. Their soul will receive the same painful treatment as the body receives through this severe embrace of the grave.”
4-OMITTING PRAYER INTENTIONALLY
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) says: “The thing that turns a Muslim into Kafir is to omit prayer intentionally or to offer prayer considering it insignificant and unimportant.” (Wasaelush Shia Vol. 3 Pg. 29)
The three calamities to befall him at the time of death are:
He will die a death of degradation and disgrace. He will die in hunger He will die in a state of such a terrible thirst that even if he were to drink all the streams of the earth his thirst will not be quenched.
And the three punishments that he will suffer in the grave are:
An angel will be appointed over him to give him squeeze and chastise him. His grave will be made narrow. His grave will be dark and horrifying.
Helping those who omit Prayer
Many traditional reports mention terrible consequences for those who help and assist the people who neglect prayer. As mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), “One who helps the neglecter of Prayer by giving him food or cloth acts as if he has murdered 70 prophets, the first of whom being Adam (a.s.) and the last Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.).” (Layalul Akhbaar Vol. 4 Pg 51) He (s.a.w.s.) also said, “One who gives a draught of water to the neglecter of prayer, acts as if he has made war against me and battled with all the prophets.” (Layalul Akhbaar Pg. 395) The Holy Prophet is also reported to have stated, “One who laughs with the neglecter of prayer, it is as if he has demolished the Ka’ba 70 times.”(Layalul Akhbaar Page 395) 5
Acceptance of Prayers
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “One who performs two units (rakats) of Prayer while being conscious of what he is reciting, then after he completes the Prayer, Allah will erase all his sins.” (Wasaelush Shia, Vol. 4, Pg. 684) Imam (a.s.) has also stated, “The Prayers that you have offered with concentration are with you but if one is unmindful in all the Prayer or recites it omitting some rituals, it is wrapped up and tossed at ones face.” (Wasaelush Shia)
5-FORNICATOR IN THE BARZAKH
The fifth Imam (a.s.) has also said, “Whoever commits Fornication with a Muslim, Jew, Christian or Magian woman, whether she is a slave or a free woman; and dies without repenting of his sin, then the Almighty Allah opens three hundred doors of punishment in his grave. From each door many snakes, scorpions and pythons emerge from the fire and burn and torment him till the Day of Qiyamat.” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says: “After me when Fornication will increase, sudden deaths will also increase.” He also said: “Fornication causes depravity and destitution, and because of it, populated places become deserted.” Both Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) have informed, “There is no man who is not to some extent guilty of fornication. The fornication of the eyes is the evil glance, the kiss is the fornication of lips and touching a namehram woman is the fornication of hands.” (Wasaelush Shia) It is also recorded that, “Those who look at a namehram woman with an evil intention and fill their eyes with this sight (that is they look for a long time) Allah will, on the day of Qiyamat fill (pierce) their eyes with burning rods. They will continue in this way till Allah completes the hearing of the cases of all the people. Only after that will He order them to be thrown into Hell.” (Wasaelush Shia) It is reported from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said; “The wrath of Allah is very severe upon the married woman who apart from her husband sees another namehram man with a prolonged glance. When this woman does this, Allah the mighty invalidates all her good deeds and does not give her any rewards.” (Behaarul Anwaar)
6-SINGING AND HYPOCRISY
The sixth Holy Imam, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “Listening to music, songs and useless words cultivate hypocrisy in the heart, in the same way as algae grows in water.” (Al Kafi)
The same book, Al Kafi mentions a tradition of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) that,“Singing and music is a nest for the bird called hypocrisy.” Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says: “The house where music is played is not safe from sudden disasters. Supplications at such a place are not answered. Angels do not enter this place.” (Al Kafi and Mustadrakul Wasael)
Punishment for Singing
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has explicitly stated, “When the singer shall rise from his grave on the Day of Judgement, he will be blind, deaf and dumb.” (Jameal-Akhbaar) “Molten lead shall be poured into the ears of one who listens to songs, intently.” (Mustadrakul Wasael)
The period of time just before death is known as ihtidhaar. It is ehtiyaat wajib to lay the dying person on his/her back with the face and the soles of the feet facing qibla. (It may be worth noting that where it causes any difficulty the bed should be turned rather then handling the person him/herself. It is Mustahab to: 1. 1. Help the dying person recite and understand the Kalima, the names of the 12 Aimma, and other beliefs. 2. 2. Recite Suratu Yaseen, Suratus Saffaat, Suratu Ahzaab, Ayatul Kursi, the 54th aya of Suratul A’raaf & the last 3 ayaat of Suratul Baqara. 3. 3. It is also recommended to recite Dua Adeela. 4. 4. Help him/her recite the following dua: Allahummag firlil kathiram min ma’asyk, waq bil minnil yaseer min taa aetik, yaa mayn yaqbalul yaseer wa y’afu anni katheer, iqbal minnil yaseer wa’afu anil katheer, innaka antal ghafurur. Allahummar humni fainnaka raheem ”O Allah forgive me the many (sins) committed against you, and accept from me the meagre (good deeds) in your obedience. O He who accepts the meagre (good deeds) and excuses the many (sins), accept from me the meagre (good deeds) and forgive my many (sins). Surely You are The Forgiver,. O Allah! Have mercy on me for You are forever Merciful.” 5. If a dying person is in difficulty, he/she should be brought to the place where he/she normally prays salaa. It is Makruh: 1. 1. To leave the dying person alone. 2. 2. To place anything on his/her stomach. 3. 3. To stay near the dying person if one is in a state of Haydh or in need of a wajib ghusl. 4. 4. To talk or cry excessively.
