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The Soul's Journey after Death

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Where do the souls go after death?

 

Question:

We know that the shaheed is not dead and are living amongst us and are getting their risk but I want to know that what happens to the other people like us who are not shaheed and die a natural death at hands of Izrael? What happens to our soul where it goes do we go in eternal slumber or we go to a place called barzakh and please tell me more about barzakh?

 

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

 

The life of this world is nothing in comparison to the life of the Hereafter.  The experiences, happiness and sorrows of this life are microscopic in relation to the Afterlife.  The phenomenon commences when the soul exits the body.  At such a crucial stage, there are two groups: the fortunate ones and the wretched ones.

 

The fortunate ones are received like kings.  Hundreds of angels receive them, fragrance surrounds them and light engulfs them.  They are escorted to Almighty Allah Ta’ālā in a convoy of light comprised of the angels.[ii]

 

The wretched ones are terrorised from the moment they sight the hereafter unfolding.  Repulsive black angels, putrid smell and fire grasps them.  Their souls are ripped out of their bodies and driven to Almighty Allah.[iii]

 

Once the soul exits the body, it enters Inter-space (barzakh).  This is another world and realm altogether.  This is the intermediary state between the two worlds.[iv]

 

The treatment one receives in Inter-space (barzakh) is a reflection of one’s deeds and actions in this world.  If a person was an obedient slave of Almighty Allah, he will be entertained with royalty.  If he was anything to the contrary, words cannot describe his ordeal.  This concept can be understood by analogising Inter-space (barzakh) to waiting in transit at an airport.  The holders of privilege cards and bonus points’ holders are reclining in the first class luxury lounges.  Some are entertained in the business lounge, others are offered free meals, and some are only entitled to a free drink.  There will be those passengers who are not entitled to anything.  Worse than that, some passengers are left stranded in transit, others face ordeals and troubles with flight cancellations and suffer prolonged anxiety.  This is a depiction of the souls in Inter-space (barzakh).  Different souls receive different privileges based on their ‘points’ they score in this world.

 

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah rahimahullah explains the condition of the souls in this intermediary realm in his renowned work, Kitāb al-rūh.  He mentions that everyone’s soul is in the followi

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The Soul After Death

Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

 

Question: What happens to the soul after death? Will it be in the grave along with the body? I read that souls are present at the grave on Thursday night until Saturday. If this is the case, where are the souls on other days of the week?

 

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope this reaches you in the best of states.

 

Imam al-Qurtubī mentions in his exhaustive work regarding what happens after death, al-Tadhkira fī Ahwāl al-Mawtā wa Umūr al-Ākhira, that the souls (arwāh) of Believers will meet one other in the skies (tatalāqā fil-samā’). This is similar to what Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya mentions in Kitab al-Rūh about the souls of the deceased meeting one another, visiting one another, and making dhikr with one another. He mentions that this is specific to the souls of the believers because they are in a state of blessing, free to roam (muna`ama, mursala), as opposed to the souls of the disbelievers, who are tormented and restricted (mu`adhdhaba, mahbūsa). Imam Ibn al-Qayyim continues,

 

“Each soul will be with its companions who are at the same [level of] good deeds, and the soul of our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is with the Highest Companion [Allah, Most High]. Allah says, ‘Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they are amongst those whom Allah has blessed, of the Prophets, those of great faith, the martyrs, and the righteous. What excellent companions are they!’ [Quran 4:69] The togetherness [mentioned in this verse] holds for this abode, the Intermediary Realm (barzakh), and the Abode of Recompense [i.e. the afterlife]. A person is with whom he loves in all three of these abodes.”

 

A rank unique to martyrs is that their souls will enjoy the gardens of Paradise even before the Day of Resurrection. Evidence for this is the hadith narrated by Muslim:

 

“Indeed the souls of the martyrs are in the hearts of green birds, and they have lanterns hanging from the throne of Allah. They roam around in Paradise wherever they wish and then they return to their lanterns. Their Lord casts a glance at them and asks, “Do you desire anything?” They say, “What can we desire for when we roam around in Paradise wherever we wish?” He asks them this three times. When they realize that they will not cease to be questioned, they say, “O Lord! We wish that You return our souls to our bodies in order that we be killed in Your Path again.” When it is realized that they have no want, they will be left [to their joy].”

 

Though some scholars have said that the souls of believers other than martyrs may enjoy the same blessing of being in Paradise, Imam al-Qurtubī held that this is not the stronger position, as indicated by the specific mention of martyrs in the previous hadith. The generality of the following hadith also indicates that believers who are not martyrs will not enjoy this unique blessing:

 

“When one of you dies, his resting place is shown to him morning and evening, if he is from the people of Paradise, then [his place will be] from the people of Paradise, and if he is from the people of the Fire, then [his place will be] from the people of Fire, and it will be said, ‘this is your resting place until Allah resurrects you on the Day of Judgment.’” [al-Bukhārī, Muslim].

 

Imam al-Qurtubī mentions as a weak opinion that the souls visit their graves on every Friday, and that is why visiting graves on the eve of Friday and on Friday is recommended. It is mentioned in the commentary of `Umdat al-Sālik that the sprit’s connection with the grave is never severed, and it is stronger from `Asr on Thursday until sunrise on Saturday, which is why people often visit graves on Thursday afternoon and Friday. [shaykh Nuh Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

 

Allah knows best, and we pray to Him to save our bodies and souls from the torment of the grave and to grant us the company of the Prophets and righteous believers.

 

Wassalam,
Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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