Azab Al-Qabr


 Azab al-Qabr

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

No doubt it is a fact that there would be a torment or pleasure after the death. However the majority of Muslims now believe that this would happen in the earthly abode of dead body commonly called grave. The concept of Azab-al-Qabr  is clearly explained in Quran and Sahih ahadith that everyone would experience one death in this earth and that  the soul once taken out of body would not be returned to the body till the day of resurrection. The body meanwhile  would disintegrates and degenerates into dust. The torment or pleasure of any kind would be experience by soul in a new body.

Some scholars have made up a belief that the torment from death till resurrection happens in this earthly grave. First the soul would be returned to body in grave for questioning and in case of wrong outcome the body would experience hell fire in grave and soul would be taken back to Hell.  There is no valid hadith for this belief and in reality this belief is conjured from the mixture of non-authentic narrations, as will be explained in this treatise.

The purpose of grave is to hide the dead as body would go into disintegration. It would rot and consumed by the insects and finally goes to dust.  In Quran this purpose is first explained when  Qabeel (son of Prophet Adam peace be upon him) killed his brother.  In surah Al-Maidah (5:27-31) we are informed that:


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And (O Muhammad ) recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam [Habil (Abel) and Qabil (Cain)] in truth; when each offered a sacrifice (to Allah), it was accepted from the one but not from the other. The latter said to the former: “I will surely kill you. ” The former said: “Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V.2:2).” . “If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns, and all that exists).” “Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours, then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).” So the Nafs (self) of the other (latter one) encouraged him and made fair-seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers.

Then Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said: “Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother?” Then he became one of those who regretted. (5:27-31)


Prophet also explained that all bodies would be disintegrated. Imam Bukhari , juz 16, pg 333, chapter  باب ( يَوْمَ يُنْفَخُ فِى الصُّورِ فَتَأْتُونَ أَفْوَاجًا ) زُمَرًا reported that:

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 حَدَّثَنِى مُحَمَّدٌ أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ عَنْ أَبِى صَالِحٍ عَنْ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ – رضى الله عنه – قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – « مَا بَيْنَ النَّفْخَتَيْنِ أَرْبَعُونَ » . قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ يَوْمًا قَالَ أَبَيْتُ . قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ شَهْرًا قَالَ أَبَيْتُ . قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ سَنَةً قَالَ أَبَيْتُ . قَالَ « ثُمَّ يُنْزِلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً . فَيَنْبُتُونَ كَمَا يَنْبُتُ الْبَقْلُ لَيْسَ مِنَ الإِنْسَانِ شَىْءٌ إِلاَّ يَبْلَى إِلاَّ عَظْمًا وَاحِدًا وَهْوَ عَجْبُ الذَّنَبِ ، وَمِنْهُ يُرَكَّبُ الْخَلْقُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ »

Abu Huraira – may Allah be pleased with him – said the Messenger of Allah – peace be upon him said- «What between forty Al-Nafkhateen (two blowings of Conch) ». (Inquirer asked)  Forty days? he said can’t say this. Forty months? said can’t say this. Forty years? said can’t say this. Abu Huraira said  (I heard from Prophet that) «Then God will send down water from the sky and they (humans) grow like (plant) grows_ There would be  nothing in human but fret only one bone (remains) that is the tailbone, and on it rides the creation on the Day of Resurrection »


Bukhari has showed that all human body would be consumed by Earth except the tailbone.  This shows that the body is nothing with out a soul. The earth even consume the bodies of Holy Prophets as informed in narration of Musnad Abi-Yala, juz 13, pg 189:

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حدثنا أبو هشام الرفاعي محمد بن يزيد حدثنا ابن فضيل عن يونس بن عمرو عن أبي بردة : عن أبي موسى قال : أتى النبي – صلى الله عليه و سلم – أعرابيا فأكرمه فقال له : ائتنا فأتاه فقال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه و سلم – : سل حاجتك فقال : ناقة نركبها وأعنزا يحلبها أهلي فقال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه و سلم – : عجزتم أن تكونوا مثل عجوز بني إسرائيل ؟ قال : إن موسى لما سار ببني إسرائيل من مصر ضلوا الطريق فقال : ما هذا ؟ فقال علماؤهم : إن يوسف لما حضره الموت أخذ علينا موثقا من الله أن لا نخرج من مصر حتى ننقل عظامه معنا قال : فمن يعلم موضع قبره ؟ قال : عجوز من بني إسرائيل فبعث إليها فأتته فقال : دليني على قبر يوسف قالت : حتى تعطيني حكمي قال : ما حكمك ؟ قالت : أكون معك في الجنة فكره أن يعطيها ذلك فأوحى الله إليه أن أعطها حكمها فانطلقت بهم إلى بحيرة : موضع مستنقع ماء فقالت : أنضبوا هذا الماء فأنضبوا قالت : احتفروا واستخرجوا عظام يوسف فلما أقلوها إلى الأرض إذا الطريق مثل ضوء النهار

 ….Prophet said:  When Moses exited along  Beni Israel from Egypt  he strayed path and said: What is this? Scholars said: Prophet Joseph  has took us an oath in God that we would not go out of Egypt, unless we  take his bones with us.  Moses said: Who knows where his  (Joseph’s) grave is?  They said: An elderly woman  of the children of Israel (knew about it), he (Moses) reached her and said: Inform me about the grave of  Joseph.  She said: Give me a verdict (Promise) He inquired: What’s your verdict (Promise)? She said: I (want to be) with you in paradise. He abhorred to give this promise to her until  God revealed to him (Moses) to give her this verdict. (Finally) They reached with them to a  Lake: The place of swamp water, she said: take out  this water. They took out the water  and extracted the bones of Joseph when bones reached to the ground the road was (visible) like daylight.


This hadith clearly  indicate the even the Prophets bodies would be disintegrated by earth.  Quran informs us that Prophet Bodies would not last forever. Allah informed us in Quran, surah Al-Anbiyah  (21:8)

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وَمَا جَعَلْنَاهُمْ جَسَدًا لَا يَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَمَا كَانُوا خَالِدِينَ

And We did not create them (the Messengers, with) bodies that ate not food, nor were they (last) forever


Therefore all bodies would be disintegrated irrespective of Prophet, righteous person or evil doer. There might be some exceptions but that could be due to climatic conditions and weather, which is temporary effect. Bodies may also survive due to embalming or mummification procedures which are purely scientific methods of preservation.  But even these procedures may help for some period of time and finally the bodies disintegrate and dust (humans) become dust!


Before we go on and continue our discussion on Azab al-Qabr it would be necessary to first understand the concept of death in Quran.


1. In surah az-Zumar (39:42) it is informed that:

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اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنْفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَى عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الْأُخْرَى إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآَيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ 42

>>It is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply. (39 : 42)

(Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan translation)



2. In surah al-Anam (6:60-61) it is explained that:

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وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا جَرَحْتُمْ بِالنَّهَارِ ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُكُمْ فِيهِ لِيُقْضَى أَجَلٌ مُسَمًّى ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (60) وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ ويُرْسِلُ عَلَيْكُمْ حَفَظَةً حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ تَوَفَّتْهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمْ لا يُفَرِّطُونَ 61

>>He it is Who gathereth you at night and knoweth that which ye commit by day. Then He raiseth you again to life therein, that the term appointed (for you) may be accomplished. And afterward unto Him is your return. Then He will proclaim unto you what ye used to do.

He is the Omnipotent over His slaves. He sendeth guardians over you until, when death cometh unto one of you, Our messengers receive him, and they neglect not.

(Pickthall Translation)

>>It is He, Who takes your souls by night (when you are asleep), and has knowledge of all that you have done by day, then he raises (wakes) you up again that a term appointed (your life period) be fulfilled, then in the end unto Him will be your return. Then He will inform you what you used to do.  He is the Irresistible, Supreme over His slaves, and He sends guardians (angels guarding and writing all of one’s good and bad deeds) over you , until when death approaches one of you, Our Messengers (angel of death and his assistants) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty.

(Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan translation)


There are two important words in these verses. One is Tawaffa and another one is Rasala.

Twaffa  (تَوَفَّى) in Arabic  means taking some thing. In Quran it is used when God informed us that on the day of Judgement He Almighty would reward us completely. There the words Twaffa kullu Nafas are used. Hence the word Twaffa  does not always mean death. Also  God said to Prophet Isa:

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إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ

When Allah said : O Isa I would take you and lift you towards me.


Here the word مُتَوَفِّيكَ is used, which does not necessarily means death. Therefore in the same sense the word تَوَفَّى Tawaffa is used in chapter 6 and 39 for the sleep. The sleeping person has all kind of vital signs i.e. breathing, sweating, dreaming etc.  The soul is seized or held completely in the body. Sleep could be called the minor death in this sense. Death as a phenomenon involves the complete hold of soul. After death all vital signs will be absent.

Another important word is  Rasala which has two meanings one is sending and another is releasing.  Bukhari Hadith (juz 1, pg 4) explained this that when the angel arrived in the cave of Hira and asked Prophet to read.

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فأخذني فغطني حتى بلغ مني الجهد ثم أرسلني فقال اقرأ قلت ما أنا بقارىء

He (angel) took me and (squeezed) until he reached my limit and then released me and said read, I said, I am not a reader!


These two examples help us to understand the meaning of the verses of (6:60-61) and (39:42).

The soul is seized in the body at the time of death and sleep. Allah released the soul of living and does not return the soul of death. The words إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ تَوَفَّتْهُ رُسُلُنَا also indicate that unlike sleep at death the task is done via angels.

Some people try to  insert confusion in the meaning of Death and Sleep. According to them the sleeping phenomenon is like the death phenomenon and accordingly a person experiences thousands of deaths when he or she sleeps over his or her life time.  This is totally an ignorant and deviated understanding of these verses and concocted to fulfil some ulterior motives.


The body would feel any kind of torment until there is a soul in it. Allah has revealed in Quran that the people of Hell would cry for death and ask Malik- the Manager of Hell to grant them death.

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لَا يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا الْمَوْتَ إِلَّا الْمَوْتَةَ الْأُولَى وَوَقَاهُمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ 56

They will never taste death therein except the first death (of this world), and He will save them from the torment of the blazing Fire (surah al-Dukkhan)


لا تَدْعُوا الْيَوْمَ ثُبُورًا وَاحِدًا وَادْعُوا ثُبُورًا كَثِيرًا 14

Exclaim not today for one destruction, but exclaim for many destructions.

(surah Furqan)

وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَهُمْ نَارُ جَهَنَّمَ لَا يُقْضَى عَلَيْهِمْ فَيَمُوتُوا وَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمْ مِنْ عَذَابِهَا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي كُلَّ كَفُورٍ


But those who disbelieve, (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) for them will be the Fire of Hell. Neither it will have a complete killing effect on them so that they die, nor shall its torment be lightened for them. Thus do We requite every disbeliever! ( Fatir 36)


These verses clearly indicate that death would eliminate all sense of torment or bliss.

Quran explicitly inform us that each breathing person would experience two deaths and two lives. Quran says in surah Al-Baqarh (2:28)

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كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنْتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

How can you disbelieve in Allah? Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return.


Further it is explained that people of the hell would call their Lord ( Al-Ghafir 40:11)


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قَالُوا رَبَّنَا أَمَتَّنَا اثْنَتَيْنِ وَأَحْيَيْتَنَا اثْنَتَيْنِ فَاعْتَرَفْنَا بِذُنُوبِنَا فَهَلْ إِلَى خُرُوجٍ مِنْ سَبِيلٍ


They will say: “Our Lord! You have made us to die twice (i.e. we were dead in the loins of our fathers and dead after our deaths in this world), and You have given us life twice (i.e. life when we were born and life when we are Resurrected)! Now we confess our sins, then is there any way to get out (of the Fire)?”


Tibiri explained this in his exegesis  on Quran  جامع البيان في تأويل القرآن  as:

حدثني يعقوب بن إبراهيم، قال: حدثنا هُشيم، عن حُصين، عن أبي مالك، في قوله:”أمتَّنا اثنتين وأحييتنا اثنتين”، قال: كانوا أمواتًا فأحياهم الله، ثم أماتهم، ثم أحياهم

Abi Malik  Al –Ghafari Al-Kofi said for verse You have made us to die and You have given us life twice that they were dead then Allah bestowed them life then they would be dead and then raised (again). ( Tafseer Al-Tibiri )


This shows that each person would experience two deaths and two lives:


  • First Death: is the realm of non-existence
  • First Life: This earthly life now
  • Second Death: The death experienced by a breathing person in this world
  • Second Life: is the next life which would start on the Day of Judgement

In  Surah Al-Abbasa  Allah informs us that every person would get a grave :

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قُتِلَ الْإِنْسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ (17) مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ (18) مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ (19) ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ (20) ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ (21) ثُمَّ إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْشَرَهُ 22

Be cursed (the disbelieving) man! How ungrateful he is! From what thing did He create him? From Nutfah (male and female semen drops) He created him, and then set him in due proportion;  Then He makes the Path easy for him;. Then He causes him to die, and puts him in his grave; Then, when it is His Will, He will resurrect him (again).(80:17-22)


The above verses describe the acts of God with humans. As they go through different stages from conception till resurrection. All humans would experience these stages except few, like Jesus son of Mary born with Immaculate Conception without male intervention and also there were stories in Quran on the resurrection of a person before the final day of Judgement, which actually indicate the omnipotence of Almighty Allah. An exception is not a rule rather it’s a miracle.  Therefore in the above verses it is described that every person would get an abode by Allah commonly called grave. All humans would experiences these stages and hence also received a Qabr!


Those who believe in torment in this earthly grave say that Qabr or grave is made in the earth for the body as Allah commanded his Prophet peace be upon him  in surah Taubah, that he should not stand at the grave of Abdullah bin Ubai for funeral prayer.


