‘Punishments in the Grave’
The torment in the grave will vary according to the sins committed by the person in this world, whether he was a kaafir or a disobedient Muslim. There are saheeh ahaadeeth which describe this torment for the people who commit these sins. For example:
It was narrated from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet ﷺ said: “When a person is placed in his grave and his companions leave him, and he can no longer hear the sound of their sandals (footsteps), two angels come to him and make him sit up, and they ask him, ‘What did you say about this man Muhammad ﷺ?’ He says, ‘I bear witness that he is the slave of Allaah and His Messenger.’ It is said, ‘Look at your place in Hell which Allaah has replaced for you with a place in Paradise.’” The Prophet ﷺ said, “And he sees them both. But as for the kaafir or hypocrite, he says, ‘I do not know, I used to say what the people said.’ It is said, ‘You did not know and you did not follow those who knew.’ Then he is struck a blow with an iron hammer between his ears and he screams a scream which everything around him can hear apart from the two races (of mankind and the jinn).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1222)
The evidence for the punishments 2-7 is from the hadeeth narrated by Ahmad (17803) and Abu Dawood (4753); that al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib said: We went out with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar. We came to the grave and when (the deceased) was placed in the lahd, the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ sat down and we sat around him, as if there were birds on our heads (i.e., quiet and still). In his hand he had a stick with which he was scratching the ground. Then he raised his head and said, “Seek refuge with Allaah from the torment of the grave”, two or three times …” – Then he mentioned the soul of the believer and how he is blessed in his grave. Then he said: “But when the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with black faces, bringing sackcloth, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O evil soul, come forth to the wrath of Allaah and His anger.’ Then his soul disperses inside his body, then comes out cutting the veins and nerves, like a skewer passing through wet wool. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that sackcloth, and there comes from it a stench like the foulest stench of a dead body on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the worst names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is not opened.” Then the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ recited (interpretation of the meaning):
“for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle” [al-A’raaf 7:40]
He said: “Then Allaah says, ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen in the lowest earth, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is cast down.” Then the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ recited the verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“and whoever assigns partners to Allaah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place” [al-Hajj 22:31]
He said: “Then his soul is returned to his body, and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘Prepare for him a bed from Hell and clothe him from Hell, and open for him a gate to Hell.’ Then there comes to him some of its heat and hot winds, and his grave is constricted and compresses him until his ribs interlock. Then there comes to him a man with a ugly face and ugly clothes, and a foul stench, who says, ‘Receive the bad news, this is the day that you were promised.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which forebodes evil.’ He says, ‘I am your evil deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come, do not let the Hour come.’”
This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, p. 156
8. Being swallowed up by the earth.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whilst a man was dragging his lower garment out of pride, the earth swallowed him up and he will continue sinking into the earth until the Day of Resurrection.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5345; Muslim, 3894).
9. The edge of the mouth being torn to the back of the head
10. The head being smashed with a rock
11. Being burned in an tannoor oven
12. Swimming in a river of blood whilst being pelted with stones.
Al-Bukhaari (1386, 7047) narrated that Samurah ibn Jundub said:
The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ often used to ask his companions, “Has any one of you had a dream?” Then those whom Allaah willed would tell him (about their dreams). One morning he said, “Last night, two people came to me (in a dream), and woke me up and said, ‘Let’s go!’ I set out with them, and we came across a man who was lying down, with another man standing over him, holding a big rock. He threw the rock at the man’s head, smashing it. The rock rolled away, and the one who had thrown it followed it, and picked it up. By the time he came back to the man, his head had been restored to its former state. Then he (the one who had thrown the rock) did the same as he had done before. I said to my two companions, ‘Subhaan Allaah! Who are these two persons?’ They said, ‘Move on!’ So we went on, and came to a man who was lying flat on his back, with another man standing over him, holding an iron hook. He put the hook in the man’s mouth and tore off that side of his face to the back (of his neck), and he tore his nose and his eye from front to back in a similar manner. Then he turned to the other side of the man’s face and did likewise. No sooner had he finished the second side but the first side was restored to its former state, then he went back and did the same thing again. I said to my two companions, ‘Subhaan Allaah! Who are these two persons?’ They said, ‘Move on!’ So we went on, and came to something like a tannoor (a kind of oven, lined with clay, usually used for baking bread). – I think the Prophet ﷺ said, in that oven there was much noise and voices. The Prophet ﷺ added: – We looked into it and saw naked men and women. A flame of fire was reaching them from underneath, and when it reached them, they cried out loudly. I asked them, ‘Who are these?’ They said to me, ‘Move on!’ So we went on and came to a river – I think he said, red like blood. – In the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank there was a man who had gathered many stones. Whilst the swimmer was swimming, the man who had gathered the stones approached him. The swimmer opened his mouth and the man on the bank threw a stone into it, then the swimmer carried on swimming. Each time he came back, he opened his mouth again, and the man on the bank threw another stone into his mouth. I said to my two companions, ‘Who are these two persons?’ They said, ‘Move on, move on!’ …
I said to them, I have seen many wonders this night. What do all these things mean that I have seen?’ They said: ‘We will tell you. The first man you came across, whose head was being smashed with the rock, is the man who studies the Qur’aan then he neither recites it nor acts upon it, and he goes to sleep, neglecting the obligatory prayers. The man you came across whose mouth, nose and ears were being torn from front to back, is the man who goes out of his house in the morning and tells a lie that is so serious that it spreads all over the world. The naked men and women whom you saw in a structure that resembled an oven are the adulterers and adulteresses. The man you saw swimming in the river with rocks being thrown into his mouth is the one who consumed riba (usury).”
