Hadith on punishments in the grave

Gross misinterpretation of Quranic verses by Hadith  "scholars"

There are plenty of Ahadith on punishments in the grave which are completely incompatible with the contents of the Glorious Quran.  The Quran says NOTHING about punishments in the grave.  Before I discuss Hadith discrepancies that pertain to this topic and their likely origin, I will mention the old trick of our jurists who have purposely picked some verses of the Quran and have tried to misinterpret them as "punishments in the grave" only for the purpose of making them conform with certain Hadith narrations.

(1)  "If thou couldst see, when the wrong-doers reach the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out (saying): Deliver up your souls. This day ye are awarded doom of degradation for that ye spake concerning Allah other than the truth, and used to scorn His portents."  (6:93)   

Hadith explanation of the above verse is:  Ibn Hajar who quotes Tabrani narrating from Ibn Abbas :  "This will occur at the time of death. And the meaning of stretching forth their hands is smiting their faces and backs."  

Completely false presumption.  There is absolutely no reference to the grave in verse 6:93. The verse is describing the situation when a disbeliever will reach the pangs of death and the angel of death will come to take back his soul.  The angel of death will come at the behest of Allah to collect everyone's soul at the time of their appointed death, believers and disbelievers.  The disbelievers will be told of their punishment which will occur on the Day of Resurrection.  The punishment for some violators e.g. Pharaoh and the folks of Noah, will begin soon after death, prior to the Day of Resurrection.  And again there's no reference to that being in the grave.  What lies in the grave are only the physical remains which turn into dust but it's the soul that lives on in the custody of Allah.  But where or how Allah keeps that soul is only known to Him.  If we try to comment on that, it will only give rise to speculations, which is Haram.  Thus, those few persons whose punishment will begin soon after death, their souls will be subjected to torment, most likely in Hellfire or some other place known to Allah alone.  But it's very obviously and definitely not the physical earthly grave which we see with our eyes.  This will be explained further as we proceed.

(2)  "If thou couldst see how the angels receive those who disbelieve, smiting faces and their backs and (saying): Taste the punishment of burning!"  (8:50)

This verse is also similar to verse 6:93.  "Smiting faces and their backs" refers to the harsh welcome disbelievers will receive as soon as their souls depart from their bodies and they exit this world for the next.  "Taste the punishment of burning!" does not refer to punishment inside the grave.  As the Quran clearly states in many Surahs, after death till the time when one wakes up on the Day of Resurrection will seem like a few hours or few days.  When the angels come to take the souls of those who disbelieve and warn them of their punishment, that is to be understood as the punishment of Hellfire on the day when they are raised.  Not the punishment inside the physical grave.

(3)  "Because of their sins they were drowned, then made to enter a Fire. And they found they had no helpers in place of Allah." (71:25)

Verse 71:25 refers to the people of Noah who were drowned in the big flood.  Again, the reference here is that their punishment will commence soon after death in Hellfire.  There's absolutely no concept of anyone being punished inside a tiny grave made of earthly mud, dust and sand.

(4)  "The Fire; they are exposed to it morning and evening; and on the day when the Hour uprises (it is said): Cause Pharaoh's folk to enter the most awful doom."  (40:46) 

The above verse 40:46 refers to Pharaoh and his followers.  It is expressed that Pharaoh and those who obeyed him will be exposed to the torment of Hellfire morning and evening to begin soon after their death.  On the Day of Judgment their exposure to Hell will be the greatest.  

The Verse is not indicative of their punishment taking place within their physical graves or pyramids etc. 

When will the punishment of afterlife begin?

In some cases Almighty Allah has elucidated clearly in the Glorious Quran that punishment will begin soon after death, as in the case of Pharaoh and his followers and the disobedient people of the town of Prophet Noah who were drowned, the verses concerning which have already been quoted above.   

But the Glorious Quran also makes the standard norm for majority of the wrong doers very plain.  Their punishment will begin after Resurrection.  

