The Grave Mistake:Source: Al-Ibaanah Magazine, Issue No.2 – Rabi ul-Awwal 1416H / August 1995
Denying the Punishment of the Grave
Denying the Punishment of the Grave
From those early sects which denied eemaan (firm faith) in the Punishment of the Grave were the Khawaarij and a group from the Mu’tazilah.  The Mu’tazilah said, “Our scholars deny the Punishment of the Grave and its rewards.”  This is because they innovated a rule that only mutawaatir  ahaadeeth amount to knowledge, whereas the authentic aahaad  ahaadeeth do not. And this statement of theirs, that the aahaad ahaadeeth do not amount to knowledge means that such ahaadeeth – in their false opinion – are not free from the possibility of falsehood, nor error.
Due to this innovated principle, they denied those ahaadeeth affirming that the Punishment of the Grave in indeed a true fact, and that it will definitely occur for the disbelievers and some of the sinful ones from this Ummah – may Allaah protect us from it – since these ahaadeeth were to them of the aahaad category. So this false principle caused them to deny eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave – not holding it as part of the ’aqeedah (belief) which is in total opposition to that of the Salafus-Saalih (Righteous Predecessors) and the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah who followed them.
During the last few years, some of the innocent du’aat (callers to Islaam) have stumbled across the same innovated principle – that the authentic aahaad hadeeth does not amount to knowledge, and therefore cannot be taken as proof for matters of ’aqeedah – causing a great number of them to doubt and to reject that the Punishment of the Grave is indeed a true fact; and that it was part of the’aqeedah held fast to by our Salaf. The result is that discord – and it’s vile fruit – has raised it’s head again amongst some of the precious youth of this Ummah, encircling them just as a ring encircles the finger.
Imaam Abul-Madhaffar as-Sam’aanee  – rahimahullaah – said:
“If a narration is authentically reported from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) – and related by reliable narrators and scholars – and they report it in connected form – their latter people from their predecessors – back to the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), and it is accepted by the scholars, then it necessitates knowledge, where it leads to knowledge. This is the statement of the great majority of the People of Hadeeth, and those who are precise, and those who work to preserve the Sunnah. But this saying of theirs, that the aahaad narration does not amount to knowledge, and that it must be narrated in mutawaatir form in order to result in knowledge, then this is something innovated by the Qadariyyah and the Mu’tazilah. Their intention behind it was to reject the narrations. It (the principle) was seized from them, without understanding, by some scholars of Fiqh, those who did not have a firm footing in knowledge, nor realize what the intent of this saying was.”
THE DESIRED HOPE:
So this article will attempt to clarify – by the permission of Allaah – that havingeemaan in the Punishment of the Grave is an obligation upon all Muslims, and that it was indeed part of the ’aqeedah of our Salafus-Saalih, previously being denied only by a group of innovators. It is hoped that those who have erred from the way of the Salafus-Saalih – the way of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah – would re-assess their stance in light of the evidences presented, hoping that they will return to the truth. “For indeed the truth is cherished by the Believer, and in returning to it is nobility. Whereas remaining upon falsehood and defect is despicable.”  Remembering that, “the select and correct way is that which theSalafus-Saalih were upon – that being the truth.” 
EVIDENCES FROM THE PURE SUNNAH:
We shall – for the sake of brevity – consider the evidences from the pure Sunnah, and then look at the sayings of our Salafus-Saalih, and the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah who followed them – omitting the evidences from theQur‘aan and it’s explanation from the Companions and the Taabi’een.
From ’Aa‘ishah (radiyallaahu ’anhaa) who said that:
A Jewess came to her and mentioned the Punishment of the Grave, saying to her: May Allaah protect you from the Punishment of the Grave. So she asked the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) about it and he said, “Yes, there is Punishment in the Grave!” ’Aa‘ishah (radiyallaahu ’anhaa) said: After that, I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), except that he sought refuge from the Punishment of the Grave in every Prayer that he prayed. 
[ii] From Ibn ’Abbaas (radiyallaahu ’anhumaa) who said:
The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) once passed by two graves and said, “They are being punished, not for something great.” Then he said, “Rather one of them used to spread gossip and carry tales, whilst the other never protected himself from being soiled by his own urine.” Ibn ’Abbaas said: He then took a green leaf and spread it into two pieces and places each piece upon each grave, and then he said, “May their punishment become lightened until these two pieces dry.” 