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: This indicates that some sinners will be punished in al-barzakh (the interval between death and the Day of Resurrection). Fath al-Baari, 12/445
12- Items stolen from the war booty will be set ablaze on the one who stole them.
Al-Bukhaari (4234) and Muslim (115) narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: “We went out with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ to Khaybar, and Allaah granted us victory. We did not take gold or silver as booty, but we seized goods, food and clothes, then we set out for the valley. Along with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ there was a slave called Rifaa’ah ibn Zayd. When we camped in the valley, the slave of the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ stood up and began to unpack his saddlebag, when he was struck by a (stray) arrow which proved fatal. We said, ‘Congratulations to him, for he is a martyr, O Messenger of Allaah.’ The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: ‘Not so, by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, for the small garment that he stole from the booty on the day of Khaybar and which was not part of his share is burning like fire on him.’ The people were very distressed by this. Then a man brought one or two shoelaces and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I found (them) on the day of Khaybar.’ The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: ‘A lace of fire’ or ‘Two laces of fire.’”
13. Along with this physical punishment there will also be a spiritual or mental punishment, which is that in the grave the kaafir will be shown what would have been his place in Paradise if he had obeyed his Lord; this will increase his regret and pain when he realizes the greatness of the blessing that he has missed out on.
Ahmad (10577) narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: I attended a funeral with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ. The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: “O people, this ummah will be tested in their graves. When a man is buried and his friends leave him, an angel with a hammer in his hand comes and sits by him and asks, ‘What do you say about this man?’ If he is a believer, he says, ‘I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.’ He says, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ Then a door to Hell is opened for him and he says, ‘This would have been your place if you had disbelieved in your Lord, but because you believed, this is your place.’ Then a door to Paradise is opened for him and he wants to go there, but the angel says to him, ‘Calm down,’ and his grave is made wide and spacious for him. But if he is a kaafir or a hypocrite, (the angel) says to him, ‘What do you say about this man?’ He says, ‘I do not know, I heard the people saying something.’ The angel says, ‘You did not know and you did not follow those who knew and you were not guided.’ Then a door to Paradise is opened for him and he says, ‘This would have been your position if you had believed in your Lord. But because you disbelieved, Allaah has replaced it for you with this.’ Then a gate to Hell is opened for him, and he strikes him a blow with the hammer which is heard by all of Allaah’s creation apart from the two races (of mankind and the jinn).” Some of the people said, “O Messenger of Allaah, there is no one who would have an angel standing by him holding a hammer but he would dumbfounded.” The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: “Allaah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm.” [Ibraaheem 14:27 – interpretation of the meaning]
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in his commentary on Kitaab al-Sunnah by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim, 865
These are some of the kinds of punishment that will befall some sinners in the grave.
We ask Allaah to grant us refuge from the torment of the grave.
REASONS FOR PUNISHMENTS
There are many reasons for which people may be punished in their graves, which Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) listed and said:
Some people may wonder about the reasons for which people may be punished in their graves. This may be answered in two ways: in general and in detail.
In general terms, they may be punished for their ignorance of Allaah, their ignoring His commands and their disobedience towards Him. Allaah does not punish any soul that acknowledged Him, loved Him, obeyed His commands and heeded His prohibitions, nor does He punish the body that was inhabited by that soul.
Punishment in the grave and in the Hereafter are due to the wrath and anger of Allaah towards His slave. Whoever angers Allaah in this world and does not repent, and dies like that, will be punished in al-Barzakh to a level commensurate with Allaah’s anger with him.
As for the detailed answer:
The punishment of the grave is for sins of the heart, the eye, the ear, the mouth, the tongue, the stomach, the private parts, the hand, the foot, and the entire body.
All will be punished in their graves for their sins, according to how great or small they were. Most of the inhabitants of the graves will be punished, and those who succeed will be very few.
Period of the Punishment in the Grave
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The punishment in the grave is of two types: one type that is ongoing, apart from that which is narrated in some hadeeths about it being reduced for them in the period between the two trumpet blasts, then when they rise from their graves they will say: ‘Woe to us, who has raised us up from our resting place?’. The fact that it will be ongoing is indicated by the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon” [Ghaafir 40:46].
The second type will last for a while and then cease. This is the punishment of some sinners whose sins were minor. They will be punished according to their sins, then it will be reduced, as they will be punished in the Fire for a while, then the punishment will cease. The punishment may be stopped for them by virtue of supplication (du‘aa’), charity, prayers for forgiveness or the reward for Hajj (if these actions are performed by relatives or others after their death).
Words to ponder over by Ibn Al-Qayyim
The outside of the grave is just earth, but inside it is regret and torment.
The outside may be earth and carved stones, whilst inside it is disaster and calamity, boiling with grief and sorrow like a kettle, and no wonder, when they no longer get what they want of their desires and wishes.
There are lessons in this world which need no further exhortation.
It calls out: O dwellers of the earth, you have focused on building a realm that will soon pass away, and you have neglected the realm to which you are moving quickly. You have built houses in which others will live and enjoy them, and you have neglected houses for which there are no other inhabitants but you.
This is the place where you will abide and bid farewell to work and toil. This is what matters, one of the gardens of Paradise or one of the chambers of Hell…
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ، وَمِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّمَ، وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ، وَمِنْ شَرِّ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ
Allaahumma ‘innee ‘a’oothu bika min ‘athaabil-qabri, wa min ‘athaabi jahannama, wa min fitnatil-mahyaa walmamaati, wa min sharri fitnatil-maseehid-dajjaal.
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the punishment of the grave, and from the punishment of Hell-fire, and from the trials of life and death, and from the evil of the trial of Dajjal.