The believing servant at the time of departure from this world
The Hadeeth of al Baraa ibn Aazib reported by Ahmad, Abu Daawud, al Haakim and others.
The following is the wording of Imaam Ahmad rahimahullaah with authentic additions from others, compiled and authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaanee –rahimahullaah-in ‘Ahkaamul-Janaa`iz(pp.198-202) and it is up to the standard of Imaams al- Bukhaari and Muslim :
‘We went out with the Prophet sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam on a funeral of a man from the Ansaar. So we came to the grave and he sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam had a stick, with which he was prodding the earth. He began looking towards the sky, and looking towards the earth, and raising his gaze and lowering it three times, and then he said:
Seek Allaah’s refuge from the Punishment of the Grave! …two or three times, and then he sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam said: O Allaah, I seek your refuge from the Punishment of the Grave. …three times; And then he sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam said:
The believing servant, when he is departing from this world and going on to the Hereafter – then some angels from the heaven descend upon him, with white faces as if their faces were the sun. With them, there are shrouds from the shrouds of Paradise and perfume for embalming from the perfume of Paradise – until they sit at a distance away from him that can be reached by the sight.
And then the Angel of Death alaiyhis-salaam comes, until he sits by his head and he says: O Pure soul! (and in one narration – at rest), come out to forgiveness from Allaah and His Pleasure! So it comes out flowing just like a drop of fluid flows out of a vessel. So he alaiyhis-salaam takes it – and in one narration – when his soul comes out, then every angel between the Heavens and the Earth makes supplication for it and every angel in the Heaven and the Gates of the (lowest) Heaven are opened for him.
And there are no inhabitants (i.e. angels) present at any gate except that they make supplication to Allaah that his soul be taken up from their direction.
So when he (the Angel of Death) takes it, he does not leave it in his hand even for the blink of an eye until he takes it and places it in that shroud and in that perfume – and that is His Saying, He the Most High: ‘Our Messengers take his soul in Death, and they do not fall short in their duty.’
And a smell comes from him like the smell of the purest musk found on the face of the earth. Then they ascend with it (the believing soul) and they do not pass by any (group of angels) expect that they say: What is this pure soul? So they say: It is so and so, the son of so and so. …mentioning him by the finest names which he used to be called in this world, until they take him to the lowest heaven and they request that it be opened for him – so it is opened for him.
And then the closest ones from every heaven accompany him to the next heaven until he reaches the seventh heaven – and Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic says: Write down the record of My servant in Illiyyeen (the highest heaven)! ‘And what will explain to you what is Illiyyoon? (in it will be) the written down record. Witnessed by those drawn close.’
So he sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam said: Then his record will be written down in Illiyyeen. Then it will be said: Return him to the earth, for I have promised them that: From it I created you, and to it I shall return you, then I shall take you out from it again.
So he will be returned to the earth and his soul will be returned to his body, and he will hear the striking of the feet of his companions when they depart from him going away (from his grave). Then two severe angels will come to him, and they will be very abrupt with him, they will make him sit up and they will say to him: Who is your Lord? So he will say: My Lord is Allaah. They will say to him: What is your religion? So he will say: My religion is Islaam. So they will say to him: What was this man who was sent amongst you? He will say: He is Allaah’s Messenger sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam. So they will say to him: How did you know? So he will say: I read the Book of Allaah, and I believed in it, and I affirmed it.
So he will be abrupt with him, and say: Who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who is your Prophet? And this will be the last trial that the believer will face. So that is about what Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic said: ‘Allaah will make those who are believers firm, with the firm saying in the life of this world.’ So he will say: My Lord is Allaah, my Religion is Islaam and my Prophet is Muhammad sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam.
Then a caller will call from the heavens: ‘My Servant has spoken the Truth, so give him a bed from Paradise, and give him clothing from Paradise and open for him a door towards Paradise.’ So its gentle breeze and fragrance will come to him, and his grave will be expanded for him as far as the eye can see. And then there will come to him (in one narration there will be shown to him) a man with a handsome face, with fine clothing, with a beautiful scent, and he will say:
Receive good news of that which is pleasing for you! Receive good news of pleasure from Allaah and of gardens containing everlasting delight! This is your day which you were promised. So he will reply to him: And you – may Allaah give you good tidings – who are you? Your face is the face of one who comes with good. So he will say: I am your righteous deeds. For by Allaah, I have not known you except to be quick upon obedience to Allaah, slow to disobey him, so may Allaah reward you with good.
