Where Does the Soul Go After Death?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org

Answered by Shaykh Omar Subedar

Question:

Where does one’s soul go after death? Is it taken away right away then returned when the body is in the grave? I heard that the dead person can feel those who are performing ghusl on them and that the deceased person can hear the footsteps walking away from his grave after burial. Where does the soul go at each stage?

Answer:

The events a soul experiences from death onwards have been thoroughly explained in a ḥadīth reported by Barā ibn Al `Ᾱazib. He relates, “We went out with Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم for a funeral. Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم sat by the grave and we sat around him as if there were birds on our heads. The recess [of the grave] was being prepared and he expressed thrice, “I seek Allāh’s refuge from the punishment of the grave.”

He then explained, “When a believer is at the point of heading towards the hereafter and being severed from [this] world, angels descend upon him who seem to have the sun [shining] their faces. Each one of them has a shroud and some perfume and they sit by him as far as the eye can see. When his soul exits [his body] every angel between the skies and the earth along with the angels residing in the sky pray for him. The gateways of the skies are opened up for him and every gatekeeper calls upon Allāh to have his soul ascend before them. When his soul is made to ascend the angels express, “O Lord, this is so and so servant of yours.”

Allāh replies, “Return him [to his body] for I have promised them that it is from [the earth] that I have created them, I shall return them in it and take them out from it once again.”

The deceased can hear the beats of his companions’ shoes when they disperse [from his grave upon burying him]. He is then approached by an individual who asks, “Who is your lord, what is your religion and who is your prophet?”

He subsequently replies, “My lord is Allāh, my religion is Islam and my prophet is Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم.”

This is the final test that is presented to a believer. It is about this period that Allāh states,

Allāh keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter.” [Qur’ān 14:27]

Hence he declares, “My lord is Allāh, my religion is Islam and my prophet is Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم.”

The individual replies to him, “You have spoken the truth.”

Thereafter a person with a beautiful face, pleasant fragrance and attractive clothes comes to him and says, “Rejoice over the honour [that has been granted to you] by Allāh and [over] the everlasting bounties.”

He replies, “And you as well. May Allāh provide you with the glad tidings of goodness. Who are you?”

The individual explains, “I am your good deeds. By Allāh, you were haste in Allāh’s obedience and slow in Allāh’s disobedience. May Allāh reward you well.”

A door of Paradise and a door of the Fire [of Hell] are then opened for him. He is then told, “This would have been your abode had you disobeyed Allāh. Allāh has replaced it with this for you.”

When he witnesses what is found in Paradise he exclaims, “O my lord, hasten the establishment of the [final] hour so that I may go to my family and wealth.”

“Be calm,” he is told.

When the disbeliever is at the point of becoming disconnected with the world and begins heading to the hereafter, harsh and coarse angels descend upon him. They then pull his soul out just as a skewer with many branches pulls out wet fleece. His soul is extracted with [his] veins. Every angel between the skies and the earth along with the angels residing in the sky, curse him. The gateways to the skies are closed [for him]. Every gatekeeper calls upon Allāh to not let his soul ascend before them. When his soul ascends the angels report, “O Lord, this is so and so servant of yours.”

Allāh replies, “Return him [to his body] for I have promised them that it is from [the earth] that I have created them, I shall return them in it and take them out from it once again.”

The deceased can hear the beats of his companions’ shoes when they disperse [from his grave upon burying him]. He is then approached by an individual who asks, “Who is your lord, what is your religion and who is your prophet?”

He responds, “I do not know.”

The individual then says, “You did not know nor did you recite.”

Thereafter a person with an ugly face, hideous clothes and a foul smell comes to him and expresses, “Receive glad tidings of humiliation [that has been granted to you] by Allāh and an eternal punishment.”

He replies, “And you as well. May Allāh provide you with the glad tidings of evil. Who are you?”

He explains, “I am your evil deeds. You were slow in Allāh’s obedience and haste in Allāh’s disobedience. May Allāh compensate you with evil.”

Thereafter a blind, deaf and dumb angel is sent to him with such a sledgehammer that if he were to strike a mountain with it, it would be reduced to dust. He then strikes him until he becomes dust. Allāh then revives him as he was before and the angel then strikes him once again. As a result he screeches to the extent that everything can hear him with the exception of mankind and jinn. Subsequently a door of the Fire [of Hell] is opened for him and a cradle of fire is prepared for him.” [Musnad Aḥmad: 18521]

May Allāh make the stages of the hereafter easy and pleasant for us all. Ᾱmīn

And Allah Knows Best

 

 

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