Question # 278: One of the scholar has brought this Ayah: Sura YASIN ayah no 52, in contradiction with azhab in grave i.e., there is no azhab in qabr, what’s your opinion?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: On the Day of Resurrection, when the trumpet blasts, people will come forth from their graves and say: “Woe to us! Who has raised us up from our place of sleep”. In fact, there is no contradiction between this ayah 52 of Soorah Yaseen and the ahadith about the grave torment. The ayah does not mean that the graves of disbelievers are places of mercy or that they have not seen punishment in their graves. On the contrary, as explained by the mufassireen, although the disbelievers already had their share of punishment in their graves with no sign of any relief, yet this torment of grave will appear insignificant (or like bed/mattress) in the face of the horror on the Day of Judgement and the magnitude of the penalty to follow; therefore, they will cry out as to why they had to be taken out of their graves, for it would have been better if they had stayed right there. 

The scholars believe that there is torment and punishment in the grave and life in al-barzakh (the interval between death and the Day of Resurrection), and there is blessing and pleasure, according to the status of the deceased. The punishment in the grave has been proved by Qur’anic ayah and several ahadith. Even the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to seek refuge with Allah from the torment of the grave in his dua’a, as reported by ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها).

The scholars believe that the torment of the grave befalls both the soul and the body. It will be like dreams we see in this life, where a person feels joy and pain while sleeping. In effect, after the soul departs from the body, it continues to be blessed or punished, and it is also connected to the body from time to time.

Long Answer: Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an “51. And the Trumpet will be blown and behold from the graves they will come out quickly to their Lord. 52. They will say: “Woe to us! Who has raised us up from our place of sleep (Marqadina).” (It will be said to them): “This is what the Most Gracious had promised, and the Messengers spoke truth!” 53. It will be but a single Saihah (shout/ blast), so behold! They will all be brought up before Us! 54. This Day (Day of Resurrection), none will be wronged in anything, nor will you be requited anything except that which you used to do.” (Soorah Yaseen, 36:51-52)

The word “Marqad” appearing in the ayah means bed, mattress in Arabic. In his ‘Tafsir al-Tahrir wa’l-Tanwir’, Muhammad al-Tahir ibn Ashur says: “Marqad is sleeping and resting place, and the truth of the Ruqaad is asleep.” Ruqaad is said to be sleeping in death and grave, because anyone who slept is alike.”

There is no contradiction between the ayah above and the ahadith about the grave torment of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

The Hour of the Hereafter and those who disbelieve in the resurrection do not mean that their graves are “mercy” or that “they have not seen punishment in their graves”. On the contrary, they say that their minds are gone from their heads because of the dismay of the apostate with the Day of Judgment, and they are afraid. So, the torment of the grave, which they saw, was like a bed and a mattress for them in the face of the horror of the day of judgment and the greatness of the penalty afterward.

In the tafseer of the above ayah, Ibn Katheer explains that “This will be the third blast of the trumpet, the trumpet blast of the resurrection when people will come forth from their graves… ‘place of sleep’ meaning, their graves, which in this world they thought they would never be raised from. When they see with their own eyes that in which they had disbelieved… [However,] this does not contradict the fact that they will be punished in their graves, because in comparison to what is to come afterwards, that will seem like a nap. Ubayy bin Ka`b (رضي الله عنه), Mujahid, Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, “They will sleep before the Resurrection.” Qatadah said, “That will be between the two trumpet blasts, they will say, `Who has raised us up from our place of sleep”’ When they say that, the believers will respond. This was the view of more than one of the Salaf.”

Imam ash-Shawkani says in his tafseer ‘Fath al-Qadir’: “(Those who disbelieve in the Day of the Hereafter and those who deny the resurrection) They regard themselves as having fallen asleep because their minds have gone away from their heads because they see their horrors with their eyes and fear.”

From Tafseer Notes by Nouman Ali Khan: “Marqadruqood – uncomfortable type of sleep. when you’re not in deep sleep and you’re annoyed. The things people will see on Judgment Day will be so bad, that the punishments they experienced in the graves will just seem like bad sleep.”

In the tafseer of the ayah 52, in ‘Ma’ariful-Qur’an’ by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi’, it is said: Though the disbelievers were already having their punishment in their graves with no sign of any relief, yet this punishment will appear as nothing when compared with the punishing circumstances of the day of Qiyamah, therefore, they will cry out as to why they had to be taken out of their graves, for it would have been better if they had stayed right there.”

