BARZAQ / BARZAKH

Is interval between death and the Day of Resurrection is called Barzakh in arabic. The literal meaning of Barzakh is  obstruction or barrier. Since this period is a barrier is between this world and the life Hereafter, that is why it called  Barzakh.

A life after DEATH

A life after DEATH

The grave is either the garden of Paradise or the pit of Hell-Fire. O People, make your graves as  gardens of Paradise by doing righteous deeds; and do  not make your graves the pits of Hell-Fire by doing  evil deeds.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Mercy- All  Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and  blessings be upon the best of His creation, Muhammad,  the Chief of Prophets, and upon his progeny and upon  his companions and those guided aright through the  firm faith and those who followed them earnestly up  to the Day of Resurrection.

From the teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace  and blessings of Allah be upon him) it becomes clear  that after the demise of a person we apparently take  him to be lifeless, but he remains alive, although his  life is different is  different from our lives. The Holy Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported  to have said that the act of breaking a bone of the dead  body causes him as  much pain as is felt by a living  person.  One day the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw Z. Amr b.  Hazm    (Allah be pleased with him) leaning over a grave. he forbade him to vex the dead body.

When a man dies, he is consigned from this world  to to Barzakh. Regardless of the fact whether the dead  body is laid in the grave or cremated, he retains the  power of understanding and comprehension.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be  upon  him) is reported to have said that when the corpse is  put in the bier and the people carry the dead body to   the graveyard, if he is a pious person, he requests them  to carry him as fast as they can and if he is a wrong doer, he curses the wretchedness in store for  him and  asks where he is being led to.

He is also reported to  have said that except human beings everything else hears the cries of the dead body. If a man  were to  hear the cries of the dead body, he would faint.

Since the people usually bury the dead body,  there is only the word “grave” which finds mention in  the traditions in regard to happiness or punishment of  Barzakh. This does not mean that those who are cremated or cast adrift in the river do not remain alive ; in Barzakh. The fact is that reward and punishment  pertain to soul.   It may also be remembered that the  Almighty Allah is so Potent that He can assemble the scattered particles in order to inflict punishment.
According to a tradition a sinful person while dying, advised his sons to cremate half of his dead body after  his death and scatter his ashes in the air and flow the other half in the sea. After that he expressed his apprehensions that God would restore him to life in spite of the precaution he had taken for his safety. He would give him awful punishment which would be more grievous than the punishment borne by any other man. When he died, his sons acted upon his advice. Then God commanded the sea to assemble all the particles that it contained. The sea did that. Simi larly, the air, in obedience to the command of God, assembled all the parts that it contained. The Almighty God gathered together all the particles and restored him to life and asked him why did he make such a will. He submitted that he had done so for fear of Him and He was best Knower. God forgave him. God forgives those who fear Him.

From the tradition it is also clear that the believers in Barzakh not only pay a visit to one another but also ask the new entrants about the condition of their acquaintances in the world.

Sa’id b. Jubair (mercy of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said: “When a man dies, the members of his family, who have passed away, in Barzakh welcome him in the same way as the living persons receive a man in the world on his return from a foreign country. Shabit Banani (mercy of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said: “When a man dies his relatives in Barzakh, who are already dead, surround him and feel much greater pleasure in meeting him than that felt by a living person in the world at the time of receiving a man on his return from a foreign country.  Qais b. Qabisah (Allah be pleased with him) . .is reported to have said: “The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) disclosed on one occasion that a disbeliever could not speak to the dead. Somebody asked him whether the dead could converse to each other. He replied in the affirmative and added that they also pay a visit to one another.

The Description of Barzakh

The literal meaning of the word Barzakh is ‘barrier between two things’. From Islamic point of view  Barzakh is the period which intervenes between this world and the life Hereafter commencing immediately after the death of a man and ending on the Day of Resurrection. As soon as a man dies, he enters Barzakh.