[iii] From Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ’anhu) who said:
The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Indeed the dead are punished in their graves, and the animals hear them.” 
[iv] Haanee, the freed slave of ’Uthmaan, related:
Whenever ’Uthmaan (radiyallaahu ’anhu) stood at a grave he would weep until his beard became soaked in tears. It was said to him: Paradise and Hell are mentioned to you, and you do not weep, but you weep over this. So he said: Indeed the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Indeed the grave is the first stopping place for the Hereafter. So if he is saved therein, then what comes after that is easier than that. If he is not saved therefrom, then that which comes after is harder.” 
[v] From Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ’anhu) who said:
The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When one of you finishes the lasttashahhud (testimony of faith), he should seek refuge in Allaah from four things: From the Punishment of Hell, from the Punishment of the Grave, from the trials of life and death, and from the evil trials of the Maseehud-Dajjaal (Anti-Christ).” 
[vi] From Umm Khaalid Bint Khaalid (radiyallaahu ’anhaa) who said:
The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Seek the Refuge of Allaah from the Punishment of the Grave, since the Punishment of the Grave is haqq (a true fact).” 
THE STATEMENTS OF THE SALAF OF THIS UMMAH:
Now consider – O honourable reader – the statements of the Salaf of this Ummahwith respect to having ’aqeedah (firm belief) in the Punishment of the Grave.
 Sufyaan Ibn ’Uyaynah (d.197H) – rahimahullaah – said:
“The Sunnah is ten. Whosoever accepts them has completed the Sunnah, and whosoever abandons anything from them has abandoned the Sunnah: Affirmingal-Qadar (pre-destination), giving precedence to Aboo Bakr and ’Umar, the Pond in Paradise, Shafaa’ah (Intercession), the Scales, the Bridge over Hellfire, eemaan is statement and action, the Qur‘aan is the speech of Allaah, Punishment in the Grave, being raised-up on the Day of Judgement and not testifying that any Muslim will definitely be in Paradise or Hell.” 
 Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204H) – rahimahullaah – said:
“Indeed al-Qadar (pre-destination); both good and evil consequences are from Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic. Indeed the Punishment of the Grave is a true fact, the Resurrection is a true fact, the Accountability is a true fact, Paradise and Hellfire are true facts. Whatever else is related in the Sunnah and so mentioned by the scholars, and their followers throughout the lands of the Muslims is also true.” 
 Imaam Ahmad (d.241H) – rahimahullaah – said:
“From the essential Sunnah, which if a person leaves any one of its points – not accepting it and not having eemaan in it – then he will not be from amongst its people are: (he then mentions) eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave.”  He also said, “Punishment in the Grave is a true fact. The servant will be questioned about his Religion and his Lord. Munkar and Nakeer and Paradise and Hellfire are also true facts.”
 Aboo Daawood (d.275H) – rahimahullaah – said:
“Chapter: Questioning in the Grave and the Punishment of the Grave.’’ 
 Ibn Qutaybah (d.278H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘The People of Hadeeth are united upon the fact that whatever Allaah wills, happens, and whatever He does not will, does not happen; that He is the Creator of good and evil; and that the Qur‘aan is the Speech of Allaah, uncreated; that Allaah will be seen on the Day of Judgement, giving precedence to Aboo Bakr and ’Umar, upon eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave. They do not differ in need of these fundamentals. Whosoever opposes them in any of these matters, then they reject, hate, and declare such a one an innovator, and cut themselves off from him.’’ 
 Imaam at-Tahaawee (d.321H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘This is an explanation of the ’aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah upon the way of the scholars of this Religion; Aboo Haneefah an-Nu’maan Ibn Thaabit al-Koofee, Aboo Yoosuf Ya’qoob Ibn Ibraaheem al-Ansaaree, and Aboo ’Abdullaah Muhammad Ibnul-Hasan ash-Shaybaanee – may Allaah be pleased with them all – and the beliefs they held concerning the fundamentals of the Religion, and their’aqeedah concerning the Lord of the Worlds.’’ Up until he said, ‘‘We have eemaanin the Angel of Death who is charged with taking the souls of all the worlds; and in the Punishment of the Grave for those who deserve it.’’ 
