What does Islam say about life after death? A primer on what happens in the next world

What does Islam say about life after death? A primer on what happens in the next world.

image_4711132.jpg By Safdar Razi

The Quran mentions that death is inevitable and cannot be delayed nor advanced. The time of death has been pre-determined for everyone.

When a person dies in this world, only his physical body dies and decays in the ground. His soul, which is his essence, feelings, memories and senses, is transferred into another ghostlike body.

After death, the soul cannot return back. This ghostlike body lives in another dimension, the unseen world, which is beyond our human senses and knowledge.

Here are the stages of death, according to some scholars’ understandings of verses from the Quran and from the words of Prophet Muhammad. (Other scholars might have different interpretations because of the flexibility of some Arabic words, which have metaphorical meanings.)

  1. The stupors of death: The angel of death either extracts the soul painfully from the wrongdoers or gently from the pious ones, and then transfers the soul into a ghostlike body.
  2. Misguiding of the devil: The last temptation of the devil is to deceive a dying person with his trickery. The good ones will not fall into temptation.
  3. Entering the grave: When the body is buried, the soul stays beside the body and sees the horrifying unseen world.
  4. Squeezing or pressure of the grave: When people leave the gravesite, angels come to squeeze the soul fiercely, making it scream loudly. Few souls are exempted from this punishment.
  5. Munkar and Nakeer: These two angels come after the squeezing and question the soul about the beliefs of his faith. If the soul does not answer properly and was a wrongdoer in life, then he will be punished in the hellfire of the unseen world until the Day of Judgment or until his sins are purged. If the person was a pious true believer, then he will answer the questions properly and two angels of glad tidings will come to escort him to the Paradise of the unseen world.
  6. The first blow of the trumpet: Both the seen and unseen worlds will exist until the first blow of the trumpet on the last day, when all living things, including angels and souls, will die. Nothing will be left except the living God.
  7. The second blow of the trumpet and the resurrection: When the second blow occurs, God will re-create everything and the souls will return to their physical bodies for the Day of Judgment.
  8. Accounting: Every person will be given his book of deeds and will be asked to judge himself. If a person tries to deny a bad deed, his body’s organs will witness against him. Accounting will be only for those who have both good and bad deeds. The pious ones who have only good deeds will be taken to Paradise without accounting, and the evil ones who have only bad deeds will be taken to the hellfire without accounting.
  9. Bridge over the hellfire. Everyone must cross the bridge over hellfire, which is said to be sharper than a blade and thinner than a strand of hair. The more good deeds a person has, the faster he will cross over. Some will cross over like a flash of light. Some might take years to cross. Others might fall into the hellfire below.
  10. The intercession: While the people with only a few sins are taken for their punishment, the prophets and their true successors will intercede for them with the permission of God. By this, God shows His great appreciation to His beloved servants.
  11. Eternal hellfire and eternal Paradise: On the Day of Judgment, the evil ones will go to the hellfire. Some of the evil ones will be in the hellfire eternally and others might eventually come out of the hellfire after their sins have been purged. The good ones will be taken to Paradise to eternal enjoyment and fulfillment. In Paradise, there are bounties and blessings beyond our imagination and thought. As mentioned in the Quran, the greatest bliss is God’s pleasure.

Safdar Razi is imam of the Islamic Ahlul Bayt Association mosque. He is a member of the Austin Area Interreligious Ministries.


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  1. we have just lost our mother and were just looking for answers why does this happen and why…we are orphaned now and all we have is Allah..we in a denial state and mourning so whatva makes us heal we are doing it.what will we do once the person whose paraying hands are no more to pray for us, the hands that asked allah for doa for her children is no more there..the hands that was over our head is no more there..who will pray for us,do the things a mother does as a mothers doa always a special..we do pray also allamdulliah but a mothers prayers are different..wat are we going to live???how will this pain go away..