God by His Divine Power and Sound Judgment, created Adam (blessings of Allah be upon him) from dust and taught him the name of everything, glorified his position by enjoining upon the angels to fall down before him in prostration and He made his  abode in paradise, caused him to fall down on the earth with a view to fulfilling {he purpose for which He had created him. In this way, his first lodging was paradise, the Second was the world, the third was Barzakh and the fourth again paradise. The first dwelling place of his offspring is the belly of mother, the second is the world, the third is Barzakh and the fourth is either Paradise or Hell.  God allotted appropriate functions for each abode and called the world a field for practical work and a cultivation ground for the Hereafter. He bestowed a great favor upon man by sending Prophets  for guidance in order to enable humanity to discriminate between right and wrong. Those who followed the teachings of the prophets and were known as believers and those who went astray were called disbeliever. The interval between Death and Resurrection is called Barzakh. During this period a believer feels happy whereas a disbeliever suffers torments. The real reward or punishment will be given on the Day of Judgment after due reckoning.

Origin of Death

Hasan (blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said that when God created Adam (blessings of Allah be upon him) and his progeny, the angels humbly pointed out to God that the offspring of Adam would not be accommodated on the earth. God proclaimed that He would then bring death into Being. The angels said that it He created death they would not be able to lead a pleasant life. God proclaimed that He shall inspire them with hope (Ibne Abi Shaiba).

Mujahid (mercy of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said that when Adam (blessings of Allah be upon him) was caused to fall down on the earth, God enjoined upon him to construct for destruction and to beget children for death. (Abu Naeem)

O then who dwell in the highest palace, you will soon be buried in dust. An angel makes an announcement daily “Give birth to the children for death and fashion then, for destruction”.
Under the Grave

When a pious man dies, he is made to sit by the angels. He attains a position that neither anxiety nor grief overtakes him. First of all, a question pertaining to Islam is put to him. After that he is asked about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He says that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had brought clear signs from God and that he believed those signs to be true in their entirety. After that he is shown a place in hell which presents scene of pandemonium. Then diverting his attention to the scene, he is told that God had saved him from that punishment. After that he is shown a place in paradise, richly bedecked’ and elegantly adorned, where he observes pleasant sights. Then he is told that he would be given the very abode when he would be brought after the Last Day since during his life in the world, he believed in the Last Day and he died when he held the same belief, so on the Day of Resurrection, he would be resurrected from the grave in the very same state.

When a wicked man dies, he is seated in the grave but he is overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. The same questions that have been mentioned above, are put to him. He says that he knows nothing about anything. He used to repeat what he heard from the people. At first, the gate of paradise is opened. After displaying its adornment and elegance, and all riches contained therein, he is told that it was his original dwelling place. But it had been denied to him. Then a spectacle of hell is shown to him. He observes there a state of pandemonium. Then he is informed that he would be given that abode because during his life in the world he entertained doubts and  died in the same state, so, on the Day of Resurrection, he would be resurrected from the grave in the same state.

Abu Qatada (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that one day a funeral procession happened to pass by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). When the latter saw it, he remembered that either that man would feel pleasure or would cause others to feel pleasure. He explained that it is after death that a believer feels pleasure when he is relieved of the worldly worries and troubles to find place in the neighborhood of the Almighty God. This was the case of a man who feels pleasure. On the death of a wrong doer, the other men, inhabiting towns and villages and the trees and animals feel pleasure since with his death the creation is relieved of the calamities which fall upon the earth because of his outburst of riots in the cities; the trees dry up and the animals hardly get fodder. It is for this reason that on his death all feel pleasure because evil shadow of his sins create troubles for everyone.

Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that once the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) caught hold of his shoulder and advised him to live in the world like a stranger or like a traveler.  Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that at dawn one should not wait for night and at night one should not wait for dawn. When one enjoys good health, one should make provision for combating with disease (because during the period of his illness he would be getting reward for his good } good deeds done in the state of health, so one should make provision for death.

The Cry of the Grave

 Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that once he, in the company of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him!, joined a funeral party. When the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) reached the graveyard, he went to a grave and told that there was not a single day that the grave did not make the clear announcement. “O, the Offspring of Adam ! You have forgotten me, I am a place of solitude, I am an abode of loneliness, I am a lodging of wilderness, I am a dwelling place of worms and I am much straitened provided the Almighty expands me in the case of a person whom He holds in esteem. After that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: The grave is either one out of the gardens of paradise or one of the pits of hell.

