For some time I was really interested into the life immediately after death. So, if angel of death comes to me how my soul comes out? It must be easier if I have a car accident or something, but if I am old, ill and lying in my bed and meet the angel of death one-to-one, will it be easy, painfu, stressful, scary. Anyway, I searched some books to read on the topic and Alhamdulillah Ibn Al Qayyim Al Jawziyya’s Kitabar Ruh was in my hand.
Ibn Al Qayyim rahimahulloh was born into a scholarly and virtuous family in 1292 in present day Syria. At the time Damascus was a centre of literature and thought. Many schools were located there and he studied and graduated under the protection and sponsorship of his father. He was a leading student of sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and ibn ash-Sherazi. When he reached maturity, he was already a scholar of reputation. He started teaching at al-Jawziyya and had many students, including Ibn Kathir.
He was constantly striving tireless in his examination of everything around him, brilliant. Throughout his life, he remained an example of humility. After memorizing Quran, he memorized much of the hadith and became a leading figure in legal judgements. He was seen the greatest scholar of his time after sheikhul Islam, the Seal of the Certain ibn Taymiyya.
Every soul shall taste death (2: 185). So what happens when our appointed time on earth comes to an end? Angel of Death comes to take his soul wherever we are. The dying person sees him, hears him and speaks to him but those around him arent aware of this. ‘Why, but when the soul reaches the throat of the dying and at that moment you are watching- and We are nearer to him than you, but you dont see Us’ (56: 83-85). Ibn Abi’ddunya mentions that on the day Umar ibn Abdul Aziz died, he said to those with him ‘Sit with me’. When they sat down next to him, he said ‘I am the one you commanded and I failed you. You forbade me and I rebelled you’. He said this 3 times and then he said ‘La ilaha Illallah’. He lifted his head and stared. They said ‘You are looking very intently Amir al Mu’minin’. He replied ‘I see a presence which is neither man nor jinn’. Then he died.
Fadala ibn Dinar said ‘I was with Muhammad ibn Wasi when he was very near to death. He began to say ‘Welcome to my Lord’s angels! There is no strength or power except by Allah. I smelled the sweet fragrance and then his eyes glazed over and he died”
After the soul is taken, if it is a pure soul and has relatives in the next world who are from Jannah, they come to meet the soul with great joy. They ask about the condition of those who are still alive in our world.
The angels take the soul from one heaven to the next, until it comes to meet Allah swt. Then it returns and sees washing of the body and funeral process. It either say ‘take me forward’ or ‘where are you taking me’.
when the dead body placed in grave, the soul inserts itself and the questioning takes place. When the soul hears receding footfall of the last of the people leaving the grave, the earh is levelled over him. Allah swt made stone and earth the same for angels as the air is for birds. So, the grave expands and stretches for the soul as far as the eye can see and angels come to question.
Prophet saw said in a sahih hadith : ‘when the believer is about to depart from this world and go forward into the next, angels with faces as bright as the sun descend from the heavens and sit around him in throngs stretching as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his head ans says ‘Good soul, some out to forgiveness and pleasure from Allah!’ then his soul emerges like a drop of water flows from a water skin and the angel takes hold of it. When he has grasped it, the other angels dont leave it in his hand even for a twinkling of an eye. They take it and place it in a perfumed shroud and a fragrance issues from it like the sweetest scent of musk found on the face of earth’
‘then they bear it upwards and whenever they take it past a company of angels, they ask ‘who is this good soul?’ and the angels with soul reply ‘so and so, of the son of so and so’ using the best names by which people used to call him in this world. They bring him to the lowest heaven and ask for the gate to be opened for him. It is opened for him and angels who are near Allah from each of the heavens accompany him to the subsequent heaven until he reaches to the heaven where Allah swt is. Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says, ‘Register in the book of My slave, in Illiyun and take him back to earht. I created them from it and I return them to it and I will bring them forth from it again”
‘The soul is then returned to the body and two angels come to him. They make him sit up and say to him ‘Who is your Lord?’ He replies ‘My Lord is Allah’. ‘What is your religion?’ ‘My religion is Islam’. They ask him ‘who is this man who was sent among you?’ He replies ‘The Messenger of Allah’. They ask him, ‘how did you come to know these things?’ he replies ‘I read the book of Allah, believed it and declared it to be true’ Then a voice from on high declares ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so spread out carpets from the Garden for him and open a gate from the Garden for him!’ Then some of its perfume and fragrance comes to him, his grave is expands for him as far as the eye can see, and a man with beautiful garments and fragrance comes to him and says ‘Rejoice in what delights you for this is the day which you were promised’ He asks ‘who are you? Yours is the face which presages good’ He replies ‘I am your good actions’. Then the soul says ‘O Lord, let the last hour come soon so that I may rejoin my family and my property ”
When a bad man’s soul is to depart from our world to the next, angels with black faces descend from the heavens and carrying rough hair cloth and sit around him in throngs stretching as far as the eye can see. Then angel of Death comes and sits at his head and says, ‘Foul soul, come out to the wrath and anger of Allah’. Then his soul is divided up in his body and it is dragged out like a skewer is pulled out of wet wool. Then the angel takes hold of it. When Azrail a.s has grasped it, the other angels wont leave it in his hand even for the twinkling of an eye. They take it and wrap it in the rough hair cloth and a stench comes out of it like the worst stench of a corpse on the face of the earth.
‘Then they take it up and whenever they take it past a company of angels, they ask ‘whose is this foul soul’ and the angels reply ‘so and so, the son of so and so’ using the worst names by which people used to call him in this world. They bring him to the lowest heaven and ask for the gate to be opened for him. It doesnt get opened.’ Then the prophet saw recited ‘The gates of heaven will not be opened for them or will they enter garden until the camel of passes through the eye of the needle’ (al araf: 40). Then Allah the Almighty says, ‘Register his book in Sijjin in the lowest earth’. Then his soul is flung down.
The prophet (saw) then recited ‘whoever associates anything with Allah, it is as though he has fallen from heaven and the birds snatch him away or the wind sweeps him headlong into a place far away’ (Al Hajj: 31)
Then his soul is returned to his body ad two angels come and say to him ‘who is your Lord?’ he replies ‘Alas, alas, I dont know’. Then a voice calls from on high ‘My slave has lied so spread out carpets from the Fire for him and open a gate of fire for him’. Then a hot blast comes from it and his grave made so narrow for him that his ribs are pressed together and a man with hideous face and clothing and a fould odour comes to him and says ‘Grieve on account of what has brought you disgrace for this is the day which you were promised.’ He asks ‘who are you? Yours is the face which presages evil’. He replies ‘I am your bad actions’. Then the man says ‘O Lord, dont let the last hour come’
Allah confirms those who believe with the firm word, in the life of this world and in the next world. Allah leads astray the wrongdoers, and Allah does whatever He wills (Ibrahim: 27)