  2. Always remember the good things that ur mom taught u….. only time will lessen the pain, there is nothing else, but in due course of time, even when u miss her, it will not be that painful…. yes mom is the most special person we can ever have, but nothing can undo it, and we all have to go one day… may ur mom rest in peace

  3. i normally read such letter but don’t reply, but i lost my father,but three weeks ago.i understand how painful and lost you may feel.but remember that when we lose someone we love here, it is because Allah now wants them with him, and who are we to go against Allah Almighty’s decision. I pray for your mother, and hope everyone reading this can throw a prayer for both our parents.Just be strong, stay on the path of Islam, and close to Allah for if you are close to him it is lke having your mothers prayers buried in your heart.May Allah give us all taufeeq to go down the right path.Ameeen

  4. I was reading you comment on live after Death to me this is a deviding issue as to if the religion you profess is right or wrong, if you are wrong about this issue you are wrong about everything else.If you are right then everything else is right. All religion are in grave error about the issue of life after death because much of their ideologie about this either derives from Greek mythology.
    If a religion is to be right is has to follow the model of the Bible other then that you are False religion in my mind Even most christian have fallen into the devil’s trap, saddly to say Islam as well have been snared into that devilish trap of life after death. Later I will give full detail of how it realy is.

  5. Here is the trenched for this Issue Simple Math:
    a+b=c; you take out a there is no c, you take you b there is no c.
    B= breath of God
    C=living Being
    Genesis 1:27
    27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    Male and female he created them.
    Genesis 2: Adam and Eve
    4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
    When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth [b] and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth [c] and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams [d] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- 7 the LORD God formed the man [e] from (A)THE DUST of the ground and (B)breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and (C)the man became a living being.
    This is just the beginning.

    Where do people find the D in the Equation soul? There is no such thing Soul, this is false teaching. Stick to the equation.

    I will later post other truth on this website.

  6. I know that everybodies death has already been determined and that death is inevitible.The way that the person dies is that also determined ex.what if someone was murdered.Has it also been determined in which manner that person will die.

  7. i believe michael jackson reverted to islam what happens to him in the grave how will he be judged. i pray for him ever day how will these help i read for him the seven ha mims which keeps hell fire away. will he go to heaven?

  8. Mr.Abdel shadrack is wrong in his interpretations.No doubt ,Jewism,Christianity and Islam are divine religions but ALLAH created divine religions according to the need of time.Lst religion ALLh created Islam for humans.After this no religion will occur in any form from Divine.
    Allah has not created human as HIS (ALLAH) form.ALLAH has no shape or form.He is light.ALLAH is all power to creat any thing.He created Jinn,Humans,Angels and more living things.ALLAH is one,neither HE is parent fo any one nor there is any other equal to HIM.
    All living things has given a certain time to exist in this world.

    • It is a great sin to simulate any thing with Allah (S.W.T.). Allah is such that nothing is like Him, and nothing is comparable to Him. He is Eternal, Absolute. “LAISA KA – MISLEHI SHAIY”.
      Hence, opening your tongue to say that Man is simulation of Allah, is a great sin. And some persons foolishly say that Allah (Ma’z Allah) created Ali like him. It is also association which is not valid in Islam.
      – DR. S.H.KAZM

  9. I have thought about this before and i have never been so
    sad before. And today i will say this ALLAH IS THE BEST AND HE WILL ALWAYS REMAIN THE BEST! Mums are the best they look after us they teach us everything about our religon! Regards Alima

  10. Aslamu Alaikum!

    I found out that last year some commited suicide in my flat, now we are having some problems, I wanted to know according to quran and sunnah can someones soul return to earth as evil? and if they do why? I always though once someone is dead they go hell or heaven n never return to earth again.

    i met his friend and she told me evrythin about him, everything that happens in our flat, he used to do thses things wen he was alive.

    he locked my flat mate out of her room because that used to be his room, playes music in our kitch when we are all sleeping etc.

    is he a jinn or a soul? im confused!!! Please help me to understand this situation.

    jazakh allah

  11. Hi. I lost my father 2 years ago and can’t speak of the unbearable pain I feel. I ask Allah for Sabr everyday. There are days I pray for my death so I can see him. My eyes long to see him and to hold his hand. Will I see my father again? Does the Qur’an talk about this? I want to know does his spirit sense when I visit his gravesite and pray for him?