"Hath not the story reached you of those who disbelieved of old and so did taste the ill-effects of their conduct, and theirs will be a painful doom."  (64:5)

Please focus on the last few words of the above verse, "and theirs will be a painful doom."   The future tense of this expression indicates that the doom for such people is yet to begin.   Punishments that are yet to come for those who have passed away must begin on the Day of Resurrection as per the Laws of the Divine Power asserted throughout His Final Message.

Hadith on punishments inside the grave

Some of the Hadith on punishments in the grave which I am quoting for your information are completely absurd and falsely attributed to the Prophet (sw).  These Ahadith are simply the concoctions of the narrators and compilers.  In some cases even the name of the narrator/narrators (or isnad) have very definitely been forged.  For example, where Aisha's name appears as the narrator, it's got to be a lie.  The Prophet (sw) would never make such unwarranted statements and thus, there is no question of Aisha quoting him.  Such ones have likely been forged by Abu Huraira and his contemporaries in the names of those who were close to the Prophet (S) only for the purpose of getting their false narrations accepted.  They may have even been further manipulated by the compilers as well; the bungling of contents within the Hadith is really so massive!

The following are some such Hadiths on punishments in the grave

(1)  Transmitted by Sahih Bukhari Narrated by Ayesha [Vol 8:#377]
Two old ladies from among the Jewish ladies entered upon me and said, "The dead are punished in their graves," but I thought they were telling a lie and did not believe them in the beginning. When they went away and the Prophet (Sal-allahu-aleihi-wasallam) entered upon me, I said, "O Allah's Apostle! (Sal-allahu-aleihi-wasallam) Two old ladies..." and told him the whole story. He said, "They told the truth; the (sinful) dead are really punished, to the extent that all the animals hear (the sound resulting from) their punishment." Since then I always saw him seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave in his prayers

(2)  Narrated by Abu Hurairah - Transmitted by Sahih Bukhari  - Narrated by Abu Hurairah :  Allah's Apostle (Sal-allahu-aleihi-wasallam) used to invoke (Allah): "O Allah! I seek refuge with you from the punishment in the grave and from the punishment in the Hell fire and from the afflictions of life and death, and the afflictions of Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal."  

(3)  A Tirmidhi hadith says:  (narrator's name is not available) Rasulullah  said, 'If you are made to listen to the punishment in the grave, you will stop burying your deceased.

Here's another long and fabricated hadith on punishment in the grave from a collection known as Mishkat al-Masabih written by someone named Khatib al-Tabrizi.   In this particular collection, he is supposed to have compiled information for those who didn't have much knowledge of Hadith.  So, you can imagine the quantum of bluff it must contain!   This collection is said to have over 1500 hadiths, many of which even Al-Tabrizi did not consider authentic, yet the Sunni imams have preserved this collection as "authentic," ignoring the incompatibility of its contents with the Quran.  The following is a narration from Mishkat al-Masabih with no conformity with the information given to us in the Noble Quran.

(4)  "Rasulullah (SAW) said, 'When a person is buried and the people go away, two angels approach the deceased and ask three questions,

a) Who is your lord?
b) What is your religion? and
c) Who is he (Rasulullah)?

A believer will answer all three questions and he will be honored with the clothing of Jannah. The window of Jannah will be opened for him and he will enjoy the sight of Jannah. On the contrary, a disbeliever will express regret at not being able to answer the questions. Upon that, an angel who is blind and deaf is appointed to punish him.  Blind so that the angel does not see the punishment and feel mercy and deaf so that the punishment is not heard. The hammer used to punish a disbeliever is so heavy that it can reduce a mountain to dust. The disbeliever screams with pain and every creation can hear him besides human and Jinns."

In NO Surah does the Quran mention any such activities in the grave. 

There are plenty of other similar ones in the collections Bukhari and Muslim bin Hajaj.  But I won't waste my time quoting them.

Possible origin of the concept of punishments in the grave

By researching history, it shows that the concept of punishments in the grave originates from non-Divine religions and ancient traditions.  According to many polytheist cultures, it was believed that life continued in the grave and those buried needed food, clothes and all other necessities and luxuries of life after death.  