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And never (O Muhammad ) pray (funeral prayer) for any of them (hypocrites) who dies, nor stand at his grave. Certainly they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and died while they were Fasiqun (rebellious, – disobedient to Allah and His Messenger (9: 84)


Obviously the dead would be placed in earth as instructed to us by Allah in surah al- Maidah (5:27-31). However this is not the place where the body would experience any pleasure or torture.  It is not necessary that the Azab al-Qabr must be executed in the very grave of person. The term Azab al-Qabr is used as it’s a normal human practice that the dead are buried.


Scholar Ibn-Aqeel said (Talbis- Iblis by Ibn-Jouzi pg 106):

فإنه لما ورد النعيم والعذاب للميت علم أن الإضافة حصلت إلى الأجساد والقبور تعريفا كأنه يقول صاحب هذا القبر الروح التي كانت في هذا الجسد منعمة بنعيم الجنة معذبة بعذاب النار

So in fact  what had been  reported on the  bliss and agony of the deceased (one must) know that that  al-Idafa (of al-Qabr) refers to the bodies and the graves like an adjective (as if it is meant to be) said (that)  person in grave- (Actually )The soul  that was in this body is enjoying the bounty of  Heaven  (or ) tormented in  hell fire.


The statement of Ibn-Aqeel is self explanatory. The term Azab al-Qabr is used for the torment after the death till resurrection as a reference only. It is not necessary that torment must be executed in grave.

Quran informs us about the torment afflicted on the Pharaoh and his army  in surah Younis 90-92.


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وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا حَتَّى إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آَمَنْتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آَمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ (90) آَلْآَنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنْتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ (91) فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آَيَةً وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آَيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ 92

And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Fir’aun (Pharaoh) with his hosts followed them in oppression and enmity, till when drowning overtook him, he said: “I believe that none has the right to be worshipped but  He, in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims”. Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the evil-doers.  So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Ayat “


Further in surah Ghafir (45-46)  Allah said that:

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فَوَقَاهُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِ مَا مَكَرُوا وَحَاقَ بِآلِ فِرْعَوْنَ سُوءُ الْعَذَابِ (45) النَّارُ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَيْهَا غُدُوًّا وَعَشِيًّا وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ أَدْخِلُوا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَشَدَّ الْعَذَابِ (46

So Allah saved him from the evils that they plotted (against him), while an evil torment encompassed Fir’aun’s (Pharaoh) people. The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon, and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): “Cause Fir’aun’s (Pharaoh) people to enter the severest torment!”


Also it is stated  for the drowned nation of Prophet Noah, that:


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مِمَّا خَطِيئَاتِهِمْ أُغْرِقُوا فَأُدْخِلُوا نَارًا فَلَمْ يَجِدُوا لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَنْصَارًا 25

Because of their sins they were drowned, then were made to enter the Fire, and they found none to help them instead of Allah.


Both of these nations were drowned in water. None of them got the so-called grave as a final resting place instead we are informed that as soon as they were drowned the torment of Fire is started.  Naturally torment has not happened here in earth, so then where it is ensuing?


Normally the scholar who support believe the returning of soul in the earthly also present the above verses as  evidence of torment for dead before day of Judgement. We know that not every person gets  the grave as some bodies are burned on pyre, some are scavenged by birds and some are drowned in the  sea.  Then how come a person receive this torment (Azab al-Qabr) if he hasn’t got the earthly grave?

Further evidence that this torment does not happen in this earthly grave is reflected by the following narration.

Bukhari Juz 1, pg 165, chapter   – باب هل تنبش قبور مشركي الجاهلية ويتخذ مكانها مساجد   reported that:

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18 – حدثنا مسدد قال حدثنا عبد الوارث عن أبي التياح عن أنس قال : قدم النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم المدينة فنزل أعلى المدينة في حي يقال لهم بنو عمرو بن عوف فأقام النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فيهم أربع عشرة ليلة ثم أرسل إلى بني النجار فجاؤوا متقلدي السيوف كأني أنظر إلى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم على راحلته وأبو بكر ردفه وملأ بني النجار حوله حتى ألقى بفناء أبي أيوب وكان يحب أن يصلي حيث أدركته الصلاة ويصلي في مرابض الغنم وأنه أمر ببناء المسجد فأرسل إلى ملأ من بني النجار فقال ( يا بني النجار ثامنوني بحائطكم هذا ) . قالو لا والله لا نطلب ثمنه إلا إلى الله فقال أنس فكان فيه ما أقول لكم قبور المشركين وفيه خرب وفيه نخل فأمر النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم بقبور المشركين فنشبت ثم بالخرب فسويت وبالنخل فقطع فصفوا النخل قبلة المسجد وجعلوا عضادتيه الحجارة وجعلوا ينقلون الصخر وهم يرتجزون والنبي صلى الله عليه و سلم معهم وهو يقول اللهم لا خير إلا خير الآخرة * فاغفر للأنصار والمهاجرة

Narrated Anas: When the Prophet arrived Medina he dismounted at ‘Awali-i-Medina amongst a tribe called Banu ‘Amr bin ‘Auf. He stayed there For fourteen nights. Then he sent for Bani An-Najjar and they came armed with their swords. As if I am looking (just now) as the Prophet was sitting over his Rahila (Mount) with Abu Bakr riding behind him and all Banu An-Najjar around him till he dismounted at the courtyard of Abu Aiyub’s house. The Prophet loved to pray wherever the time for the prayer was due even at sheep-folds. Later on he ordered that a mosque should be built and sent for some people of Banu-An-Najjar and said, “O Banu An-Najjar! Suggest to me the price of this (walled) piece of land of yours.” They replied, “No! By Allah! We do not demand its price except from Allah.” Anas added: There were graves of pagans in it and some of it was unleveled and there were some date-palm trees in it. The Prophet ordered that the graves of the pagans be dug out and the unleveled land be level led and the date-palm trees be cut down . (So all that was done). They aligned these cut date-palm trees towards the Qibla of the mosque (as a wall) and they also built two stone side-walls (of the mosque). His companions brought the stones while reciting some poetic verses. The Prophet was with them and he kept on saying, “There is no goodness except that of the Hereafter, O Allah! So please forgive the Ansars and the emigrants. “


The graves of idolaters were destroyed, which indicate that there was no torment or punishment in those graves, otherwise Prophet would not have done so.

Quran informed us that there is Burzakh (barrier) between the soul and this world.


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حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ (99) لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ كَلَّا إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا وَمِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ بَرْزَخٌ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ 100

Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: “My Lord! Send me back,  “So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.


The conversation between the soul and Allah Almighty is reported in above verses. Where the soul would like to go back? The answer to this question is: Obviously back to Erath!


Scholars have coined the name Al-Burzakh to refer to the realm where the souls would remain from death till resurrection.  Ibn-Hajar Asqallani writes in his exegeses on Sahih Bukhari,  titled Fathul Bari  under the discussion on verse   قَوْله :  وَقَوْله تَعَالَى  وَحَاقَ بِآلِ فِرْعَوْن    (juz 4, pg 443):


قَالَ الْقُرْطُبِيّ : الْجُمْهُور عَلَى أَنَّ هَذَا الْعَرْض يَكُون فِي الْبَرْزَخ ، وَهُوَ حُجَّة فِي تَثْبِيت عَذَاب الْقَبْر

Al-Qurtubi said: the Majority takes that it (tormet to Aal-Firoun) happen in al-Burzakh , and is the proof of  torment of the grave


In one hadith in Sahih Bukhari it is reported that Prophet Moses and Prophet Adam had an argument (Volume 8, Book 77, Number 611).


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Narrated Abu Huraira:  The Prophet said, “Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam. ‘O Adam! You are our father who disappointed us and turned us out of Paradise.’ Then Adam said to him, ‘O Moses! Allah favored you with His talk (talked to you directly) and He wrote (the Torah) for you with His Own Hand. Do you blame me for action which Allah had written in my fate forty years before my creation?’ So Adam confuted Moses, Adam confuted Moses,” the Prophet added, repeating the Statement three times.


Question arises that  when and where this discussion happened? Ibn Hajar in Fathul Bari said that (juz 18/ pg 461)

أَوْ كَانَ ذَلِكَ بَعْد وَفَاة مُوسَى فَالْتَقَيَا فِي الْبَرْزَخ

.. or that could be after the death of Moses so they both met in al-Burzakh


Also Ibn- Jauzi proposed that (Fathul Bari juz 4,, pg 443)

وَذَكَرَ اِبْن الْجَوْزِيّ اِحْتِمَال اِلْتِقَائِهِمَا فِي الْبَرْزَخ

Ibn Al-jauzi said possible met both in al-Burzakh


Ibn- Qutabah said in Taweel Mukhtalif ul hadith juz 1 pg 43

قال أبو محمد: ونحن نقول: إنه إذا جاز في المعقول وصح في النظر وبالكتاب والخبر إن الله تعالى يبعث من في القبور بعد أن تكون الأجساد قد بليت والعظام قد رمت جاز أيضاً في المعقول وصح في النظر وبالكتاب والخبر إنهم يعذبون بعد الممات في البرزخ. فأما الكتاب فإن الله تعالى يقول: ” النار يعرضون عليها غدواً وعشياً ويوم تقوم الساعة أدخلوا آل فرعون اشد العذاب ” فهم يعرضون بعد مماتهم على النار غدواً وعشياً قبل يوم القيامة ويوم القيامة يدخلون أشد العذاب والله عز وجل يقول: ” ولا تحسبن الذين قتلوا في سبيل الله أمواتاً بل أحياء عند ربهم يرزقون فرحين بما آتاهم الله من فضله ويستبشرون بالذين لم يلحقوا بهم من خلفهم إلا خوف عليهم ولا هم يحزنون ” وهذا شيء خص الله تعالى به شهداء بدر رحمة الله عليهم

Abu Muhammad said: we say: that in  reasonable and true look and (we know from) book and news that God  (will) resurrect people in the graves after the flesh has worn off and the bones disintegrated and (we also know from) reasonable consideration in the book and the news that they were tortured after their death in Burzakh. And in book Allah Almighty said The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon, and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): “Cause Fir’aun’s (Pharaoh) people to enter the severest torment and He said Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His Bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve. And this  is something that Allah has singled out for martyrs of Badr may Allah mercy on them

These evidences clearly show that scholars had considered the Burzakh as a realm where torment could be afflicted and Prophets could talk each other.


Some scholar now claim that Burzakh is a figment of imagination. However they fail to  understand that its only a term referring to the realm where soul would remain till resurrection. According to them the words رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ (99) لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ indicate that the dead person would like to come back to earth and can do good deeds only in world and not in grave, therefore,  these verses have nothing against the returning of the soul to dead.


However the same group of scholars who believe in returning of soul to the grave claim that a pious person may recite Quran in grave and may  still does good deeds. They claim (on the basis on non-authentic ahadith) that after burial soul comes back to dead body and it says to  angels,  let me say my prayers. Is it not the case that Prophet instructed his Ummah (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Number 424) :

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حدثنا مسدد قال حدثنا يحيى عن عبيد الله قال أخبرني نافع عن ابن عمر عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال  :  اجعلوا في بيوتكم من صلاتكم ولا تتخذوها قبورا 

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: The Prophet had said, “Offer some of your prayers (Nawafil) at home, and do not take your houses as graves.”


The Prophet informed his Ummah that there are no prayers in grave.

A question naturally arises that how the torment is afflicted if it does not happen in grave? There are several evidences that the soul is transferred to another body which experience all these afflictions.



Evidence 1: Souls with cheeks and head?

It is reported in Bukhari  باب ما قيل في أولاد المشركين: juz 1/pg 465

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حدثنا موسى بن إسماعيل حدثنا جرير بن حازم حدثنا أبو رجاء عن سمرة بن جندب قال : كان النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم إذا صلى صلاة اقبل علينا بوجهه فقال ( من رأى منكم الليلة رؤيا ) . قال فإن رأى أحد قصها فيقول ( ما شاء الله ) . فسألنا يوما فقال ( هل رأى أحد منكم رؤيا ) . قلنا لا قال ( لكني رأيت الليلة رجلين أتياني فأخذا بيدي فأخرجاني إلى الأرض المقدسة فإذا ردل جالس ورجل قائم بيده كلوب من حديد ) قال بعض أصحابنا عن موسى  إنه يدخل ذلك الكوب في شدقه حتى يبلغ قفاه ثم يفعل بشدقه الآخر مثل ذلك ويلتئم شدقه هذا فيعود فيصنع مثله . قلت ما هذا ؟ قالا انطلق فانطلقنا حتى أتينا على رجل مضطجع على قفاه ورجل قائم على رأسه بفهر أو صخرة فيشدخ بها رأسه فإذا ضربه تدهده الحجر فانطلق إليه ليأخذه فلا يرجع إلى هذا حتى يلتئم رأسه وعاد رأسه كما هو فعاد إليه فضربه قلت من هذا ؟ قالا انطلق فانطلقنا إلى ثقب مثل التنور أعلاه ضيق وأسفله واسع يتوقد تحته نارا فإذا اقترب ارتفعوا حتى كادوا أن يخرجوا فإذا خمدت رجعوا فيها وفيها رجال ونساء عراة فقلت من هذا ؟ قالا انطلق فانطلقنا حتى أتينا على نهر من دم فيه رجل قائم وعلى وسط النهر – قال يزيد ووهب ابن جرير عن جرير بن حازم – وعلى شط النهر رجل بين يديه حجارة فأقبل الرجل الذي في النهر فإذا أراد أن يخرج رمى الرجل بحجر في فيه فرده حيث كان فجعل كلما جاء ليخرج رمى في فيه بحجر فيرجع كما كان فقلت من هذا ؟ قالا انطلق فانطلقنا حتى انتهيا إلى روضة خضراء فيها شجرة عظيمة وفي أصلها شيخ وصبيان وإذا رجل قريب من الشجرة بين يديه نار يوقدها فصعدا بي في الشجرة وأدخلاني دارا لم أر قط أحسن منها فيها رجال شيوخ وشباب ونساء وصبيان ثم أخرجاني منها فصعدا بي الشجرة فأدخلاني دارا هي أحسن وأفضل فيها شيوخ وشباب قلت طوفتماني الليلة فأخبراني عما رأيت . قالا نعم أما الذي رايته يشق شدقه فكذاب يحدث بالكذبة فتحمل عنه حتى تبلغ الآفاق فيصنع به إلى يوم القيامة والذي رأيته يشدخ رأسه فرجل علمه الله القرآن فنام عنه بالليل ولم يعمل فيه بالنهار يفعل به إلى يوم القيامة والذي رأيته في الثقب فهم الزناة والذي رأيته في النهر آكلوا الربا والشيخ في أصل الشجرة إبراهيم عليه السلام والصبيان حوله فأولاد الناس والذي يوقد النار مالك خازن النار والدار الأولى التي دخلت دار عامة المؤمنين وأما هذه الدار فدار الشهداء وأنا جبريل وهذا مكيائيل فارفع رأسك فرفعت رأسي فإذا فوقي مثل السحاب قالا ذاك منزلك قلت دعاني أدخل منزلي قالا إنه بقي لك عمر لم تستكمله فلو استكملت أتيت منزلك 


