Phases after death and before the Hour
Fatwa No: 17811

Question

What are the phases that people go through after their death until the Hour comes, when they are called for reckoning and remain standing for fifty- thousand years?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him described perfectly the phases that a person goes through after his death and until the Hour. We shall mention in brief, and with some adaptation, some of what he said:

Firstly, when he dies, a person goes through the trial of the grave. Two black and blue angels come and ask the person about their Lord, religion and Prophet. As for the believer, he will manage to pass through this phase because Allaah keeps him firm and inspires him with the correct answers, unlike the disbeliever. After that, the grave will either be a garden of Paradise or a pit of Hell until the Day of Judgment. On that day, the Horn is blown for the second time and people are resurrected and raised from their graves, barefoot, naked and uncircumcised.

The sun will be low above peoples’ heads and they will sink into their sweat up to their mouths. The Scale then will be placed to weigh their deeds: those whose scales of good deeds are heavy will be successful, whereas those whose scales are light will be losers. After that, the records will be distributed and people will take them either with their right or left hands.

Then the reckoning will start.

Among the phases of the Day of Judgment is that of the Hawdh (Basin) of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Whoever takes a sip of its water will never be thirsty again. Then, there is the phase of the Siraat (bridge over Hell), which will be erected over Hell, and the way people cross it will depend on their deeds. Some of them will cross it safely, whereas others will not. After passing this phase people will stand on another Siraat, which is the bridge between Hell and Paradise for settling grievances. Once people are purged of guilt, they will be admitted into Paradise.

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, will be the first to go through the gates of Paradise and the first nation admitted will be his nation.

With regards to what you mentioned about people standing for fifty-thousand years, you may be referring here to the verse (which means): {The angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years.}[Quran 70:4] In some of the books of Tafseer (Quranic exegesis), it was mentioned that the “Day” in this verse refers to the Day of Judgment. For disbelievers, this day will be an extremely long day lasting for fifty-thousand years. Conversely, it will be a short day for believers, even shorter than the time they take to perform an obligatory prayer. 

This day was mentioned in the Sunnah in a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him where the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, mentioned that whoever refrains from paying the Zakah (obligatory charity) due on his money will have his money burnt in Hell. At the end of the Hadeeth, he mentioned that Allaah the Almighty will judge between his slaves on a day that will last for fifty-thousand years. [Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

And Allaah Knows best.

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