IRSYAD AL-HADITH SERIES 290: WHAT DOES THE SQUEEZING OF THE GRAVE MEAN?

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. I want to ask regarding the squeezing of the grave. Is it true that there will be the squeezing of the grave when we are buried? Is it considered as the punishment of the grave? Hope for an explanation.

 

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt wbt,

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.

The squeezing of the grave is the first thing that every human will experience when he is buried in his grave. There are clear hadiths that explained the squeezing of the grave. Among them are:

  • Imam Ahmad said: Yahya [1] told us: From Syu’bah: Sa’ad bin Ibrahim narrated to us. Ibnu Jaafar also told us: Syu’bah has narrated to us from Sa’ad bin Ibrahim from Nafi’. Ibnu Jaafar said: from a person from Aisyah. The Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ لِلْقَبْرِ ضَغْطَةً وَلَوْ كَانَ أَحَدٌ نَاجِيًا مِنْهَا نَجَا مِنْهَا سَعْدُ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ

“Indeed, there is the squeeze of the grave. If anyone could be saved from the squeeze surely, it would be Sa’ad bin Muaz.”

Musnad Imam Ahmad (24283) in Musnad

Al-Hafiz al-Iraqi states that the sanad brought by Imam Ahmad is jayyid. Refer al-Mughni ‘An Hamli al-Asfar fi al-Asfar (6/2655).

The words of the hadith are narrated through several paths of narrations (sanad). All of the narrations are focused to Syu’bah.

Al-Tahawi in Syarh Musykil included the sanad for the hadith as the following:

Ibrahim bin Marzuq told us. Wahb bin Jairi narrated to us: Syu’bah told us: From Sa’ad bin Ibrahim from Nafi’ from Ummul Mukminin Aisyah, indeed, the Prophet PBUH said: …

Al-Tahawi further adds: “Thus, is the narration of Ibnu Marzuq to us. Without any narrator between Nafi’ and Ummul Mukminin Aisyah.” Refer Syarh Musyil al-Athar (1/248)

In the sanad brought by Imam Ahmad, there is a narrator named Muhammad bin Jaafar. He is a thiqah (trustworthy) narrator who narrates the hadith from Syu’bah. However, in the sanad he did not explain who narrated it from Aisyah (Mubham). Nonetheless, in several places, the unclear name is explained by several hadith scholars such as al-Tahawi and al-Baihaqi. Among the sanad brought by Imam al-Baihaqi to explain the mubham narrator are:

  • Abu Ali Hussin bin Muhammad al-Razubari told us: Abu Bakar Muhammad bin Hamawaih told us: Jaafar bin Muhammad al-Ghalaini told us: Adam bin Abi Iyas told us: Syu’bah told us: from Sa’ad bin Ibrahim: Nafi’ Maula Abdullah bin Umar told us from Safiah the wife of Ibnu Umar from Aisyah R.Anha, she said: The Prophet PBUH said: …”
  • “Abu al-Hassan Ali bin Ahmad bin Umar al-Muqri told us in Baghdad: Ahmad bin Sulaiman al-Najjad told us: Abdul Malik bin Muhammad told us: Abu Aisyah told us: Syu’bah told us from Sa’ad bin Ibrahim from Nafi’ from Safiah the wife of Ibnu Umar from Aisyah R.Anha, indeed, the Prophet PBUH said: …”

In short, Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arnaouth evaluated the hadith as sahih.

  • At the time when Sa’ad bin Mu’az passes away, the Prophet PBUH said:

هَذَا الَّذِي تَحَرَّكَ لَهُ الْعَرْشُ وَفُتِحَتْ لَهُ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَشَهِدَهُ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفًا مِنْ الْمَلَائِكَةِ لَقَدْ ضُمَّ ضَمَّةً ثُمَّ فُرِّجَ عَنْهُ

“This is the one at whose death the Throne shook, the gates of heaven were opened of him and seventy thousand angels attended his funeral. It (the grave) squeezed him once then released him."

