18 October 2017 CE | 27 Muharram 1439 AH

Hadith Explanation

A Disbeliever in the Grave

Zaid bin Thabit (radi Allahu anhu) narrated how, when the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions were once passing some graves of polytheists, the Prophet’s horse bolted and almost unseated him. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) explained: “These people are being tortured in their graves, and were it not that you would stop burying your dead, I would ask Allah to let you hear the punishment in the grave which I (and this horse) can hear.” [Sahih Muslim]

After the soul of a wicked person is restored to its body, the two fearsome, dread-inspiring angels, Munkar and Nakeer, come to it for its interrogation. After making him sit up, they ask: “Who is your Lord?” The disbelieving soul answers: “Alas, alas, I do not know.” Munkar and Nakeer ask: “What is your religion?” The disbelieving soul says: “Alas, alas, I do not know.” Munkar and Nakeer ask: “What do you say about this man (Muhammad) sent to you?” The disbelieving soul says: “Alas, alas I do not know.”

Having failed his test, the disbeliever’s head is struck with an iron hammer with a force so violent that it could crumble a mountain. A cry is heard from heaven: “He has lied, so spread out carpets of Hell for him, and open for him a portal into Hell.” [Ahmad] The floor of his grave is thus set alight with some of Hell’s fierce fire, and his grave is made narrow and constricted to the extent that his ribs become intertwined as his body is crushed. [Ahmad] Then, an incredibly ugly being, wearing ugly garments and giving off a foul and offensive odour comes to the disbelieving soul and says: “Be grieved with what displeases you, for this is your day which you have been promised.” The disbeliever will ask: “Who are you, with your face so ugly and bringing evil?” The ugly one will reply: “l am your wicked deeds!”

The disbeliever is then made to taste bitter remorse as he is shown what would have been his abode in Paradise - had he lived a righteous life - before a portal is opened for him every morning and evening showing him his actual home in Hell. [Ibn Hibban] Allah mentions in His Book how the wicked people of Pharaoh are, at this very moment, suffering from such an exposure to Hell from within their graves: “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): ‘(Now) cause Pharaoh’s people to enter the severest torment!’” [Quran 40:46] Overcome with fear and loathing, anxiety and despair, the disbeliever in his grave will keep asking: “My Lord, do not bring the last hour. Do not bring the last hour.”

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