16 Nov The Intermediate World.Part1
The Intermediate World.Part1
What Happens to the Spirit in the Intermediate World?
- Following death, each person’s spirit is taken to God’s Presence.
If it led a good, virtuous life and became refined, the angels charged with taking it to His Presence wrap it in a piece of satin and take it, through the heavens and all inner dimensions of existence, until they reach His Presence.
Along the way, angels at all stations welcome it and ask:
“Whose spirit is this? How beautiful it is!”
The angels conveying it introduce it with the most beautiful titles it acquired in the world:
“This is the spirit of that one who (for example) prayed, fasted, gave alms and bore all kinds of hardship for God’s sake.”
Finally, God Almighty welcomes it and then orders the angels:
“Take this back to the grave where its body is buried, so that it can answer the questions of Munkar and Nakir, the interrogating angels.”
The spirit of a wicked person is treated with disdain everywhere it passes, and is thrown back to the grave after being presented to God’s Presence.
- Whatever evil happens in the world is due to our own sins.
If sincere believers cannot always resist the temptation to sin, out of His Mercy God allows some misfortunes to strike them so that they may be purified thereby. God may also subject them to severe death agonies in order to forgive some of their sins or to promote them to higher (spiritual) ranks. In any case, their spirits are taken very gently. If there are still some sins that need to be forgiven, the believers will suffer some sort of punishment in the grave and then be freed from Hell’s punishment. In addition, since the grave is the first station toward eternal life, where everyone will receive what they have earned, it is also the place of preliminary interrogation. While in their graves, everyone will be questioned by two angels about their worldly deeds. And almost everyone, except the Prophets, will undergo some suffering.
As is recorded in reliable books, ‘Abbas (the Prophet’s uncle) wanted to see ‘Umar in a dream. However, he only saw him 6 months later. When ‘Abbas asked ‘Umar where he had been, the latter replied:
“Don’t ask! I’ve only just now finished accounting (for my life).”
Sa’d ibn Mu’adh was one of the greatest Companions. When he died, Gabriel told the Messenger:
“The Divine Throne trembled because of Sa’d’s death.”
Innumerable angels took part in his funeral. After his burial, the Messenger spoke in amazement:
“Glory to God! What (will happen to others) if the grave squeezes even Sa’d?”
In the grave, everyone is questioned by the angels Munkar and Nakir, who ask such questions as:
- Who is your Lord?
- Who is your Prophet?
- What is your religion?
Believers can answer these questions with great ease; unbelievers cannot. These questions are followed by others dealing with the person’s life.
- The relation between the spirit and its body differs according to the worlds in which they live.
In this world, the spirit is confined within the body. If the evil-commanding self and bodily desires dominate the spirit, the spirith will deteriorate and doom the person. But if the spirit can discipline the evil-commanding self through belief, worship and good conduct, and free itself from servitude to bodily desires, it is refined and acquires purity and laudable qualities. This will bring happiness to the spirit in both worlds.
After burial, the spirit waith in the intermediate world, the world between this one and the Hereafter. Although the body decomposes into the ground, its essential particles do not rot. According to a hadith, this is the coccyx (ajb al-dhanab) We do not know whether this term refers to a person’s genes. But regardless of part it is, the spirit will use it to maintain its relation with the body. This part will also serve as a foundation upon which God will re-create us on the Day of Judgment. God will make the elements of this foundation conducive to eternal life while destroying and re-creating the world and resurrecting us on the Day of Resurrection.