Saturday, September 2, 2023

Punishment in the grave is mentioned in Islamic belief, but it is not mentioned in the Quran

The concept of Punishment of the Grave, which is also known as ʿAzāb ul-Qabr in Arabic and translated as torment of the grave, is a belief that exists in both Judeo and Islamic traditions. This idea revolves around the period between an individual's death and their resurrection on the Day of Judgement.


According to this concept, during this interim phase, individuals who have committed sins will be subjected to punishment in their graves until they are resurrected for judgement. The severity and nature of this punishment varies depending on the individual's deeds and their level of piety or impiety. While this notion may seem daunting, it serves as a reminder to individuals to live a righteous life and avoid sinning to escape such torment in the afterlife.


The concept of the punishment of the grave, which refers to the torment that a person may experience after death but before the Day of Judgment, is not explicitly mentioned in the Quran. However, it is referenced in various hadiths, or sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, as compiled by Ibn Hanbal and other scholars.


This belief has been present among both Sunnis and Shias for centuries, with its origins dating back to at least the 9th century. Despite some debates and variations in interpretation, many Muslims continue to hold this belief and view it as an important aspect of their faith.


The text under consideration highlights the fact that in verse 2:154, it is stated that certain individuals, particularly martyrs, are not dead but alive. Moreover, verse 71:25 indicates that some individuals are already in hell.


These verses bring forth the notion that death is not necessarily the end of life and that there are different states of existence beyond this physical realm. It also suggests that one's actions and beliefs during their lifetime may have a significant impact on their afterlife experience. Hence, these verses hold great significance in terms of shaping one's understanding and perspective towards life and death.


The Quran verse 2:154 states "And do not say of those who are killed in the way of Allah that they are dead; they are alive even though you have no knowledge of their life." 


(71:25) And so they were drowned on account of their sins, and then cast into the Fire,[19] and did not find any other than Allah,[20] to come forth to their help.


Jewish religious literature contains descriptions of the afterlife, where the souls of the wicked are punished by Dumah and three subordinate angels of destruction. According to this tradition, these souls experience torment until they are granted temporary reprieve on the Sabbath.




Could it be that humans, in their impatience, have concocted tales of punishment for unbelieving souls to account for the entire span of human existence? Is it not more comforting to believe that a disbeliever is being punished relentlessly until the Day of Resurrection rather than wait for that fateful day? However, this view runs counter to the consistent message conveyed by the Quran which states unequivocally that mankind will only be resurrected on Judgment Day. There exists no intermediary resurrection which would serve as a prerequisite for experiencing grave punishment between death and Judgment Day.


If there exists an inequitable concept of severe retribution, how can one reconcile the duration of Azaab (punishment) for a disbeliever who passed away five millennia ago with that of another who died just two minutes before the Day of Resurrection? It appears grossly unjust that an individual deceased for 5000 years should receive a lengthier period of punishment in the grave compared to someone who perished moments prior to the Day of Resurrection, despite potentially being a greater transgressor. Simultaneously, it seems equally unfair that an individual born five millennia ago would face prolonged punishment solely due to their time of birth.


Not all individuals are interred in a traditional grave, as some opt for cremation or meet their demise on mountain tops during unsuccessful climbs, in aviation accidents, and through various other means. For those seeking to reconcile this reality with religious doctrine, it may be plausible to consider the concept of punishment within Barzakh - a state not limited to burial sites. However, if one were to follow this line of reasoning, why does the Quran remain silent regarding punishments within Barzakh? Additionally, why do the majority of Ahadith texts addressing this topic refer specifically to physical punishments endured while in the grave? The Quran clearly states that from death until awakening will feel like merely a portion of one day.



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