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Life after Death: Punishment in the Grave - What Happens After Death in Islam?

Updated on May 22, 2015
G Miah profile image

Gous Ahmed is a passionate writer especially in subjects concerning the religion of Islam. Working as an advisor and writing part time.

Author: Gous Ahmed


What happens in the grave? Is there life after death? Is there a hereafter? What is the truth about death? Is there punishment in the grave? These are some of the questions that all human beings think about some time in their lifetime. In Islam we have the most detailed information about life after death and what happens in the grave than any other religion. This is because the last and final prophet, Mohammed (peace be upon Him) shared his knowledge to his companions which have been passed through time by way of Hadiths (sayings of the prophet).

Even if you are not a Muslim, it will be interesting to find out about what happens after death. Any questions please do not hesitate to comment at the bottom of the article.

'Every Soul Shall Taste Death'

What happens after we die? What happens in the grave?

What do Muslims believe about the hereafter? Will there be punishment in the grave?

Allah has said in the Glorious Quran, 'every soul will taste death', but do we remember death in our daily lives? Is it important to understand and know that one day we will die, but only Allah knows when and how. People die from illnesses, diseases and accidents and even in their sleep.

Are we preparing ourselves for death and the time when we shall be face to face with Allah with our deeds at hand?

The first question on the day of judgment we will be asked is about salah (prayer). Are we preparing ourselves so that we may be able to answer that question? If the question of prayer is successfully answered then the rest of the process will be easy, insha Allah.

What Is Death?

Death is when the rooh (soul) leaves the body of a human being and that is the point when that person ceases to be alive and is pronounced dead.

From this point onwards the rooh travels from this world to the next and the body gets buried in the grave.

The angel of death, Azrael, extracts the rooh but cannot keep hold of it for the blinking of an eye when another angel snatches it away.

A hadeeth: (Riyaadh-us-Salhiheen)

Once, the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam came to the Masjid for salaah, when he noticed some people laughing and giggling. He remarked, "If you remembered death, I would not see you like this. Think of your death often. Not a single day passes when the grave does not call out: ‘I am a wilderness, I am a place of dust, I am a place of worms.’ When a believer is placed in the grave, it says; ‘Welcome, it is good of you to have come to me. Of all the people walking on the Earth, I liked you the best. Now you have come in to me, you will see how I entertain you.’ It then expands as far as the occupant can see. A door from Paradise is opened for him in the grave and through this door he gets fresh and fragrant air of Paradise. However, when an evil man is laid in the grave it says; ‘You are not welcome here. Your coming into me is very bad for you. Of all the people walking on the Earth, I disliked you the most. Now that you have been put into me, you will see how I treat you!’ It then closes upon him so much that his ribs of one side penetrate into the ribs of the other. As many as seventy serpents are then set upon him, to keep biting him until the day of resurrection. These serpents are so venomous that if one of them happened to spurt its venom upon the earth, not a single blade of grass would ever grow."

The grave we all have to visit soon
The grave we all have to visit soon

'Every Soul Will Taste Death'

Allah said that 'every soul will taste death'.

Say: “The death from which you flee will truly overtake you: then you will be sent back to the Knower of things secret and open: and He will tell you (the truth of) the things that you did!” (Surat al- Jumu’ah: 8)

In Islam after everyone dies the torture or punishment in the grave is for certain people and not for others. If before someone dies, they say 'La ilaha illallahu Muhammadur Rasul ullah' (there is no God except Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon Him) is His Messenger), then Allah will forgive all of their sins and they will not have any punishment in the grave or in the hereafter.

If a person does not say that and and they were a believer but not a good person, they will receive punishment for the sins they did in this life. If a person is a believer and does as Allah told that person to do in this life, for example follow the Quran and the way of the Prophet, then Allah may forgive their sins and also the punishment in the grave.

No one knows and no one can guess if they will be punished or not, and also no one knows if they will say the kalima or not before they die, only Allah knows. You can worship Allah all your life, even then it is down to Allah with His mercy to forgive you or not.