Narrated Samura bin Jundab:

Whenever the Prophet finished the (morning) prayer, he would face us and ask, “Who amongst you had a dream last night?” So if anyone had seen a dream he would narrate it. The Prophet would say: “Ma sha’a-llah” (An Arabic maxim meaning literally, ‘What Allah wished,’ and it indicates a good omen.) One day, he asked us whether anyone of us had seen a dream. We replied in the negative. The Prophet said, “But I had seen (a dream) last night that two men came to me, caught hold of my hands, and took me to the Sacred Land. There, I saw a person sitting and another standing with an iron hook in his hand pushing it inside the mouth of the former till it reached the jaw-bone, and then tore off one side of his cheek, and then did the same with the other side; in the mean-time the first side of his cheek became normal again and then he repeated the same operation again. I said, ‘What is this?’ They told me to proceed on and we went on till we came to a man Lying flat on his back, and another man standing at his head carrying a stone or a piece of rock, and crushing the head of the Lying man, with that stone. Whenever he struck him, the stone rolled away. The man went to pick it up and by the time he returned to him, the crushed head had returned to its normal state and the man came back and struck him again (and so on). I said, ‘Who is this?’ They told me to proceed on; so we proceeded on and passed by a hole like an oven; with a narrow top and wide bottom, and the fire was kindling underneath that hole. Whenever the fire-flame went up, the people were lifted up to such an extent that they about to get out of it, and whenever the fire got quieter, the people went down into it, and there were naked men and women in it. I said, ‘Who is this?’ They told me to proceed on. So we proceeded on till we reached a river of blood and a man was in it, and another man was standing at its bank with stones in front of him, facing the man standing in the river. Whenever the man in the river wanted to come out, the other one threw a stone in his mouth and caused him to retreat to his original position; and so whenever he wanted to come out the other would throw a stone in his mouth, and he would retreat to his original position. I asked, ‘What is this?’ They told me to proceed on and we did so till we reached a well-flourished green garden having a huge tree and near its root was sitting an old man with some children. (I saw) Another man near the tree with fire in front of him and he was kindling it up. Then they (i.e. my two companions) made me climb up the tree and made me enter a house, better than which I have ever seen. In it were some old men and young men, women and children. Then they took me out of this house and made me climb up the tree and made me enter another house that was better and superior (to the first) containing old and young people. I said to them (i.e. my two companions), ‘You have made me ramble all the night. Tell me all about that I have seen.’ They said, ‘Yes. As for the one whose cheek you saw being torn away, he was a liar and he used to tell lies, and the people would report those lies on his authority till they spread all over the world. So, he will be punished like that till the Day of Resurrection. The one whose head you saw being crushed is the one whom Allah had given the knowledge of Quran  but he used to sleep at night and did not use to act upon it  by day; and so this punishment will go on till the Day of Resurrection. And those you saw in the hole (like oven) were adulterers. And those you saw in the river of blood were those dealing in Riba (usury). And the old man who was sitting at the base of the tree was Abraham and the little children around him were the offspring of the people. And the one who was kindling the fire was Malik, the gate-keeper of the Hell-fire. And the first house in which you have gone was the house of the common believers, and the second house was of the martyrs. I am Gabriel and this is Michael. Raise your head.’ I raised my head and saw a thing like a cloud over me. They said, ‘That is your place.’ I said, ‘Let me enter my place.’ They said, ‘You still have some life which you have not yet completed, and when you complete (that remaining portion of your life) you will then enter your place.’ “


This hadith explicitly  indicate that there is torment both collectively (like for adulterers) and individually (like for the Quran scholar and the liar) and the words يفعل به إلى يوم القيامة indicate that it would happen till day of resurrection.  Those who believe that the torment would happen only in grave claim that it’s a dream of Prophet and it needs interpretation which is not reported. Unfortunately they do not see the fallacy of their  claim as we are informed that Prophet has described  the dream in palpable manner and this particular dream was not metaphoric in nature.  In hadith literature we come across two kinds of prophetic dreams. One kind of dreams are metaphoric and for that in the same hadith we can find the interpretation. In another kinds of dreams the message is clear and no interpretation is demanded by the companions of Prophet. There were dreams of Prophet which were metaphoric and the dream was  different from prophetic interpretation and reality. In fact there were dreams  of Prophet which were clear and vivid and there are many examples of these kind of dreams in ahadith. For example Prophet saw in his dream that in Lailatul-Qadr, he would be prostrating in muddy waters and that happened exactly as it is. Similarly Prophet saw a dream in which he saw himself doing circumambulations the Kabbah. Prophet took it a direct revelation and set out for Umrah but pagans prevented him to enter Makkah, later Allah revealed that (in surah al-Fatah):

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لَقَدْ صَدَقَ اللَّهُ رَسُولَهُ الرُّؤْيَا بِالْحَقِّ لَتَدْخُلُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ آَمِنِينَ مُحَلِّقِينَ رُءُوسَكُمْ وَمُقَصِّرِينَ لَا تَخَافُونَ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا فَجَعَلَ مِنْ دُونِ ذَلِكَ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا (27)

Indeed Allah shall fulfil the true vision which He showed to His Messenger  [i.e. the Prophet  saw a dream that he has entered Makkah along with his companions, having their (head) hair shaved and cut short] in very truth. Certainly, you shall enter Al-Masjid-al-Haram; if Allah wills, secure, (some) having your heads shaved, and (some) having your head hair cut short, having no fear. He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides that a near victory.


The present narration also reports the same kind of dream and that is why no interpretation is asked by the companions of Prophet. What is indicated in this hadith is that the new bodies are given to souls for the affliction of torment.

Ibn Hajar said in explanation of this narration (Fath ul Bari juz 20, pg 52)

. وَفِيهِ أَنَّ بَعْض الْعُصَاة يُعَذَّبُونَ فِي الْبَرْزَخ

And the narration has showed that some sinners will be punished in the Burzakh


Evidence 2: Intestines of soul?


Imam Bukhari reported in Sahih 11 – باب إذا انفلتت الدابة في الصلاة juz 1, pg 406:

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1154 – حدثنا محمد بن مقاتل أخبرنا عبد الله أخبرنا يونس عن الزهري عن عروة قال : قالت عائشة خسفت الشمس فقام النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فقرأ سورة طويلة ثم ركع فأطال ثم رفع رأسه ثم استفتح بسورة أخرى ثم ركع حين قضاها وسجد ثم فعل ذلك في الثانية ثم قال ( إنهما آيتان من آيات الله فإذا رأيتم ذلم فصلوا حتى يفرج عنكم لقد رأيت في مقامي هذا كل شيء وعدته حتى لقد رأيت أريد أن آخذ قطفا من الجنة حين رأيتموني جعلت أتقدم ولقد رأيت جهنم يحطم بعضها بعضا حين رأيتموني تأخرت ورأيت فيها عمرو بن لحي وهو الذي سيب السوائب )

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Once the sun eclipsed and Allah’s Apostle stood up for the prayer and recited a very long Sura and when bowed for a long while and then raised his head and started reciting another Sura. Then he bowed, and after finishing, he prostrated and did the same in the second Raka and then said, “These (lunar and solar eclipses) are two of the signs of Allah and if you see them, pray till the eclipse is over. No doubt, while standing at this place I saw everything promised to me by Allah and I saw (Paradise) and I wanted to pluck a bunch (of grapes) there from, at the time when you saw me stepping forward. No doubt, I saw Hell with its different parts destroying each other when you saw me retreating and in it I saw ‘Amr bin Luhai who started the tradition of freeing animals (set them free) in the name of idols.”


Also reported by Bukhari in  باب  ما جعل الله من بحيرة ولا سائبة ولا وصيلة ولا حام  juz 4, pg 1691

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4348 – حدثني محمد بن أبي يعقوب أبو عبد الله الكرماني حدثنا حسان ابن إبراهيم حدثنا يونس عن الزهري عن عروة أن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم  رأيت جهنم يحطم بعضها بعضا ورأيت عمرا يجر قصبه وهو أول من سيب السوائب 

Narrated Aisha:  Allah’s Apostle said, “I saw Hell and its different portions were consuming each other and saw ‘Amr dragging his intestines (in it), and he was the first person to establish the tradition of letting animals loose (for the idols).”


In this report clearly a sign of new body are present. Amr bin Luhai is dragging his intestines in Hell. The soul does not have intestines. It’s a sign of a body.


Evidence 3: Bird’s flight or soul’s flight?


It is reported in Sahih Muslim  chapter باب بيان أن أرواح الشهداء في الجنة وأنهم أحياء عند ربهم يرزقون juz 3, pg 1502


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 ( 1887 ) حدثنا يحيى بن يحيى وأبو بكر بن أبي شيبة كلاهما عن أبي معاوية ح وحدثنا إسحاق بن إبراهيم أخبرنا جرير وعيسى بن يونس جميعا عن الأعمش ح وحدثنا محمد بن عبدالله بن نمير ( واللفظ له ) حدثنا أسباط وأبو معاوية قالا حدثنا الأعمش عن عبدالله بن مرة عن مسروق قال سألنا عبدالله ( هو ابن مسعود ) عن هذه الآية { ولا تحسبن الذين قتلوا في سبيل الله أمواتا بل أحياء عند ربهم يرزقون } [ 3 / آل عمران / 169 ] قال أما إنا سألنا عن ذلك فقال  أرواحهم في جوف طير خضر لها قناديل معلقة بالعرش تسرح من الجنة حيث شاءت ثم تأوي إلى تلك القناديل فاطلع إليهم ربهم اطلاعة فقال هل تشتهون شيئا ؟ قالوا أي شيء نشتهي ؟ ونحن نسرح من الجنة حيث شئنا ففعل ذلك بهم ثلاث مرات فلما رأوا أنهم لن يتركوا من أن يسألوا قالوا يا رب نريد أن ترد أرواحنا في أجسادنا حتى نقتل في سبيلك مرة أخرى فلما رأى أن ليس لهم حاجة تركوا 

Masrooq said: We asked Abdullah (ibn Masood) about the verse Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. He said  Indeed we asked Prophet about this he said: Souls are in Green bird, they have chandeliers hanging to the Holy Throne. They go in Paradise where they wants and then return  to the chandeliers,  Their Lord asked them and  said: Do ye desire anything? They replied (O Lord) anything we need! we go out in paradise where we want. Their Lord asked them same  three times.  When they  saw that Lord  would not leave asking them,  they said, O Lord, we want that our souls be returned  into our bodies until we kill for the Way (of Allah) again. When He (Allah) saw that they need nothing, He stopped asking them.


It is reported in Bukhari باب مناقب جعفر بن أبي طالب الهاشمي رضي الله عنه juz 3, pg 1360

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حدثني عمرو بن علي حدثنا يزيد بن هارون أخبرنا إسماعيل ابن أبي خالد عن الشعبي  : أن ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما كان إذا سلم على ابن جعفر قال السلام عليك يا ابن ذي الجناحين

 Narrated Ash-Sha’bi: Whenever Ibn ‘Umar greeted Ibn Jafar, he used to say: “As-salamu-‘Alaika (i.e. Peace be on you) O son of Dhul-Janahain (son of the two-winged person).”


The martyrs got new bodies which can fly. Scholars which do not believe in the new bodies say that green birds for the martyrs are like aeroplanes. Their souls sit into these flying creatures. However the wordابن ذي الجناحين  clearly contradict these assumptions. The wings are given to  companion Jafar and that is why he is called the two-winged one.  Jafar was martyred in war of Mauta which occurred in 8 AH.


Evidence 4: Milk sucking soul?


It is reported in Bukhari باب ما قيل في أولاد المسلمين   juz 1  pg 465

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حدثنا أبو الوليد حدثما شعبة عن عدي بن ثابت  : أنه سمع البراء رضي الله عنه قال لما توفي إبراهيم عليه السلام قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ( إن له مرضعا في الجنة )                        

 Narrated Al-Bara: When Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet) died, Allah’s Apostle said, “There is a wet nurse for him in Paradise


Further Prophet informed that his son Ibrahim goes to heaven where he has a body which could enjoy milk! Does the soul need milk?


Evidence 5 : Azab al-Qabr even before burial?

It is reported in Sahih Bukhari  Volume 2, Book 23, Number 376   that:

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حدثنا عبد الله بن يوسف أخبرنا مالك عن عبد الله بن أبي بكر عن أبيه عن عمرة بنت عبد الرحمن أنها أخبرته  : أنها سمعت عائشة رضي الله عنها زوج النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قالت إنما مر رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم على يهودية يبكي عليها أهلها فقال  إنهم يبكون عليها وإنها لتعذب في قبرها         


Narrated ‘Aisha:  (the wife of the Prophet) Once Allah’s Apostle passed by a Jewess whose relatives were weeping over her. He said, “They are weeping over her and she is being tortured in her grave.”