    • I know what you feel. i feel the same. I too want to die so I can meet both my mother and my father. But we just have to wait. Don’t give up. When you die you will enter a world where there is no more death.

      Although the Qu’ran says that those who were not perfect in the final accounting, will never come out of hell for billion billion billion years. But I think that many of us are not perfect, and many of us make mistakes. But I think the Qur’an paints a very strict and scary picture, because otherwise people will not fear and care.. But somewhere I have read, that after the soul is punished enough for the sins it has committed, it will then get a chance to go into heaven for eternity.. So eventually, you will meet your father. I too will eventually meet my parents, even though I will first have to spend a long time in hell probably..

  12. Hi. I lost my father 2 years ago and can’t speak of the unbearable pain I feel. I ask Allah for Sabr everyday. There are days I pray for my death so I can see him. My eyes long to see him and to hold his hand. Will I see my father again? Does the Qur’an talk about this? I want to know does his spirit sense when I visit his gravesite and pray for him?

  13. InshAllah you and your family shall be helped in a time of such depression. Allah is with you at all times and so are the blessings of many people including mine. I’m very sorry to hear of this and I hope inshAllah you all will be OK.

  14. my mother passed away a month ago.she was 74 years old.cancer.life will never be the same .we all miss her, we all feel her pain of having to leave us,her husband and children and all loving friends and relatives.eventhough she was this old,she was loved by everyone.great person she was,loved by het close ones,more than life itself.dear mother, i know you are in a better place now.we will meet, one day, that is all we hope for, by the grace of ALLAH.be well our dear mother,we love you….it hurts to loose you…

  15. so many days have passed,still there is this pain,of where she is now.she was a true believer of ALLAH.we do our prayers,each and every day.after the first 40 days, is our so beloved mother with ALLAH ???? we need to know.for if so,then we’re happy at last.someone.please give me a reliable explanation.an answer i can rely on,for my grieve is enormous to be in a state of not knowing….

  16. Asalamu alaykum. Dear brothers an sisters. When death hits us by taking a loved one, its to remind us of Allah swt’s promise. We belong to him an its to him we will return. Doesnt matter what age we’ll or our loved ones will be in. Their death is a test for us to see which path we take, good or bad. My father died 9yrs ago, i still miss him. I was married to my husband mashallah for 2yrs an we were perfect for each other yet he died last month: 29yrs old. His death has tortured me yet Alhamdullillah i make dua to Allah for guidence for Allah loves those who are patient. In regards to a deceased or living, if 70,000 times (700 x 1 tasbee) of LA ILLAHA ILLALLAH is recited an blessed upon that person then the fire of hell is haram on them. So each an every time u remember a loved, just read surat fatiha for them including surat iklas 3 times. Inshallah may Allah swt grant u all sabur an re-unite u all with ur loved ones in jannah.ameen Dont let shaytaan decieve u.

  17. In regards to a deceased, they do not travel the world as jinn. We muslims know little in regards to where the soul travels. If u visit a deceased at their grave, the deceased is informed of ur visit an waits in his/her grave of ur arrival. They see and hear u. If u see them in ur dreams their soul is there with u. If they advise u, take it into consideration. If they seem in pain or such then read Ayat Quran for them. Shaytaan/devil may have stopped with the deceased but he will try to decieve u only because u are on-going. If u pray for the deceased then they will pray for u. Always remember the deceased of their good actions in this duniya, make dua for them an always keep happy memories within ur hearts.

  18. Salam mun alaykum to u all. i realy need a support from u.and plz dont think it at any wrong way…………………..Actuly i love somone but he was hindu, & i told him to change his cast as shia muslim as i. and also he change because of me. & i m feeling very happy. but i m afraid of my parents that they will never ever except this. but i m totally satisfy with my loved one becauz he loves me more and now he love our Allah and Our Ahlulbaith more than me.so plz guide me for this. khuda hafiz. Samira

  19. allah (S)says in suratul nisa (every one shall taste death)so nomatter if you hide yourself in big tall biuldings death will still get u.so my brothers and sisters in islam fear allah and remember him cos 4 those who remember him in return he will remembr u when u are in danger

  20. i lost my beloved grandmother 1 yr ago..i miss her terribly..i wanted to visit her grave but they did not allow me..said a woman cannot visit a grave..is it true..she promised me she will always be with me ..can she come and visit me..is it wrong to pray for her near her grave..please reply..