The Anglo Saxon pagans, for example, had certain funerary practices where the dead were either buried or cremated with a selection of grave items which included food, jewellery, clothes, kitchen utensils, weaponry etc.   The remains, whether inhumed or cremated, were placed in a variety of sites including graveyards, burial mounds (which are graves made of earth and stones) and sometimes they were also buried in ships known as 'ship burials.'   This practice lasted until the 7th century.   Anglo Saxons converted to Christianity around the 8th century.  But the Christians imported several ancient practices into their faith.  Various versions of the altered Bibles believe in grave punishments like the Hadith.  According to Christian funeral rites, the body is dressed in costly attire while it lies in the casket.  Remains of women are also adorned with make-up.  These are all abbreviated ideas brought down from pagan times. 

Another example is that of the ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago who were pagans.  They had similar ideas of life in the grave as the Anglo Saxon pagans.  Their belief in life in the grave led to many preparations for burial.  It resulted  in the construction of the pyramids and large tombs for kings and queens.   The common people had small tombs.  All tombs and pyramids were filled with items like clothing, wigs, food, cosmetics, jewelry etc. The tombs of rich Egyptians also had statues representing servants.  Many of the bodies were embalmed or mummified .... and various other such nonsense.    The idea behind all such practices was that they thought there was life in the grave.

The Wahabis who are staunch Hadith adherents, may not build monuments over graves, but they do believe in all those un-Quranic grave activities as narrated in the phony Ahadith.  

By the way, monumenting graves is a different matter.  It's basically for the purpose of marking the grave as a remembrance so that it doesn't get demolished or the space might be reclaimed by others.

Quranic evidence that nothing happens in the grave

Please read the following verses of the Glorious Quran very carefully.

"The day when they come forth from the graves in haste, as racing to a goal, With eyes aghast, abasement stupefying them: Such is the Day which they are promised."  (70:43-44).

The above verses confirm that the grave was a place of silence and oblivion.  It's only after being resurrected that the people will be in a state of confusion. 

"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)

These verses 20:102-103 elucidate the bafflement 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 and just awoken.   

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)

Verses 36:51-52 of Surah Ya Sin are clear and simple 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 they will rise from our graves with a feeling that they were resting comfortably till woken up. 

The references in all Verses quoted above are that during Resurrection 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 Almighty 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 shredded.

Concept of soul in the Glorious Quran

With direct Quranic references:  

There are two very important verses in the Noble Quran that confirm the existence of the soul  quoted as follows:-

"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)

Verse 39:42 is one of the very beautiful verses of the Glorious Quran.   It explains death with sleep as an analogy.  Allah receives the souls of people when their bodies perish.  But the soul does not perish with the body.  Death is ordained only for the body.  The body withers away for a certain period while the soul continues to live.  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.  The idea of Barzak as a transitory place for the soul is another Hadith story with no support from the Noble Quran.

"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 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, period.   No further discussions needed on the soul. 

"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 also hints at 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 shriveled 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 of Bukhari etc. 

May Allah, The Exalted, guide us with the Truth, Light and Beauty of His Final Message only.    


  1. Allah is extremely soft and forgiver. that is why the Heavan was made on the day 1, but hell was never created. Hell fire will come in existence only on doomsday "And when Hell-fire is set ablaze.;" (81:12)

    Regarding punishment in graveyard, it is against the teaching of Basic's of our religion and is a Bida. Simple Questions:

    1. If our accountability starts from the doomsday, then how we will be punished in graveyard?
    2. Its all about soul and that ALLAH will take it to an unknown place, Without a soul what is the value of body?

    The mistake people do here is that they associate everything to the body and due to this they start rotating around graveyard for punishment and dua, this resulted in directing most of people in Shirk, which is not different from Idol worshiping.

    Quran is again and again emphasizing that if ALLAH can create us from a drop of liquid then why we are worrying about our bodies? but we don't understand even this simple massage from BOOK.

    Quran is telling us to delink our body from soul, as it has no value, but people don't want to believe in divine massage

  2. Salaam all
    I have heard that all judgement will be passed on judgement day according to the Quran. If any of punishment is issued before that it is against the Quranic message.



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