Topics
Sign in English
What is the reality of the Barzakh (intermediary world)?
603 0 share 0

Death is not the termination of life, but a transferal from one domain to another, a domain which is permanent and everlasting, one in which the Resurrection takes place. Between this world and the Hereafter there is an intermediary world, the Barzakh [literally, 'barrier'], in which man resides for a certain period after death. The real nature of life in the Barzakh is unclear to us, and the only data we have regarding this is that which is given us by the Qur'an and Hadith. Below, we bring attention to bear upon the indications given by the Qur'an:

1. When death comes to an idolator, he says:
Till, when death comes to one of them, he says, 'My Lord, return me; haply I shall do righteousness in that I forsook.' Nay, it is but a word he speaks; and there; behind them, is a barrier (Barzakh) until the day that they shall be raised up. (Sura al-Mu'minun, 23, 99-100)

These verses indicate that souls have a real existence after death, but are unable to return to this world.

Death is not the termination of life, but a transferal from one domain to another, a domain which is permanent and everlasting, one in which the Resurrection takes place. Between this world and the Hereafter there is an intermediary world, the Barzakh [literally, 'barrier'], in which man resides for a certain period after death.
2. Regarding the martyrs, it is said:
And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, "They are dead." Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not. (Sura al-Baqara, 2: 154)

In another verse, the life of these martyrs in the way of God is described:

exulting in what Allah has given them out of His grace, and rejoicing for those who have not yet joined them from [those left] behind them, that they will have no fear, nor will they grieve. (Sura Ai 'Imran, 3:170)

3. Regarding the sinners, especially the people of Pharaoh, we are told that before the Day of Resurrection, they are exposed each morning and evening to fire; and that at the Resurrection, they will be subjected to the most intense form of suffering:

The Fire, they are exposed to it morning and evening. And the Day the Hour appears [it will be said], "Make the people of Pharaoh enter the severest punishment." (Sura al-Ghafir 40:46)
The questioning by the angles

The first stage of the soul's life in the Barzakh begins with the withdrawal of the spirit from the body. At the time that man is buried, according to many hadiths, the angels question him on Tawhid; Prophecy, and a series of other principles pertaining to belief and religion. Obviously, the answers given by a believer will differ from those given by a disbeliever, and in consequence, the grave and the Barzakh will be places wherein divine mercy manifests for the believer, and divine wrath, for the disbeliever, The questioning by the angels and the dispensing of mercy and wrath, respectively, to the believers and disbelievers in the grave, pertain to basic beliefs of our religion; the grave constitutes the commencement of 'Barzakhi' life, which will persist until the Day of Resurrection.

At the time that man is buried, according to many hadiths, the angels question him on Tawhid; Prophecy, and a series of other principles pertaining to belief and religion. Obviously, the answers given by a believer will differ from those given by a disbeliever, and in consequence, the grave and the Barzakh will be places wherein divine mercy manifests for the believer, and divine wrath, for the disbeliever.

The Shi'ite scholars have expounded these questions in books of theology, Shaykh Saduq, in his book Tajrid al-i'tiqadat, says:

'Our belief as regards the questions in the grave is this: it is true, and whoever gives the correct answers to these questions will be granted divine mercy, and whoever gives the wrong answers will be subjected to divine punishment.' [1]

Shaykh Mufid, in his book Tashih al-i'tiqad, writes:

'Strong hadiths of the Holy Prophet tell us that the people of the grave will be questioned regarding their religion; and some hadiths indicate that two angels are charged with this task of interrogation, and they are called Nakir and Munkir.'... 'The interrogation in the grave shows that those in the graves are alive, remaining thus until the Day of Resurrection.' [2]

Nasir al-Din Tusi writes:

'The punishment of the grave is real, it is an intelligible possibility, and there are the most authentic hadiths confirming its reality.' [3]

Reference to theological works of the other schools of Islam will reveal that there is unanimity on this issue, the only person of note denying its reality being Darar b. 'Amru.[4]

1. Shaykh Saduq, Tajrid al-i'tiqadat, ch. 17, p. 37.
2. Shaykh Mufid, Tashih al-itiqad (Tabriz, 1371/1950,-1), pp. 45-6.
3. Nasir al-Din Tusi, Tajrid al-i'tiqad, maqsad 6, mas'ala 14.
4. See Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Sunna, (Beirut, 1405/ 1983); Abu'l Hasan al-Ash'ari, al-Ibana 'an usul al-diyana (Damascus, 1981 ); and Qadi 'Abd al-jabbar al-Mu'tazili, Sharl; al-usul al-khamsa (Cairo, 1988).
COMMENTS
Leave a Reply

Daily Hadith
لا يكونُ أخوكَ أقوى مِنكَ على مَودّتِهِ.
Do not let your brother be stronger than you are in your amity for him.