Thursday, April 30, 2009

Questioning in the Grave by Munkir and Nakeer

One of the principal factors of Shi'aism, belief in which is obligatory (wajib), is the questioning in the grave by Munkir and Nakeer. Allamah Majlisi relates in 'Biharul Anwar' and `Haqqul Yaqeen' that it is a proven fact from reliable traditions that the questioning and the squeezing in the grave is for the physical body, as also for the spirit. In the grave one is questioned regarding one's beliefs (Aqaid) and deeds (A'maal). The questions are put to every believer as well as a non-believer. Only infants, the mentally retarded, and the people of lesser intellect are exempted from it. The period of `Barzakh' offers them neither reward nor retribution. One is questioned about the Prayers (Namaz), Fasting (Siyam), the Pilgrimage (Haj), Zakat, Khums, love of Ahlulbait (A.S.), and also about how he spent his entire life and wealth. Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (A.S.) says that after the questioning about the beliefs of Islam, a person is questioned about how he spent his life, and also about the way he earned his wealth and spent it. There are many whose tongues would cease to answer the questions put forth to them, and would not be able to answer, or would reply wrongly. It also happens that in reply to the question "Who is your Lord?", the person will reply to the Angels that they (i.e the Angels) are his lord. The person who is well acquainted in his life time with the beliefs and principals (of Islam) will be able to answer without trouble. And if he does so, his grave will be broadened to the length his sight reaches. The period of `Barzakh' passes away easily with Allah's blessings, and the Angels proclaim to him, : "Sleep thou like a newly wedded bride". (Usoole Kafi) If the dead man is a non believer or a hypocrite, and cannot answer the questions put forth to him, one of the doors of hell is opened in his grave, and the entire grave is filled with the raging-fire. As Allah says in the Qu'ran: "And if he be of those who have belied, gone astray, He shall have an entertainment of a boiling water, And the boiling in the hell -fire" (surah -al Waqe'ah: 92-94). Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (A.S.) says that, "A person who denies the following, is not one of our Shi'ahs: (1) Ascension (Me'raj of the Holy Prophet), (2) Questioning in the grave, and (3) Our Intercession (Shafa'at). It is related that two Angels having a fearful countenance enter the grave for the questioning, their voices are like thunder, and their eyes like lightening. They put forth the following questions: (1) Who is your Lord? (2) Who is your Prophet? (3) What is your Religion? (4) Who is your Imam? The dead man feels uneasy in answering these questions because of the fearful environment and needs help at that moment, hence Talqeen is recited at the following two places so that he is reminded of his beliefs (Aqaid). (1) When the body is laid in the grave. It is better to place one's right hand on the right shoulder of the dead body, and the left hand on the left shoulder, and shake slightly when the name of the dead man is recited in the `Talqeen'. (2) When the grave Is closed. It is recommended (sunnat) that a near relative of the dead man should sit near the head of the grave after people leave, and should recite the `Talqeen' in a loud voice. It is better to place one's palms on the grave and take one's face near the grave while reciting. There is no problem of another person other than the relatives is deputed for it. It is related that when the `Talqeen' is recited, and the Angels (Munkir & Nakeer) hear it, Munkir tell Nakeer, "Come let us leave, for the Talqeen is a proof of his beliefs, and there remains no ground for further questioning". Ref: Manazale Akherah

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