Jun 4, 2012

What Happens After Death?

By Abeer S


Did you know, when the soul departs the body, it leaves the feet first? When the soul departs its temporary abode none can stop it.

When the soul departs the body, it goes through pangs of death – ‘sakarat al mawt’. A scholar - in the process of parting this life - described the pain to his students, he said the pain was as if the seven heavens had been brought down upon this earth and he was crushed in between and his soul was being extracted from in between an eye of a needle. This is death.

Modern ideologies have conditioned many to see death as the end, but death is not the end, it is merely a transition, a rite of passage, a journey from one world to another.

And with this event commences a ‘pre-afterlife’, a life in between, not here or there, the backstage before the curtains are pulled; The Barzakh.

What is Barzakh?
It is a period in between a person’s death and the Day of Resurrection. The barzakh is a na’eem for the one who was obedient to Allah and it is a jaheem for the one who transgressed the limits of Allah.

Below is a brief description of two separate journeys of what was once a single entity:

The Journey of the Body
The human being has a very simple anatomy comprising of two fractions: the body and the soul.

And it is a delicate connection between the body and the soul that keeps a person alive. A disseverment of this connection completely is what we call death.

The Sunnah in dealing with the body upon death is as follows:
§ Close the eyes.
§ Place something heavy on the stomach to prevent it from bloating.
§ Ghusul, the washing of the body:

The ruling of ghusul of the body is fardh kifaya* and this duty is assigned to the closest relatives of the deceased, so for example: if the deceased is a male then the duty of washing the body is given to his father, if not present then this duty is transferred to his grandfather, then his son and then other close relatives. (The only exception for a woman washing a man is in the case of the man being her husband and vice-versa). However, in cases where the deceased had stipulated that a particular person wash him, then his wishes must be met, as ghusul of the body is the right of the deceased.

Anas Ibn Malik radiAllahu anhu had asked for Mohammed Ibn Sireen to wash his body after his passing. Mohammed Ibn Sireen was in prison when Anas Ibn Malik passed away, so he was released temporarily from prison for the job.
§ Shrouding: After its washing the body is then shrouded
§ Funeral prayer: Prayer upon the deceased is also fardh kifaya.
§ Final resting place: After the above rites are carried out, the body is then buried.

And this is the process through which the body goes through after death. It is the Sunnah of our Prophet salAllahu aleyhi wasallam and it is encouraged in Islam to carry these rites out as soon as possible after a person’s demise.

The Journey of the Soul The soul is a trust that must be given back to The Owner, one angel blows it in and another takes it away, by His command.

The soul has no specific place of residence within the body, perhaps the closest idea that we get is the description of the pain upon the extraction of the soul; the entire body feels the pain.

The evil doers’ Soul: When the time comes for the evil doer, the kaafir, the faajir to leave this abode, angels with darkened faces descend from the heavens and they sit as far a distance as his eyes can see (imagine the terror of seeing frightful looking creatures far away so the exact characteristics cannot be determined but close enough to cause great discomfort). Then the angel of death approaches until he is seated near the head of the dying person, and he says: “O you wicked soul, exit to the wrath and anger of Allah”, so the soul disperses throughout the body out of fear of what awaits it. The angel of death then uses a machete to rip out the soul, and not a second is wasted before the soul is put in sackcloth, and the foulest stench of a dead body emerges from it. They then ascend with it to the heavens, and whenever they pass by a group of angels in their ascend they are asked: “Who is this wicked soul?” they reply: “It is so-and-so, the son of so-and-so”, calling him by the worst names he was known for on this earth and that he hated, until they reach the gates of the lowest heaven. But they are unwelcome there, and the gates are not opened for them.

