Question 564: Salam. Tell me about great explanation Alam e burzkh? And Ali a. S arrival in our grave? Bcz MOLA a. S said from kumail Ibne zayadh. I will come in grave of every, momin, munafik and kafir? Please explain?
Answer 564: Rational arguments, the Quranic verses and prophetic traditions clearly indicate that man is not perished with death. In fact, man’s spirit which is an independent entity constitutes his identity. The Quran ascribes accidents and flaws to the body only not to the spirit. The interesting thing is that in the Holy Qur’an “dying” is mentioned fourteen times with the word tawaffa which means “entrusting”. That is to say after death one will not be perished but that Allah will take His thing back without increase or decrease and Who will entrust it to His appointed workers. There are also other proofs in this regard in the Quran and traditions of which one is the Holy Prophet’s address to the people of the graves.
As for the question about the situation of the spirit after death, it is also a question whose answer should be found from the Quranic verses as well as traditions. In this regard the Holy Quran says: “And behind them is a barrier [partition] until the day [of resurrection] when they are raised.” The Intermediate World refers to the realm of grave; it is a realm in which man lives a special kind of life until the Day of Resurrection. This fact is affirmed by many verses of the Holy Quran as well as traditions which have been narrated through both Shia and Sunni sources.
The literal meaning of Barzakh is obstruction or barrier intervening between two things. However in Islamic eschatology, Barzakh is the intermediate state between this world and the Hereafter. It is very different from the material world. The existents in the intermediate realm are not material, yet they have some features which are characteristic of matter such as forms, time and place. Thus, they can perceive different conditions like hardship, tranquility, happiness and sadness etc.
It is very important to note that when it is said that the intermediate world is devoid of matter, we should not think that the pleasures of the intermediate realm is imaginary and unreal or visionary because it has some of the material concomitants, though it is not material by itself. 
In order to understand this point more clearly, it would be beneficial to note that man is a composite of two bodies: 1. The ideal (mithali) or light body; 2. The weighty body. The weighty body is the very body which we have now and which needs food, clothing, care etc. The light body (corpus) is the body we have in the realm of sleep with which we travel sometimes for hundreds of kilometers in an instant. It is for the same reason that it is also called “the light body”. That is because if we were supposed to tread a long distance in the state of wakefulness, it would take us many hours and require us to use a lot of energy. We will live with this light body in the intermediate world until the Day of Judgment when the scattered particles of human body would be gathered together and resurrected in the form of a weighty body.
Although the ideal body is not weighty, it can perceive various conditions in the same way as it feels things with their external appearance in the state of sleep. In the intermediate world, our body possesses the same characteristics as it does in the state of sleep in this world. According to some traditions, man lives in the intermediate world with the form and skeleton like those of the worldly form and worldly skeleton.
Finally, it is important to note two points in this regard:
- The intermediate world is much bigger and wider than this world because the ideal world is more extensive and bigger than the material world; the former does not have limitations and constraints of the latter.
- According to many traditions, the earth has been appointed as a place for punishment or rewards of the intermediate world and for meeting of the spirits with their families. For example, it has been reported in some traditions that the Paradise of Barzakh is Wadi al-Salam and its fire is the Barahut Valley whereas the Beit al-Moqaddas Rock is the place of the congregation of the spirits. Definitely, these traditions imply that the material relation of the spirits with the world is not severed completely. These possible incidents indicate the fact that the spirits are into some communications with the world because of the excellence of the place or time or situation.
Second: Characteristics of the Intermediate Life
As we mentioned above, Barzakh is an intervening stage between this world and the Hereafter. It is considered to be a realm between the material and the abstract realm. In philosophical terms, this world is called the ideal (mithali) world. Therefore, the existents of the intermediate realm are not material but they do feature some of the material concomitants because they are not completely devoid of matter. Therefore, Barzakh is not timeless and placeless; rather, it is possible that time may elapse very faster than it does in this world. Similarly, the “place” in the intermediate realm may also be characterized by less limitations as compared to this world. This point can be substantiated through the verses of the Quran also. It says:
“On the Day that the Hour (of Reckoning) will be established, the transgressors will swear that they tarried not but an hour.”