In Sahih  Muslim juz 2, pg 643, chapter  باب الميت يعذب ببكاء أهله عليه  it is reported that:

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وحدثنا قتيبة بن سعيد عن مالك بن أنس فيما قرئ عليه عن عبدالله بن أبي بكر عن أبيه عن عمرة بنت عبدالرحمن أنها أخبرته أنها سمعت عائشة وذكر لها أن عبدالله بن عمر يقول  : إن الميت ليعذب ببكاء الحي فقالت عائشة يغفر الله لأبي عبدالرحمن أما أنه لم يكذب ولكنه نسى أو أخطأ إنما مر رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم على يهودية يبكى عليها فقال إنهم ليبكون عليها وإنها لتعذب في قبرها


Narrated ‘Aisha (the wife of the Prophet) when if is reported to her that Abdullah ibn Umer said Indeed dead would be tormented for the weeping of the living (relatives), so she said May Allah forgive Abi Abdur-Rehman (Abdullah ibn Umer) he is not a liar but did mistake or forgot actually  Allah’s Apostle once  passed by a Jewess whose relatives were weeping over her. He said, “They are weeping over her and she is being tortured in her grave.”


Both of these narrations clearly indicate that the Jewess was not even buried but she was tormented due to weeping of her relatives. This indicate that the word Qabr in Prophet’s era actually refers to the abode in Burzakh.

The faction of scholars which believe in the returning of the soul to dead claim that  the narrators of  this  narration mistakenly dropped the word grave. Prophet had actually passed by the grave of a Jewess. To support their argument they present the narrations from  Musnad Ahmed juz 2, pg 38, Sunnan Nisai juz 1, pg 262, Sunann Abi Dawood juz 3, pg 163 etc. However they forget that they themselves claim that any thing narrated by the narrators of Sahiheen is authentic. Are they not digressing from their previous claim?

In fact this narration is heard by eight people with the  sanad (chain) of Hassham bin Urwa from Urwa from ‘Aisha with some variation of words.  The most trustworthy among these eight narrators is Hammad bin Zaid, a very famous Imam of Jarah and Tadeel. He reported that the Prophet passed by the Jannaza (funeral bier) of a  Jew!

Muslim juz 2 pg 642 chapter باب الميت يعذب ببكاء أهله عليه reported:

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وحدثنا خلف بن هشام وأبو الربيع الزهراني جميعا عن حماد قال خلف حدثنا حماد بن زيد عن هشام بن عروة عن أبيه قال : ذكر عند عائشة قول ابن عمر الميت يعذب ببكاء أهله عليه فقالت رحم الله أبا عبدالرحمن سمع شيئا فلم يحفظه إنما مرت على رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم جنازة يهودي وهم يبكون عليه فقال أنتم تبكون وإنه ليعذب

When Aisha was informed about the statement of  Ibn Umer that dead are tortured due to crying of relatives, she said O Allah ,  Send your mercy on  Abu Abdul Rahman, he heard  something which now he remembered not. In fact Messenger of Allah PBUH passed by  the  funeral  bier of a Jew and they were crying so he  said you weep for him and he is being  tortured.


This another narration of Muslim shows that the Jew was not even buried. The issue is not whether the dead person was male or female, the issue is whether he or she was buried or  still on the surface.

The narration which is presented for the support of wide held belief that the torment actually occur in the earthly grave is attributed to Byra bin Azib, a  companion of Prophet peace be upon him. This  narration is reported in Musnad Ahmed, juz4 , pg, 287; Abi Dawood juz 13, pg 494;  Ibn Abi Shibah juz 3,pg 310, Hakim juz 1, pg 37 etc with some variations in text:

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حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا أبو معاوية قال ثنا الأعمش عن منهال بن عمرو عن زاذان عن البراء بن عازب قال : خرجنا مع النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم في جنازة رجل من الأنصار فانتهينا إلى القبر ولما يلحد فجلس رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وجلسنا حوله وكأن على رءوسنا الطير وفي يده عود ينكت في الأرض فرفع رأسه فقال استعيذوا بالله من عذاب القبر مرتين أو ثلاثا ثم قال ان العبد المؤمن إذا كان في انقطاع من الدنيا وإقبال من الآخرة نزل إليه ملائكة من السماء بيض الوجوه كأن وجوههم الشمس معهم كفن من أكفان الجنة وحنوط من حنوط الجنة حتى يجلسوا منه مد البصر ثم يجئ ملك الموت عليه السلام حتى يجلس عند رأسه فيقول أيتها النفس الطيبة أخرجي إلى مغفرة من الله ورضوان قال فتخرج تسيل كما تسيل القطرة من في السقاء فيأخذها فإذا أخذها لم يدعوها في يده طرفة عين حتى يأخذوها فيجعلوها في ذلك الكفن وفي ذلك الحنوط ويخرج منها كأطيب نفحة مسك وجدت على وجه الأرض قال فيصعدون بها فلا يمرون يعنى بها على ملأ من الملائكة الا قالوا ما هذا الروح الطيب فيقولون فلان بن فلان بأحسن أسمائه التي كانوا يسمونه بها في الدنيا حتى ينتهوا بها إلى السماء الدنيا فيستفتحون له فيفتح لهم فيشيعه من كل سماء مقربوها إلى السماء التي تليها حتى ينتهى به إلى السماء السابعة فيقول الله عز و جل اكتبوا كتاب عبدي في عليين وأعيدوه إلى الأرض فإني منها خلقتهم وفيها أعيدهم ومنها أخرجهم تارة أخرى قال فتعاد روحه في جسده فيأتيه ملكان فيجلسانه فيقولان له من ربك فيقول ربي الله فيقولان له ما دينك فيقول ديني الإسلام فيقولان له ما هذا الرجل الذي بعث فيكم فيقول هو رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فيقولان له وما علمك فيقول قرأت كتاب الله فآمنت به وصدقت فينادى مناد في السماء ان صدق عبدي فافرشوه من الجنة وألبسوه من الجنة وافتحوا له بابا إلى الجنة قال فيأتيه من روحها وطيبها ويفسح له في قبره مد بصره قال ويأتيه رجل حسن الوجه حسن الثياب طيب الريح فيقول أبشر بالذي يسرك هذا يومك الذي كنت توعد فيقول له من أنت فوجهك الوجه يجئ بالخير فيقول أنا عملك الصالح فيقول رب أقم الساعة حتى أرجع إلى أهلي وما لي قال وان العبد الكافر إذا كان في انقطاع من الدنيا وإقبال من الآخرة نزل إليه من السماء ملائكة سود الوجوه معهم المسوح فيجلسون منه مد البصر ثم يجئ ملك الموت حتى يجلس عند رأسه فيقول أيتها النفس الخبيثة أخرجي إلى سخط من الله وغضب قال فتفرق في جسده فينتزعها كما ينتزع السفود من الصوف المبلول فيأخذها فإذا أخذها لم يدعوها في يده طرفة عين حتى يجعلوها في تلك المسوح ويخرج منها كأنتن ريح جيفة وجدت على وجه الأرض فيصعدون بها فلا يمرون بها على ملأ من الملائكة الا قالوا ما هذا الروح الخبيث فيقولون فلان بن فلان بأقبح أسمائه التي كان يسمى بها في الدنيا حتى ينتهى به إلى السماء الدنيا فيستفتح له فلا يفتح له ثم قرأ رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم { لا تفتح لهم أبواب السماء ولا يدخلون الجنة حتى يلج الجمل في سم الخياط } فيقول الله عز و جل اكتبوا كتابه في سجين في الأرض السفلى فتطرح روحه طرحا ثم قرأ { ومن يشرك بالله فكأنما خر من السماء فتخطفه الطير أو تهوي به الريح في مكان سحيق } فتعاد روحه في جسده ويأتيه ملكان فيجلسانه فيقولان له من ربك فيقول هاه هاه لا أدري فيقولان له ما دينك فيقول هاه هاه لا أدري فيقولان له ما هذا الرجل الذي بعث فيكم فيقول هاه هاه لا أدري فينادى مناد من السماء ان كذب فافرشوا له من النار وافتحوا له بابا إلى النار فيأتيه من حرها وسمومها ويضيق عليه قبره حتى تختلف فيه أضلاعه ويأتيه رجل قبيح الوجه قبيح الثياب منتن الريح فيقول أبشر بالذي يسوءك هذا يومك الذي كنت توعد فيقول من أنت فوجهك الوجه يجئ بالشر فيقول أنا عملك الخبيث فيقول رب لا تقم الساعة


In some narrations there is an addition that

فيقيض له أصم أبكم معه مرزبة ولو ضرب بها فيل صار ترابا أو قال رميما فيضربه ضربة تسمعها الخلائق إلا الثقلين ثم تعاد فيه الروح فيضربه ضربة أخرى


Byra bin Azib reported that we went out with the Prophet, peace be upon him at the funeral of a man from Ansar so we arrived at the grave and it was not ready; Messenger of Allah peace be upon him sat and we sat around him as if birds are over our heads and in his hands was a twig   through which he was engraving on ground. He raised his head and said:  Ask forgiveness of Allah from the torment of the grave two or three times and then said that for the righteous  person at  the interruption of this world and the beginning of the Hereafter, came down the angels from heaven with bright faces as if their faces are sun. With them is a shroud of Paradise and shrouds of musk of musk of paradise, they sit until the range of sight.  Then arrive the Angel of Death, peace be upon him until sits at his (righteous person’s) head and says, O good soul come out towards the forgiveness of God and His happiness.  He said: It come out flowing like flowing drop from waterskin , he (angel) takes the souls  and it does not remain with him for an eye blink and the souls is taken from him by (other) angels. Then they  adorn the soul  with the heavenly attire and engulfed it into heavenly scent. A scent then erupts from the souls which smelled better than the Musk fragrances of the earth.

 Prophet said: The angels (carrying soul) ascend towards heaven. As they passes by the schools of angels (already in heaven), Angels inquired: Which pious soul is this? They are told that he is that son of that. They utter his (dead person) most worthy name through which he is called at earth. Angels take him to the heaven and request that the doors of heaven be opened for it and doors are opened. Afterwards the angels of presence of each sky would accompany this soul until they reach the seventh sky.

Allah says:  Inscribe the book of my slave in Illiyen and return him to the earth as by it,  I have created them  and to which I would return them and  brought them out at another time

 (Prophet) Said:  so the soul is returned in the body, and comes two angels to him which sat him. They also ask him:  Who is your Lord?  He says my Lord is Allah. They ask him:  What is your faith? He says: Islam is my faith. They ask: Who was the person sent among you? He says: He (Muhammad PBUH) is the prophet. They inquire: How do you come to know all about it? He says: I read the book of Allah, believed in it and attested it.  A voice then comes from the sky: My slave spoke truth so laid the floor of Heavens for him, adorned him in heavenly attire and open the door of heaven for him.

Said: The fragrance of heavens started reaching him and his grave is extended till the eye-sight.

(Prophet) Said: After that comes a handsome person, perfumed and beautifully dressed. He comes to the righteous person, with these bounties remain blissful, these are the tidings for you, this is the day promised to you. Righteous person inquires Who are you?  Your face is like blessings achieved.  He says: I am your good deed. Then the righteous person prayed that O Lord establish the day of Judgement, so that I may return to my family.

Prophet said: When the infidel leave this world and about to enter in hereafter, come the angels  from heavens with black faces with jute rug. They sat with the distance till reaches eye slight. After that comes the angel of Death which sit close to his head and says O evil soul come out towards the wrath of God  and His anger. Said: The soul then spreads inside the body, Angel of death then dragged it out like iron spike is taken out from the  wool. As soon as angel of death took hold of the soul, come other angels and with in an eye blink took it from his hands and fold it into jute rug.  From it (souls) erupts the most vicious of smells.

Angels take it and ascend upwards, as they passes by schools of angels, they inquire: Which evil soul is this?  Angels call the worst name of it, through which he was famous at the earth. Until they reach the first sky and asked for the door to be opened but it is not allowed. Prophet then recited this verse: The doors of sky would not be opened for them until the camel goes through the passage of needle.


Then Allah orders: Inscribe his name in Sijjeen, which is the under-world.


Then the soul is thrown down and Prophet recited verse whoever assigns partners to Allah, 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… Then his soul is returned to body and arrive two angels which sat him and ask: Who is your Lord? He says alas I know it not. They ask: What is your faith? He says: Alas I know it not. They ask: Who was the person sent among you? He says: Alas I have no knowledge.

Then resound a voice from heaven He lied so laid the blanket of fire – open a door of Hell. So come to him the heat of hell fire and its stench. The grave is so squeezed that his ribs engraved into one another. Then comes a man with hideous face and squalidly dressed with stench erupting from him. He comes and said I want to give you the tidings of things which would make you sad. This the day- promised to you!  Infidel inquired: Who are you, with such a hideous face full of evilness? He says:  I am your evil deeds. On that he cried:  O Lord Let not the Time (day of judgement) come!


(additional part in some books)

.. Then appointed on him a deaf or  mute with mace , that if he would strike the Elephant it would  became mud or said dust,  the strikes  a blow  which is  heard by all the  creatures except Humans & Jinns and  then returned the soul (again to body)  it strikes another blow.


Endorsement of this narration by Al-Hakim (died 405 A.H.): Al-Hakim Al-Nishabori committed a mistake in endorsing this narration in his compilation Mustadrak Al-Hakim. Mustaddrak Al-Hakim is replete with such mistakes and scholars over the ages have indicated these mistakes.  Al-Hakim was a prolific author and has written many books. Mustaddark is a book which according to Al-Hakim contains narrations which both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslims have not included in their Sahih or Jamah. Al-Hakim assuming that he understood the rules of selection of Sahih narrations by Bukhari and Muslim, complied the Mustadrak. At several places he has written “on the conditions of both (Bukhari & Muslim) but they have not reported it” i.e. the said narration is fulfilling the conditions of Bukhari and Muslims but they have not included those in Sahiheen.


Such endorsements of Hakim are criticized by major scholars over the years see Nasb-ur-Raya by Zalai, Tazkira tul-Huffaz by Dahabi, Meezan Al-Ateedal by Dahabi, Lisan al-Meezan by Ibn-Hajar etc.


