Anxiety and fear over the trials of the grave
Question: 1- I have anxious thoughts about Islam and what it teaches. I read articles to calm myself, but I get more thoughts the next day, and I try ignoring them. I feel like something is squeezing my heart when these thoughts come. Do they take me out of Islam? Every time I say the shahada, I think, “you’re only saying it with your tongue and not with your heart, “ but I ignore it. How can I erase these blasphemous thoughts?
2- How will the trials of the grave happen? Will we explain why we chose Islam? What if our arguments aren’t complete for the angels? If not, will our faith in the dunya be the same as our faith in the grave when we answer the questions?
3- What happens to Muslims who don’t believe in the trials of the grave? Isn’t it kufr, does the Muslim become kafir after he is shown the proofs of the tawatur of the trials of the grave and he still doesn’t believe?
4. Every time I read this prophetic hadith, I get scared because I don’t want to be a disbeliever or hypocrite: “When a human being is laid in his grave, and his companions return, and he hears their footsteps, two angels come to him and make him sit and ask him: What did you use to say about this man, Muhammad? He will say: I testify that he is Allah’s slave and His Apostle. Then it will be said to him, ‘Look at your place in the Hell-Fire. Allah has given you a place in Paradise instead of it.’ ” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, added, “The dead person will see both his places. But a non-believer or a hypocrite will say to the angels, ‘I do not know, but I used to say what the people used to say! It will be said to him, ‘Neither did you know nor did you take the guidance (by reciting the Qur’an).’ Then he will be hit with an iron hammer between his two ears, and he will cry, and that cry will be heard by whatever approaches him except human beings and jinns.“ [Bukhari]
Thank you for your question.
1) You are not taken out of Islam by these thoughts. You are only taken out of Islam if you stop believing in Allah and His Messenger and deny the beliefs of Islam, according to Imam al-Tahawi. Once you get these negative passing thoughts, discard them immediately and ignore any baseless misgivings (waswasa) from the Shaytan. He is the one questioning your sincerity about the shahadah. You should respond to this thought by saying, “A`udhu billahi min al-Shaytan al Rajeem.“ And thank Allah every day for the blessing of Islam.
2) It says in the Reliance of the Traveller, “v2.2 The first of these matters is the questioning of Munkar and Nakir, two tremendous, awe-inspiring personages who sit a servant upright in his grave, body, and soul, and ask him about the unity of Allah and the messenger hood of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), saying, “Who is your Lord, what is your religion, and who is your prophet?” It is they who try people in the grave, their questioning being the first ordeal after death. It is also obligatory to believe in the torment of the grave that it is a fact, is, and affects both body and soul in the way
Allah wills. [pp. 822-823]
Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When a Muslim is questioned in his grave, he will testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, and that is what is meant by Allah’s Statement: “Allah will keep firm those who believe with a Word that stands firm in this world and the Hereafter.“ [Bukhari]
3) Please don’t be concerned about what another Muslim believes in. We aren’t usually the ones that handle judging, and we are not in an Islamic courtroom that we need to decide upon another’s faith. If you encounter someone who does not believe in the torment of the grave, tell them the truth, pray for them and be on your way.
4) Your fear of the torment of the grave is correctly placed, but don’t let it make you desperate or overly anxious. Instead of worrying, take care of those things Allah punishes in the grave for (cleaning urine properly and not backbiting) and making this du`a often. Allahumma inni a’udhu bika minal-`ajzi wal- kasali, wal-jubni wal-harami, wal-bukhli, wa a’udhu bika min ‘adhabil- qabri, wa a’udhu bika min fitnatil-mahya wal-mamat [O Allah! I seek refuge in You from helplessness (to do good), indolence, cowardice, senility, and miserliness; and I seek Your Protection against the torment of the grave and the trials of life and death].
اللهم إني أعوذ بك من العجز والكسل والجبن والهرم، والبخل، وأعوذ بك من عذاب القبر، وأعوذ بك من فتنة المحيا والممات”.
Please listen to this lecture about how to rid yourself of these thoughts and what steps to take:
May Allah reward you for your taqwa, and I thank you for this question because it served as a good reminder for me.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.