"Indeed, those who deny Our verses and are arrogant toward them - the gates of Heaven will not be opened for them, nor will they enter Paradise until a camel enters into the eye of a needle. And thus do We recompense the criminals"[Surat Al Araf 7:40] 

Then Allah says: “Record his deeds in Al-Sajeen, in the lowest of the earth”.
Thereafter, the soul is vigorously hurled back to the body in the grave.
Two midnight coloured angels by the name of Munkar and Nakeer appear. They begin their interrogation.
“Who is your Lord?”
“Huh.. huh.. I do not know”
“What is your deen?”
“Huh.. huh.. I do not know”
“Who is your prophet?”
“Huh.. huh.. I do not know”

It is as if he remembers, but he doesn’t, it all seems familiar yet it was never reinforced and men were created forgetful.

The angels then strike him with a metal rod. And a caller calls out from the heavens: “Prepare for him a bed from hell and open for him a gate of hell”. The person’s grave then starts to close in on him, until his ribs are interlocked. Then a guest makes an appearance, a formidable guest, reeking of a foul stench; it is his bad deeds. But this is only the beginning.

Upon witnessing this, the evil doer calls out to Allah: “O Allah, let not The Hour come, let not The Hour come”.

When the evil doer witnesses The Hour, he will call this punishment in the grave to a troubled slumber.

The Believer’s Soul When the time is due for the believer to meet his Lord, angels descend from the heavens, their faces bright as the sun, carrying a shroud and some fragrance from Jannah. They seat themselves a similar distance (imagine, seeing something so beautiful at a distance that all you want to do is get closer to have better look). Then the Angel of Death appears and he sits near the dying person’s head. And he calls out: “O you pure soul, exit to meet the forgiveness and pleasure of Allah”. So it exits like a drop of water poured out. Not a moment is wasted before the soul is placed in the fragrant shroud from Jannah, which then emits a pleasant scent – a scent that surpasses the best fragrances of this world. They then ascend with it.

Whenever they pass by a group of angels in their journey to the heavens, they are asked: “Who is this pure soul?”

“It is so-and-so son of so-and-so” they reply. And they praise the soul with the best words that were known to him in this dunya. This continues until they reach the gates of the first heaven, and it opens for them, and they continue in this similar manner until they reach the end of the seventh heaven, and Allah subhaneh wa ta’ala says: “Record his deeds in ‘iliyeen, and return him to earth, for I created them from it and to it they shall return and from it I shall raise them again”.

The soul is then reunited with its body. The same two angels who question the disbeliever come to the believer, Munkar and Nakeer, they ask this soul the same questions, however unlike the previous case, this soul replies with confidence:
“Allah is my Lord”
“Islam is my deen”
“Mohammed is my prophet”

So a voice calls out from the heavens: “My slave is truthful, so make his bedding from Jannah and open for him a gate of Jannah”.

His grave expands, and is filled with the fragrance and a breeze of jannah and a guest visits, this guest unlike the one mentioned previously has a beautiful appearance, and a pleasant smell. The deceased asks: “Who are you; you look like a person bearing good news?”
“I am your good deeds” the guest replies.

The believer calls out to his Lord, in anticipation of what awaits him: “O my Lord, let The Hour come, so that I am returned to my family and to my wealth”

And until The Hour is called, the disbeliever, who spent a lifetime disobeying Allah, never returning to Him, never repenting to Him, will taste Jahanum in preparation of a worse fate.

And the believer who has spent a lifetime in obedience to Allah, repenting to Him for every shortcoming, returning to Him whenever he lost his way, this believer is now tasting Jannah, being readied for a greater happiness, an unimaginable happiness; an eternal happiness.

* Fardh kifaya means it is an obligation upon every Muslim in the Ummah UNLESS someone from the Ummah is fulfilling the duty)

Note: All description is taken from sahih (authentic) sources.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


MashaAllah...great reminder sis abeer,i really loved reading as it was sooo brief yet got the complete picture,May Allah bless u,and make death a pleasant experience,for all believers InshaAllah.JazakAllahukhairn.Keep posting....

Jazakallah u khairun, great reminder. May Allah make us all righteous people. Ameen 

Simply beautiful, love it sister!

we forgot were we are going. thank u for reminding us

mashallah,beautiful........great reminder.

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