Punishment of the Grave as Mentioned in the Qur’an: Ibn al-Qayyim

Some people promote doubts about the punishment of the grave – ‘adhab al-qabr – by arguing that it is not mentioned in the Qur’an. Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, addressed this doubt while drawing on the writing of past scholar Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah:

سؤال : هل ذكر عذاب القبر في القرآن الكريم؟ ـ

Question: Is the punishment of the grave mentioned in the Qur’an?

الجواب : نعم ذكر عذاب القبر في القرآن الكريم، بالإشارة إليه بما لا يستقيم المعنى إلا بأنه مقصود، وذكر بدلالة الالتزام ؛ ـ

Response: Yes, the punishment of the grave is mentioned in the Qur’an. This is done through indirect mentions where it is the only plausible meaning, as well by the logical implications of the Qur’an.

أمّا دلالة الالتزام فإن الله أوجب تصديق الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم فيما أخبر، وطاعته فيما أمر. واجتناب ما نهى عنه وزجر، وقد أخبرنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بعذاب القبر، وحذرنا منه، وأمرنا بالاستعاذة منه، والأحاديث بهذا المعنى متواترة تواتراً معنوياً، تكذيبها تكذيب لأمر قطعي يقيني، وعدم تصديق ذلك واتباعه تكذيب لدلالة اللزوم التي دل عليها القرآن.ـ

As for the logical implications, Allah has commanded us to affirm what the Prophet has told us and to obey him in what he has commanded us. He has also commanded us to avoid what the Prophet has forbidden and warned against. And the Prophet has informed us of the punishment of the grave and warned us of it, as well as commanding us to seek refuge from it. The hadith narrations conveying these messages are massively numerous, undeniably affirming these meanings. To deny them is to deny a matter that is certain beyond doubt. Refusing to affirm and follow these narrations effectively means denying the logical implications of the Qur’an.

أما ما جاء بالإشارة إلى عذاب القبر في القرآن ، فقد ذكره السلف الصالح رضوان الله عليهم.ـ

As for the indirect mentions of the punishment of the grave in the Qur’an, then pious predecessors have mentioned these.

قال ابن القيم رحمه الله في كتابه: (مفتاح دار السعادة ومنشور ولاية العلم والإرادة 1/ 43): “وَقَوله تَعَالَى: ﴿ فَإِن لَهُ معيشة ضنكا﴾ فَسرهَا غير وَاحِد من السّلف بِعَذَاب الْقَبْر، وَجعلُوا هَذِه الآية اُحْدُ الأدلة الدَّالَّة على عَذَاب الْقَبْر، وَلِهَذَا قَالَ: ﴿ونحشره يَوْم الْقِيَامَة اعمى قَالَ رب لم حشرتني اعمى وَقد كنت بَصيرًا قَالَ كَذَلِك اتتك آيَاتنَا فنسيتها وَكَذَلِكَ الْيَوْم تنسى﴾ أَي تتْرك فِي الْعَذَاب كما تركت الْعَمَل بِآيَاتِنَا فَذكر عَذَاب البرزخ وَعَذَاب دَار البوار. ـ

In his book Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah (volume 1, page 43), ibn al-Qayyim wrote:

Regarding Allah’s statement:

فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا

… he will have a depressed life … [20:124]

More than one of the salaf have explained this to mean the punishment of the grave – ‘adhab al-qabr – and consider this ayah to be one of the proofs of the punishment of the grave. That is why Allah said:

 وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَىٰ * قَالَ رَبِّ لِمَ حَشَرْتَنِي أَعْمَىٰ وَقَدْ كُنتُ بَصِيرًا * قَالَ كَذَٰلِكَ أَتَتْكَ آيَاتُنَا فَنَسِيتَهَا ۖ وَكَذَٰلِكَ الْيَوْمَ تُنسَىٰ

… and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind. * He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was once seeing?” * Allah will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus on this Day will you be forgotten.” [20:124-125]

i.e. you will be left in this punishment just as you left off acting in accordance with our ayaat. So Allah here mentioned both the punishment of the barzakh and the punishment of the everlasting destruction.

