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:
These verses indicate that souls have a real existence after death, but are unable to return to this world.
In another verse, the life of these martyrs in the way of God is described:
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 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.
The Shi'ite scholars have expounded these questions in books of theology, Shaykh Saduq, in his book Tajrid al-i'tiqadat, says:
Shaykh Mufid, in his book Tashih al-i'tiqad, writes:
Nasir al-Din Tusi writes:
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.
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).