Punishment in the Grave

The belief of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jama’ah is that there is torment and punishment in the grave and life in al-barzakh (the interval between death and the Day of Resurrection), and there is blessing and pleasure, according to the status of the deceased. The evidence for that is that where Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “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‘awn’s (Pharaoh) people to enter the severest torment!’” (Soorah Ghaafir, 40:46)

Allah states here that the people of Pharaoh are exposed to torment morning and afternoon even though they are dead. From this ayah, the scholars affirmed that the torment of the grave is real.

According to the hadith of ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها), the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to pray in his salah (prayer), “Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min ‘adhaab il-qabr, wa a’oodhu bika min fitnat il-maseeh il-dajjaal, wa a’oodhu bika min fitnat il-mahyaa wa fitnat il-mamaat, Allaahumma ini a’oodhu bika min al-ma’tham wa’l-maghram (O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the torment of the grave, I seek refuge in You from the tribulation of the Dajjaal, I seek refuge in You from the trials of life and death, O Allah, I seek refuge in You from sin and loss).” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The relevant point in this hadith is that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to seek refuge with Allah from the torment of the grave. This is one of the pieces of evidence that confirm the torment of the grave.

Ibn al-Qayyim said: “…the punishment in the grave is of two types: A type which is continuous, apart from what has been narrated in some ahadith which say that it will be reduced during the period between the two blasts of the Trumpet, then when they are raised from their graves, they will say: (refer ayah 36:52 above). Further evidence that this punishment will be continuous is to be seen in the ayah 40:46.

This is also indicated by the hadith narrated by Narrated Samurah bin Jundub: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “I saw (in a dream), two men came to me.” Then the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) narrated the story (saying), “They said, ‘The person, the one whose cheek you saw being torn away (from the mouth to the ear) was a liar and 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.”‘ (al-Bukhari)

And by the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas who narrated: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) once passed by two graves and said, “They (the deceased persons in those graves) are being tortured not for a great thing to avoid.” And then added, “Yes, (they are being punished for a big sin), for one of them used to go about with calumnies while the other never saved himself from being soiled with his urine.” (Ibn `Abbas added): Then he took a green leaf of a date-palm) and split it into two pieces and fixed one piece on each grave and said, “May their punishment be abated till these (two pieces) get dry.” (Al-Bukhari)

And by the hadith of Rabee’ ibn Anas from Abu’l-‘Aaliyah from Abu Hurayrah, then he [the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)] came to some people whose heads were being smashed with rocks, and every time they were smashed, they were then restored, and they would have no respite from that. (Al-Bukhari)

Also, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “While a man was walking, clad in a two-piece garment and proud of himself with his hair well-combed, suddenly Allah made him sink into the earth and he will go on sinking into it till the Day of Resurrection.” (Al-Bukhari)

And by the hadith of al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib about the story of the kaafir for whom a door to Hell will be opened (in his grave) and he will look upon his place in Hell until the Hour comes. This was narrated by Ahmad, and in some versions, it was said that that a hole will be made in his grave and he will feel its distress and smoke until the Resurrection. (al-Rooh)

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The view of the salaf (earliest generations) of this ummah and its imams is that the torment or blessing (of the grave) happens to the soul of the deceased and his body. After it departs from the body, the soul continues to be blessed or punished, and it is also connected to the body from time to time, so that the blessing or torment befalls the body as well as the soul.”  So, we must believe in that which Allah has told us. (al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah)

Ibn al-Qayyim said: Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) was asked about this matter, and we will quote his reply in full: “Indeed, the torment and blessing happen to both the soul and the body, according to the consensus of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. The soul is blessed or tormented separately from the body, and it is blessed or tormented in connection with the body. The body is connected to it, so in this case the blessing or torment happens to them both, and it may happen to the soul separately from the body.

The view of the salaf and imams of this ummah is that when a person dies, he will be in a state of blessing or torment, and that happens to his soul and his body. After the soul has departed from the body, it remains in a state of blessing or torment, and that is sometimes connected to the body and the blessing or torment happens to them both. Then when the Day of Resurrection comes, the souls will be returned to their bodies and they will rise from their graves to meet the Lord of the Worlds. The physical resurrection is a matter upon which the Muslims, Jews and Christians are agreed.” (al-Rooh)

Al-Nawawi said: “If it is said, we see the deceased and how he is in his grave, so how can he be questioned, made to sit up and beaten with iron rods, when no mark is left on him? The answer is that this is not impossible, and indeed there is a similar case in our regular lives, that of the sleeper who feels joy or pain of which we feel nothing.  A person who is awake may also feel joy or pain because of something he hears or thinks about, and those who are sitting with him feel nothing of that…” (Sharh Muslim)

(The above reply is based on various answers by Islamqa.info, unless stated otherwise)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam