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Is the punishment of the grave a reality?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

One of my friends said that there is no such thing as azaabe qabr, and that such things go against the Quran and there is no authentic Hadith related to azaabe qabr. Could you kindly narrate a few if any?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.


As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.


It is the belief (aqīdah) of the Ahle-Sunnah-wal-Jamā’h that the punishment in the grave is a reality which is proven from the Quran and Ahādith. Hereunder are some references.


Verses from the Qurān:


                    النَّارُ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَيْهَا غُدُوًّا وَعَشِيًّا . وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ أَدْخِلُوا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَشَدَّ الْعَذَابِ

1.      “And they will be exposed to the fire day and night. Then, on the day the hour will rise (day of judgement), it shall be said to the Angels: Cast the people of the Pharaoh into the severest punishment!”




·        “Our scholars have substantiated the punishment in the grave with this verse of the Holy Qur’an. They say: ‘The verse indicates that fire will be brought to them morning and evening and this does not refer to the day of judgment as Allah says: And on the day judgment will be established, cast you the people of Pharaoh in the severest penalty (i.e. it is referring to a time that is before the day of judgment, m). It also does not refer to this world, as bringing them to the fire did not occur in this world. Therefore, it becomes evident that this happened after their death and will happen before the Day of Judgment, thus it proves the establishment of the punishment in the grave. When it is established and proved for Pharaoh’s people it will also be established for others, as there is no reason of distinction”[1]


·        “This verse is a fundamental evidence for the Ahle-Sunnah-wal-Jamā’h in establishing the punishment of the grave”.[2]


سَنُعَذِّبُهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ عَظِيمٍ

2.      “We shall punish them twice and then they will be returned to a great punishment”




·        Tabarani narrates from Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that he said: Once on Friday the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) gave a sermon. And then he said: Allah has disgraced the hypocrites in the world and that is the first punishment and the second punishment will be in the grave” [3]


وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي غَمَرَاتِ الْمَوْتِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَاسِطُو أَيْدِيهِمْ أَخْرِجُوا أَنفُسَكُمُ . الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذَابَ الْهُونِ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَكُنتُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِهِ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ

3.      “If only you could see when the wrongdoers are in the throes of death and the Angels are stretching out their hands saying “Bring forth your souls! This day you shall be recompensed with the torment of disgrace because of what you used to say about Allah other than the truth. And you grew arrogant against his signs!”




·        This is an address to the wrong doers while they are dying, informing them that they will be severely tormented on the very day of their death. If the punishment were to be postponed to the Day of Judgment, they would not have been told: “This day you shall be recompensed”. This proves that there is a torment in the grave. 



References from the Ahādīth:


عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: إِنَّ لِلْقَبْرِ ضَغْطَةً، وَلَوْ نَجَا أَوْ سَلِمَ أَحَدٌ مِنْهَا لَنَجَا سَعْدُ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ[4]

1.      Hazrat Aisha radhiallahu anha narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Verily there is a constriction in the grave and if anyone was to pass it or be safe from it, it would be Sa’d bin Muādh.”



قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنَّمَا القَبْرُ رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الجَنَّةِ أَوْ حُفْرَةٌ مِنْ حُفَرِ النَّارِ[5]

2.      Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “The grave is a garden from the gardens of Paradise or a pit from the pits of Hell”



عَنْ هَانِئٍ، مَوْلَى عُثْمَانَ، قَالَ: كَانَ عُثْمَانُ بْنُ عَفَّانَ إِذَا وَقَفَ عَلَى قَبْرٍ يَبْكِي حَتَّى يَبُلَّ لِحْيَتَهُ، فَقِيلَ لَهُ: تَذْكُرُ الْجَنَّةَ وَالنَّارَ، وَلَا تَبْكِي، وَتَبْكِي مِنْ هَذَا؟ قَالَ: إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: إِنَّ الْقَبْرَ أَوَّلُ مَنَازِلِ الْآخِرَةِ، فَإِنْ نَجَا مِنْهُ، فَمَا بَعْدَهُ أَيْسَرُ مِنْهُ، وَإِنْ لَمْ يَنْجُ مِنْهُ، فَمَا بَعْدَهُ أَشَدُّ مِنْهُ

قَالَ: وَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «مَا رَأَيْتُ مَنْظَرًا قَطُّ إِلَّا وَالْقَبْرُ أَفْظَعُ مِنْهُ[6]

3.      Hāni’ the freed slave of Hadhrat Utmān radhiallahu anhu narrates that when Hadhrat Uthmān ibn Affān would stand in front of a grave, he would cry until his beard would become moist. It was once said to him. You mention Heaven and Hell and you don’t cry yet you cry from this? He replied “Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said “Verily the grave is the first hurdle from the hurdles of the Hereafter. If one succeeds in it, then what is to come after it will be easier for him. However, if does not succeed in it, then what is to come after it will be harder for him.”

He also said that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “I have not seen a sight except that the grave is more horrific than it.”


كَانَ سَعْدٌ يُعَلِّمُ بَنِيهِ هَؤُلاَءِ الكَلِمَاتِ كَمَا يُعَلِّمُ المُعَلِّمُ الغِلْمَانَ الكِتَابَةَ وَيَقُولُ: إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يَتَعَوَّذُ مِنْهُنَّ دُبُرَ الصَّلاَةِ: اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الجُبْنِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أُرَدَّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ العُمُرِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الدُّنْيَا، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ القَبْرِ[7]

4.      “Sa’d radhiallahu anhu used to teach his children the following words like how a teacher teaches children to write. He used to say “Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam used to seek Allah’s refuge from these things after every Salāh.” “Oh Allah, I seek your protection from cowardice and I seek your protection from that I am sent forth to a feeble age and I seek refuge in you from the trials of the world and I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave.”



عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا: أَنَّ يَهُودِيَّةً دَخَلَتْ عَلَيْهَا، فَذَكَرَتْ عَذَابَ القَبْرِ، فَقَالَتْ لَهَا: أَعَاذَكِ اللَّهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ القَبْرِ، فَسَأَلَتْ عَائِشَةُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ عَذَابِ القَبْرِ، فَقَالَ: نَعَمْ، عَذَابُ القَبْرِ.قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا: فَمَا رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بَعْدُ صَلَّى صَلاَةً إِلَّا تَعَوَّذَ مِنْ عَذَابِ القَبْرِ[8]


5.      Aisha radhiallahu anha narrates that a Jewess came to her and mentioned the punishment of the grave and said “May Allah protect you from the punishment of the grave.” So Hadhrat Aisha radhiallahu anha asked Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam about the punishment of the grave and Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said “There is a punishment of the grave”. Aisha radhiallahu anha says that I never saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam pray a Salāh after that instance except that he seeked refuge from the punishment of the grave.



عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا، مَرَّ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى قَبْرَيْنِ فَقَالَ: «إِنَّهُمَا لَيُعَذَّبَانِ وَمَا يُعَذَّبَانِ مِنْ كَبِيرٍ .ثُمَّ قَالَ: بَلَى أَمَّا أَحَدُهُمَا فَكَانَ يَسْعَى بِالنَّمِيمَةِ، وَأَمَّا أَحَدُهُمَا فَكَانَ لاَ يَسْتَتِرُ مِنْ بَوْلِهِ[9]

6.      Ibn Abbās radhiallahu anhu narrates that once Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam passed by two graves and said “Verily both of them are getting punished albeit not from a major sin.” Then he said “This one used to be a tale bearer and this one did not safeguard himself from his urine.”


Above are only a few Ahādith. There are numerous other narrations in the other books.[10]


Consensus of the Aslāf (pious predecessors)


Our illustrious, wise sincere predecessors also accepted, believed in and preached the reality of the punishment of the grave. Below are just a few quotes:


و نؤمن بعذاب القبر لمن كان له اهل. قال ابو حنيفة: من انكر عذاب القبر فهو من الطبقة الجهميه الهالكة.[11]

1.      “And we believe in the punishment of the Grave for the people who deserve it. Imam Abu Hanīfa said: Whosoever denies the punishment of the grave, then he is from the perishing Jahmiyyah group.”



و عذاب القبر للكافرين و لبعض عصاة المؤمنين[12]

2.      “And the punishment of the grave is for the disbelievers and for some of the disobedient believers.”



و ضغطة القبر و عذابه حق كاءن للكفار كلهم و لبعض عصاة المؤمنين حق جاءز[13]

3.      “And the constriction of the grave and the punishment of the grave for all of the disbelievers. And for some of the disobedient believers it is a true possibility.”


الإيمان بعذاب القبر وفتنته واجب. والتصديق به لازم[14]

4.      Imam Qurtubi states: “Belief in the punishment of the grave and its trials is obligatory and affirming it is incumbent.”



قال المروذي قَالَ: لنا أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عذاب القبر حق ما ينكره إلا ضال مضل[15]

5.      Murwadhi says: Abu Abdillah (Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal) told us: “The punishment of the grave is Haq and none deny it except a person who is deviated and one who deviates.”


The Ahādith in support of the punishment of the grave are mutawātir. [16]  Contrary to the belief of some who contend that there is no shar’ī basis for the punishment of the grave.


Imam al-Taftazani states in his commentary of al-Aqā’id al-Nasafiyya:


و بالجملة: الاحاديث في هذا المعنى و في كثير من احوال الآخرة متواترة المعنى و ان لم يبلغ احادها حد التواتر


 “In general the narrations on this subject (punishment of the grave) and on many of the states of the next world are mutawatir in meaning, although the individual narrations taken separately do not attain the rank of tawatur”

(Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazani on the creed of Najm al-Din al-Nasafi, P.127- Dāral Bayrūti)


Imam al-Suyuti (Allah have mercy on him) compiled seventy such narrations in his excellent book Sharh al-sudūr fi ahwāl al-mawtā wa al-qubūr. He says:


قد تَوَاتَرَتْ الْأَحَادِيث بذلك مُؤَكدَة من رِوَايَة أنس والبراء وَتَمِيم الدَّارِيّ وَبشير بن الْكَمَال وثوبان وَجَابِر بن عبد الله وَعبد الله بن رَوَاحَة وَعبادَة بن الصَّامِت وَحُذَيْفَة وضمرة بن حبيب وإبن عَبَّاس وإبن عمر وإبن مَسْعُود وَعُثْمَان بن عَفَّان وَعمر بن الْخطاب وَعَمْرو بن الْعَاصِ ومعاذ بن جبل وَأبي أُمَامَة وَأبي الدَّرْدَاء وَأبي رَافع وَأبي سعيد الْخُدْرِيّ وَأبي قَتَادَة وَأبي هُرَيْرَة وَأبي مُوسَى وَأَسْمَاء وَعَائِشَة رَضِي الله عَنْهُم أَجْمَعِينَ


The narrations with regards to the punishment of the grave have reached the level of certainty (tawātur). They have been reported by a group of Companions (Allah be pleased with them all)”,

(Pg.119. Dārul Madani)


The punishment of the grave has been so clearly proven that the the four main Fuqahā (Imam Abu-Hanifa, Shāfi, Ahmad, Mālik rahmatullahi alaihim), all the Muhaddithīn and Aslāf are all unanimous on the fact that the punishment of the grave is a reality and they all believe in it. These are the people who were given the true understanding of the Qurān and Ahādith.


And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best


Mawlana Saanwal ibn Muhammad,

Student Darul Iftaa


Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1] احْتَجَّ أَصْحَابُنَا بِهَذِهِ الْآيَةِ عَلَى إِثْبَاتِ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ قَالُوا الْآيَةُ تَقْتَضِي عَرْضَ النَّارِ عَلَيْهِمْ غُدُوًّا وَعَشِيًّا، وَلَيْسَ الْمُرَادُ مِنْهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لِأَنَّهُ قَالَ: وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ أَدْخِلُوا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَشَدَّ الْعَذابِ، وَلَيْسَ الْمُرَادُ مِنْهُ أَيْضًا الدُّنْيَا لِأَنَّ عَرْضَ النَّارِ عَلَيْهِمْ غُدُوًّا وَعَشِيًّا مَا كَانَ حَاصِلًا فِي الدُّنْيَا، فَثَبَتَ أَنَّ هَذَا الْعَرْضَ إِنَّمَا حَصَلَ بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ وَقَبْلَ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَذَلِكَ يَدُلُّ عَلَى إِثْبَاتِ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ فِي حَقِّ هؤلاء، وإذ ثَبَتَ فِي حَقِّهِمْ ثَبَتَ فِي حَقِّ غَيْرِهِمْ لِأَنَّهُ لَا قَائِلَ بِالْفَرْقِ) التفسير الكبير(


[2] وَهَذِهِ الْآيَةُ أَصْلٌ كَبِيرٌ فِي اسْتِدْلَالِ أَهْلِ السُّنَّةِ عَلَى عَذَابِ الْبَرْزَخِ في القبور وهي قوله تعالى: النَّارُ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَيْها غُدُوًّا وَعَشِيًّا (تفسير القرآن العظيم. ابن كثير)

وَقَوْلُهُ جَلَّ ذِكْرُهُ سَنُعَذِّبُهُمْ مرَّتَيْنِ وروى الطَّبَرِيّ وبن أَبِي حَاتِمٍ وَالطَّبَرَانِيُّ فِي الْأَوْسَطِ أَيْضًا مِنْ طَرِيقِ السُّدِّيِّ عَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ عَنِ بن عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ خَطَبَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ فَقَالَ اخْرُجْ يَا فُلَانُ فَإِنَّكَ مُنَافِقٌ فَذَكَرَ الْحَدِيثَ وَفِيهِ فَفَضَحَ اللَّهُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ فَهَذَا الْعَذَابُ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْعَذَابُ الثَّانِي عَذَابُ الْقَبْرِ وَرَوَيَا أَيْضًا مِنْ طَرِيقِ سَعِيدِ بْنِ أَبِي عَرُوبَةَ عَنْ قَتَادَةَ نَحْوُهُ وَمِنْ طَرِيقِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ ثَوْرٍ عَنْ مَعْمَرٍ عَنِ الْحسن سَنُعَذِّبُهُمْ مرَّتَيْنِ عَذَابُ الدُّنْيَا وَعَذَابُ الْقَبْرِ [3]

[4] مسند احمد/ مسند البزار/ مسند ابن الجعد/شعب الايمان/ صحيح ابن حبان

[5] سنن الترمذي

[6] سنن ابن ماجة

[7] صحيح البخاري/ السنن الصغرى للنسائي

[8] صحيح البخاري

[9] صحيح البخاري

[10]الروايات:  أخرج أَبُو نعيم فِي الْحِلْية عَن جَابر قَالَ قَالَ رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم من مَاتَ يَوْم الْجُمُعَة أَو لَيْلَة الْجُمُعَة أجِير من عَذَاب الْقَبْر وَجَاء يَوْم الْقِيَامَة عَلَيْهِ طَابع الشُّهَدَاء.

أخرج البُخَارِيّ عَن أبي هُرَيْرَة قَالَ كَانَ رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم يَدْعُو اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أعوذ بك من عَذَاب الْقَبْر.

        أخرج إِبْنِ أبي شيبَة والشيخان عَن عَائِشَة رَضِي الله عَنْهَا أَن النَّبِي صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم قَالَ إِن أهل الْقُبُور يُعَذبُونَ فِي قُبُورهم عذَابا تسمعه الْبَهَائِم

أخرج أَحْمد عَن عَائِشَة رَضِي الله عَنْهَا أَن رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم قَالَ يُرْسل على الْكَافِر حيتان وَاحِدَة من قبل رَأسه والآخرى من قبل رجلَيْهِ يقرضانه قرضا كلما فرغتا عادتا إِلَى يَوْم الْقِيَامَة

[11] شرح العققيدة الطحاوية. دار الكتب العلمية

[12] شرح عقاءد النسفيه. دار البيروتي

[13] Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, White Thread Press

[14] التذكرة بأحوال الموتى وأمور الآخرة. مكتبة دار المنهاج للنشر والتوزيع، الرياض

[15] طبقات الحنابلة. دار المعرفة

[16] المتواتر يفيد العلم الضروري، أي العلم اليقيني الذي يضطر الإنسان إلى التصديق به تصديقا جازما، كمن يشاهد الأمر بنفسه؛ فإنه لا يتردد في تصديقه، فكذلك الخبر المتواتر، لذلك كان المتواتر كله مقبولا، ولا حاجة إلى البحث عن أحوال رواته.

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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.