  21. Salam Alykum
    I am faisal from karachi pakistan, i am muslim alhamdullilah. i read a question on internet and i cant figure out the answer according to islam. please help

    My question is “if someone is not buried,let say sink in the ocean, eaten by a fish, burn in the fire (as hindus do), then how can that person hear the footsteps of his relatives and where the 2 angels come for questioning?

  22. Salaam to all brothers and sisters…its been 2 years since my mother passed away. I never thought it would happen so soon, all around me I see friends and relatives all with their mothers around them, laughing with them, enjoying that motherly love and it hurts why she had to leave us children and my father so soon. May Allah grant her jannat ul firdous. I miss her alot, and am lucky to see her in my dreams regularly. I just want to touch her one last time or hear her voice.

  23. Hello,
    im doing a project on your religious beliefs for my world history class, can you help me out with a few questions?

    approxamatley how many follow
    what is worshipped
    if you can help me out, that would be great.

  24. 4 mths ago i lost my mother and all the time i feel very sad,but every time i remember my mom and pray to God for her maghfirat.i think mother is like a beautiful part of life.so anyone who lost their parents plzz sabr and pray for them,and plz anyone who read tthis plz pray for my mom.

  25. Hey people am a christian man who was dating a muslim girl!She died recently and i dont know what to pray for her soul.I am still hurting and i request for prayers to her for her soul.My question is,is there something i can do for her a good deed for her soul to be okay?she was a good muslim but i just want her to smile even though i wont be able to see.and also want her in a better place!please pray for her!
    And am sorry for everyone here who lost their loved ones!
    God be with you all.

  26. Allah subhan-va-tahalah has created both life and death to test us in this world.So this life is a prepration for the day of judgement. Let us make a dua: rabana atina fidd duniya hassannattau wafil akhirati hassanattau wakinna azabunrarr. Ameen

  27. Allahu Ekbar
    he gives us at least a little mercy for us or to us
    but its very difficult or impossible to pass the exams or the tasks
    but we have to win those tasks to get heaven :'(
    we have to ask ALLAH for everything :'(
    SO SAAD ! D:
    Assalamu Alaikum Wa rahmathullahi Wa barakathuhu :D

  28. Salaam :)
    What if a girl, who doesnt pray or read qur’aan but does during ramadan only and has full belief in Allah (swt) and does good deeds all the time and listens to her mum. Will she still be admitted to jannat?

  29. salam,is it allowed for a woman to go to a graveyard,plus can the soul see and hear us.what do you read when you go to a deceased person.and also want to knw where does the soul go after the person dies,some say the sky,some say it stays in the grave.

  30. When a persons work in this world is completed or when Allah decides that He will be better off in the next world then Allah takes the soul of His servant. Recite prayers and give charity for your deceased relatives as only these things will help them now.

  31. My father passed away 2 months ago. I miss him immensely but I have now accepted that death is inevitable and all I can do is pray for him, say Namaaz for him (Namaze Hadiya Waalidain) and do charity on his behalf. Unfortunately I can not read Arabic but I listen to Quran Surahs and Duas in the internet. Would someone please tell me what Niyyat to say before listening to the Duas and Quran so that my late father receives sawwab?

  32. Asalam Alaikum Dear brothers in Islam. I just visited this page today looking for answers to comfort me a little I lost my mum less then 40days she was on her way to the mosque there she fall and sustained a fracture she was operated bout she later die. that has tier my life apart my family i just cannot stop thinking i was not expecting that she will die now she was 73 Bout there is this question that I want to ask many scholars agued that a person can die for 40days whiles still alive before the actual dead come sis this true?

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