Al-Hakim said for the narration of Byra bin azib from Zazzan that (Mustadrak , juz 1, pg 51):


هذا حديث صحيح على شرط الشيخين فقد احتجا جميعا بالمنهال بن عمرو و زاذان أبي عمر الكندي و في هذا الحديث فوائد كثيرة لأهل السنة و قمع للمبتدعة و لم يخرجاه بطوله


This narration is sahih on the conditions of both Sheiks (i.e. Bukhari & Muslim) as both have taken narrations from Minhal bin Amr and Zazzan Abi Umer Al-Kindi and it has many benefits  for Ahl-Sunnah and suppression for heretics but have not included it due to its length


Endorsement of this narration by  Al- Dahabi (died 748 A.H.): Dahabi has written in his noting over Mustadrak  (see juz 1, pg 51) that:


تعليق الذهبي قي التلخيص : على شرطهما فقد احتجا بالمنهال

Noting of Dahabi in Talkhees: As per their standards and they both (Bukhari & Muslim) have taken narrations from Minhal


This is a mistake from Dahabi, as Muslim has not taken any narration from Minhal bin Amr. So the statement of Dahabi is incorrect.


Dahabi has written Seer-Allam Al-Nabla and Tarikh Islam after the compilation of his noting on Mustadrak. As he indicated that elsewhere.


Dahabi writes in Tarikh al-Islam Juz 1,  2942

. وفي بعض ذلك موضوعات قد أعلمت بها لما اختصرت هذا ” المستدرك ” ونبهت على ذلك

And for these issues I have informed in my synopsis of this Mustadark and alerted (the reader)

 In Seer Allam, Juz 17, pg 175 he writes:

وبكل حال فهو كتاب مفيد قد اختصرته،

And in all respect that book (Mustadrak) is a useful book I have shortened it and …


Thus it is clear from these excerpts that Talkhis over Mustadrak was compiled before the thorough work of Seer Allam and Tahrikh al-Islam


Therefore the endorsement of Dahabi for the Minhal narration as quoted above could not be taken seriously. In this later work he himself refuted this narration, as mentioned earlier from the references of Seer-Allam and Tahrikh Islam.


Dahabi said in Seer Aallam ( juz 5, pg 184 ) compiled after his noting on Mustadrak:

قلت: حديثه في شأن القبر بطوله فيه نكارة وغرابة، يرويه عن زاذان عن البراء

I say: his lengthy narration regarding grave has Nikkarat (against established hadith) and Gharabat (uniquness), which he narrates from Zazzan from Byra

Dahabi has refuted this narration in his later work and in a way cleared his position.

Endorsement of this narration by Al-Baihaqui (died 458 AH): Al- Baihaqui had compiled  a book on the narrations of Azab-al-Qabr. As such the book is compiled against the Mu’tazilah. Mu’tazilah was the speculative theology that flourished in Basra and Baghdad. Mu’tazilah theological school is traced back to Wāṣil ibn ʿAṭāʾ (699–749) who was the student of al-Ḥasan al-Baṣri.  Mu’tazilah were the stalwart opposer of the idea that there would be any torment in grave. It was the kind of aberrant  school indulged in philosophical details of Islamic thought and believe. They were the fore-runners of the so-called created-Quran (Khalq-al-Quran) dogma in era of Abbāsid caliph al-Maʾmūn.


Baihaqui has compiled a book titled إثبات عذاب القبر in which he has included 240 narrations about the torment in grave.  Baihaqui has not given any of his opinions on the narration weaknesses as he did for his book on issue of  recitation of Fatiah behind the Imam. Baihaqui said in this book:


قال عمرو في حديثه عن منهال عن زاذان عن البراء عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فيقيض له أصم أبكم معه مرزبة ولو ضرب بها فيل صار ترابا أو قال رميما فيضربه ضربة تسمعها الخلائق إلا الثقلين ثم تعاد فيه الروح فيضربه ضربة أخرى هذا حديث كبير صحيح الإسناد رواه جماعة من الأئمة الثقات عن الأعمش وأخرجه أبو داود سليمان بن الأشعث السجستاني في كتاب السنن

Amr said in narration:  from Minhal from Zazzan from Byra from Prophet then appointed on him a deaf or  mute with mace , that if he would strike the Elephant it would  became mud or said dust,  the strikes  a blow  which is  heard by all the  creatures except Humans & Jinns and  then returned the soul (again to body)  it strikes another blow.

This is a well known hadith with sahih chain of narrators and narrated by a group of authentic scholars from Al-Amash and it is reported by Abu Dawood Sulemain bin Al-Ashas Al-Sijistani in his Kitab on Sunnan.


Baihaqui thus supported this narration.

Narration of Byra bin Azib is against Quran:

It would be necessary to analyse what is stated in narration instead of accepting it on its face value.

Confusion over Illiyen & Sijjen:

It is stated in narration that God commanded that:


Inscribe the book of my slave in Illiyen and return him to the earth  …Inscribe his name in Sijjeen, which is the under-world.


Sijjin as an under-world has no basis in Quran and Sahih Ahadith.  God Almighty  informed us in his glorious book that Sijjin is a register not a place.

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كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْفُجَّارِ لَفِي سِجِّينٍ (7) وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا سِجِّينٌ (8) كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ 

Nay! Truly, the Record (writing of the deeds) of the Fujjar (disbelievers, sinners, evil-doers and wicked) is (preserved) in Sijjin. And what will make you know what Sijjin is? A Register inscribed.


Likewise Illiyen is the record of righteous people.

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كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْأَبْرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ (18) وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا عِلِّيُّونَ (19) كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ (20) يَشْهَدُهُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ 

Nay! Verily, the Record (writing of the deeds) of Al-Abrar (the pious who fear Allah and avoid evil), is (preserved) in ‘Illiyyun. And what will make you know what ‘Illiyyun is? A Register inscribed. To which bear witness those nearest (to Allah, i.e. the angels).


Unfortunately the group of scholars who claim that Zazzan narration from Byra bin Azib’snarration is authentic also sometimes claim that it is the name of place!


Doors of sky would not be opened for Infidels

It is claimed in narration that when the angels ascend with soul of evil-doer then:


Until they reach the first sky and asked for the door to be opened but it is not allowed. Prophet then recited this verse: The doors of sky would not be opened for them until the camel goes through the passage of needle.


If this is the rule that door of sky would not be opened for a soul then why the same group of scholars (which believe in the returning of soul to dead body)  claim that the soul after questioning in grave goes back to Hell!  Does it mean that camel has crossed the passage of the needle? Actually there is a contradiction between their believe and what narrators are portraying. Narrators (Minhal bin Amr and Zazzan) would like to stress that souls after death remain in earth irrespective of whether the person is righteous or infidel.


Complications due to Additional text:


What these narrators are purporting is that the soul return to body does not happens only one times, rather it is an on going process. As reported in the Idafa:


.. Then appointed on him a deaf or  mute with mace , that if he would strike the Elephant it would  became mud or said dust,  the strikes  a blow  which is  heard by all the  creatures except Humans & Jinns and  then returned the soul (again to body)  it strikes another blow.


Since this (Idafa) addition is against the widespread belief that soul would be returned to the body in grave only once. It was necessary to refute it some how. Therefore the newly emerged so-called Salafi followers claim that this addition (Idafa) is not authentic. However  their predecessors like Ibn-Tammiah quoted this addition twice in his Fatawah. Ibn-Qayyam quoted this addition in Kitab-ur-Ruh and the recent era scholar Nasiruddin Al-Bani declared this Idafa authentic.



Recently a group called Ahl-Hadith in Pakistan has refuted this Idafa claiming that it is not valid (see Al-Musnad fi Azab al-Qabr by Muhammad Arshad Kamal pg 152). However Mr. Arshad Kamal has blatantly used the endorsement of Baihaqui, Ibn-Qayyam, Al-Bani etc. (see Al-Musnad fi Azab al-Qabr by Muhammad Arshad Kamal pg 150-151) and hid the fact that these scholars consider this addition also authentic.


This Idafa is declared authentic  by many scholars like

S. # Scholar Book Juz/ Volume page
1 Al-Baihaqui Isbat Azab Al-Qabr 1 39
2 Ibn- Tammiah Majmu’a Fatawah 4 289
3 Ibn-Qayyam Kitab ar-Ruh 1 48
4 Ibn- Tammiah Mjumu’a Fatawah 1 349
5 Nasiruddin Al-Bani Sahih Targheeb wal- Tarheeb 3 219
6 Nasiruddin Al-Bani Ehkam ul- Janaiz 1 159
7 Nasiruddin al-Bani Mishtaak Al-Masabih 1 28



Imam Al-Dolabi has informed us in his work titled Al-Kuna-wal-Asma  (juz 4- pg 404) that the Zazzan was among the Shiites.

أخبرني محمد بن إبراهيم بن هاشم ، عن أبيه ، عن محمد بن عمر قال : « زاذان أبو عمر الفارسي مولى لكندة ، أدرك عمر ، وكان من أصحاب عبد الله ، وكان من شيعة علي ، هلك في سلطان عبد الملك

Muhammad bin Umer (Al-Waqidi) said that Zazzan Abu Umer Al-Farisi Maula Kindah found (the era of) Umer and was among the people of Abdullah (ibn Masood) and was from Shiites of Ali, died in the regime of Sultan Abdul-Malik


The statement of Al-Waqidi  is a historical record. Further,  Ibn- Hajar said in Taqreeb al-Tahzeeb (juz 1, pg 307)

زاذان أبو عمر الكندي البزاز ويكنى أبا عبد الله أيضا صدوق يرسل وفيه شيعية من الثانية مات سنة اثنتين وثمانين

Zazzan Abu Umer al-Kindi Al-Bazzaz and nicknamed Aba Abdullah also is Sudooq some times commit Irsal and has Shiite inclination died in year eighty two.


Ibn-Hajar and Dolabi both informed about the Shiite connection of Zazzan. The group of scholar which support the believe of returning of the soul into dead claim that Ibn-Hajar was influenced by Al- Waqidi. However there are evidences which support the inclination of Zazzan towards Shia’ism. Further it would be interesting to know that Ibn-Hajar has quoted Muhammad bin Umer Al-Waqidi  more than 200 times in Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb only. This basically reflects the acceptance of Waqidi in keeping the record of history.


Now here the narrations reported by Zazzan which reflect his Shitte tendencies:


1.  It is reported  in  Fazail Sahabah compiled by Imam Ahmed (juz 2 pg 472) that:

حدثنا عبد الله ، قثنا أبي ، قثنا ابن نمير ، نا عبد الملك ، عن أبي عبد الرحيم الكندي ، عن زاذان أبي عمر قال : سمعت عليا في الرحبة  وهو ينشد الناس : من شهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم غدير خم وهو يقول ما قال ؟ فقام ثلاثة عشر رجلا فشهدوا أنهم سمعوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يقول : « من كنت مولاه فعلي مولاه ، اللهم وال من والاه ، وعاد من عاداه »

Zazzan said: I heard Ali  in Al-Rahbah and he was preaching: Who saw the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him on the Ghadeer Khum?  He said what he said? Stood thirteen men and bear witness that  they heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, he said: «If I  am the friend of someone Ali is his friend O  Allah,  take as friend one who take him as friend and take as enemy one who takes him as enemy»


2. Also reported in Fazail Sahabah by Imam Ahmed (juz 3 pg 3) that:

حدثنا عبد الله قال : وجدت في كتاب أبي بخط يده وأظنني قد سمعته منه ، نا وكيع ، عن شريك ، عن عثمان أبي اليقظان ، عن زاذان ، عن علي قال : مثلي في هذه الأمة كمثل عيسى ابن مريم ، أحبته طائفة  وأفرطت في حبه فهلكت ، وأبغضته  طائفة ، وأفرطت في بغضه فهلكت ، وأحبته طائفة فاقتصدت في حبه فنجت

Zazzan narrated from Ali that he (Ali) said: I am in this nation, like a  Jesus, son of Mary, A part of it  loved him ,and deviated in excessive  love and angered a party and exhibited excess in abhorrence (against me) ..

 3.  It is reported in Hadith Abi Fazl Azzuhri ( juz 1 pg 107) that:

أخبركم أبو الفضل الزهري ، نا إبراهيم ، نا صالح بن مالك ، نا أبو الصباح عبد الغفور ، نا أبو هاشم الرماني ، عن زاذان ، قال : حدثتنا عائشة أم المؤمنين ، قالت : أهدت إلي امرأة مسكينة هدية ، فلم أقبلها منها رحمة لها ، فذكرت ذلك لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فقال : « ألا قبلتيها منها وكافأتيها فلا ترى أنك حقرتيها ، تواضعي يا عائشة ، فإن الله يحب المتواضعين ، ويبغض المتكبرين »

Zazzan narrated  that Aisha ( Mother of Believers) narrated to them; She said: A poor woman has donated a gift; I had not accepted it as a token of mercy, I informed this to the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him and he said: «  Why you have not accepted that and it would have been enough to show that you  do not see her as inferior , Oh Aisha,  Be humble, God loves humble  and hates the proud!

The above narrations are the examples of Shiite tendencies of Zazzan. Not only that he is considered as an authentic narrator in Shiite literature like Usool-al-Kafi etc. Dr. Bashshar Awwad Al-Maroof have indicated that narrations form  Zazzan is quoted in Shiite literature like  الكافي في القضاء والاحكام: 6، باب: النوادر 19 حديث رقم 12،  and also in another book titled

 والتهذيب: باب من الزيادات في القضايا والاحكام، حديث رقم 804).

