One of the fearsome stages of the Hereafter is the grave, which calls out daily: “I am the abode of loneliness, I am the house of terror, I am the home of worms.

It is quoted in Man La Yahzaruhul Faqih, that when a dead body is brought for burial, it should not be buried immediately. For there is no doubt that the terror of the grave horrifies the dead person, and he seeks refuge from Allah’s wrath.

The darkness and loneliness, questioning by ‘Munkir and Nakeer’, Squeezing in the grave (Fishar), and the chastisement in hell are some of the frightful stages.

The narrowness of and squeeze in the grave (Fishar-e-Qabr) is so horrifying, that it makes a person shiver with fright in this very world.

Amirul Mo’meneen Ali (A.S.) says: “O the servants of Allah! The state in the grave of a person whose sins are not forgiven is more horrifying than death itself. Fear it’s (grave’s) narrowness, it’s squeezing, it’s imprisonment, and it’s loneliness. Verily the grave calls out daily: I am the house of loneliness, of terror and worms. The grave is like a garden of Paradise for a good doer, while it is like a dungeon of hell for the evil doer. Allah tells His enemies that He will send nninety-nineserpents in their graves, who will tear their flesh and smash their bones, and this punishment will continue till the outbreak of Qayamat. if one of the serpents exhales toward this earth, all plants and trees will be destroyed. O servants of Allah! Your souls are tender, and your bodies delicate, you cannot confront any ordinary serpent of this world, how then will you face them

Reasons for the Squeeze in the Grave

Laziness in purifying oneself after urinating, creating mischief amongst people, backbiting (ghibat), and severing relation with kith & kin are some of the reasons for this punishment.

Sa’ad bin Ma’az was one of the noblemen of Ansars. He was held dear by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) Himself and His companions, to the extent that whenever he came to meet the Prophet, He used to instruct His companions to welcome him with honour. The Prophet Himself stood up to welcome him. Sa’ad was wounded in a battle fought against the jews of Qurayza, and later succumbed to the injuries. When he died, seventy thousand Angels attended his funeral. The Holy Prophet (saww) was present bare feet till the end, and gave shoulder to his bier, and said that the Angels had come to recite the funeral prayers (Namaz-e-Mayyit), and Jibraeel and Mikaeel were also present alongside him. The Holy Prophet (saww) loved him so much that He Himself buried him. Seeing these, the mother of Sa’ad remarked, “O my son, rejoice at the attainment of Paradise“. The Prophet said, “O mother of Saad! Keep quiet! At the moment, Saad is undergoing the pressures (Fishaar) of the grave!” The companions asked, “You have yourself given bath to Saad, led the funeral prayer, lowered him into the grave, and in the end, said that he was undergoing the Fishaar of the grave!”’ The Prophet replied,”Saad was undergoing the Fishaar because he used to treat the people of his house and friends with ill temper.”

The Holy Prophet (saww) says that, if a believer (Mo’min) does not help his believer brother even after having the capacity to do so, Allah will send a large serpent named `Ajar in his grave, who will keep biting at his fingers”.

In another narration, it is stated that the serpent will keep on biting his fingers even though his sin will have been forgiven.

Source: Extract from the books – Manazile Akherah by Sheikh Abbas Qummi (a.r.) and Ain Al-Hayat by Allama Majlisi (a.r.)

May Allah protect us from the frightful stages of qabr and the hereafter. May Allah forgive our sins and count us all among the servants of Imam Al-Mahdi (atfs).

Allahumma Ajjil Le Waliekal Faraj!