Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Before starting any journey, we get well prepared for it, in order to make sure we don’t suffer unduly on the way. Let us look at some ways of preparing for the ultimate journey of our life.
Making Travel Preparations
The journey to the Hereafter has many steps in between: the grave, the fifty-thousand years’ wait on the Day of Judgment, the Bridge, then either heaven, may Allah give it to us, or hell, may Allah protect us from it.
There are duas taught by the Prophet s.a.w.s. in which he sought refuge in Allah from the punishments of the grave.
Narrated from Umm Khalid bint Khalid: ‘I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave.’ [Bukhari]
The Prophet said: ‘Seek refuge with Allah from the punishment of Allah, seek refuge with Allah from the torment of the grave, seek refuge with Allah from the trials of life and death, and seek refuge with Allah from the tribulation of Al-Masihid-Dajjal.’ [An Nasaii]
The Mother of the Believers reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to seek refuge with Allah (by saying), ‘O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the affliction of the Fire and from the punishment in the Fire, and seek refuge with You from the affliction of the grave, and I seek refuge with You from the affliction of wealth, and I seek refuge with You from the affliction of poverty, and seek refuge with You from the affliction of Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal.’ [Bukhari]
Many of the punishments of the grave have been described vividly by the Prophet. These are mostly for specific sins such as usury, lying, breaking fast before its time, not washing after urinating. In short, our punishments for wrongdoings which we committed in this life which were not forgiven by Allah will start from the grave. On the other hand, the Prophet describes companions in the grave – your Salah, fast, good deeds. We should make sure that we have some of these companions with us to give company during the long wait, and convert this first step into the Hereafter into a garden of peace and tranquility.
Day of Judgment
After the punishments in the grave, any punishments that are due are dolled out on this Day that is fifty-thousand years long in duration. Only certain people find peace and shade from that sun which is right above our heads.
Seven (people) will be shaded by Allah by His Shade on the Day of Resurrection when there will be no shade except His Shade.
- a just ruler,
- a young man [or woman] who has been brought up in the worship of Allah,
- a man who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes are then flooded with tears,
- a man whose heart is attached to mosques,
- two men who love each other for Allah’s Sake,
- a man who is called by a charming lady of noble birth to commit illegal sexual intercourse with her, and he says, ‘I am afraid of Allah,’
- a man who gives in charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given.
A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should not oppress him nor should he hand him over to (his satan or to his self which is inclined to evil). Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever removes the troubles of his brother, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up his fault on the Day of Resurrection. [Bukhari and Muslim]
The Bridge across Hell – Sirat
‘The Sirat will be placed across Hell, on thorns like the thorns of Sa’dan plant. Then the people will cross it. Some will pass over safe and sound, some will be detained, and some will fall in headfirst.’[ibn Majah]
We will not pass over that bridge by virtue of how skillful we are at acrobatics. It all depends on our deeds whether we’ll race faster than horses, or crawl across it or fall down, may Allah protect us.
The Bridge – Qantarah
Judgment is over and everyone has safely crossed the bridge over the Hellfire … no wait! Who are those people standing there looking at us?
When the believers pass safely over (the bridge across) Hell, they will be stopped at a bridge in between Hell and Paradise where they will retaliate upon each other for the injustices done among them in the world, and when they get purified of all their sins, they will be admitted into Paradise. [Bukhari]
The Prophet asked the Companions, ‘Do you know who is the bankrupt?’ They said: ‘The bankrupt among us is one who has neither money with him nor any property’. He said,
The real bankrupt of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with Salat, Saum and Sadaqah (charity), (but he will find himself bankrupt on that day as he will have exhausted the good deeds) because he reviled others, brought calumny against others, unlawfully devoured the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others; so his good deeds would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hand). If his good deeds fall short to clear the account, their sins would be entered in his account and he would be thrown in the (Hell) Fire.