Now the Shitte belief on the life in graves from Al-Kafi

Chapter 112
Climbing over the grave of the Holy Prophet (s.a) prohibited
H , Ch. 112, h 1
A number of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Barqi from Ja‘far ibn al- Muthanna al-Khatib who has said the following. “I was in Madina when the roof over the grave of the Holy Prophet (s.a) had crumbled down and the workers were climbing up and down (for repairs). We were a group and said to our people, “Who has an appointment with abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.)?” Mihran ibn abu Nasr said, “I have an appointment with the Imam (a. s.).” ’Isma‘il ibn ‘Ammar al-Sayrafi said, “I have an appointment with the Imam (a.s.).” I said to them, “Ask the Imam (a.s.) if it is permissible to climb up and look on to the grave of the Holy Prophet (s.a).” Next day we met them and we all came together. ’Isma‘il said, “We asked your question and he said this. “I do not like anyone to climb over him and I do not feel safe for anyone whose eye sight may go away because of catching sight of something that cause him such loss or see him standing in prayer or see him with anyone of his wives.”


In the era of compilation of books of ahadith i.e. Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim,  Gama-al-Tirmidhi, Sunan Abi Dawood, Sunnan Ibn-Maja, Sunan Nisai already several kind of heresies and deviated sects were present including Shiites, Khawarij, Mutazalites etc.


Scholars of hadith then developed the rules to write someone’s narration now known as Ilm-ul-Hadith (Knowledge of Hadith). One of its principal is that one should reject the narration if it supports the heretic believes of the narrator.


Qazi Abdul Wahab (القاضي عبد الوهاب) said (Tadreeb-ur-Ravi juz1,pg6) :

قال: لا يُؤخذ العلم عن أربعة, ويُؤخذ عمَّن سِوَاهم: لا يُؤخذ عن مُبتدع يدعو إلى بِدْعته

Do not take Ilm from four and take from others, (first) Do not take it from Heretic which call you to his heresy…

Uqdmah Ibn-Salah (pg 22):

تقبل روايته إذا لم يكن داعية، ولا تقبل إذا كان داعية إلى بدعتة، وهذا مذهب الكثير أو الأكثر من العلماء.

(Some scholar say) accept the narration if he is not heretic, and do not accept narration if he lead towards his heresy and this is the way followed by many or many of our scholars


There are several such quotations. The conclusion is that in case the narration is supporting some deviated faith, it should be rejected!


Although Minhal and Zazzan are narrators in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim but both avoided the narration of Byra bin Azib about the returning of soul to the dead body.  Life in an earthly grave is an established Shiite faith. Both Zazzan and Minhal being Shiite have exhibited their faith in this narration.


Dahabi said in Seer-Allam Al-Nublah juz 1, pg 59:

قال الذهبي: فلقائل أن يقول: كيف ساغ توثيق مبتدع وحد الثقة العدالة والاتقان ؟ فكيف يكون عدلا من هو صاحب بدعة ؟ وجوابه: ان البدعة على ضربين: فبدعة صغرى كغلو التشيع، أو كالتشيع بلا غلو ولا تحرف، فهذا كثير في التابعين وتابعيهم مع الدين والورع والصدق. فلو رد حديث هؤلاء لذهب جملة من الآثار النبوية، وهذه مفسدة بينة.  ثم بدعة كبرى، كالرفض الكامل والغلو فيه، والحط على أبي بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما، والدعاء إلى ذلك، فهذا النوع لا يحتج بهم ولا كرامة.


Al-Dhahabi said: If the inquirer ask : how goes documenting heretic’s narration along with  his  trustworthiness, justice and confidence on narrator? How could he do justice if he is a  heretic? And the answer is : that the heresey is of two kinds:

Minor Heresey: Like Shi’ism or  Shiism without excess and distortion, and this has occurred with many of the Tabaeen and their followers in religion with piety and honesty.   If a we reject the narration (on these grounds ) then a lot of prophetic Athar would vanish, and this is an obvious spoil! Then ( there is) major heresy,  like Rifdh as a total rejection and extremism, and degradation of  Abu Bakr and ‘ Umar (RA), this sort of narrators  does not deserve dignity and writing of narrations.



The narrator of this so-called hadith, Minhal bin Amr is also considered as one having heretic believes. Imam Jozjani reported in his work Ahwal-ur-Rejal


قال إبراهيم بن يعقوب الجوزجاني المنهال بن عمرو سيء المذهب وقد جرى حديثه

!Jozjani said: Minhal bin Amr – bad faith (heretic) but his narrations are in circulation

Abdurrehman bin Yahyah al-Muallami al-Yamani (العلامة الشيخ عبد الرحمن بن يحيى المعلمي العتمي اليماني) writes in his work titled , التنكيل بما في تأنيب الكوثري من الأباطيل  juz 1 pg 150 that:


وقد تتبعت كثيراً من كلام الجوزجاني في المتشيعين فلم أجده متجاوزاً الحد ، وإنما الرجل لما فيه من النصب يرى التشيع مذهباً سيئاً وبدعة ضلالة وزيغاً عن الحق وخذلانا ، فيطلق على المتشيعين ما يقضيه اعتقاده كقوله  زائغ عن القصد – سيء المذهب  ونحو ذلك ،

And many have tracked the statements of Jozjani for the shitte (narrators) but did not find them exceeding the limit, but the man (i.e. Imam Jozjani) because of the Nasab sees the Shi’ism as followers of  bad (heretic) doctrine and going astray and elusive on the right and disappointment, the application of term سيء المذهب  on Shiites is what is deserved to them due to  their faith ((digressing on intent-bad doctrine)), etc.


Dahabi has quoted in Meezan al-Atedal  (juz 4/ pg 192) the following statements

وقال الحاكم: غمزه يحيى بن سعيد.

And Hakim said: Yahyah bin Saeed reduced him

وكذا تكلم فيه ابن حزم، ولم يحتج بحديثه الطويل  في فتان القبر.

and Ibn- Hazm said likewise and has rejected his long narration on questioning in grave

Ibn- Hajar said in Taqreeb Al-Tahzeeb, juz 2, pg 216

المنهال بن عمرو الأسدي مولاهم الكوفي صدوق ربما وهم من الخامسة

Minhal bin Amr Al-Asadi … is Sadooq some times confused, belongs to fifth category

For the fifth category Ibn-Hajar described in Taqreeb Al-Tahzee

الخامسة: من قصر عن الرابعة قليلاً، وإليه الإشارة بصدوق سيء الحفظ، أو صدوق يهم، أو له أوهام، أو يخطئ، أو تغير بأخرة ويلتحق بذلك من رمي بنوع من البدعة، كالتشيع والقدر، والنصب، والإرجاء، والتجهم، مع بيان الداعية من غيره.

Fifth: which are reduced from forth and they are indicated by words Sadooque, bad memory or with Sadooque confused, Sadooque has confusions or commit mistakes or had amnesia in late age and afflicted with heresy like Shiite, Qadr, Nasb, Irja, Tahhajum with description of their heresy etc.

 Bukhari  has reported two narrations from Minhal, one is about  a supplication and at another place the chain is quoted to support the main narration. Muslim has not reported any narration from Minhal bin Amr.

Rejection of this narration by Ibn-Habban (died 354 AH):

Ibn- Habban said in his Sahih ibn Habban juz 7 pg 374- [ 387]

قال أبو حاتم رحمة الله عليه خبر الأعمش عن المنهال بن عمرو عن زاذان عن البراء سمعه الأعمشعن الحسن بن عمارة عن المنهال بن عمرو وزاذان لم يسمعه من البراء فلذلك لم أخرجه

Abu Hatim may blessings of Allah be on him said: The report of Al-Amash from Minhal bin Amr from Zazzan from Byra, heard Al-Amash (actually) from Hasan bin Ammara from Minhal bin Amr and (further) Zazzan has not listened (anything) from Byra, that’s why I haven’t recorded

Rejection of this narration by Ibn-Hazm (died 456 AH):

ولم يرو أحد أن في عذاب القبر رد الروح إلى الجسد الا المنهال بن عمرو وليس بالقوى

(Al-Muhalli, juz 1, pg 22)

None had reported that the soul would be returned to body for torment in grave except Minhal bin Amr and he is not a stalwart (قوى) narrator.


Rejection of this narration by Al-Dahabi (died 748 AH):

Al-Dahabi said in Tahrik Al- Islam juz 1, pg 894 that:

قلت : تفرد بحديث منكر ونكير عن زاذان عن البراء

I say: he has Tafarud (unique in reporting)  the  hadith on Munkr and Nakeer from Zazzan from Byra

In spite of these refutations there are clear opposition from the other faction of scholars like Hakim, Baihaqui, Ibn-Tammiah and  Ibn-Qayyam.

Dahabi declared that the narration of Byra bin Azib contains Nakarat which indicate that it is against the authentic hadith.

It is reported in Sahih Muslim, باب عرض مقعد الميت من الجنة أو النار عليه وإثبات عذاب القبر والتعوذ منه juz 4, pg 2202 that:

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( 2872 ) حدثني عبيدالله بن عمر القواريري حدثنا حماد بن زيد حدثنا بديل عن عبدالله بن شقيق عن أبي هريرة  : قال إذا خرجت روح المؤمن تلقاها ملكان يصعدانها  قال حماد فذكر من طيب ريحها وذكر المسك قال ويقول أهل السماء روح طيبة جاءت من قبل الأرض صلى الله عليك وعلى جسد كنت تعمرينه فينطلق به إلى ربه عز و جل ثم يقول انطلقوا به إلى آخر الأجل  قال وإن الكافر إذا خرجت روحه – قال حماد وذكر من نتنها وذكر لعنا – ويقول أهل السماء روح خبيثة جاءت من قبل الأرض قال فيقال انطلقوا به إلى آخر الأجل  قال أبو هريرة فرد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ريطة كانت عليه على أنفه هكذا

Abu Hurrirah said: As the soul of righteous man comes out then comes two angels in front of him and ascend him upwards. Hammad said then he talked about the scent and smell of musk and people of heaven said: A pious soul comes from Earth blessings of Allah be on you and the body which you have grown. Then angels take it to Lord All mighty and then (it is commanded) Take it till the final term.  (Abu Hurrairah) said: and the Infidel when his soul comes out – Hammad said he talked about the stench and curse over it- and said: The people of heaven said: A wicked soul comes from Earth and (it is commanded) Take it till the final term.  Abu Hurrirah said then Prophet peace be upon him covered his nose like this (i.e. to indicate the wicked soul’s stench)


This narration of Sahih Muslim clearly denounces what is stated in Byra bin Azib narration. The soul of Infidel also goes to heaven neither it is returned to body in grave nor there is the wrong application that soul of infidel would not go to heaven until the camel crosses the needle passage!

The actual process of dying is stated in Talmud. Following are the two excerpts taken from a book written by a Jewish scholar Abraham Cohen:

The actual process of dying is described in this manner:’ When a person’s end comes to depart from the world, the angle of death appears to take away his soul (Neshamah). The Neshemah is like a vein full of blood, and it has small viens which are dispersed through out the body. The angel of death grasps the top of this vien and extracts it. From the body of righteous person he extracts it gently, a though drawing a hair out of milk; but from the body of wicked person it is like whirling waters at the entrance of canal or, as other say, like taking thorns out of ball of wool which tear backwards. As soon as this is extracted the person dies and the spirit issues forth and settles on his nose until the body decays. When this happens it cries and weeps before the holy one blessed be he, saying lord of the universe! Whither I am being led? Immediately (the angel) Dumah takes and conducts him to the court of death among the spirits. If he had been righteous it is proclaimed before him, Clear a place for such a righteous man and he proceeds stage by stage until he beholds the presence of Shechinah’ (Midrash to Ps. Xi.7; 51b,52 a) [from Everyman’s Talmud by Abraham Cohen Page 74, Schoken Books, 1995 ]


Also :

The opinion generally adopted was that the soul rejoined to the body for the purpose of judgement and it is expressed in this statement: ‘ throughout 12 months (after death in Gehinnom) the body exists and soul ascends and descends, after 12 months the body ceases to exist and soul ascends without descending’ (Shab. 152b et seq.). [from Everyman’s Talmud  Pg 376]


Now Zazzan’s description of dying process is:

When the infidel leave this world and about to enter in hereafter, come the angels  from heavens with black faces with jute rug. They sat with the distance till reaches eye slight. After that comes the angel of Death which sit close to his head and says O evil soul come out towards the wrath of God  and His anger. Said: The soul then spreads inside the body, Angel of death then dragged it out like iron spike is taken out from the  wool. As soon as angel of death took hold of the soul, come other angels and with in an eye blink took it from his hands and fold it into jute rug.  From it (souls) erupts the most vicious of smells.

Angels take it and ascend upwards,…


The reader might be surprised to read this. What a similarity the talmudic passage has with Zazzan’s narration! One in Hebrew and one in Arabic. Reader must know that in the Talmudic era, this text is only available to Jewish scholars. It shows that there is a fabric of truth in saying that there are Jewish traces in Shiite thought of Zazzan and his student Minhal.


