Class 6 ‘Punishments in the Grave’

Class 6

‘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: 

  1. Being struck with an iron hammer
    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) 
  2. Furnishings from Hell are prepared out for him
  3. He is clothed with fire
  4. A door to Hell is opened for him
  5. His grave is made narrow for him
  6. He is struck with a great hammer which, if a mountain were to be struck with it, it
    would turn to dust;
  7. And he is given the tidings of torment in the Hereafter. Hence he will wish that
    the hour will never come.  
    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
This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, p. 156 

  1. 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). 
  2. The edge of the mouth being torn to the back of the head
  3. The head being smashed with a rock
  4. Being burned in an tannoor oven
  5. 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.’” 
  1. 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,
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.

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
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.