‘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:
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
This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, p. 156
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:
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,
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 Prophet ﷺ told us about two men whom he saw being punished in their graves.
One of them used to walk around spreading malicious gossip among people, and the
other failed to take precautions to avoid getting urine on himself. So the latter failed to
purify himself as required, and the former did something that creates enmity among
people by talking, even if what he says is true. Thus it may be noted that the one who
stirs up enmity by telling lies and making false statements will be punished even more.
A man was struck with a whip and his grave was filled with fire because he offered a
single prayer without having purified himself, and he passed by one who was being
wronged and did not help him.
A person who told a lie that spread far and wide was punished.
A man who read Qur’aan then slept at night and did not act upon it by day was
Adulterers and adulteresses are punished.
The one who consumes riba is punished in al-Barzakh..
The heads of some people will be crushed with rock because they were too heavy for
them to get up and pray.
Some will graze on al-daree’ and al-zaqqoom (horrid types of food in Hell) because they
withheld the zakaah of their wealth.
Some will eat putrid, rotten meat because of their zina.
Some will have their lips cut off with iron scissors because they caused fitnah (fighting,
civil war) with their words and their speech.
Some of them will have bellies as big as houses; they are those who consumed riba.
Some will open their mouths and have stones thrown into them that will emerge from
their nether regions; they are the ones who consumed orphans’ wealth.
Some will be hung up by their breasts; they are the adulterers.
Some will have their sides cut and will be fed with their own flesh; they are the one who
engaged in backbiting.
Some will have nails of copper with which they will scratch their faces and chests; they
are the ones who impugned people’s honour.
The Prophet ﷺ said that the one who stole a cloak from the war booty will be wrapped
in a cloak of fire in his grave. This is despite the fact that he was entitled to a share of
the booty, so how about those who wrong others unlawfully?
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
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
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.