 Abul-Hasan al-Ash’aree (d.324H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘The Mu’tazilah denied the Punishment of the Grave. It has been related by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) through many paths, and by his Companions (radiyallaahu ’anhum). Nothing has been related from a single one of them denying or negating this, to the point where there is ijmaa’ (consensus) from the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).’’  He also said, ‘‘There is consensus that the Punishment of the Grave is a true fact, and that the people will be tested and questioned in their graves. So may Allaah establish us upon that which He loves.’’ 
 Imaam al-Aajurree (d.360H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Chapter: Tasdeeq (affirmation) and eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave.’’ Here he brings many of the ahaadeeth related by al-Bukhaaree and Muslims and ends the chapter by saying, ‘‘So what is the condition of those who deny theseahaadeeth, except that they have deviated very far and are in a huge loss.’’ 
 Aboo Haatim – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Our chosen way is to follow the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), the Companions, the taabi’een, and all those who followed them in goodness; along with the abandonment of looking into the innovated matters, to hold fast to the way of Ahlul-Athar (People of Narrations), such as Aboo ’Abdullaah Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ishaaq Ibn Ibraaheem, Aboo ’Ubayd al-Qaasim Ibn Sallaam and ash-Shaafi’ee; to hold fast to the Book and the Sunnah upon the way of the Imaams who follow the narrations of the Salaf; adopting what was adopted by theAhlus-Sunnah from the various cities.’’ Up until his statement, ‘‘Faith increases and decreases, and we have eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave.’’ 
 Imaam al-Barbahaaree (d.329H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave, and Munkar and Nakeer.’’ 
 Al-Ismaa’eelee (d.371H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Know – may Allaah have mercy upon us and you – that the way of the Ahlul-Hadeeth, Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah is to affirm belief in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and to accept whatever is recorded in the Book of Allaah – the Most High – and whatever is authentically reported from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam),’’ up until he said, ‘‘Punishment in the Grave is a true fact.’’ 
 Al-Qayrawaanee (d.386H) – rahimahullaah – said:
Under the chapter, ‘‘What is related in the Sunnah about the ’aqeedah of the heart from the obligatory matters of the Religion. From this is eemaan in the heart, and pronouncing with the heart that Allaah is the only deity worthy of worship, none has the right to be worshipped except Him.’’ Up until he statement, ‘‘And the Punishment in the Grave is a true fact, and the Believers will be tested in their graves.’’ 
 Ibn Abee Zamneen (d.399H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Ahlus-Sunnah have eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave, may Allaah protect us and you from this.’’ 
 Imaam al-Laalikaa‘ee (d.418H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Chapter: A report of what is related from the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) with regards to the fact that when the Muslims are lowered into their graves, they will be questioned by Munkar and Nakeer, and that the Punishment in the Grave is a true fact, and eemaan in it is obligatory.’’ 
 Imaam al-Bayhaqee (d.458H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Chapter: eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave.’’ 
THE MEANING OF EEMAAN:
Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar (d.852H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Eemaan in the language means: tasdeeq: (attesting to the truth). In the Sharee’ah, it means: tasdeeq of what the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) brought from his Lord – and this much is agreed upon. Then there is difference. Is anything else a condition on top of that, such as stating this eemaan upon the tongue, as well as it being in the heart, or action upon what is attested to by what is ordered and leaving what is forbidden.’’ Up until where al-Haafidh said, ‘‘So theSalaf say, eemaan is ’aqeedah in the heart, statement of the tongue, and action of the limbs. They mean by this, that actions are a condition for its completeness. So from this comes their saying that it increases and decreases, as will follow. TheMurji’ah say, it is ’aqeedah and a statement upon the tongue only. TheKarraamiyyah say, it is the statement of the tongue only. And the Mu’tazilah say, it is action, statement and ’aqeedah. But the difference between the Mu’tazilah and the Salaf is that the Mu’tazilah make actions a condition for the correctness ofeemaan, whereas the Salaf make it a condition for its completeness. As for the second point, then the Salaf hold that it increases and decreases, whereas most of the people of kalaam (theological rhetoric) reject this by saying that if it is liable to decrease, then it is doubt.’’ 
