Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Firm Word

Assalamu alaikum, I am posting the first part of my notes from Lesson 182 of the Commentary of al Tajrid al Sarih (Book of Funerals, The Abridged Saheeh al-Bukhari) which was delivered by our respected teacher Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 1st February 2008. In this lesson, we studied ahadeeth 688-693. The notes below are for hadeeth 688.


CHAPTER 43. What has been narrated about punishment of the grave

688. عَنِ الْبَرَاءِ بْنِ عازِبٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا, عَنِ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: (إِذَا أُقْعِدَ المُؤْمِنُ في قَبْرِهِ أُتِيَ, ثُمّ شَهَدَ أَنْ لاَ إِلهَ إِلاّ اللهُ, وَأَنّ مُحمّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ, فَذلِكَ قَوْلُهُ: (يُثَبّتُ اللهُ الّذِينَ اَمَنُوا بِالْقَوْلِ الثّابِتِ)). رواه البخاري: 1369

688. Narrated AlBarâ’ bin ‘Azib (رضى الله عنه): The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, When a faithful believer is made to sit in his grave, then (the angels) come to him and he testifies that Lâ ilâha ill Allâh wa anna Muhammadar Rasul Allâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh and Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is Allâh’s Messenger). And that corresponds to Allâh’s Statement: Allâh will keep firm those who believe with the word that stands firm…. (V.14:27). (2:450O.B.)

This hadeeth mentions what happens when a person is made to sit up in his grave and has been discussed in other ahadeeth e.g. hadeeth 674. The two angels, Munkar and Nakir, question the person in the grave. Hypocrites and disbelievers will not be able to reply to them. The hypocrites will say that I used to hear people say something and I used to repeat that which they said.

This hadeeth refers to a verse of the Holy Qur'an:

يُثَبِّتُ اللّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الآخِرَةِ وَيُضِلُّ اللّهُ الظَّالِمِينَ وَيَفْعَلُ اللّهُ مَا يَشَاء

Allah keepeth firm those who believe by the firm Word in
the life of the world and in the Hereafter, and Allah sendeth astray the
wrong-doers. And Allah doth that which He willeth. [Surah Ibrahim (14), Verse 27].

- Allah grants the believers streadfastness and bestows upon them strength with the firm word. Allah inspires and fortifies the believers and grants them strength and steadfastness in this left and in the hereafter. This firm word is the kalimah, Laa ilaaha illa-llaahu Muhammadur-Rasullullah.In the worldly life, the believer is granted strength through faith and good deeds and in the hereafter, the believer is strengthened in the grave when visited by the angels.

Those who believed and did good deeds in the worldly life will be able to respond to the two angels with the kalimah. When the two angels visit the grave, it will be a frightening moment when even the hypocrites will have to reveal their hypocrisy. They will not be able to deceive the angels.

Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) narrates a very long hadeeth which is recorded by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his musnad. One night Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) was with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was with no other companion. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) stopped at one place and told Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) not to move from the stop. He then drew a line around Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) and he told him to stay within the circle. All of a sudden Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) saw jinns. The jinns surrounded the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) began reciting Qur'an to them. The jinns then crowded around Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) but they couldn't come within the circle. Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) says that 'By Allah I was so frightened that in my entire life I had not experienced such terror and fright'. These jinns were all around him. In the morning, the jinns disappeared and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) fell asleep with his noble head on the lap of Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه). Then all of a sudden other figures came. Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) described the jinns as being scantily clad, skinny, wily, small with very little flesh on their body. However, these other figures had beautiful white clothes on, and were tall and handsome. When they came, Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) said they came close to him and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and they begin speaking Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) says 'By Allah I was filled with more terror and fright on this second occasion then on the first'. These figures were speaking positively about the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) awoke, he told speaking Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) they were angels. They came to protect and praise Rasul and meant no harm.

If that is the terror someone of the calibre of Abdullah ibn Masud (رضى الله عنه) felt at seeing these angels, how will a normal person feel in the grave when seeing Munkar and Nakir? On that occasion, Allah will grant strength and fortification to the believers with the firm word, Laa ilaaha illa-llaahu Muhammadur-Rasullullah. The hypocrites will be deprived of the kalimah in the grave and will not be able to answer the angels.

How is this hadeeth related to the chapter heading? In the original saheeh of Imam Bukhari, Imam Bukhari narrates some ahadeeth but with slightly different wording which refers to the punishment of the grave.