A Muslim person will know if they will be punished or not straight after they die because when Azrael comes to take the soul out of the body, if the soul comes out easily then the later stages will be easier. If not then Allah knows there may be punishment in the grave and in the hereafter.

When a person is buried, they will be woken up in their grave by two angels, and if they are wearing scented white clothes that means the gates of heaven (jannah) will be open until judgement day after they are asked three questions and if they answer them correctly. If that person is woken up by two angels who are wearing black stinky clothes then the gates of hell will be open for them until the day of judgement if they cannot answer the three questions.

Those three questions will be:

1. What is your deen? (Religion)
2. Who is your rab (Allah/God)?
3. Who was sent to you with the message of Allah?

These three questions will be answered easily by good practising muslims whose sins have been forgiven by Allah, but people with bad deeds will not be able to answer them. Answering these questions is not a thing of memorising them, our hearts will answer them if we worship and obey Allah in this life. If we do not obey and worship Allah in this life, then answering these three questions will be impossible.

In the end to Us shall you be brought back. (29:57)

Snake in the Grave

Allah The Most Merciful

If a person had many bad deeds, even then if Allah wishes, that person may be forgiven for one small good deed, so then that person may not get punished in the grave or in the hereafter.

It is very simple, everyone should try to live a good life to the extent Allah has provided for them and not disobey Him.

Allah said, 'I did not create mankind and jinn except to worship me'. This means that we were all created by Allah to only worship Him and obey his instructions in the Glorious Quran.

When it comes to the questions of Jihad etc, only people who are misguided and misunderstand the Quran and the way of the Prophet Muahmmad (peace be upon Him) carry out killing and opression unlawfully, which is totally prohibited in the religion of Islam.

Killing another human being is like killing the entire human race, saving another human being is like saving the entire human race.

Punihsment in the Grave Video

Descriptions of Death

(Courtesy of )

1. Hazrat Anas Ibn Malik radiyallahu anhu has reported that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam had mentioned that the grasp of Malikul Maut is more severe than one thousand hacks (cuts) with a sword. (Sharhus-sudoor)

2. There is a narration regarding Hazrat Moosa alaihis salaam that he was questioned by Allah after death about how he had undergone the experience of dying and he replied that it could be described as the case of a live bird being put in to a hot boiling pot of bubbling oil.

3. In another narration, Hazrat Moosa alaihis salaam is reported to have replied that the experience was like that of a goat being skinned alive by a butcher. (Sharhus-sudoor)

4. It is narrated from Shaddad Ibn Aus radiyallahu anhu that there is not as much pain, torture in being spilt by a saw, shredded by scissorsor scalded by fiercely boiling water than in experiencing death.

5. Hazrat Abu Qatadah radiyallahu anhu reports that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said that all distress, displeasure and agony at the time of death can be likened to that of an ant-bite.

6. Hazrat Ibrahim alaihis salaam asked the angel of death to show him in which form he visits an evil person. Angel of death replied, "You will not be able to tolerate the sight." Hazrat Ibrahim alaihis salaam insisted, the angel of death told him to turn around, while he transformed himself. After which he told Hazrat Ibrahim alaihis salaam to look. Upon seeing him he fell unconsciousness due to the pitiful sight. Thereafter, Hazrat Ibrahim alaihis salaam remarked that the sight was so horrifying that just looking at him was enough punishment for the evildoer.

Hadith on Surah Al-Mulk for Protection from the Punishment of the Grave


Read Surah Al-Mulk for Protection from the Punishment of the Grave

Allah is the Greatest, the most merciful. Allah has given us the opportunity to protect ourselves from the punihsment of the grave by way of the glorious Quran. There is a chapter in the glorious Quran called Surah Al-Mulk which when recited and memorised, will protect us from the punihsment in the grave.

This is one surah which will act as a shield in the grave.

You can read the meaning of some verses from Surah Al-Mulk from the image below.