This is a very important question. As same band of scholars which believe in returning of the soul in grave,  forcefully portray it as a well established rule i.e. if Sheikhain ( Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim) have reported from some  narrators  then it means that these narrators of Sahihain are trustworthy and all the Jirah against them becomes invalid. (see Al-Musnad fil Azab al-Qabr by Muhammad Arshad Kamal pg 154)


This statement has no basis and  acceptance among the hadith scholars. Mubarakbouri explained in Toffa-tul-Ahwazi,  Juz 1, pg 253:


وَأَمَّا قَوْلُ الْهَيْثَمِيِّ رِجَالُهُ ثِقَاتٌ فَلَا يَدُلُّ عَلَى صِحَّتِهِ لِاحْتِمَالِ أَنْ يَكُونَ فِيهِمْ مُدَلِّسٌ وَرَوَاهُ بِالْعَنْعَنَةِ أَوْ يَكُونَ فِيهِمْ مُخْتَلِطٌ وَرَوَاهُ عَنْهُ صَاحِبُهُ بَعْدَ اِخْتِلَاطِهِ أَوْ يَكُونَ فِيهِمْ مَنْ لَمْ يُدْرِكْ مَنْ رَوَاهُ عَنْهُ أَوْ يَكُونَ فِيهِ عِلَّةٌ أَوْ شُذُوذٌ ، قَالَ الْحَافِظُ الزَّيْلَعِيُّ فِي نَصْبِ الرَّايَةِ فِي الْكَلَامِ عَلَى بَعْضِ رِوَايَاتِ الْجَهْرِ بِالْبَسْمَلَةِ لَا يَلْزَمُ مِنْ ثِقَةِ الرِّجَالِ صِحَّةُ الْحَدِيثِ حَتَّى يَنْتَفِيَ مِنْهُ الشُّذُوذُ وَالْعِلَّةُ ، وَقَالَ الْحَافِظُ اِبْنُ حَجَرٍ فِي التَّلْخِيصِ فِي الْكَلَامِ عَلَى بَعْضِ رِوَايَاتِ حَدِيثِ بَيْعِ الْعِينَةِ لَا يَلْزَمُ مِنْ كَوْنِ رِجَالِ الْحَدِيثِ ثِقَاتٍ أَنْ يَكُونَ صَحِيحًا اِنْتَهَى


And the statement of  Haithami that the narrators are trustworthy (siqa), does not  indicate the correctness of narration, due to the possibility that it could have Mudlis narrator reporting with عَنْعَنَةِ or could have a narrator with amnesia and he reports from the people, which he heard after this or it could have narrator which haven’t met or it could have narrators with Illah  or shuzzoz. Hafiz Zailai says in Nasb-ur-Riaya under discussion on some narrations related to saying of Bismillah loudly, that the authenticty of the narrators does not ensure the authenticity of hadith until it is cleared from shuzooz and Illah. And hafiz Ibn-Hajar says on synopsis of discussion on some narration of trade that the trustworthiness (siqah)  of narrators does not ensure that report is authentic.


Ibn-Hajar says in Nukat Ibn-Salah pg 22

قلت : ولا يلزم في كون رجال الإسناد من رجال الصحيح أن يكون الحديث الوارد به صحيحاً ، لاحتمال أن يكون فيه شذوذ أو علة

I say: The presence of narrator of Al-Sahih in the chain of a report does not ensure that the report of these narrators is authentic, due to the possibility of Shuzzoz or Illah.











The verses related to torment of fire for Pharoah and his army and also for Noah’s nation are revealed in Makkah.  Bukhari  (Volume 4, Book 52, Number 182) reported that during war of Al-Ahzab (i.e. the clans) Prophet peace be upon him said  :


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حدثنا عبد الله بن محمد حدثنا يزيد أخبرنا هشام عن محمد عن عبيدة عن علي رضي الله عنه قال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم  حدثني عبد الرحمن حدثنا يحيى بن سعيد حدثنا هشام قال حدثنا محمد عن عبيدة عن علي رضي الله عنه  : أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال يوم الخندق ( حبسونا عن الصلاة الوسطى حتى غابت الشمس ملأ الله قبورهم وبيوتهم أو أجوافهم – شك يحيى – نارا )

Narrated ‘Ali:

Allah’s Apostle said on the day of the battle of Trench they prevented us from performing the prayer (i.e. ‘Asr) till the sun set.  O Allah! Fill their graves and houses or bellies – forgot (narrator) Yahyah –  with fire.


War of Trench took place in Zil-Qaadah 5 A.H. This indicates that the torment of grave for pagans was well known at that time. Also note that the pagans who were killed in war of Trench were not even buried. Were there graves of pagans in war zone?  This again indicates that the word قبورهم  (graves) is referred to abode in Burzakh.


The torment on dead believers due to their sins is revealed to Prophet peace be upon him while his stay in Medinah.   It is reported  in Bukhari Volume 2, Book 18, Number 153:


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Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba:

“The sun eclipsed in the life-time of Allah’s Apostle on the day when (his son) Ibrahim died. So the people said that the sun had eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim. Allah’s Apostle said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of some-one. When you see the eclipse pray and invoke Allah.”


Further in the eclipse prayer khutbah, Prophet peace be upon him informed the believers about the Azab al-Qabr for Muslims. It is reported in Bukhari  Volume 2, Book 18, Number 159 that:


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Narrated ‘Amra bint ‘Abdur-Rahman:

A Jewess came to ask ‘Aisha (the wife of the Prophet) about something. She said to her, “May Allah give you refuge from the punishment of the grave.” So ‘Aisha ‘ asked Allah’s Apostle “Would the people be punished in their graves?” Allah’s Apostle after seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave (and thus replied in the affirmative). Then one day, Allah’s Apostle rode to go to some place but the sun eclipsed. He returned in the forenoon and passed through the rear of the dwellings (of his wives) and stood for the (eclipse) prayer, and the people stood behind him. He stood up for a long period and then performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first bowing. Then he raised his head and prostrated. Then he stood up (for the second Raka) for a long while but the standing was shorter than that of the first Raka. Then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first one. Then he raised his head and prostrated. Then he stood up for a long time but shorter than the first. Then he performed a prolonged bowing but shorter than the first. Then he raised his head and prostrated and finished the prayer and (then delivered the sermon and) said as much as Allah wished. And then he ordered the people to seek refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave.


It is reported in Bukhari Volume 1, Book 3, Number 86 that:


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Narrated Asma:

I came to ‘Aisha while she was praying, and said to her, “What has happened to the people?” She pointed out towards the sky. (I looked towards the mosque), and saw the people offering the prayer. Aisha said, “Subhan Allah.” I said to her, “Is there a sign?” She nodded with her head meaning, “Yes.” I, too, then stood (for the prayer of eclipse) till I became (nearly) unconscious and later on I poured water on my head. After the prayer, the Prophet praised and glorified Allah and then said,

“Just now at this place I have seen what I have never seen before, including Paradise and Hell. No doubt it has been inspired to me that you will be put to trials in your graves and these trials will be like the trials of Masiah-ad-Dajjal or nearly like it (the sub narrator is not sure which expression Asma’ used). You will be asked, ‘What do you know about this man (the Prophet Muhammad)?’ Then the faithful believer (or Asma’ said a similar word) will reply, ‘He is Muhammad Allah’s Apostle who had come to us with clear evidences and guidance and so we accepted his teachings and followed him. And he is Muhammad.’ And he will repeat it thrice. Then the angels will say to him, ‘Sleep in peace as we have come to know that you were a faithful believer.’ On the other hand, a hypocrite or a doubtful person will reply, ‘I do not know, but I heard the people saying something and so I said it.’ (the same). “


From these ahadith it is clear that the torment of grave for Muslims is revealed to Prophet on the day of death of his son Ibrahim. Ibrahim (son of Prophet) died in 10 AH. It is reported that on his death’s day solar eclipse has occurred, which people thought that occurred due to Prophet’s son’s demise.  On that day the Prophet informed the Ummah about the trial of grave.


Based on this evidence from Sahih Bukhari we would now analyze different narrations normally quoted in support of Azab al-Qabr in worldly grave.


Extension of grave of Abi-Salma (RA):


It is reported by Muslim that companion of Prophet Abi Salamh died and Prophet prayed for him

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( 920 ) حدثني زهير بن حرب حدثنا معاوية بن عمرو حدثنا أبو إسحاق الفزاري عن خالد الحذاء عن أبي قلابة عن قبيصة بن ذؤيب عن أم سلمة قالت  : دخل رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم على أبي سلمة وقد شق بصره فأغمضه ثم قال إن الروح إذا قبض تبعه البصر فضج ناس من أهله فقال لاتدعوا على أنفسكم إلا بخير فإن الملائكة يؤمنون على ما يقولون ثم قال اللهم اغفر لأبي سلمة وارفع درجته في المهديين واخلفه في عقبه في الغابرين واغفر لنا وله يا رب العالمين وافسح له في قبره ونور له فيه

Umm Salama reported: The Messenger of Allah came to Abu Salama (as he died). His eyes were open. He closed them, and then said: When the soul is taken away the sight follows it. Some of the people of his family wept and wailed. So he said: Do not supplicate for yourselves anything but good, for angels say “Amen” to what you say. He then said: O Allah, forgive Abu Salama, raise his degree among those who are rightly guided, grant him a successor in his descendants who remain. Forgive us and him, O Lord of the Universe, and make his grave spacious, and grant him light in it.


Abi Salmah died in 4 A.H. due to wounds afflicted in Uhud. This shows that the Qabr and its expansion was well known before 10 A.H. Further Abi Salamh was not yet buried but the Prophet prayed for his grave expansion, as if, Abi salamah is already buried. This shows that the Qabr is the abode in Burzakh.



Saad bin Muaz and Azab al-Qabr ?


A notable companion of Prophet is Saad bin Muaz. He died due to wounds afflicted in Khandaq (5 AH) . Scholar who believe that soul is returned to dead in grave claim that grave has squeezed Saad bin Muaz. (sunnan Nisai, chapter ضَمَّةُ الْقَبْرِ وَضَغْطَتُه)


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أَخْبَرَنَا إِسْحَاقُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الْعَنْقَزِىُّ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ إِدْرِيسَ عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ عَنْ نَافِعٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَالَ « هَذَا الَّذِى تَحَرَّكَ لَهُ الْعَرْشُ وَفُتِحَتْ لَهُ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَشَهِدَهُ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفًا مِنَ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ لَقَدْ ضُمَّ ضَمَّةً ثُمَّ فُرِّجَ عَنْهُ

Ibn-Umer narrated that Prophet peace be upon him said: He is the person for whom the Throne moved and the doors of Heaven opened and seventy thousand angels visited and also indeed it (grave) squeezed then it (torment) is released.


Sadly this narration is also reported by same faction of scholars who believe in returning of the soul to dead  as an  evidence of Azab al-Qabr. Saad bin Muaz, may Allah be pleased with him, was a glorious companion of the Prophet peace be upon him, If he had died due to wounds afflicted to him in war with pagans  then  he is a martyr,  and Paradise would be his final abode. Chronologically speaking Prophet doesn’t know about the Azab al-Qabr  for Muslims before 10 A.H. then how could he say this? Therefore on these technical fallacies this narration could not be accepted on the surface value.


It is reported in Sahih Muslim chapter باب كون الإسلام يهدم ما قبله وكذا الهجرة والحج

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حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى الْعَنَزِىُّ وَأَبُو مَعْنٍ الرَّقَاشِىُّ وَإِسْحَاقُ بْنُ مَنْصُورٍ كُلُّهُمْ عَنْ أَبِى عَاصِمٍ – وَاللَّفْظُ لاِبْنِ الْمُثَنَّى – حَدَّثَنَا الضَّحَّاكُ – يَعْنِى أَبَا عَاصِمٍ – قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا حَيْوَةُ بْنُ شُرَيْحٍ قَالَ حَدَّثَنِى يَزِيدُ بْنُ أَبِى حَبِيبٍ عَنِ ابْنِ شَمَاسَةَ الْمَهْرِىِّ قَالَ حَضَرْنَا عَمْرَو بْنَ الْعَاصِ وَهُوَ فِى سِيَاقَةِ الْمَوْتِ. فَبَكَى طَوِيلاً وَحَوَّلَ وَجْهَهُ إِلَى الْجِدَارِ فَجَعَلَ ابْنُهُ يَقُولُ يَا أَبَتَاهُ أَمَا بَشَّرَكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- بِكَذَا أَمَا بَشَّرَكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم………….. فَإِذَا دَفَنْتُمُونِى فَشُنُّوا عَلَىَّ التُّرَابَ شَنًّا ثُمَّ أَقِيمُوا حَوْلَ قَبْرِى قَدْرَ مَا تُنْحَرُ جَزُورٌ وَيُقْسَمُ لَحْمُهَا حَتَّى أَسْتَأْنِسَ بِكُمْ وَأَنْظُرَ مَاذَا أُرَاجِعُ بِهِ رُسُلَ رَبِّى.


Abur-Rehaman bin Shamasa Al-Mahri said: We attended Amr Ibn al-‘ Aas and he was about to expire. He wept for a long time and turned his face towards wall (i.e. not looking at narrator). His son said O father how was your partnership with Messenger of Allah peace be upon him-  (then he talked about the his Jahaliah days)……(finally Amr said)  When you bury me in the dust then wait on my grave, as much as, you slaughter a camel and  divide the meat and I feel comfortable with you and see what shall I reply to angels of my Lord.


It is informed that Amir bin Abi Aas was in state of وَهُوَ فِى سِيَاقَةِ الْمَوْتِ (about to expire). In that state sometimes people say things which are not clear and palpable. This narration only shows that Amir bin Abi Aas has said something on his death bed which is not instructed to us by Messenger of Allah and hence is an innovation in Islam. As a companion he could not command us to do such an act.  One scholar of recent era محمد بن صالح العثيمين said, when asked about this narration مجموعة أسئلة تهم الأسرة المسلمة Juz 219, pg 35):

هذا أوصى به عمرو بن العاص ـ رضي الله عنه ـ فقال: «أقيموا حول قبري قدر ما تنحر جزور ويقسم لحمها»، لكن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يرشد إليه الأمة، ولم يفعله الصحابة ـ رضي الله عنهم ـ فيما نعلم

This was  willed  by Amr bin Al-Aas  may Allah be pleased with him, he said wait on my grave  of as much as you slaughter a camel and  divide the meat, but Neither the Prophet  guided  the Ummah, nor  his companions  did that as we know…


It is reported in Bukhari that

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حدثنا عياش حدثنا عبد الأعلى حدثنا سعيد قال وقال لي خليفة حدثنا ابن زريع حدثنا سعيد عن قتادة عن أنس رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال  : ( العبد إذا وضع في قبره وتولي وذهب أصحابه حتى إنه ليسمع قرع نعالهم أتاه ملكان فأقعداه فيقولان له ما كنت تقول في هذا الرجل محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم ؟ فيقول أشهد أنه عبد الله ورسوله فيقال انظر إلى مقعدك في النار أبدلك الله به مقعدا من الجنة ) . قال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ( فيراهما جميعا وأما الكافر أو المنافق فيقول لا أدري كنت أقول ما يقول الناس . فيقال لا دريت ولا تليت ثم يضرب بطرقة من حديد ضربة بين أذنيه فيصيح صيحة يسمعها من يليه إلا الثقلين

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet said, “When the slave (of Allah) is laid in his grave and his companions went away, until, Indeed he hears the foot steps, arrive two angels to him and make him sit and ask him: What did you use to say about this man, Muhammad ? He will say: I testify that he is Allah’s slave and His Apostle. Then it will be said to him, ‘Look at your place in the Hell-Fire. Allah has given you a place in Paradise instead of it.’ ” The Prophet added, “The dead person will see both his places. But a non-believer or a hypocrite will say to the angels, ‘I do not know, but I used to say what the people used to say! It will be said to him, ‘Neither did you know nor did you take the guidance (by reciting the Quran).’ Then he will be hit with an iron hammer between his two ears, and he will cry and that cry will be heard by whatever approaches him except human beings and jinns.”


