Episode 14: Paradise, Hell and what Happens in the Grave
Paradise and Hell:
We believe in paradise and hell. Paradise is the abode of enjoyment which Allah, the Exalted, prepared for the righteous. No eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard of, and no human being has ever thought of the blessings that they will enjoy there: "No soul knows what comfort is kept hidden for them, as a reward for their deeds" (32:17). Hell is the abode of punishment that Allah has prepared for the unbelievers and the evildoers. The torture and horror in it cannot be imagined: "Surely, We have prepared for the evildoers a fire, whose pavilion encompasses them. If they call for help, they will be helped with water like molten copper which will scald their faces. How dreadful a drink and how evil a resting place!" (18:29).
• Both paradise and hell exist now and will never perish: "Whoever believes in Allah and does righteousness, He will admit him to gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever. Allah had indeed made for him an excellent provision" (65-11); "Certainly, Allah has cursed the unbelievers and prepared for them a blazing fire to dwell therein forever, they shall find neither protector nor helper. On the day when their faces are turned about in the fire they shall say: 'Would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger!"' (33: 64-6).
• We confirm paradise to whom it is confirmed in the Qur'an or the prophetic traditions either by name or description. Among those who are granted paradise and mentioned by name are Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, 'All and others who were specified by the Prophet, peace be upon him (Bukhari and Muslim). Among those whom we confirm to enter paradise because they fit the description are the faithful and the pious.
• We likewise confirm hell to whom it is confirmed in the Qur'an and the sayings of the Prophet, whether in name or description. Among those who are mentioned by name to be in hell are Abu Lahab, 'Amr Ibn Luhai al-Khuza'i, and others (Bukhari and Muslim). Confirmation of hell that is based on description includes every unbeliever, polytheist, or hypocrite.
What Happens in the Grave:
• We believe in the Trial of the Grave, which involves questioning the deceased person in his grave about his Lord, his religion, and his prophet. There "Allah confirms those who believe with a firm saying, in the present life and the hereafter" (14:27). The believer will say: "Allah is my Lord, Islam is my religion, and Muhammad is my prophet." The unbeliever or the hypocrite will say: "I do not know. I heard the people saying something and I said it."
• We believe in the comfort of the grave for the believers: "Those whose lives the angels take in state of purity, saying 'peace be on you; enter paradise for what you were doing' (16:32).
• We believe in the punishment of the grave for the transgressing unbelievers: "If you could only see when the evildoers are in the agonies of death and the angels are stretching out their hands, saying, 'Give up your souls! Today you shall be rewarded with the punishment of humiliation for what you used to say untrue about Allah, and for scornfully rejecting His signs"' (6:93). The sayings of the Prophet are numerous and well-known in this area. A Muslim must believe in all that is reported in the Qur'an and the prophetic traditions concerning the unseen matters. He should not contradict it by his worldly experience, because the affairs of the hereafter cannot be measured by the affairs of this life. The difference between them is very great. Allah is the source of help.