Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. Can you explain the rewards of the grave?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Rewards of the grave are among the unseen matters where their existence mentioned in reliable, authentic and mutawatir sayings. (Refer: Kubra al-Yaqiniyyat al-Kawniyyah, pg. 394). Among them are:
- The grave is brightly lit and widened
In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
إِذَا قُبِرَ الْمَيِّتُ - أَوْ قَالَ أَحَدُكُمْ أَتَاهُ مَلَكَانِ أَسْوَدَانِ أَزْرَقَانِ يُقَالُ لأَحَدِهِمَا الْمُنْكَرُ وَالآخَرُ النَّكِيرُ فَيَقُولاَنِ مَا كُنْتَ تَقُولُ فِي هَذَا الرَّجُلِ فَيَقُولُ مَا كَانَ يَقُولُ هُوَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولُهُ أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ . فَيَقُولاَنِ قَدْ كُنَّا نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُولُ هَذَا . ثُمَّ يُفْسَحُ لَهُ فِي قَبْرِهِ سَبْعُونَ ذِرَاعًا فِي سَبْعِينَ ثُمَّ يُنَوَّرُ لَهُ فِيهِ ثُمَّ يُقَالُ لَهُ نَمْ
"When the deceased - or he said when one of you - is buried, two angels, black and blue (eyed_ come to him. One of them is called Al-Munkar, and the other An-Nakir. They say: 'What did you used to say about this man?' So he says what he was saying (before death) 'He is Allah's slave and His Messenger. I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger.' So they say: 'We knew that you would say this.' Then his grave is expanded to seventy by seventy cubits, then it is illuminated for him. Then it is said to him: 'Sleep.'
Jami` at-Tirmidhi (1071) and Ibn Hibban (3117)
Syeikh al-Mubarakfuri stated: Then, the phrase ‘then his grave is expanded’ used the sighah majhul (passive form) which indicates that the grave is expanded for 70x70 cubit (hasta in Malay language) in terms of length and width. The same is stated by al-Tibi: The grave is expanded by 70 cubits and it is stated by words as 70 cubits to indicate mubalaghah (hyperbole) and its super wideness. Then, ‘it is illuminated’ means Allah illuminate the grave with light. According to the narration of Ibn Hibban, it is illuminated as bright as the brightest full moon. (Refer: Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, 4/156)
- Every morning and evening, he will be shown his place in Paradise during his time in the grave
In a hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Umar R.Anhuma, the Prophet PBUH said:
إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ إِذَا مَاتَ عُرِضَ عَلَيْهِ مَقْعَدُهُ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ، إِنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ فَمِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ، فَيُقَالُ هَذَا مَقْعَدُكَ حَتَّى يَبْعَثَكَ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ
"When anyone of you dies, he is shown his place both in the morning and in the evening. If he is one of the people of Paradise; he is shown his place in it, and if he is from the people of the Hell-Fire; he is shown his place there-in. Then it is said to him, 'This is your place till Allah resurrect you on the Day of Resurrection."
Sahih al-Bukhari (1379) and Sahih Muslim (2866)
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar stated: Ibn al-Tin said: The probability of morning and evening means he is shown once in the morning and once in the evening. Whereas, ‘till Allah resurrect you on the Day of Resurrection’ means the reward continues to the Day of Resurrection. Al-Qurtubi said: This may be applicable only for the ruh (soul) or for a part of the body. He added: What is meant by morning and evening is both times. However, there is neither morning nor evening for a deceased. This is clear upon the rights of believers and non-believers. (Refer: Fath al-Bari, 3/243)
- His grave will be scented with fragrances from Paradise and the grave is widened as far as one could see
In a lengthy hadith narrated by al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib RA, he said: We were together with the Prophet PBUH accompanying the bier of a man of the Ansar. When we reached his grave, it was not yet dug. So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sat down and we also sat down around him as if birds were over our heads. He had in his hand a stick with which he was scratching the ground.
وَيَأْتِيهِ مَلَكَانِ فَيُجْلِسَانِهِ فَيَقُولاَنِ لَهُ : مَنْ رَبُّكَ فَيَقُولُ : رَبِّيَ اللَّهُ . فَيَقُولاَنِ لَهُ : مَا دِينُكَ فَيَقُولُ : دِينِي الإِسْلاَمُ . فَيَقُولاَنِ لَهُ : مَا هَذَا الرَّجُلُ الَّذِي بُعِثَ فِيكُمْ قَالَ فَيَقُولُ : هُوَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم . فَيَقُولاَنِ : وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ فَيَقُولُ : قَرَأْتُ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ فَآمَنْتُ بِهِ وَصَدَّقْتُ " . زَادَ فِي حَدِيثِ جَرِيرٍ : " فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ﴿يُثَبِّتُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا﴾" . الآيَةَ . ثُمَّ اتَّفَقَا قَالَ : " فَيُنَادِي مُنَادٍ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ : أَنْ قَدْ صَدَقَ عَبْدِي فَأَفْرِشُوهُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَافْتَحُوا لَهُ بَابًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَأَلْبِسُوهُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ " . قَالَ : " فَيَأْتِيهِ مِنْ رَوْحِهَا وَطِيبِهَا " . قَالَ : " وَيُفْتَحُ لَهُ فِيهَا مَدَّ بَصَرِهِ
Two angels will come to him, make him sit up and ask him: Who is your Lord? He will reply: My Lord is Allah. They will ask him: What is your religion? He will reply: My religion is Islam. They will ask him: What is your opinion about the man who was sent on a mission among you? He will reply: He is the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). They will ask: Who made you aware of this? He will reply: I read Allah's Book, believed in it, and considered it true; which is verified by Allah's words: "Allah's Book, believed in it, and considered it true, which is verified by Allah's words: "Allah establishes those who believe with the word that stands firm in this world and the next."
Then a crier will call from Heaven: My servant has spoken the truth, so spread a bed for him from Paradise, clothe him from Paradise, and open a door for him into Paradise. So some of its air and perfume will come to him, and a space will be made for him as far as the eye can see.
Sunan Abi Dawud (4753) and Musnad Ahmad (4/287)
This is part of the rewards of the grave which is a garden from the gardens of Paradise as mentioned in a hadith:
إِنَّمَا الْقَبْرُ رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ أَوْ حُفْرَةٌ مِنْ حُفَرِ النَّارِ
'The grave is but a garden from the gardens of Paradise, or a pit from the pits of the Fire.'
Jami’ at-Tirmizi (2460). Imam al-Tirmizi said: This hadith is gharib. I never heard of this except from this narration. Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said: The sanad is very weak (dhaif). This is because Athiyyah ibn Sa’d al-‘Aufi al-Qisi is dhaif (weak) and is labeled as weak (dhaif) by al-Nasai’e, Abu Zur’ah, al-Saji and others. (Refer: al-Tahzib, 7/200-202)
We would like to highlight here that the issue of rewards and punishments of the grave are among the unseen matters (ghaibiyyat) which surely cannot be analogically deduced (qiyas) merely by worldly order through our bare eyes or any physical senses because it is another world known as al-barzakh which attributes are different with the dunya (our physical world).
May Allah bless us with rewards of the grave which would lead us to Paradise. Ameen. We end this with a du’a:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّا نَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّمَ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ
‘O Allah, we seek refuge with You from the torment of Hell, and I seek refuge with You from the torment of the grave, and I seek refuge with You from the tribulation of Al-Masihid-Dajjal, and I seek refuge with You from the trials of life and death’