Our final destination is in the earth
Our final destination is in the earth | Source

Surah Al-Mulk for Protection From Punishment of the Grave

Surah Al Mulk
Surah Al Mulk | Source

Surah Al-Mulk in English

Surah Al-Mulk in English
Surah Al-Mulk in English | Source


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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 10 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      From article:

      When it comes to the questions of Jihad etc, only people who are misguided and misunderstand the Quran and the way of the Prophet Muahmmad (peace be upon Him) carry out killing and opression unlawfully, which is totally prohibited in the religion of Islam.

      Killing another human being is like killing the entire human race, saving another human being is like saving the entire human race.

      I certainly hope the above is true.

      Why/How does ISIS exist?

      What does Islam teach about Near Death Experiences (NDEs)?

    • profile image

      mohammed safdar kiani 14 months ago

      A very good information and lesson for muslims.

    • profile image

      asrun 17 months ago

      My mother and father passed away on the same day this week hours apart from cancer. Although this article was very educational for me, I am constantly being told that my parents are still with me in spirit and looking over me. Could this be possible? I am so confused and lost right now.

    • profile image

      Winston 18 months ago

      Death is another part of life but rejoice for the life you have.

    • profile image

      Deena 22 months ago

      This article is enlightening. Death is definite for all the living beings. The article helped to think about the meaningless things that we do in our daily life without thinking about death. Knowingly and unknowingly the sins we do and the punishments that is Awaiting.....Ya Allah....!! The Hell fire which is the most horrible thing one can suffer.....May Allah accept all our prayers, forgive all our sins and grand us Jannah.....Aameen.....

    • profile image

      fatima 22 months ago

      Very nice article :)

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 23 months ago from Muslim Nation

      We are grateful that our creator has given us as much information as we can comprehend, unlike other religions. We have information down to the last detail which helps us prepare for the hereafter.

      Thank you for your comment.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 23 months ago

      I can see where this religion would scare the hell out of a believer.

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      assalamu alaikum.

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 2 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Thank you for the suggestion. I always try to quote a reference and in some cases don't although i know for sure that it is from the Quran and Hadith. I will endeavour to add references from here on in.

    • profile image

      Uz 2 years ago

      Thank you for writing and spreading the knowledge on this topic. May Allah reward you for it. I hope you don't mind if I give a suggestion.

      I usually don't comment but I thought this was important. Whenever you give religious information, from the Quraan and Hadeeth, please quote the Surah: Verse and the reference for Hadeeth, so that we can refer back and verify. Honestly I didn't read the whole thing because I didn't see any reference for the highlighted text from the Quraan and the source for ahadeeth, even though I recognized some from my own knowledge. Thank you.

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 2 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Namra i wish you would left your email address or something so i could help you further inshaAllah. If you do not understand the last 3 questions then this means that you need to start practising Islam better and also at the same time trying to gain more knowledge.

      After we die and when we are buried in the grave, as soon as the last step of your family is taken from your grave two angels appear and they will ask you 3 questions. Who is your rab? What is your religion? and who is this man (Muhammad (peace be upon Him))?

      You will only be able to answer these questions if your imaan is strong and if Allah wills. You cannot memorise them for the grave, they answered by your soul automatically. If you cannot answer them the gates of hell will be open for you until judgement day.

    • profile image

      namra 2 years ago

      I'm only 14 and I'm scared of what will happen to me :( I do not understand the last of the three questions

    • profile image

      sabeeha 2 years ago

      Today I was v depressed as my uncle passed away . I was curious to know what would happen to him. I found ur page v clear n have found an answer . May Allah swt forgive all our sins n bless us with righteousness. Aameen

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 2 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Brother Alfwitness thank you very much for highlighting this for us. You are spot on.

