Punishment in the Grave

My friend Renae sent me these thoughtful and interesting words:

“From what I understand from my journey into this subject, some people believe that the punishment of the grave is an aspect of Zoroastrianism that made it’s way into Islam and actually the Quran refutes this idea. In a few passages it says that the people who awake on judgement day, will turn to each other and wonder how long they have been “asleep” and for them it will seem but a day, or half a day… there is also a passage in the Qur’aan where Allah says that he removes the souls and they are with him….for how long? Where? in the grave…no, because what is the point of recreating us as he did before??? When Allah created us, he made us from the earth and took the spirit that was with him (like it is when we die I believe) and he puts it into the body he has created from the earth, and likewise he will do it again… From this I imagine it’s going to be just like the first time he created us and he will unite our spirt with our body he has fashioned for us again, I can’t imagine that we are going to arrive out of our graves, as some people are by now dust…some people are burned, some people are not ever buried…it doesn’t matter where we rest, in a grave or not…Allah will create us again like he did before, by returning our souls to our bodies he once again creates out of the earth…this is my understanding I arrived at after reading. How do we account for the people whose bodies are not resting in the grave? The native American Indians burned their dead to ash…People are cremated… some are left to rot above ground…I can’t imagine we are left to tread on and around souls…I can’t imagine the angel of death pulls the soul out of the body…only to go and put it back again into the body in the grave, or even with the body in the grave…just to suffer a punishment we won’t remember upon waking on judgement day because it will seem to us as if we only passed a day, or half a day, or to suffer punishment we haven’t been judged for yet?

here are a few on death and how it seems like but a day… I know there are some verses I am missing… but this is a start. 🙂

2:259 Or the like of him (Uzair) who passed by a town, and it had fallen down upon its roofs; he said: When will Allah give it life after its death? So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him to life. He said: How long have you tarried? He said: I have tarried a day, or a part of a day. Said He: Nay! you have tarried a hundred years; then look at your food and drink– years have not passed over it; and look at your ass; and that We may make you a sign to men, and look at the bones, how We set them together, then clothed them with flesh; so when it became clear to him, he said: I know that Allah has power over all things.

23:112 – [ Allah ] will say, “How long did you remain on earth in number of years?”
23:113 – They will say, “We remained a day or part of a day; ask those who enumerate.”

17:52 “It will be on a Day when He will call you, and you will answer his call with words of His praise and you will think that you tarried but a little while!”

And about God taking the Soul…
32:10-11 And they say: When we are lost in the earth, how can we then be re-created? Nay but they are disbelievers in the meeting with their Lord. Say: “The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls: then shall ye be brought back to your Lord.”

I like this argument here…. http://muslimvilla.smfforfree.com/index.php?topic=3135.0

and some good quotes from the above links

“The day when the Trumpet is blown. On that day we assemble the guilty white-eyed (with terror), Murmuring among themselves: Ye have tarried but ten (days).” (20:102-103)

This verse 20:102-103 elucidates the confusion when everyone is gathered together for questioning. They may have been dead thousands or millions of years ago, but they will feel that they had been asleep only for a few days. The following verse 30:55 also conveys the same message.

“And on the day when the Hour riseth the guilty will vow that they did tarry but an hour – thus were they ever deceived.” (30:55)

And now read the following verse 36:51-52.

“And the trumpet is blown and lo! from the graves they hie unto their Lord, Crying: Woe upon us! Who hath raised us from our place of sleep ? This is that which the Beneficent did promise, and the messengers spoke truth.” (36:51:52)

This verse 36:51-52 of Surah Ya Sin is a very clear indication that the souls of majority of the people will rest in a state of peaceful oblivion until the Final Hour when the Trumpet will sound, and then we will rise from our graves with a feeling that we were resting comfortably until woken up.

The references in all Quranic verses are that when Resurrection takes place on the Last Day, everyone will feel that they have been woken up from a peaceful slumber. If the commotion as described in Hadith took place in everyone’s grave, wouldn’t Allah refer to them in these verses? So, why has Allah not mentioned any of those contents of the Hadith in none of the Quran verses? Because those Ahadith are a bunch of myths that need to be trashed.

Concept of soul in the Glorious Quran

With direct Quranic references, the following verses are the only ones in the Quran which refer to the existence of the soul.

“Allah receiveth (men’s) souls at the time of their death, and that (soul) which dieth not (yet) in its sleep. He keepeth that (soul) for which He hath ordained death and dismisseth the rest till an appointed term. Lo! herein verily are portents for people who take thought.” (39:42)

This verse 39:42 is one of the very beautiful verses of the Glorious Quran. Do you understand what it means? It explains death, comparing it with sleep. Allah receives the souls of people when their bodies perish. But the soul does not perish with the body. Death is actually ordained for the body, and it’s that body which withers away for a certain period of time while the soul continues to live. The meaning, as I see it is, soul and body are separated at death. The body decays, but the soul lives on, and on the Day of Judgment Allah is able to recreate that same body exactly like before. Death being ordained for the soul refers to the body that contains that soul. And of course, Allah does not disclose to us where He keeps the soul.

“They are asking thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little.” (17:85)

The above verse 17:85 of Surah Bani Israel clearly confirms the existence of the soul which is at Allah’s command. But Allah asserts that humans have been granted no further knowledge about it.

“We mete out death among you, and We are not to be outrun,
That We may transfigure you and make you what ye know not.” (56:60-61)

To my understanding, the above verses 56:60-61 of Surah Al-Waqi’ah might hint at the existence of the soul. I would explain it as: Death is unavoidable, and after death one is transformed into something different. Apparently this refers to the withered and shrivelled physical remains. Also, there could be a reference to the soul which is no longer inside the physical body. Allah knows best. But we can be sure that none of these verses even remotely confirm the stories from other sources.

May Allah, The Exalted, guide us with the Truth, Light and Beauty of His Final Message. And May Allah protect us from the constant misguidance of the falsehoods.”

Thanks very much for sending this info Renae – I passed this on to a girl on Yahoo Answers who has been losing sleep at night worrying about punishment in the grave. And also passed it on to someone else who asked about Punishment in the Grave – it seems to be a popular question.