The interpretation of this hadith in accordance with Quran is that the footsteps are that of angels not the people who had just buried him.

Al-Zain bin Al-Muneer (الزَّيْن بْن الْمُنِير) said (Sharah Ibn-Hajar, juz 4 pg 401 )

وَكَأَنَّهُ اِقْتَطَعَ مَا هُوَ مِنْ سَمَاع الْآدَمِيِّينَ مِنْ سَمَاع مَا هُوَ مِنْ الْمَلَائِكَة

And like hear from  Angels  (footsteps) like what (he used to) hear from humans’ (footsteps)


Also, Al-Muhlab said (Sharah Ibn- Battal, juz 5, pg 355)  that word  من يليه إلا الثقلين  (which  approaches him except humans and jinns) actually mean   هم الملائكة الذين يلون فتنته the angels which came for questioning. Therefore the only logical interpretation of this narration is that the dead hear the footsteps of angels, they question him and in case of wrong answer torture it and this cry is heard by angels themselves.

Unfortunately the scholars who believe in returning of the soul also claim that this narration is about the hearing of footsteps of people, not of angels. However they themselves claim that Amr bin Abi Al-Aas will is also in accordance with Quran i.e. When you bury me in the dust then wait on my grave, as much as, you slaughter a camel and  divide the meat and I feel comfortable with you and see what shall I reply to angels of my Lord.  The narration of footsteps and that of will of Amr bin Abi al-Aas are both contradictory. One claims that the dead would hear when people who have buried it would be leaving, whereas, another one claims that the dead even knows who is standing at the grave and questions of angels are replied in the presence of people, who have just buried it!

It is reported in Bukhari (also mention earlier) that

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Narrated ‘Amra bint ‘Abdur-Rahman:  A Jewess came to ask ‘Aisha (the wife of the Prophet) about something. She said to her, “May Allah give you refuge from the punishment of the grave.” So ‘Aisha ‘ asked Allah’s Apostle “Would the people be punished in their graves?” Allah’s Apostle after seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave (and thus replied in the affirmative). Then one day, Allah’s Apostle rode to go to some place but the sun eclipsed. He returned in the forenoon and passed through the rear of the dwellings (of his wives) and stood for the (eclipse) prayer, and the people stood behind him. He stood up for a long period and then performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first bowing. Then he raised his head and prostrated. Then he stood up (for the second Raka) for a long while but the standing was shorter than that of the first Raka. Then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first one. Then he raised his head and prostrated. Then he stood up for a long time but shorter than the first. Then he performed a prolonged bowing but shorter than the first. Then he raised his head and prostrated and finished the prayer and (then delivered the sermon and) said as much as Allah wished. And then he ordered the people to seek refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave.


Also reported in Bukhari (Volume 8, Book 75, Number 377)

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حدثنا عثمان بن أبي شيبة حدثنا جرير عن منصور عن أبي وائل عن مسروق عن عائشة قالت : دخلت علي عجوزان من عجز يهود المدينة فقالتا لي إن أهل القبور يعذبون في قبورهم فكذبتهما ولم أنعم أن أصدقهما فخرجتا ودخل علي النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فقلت له يا رسول الله إن عجوزين وذكرت له فقال لي ( صدقتا إنهم يعذبون عذابا تسمعه البهائم كلها ) . فما رأيته بعد في صلاة إلا تعوذ من عذاب القبر

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Two old ladies from among the Jewish ladies entered upon me and said’ “The dead are punished in their graves,” but I thought they were telling a lie and did not believe them in the beginning. When they went away and the Prophet entered upon me, I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Two old ladies..” and told him the whole story. He said, “They told the truth; the dead are really punished, to the extent that all the animals hear (the sound resulting from) their punishment.” Since then I always saw him seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave in his prayers.


The narration is actually a short version of what reported in the long narration.  The narrators have shortened many things. First in the short version it is reported, as if, Aisha may Allah be pleased with her was unaware of Azab al-qabr completely, in spite, of the fact that all verses related to Azab al-Qabr are already revealed in Quran and from the context of this event it is clear that this incident took place in year 10 A.H. In the long version the situation is different, there the Jewess warned her against Azab al-Qabr and at that moment there was no information for the punishment of grave for Muslims as such.

The second issue is that the Prophet has immediately endorsed what Jewess had said although we know that there was a time lapse between the revelation of punishment of grave for Muslims to Prophet and this conversation of  Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) and Jewess. It is reported in Sahih Muslim chapter باب استحباب التعوذ من عذاب القبر

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حدثنا هارون بن سعيد وحرملة بن يحيى ( قال هارون حدثنا وقال حرملة أخبرنا ابن وهب ) أخبرني يونس ابن يزيد عن ابن شهاب قال حدثني عروة بن الزبير أن عائشة قالت  : دخل على رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وعندي امرأة من اليهود وهي تقول هل شعرت أنكم تفتنون في القبور ؟ قالت فارتاع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وقال إنما تفتن يهود قالت عائشة فلبثنا ليالي ثم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم هل شعرت أنه أوحي إلي أنكم تفتنون في القبور ؟ قالت عائشة فسمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بعد يستعيذ من عذاب القبر

Narrated Aisah:  Entered (in house) the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him  and a Jewish woman was with me and She (Jewess) said  have you ever realised that  you would be questioned  in graves? (Aisha) She said  Messenger of Allah peace be upon him is horrified by this and said but Jews would be tormented She (Aisah) said after that lapsed some nights and then Messenger of Allah peace be upon him  said Have you realised that I have been revealed that you (people) will be questioned in the graves? She (Aisha) said from then on I heard the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him seek refuge from the torment of the grave


The words in long  narration in  Bukhari ( After that one day) and narration in  Muslim  (after that lapsed some nights) indicate that there was a time lapse involved before the revelation of torment in grave for Muslims.

Considering all these ahadith it is clear that narrators (of short narration of Bukhari) have shortened themselves the long narration reported in Muslim and Bukhari and thus committed a mistake in understanding. On the other hand this is the only narration in Bukhari which suggests that all animals hear the torment in grave.    If for a moment we assume that dead are punished in graves in this world then this world is full of dead from Prophet Adam peace be upon him till today. Animals might be hearing the torture of dead and for any moment hear the billions of cries, screams and shrieks. Therefore as such it should be a norm for them however following narration contradicts it completely.


It is reported in Muslim chapter باب عرض مقعد الميت من الجنة أو النار عليه وإثبات عذاب القبر والتعوذ منه

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حدثنا يحيى بن أيوب وأبو بكر بن أبي شيبة جميعا عن ابن علية قال ابن أيوب حدثنا ابن علية قال وأخبرنا سعيد الجريري عن أبي نضرة عن أبي سعيد الخدري عن زيد بن ثابت قال أبو سعيد ولم أشهده من النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ولكن حدثنيه زيد بن ثابت قال  : بينما النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم في حائط لبني النجار على بغلة له ونحن معه إذ حادت به فكادت تلقيه وإذا أقبر ستة أو خمسة أو أربعة ( قال كذا كان يقول الجريري ) فقال من يعرف أصحاب هذه الأقبر ؟ فقال رجل أنا قال فمتى مات هؤلاء ؟ قال ماتوا في الإشراك فقال إن هذه الأمة تبتلى في قبورها فلولا أن لا تدافنوا لدعوت لله أن يسمعكم من عذاب القبر الذي أسمع منه ثم أقبل علينا بوجهه فقال تعوذوا بالله من عذاب النار قالوا نعوذ بالله من عذاب النار فقال تعوذوا بالله من عذاب القبر قالوا نعوذ بالله من عذاب القبر قال تعوذوا بالله من الفتن ما ظهر منها وما بطن قالوا نعوذ بالله من الفتن ما ظهر منها وما بطن قال تعوذوا بالله من فتنة الدجال قالوا نعوذ بالله من فتنة الدجال

Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Prophet peace and blessings on him was riding a mule, moving along the wall of Bani al-Najjar and we (walking ) with him, that his mule shied and he (Prophet) was about to be demounted and there were graves of six or five or four (as stated by al-Jariri) so he asked who knows about people of these graves? One person said I know. He (Prophet) asked when they died? Said died in polytheism (as their belief) so Prophet said:  Indeed this Ummah would be questioned in their graves as it is not (the case) that you would not bury your dead I  call God to hear you from the torment of the grave, which I heard from them.  He then looked at us and said Seek the protection of Allah from the torment of the fire we said we seek refuge with Allah from the torment of the fire, said Seek the protection of Allah from the torment of the grave we said  we seek refuge with Allah from the torment of the grave said Seek the protection of God from the temptations and hidden We said we seek refuge with Allah from temptations and hidden Said Seek the protection of God from Dajjal Fitnah  we said We seek refuge of  Allaah from Dajjal Fitnah.


It is extracted from this hadith the torment was actually happening in these graves otherwise Prophet peace be upon him could not have said so.  Before discussion on this narration it would interesting to remind the reader that Prophet himself had exhumed the pagans from the very site of Masjid un Nabi and destroyed the graves as mentioned earlier. The prophetic duty was to inculcate the fear of Allah in hearts of  his Ummah and these words only reflect that intention. Some times in Arabic the negation is bought earlier to stress the importance of what would be said following for example.

It is reported in Musnad Abi Yala, juz  5, pg 248 that Prophet said:

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فلولا أن لا تدافنوا  لأخبرتكم بملئكم من أهل النار حتى تفرقوهم ، عند الموت ، ولو أمرت أن أفعل لفعلت

it is not (the case) that you would not bury your dead I  would have informed you about those who would fill into Hell Fire among you until you get separated (from them) on death,  if I had been commanded to do so I might have done so


It is reported that Muslims would not bury the people of Hell among them, if they knew about them. This narration shows that the torment in grave has nothing to do with graves. Both narrations (of Muslim and Abi-Yala)  start with phrase فلولا أن لا تدافنوا but convey opposite meaning. The phrase is thus not conveying that torment in graves actually occur in very grave of a person.

A similar style is present in Quran where Allah Almighty has instructed us that

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فلا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون

then die not except in the Faith of Islam (2:132)


Ibn-Manzoor says in Lisan-al-Arab, juz 2, pg 90:

قال أَبو إِسحق إِن قال قائل كيف ينهاهم عن الموت وهم إِنما يُماتون ؟ قيل إِنما وقع هذا على سعة الكلام وما تُكْثِرُ العربُ استعمالَه قال والمعنى الزَمُوا الإِسلام

Abu Ishaq said if the inquirer ask, how one may escape from death and in fact they are died (not themselves)? Said it occurs due to extent of speech and used extensively by Arabs in their language and meaning is make Islam compulsory

It is reported in Bukhari, Book 8, Volume 73, Hadith 78: Good Manners and Form:


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Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Allah’s Apostle passed by two graves and said, “Both of them (persons in the grave) are being tortured, and they are not being tortured for a major sin. This one used not to save himself from being soiled with his urine, and the other used to go about with calumnies (among the people to rouse hostilities, e.g., one goes to a person and tells him that so-and-so says about him such-and-such evil things). The Prophet then asked for a green leaf of a date-palm tree, split it into two pieces and planted one on each grave and said, “It is hoped that their punishment may be abated till those two pieces of the leaf get dried.”



This narration doesn’t prove that the punishment was actually happening in those graves. The words are they are tortured. It is like if go and visit CairoMuseum and we see the mummy of  one of the Pharoah and say that Allah has informed that these were tortured in Hell fire. By these statement no one would extract that Hell is some where in Cairo.

Further it is also reported that one day Prophet was sitting among his companions and suddenly they heard a loud voice. Prophet asked do you know where comes this loud voice. Companions said Only Allah and his Messenger peace be upon him knows about it. Prophet said it the stone which is dropped in Hell seventy years ago, and now it reached its bottom. Does this shows that Hell is somewhere near Medinah? Surely not!


The present treatise is only an effort to guide the reader towards the concept of Azab al-Qabr in Quran and authentic ahadith.   There is a plethora of weak narrations on this topic. In fact some of these narrations were concocted to inculcate fear of Allah in hearts and abhorrence from World, as claimed by the narrators. Interested reader may see the books written on Duafa (weak narrators),  Majroheen  and Kazzab (liars).

The concept of returning of soul of dead was never been the part of Muslim belief until the appearance of Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal in political sphere. He got public fame due to his stance on Created Quran doctrine of Mu’tazilites. His student Mussadad bin Musarhad wrote a letter to him and ask him about the belief which a Muslims have due to the wide spread speculative theology of Mu’tazilites. Imam Ahmed wrote a letter which is preserved in its content form  in many books, including the famous Tabqat al-Hanabla. Imam Ahmed instructed that one must


والإيمان بمنكر ونكير وعذاب القبر والإيمان بملك الموت يقبض الأرواح ثم ترد في الأجساد في القبور فيسألون عن الإيمان والتوحيد

طبقات الحنابلة كاملاً  لابي يعلى الحنبلي( Juz 1, pg 314)

belief on Munkar & Nakeer  and  torment in grave and believe in angel of death that caught the souls then return them  in the bodies in the graves, asking about faith and tawheed


As a Muslim it is important that we bring our believes in accordance with Holy Quran. May Allah send his blessings on our last Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and guide us towards his mercy and Heavens and save us from Azab al-Qabr and Hell  Fire. Amen