    • profile image

      tarim 2 years ago

      My dahdu dided

    • profile image

      Alwifitness 2 years ago

      MashaAllah, nice hub. May Allah reward you. I just want to mention to the readers that although Surat Al Mulk has been cited as a prevention from the punishment of the grave, it is not the mere recitation of it that does the trick. First of all, all our actions should be according to the teachings of Islam, Then we must understand what Surat Al Mulk means so that we can ponder about it and follow the advice in it. If this is done than InshaAllah it will be a protection. For example reading Surat Al Mulk every day while you do not pray Salah the way it is supposed to will not help for the first thing on the day of judgement we will be accounted for is Salah. If it is not good than nothing else will be looked into. Secondly there is a misconception in the Islamic world that reading a certain Surah works like a charm to make us prosper or protect us. If the actions of a person are not Insync with the teachings of Islam then no amount of Surahs will help that person. If we do not understand what we are reading no amount of reading will help that person. Of course Allah does what He wills and he may choose to help that person or not. That however will be an exception to the rule. Wallahu A3lam!

    • Ahsan Masoodani profile image

      Ahsan MAsoodani 2 years ago from hyderabad pakistan

      nice bro i like your article

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 2 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Sorry to hear about your Nana and i pray that Allah forgives him.

      Thank you for commenting and finding this article informative.

    • profile image

      Tasnim 2 years ago


      My nana died last Thursday morning without any family present :-( May Allah forgive him and all decreased of their sins and make their waiting easy for them all, ameen. I was browsing the net to read what happens when a muslim dies. MashaAllah, this article is simple and easy to read. JazakAllah Khairan.

    • profile image

      sufia 2 years ago

      Very insightful article. Jazakallah for simplifying the hereafter experience. May Allah SWT have mercy upon us and forgive our sins, ameen. I couldn't hold back my tears reading about how my final journey will be to my Rab...inshaAllah.

    • profile image 2 years ago

      Reading this has shook me.I am informed and alarmed.I had a nostalgic feeling throughout reading all of this beautiful compilation of Hadiths, videos and reading material.Jazakallah for sharing this brother.Jazakallah. ..

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 3 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Thank you for your comment.

    • profile image

      Hala 3 years ago

      I hope you write back, thank you so much for this article, ya rabb we go to heaven i perfectly understood this page . Allah yehdeena

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 3 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Thank you for your comment and i am glad this article has helped you.

      I hope you become stronger and inshaAllah Allah guides us all.

    • profile image

      Jasmin 3 years ago

      Thank you for your article I've been contemplating death for a while and had a panic attack about what if when we die there really is nothing there were just gone. But I've been reading and my faith has become stronger. Hopefully I can full purify myself and continue on my path

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 3 years ago from Muslim Nation

      thank you Izzy.

    • profile image

      izzy 3 years ago

      That was very interesting, mashallah

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 3 years ago from Muslim Nation

      What's wrong with you? Ameen.

    • profile image

      master irfan aslam 3 years ago

      hello I live in doncaster I will be moving to edinburgh snd finally to lyallpur. punjab. pakistan. where I want to be buried try and pray for me I am scared

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 5 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Hi and thank you for reading! I'm glad you found it interesting and enjoyed it.

      I sometimes read up on other religions to understand their ways of life too and it is very interesting to compare the different beliefs.

      Thank you for dropping by!

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 5 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Thank you Zubair for dropping by.

      You're right, there are many different people in different religions who think differently about death and the grave.

      At least we have a detailed hadeeth about what Muslims know regarding death and life in the grave which very important.

      Thank you for your comment, peace be upon you.

    • bishopkmb profile image

      bishopkmb 5 years ago from Maryland

      This was very interesting. As a religious person myself I always like to read up on and learn about other religions. Thank you for sharing your religious views I really enjoyed this article!

    • Zubair Ahmed profile image

      Zubair Ahmed 5 years ago

      ASA GMiah,

      Another very nice and informative hub, on a topic that many people today just do not want to think about. Silly really knowing that it will happen to each and every one of us at some point, we never take the time to prepare or try to understand what happens after.

      Most people are just happy taking the usual line - nothing happens you die and that's it!

      I wish that was true... you die and nothing happens. Reality is we will have to account for all our deeds and that the worrying part for people who think deeply.

      All the best and keep up the good work