Our Shaykh, Abu Abdillah Muhammad ba Jamaal – may Allaah preserve him – said in his book:
التحفة العلية على المنظومة اللامية المنسوبة لشيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية – The Noble Gem on the Poem Laamiyah Attributed to Shaikh al-Islaam Ibn Taimia, Text of the Poet:
ولكل حي عاقل في قبره
عمل يقارنه هناك ويسأل
And every mentally sound living person will have in his grave
His deeds to accompany him and for which he will be questioned
The Question: Is every believer tried and tested in his grave or not?
The Response: Some of the scholars have made an exception for six that will not be tried and tested in their graves, and they are: The Prophets (may Allah have mercy upon them all), the Truthful, the Martyrs, the Guards of the Muslim Lands, the Children and the Insane. And we’ll mention the correct position in that, by the permission of Allah:
- The Prophets: (peace be upon them): There is a difference of opinion with regards to this ( the Prophets being tested) and this differing is of two angles according to Imaam Ahmad and others.
And the correct opinion is that they are not tested because it is the people who will be tested and questioned about them as mentioned by Ahmad (in his “Musnad) from the hadith of A’aisha-may Allah be pleased with her. In that hadeeth, the Prophet ﷺ said, “You all will be tested in my regard and questioned about me.” And this hadith can be found in Sahih Musnad No. 1539.
And from what preponderates that (that the people will be tested and asked about the prophets) is that the martyrs- and they are at a level below the prophets (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them)-will not be tested as will come later, therefore the Prophet have more right that they are not tested. And al-Ha’afidh holds this opnion to be the most correct, as mentioned in “Fath” (No. 1474). And likewise Shaykh Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was more inclined towards this position as mentioned in his explanation of Al-Waasatiyah (Vol. 2 pg. 110). Similarly our Shaikh Al-Hajoori -may Allah preserve him- holds the same opinion. In some of his lessons he used as proof, the statement of the two angels in the grave: “Who is the man who was sent to you?”
- The Siddeequn (Truthful): There are differences of opinion with regards to this (the Sideeequn being questioned). Some say they will be questioned because of the generality of the evidences (that point to that), and this is the position held by Ibn al- Qayyim as mentioned in his book “Al-Ruh” (pgs. 81-82). On the other hand, Al-Qurtoobi and others are of the opinion that they will not be questioned because the Marytrs are at a lower level than the Siddeequn ( the Truthful) and they will not be questioned. Therefore the Truthful have more right (not to be questioned).
And the response to them: Perhaps the one whom others are given preference to may at times obtain something which the one superior to him does not obtain. And the evidences for this is many and we’ll known. And those who are of the first opinion also raise an objection. And that is: the Truthful have not been given this description except because of their extreme truthfulness and their firm certainty. So how is it that they will be questioned and put to the test!? And this is the opinion of Alaama ‘Uthaymeen in his explanation of Waasatiyah (Vol. 2 pgs. 110-111)
And we should respond by saying that this is a matter of the unseen which requires specific evidences, and it is general in it’s origin. So I say: The statement of the first group is the closest to being correct due to the following hadith: That a man said, “Oh’ Messenger of Allah, Why is it that the Believers are tested in their graves except for the Martyrs….,”And the point of evidence in this hadeeth is that if it was the case that the Sideequn would not be questioned, then the man would have mentioned them as he mentioned the martyrs, or the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have corrected him.
- The Martyrs: And the proof for this is that which has been recorded by An-Nasaai (2053) from a man from the companions of the Prophet ﷺ that a man said: Oh’ Messenger of Allah Why is it that the Believers are tested in their graves except for the Martyrs?” He ﷺ said: “The flashing of the swords above his head is trial enough.” [Reference: Ruling of the Janazah by Allamah Al-albani (pg.36)]
- Military Guards of the Muslim Lands: And the proof for it is what was collected by Muslim (1913) from Sulaiman that he heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saying, “Keeping watch for a day and a night is better (in point of reward) than fasting and standing in prayer every night for a whole month. And if he was to die (while, performing this duty), his (meritorious) activity will continue and he will go on receiving his reward for it perpetually and will be saved from the torture of the grave.”
And what was collected by Abu Dawud (2500) and Tirmidhi (1621) with a good chain of narrators from the hadith of Fudaalah ibn Ubayd that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Everyone who dies will have his actions brought to an end, except one who is on the frontier (in Allah’s path), for his deeds will be made to go on increasing till the Day of Resurrection, and he will be safe from the trial of the grave.” And it is also in Sahih Musnad (1057).
- The Children: There is a difference of opinion in this and there are two sayings. From them are those who say: They are not questioned because they are not held responsible for what they do. More than one person from the methodology of Shafi’i believe this to be the case, and this is one of two angles according to the Hanbali methodology. And this is the opinion of Al-Alaama ‘Uthaymeen in his explanation of Waasatiyah (Vol.2, pg.
And some of them say: “Rather they will be questioned”, and this was the position of Qurtubi in “Tathkirah”. And this was taken from Hanafiyah. [Reference: Fath (1374)]. And they use as a proof what has been collected by Malik in Muwatah (1/228), and Abdur Razzaq (6610) and Bayhaqi in Kubarah (4/9) and others with a sound chain of narrators on Sa’id ibn Musaib who said, “I prayed behind Abu Huraira (a funeral prayer) on a child who has not committed any sin and I heard him saying, ‘Oh’ Allah protect him from the punishment of the grave.’ And it was collected and attributed to the Prophet (ﷺ) but it was not authenticated. [Reference: Al-Ilah Dar Qutni (5/ 205-206) and Ithbaat Athaab al-Qabr Baihaqi (pg. 105) and Khateeb in his book Taareekh (11/384)]
And it has been confirmed by gathering the paths (of the hadith) on a number of the Sahaabah that the Prophet ﷺ would pray on the Janazah and say, “Oh Allah forgive our living and our dead and our young ones and old ones.” The Hadith. And this statement is the most correct, that the children are tested in their graves, and this is the position of most of the People of the Sunnah. And it was the position of Qurtubi in Tathkirah. And our Shaikh Yahya -may Allah preserve him- prefered this position. ,,Reference: Majmua Fatawa Vol. 4 (257, 277, 280). And the book Ruh by Ibn Qayyim (pgs. 87-88)
- The Insane: There is a difference of opinion in this and there are two sayings as well: From them is he who says: “They are not questioned, because they are not held responsible.” And this was the preferred position of Shaikh Uthaymeen (رحمه الله) in his explanation of Waasatiyah (Vol. 2, pg. 112). And some of them said: “Rather they are going to be questioned and examined with regards to the time before they became insane, and this is the correct opinion and the opinion of the majority of the people of knowledge as well as the people of the Sunnah.
Benefited from: Shaikh Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ba Jamaal (May Allah preserve him)
Translated by: Abu Yusuf Bilal ibn Howard Robinson