This verse clearly states that people live a short period of time in this place, the intermediate realm. It can be inferred from this verse and other similar verses that there are time and place in Barzakh but with less constraints. The intermediate world is, for the good doers, a kind of emancipation from the material world which to them looks like a cage but it is very horrible and fearsome for the sinners. Depending on the deeds which a person may have done in this world, he lives there either in agony or in comfort.
When it comes to the nature of Bazakh, there are different interpretations in our traditions. A few examples can be read below. Imam Ali (a.s) said in a letter to his son:
“Be mindful that a grave is either a garden from the gardens of Paradise or a pit from among the pit-holes of Hell Fire.”
It is deduced from the above verse that bounties in Barzakh are paradigms or instances of the bounties given in the hereafter and its punishments are also instances of the punishments in the afterworld.
It has been stated in some traditions that a heavenly position is shown to a believer in the hereafter. So he is made happy.
Third: Conditions of the People of Barzakh
The people of Barzakh live either in agony or in comfort in the same way as the people of this world are tormented by a nightmare or become happy when they see a happy dream. Some deeds like taking prayer lightly or not helping the oppressed etc. entail punishments for a person in Barzakh. Likewise, some other actions like martyrdom in the way of God, religious propagation and giving religious awareness bring about comfort and happiness in the intermediate world.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy family) is reported to have said that the squeezing of the grave is the expiation of the sin of wasting and not appreciating the bounties granted by God. Some of the other reasons for this punishment include laziness in purifying oneself after urinating, creating mischief amongst the people, backbiting, bad behavior towards one’s family members, and making false allegations.
The people of Barzakh are divided into three groups each dwelling in a particular place: 1. The true perfect believers; 2. The confirmed unbelievers; 3. Mustaz’afeen or those who are neither perfect believers nor confirmed unbelievers.
In another traditions narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s), he has been quoted as having said: “The spirits of the believers are lodged in Paradise and the spirits of the unbelievers are lodged in Hell Fire.”
It has also been reported from the Imam that the spirits of Mustaz’afeen (the third group) are stored in their graves where the sweet fragrance of Paradise reach them.
Of course, it has been said in other traditions also that the spirits of believers go to Wadi al-Salam or they go on the night of Friday to a rock in Beit al-Moqaddas. These traditions are not contradicting the previous tradition because it is possible that all of these may happen to be at one place or it is possible that the spirits of the believers may sometimes be at one place and other times at another place. The spirits of the unbelievers are also, as mentioned in narrations, in rooms of fire or at a place named “Hadramout” in Yemen or at Barahut Valley.
As for the spirits of the Mustaz’afeen, they remain in the grave until the Day of Judgment and if they have done any good deeds, a window will be opened in their grave to Paradise and they will benefit from it.
Based on the above, it can be said that the conditions of the spirits depends on their degrees and ranks after death. One who is strongly attached to this world, it will take him a long time to believe death and forget the world and its attractions. And he who is from the middle group, goes to a deep sleep never seeing any dream to be either tormented or pleased with it. He will not have any special feeling of the intermediate life. As for the perfect believers, since they have strengthened their spirits and prepared themselves for the hereafter, they can also establish relations with the spirits of other believers in that abode. Thus, they can get news of their friends and ask after their health in the material world. They become happy when they see that their friends are in good health. They pray for those who live in the world. Therefore, only those who are perfect believers can have the opportunity to meet other believers and ask after their health.
Imam Sadiq (a.s) says: When a human being enters the grave and Barzakh, the people of Barzakh rush to see him. They console him for a while until he comes to his senses because he has just passed the horrors, the tiring moments of the grave, its questioning and squeezing etc. Then they approach him and ask him about the lives and conditions of the friends. If he says that they are still in the world, they become hopeful that they might see him later. And if he says that they had died long time ago, they will say “He has fallen.” That is to say, he is suffering from divine punishment, otherwise he would have been brought to us.”
