From early times, I knew or learned that after death, one would remain in grave (punishment in grave for sins or otherwise) until he/she is resurrected on the Day of Reckoning.

However, recently I came to know about concept of Barzakh (as seen here) which they say is temporary place after death and one would remain there before the Judgement Day.

Question: I have confusion where will we be after death ? Grave or Barzakh according to Quran/Hadith ?

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


The video you shared was about that the life in Purgatory. And you can visit each other in Purgatory if you were good believer and if you were bad believer you won’t have time to visit others because, you are busy with your Punishment as per God Almighty Says:

”In front of the Fire will they be brought, morning and evening: and (the sentence will be) on the Day that Judgment will be established: "Cast ye the People of Pharaoh into the severest Penalty”

Al-Islam writes:

”The fire; they shall be brought before it (every) morning and evening and on the day when the hour shall come to pass: Make Firon’s people enter the severest chastisement.” (Surah Momin 40:46)

It means that they will be thrown in fire in the morning and in the evening and when Qiyamat will occur (it will be ordered): Inflict the severest punishment on the followers of Firon.

This is one of those verses of Quran, which testify to punishment in Barzakh. The above verse refers to those people of the Pharaoh, who drowned in the Nile. Ever since that day, they are regularly brought near fire every morning and every evening. This will continue till the Day of Judgement, where after they will be given the severest chastisement.

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that there is no morning or evening in the Hereafter, and that the said punishment in morning and evening refers to the world of Barzakh.

And in another Hadith is about punishment in Purgatory:

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When the believer is dying, the angels of mercy come to him with white silk and say: ‘Come out content and with the pleasure of Allaah upon you to the mercy of Allaah, fragrance and a Lord Who is not angry.’ So it comes out like the best fragrance of musk. They pass him from one to another until they bring him to the gate of heaven, where they say: ‘How good is this fragrance that has come to you from the earth!’ Then the souls of the believers come to him and they rejoice more over him than any one of you rejoices when his absent loved one comes to him. They ask him: ‘What happened to So and so, what happened to So and so?’ They say: ‘Let him be, for he was in the hardship of the world. When he says, ‘Did he not come here?’ They say: ‘He was taken to the pit (of Hell).’ When the kaafir is dying, the angers of punishment come to him with sackcloth and say: ‘Come out discontent and subject to divine wrath to the punishment of Allaah. So it comes out like the foulest stench of a corpse. They bring him to the gates of the earth, where they say: ‘How foul is this stench!’ Then they bring him to the souls of the kuffaar.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 1833; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2758.
Islam Q&A

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said:

When his soul is taken up it is met by the souls who ask him about the living and they say to one another: ‘Let him rest.’ And they say: ‘What happened to So and so?’ And he says: ‘He did a righteous deed.’ They say: ‘What happened to So and so?’ and he says: ‘Has he not come to you?’ They say: ‘No.’ They say: ‘He was taken to the Pit (of Hell).’”
Islam Q&A

So as you can see, it was about life on Purgatory, the Punishment in Purgatory that it will continue till the Day of Judgment. And as for the Grave, the bodies remain in graves but the souls are taken to Purgatory because

Imam Musa Kazim (as) has narrated from his father, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as), that he said:

“When a believer dies, seventy thousand angels participate in his funeral; when he enters the grave, Munkir and Nakeer come to him and pose questions to him; they ask him: ‘Who is your god? What is your religion? And who is your prophet?’ The believer replies: ‘My Lord is Allah, my prophet is Muhammad, and my religion is Islam.’ At that moment the grave is expanded as far as the eye can see and the foods of Paradise will be brought there for him and the breeze of Paradise will welcome him.

So, the souls of good believers can meet each other in Purgatory and the bad people are Punished but some of them are forgiven if they died in state of belief and they are too busy with their punishment. Hence, they can’t visit each other as you can see but only those who are forgiven by God or died as good believers can.

According to the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) a man was struck with a whip and his grave was filled with fire because he offered a single prayer without having purified himself, and he passed by one who was being wronged and did not help him.
Islam Q&A

Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) said:

“Angels come to the dying person, and if the man was righteous, they say: ‘Come out, O good soul that was in a good body, come out praiseworthy and receive glad tiding of mercy and fragrance and a Lord who is not angry.’ And this is repeated until it comes out before it is taken to the heaven…

But if the man was evil, they say: ‘Come out O evil soul that was in an evil body. Come out blameworthy, and receive the tidings of boiling water and the discharge of dirty wounds, and other torments of similar kind, all together…” (Narrated by Abu Hurayrah, recorded in Sunan Ibn Majah, Bk 37, No. 4403.)