And then a gate will be opened for him from Paradise and a gate from the Fire, and he will say: This would have been your place, had you been disobedient to Allaah but Allaah has exchanged this for you instead of it. And when he sees what is in Paradise, he will say: O My Lord, hasten the establishment of the Hour so that I can return to my family and what is for me! So it will be said to him: Be calm. And he sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam said: And as for the kaafir (disbelieving servant) (and in one narration – the faajir, the wicked one), when he is departing from this world and going on to the Hereafter, then angels descend upon him from the Heaven – angels who are severe and stern with black faces, having sack- cloths from the Fire. So they will sit at a distance from him that the sight can reach, and then the Angel of Death will come until he sits by his head and says: O foul and filthy soul! Come out to the Wrath of Allaah and His Anger! So it (his soul) will scatter throughout his body. So he will drag it out, just as a pronged roasting- fork with many prongs is pulled through wet wool. The veins and tendons will be torn along with it. And he will be cursed by every angel between the Heaven and the Earth and by every angel in the Heaven. The gates of the Heaven will be locked. There will not be any inhabitants of any gate except that they make supplication to Allaah that his soul should not ascend from their direction. So he will take it (the soul) and when he takes it, he will not leave it in his hand even for the blink of an eye – until he places it in that sack cloth. And there will come out from him a smell like the worst stench of the foulest corpse rotting upon the earth.
So they will take it up, and they will not pass by any group of angels except that they say:What is this foul spirit? So they will say: So and so, the son of so and so. …mentioning the worst names which he used to be called in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven, and request is made for him that it be opened but it will not be opened for him.
Then he sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam recited: ‘The gates of the Heaven will not be opened for them (the disbelievers) nor will they enter Paradise until a camel passes through the eye of a needle.’ So he sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam said: So Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic will say: Write his record in sijjeen (the lowest earth)! Then it will be said: Return My Servant to the Earth because I have promised them that from it I created you, and to it I shall return you and from it I will bring you out another time. So his spirit will be thrown down from the Heaven until it lands in his body. Then he sall Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam recited: ‘And whoever commits shirk along with Allaah, then it is as if he had fallen down from the Heaven and been snatched by birds – or the wind had carried him and thrown him in a far off place.’ So his soul will be returned to his body and he will hear the footsteps of his companions when they are departing from him, and two angels will come to him who are severe. And they will be severe with him, and they will make him sit up and they will say to him: Who is your Lord? So he will say: Haah, haah… I don’t know. So they will say to him: What is your religion? So he will say: Haah, haah… I don’t know. So they will say: So what do you say about this man who was sent amongst you? So he will not be able to mention his name.
So it is said: Muhammad. So he will say: Haah, haah…I do not know. I heard the people saying this. It will be said: You do not know and you did not recite. So then a caller from the Heavens will call: He has lied. So give him bedding from the Fire, and open for him a door to the Fire. So its heat and its scorching wind will come upon him, and his grave will be constricted upon him until his ribs cross over. Then there will appear to him a man with an evil looking face with foul clothing, smelling of an evil stench and he will say: Receive news which will upset you. This is your day which you were promised. So he will say: And may Allaah give you news of evil! Who are you? For your face is the one who comes with evil. So he will say: I am your foul deeds. I have not known you except being slow upon obedience to Allaah, quick to disobey Allaah, so may Allaah reward you with evil.
And then there will be set loose upon him one (angel) who is blind, dumb and deaf and he will have a heavy hammer in his hand. If a mountain were struck with it, it would become dust. So he will strike him with it, until he is smashed to dust. And then Allaah will return him to how he used was before, and (then) he will strike him with it again, and he will scream with a scream that will be heard by everything, except for mankind and jinn. And then a gate will be opened for him from the Fire and bedding will be given to him from the Fire. So he will say: O my Lord, do not establish the Hour!