Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 17 : Point 16
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]
The author Imam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said,
And to have eemaan in the punishment of the grave and in Munkar and Nakeer.
Likewise from the `aqeedah (creed and belief) of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah (the people of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah) is to have eemaan in the punishment of the grave (`athaabul-qabr) and in the bliss of the grave (na`eemul-qabr). So the deceased will either be punished in his grave or he will experience bliss until he is raised up on the Day of Resurrection.
And the grave is a station between this world and the Hereafter; and therefore it is called al-Barzakh, ‘the barrier’ or ‘the interval’. Because barzakh means a barrier between two things. He, the Most High, said:
He (Allaah) has released the two seas (salt water and the fresh water) which meet side by side. Between them there is a barzakh (barrier) which neither of them transgress. (Sooratur-Rahmaan (55), aayahs 19-20)
The salt water does not transgress upon the fresh water and the fresh water does not transgress upon the salty, because Allaah has placed a separation between them. So this does not mix with this. So therefore al-barzakh means a separation between two things. Because the abodes where the people will live are three:
• daarud-dunyaa, the abode/of this world
• daarul-barzakh, the abode of the interval period
• daarul-qaraar, the abode of remaining (the Hereafter)
These are the abodes which the servants will pass through: daarud-dunyaa, the abode of this world, which is a place of action; and daarul-barzakh, the interval period, which is a place for waiting; and daarul-qaraar, the place of remaining forever, which will be the place of recompense. Because Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, says:
Until you enter and visit the graves (Sooratut-Takaathur (102), aayah 2)
So this shows that the graves are not a place of permanent residence.  Rather a person who is in them is just like a visitor. He visits and then he travels on. So he made the time spent in the graves a visit, because he remains in them and then he travels on.
However, during the time when he is within the grave, when he is first placed in the grave and the soil is levelled over him and the people depart from him, “he will certainly hear the striking of their shoes.”  Then two angels will come to him in the grave and they will make him sit up, and his soul will be restored to his body. And he will be given life, a life of this interval period; and it is not like the life which is in this world. So they will ask him, “Who is your Lord?” and “What is your Religion?” and “Who is your Prophet?” So if he gives a correct answer to these questions, then he is saved and he will be blissful, and he will suffer no wretchedness after it. And his grave will be extended for as far as the eye can see for him and a door will be opened for him to Paradise. So its beautiful breeze and its fragrance will come to him and command will be given for him to be given bedding from Paradise.  So he will continue to be experiencing delight in his grave. And this is a matter of the ghayb (the hidden and the unseen). We do not know about it. So if we were to open up a grave, we would not find anything from that since it occurs in one world, and we are in a different world.
As for the hypocrite and the doubter then he will say if it is said to him “Who is your Lord?”
He will say “I do not know.”
“Who is you Prophet?”
He will say, “I do not know.”
“What is your Religion?”
He will say “I do not know.” Even if, in this world, he was a learned person and he memorised texts and explanations and he memorised the language and he was a most eloquent speaker and a fine talker. But if he did not have eemaan (true faith), then he will stammer in the grave and he will be unable to answer. When he is asked about these matters he will stutter and say, “Hah, Hah, I do not know, I heard the people saying something, so therefore I said it.” So a door will be opened to the Fire for him and his grave will be made tight upon him until his ribs intertwine (cross over). And its fierce wind and heat come upon him and bedding from the Fire will be laid out for him. 
So the punishment of the grave or its bliss is established in the Book and in the Sunnah. He sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“Seek refuge with Allaah from four things: from the punishment of Hell Fire and from the punishment of the grave and from the trials of life and death and from the trial of al-Maseehud-Dajjaal (the false Messiah). 
So he sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam used to seek refuge from the punishment of the grave. And there are indications in the Qur’aan of the punishment of the grave. He, the Most High, said:
And We will make them taste of the lesser punishment before the greater punishment (Sooratus-Sajdah (32), aayah 21)
They (the people of tafseer) said: This is the punishment of the grave. Or it is said: It is the punishment of this world. And in His saying, He the Most High, with regard to the Pharaoh and his people:
They (the people of Fir`own) are exposed to the Fire morning and evening. And on the day when the Hour is established, it will be said, “Enter the people of Fir`own into the severest torment. (Soorah Ghaafir (40), aayah 46)
They are exposed to it morning and evening – this is in the grave. After they died they began being exposed to the Fire morning and evening. And when the Hour (the Resurrection) is established it will be said, “Enter the people of Fir`own into the severest torment.” And He, the Most High, said:
And whoever turns away from remembrance of Me, then he will have a tight and restricted life. And We will raise him up on the Day of Resurrection blind. (Soorah Taa Haa (20), aayah 124)
They (the people of explanation of the Qur’aan) said: A tight and restricted life refers to in the grave. And Allaah’s refuge is sought.  