Sunan al-Nasaie (2054) in Sunan al-Kubra

The hadith is narrated by Imam al-Nasaie with the following sanad. He said:

“Ishak bin Ibrahim told us. He said: ‘Amru bin Muhammad told us. He said: Ibnu Idris told us from Ubaidullah from Nafi’ from Ibnu Umar from the Prophet PBUH…”

Ibnu Idris in the sanad is Abdullah bin Idris. Ali bin al-Madini stated that he is an expert in hadith from his father. Refer Tahzib al-Tahzib (4/301)

Amru bin Muhammad al-‘Anqazi al-Quraisy is a thiqah narrator. Imam Ahmad and al-Nasaie also stated that he is thiqah. He is one of the narrators of Imam Muslim. Refer Tahzib al-Tahzib( 3/302)

Simply put, the sanad is sahih according to most scholars. It is also narrated in other narrations. Among them is included by al-Tahawi:

Fahd told us. Abu Hizaifah told us. Sufian told us from Sa’ad from Nafi’ from Ibnu Umar. He said: The Prophet PBUH said…

Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arnaut evaluates the sanad for this hadith is sahih.

Thus, we state that the hadiths are sahih. And it is clear that everyone buried in the grave will experience the squeeze of the grave. Not a single person will escape it.

The Meaning of the Squeeze of the Grave

On the other hand, what does the squeeze of the grave mean? Is it one of the punishments of the grave? To understand what does the squeeze of the grave mean, it is best if we refer to the explanations of scholars.

  • Al-Munawi cited from al-Hakim. He said:

“The soil longs for a person. When it finds a believer inside it, it will squeeze the believer with the squeeze of blessing suitable with the situation the believer came to it. If the person that came to it is a good person, then it will quickly release him.” Refer Faidh al-Qadir (5/332)

  • It is said that the squeeze is of longing and not due to anger. The prophets and messengers are excluded from this squeeze. This is the opinion of al-Munawi in Faidh al-Qadir.
  • Al-Sindi cited an interesting opinion of al-Nasafi. He said:

“The squeeze of the grave is akin to their origin. The soil is considered as a mother where humans are created from it. Which will leave for a long period of time. When they are returned, the soil will squeeze them like the embrace of a mother who had lost her child for a long time and the child is returned to her. If the person is an obedient servant to Allah SWT, then the soil will squeeze him softly. For those who commit sins, then the soil will squeeze them with full of anger.” Refer Hasyiah al-Sindi ‘ala al-Nasaie(4/97).

Then, it can be understood from the statement of al-Nasafi that the squeeze of the grave happens to everyone. The difference is the way the person is squeezed, which is in accordance with the person who enters it. This is also the opinion presented by Imam al-Sayuti in his commentary on Sunan al-Nasaie.

  • A true believer will only be squeezed briefly and will be released quickly. A believer who commits sins will be squeezed for a long time. While the disbelievers will always be squeezed. Refer Faidh al-Qadir(2/167).
  • Syeikh Abdul Muhsin al-Abbad when asked whether the squeeze of the grave will be experienced by believers too or only experienced by the disbelievers? He answered that the squeeze of the grave that is experienced by the disbelievers is a horrible punishment that will break their bones. While for believers, they are released after being squeezed and their grave will be widened.
  • Imam al-Ramli was asked: Does it happen before or after the questions of the angels? He answered the question citing the statement of Abu Qasim al-Sa’di; none are exempted from the squeeze of the grave, regardless whether the person is obedient or otherwise. The difference for the disbelievers, they are always squeezed. While for Muslims they are squeezed as soon as they are buried, then they are quickly released. Refer Fatawa al-Ramli(6/33)

Thus, we understand that the squeeze of the grave is something that will be experienced by everyone that passes away and buried. This is according to sahih hadiths evaluated by hadith scholars. May the squeeze of the grave that we experience is not a punishment for us. Lastly, let us all increase our supplication by reciting the following dua:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَفِتْنَةِ الْمَمَاتِ

“O Allah, I seek Your refuge from the punishment of the grave and please protect me from the fitnah of the Messiah of Dajjal. I also seek Your refuge while I’m alive and after I die.”

Wallahua’lam.

Endnotes:

[1] Yahya meant here is Yahya Bin Said al-Qattan (w.198 H), Refer Siyar ‘alam al-Nubala (9/188)


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