Horrors of the Grave

Abu Sa’id Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said: One day when the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to the mosque, some people were grinning with delight. He said: Had they remembered death (which brings pleasures to an end) they would have refrained from indulging in things that excite laughter. The grave of every one makes this announcement daily, “I am a place of solitude, I am a lodging of wilderness, I am a dwelling place of worms”. When a believer is buried, the grave says “I welcome your suspicious arrival. I am pleased to meet you. Of all the men who passed by me, I liked you most. you have come to me today. I will show you how I shall treat you.” After that the grave expands to such an extent that the dead body finds open space as far as his eyes can see, and a window opening towards paradise, sending out breeze and sweet fragrance.

When a wicked or disbeliever dies, the grave says, “Your arrival is evil. I am displeased to meet you. Of all the men who passed by me, I disliked you most. you have come to me today. I will show you how I treat you.” After saying so, the grave becomes narrow to such an extent that his bones and ribs of one side pierce into those of the other side. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) demonstrated it by putting and pressing the fingers of one hand into those of the other hand. Then seventy serpents begin to bite him, which are so venomous that if one of them were to sting the earth, it would not grow grass till the Last Day. All these serpents will continue to sting him till the Last Day. After that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him} remarked, “Grave is either one of the gardens of paradise or is one of the pits of hell.”

Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that a man asked the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to tell him as to who was the wisest and the most cautious of all men. The latter told: it was the man who always remembered death in the world and who always made preparations for death. Such are the people who are  honored not only in this world but also in the life Hereafter.

Episode of Z. ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz

One day  ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) joined a funeral party. When he reached the graveyard, he went to a remote place and sat there and began to think about something. Somebody,  addressing the Caliph, inquired the reason of his sitting alone at a place especially when he was the guardian of this dead body. He told him that he had come there at the call of the grave. The grave had spoken to him the following words:

“O ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz, why don’t you ask me the manner in which I welcome those who come to meet me. ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) asked the grave to tell that. The grave said: “I snatch their coffins and tear their bodies into pieces, suck their blood and eat their flesh. Shall I tell  you how I’ disembody the joints of a dead body ?  I separate the shoulders from the arms, the arms from the wrists, the hips from the body, the hips from the thighs, the thighs from the bones, the knees from the shanks and the shanks from the feet.” After saying that, ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) began to weep and said: The stay in the world is short-lived but its allurements are many. Who is honored in the world is dishonored in the life Hereafter, Who is wealthy here, is a beggar there. He who is young is bound to decay and he who is alive is bound to die. one should keep himself away from it lest it should deceive him because it turns  away its face very soon. Foolish is he who is taken in by its baits. Where are those who were enamored of it and who populated big cities, dug canals, planted big gardens and departed after staying for a short time? They always thought of their sound health but the improvement in health provoked the lusts of the flesh in them and they indulged in committing sins. Their abundant wealth was an envy of all men in the world. Even though they had to face difficulties, yet they amassed large sums of money. The people were jealous of them but they went on accumulating wealth. They bore troubles ungrudgingly for the sake of amassing wealth. The lust has deformed their bodies. The worms have eaten up their joints and bones. They used to take rest on comfortable beds, exalted thrones and cosy cushions and had a train of attendants to wait on them. Their friends, relatives and neighbors were always ready to flatter them. Can anybody tell about the hardships borne by them ? The poor, the rich, all are lying on the same ground. Where is the wealth of the wealthy ? Has his wealth helped him? – Has the poverty of the beggar harmed him ? What has become of their fluent tongues What has become of their eyes which used to roll in their sockets in all directions? What has become of their soft skins, beautiful and good-looking faces and their tender bodies? What a ruin worms have wrought to their bodies their complexion turning dark, their flesh being eaten up, their mouths covered with dust, limbs disembodied and joints broken. Where are their servants, who attended them and were at their beck and call ? Where are their apartments where they used to take rest ? Where are their treasures of wealth, which they had amassed ? Neither did their attendants make provision for their food enabling them to eat it in the grave, nor did they provided him with a bed and a pillow. They threw him on the ground without any tree or a plant of flower to cast shade upon him. Now they are lying forlorn in darkness. They remain unaffected whether it is days or night. They can neither meet friends nor call any one of them. What a change their tender figures have undergone ! The bodies of all men and Women are decomposed. Their limbs are disembodied, their eyes get out of their sockets, their necks are separated, their mouths are filled with water and pus and the worms and insects crawl in all parts of their bodies They are in a deplorable condition and their wives have been bound to nuptial ties with another person and have been enjoying themselves. Their sons have taken Possession of their properties and the inheritors have distributed the property. But there are also fortunate beings who are enjoying themselves in the grave, their countenances are fresh. These are the same people who remembered this home (grave) while lying in a home of deception (world) and preferred to meet the demands of the Hereafter to the demands of the mortal t world, and made the provision and preparations for a  journey towards the grave. When a man is destined to die sooner or later, he should not entangle himself into the allurements of the world. Does he think that the world will stand by him ? Does he think that he will live for ever in this transient world ?