Thus, the Salaf agreed that eemaan is ’aqeedah, statement, and action. So, whosoever denies ’aqeedah in the Punishment of the Grave, has likewise deniedeemaan in it. Since ’aqeedah in the heart is the foundation of eemaan – about which there is agreement from the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.
Imaam al-Baghawee (d.535H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘The Companions and the Taabi’een, and those who came after them from the scholars of the Sunnah are agreed that actions are a part of eemaan…and they say: Indeed eemaan is a statement, action and ’aqeedah. It increases with obedience, and decreases with disobedience.’’ 
Having understood this, the falsehood of those who claim to have eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave, whilst denying ’aqeedah in it, will become very clear. Since our Salafus-Saalih held that the root of eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave is to have ’aqeedah in it – so if there is no ’aqeedah in the Punishment of the Grave, then there is – by default – no eemaan in it as well!
THE GRAVE MISTAKE:
It is thus clear, that the Salaf and those who followed them were agreed that the Punishment in the Grave will definitely occur (for the disbelievers and some of the sinful ones from amongst the Muslims) and that it is obligatory to have eemaan in it, and to consider it as part of the Islaamic ’aqeedah – and no one whose saying is taken account of opposes them in that.
However, the founder of the modernist party Hizbut-Tahreer, like the Mu’tazilahbefore, also denied ’aqeedah in the Punishment of the Grave, explaining his position by saying:
‘‘Indeed from them (the aahaad ahaadeeth) are those which require an action, so it is acted upon. So from Aboo Hurayrah who said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘‘When any of you finishes the last tashahhud, he should seek refuge in Allaah from four things: from the Punishment of the Hellfire, from the Punishment of the Grave, from the trials of life and death, and from the evil trials of the Dajjaal.’’ And from ’Aa‘ishah: from the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), that he used to make supplication in the Prayer saying: ‘‘O Allaah! I seek refuge in You from the Punishment of the Grave, I seek refuge in You from the trials of the Maseehud-Dajjaal, I seek refuge in You from the trials of life and death. O Allaah! I seek refuge in You from debt and sin.’’ So these two ahaadeeth are aahaad narrations, and they contain the requirement of an action, i.e. to carry out this supplication after finishing the tashahhud. So it is recommended to make this supplication after finishing the tashahhud, and it is permissible to make tasdeeq (attest) of what is contained in them. However, what is haraam (prohibited) is to hold it with certainty – meaning: to have it as part of ones ’aqeedah – as long as it has only been reported in the aahaad hadeeth, adhannee (non-mutawaatir) proof. However, if it occurs in mutawaatir form, then it is obligatory to make it part of ones ’aqeedah.’’ 
This saying contains a number of short-comings:
Differentiating between the aahaad and mutawaatir ahaadeeth in matters of’aqeedah is an innovation of the Qadariyyah and the Mu’tazilah – as has already been explained.
[ii] Making tasdeeq of the Punishment of the Grave, whilst prohibiting a person to have ’aqeedah (belief) in it, is a contradiction in terms. Since – as has preceeded from the words of al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar – tasdeeq is attesting to the truth of something in the heart, which is the same as ’aqeedah and which thereby necessitates eemaan. However, differentiating between tasdeeq and ’aqeedah is innovated speech, opposing the way of our Salaf. Unfortunately, the likes of this innovation has clearly been stated by the present leader of Hizbut-Tahrir in Britain, when he said: ‘‘We trust it; and I encourage all of you ’an tasaddiqoo bi ’adhaabil qabr (to have tasdeeq in the Punishment of the Grave). I encourage all of you ’an tasaddiqoo bi ’awdatil-Mahdee (to have tasdeeq in the return of the Mahdee). I encourage you for that, but whoever believes in that, then he is sinful.’’ 