8-MOURNING AND CONDOLENCE
”Indeed we are from Allah and to Him we shall return” Although death as the above aya of the Qur’an illustrates represents a return to the Creator, it nevertheless remains a painful experience for the survivors. When a loved one dies, powerful and conflicting emotions are aroused – sadness over the loss and confusion about the future. To suppress the expression of grief is unhealthy but to allow our grief to overwhelm us is to selfishly overlook the true meaning of death. One should continually 7
recite and the Qur’an. It is haram to physically harm oneself through grief. Whilst weeping over the dead, it is ihtiyat mustahab that one’s voice should not be very loud. It is mustahab to console the bereaved family and friends. When friends or relatives are grieving for a loved one, greet them with a warm handshake and say: ”May Allah soften your grief” Often there is not much more one can say – do not try to explain, just be there with them. Soothe them, console them with warmth and weep with them. No matter how hard one tries, we must accept that sometimes especially at the death of a loved one, we do not understand His Rahma. It is makruh to eat with the bereaved in their homes and putting them under unnecessary inconvenience. It is mustahab to send food to and serve the family of the deceased for three days. There is no way to replace a loved one, but one can supplement our normal good deeds with further virtuous acts on behalf of the marhumeen. E.g. Sadaqa, Imparting religious education, donating to welfare projects such as the building of roads, hospitals, water supplies etc… One should remember the dead with good memories, pray for them and ask for forgiveness for them. It is reported that one day the Prophet (S.A.W.) was escorting a funeral when he heard some people praise the one who was being buried. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: ”I swear by the Rabb of the Ka’ba, that the path to Janna has become secure for this person because mu’mineen have witnessed his goodness and Allah does not reject their testimony.” (Mustadrakul Wasa’il V1 Pg 147) Death is an opportunity to examine our own lives and evaluate how we are fulfilling our purpose of existence. Death is a lesson that shakes us out of our complacency and makes us rethink our priorities. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said to Abu Dharr: ”When you are escorting a funeral remind yourself of your own death, fear it and remember that you too will meet it one day.”
9-VISITING THE GRAVEYARD
”It is one of the rights of a Muslim over another Muslim that he should visit his grave.” Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (A.S.) Upon seeing the graves , one must greet them (with salaam). The following salaam is recommended: Wherever possible face qibla, and recite Suratul Fatiha for all the marhumeen. On the grave you are visiting recite: 1. 1. Suratul Fatiha three times 2. 2. Suratul Qadr three times 3. 3. Ayatul Kursi three times 4. 4. Suratul Falaq three times 5. 5. Suratun Naas three times 6. 6. Suratu Yaseen 7. 7. Any dua asking Allah’s forgiveness for the marhum/a Respect the sanctity of the grave yard. The prophet (S.A.W.) has said: ”If I have to walk over burning desert or fire or to place my foot on the edge of a sharp sword, I would prefer it to trampling on the grave of a Muslim.” He also said to Imam Ali (A.S.): ”Ya Ali! Allah considers a few things undesirable for my followers. One of them is laughing in a graveyard…..”