Praise be to Allaah.
There are many reasons for which people may be punished in
their graves, which Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) listed and
Some people may wonder about the reasons for which people may
be punished in their graves. This may be answered in two ways: in general
and in detail.
In general terms, they may be punished for their ignorance of
Allaah, their ignoring His commands and their disobedience towards Him.
Allaah does not punish any soul that acknowledged Him, loved Him, obeyed His
commands and heeded His prohibitions, nor does He punish the body that was
inhabited by that soul.
Punishment in the grave and in the Hereafter are due to the
wrath and anger of Allaah towards His slave. Whoever angers Allaah in this
world and does not repent, and dies like that, will be punished in
al-Barzakh to a level commensurate with Allaah's anger with him.
As for the detailed answer:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
told us about two men whom he saw being punished in their graves. One of
them used to walk around spreading malicious gossip among people, and the
other failed to take precautions to avoid getting urine on himself. So the
latter failed to purify himself as required, and the former did something
that creates enmity among people by talking, even if what he says is true.
Thus it may be noted that the one who stirs up enmity by
telling lies and making false statements will be punished even more.
Failing to keep oneself clean from urine indicates that the
one who neglects prayer, for which cleansing oneself from urine is a
requirement and condition will be punished even more. In the hadeeth of
Shu’bah it says: “One of them used to eat the flesh of people,” which refers
to backbiting or malicious gossip.
According to the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be
pleased with him) a man was struck with a whip and his grave was filled with
fire because he offered a single prayer without having purified himself, and
he passed by one who was being wronged and did not help him.
According to the hadeeth of Samurah in Saheeh al-Bukhaari,
a person who told a lie that spread far and wide was punished.
A man who read Qur’aan then slept at night and did not act
upon it by day was punished.
Adulterers and adulteresses are punished.
The one who consumes riba is punished in al-Barzakh, as the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) testified.
According to the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be
pleased with him), the heads of some people will be crushed with rock
because they were too heavy for them to get up and pray.
Some will graze on al-daree’ and al-zaqqoom (horrid types of
food in Hell) because they withheld the zakaah of their wealth.
Some will eat putrid, rotten meat because of their zina.
Some will have their lips cut off with iron scissors because
they caused fitnah (fighting, civil war) with their words and their speech.
According to the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed, those who committed
these crimes will be punished. Some of them will have bellies as big as
houses; they are those who consumed riba. Some will open their mouths and
have stones thrown into them that will emerge from their nether regions;
they are the ones who consumed orphans’ wealth. Some will be hung up by
their breasts; they are the adulterers. Some will have their sides cut and
will be fed with their own flesh; they are the one who engaged in
backbiting. Some will have nails of copper with which they will scratch
their faces and chests; they are the ones who impugned people’s honour.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said that the one who stole a cloak from the war booty will be wrapped in a
cloak of fire in his grave. This is despite the fact that he was entitled to
a share of the booty, so how about those who wrong others unlawfully?
The punishment of the grave is for sins of the heart, the
eye, the ear, the mouth, the tongue, the stomach, the private parts, the
hand, the foot, and the entire body.
Those who spread malicious gossip, tell lies, backbite, give
false witness, slander those who are chaste and innocent, spread fitnah,
promote bid’ah (innovation), say things about Allaah and His Messenger
without knowledge, and speak in a reckless manner.
Those who consume riba, consume orphans’ wealth and consume
haraam wealth such as bribes and the like.
Those who consume the wealth of their Muslim brothers
unlawfully, or the wealth of non-Muslims living under Muslim protection, or
Adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, traitors, betrayers and
Those who consume riba, those who pay it, those who record it
and those who witness it; those who enter into a marriage merely to divorce
the woman so that it will become permissible for her to return to her former
husband, and those for whom this is done; those who seek to waive the duties
enjoined by Allaah and transgress His sacred limits.
Those who seek to harm the Muslims and seek to expose their
Those who rule by something other than that which Allaah has
revealed, those who issue rulings based on things which Allaah has not
prescribed, and those who help others in sin and transgression.
Those who kill souls whom Allaah has forbidden us to kill,
those who deny the names and attributes of Allaah, those who give their
opinions and ideas precedence over the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah.
Those who wail for the dead and those who listen to them,
those who will wail in Hell are those who sing songs that are forbidden by
Allaah and His Messenger and those who listen to them. Those who build
mosques over graves and set up lamps in them; those who try to take more
when they take what they are owed and try to give less when they give what
Tyrants, the arrogant, those who show off, slanderers and
backbiters, those who slander the salaf.
Those who go to soothsayers, astrologers and fortunetellers
to ask them things and believe what they say.
Those who help wrongdoers, who have sold their Hereafter for
the sake of others in this world.
Those who, if you remind them to fear Allaah do not pay any
heed, but if you try to scare them by mentioning another person like
themselves, they pay heed and refrain from what they are doing.
Those who are told of the words of Allaah and His Messenger
but they do not pay any attention to it, but if they hear it from one of
whom they think well, who may be right or wrong, they seize it and do not go
Those to whom Qur’aan is recited but they are not affected by
it, and it may be burdensome for them, but when they heard the “qur’aan” of
the shaytaan or that which calls to zina (i.e., music) and words of
hypocrisy, they feel good and it cheers them up, and they wish that the
singer would not stop.
Those who swear by Allaah and tell lies, but when they swear
by their shaykhs or relatives, or the life of one whom they love and
respect, they will not lie, even if they are threatened and tortured.
Those who boast of their sins in front of their brothers.
Those from whom you do not feel that your possessions and
dignity are safe. Those who engage in obscene speech, whom people shun for
fear of their evil.
Those who delay prayer until the end of its time, and then
peck out the prayer, remembering Allaah but little therein. Those who do not
pay the zakaah of their wealth willingly. Those who do not perform Hajj even
though they are able to, and do not do the duties required of them even
though they are able to.
Those who are not cautious with regard to what they look at
or say or eat or where they go, and they do not care what wealth they
acquire, whether it is halaal or haraam.
Those who do not uphold the ties of kinship or show
compassion towards the poor, widows, orphans, or animals, rather they
forsake orphans and do not urge others to feed the poor. They show off to
people, withhold small kindnesses, and seek out people’s faults and sins
whilst ignoring their own.
All of these and their ilk will be punished in their graves
for these sins, according to how great or small they were. Because most
people are like this, most of the inhabitants of the graves will be
punished, and those who succeed will be very few.
The outside of the grave is just earth, but inside it is
regret and torment.
The outside may be earth and carved stones, whilst inside it
is disaster and calamity, boiling with grief and sorrow like a kettle, and
no wonder, when they no longer get what they want of their desires and
There are lessons in this world which need no further
It calls out: O dwellers of the earth, you have focused on
building a realm that will soon pass away, and you have neglected the realm
to which you are moving quickly. You have built houses in which others will
live and enjoy them, and you have neglected houses for which there are no
other inhabitants but you.
This is the place where you will abide and bid farewell to
work and toil. This is what matters, one of the gardens of Paradise or one
of the chambers of Hell…
End quote from al-Rooh (95).