Imam Ali (as) will come in the grave of believers:
According to the following verse of the holy Quran in which Allah, the Almighty says: “And there is not one of the followers of the Book but most certainly believes in this before his death And on the Day of Resurrection he (Prophet lsa) shall be a witness against them”, all the human beings such as Muslims, Christians, Jewish and other religions see the holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Infallibles Imams especially Imam Ali (pbuth) at the time of death. They all believe in the Infallibles (pbuth) but this belief will not be accepted as Pharaoh believed when he was disappointed.  In this regards, there is a hadith in which Imam Ali (as) said to Harith al-Hamdani: “O Harith of Hamadan, whoever dies shall see me, Be he a believer or a hypocrite, a clear sight before him. His eyes shall recognize me, and I will know him, By his attributes, his name, and by his deeds. I shall quench his thirst with cold water, The sweetness of which will seem to you like that of honey. And when you will stand before hell fire, I shall say, Leave him, and do not be near him, Leave him, and be away from him, for indeed, He has a rope bound with the rope of the Prophet’s successor.”
The Arabic version of this hadith:
يَا حَارِ هَمْدَانَ مَنْ يَمُتْ يَرَنِي. مِنْ مُؤْمِنٍ أَوْ مُنَافِقٍ قُبُلًا. يَعْرِفُنِي طَرْفُهُ وَ أَعْرِفُهُ. بِنَعْتِهِ وَ اسْمِهِ وَ مَا فَعَلَا. وَ أَنْتَ عِنْدَ الصِّرَاطِ مُعْتَرِضِي. فَلَا تَخَفْ عَثْرَةً وَ لَا زَلَلًا. أَقُولُ لِلنَّارِ حِينَ تُوقَفُ. لِلْعَرْضِ ذَرِيهِ لَا تَقْرَبِي الرَّجُلَا. ذَرِيهِ لَا تَقْرَبِيهِ إِنَّ لَهُ. حبْلًا بِحَبْلِ الْوَصِيِّ مُتَّصِلًا. أَسْقِيكَ مِنْ بَارِدٍ عَلَى ظَمَإٍ. تَخَالُهُ فِي الْحَلَاوَةِ الْعَسَلَا. قَوْلُ عَلِيٍّ لِحَارِثٍ عَجَبٌ. كَمْ ثَمَّ أُعْجُوبَةٍ لَهُ حَمَلا.
Also, when a believer dies the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah Zahra, Imam Hasan and Hussain (pbuth) along with the archangels will come in the grave of a believer to help him answer the questions asked by the angels Nakir and Munkar. If he is able to answer their questions the Infallibles (pbuth) will testify for him, if not they will testify that he keeps still at the moment, but he believes in each question you asked.
The Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:
كُنْتُ عِنْدَ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع فَقَالَ مَا يَقُولُ النَّاسُ فِي أَرْوَاحِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهِمْ قُلْتُ يَقُولُونَ فِي حَوَاصِلِ طُيُورٍ خُضْرٍ فَقَالَ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ الْمُؤْمِنُ أَكْرَمُ عَلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ ذَلِكَ إِذَا كَانَ ذَلِكَ أَتَاهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص وَ عَلِيٌّ وَ فَاطِمَةُ وَ الْحَسَنُ وَ الْحُسَيْنُ ع وَ مَعَهُمْ مَلَائِكَةُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ فَإِنْ أَنْطَقَ اللَّهُ لِسَانَهُ بِالشَّهَادَةِ لَهُ بِالتَّوْحِيدِ وَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهِ بِالنُّبُوَّةِ وَ الْوَلَايَةِ لِأَهْلِ الْبَيْتِ شَهِدَ عَلَى ذَلِكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص وَ عَلِيٌّ وَ فَاطِمَةُ وَ الْحَسَنُ وَ الْحُسَيْنُ ع وَ الْمَلَائِكَةُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ مَعَهُمْ وَ إِنِ اعْتُقِلَ لِسَانُهُ خَصَّ اللَّهُ نَبِيَّهُ ص بِعِلْمِ مَا فِي قَلْبِهِ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَشَهِدَ بِهِ وَ شَهِدَ عَلَى شَهَادَةِ النَّبِيِّ عَلِيٌّ وَ فَاطِمَةُ وَ الْحَسَنُ وَ الْحُسَيْنُ عَلَى جَمَاعَتِهِمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ أَفْضَلُ السَّلَامِ وَ مَنْ حَضَرَ مَعَهُمْ مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ فَإِذَا قَبَضَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ صَيَّرَ تِلْكَ الرُّوحَ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ فِي صُورَةٍ كَصُورَتِهِ فَيَأْكُلُونَ وَ يَشْرَبُونَ فَإِذَا قَدِمَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقَادِمُ عَرَفَهُمْ بِتِلْكَ الصُّورَةِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ فِي الدُّنْيَا.
