Q & A: Questioning in the Grave

Figure 1A: The questioning of the grave is established.

Figure 1A: The questioning of the grave is established.

This is another great question that involves the grave and the matters connected to it.


As-Salaamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,
I had a question:
Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah said, ‘The adīths are mass-transmitted regarding the spirit returning to the body at the time of questioning. The questioning of the body without the spirit is the position of one group, including Ibn az-Zāghūnī, and it has been related from Ibn Jarīr – and the majority refuted him.
There are others who hold the opposite position and say that the questioning is for the spirit and not the body. This has been stated by Ibn azm and others, including Ibn ʿAqīl and Ibn al-Jawzī, and it is incorrect. Otherwise, there would be nothing particular about the grave in this matter.’
The statement is from Majmu’ al-Fatawa, but is that really the final position of Imams Ibn ‘Aqeel and Ibn al-Jawzi?
Are you referring to Majmu`a Fatawa or Majmu` Al-Fatawa. The former is 37 volumes and the sum total of his rulings running in an almost chronological order. The latter is everything in the former but also another collection known as Al-Fatawa Al-Kubra.
As for the statement above and the position of the Imams in question, one of the authoritative commentators on the Lum`ah, Imam Najm ud-Din Ibn Hamdan (d. 695 AH), made the following statement: 
والنعيم والعذاب للأرواح وأجسادها مع ردها إليها بعينها بعد فنائها وقبله. وقال ابن الجوزي في المنهاج: إنما تعذب الأرواح دون الجسد. وقال أحمد: الشهداء بعد القتل باقون يأكلون أرزاقهم، وقال: الأنبياء أحياء في قبورهم يصلون. وقال: الميت يعلم بزائرة يوم الجمعة بعد طلوع الفجر وقبل طلوع الشمس وإن الله يعذب قوماً في قبورهم. وقيل في صفة الحور والولدان احتملان. ولا يقطغ بإعادة السقط الذي لا روح فيه ولا بعدمها، كالجماد. وأن التناسخ باطل. وأن أرواح المسلمين في حواصل (طير) خضر تعلق في الجنة. وأرواح الكفار في حواصل طير سود تعلق في النار، وقيل: في برموت، وهي بئر بحضرموت. وبإحياء الميت وكلامه في قبره لمنكر ونكير وسؤالهما له، وثوابه فيه وعقابه للروح والجسد وضغط… إلخ 
وقال ابن حمدان أيضاً: قال ابن عقيل: ولا يستحب تلقينهم لرفع القلم. 
Taken from Nihayah Al-Mubtadi’in fi Usul id-Din, pp. 54-55
The dispute centres around the issue of the soul when it has left the body at the time of death and gone on the other side of the barzakh. Does it come back to the body for the questioning, does the questioning happen immediately after death and before burial or immediately after burial?
The issue is that that the soul is being asked the question, not the body or both? The position of Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi (d. 597) is that the punishment is for the souls and the questioning as it is what animated the body and gave it life. The punishment of the grave is thus for the soul while the eternal judgement is for both, soul and body. 
The same position is from Ibn `Aqil (d. 513), while the depended upon position is that the deceased in his grave is questioned and that the reward and the punishment is for the body and soul as Imam Ibn Hamdan (d. 695) mentions in the quote I gave and upheld by all other commentators and the great preponderance of theologians.
It is a branch issue based on two ahadith on the topic that are disputed about that could go in either direction. 
I hope that this was of some assistance and benefit to you.
brother in Islam,
Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

3 responses to “Q & A: Questioning in the Grave

  1. Salamun ‘alaykum

    An issue has arisen in regards to Halal slaughter. I was reading from the hadeeth about the women who found a dead sheep and slaughtered it in al-Umdat. Can this be understood in any way to mean that the animals that are slaughtered after being stunned are permissible? jazakullah khayr

    • wa `Alaikum us-Salaamu wa Rahmatullah,

      That hadith and those like it are used by Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH) and the latter day scholars as referring to:

      a) an animal found slaughtered in Dar ul-Islam and wondering what the ruling would be upon the one that found it.

      b) an animal that was still alive and had been eaten by another animal or such and was found by someone and then slaughtered in Dar ul-Islam.

      In consideration of Dar ul-Kufr, which is where the great bulk of these stunnings occur, there are the following statements:

      1) electrocution falls under the same ruling as choking, which has been mentioned in Surat ul-Ma’idah (5), ayah 3

      2) in the case of such an animal the blood has collected and congealed, so even when cutting the wind pipe and both the carotid arteries, there is no way to drain all the blood from the animal. It is for this reason that the Hanbali maraji` have ruled that it is impermissible.

      It is firstly a type of choking. If someone even goes to farms where this is done, the animal gives a reaction similar to being knocked unconscious (which is similar to a mini-stroke) after being choked. Secondly, as the blood will collect and congeal in the areas, there is also a release of other poisons and toxins, things that do not happen under normal slaughtering.


      brother in Islam,
      Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

      • As-Salaamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

        There is also a landmark lenient ijtihad (the only one!) from Imam `Abdul Ghani Al-Lubadi in his Hashiyah that if the animal was slaughtered from the neck down it is permitted and similarly if the animal was hit or knocked down in a way in which there was some moving still and the animal was alive, then this would be permitted to consume.

        The issue is whether or not he meant 1) this in Dar ul-islam or Dar ul-Kufr and 2) whether this was a Muslim or kafir, a forgetful Muslim, etc.

        It has been left open by authorities and not touched upon, so it is left as it as, thus we leave it as it is left.

        Hashiyat ul-Lubadi ala Nail il-Ma’arib, 423-424.

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