Furthermore, it is understood from the aforementioned narration that the soul of the dying human will be removed and will be taken to heaven. On the way to heaven, the soul will experience praiseworthiness or blameworthiness from its Lord and Angels, depending on its beliefs and deeds and will be taken back to the earth (that is, returned back to the dead body which has been put into the grave). The soul then begins to experience series of occurrences in that state, which is called the Barzakh. It is also noteworthy here that once the soul enters into the realm of Barzakh, it will neither have a way of returning back to this life, nor will it have a way to make contact with people of this world; as Allah says:

“[For such is the state of the disbelievers], until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “My Lord, send me back that I might do righteousness in that which I left behind. “No! It is only a word he is saying; and behind them is a barrier (Barzakh) until the Day they are resurrected.” (Q23:99-100, cited from Saheeh International Translation)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is alive in his grave in the sense of the life of al-barzakh, so he enjoys the blessings that Allaah has prepared for him as a reward for his great good actions that he did in this world. But the life in the grave is not like the life of this world, or the life in the Hereafter. Rather it is the life of al-barzakh which comes in between his life in this world and his life in the Hereafter. Hence we know that he died as other Prophets and other people before him died.
Islam Q&A

The life of Prophet peace be upon him in the grave is not the life like this world rather it is a barzakhi life and it is better than the life of all the other people, likewise the life of martyrs is barzakhi but it is lower than the life of Prophets. They all are dead as far as this world is concern". [Kifayat alMufti Vol 1 page 80 dar al-Asha`at]

Imam Ahmad (17803) narrated that al-Bara’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Verily, when the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him angels from heaven with white faces, as if their faces are the sun. They bring with them one of the shrouds of Paradise and some of the perfume of Paradise. They sit with him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death (peace be upon him) comes to him and sits by his head and says, ‘O pure soul, come out to the forgiveness and pleasure of Allah.’ Then his soul comes flowing out like a drop of water flowing from a cup. Then he takes the soul, and no sooner does he seize it but they take it and place it in that shroud and perfume. Then out of it comes the most excellent fragrance of musk to be found on the face of the earth. Then they ascend with it and they do not pass by any group of angels but the angels ask, ‘Who is this pure soul?’ and they reply, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so’ – using the best names by which he was known on earth. Then they bring it to the lowest heaven, and ask for it to be opened, and it is opened for him. Those who are of high rank in each heaven accompany it until they approach the next heaven, and so it goes until it reaches the seventh heaven. Then Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon (the highest heaven) and take him back to the earth, for I created them from it, and I shall return them to it, then I shall take them out from it again.’ Then his soul is returned to his body and two angels come and make him sit up”

Then the hadith mentions the questioning in the grave, then it mentions how the soul of the disbeliever is taken, then it says:

“Then they ascend with it and they do not pass by any group of angels but the angels ask, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they reply, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so’ – using the worst names by which he was known on earth. Then they bring it to the lowest heaven, and ask for it to be opened, and it is not opened for him.” Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) recited (interpretation of the meaning): “… For them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle” [al-A’raaf 7:40]. Then he said, “Then Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen (the lowest Hell) in the lowest earth. Then his soul is cast down.” Then he recited (interpretation of the meaning): “… and whoever assigns partners to Allah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place.” [al-Hajj 22:31]. He said, “Then his soul is returned to his body and two angels come and make him sit up” Then it mentions the questioning in the grave.
Islam Q&A

It is proven from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that when a person dies, his soul is returned to him in his grave, and he is questioned about his Lord, his religion and his Prophet. Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world and in the Hereafter (cf. Ibraaheem 14:27), so the believer will say: My Lord is Allah, my religion is Islam and my Prophet is Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). As for the disbeliever or the hypocrite, when he is questioned he will say: Oh, oh, I do not know; I heard the people saying something, so I said it too.

This return of the soul to the body in the grave will not be like when a person’s soul is in his body in this world, because that is the life of al-barzakh and we do not know how it is, because we have not been told about the nature of that life.
Islam Q&A

CONCLUSION: the body remains in Grave and the soul will be up and the next the soul will meet other souls and then God will decide whether He will Punish that soul or not if he/she was a believer and as for the disbelievers (the rejectors, challengers, the mockery people) will be Punished by God if they died in state of disbelief in Purgatory and will come even much worse their punishment. And as for the bad believer(Muslim, Jew or Christian) will be Punished for a short time in Purgatory and then will be rewarded by God on the Day of Judgment and they won’t have to go to Hell anymore in the case the Christians and Jews died without having a chance to hear the message of Islam correctly of course.

  • Thanks for detailed explanation and references, it does make sense now.
    – Sarfraz
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 18:37
  • @Sarfraz No problem.
    – Alex A
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 18:49
  • Will the soul be punished twice for the same sin? I.e first in barzakh and later in jahanam?
    – Ahmed
    Commented Apr 12, 2020 at 20:13

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