[iii] How is it possible to affirm the Punishment of the Grave upon the tongue, whilst prohibiting ’aqeedah (belief) of it in the heart – is this not but nifaaq(hypocrisy)?! Rather, eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave necessitates – as a foundation – ’aqeedah in the heart!! May Allaah have mercy upon Imaam Ahmad, who said: ‘‘You should beware of speaking about an issue in which you are not preceded by a scholar.’’ 
[iv] Along with all this, it must be remembered that: ‘‘It is not permissible to invent an interpretation about an aayah, or about a Sunnah, which was not there in the time of the Salaf; nor did they have any knowledge about it; nor explain it to theUmmah. Since this would imply that the Salaf were ignorant of the truth in this matter and failed to reach it, whereas the late-coming opponent is somehow guided to the truth!’’ 
Imaam al-Awzaa’ee (d.157H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Hold fast to the narrations of the Salaf, even if the people were to abandon you. Beware of the opinions of the people, no matter how much they beautify it with their speech.’’ 
Aboo Haneefah (d.150H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘Stick to the athar (narration) and the way of the Salaf and beware of newly invented matters, for all of it is innovation.’’ 
So denying ’aqeedah in the Punishment of the Grave, declaring this to be something sinful and prohibited, declaring also that it is not a matter which will definitely occur, but it is a matter which may possibly occur – is speech in opposition to that of the Salafus-Saalih – the like of which was previously uttered by only the Khawaarij, and a group from amongst the Mu’tazilah; and there is no doubt in its being a deviation from the Straight Path.
Likewise, outwardly affirming tasdeeq and apparently affirming eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave, whilst denying ’aqeedah in it, is only a contradiction in terms – since tasdeeq, eemaan, and ’aqeedah in the opinion of the Salaf, all imply certainty and being definite – even if the modernists dislike this!
Imaam Ahmad (d.241H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘The Punishment of the Grave is a true fact; and no one denies it except one who is misguided and misguiding others.’’ 
An-Naasiree (d.652H) – rahimahullaah – said in an-Noorul-Laami’ (no. 110):
‘‘We have eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave and its bliss…this is themadhhab of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. So it is obligatory to have ’aqeedah in this.’’
Imaam an-Nawawee (d.676H) – rahimahullaah – said in Sharh Saheeh Muslim(5/85):
‘‘This chapter shows the virtue of seeking refuge – between the tashahhud andtasleem – from these (four) matters; and in it is an affirmation of the Punishment of the Grave, and it is the position of the people of the truth – as opposed to theMu’tazilah.’’
Imaam al-Qurtubee (d.671H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘To have eemaan in the Punishment of the Grave and its trials is obligatory, due to what the most truthful (Muhammad – sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has mentioned. This is the belief of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.’’ 
NEED FOR VERIFICATION:
‘‘So examine – may Allaah have mercy upon you – the speech of everyone you hear from, particularly in your time. Do not act in haste, nor enter into anything from it until you ask and see: Did any of the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) speak about it, or any of the Scholars. So if you find a narration from them about it, then cling to it. Do not go beyond it for anything, and do not give precedence to anything over it, and thus fall into the Fire.’’ 
Ibn Seereen (d.110) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘‘This knowledge is the Religion, so be careful from whom you take your Religion.’’ 
Qaadee Shareek (d.177H) – rahimahullaah – said:
’Ibaad Ibnul-’Awwaam said: Shareek Ibn ’Abdullaah came to us more than fifty years ago, so we said to him: O Abaa ’Abdullaah! There are a group of theMu’tazilah who deny the ahaadeeth about Allaah descending to the lowest heaven and that the people shall see their Lord. So Shareek quoted about ten ahaadeethlike that, and then said: ‘‘As for us, then we have taken our Religion from the sons of the Taabi’een, from the Companions. From whom did they take theirs?’’ 
So there is in what has preceded – if Allaah wills – a clear explanation for those whose hearts have been enlightened by Allaah with the light of Revelation, and whose has hearts have found peace and delight in the narrations of the Salafus-Saalih. Indeed it is this which brings about a firmness of understanding and is a remedy against the darkness of hizbiyyah (party-spirit). This, in turn, produces the purity and quality, even if numbers are small. Indeed mere numbers in opposition to the manhaj (methodology) of the Salaf – the manhaj of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah – leads to nothing but deception, destruction and extreme disappointment.