So the evidences proving the punishment of the grave are mutawaatirah (established by huge numbers of people at every level of transmission).
So whoever disbelieves in the punishment of the grave from the Mu`tazilah and those who adopt their way, then he is contradicting mutawaatir evidences, and he will have his belief damaged; and Allaah’s refuge is sought. And he will be missing out on one of the fundamentals from the fundamentals of `aqeedah (creed and belief); and it is belief in the punishment of the grave. So if he is doing so wilfully/knowingly, knowing of the texts, that he just does so out of pride and haughtiness and he denies, then he is a kaafir ( a disbeliever). But as for if he is doing it using a wrong interpretation or doing it blind following someone or is ignorant, then this person is not declared to be a disbeliever. Rather he is declared to astray, but not to be a disbeliever. 
His saying, “and Munkar and Nakeer.” Munkar and Nakeer are two names of angels who will come to him in a terrifying form. One of them is called al-Munkar and the other one is called an-Nakeer, as occurs in the ahaadeeth. 
 Translator’s side point: Shaykh al-Albaanee used to criticize people when they said about someone who died, “He has gone on to his final resting place.” And he used to say that this is a wrong statement and a wrong belief. After the grave there is either the Paradise or the Hell Fire, and that is the final place, not the grave.
 This hadeeth occurs in al-Bukhaaree (no.1273) and reported by Muslim (no.2870) as a hadeeth of Anas radiyAllaahu `anh.
 All this occurs in the hadeeth of al-Baraa· ibn `Aazib radiyAllaahu `anhumaa reported by at-Tayaalisee and Imaam Ahmad and Aboo Daawood and al-Haakim and others.
Translator’s side point: This hadeeth was declared saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaanee in his checking of Aboo Daawood and al-Haakim and others in the long hadeeth.
 Part of the same hadeeth of al-Baraa· ibn `Aazib radiyAllaahu `anhumaa
 This hadeeth occurs in the Saheeh of al-Bukhaaree (no. 1311) and in Saheeh Muslim (no. 588) from a hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah radiyAllaahu `anh.
 This hadeeth occurs in the Saheeh of al-Bukhaaree (no. 1002) and in Saheeh Muslim (no.584) as a hadeeth of `Aa·ishah radiyAllaahu `anhaa.
 Ibn Katheer said in his Tafseer that it is established that “a tight and restricted life” is explained to mean the punishment of the grave. This is established from Aboo Sa`eed al-Khudree and Aboo Hurayrah radiyAllaahu `anhumaa.
Translator’s side point: Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh (no. 3109) brings a hadeeth from Aboo Hurayrah radiyAllaahu `anhu from the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam that he himself explained this aayah, that, “there will be a tight and restricted life for him,” the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “(it means) the punishment of the grave.” Shaykh al-Albaanee said with regard to this report ‘hasan’ (good).
 Translator’s side point: Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee hafizahullaah said in his explanation,
“The punishment of the grave is something which the people of the Sunnah are agreed upon, with consensus (ijmaa`). It is proven in the texts which are authentic, from the Book and the Sunnah. And the Mu`tazilah disagree about it. So they deny the punishment of the grave because they have a belief which is that Paradise and the Fire are not yet created.”
Later on he said, “And it is something which no one from the people of the Sunnah denied.”
 It is reported by at-Tirmithee in his Sunan, and Ibn Abee `Aasim in as-Sunnah and Ibn Hibaan and others, from a hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah radiyAllaahu `anhu that, “When the deceased person is buried in his grave two angels come to him who are black and blue. One is called al-Munkar and the other is called an-Nakeer.”
Translator’s side point: This hadeeth was declared hasan (good) by Shaykh al-Albaanee.
Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah
Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
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