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What Will The Grave Be Like?



Reply Date

Jan 12, 2017


I had a discussion with my friend about punishment in the grave (adhab al-qabar). He quoted Surat Ya-Sin, the verse that says what means: {They will say who arose us from our peaceful sleep?} He says that if the dead receive punishment in their graves then how can they sleep in peace? If rewards or punishments are given in graves then what about the Day of Judgment? Is adhab al-qabar mentioned in the Quran?



Asalamu Alaikum Khan, 

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Regarding this verse:

{They will say: “Woe to us! Who has raised us up from our place of sleep?”} (Quran 36:52)

Ibn Kathir says:

This does not contradict the fact that they will be punished in their graves, because in comparison to what is to come afterwards, that will seem like a nap. Ubayy ibn Ka`b (may Allah be pleased with him), Mujahid, Al-Hasan, and Qatadah said, “They will sleep before the Resurrection.” Qatadah said, “That will be between the two trumpet blasts, they will say, ‘Who has raised us up from our place of sleep?’ When they say that, the believers will respond (as the ayah mentions). This was the view of more than one of the Salaf (early generation).”

Ibn Kathir has not mentioned the word “peaceful” in his interpretation of this ayah

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him-PBUH) has been quoted in many hadiths that inform us about what is in store for people in their graves.

He (PBUH) mentioned that “sleep is the brother of death”. This is an excellent way of looking at what we will experience in our graves.

Sleep may be restful and peaceful or it may be frightening and tormenting as in a nightmare. The grave we reside in after death will be similar.

It is understood among the scholars that the grave will either be a pleasant experience or it may be a frightening one, depending on our beliefs and deeds in this life. 

There are minor rewards in the grave in that, for the believer, it will be spacious and well lit. Our deeds in this life will appear to us in the form of a kind companion who will keep us company until the Day of Judgment.

We will be shown our place in Paradisein sha’ Allah (God Willing), through an opening in the side of the grave.

For those who were not believers or led a sinful life, their deeds will appear to them in the form of an ugly and mean companion who beats and torments them until the Day of Judgment.

The grave will be dark and constricting, and the punishments will be minor compared to what is waiting for them in the Hellfire, their place in which will be shown to them through an opening in their grave. 

The real rewards and punishments will be reserved for Hellfire and Paradise. The Day of Judgment is a fixed point in time in the future, the exact date of which is known only to Allah.

Those who have gone to their graves before us are presently waiting in their graves for that Day.

The grave is really a resting place, either comfortable or not, until that time. We can seek Allah’s help by following the Prophet’s (PBUH) example. He informed his followers that they can make dua (supplications) just before finishing their prayers by saying: 

O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the punishment of the Hellfire, and from the torment of the grave, and from the trials of life and death and from the trials of the Dajjal (False Messiah)

I hope this helps you with your question. Thank you and please keep in touch. 

Walaikum Asalam

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

I’m Scared of Death & The Last Day 

What is Al-Barzakh?

Happiness and Misery in the Grave

About Waleed Najmeddine

Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine is a Canadian born Muslim and public school administrator. He is an active member of the Muslim community and enjoys educating Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam. He currently holds a Master of Education degree in leadership and school improvement.

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