Is the questioning of the grave only for this Ummah or for everybody?
Fatwa No: 23100

  • Fatwa Date:19-5-2011 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 16, 1432
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Question

If a dead person is asked about their Lord, religion and the Messenger that was sent to him in the grave, how were the dead questioned before Islam?

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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

Scholars disagree about whether the questioning in the grave is only for this Ummah (Muslim nation), or for previous nations as well:

1- Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that the questioning of the grave is for this Ummah and for previous nations. This is the dominant opinion according to Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.

2- Abu ‘Abd-Allaah At-Tirmithi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that the questioning of the grave is only for this Ummah.

3- Other scholars preferred not to consider this issue at all, such as Abu ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd-Al-Barr  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.

4- Ibn Al-Qayyim reported that Abu ‘Abd-Allaah At-Tirmithi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them said that the questioning of the grave is only meant for this Ummah, because it was customary that when the previous nations refused to believe in the Messengers that were sent to them, the Messengers gave up on the nations and then Allaah The Almighty punished them.  However, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was sent as a mercy to the whole world, as Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds} [Quran 21:107].

Allaah The Almighty protected this nation from punishment, and Jihaad (armed struggle) was made lawful to give a chance to those who are obstinate to embrace Islam, initially because of the fear of its power and might, followed by the advent of true faith.

Afterwards, hypocrisy appeared and the hypocrites overtly displayed faith to conceal Kufr (disbelief) so that their reality was not known to Muslims. However, when they died Allaah The Almighty sent them two angels in their graves to uncover the Kufr (disbelief) that they had concealed through the questioning of the grave.  Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

  • {[This is] so that Allaah may distinguish the wicked from the good} [Quran 8:37]
  • {Allaah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in the worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.} [Quran 14:27]

However, Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him   commented that this does not prove that the questioning of the grave is only for this Ummah. Rather, it appears that all this happened to all the other Prophets and their nations. They were punished in their graves after being asked and all their excuses were refuted, just as they will be punished in the Hereafter after having had all their excuses, once again, refuted.

In sum, we must believe in the questioning of the grave as described by the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the dominant opinion is that this questioning is for this Ummah, as well as for previous nations.

Allaah Knows best.

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