ونظيره قَوْله تَعَالَى فِي حق آل فِرْعَوْن: ﴿النَّار يعرضون عَلَيْهَا غدوا وعشيا﴾، فَهَذَا فِي البرزخ ﴿وَيَوْم تقوم السَّاعَة ادخُلُوا آل فِرْعَوْن اشد الْعَذَاب﴾ فَهَذَا فِي الْقِيَامَة الْكُبْرَى. ـ

Another similar ayah is Allah’s statement regarding the followers of Fir’awn:

النَّارُ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَيْهَا غُدُوًّا وَعَشِيًّا

The fire – they are exposed to it morning and evening … [40:46]

That is in the barzakh

وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ أَدْخِلُوا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَشَدَّ الْعَذَابِ

… and on the day that the Hour is established, “Make the followers of Fir’awn enter the harshest punishment.” [40:46]

That is on the Day of Resurrection.

وَنَظِيره قَوْله تَعَالَى: ﴿وَلَو ترى إِذْ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي غَمَرَات الْمَوْت وَالْمَلَائِكَة باسطوا ايديهم اخْرُجُوا أنفسكم الْيَوْم تُجْزونَ عَذَاب الْهون بِمَا كُنْتُم تَقولُونَ على الله غير الْحق وكنتم عَن آيَاته تستكبرون﴾ فَقَوْل الْمَلَائِكَة : ﴿الْيَوْم تُجْزونَ عَذَاب الْهون﴾ المُرَاد بِهِ عَذَاب البرزخ الَّذِي أَوله يَوْم الْقَبْض وَالْمَوْت. ـ

Another similar ayah is Allah’s statement:

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

And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the overwhelming pangs of death while the angels extend their hands, “Discharge your souls! Today you will be awarded the punishment of humiliation for what you used to say against Allah other than the truth and that you were, toward His verses, being arrogant.” [6:93]

So the angels’ statement:

الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذَابَ الْهُونِ

Today you will be awarded the punishment of humiliation

is referring to the punishment of the barzakh which will begin on the day that their souls are taken in death.

وَنَظِيره قَوْله تَعَالَى : ﴿وَلَو ترى إِذْ يتوفى الَّذين كفرُوا الْمَلَائِكَة يضْربونَ وُجُوههم وأدبارهم وذوقوا عَذَاب الْحَرِيق﴾ فَهَذِهِ الإذاقة هِيَ فِي البرزخ وأولها حِين الْوَفَاة فَإِنَّهُ مَعْطُوف على قَوْله : ﴿يضْربُونَ وُجُوههم وأدبارهم﴾ وَهُوَ من القَوْل الْمَحْذُوف مقوله لدلَالَة الْكَلَام عَلَيْهِ كنظائره، وَكِلَاهُمَا وَاقع وَقت الْوَفَاة . ـ

Another similar ayah is Allah’s statement:

وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذْ يَتَوَفَّى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۙ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ وَذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ

And if you could but see when the angels take the souls of those who disbelieved. They are striking their faces and their backs and, “Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire.” [8:50]

This tasting of the punishment is in the barzakh, beginning from the time of their passing away, for this follows directly from His statement:

يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ

They are striking their faces and their backs [8:50]

and the phrase, “Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire” is a command given to them. This was also the case in the previous ayah, and it both cases this is clear from the context even though it is not explicitly stated, and in both cases the punishment mentioned takes place at the time of death.

 وَفِي الصَّحِيح عَن الْبَراء بن عَازِب رضى الله عَنهُ فِي قَوْله تَعَالَى: ﴿يثبت الله الَّذين امنوا بالْقَوْل الثَّابِت فِي الْحَيَاة الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الآخرة﴾ قَالَ : نزلت فِي عَذَاب الْقَبْر. والاحاديث فِي عَذَاب الْقَبْر تكَاد تبلغ حد التَّوَاتُر”اهـ

And there is an authentic hadith that al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Azib commented on Allah’s statement:

يُثَبِّتُ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ

Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. [14:27]

by saying, “This is referring to the punishment of the grave.”

And the hadith narrations about the punishment of the grave practically reach the level of mutawatir mass transmission.

[End quote from ibn al-Qayyim]

[As found on the sheikh’s Facebook page here]

See also: Responding to Doubts About the End of the Hellfire: Imam al-Shinqitee

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