When the angel of death approaches him nobody will save him from his clutches. He is bound to leave behind him in the world his huge building, the ripe fruit of his gardens, his cozy cushions and his summer and winter suits. Sweat will stream down his body. He will feel thirsty and the agonies of death will make him toss in the bed.

The man, who today on the death of his brother, his son, his father, shuts their eyes, who on one occasion washes the dead body and shrouds it in the coffin, while on other occasion participates in the funeral gathering and lays the dead body in the grave, must bear in mind that he will pass through the same trial tomorrow. Then  ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) quoted two couplets , the translation of which is given below:

“The man always runs after a thing which is bound to perish, and is engrossed in high hopes and great expectations. He does not know that — day-dreams can never be realized. He spends his – day in forgetfulness and passes his day in un t mindfulness and passes his night in slumber,  while death is hovering over his head. He will  repent of what he is doing today. He is leading his life like that of animals.”

It is said that hardly a week had elapsed after this incident when ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) passed away.

 3:185. Every soul will taste of death. And you will be paid on the Day of Resurrection only that which you have fairly earned. Who so is removed from the Fire and is made to enter Paradise, he indeed is triumphant. The life of this world is but comfort of illusion.

16:32. Those whom the angels cause to die (when they are) good They say: Peace be to you! Enter the Garden because of what you used to do.

21:35. Every soul must taste of death, and We try you with evil and with good, for ordeal. And to Us you will be returned.

32:11. Say: The angel of death, who has charge concerning you, will gather you, and afterward to your Lord you will be returned.

39:42. Allah receiveth (men’s) souls at the time of their death, and that (soul) which dieth not (yet) in its sleep. He keepeth that (soul) for which He has ordained death and dismisseth the rest till an appointed term. Lo herein verily are portents for people who take thought.

56:83. Why, then, when (the soul) comes up to the throat (of the dying)

56:84. And you are at that moment looking

56:85. And We are nearer to him than you are, but you see not

56:86. Why then, if you are not in bondage (to Us),

56:87. Do you not force it back, if you are truthful?

63:11. But Allah reprieveth no soul when its term comes, and Allah is Aware of what you do.

67:2. Who Has created life and death that He may try you, which of you is best in conduct; and He is the Mighty, Forgiving,

15:26. Verily We created man of potter’s clay of black mud altered,

7:172. And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their reins, their seed, and made them testify of themselves, (saying): Am I not your Lord? They said: Yea, verily. We testify. (That was) lest you should say at the Day of Resurrection: Surely! of this we were unaware;

The  interval between death and the Day of Resurrection is called Barzakh in Arabic.  The grave is either the garden of Paradise or the pit of Hell-Fire. O People, make your graves as  gardens of Paradise by doing righteous deeds; and do  not make your graves the pits of Hell-Fire by doing  evil deeds.

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