Imam sadiq (as) said: whoever choose Imam Ali (as) as his wali (“supporter”, “guardian” or “protector”) he will see the Imam at three times: at the time of death, at the Sirat (the bridge which every person must pass on), at the Hawz (The Cistern of al-Kawthar).
For further information, please read the following answer:
 – “Say: The angel of death who is given charge of you shall cause you to die, then to your Lord you shall be brought back.” [As-Sajdah, 11]
 – Behar al-Anwar, vol.6, pg. 169.
 – Al-Mumenoon, 100
 – Tabatabai, Muhammad Hussein, Tafsir al-Mizan, translation, Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani, vol.15, pg. 97, Islamic Publications Office.
 – Tabatabai, Muhammad Hussein, Mankind from the Beginning until the End, translated and annotated by Sadiq Larijani, pg. 77- 78, Al-Zahra Publications.
 – Qasimi, Ali Mhammad, Bazakh, A Quranic and Narrative Research, pg. 16, Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute Publications Center, 1st edition.
 – Qira’ati, Mohsen, Roots of Religion, pg.584.
 – Allamah Majlisi, Behar al-Anwar, vol.6, pg. 244 – 345, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, 1362 (1983).
 – The Life after Death, pg.48
 – Tabatabai, Muhammad Hussein, Mankind from the Beginning until the End, translated and annotated by Sadiq Larijani, pg. 77- 78, Al-Zahra Publications.
 – Room, 55.
 – Tafsir al-Mizan, translation, Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Hamedani, vol.16, pg. 308.
 – Roots of Religion, pg. 582.
 – Behar al-Anwar, vol.6, pg. 218.
 – Mankind from the Beginning until the End, pg. 79
 – Behar al-Anwar, vol.6, pg. 237
 – For further information about the sins which entail punishments and the good deeds which entail reward for the doer in the intermediate world, vide: Qira’ati, Mohsen, Roots of Religion, pg. 590 – 596.
 – Behar al-Anwar, vol.6, pg. 169
 – The word Mustaz’afeen refers to those who at times tried to understand and act but they did not have the intellectual capacity, such as the made and insane people. See: Mazaheri, Muhammad, Man and the Intermediate World, pg. 58 – 64, Nabawi Publications Institute.
 – Behar al-Anwar, vol.6, pg. 234.
 – Kulayni, Al-Kafi, vol.3, pg. 246.
 – Ibid, vol.3, pg. 243
 – Behar al-Anwar, vol.6, pg. 286.
 – Man and the Intermediate World, pg. 55, Nabawi Publications Institute, Tehran, 1375 (1996).
 – Kulayni, Al-Kafi, vol.3, pg. 246
 – ibid
 – Behar al-Anwar, vol.6, pg. 249 – 250, 269.
 . Surah al-Nisa, verse 159.
 . Tafsir Noor al-Thaqalayn, Vol. 1, Pgs. 572-573; Tafsir Kanz al-Daqaeq wa Bahr al-Gharaeb, Vol. 3, Pg. 584; Tafsir Forat al-Kufi, Pg. 116.
 . Tafsir al-Safi, Vol. 1, Pg. 519; Sharh e Nahjul Balaghah Li ibn Abi al-Hadid, Vol. 1, Pg. 299; Divan Amir al-Momenin (as), Pg. 352; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 6, Pg. 180; al-Amali (Tusi), al-Nass, Pg. 627; al-Amali (Mufid), al-Nass, Pg. 7; Tafsi al-Qummi, Vol. 2, Pg. 266.
 . Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 6, Pg. 229.
 . Man La Yahdhuruhul Faqih, Vol. 1, Pg. 137, chapter of Ghusl, Pg. 131.