Punishment in the Grave
Accept it But Do not Believe in it?
Muhaddith, Shaykh, Allamaa’
Muhammad Nasir uddeen al-Albaani
Abbas Abu Yahya
The Need to Know the Actions of the Salaf whilst Studying the Book and the Sunnah
Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani (d.1420A.H) -Rahimullaah- said in the lecture entitled: ‘Usool Dawaat as-Salafeeyah’:
‘It is necessary upon every individual who wants to be upon the Salafi Manhaj that just as he studies the Book and the Sunnah, he must study what the Salaf as-Salih from amongst the Companions and those who followed them and then those who followed them were upon. This is because they were the ones who conveyed this Dawa’ correctly until it reached us.’
Al-Albaani -Rahimullaah- continued:
‘Here is an example in front of you, how they distinguished between the Hadeeth which are Aahaad (singular chains) and the Hadeeth which are Mutawaatir (multiple chains). They say the ‘Aqeedah (the Muslim creed) can only be taken from Hadeeth Tawatir (narrations with multiple chains), and because of this they sometimes fall into some very strange contradictions. The reason for this is their distancing themselves from the Salafi Manhaj, since some of the Sharia’ texts comprise of ‘Aqeedah and Hukm (Creed and Fiqh ruling) in the same issue.
An example of this is the saying of the Messenger of Allaah and this Hadeeth is in Bukhari and Muslim from the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah –Radi Allaahu anhu–who said the Messenger of Allaah said:
‘If one of you sits in the [last] Tashahud; then he should seek refuge with Allaah from four things; [he says: ‘O Allaah verily I seek refuge with You] from the punishment of the Hell-Fire, and from the punishment of the grave, and from the Fitna of life and death, and from the evil of the Fitna (trials) of the Maseeh ad-Dajjal.’
This Hadeeth contains an order to seek refuge from these four things. So this issue contains a Hukm (Fiqh ruling) from the Sharia’, they agree with us that Hadeeth ‘Aahaad (singular chains) do actually affirm Sharia’ rulings, so subsequently it does not necessitate except that they should accept this Hadeeth which contains the order to seek refuge from four things, ‘I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave and from the Fitna of life and death, and from the evil of the Fitna (trials) of the Maseeh ad-Dajjal.’ So do they really believe in the punishment of the grave?
Here they fall into what is said as, ‘chaos and confusion’. Punishment of the grave is from the ‘Aqeedah, however according to their beliefs the punishment in the grave cannot be affirmed with Hadeeth which are Aahaad (singular chains). This is why they do not believe in the punishment of the grave except for that which is mentioned in the verse of the Qur’aan regarding Pharoah specifically:
<< The Fire, they are exposed to it morning and evening. >>
This Fire is the punishment for Pharaoh, the family of the Pharaoh and likewise for the disbelievers generally, then those Muslims who rightfully deserve a little of the punishment of the grave then this is something that they do not believe in. This stems from nothing other than a false creed, which is when they say: ‘If the authentic Hadeeth is not Mutawaatir then the ‘Aqeedah cannot be established upon that,’ this is why they reject many, many Ahadeeth, due to their claim that these Ahadeeth do not reach the level of Tawaatur.
For example as you know InshaAllah– the Hadeeth of Bukhari from Ibn Abbas –Radi Allaahu anhu– who said: that the Prophet passed by two graves and said:
‘As for the two inmates of these graves then they are being punished and they are not being punished for something major, as for one of them then he used to spread gossip and as for the other he would not protect himself from urine, – [and in another narration: would not veil himself from others while urinating or protect himself from urine splashing on himself.]’
Then the Prophet ordered for a branch from a date tree to be brought to him and he broke it into two and placed a piece at the head of each grave, the companions asked him about this and he replied:
‘Perhaps Allaah –Azza wa Jal- may lighten their punishment as long as these branches do not dry up.’
This Hadeeth is in Saheeh Bukhari, in it you find that the Prophet clearly mentioned that these two people were Muslims, even so they were being punished and the Messenger of Allaah supplicated for them for Allaah to lighten their punishment for the time that the two branches remained moist.
Also, there is another Hadeeth in which the Prophet said:
‘Protect yourself from urine as indeed most of the punishment in the grave is due to urine.’
There are many Ahadeeth like this, and from these Ahadeeth is also the statement of the Prophet when he passed by two graves of the Mushrikoon who had died in the time of Jahileeyah, the Prophet said: ‘If these had not been buried I would have let you hear the punishment of the grave.’ [Bukhari & Muslim]
Even though there is a mention of these Ahadeeth regarding the punishment of the grave concerning some of the Mushrikeen, and some of the Muslims, the deviants and philosophers negate these Ahadeeth and do not believe in them or what they mean. They do this implementing their philosophy that these Ahadeeth are Ahadeeth Aahaad (singular chain). So what is their stance to the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah –Radi Allaahu anhu:
‘If one of you sits in his final Tashahud then he should seek refuge in Allaah from four things…’ and one of those things is the punishment of the grave. Even if they seek refuge in Allaah from the punishment of the grave to carry out a legislated ruling which is obligatory upon them, because they do not differ with us in that it is obligatory to accept the Ahadeeth ‘Aahaad in rulings and this action has a ruling from the Sharia’.
The Messenger of Allaah ordered us to supplicate with this Dua’ in the last Tashahud. They take this ruling as they say, and what they say is true since the truth is with us. So how do they take this ruling and yet they do not believe in the punishment of the grave, they do not believe and affirm this punishment?
Therefore, they are confused, misguided and deviated due to this philosophy which causes them to exit from that which the Companions of the Prophet were upon, which was not distinguishing between Ahadeeth being ‘Aahaad and Mutawaatir.
The Salaf did not make this distinction between Aahaad and Mutawaatir, nor did any of the four Imams who followed the Salaf as Salih in their beliefs, except those who deviated from some of the misguided sects at the time of the followers of the successors such as the Mutazila and Khawarij etc. So these people have opposed the path of the believers and so the threat of the Lord of the worlds is justified upon them:
وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ ٱلرَّسُولَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعۡ غَيۡرَ سَبِيلِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
نُوَلِّهِۦ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصۡلِهِۦ جَهَنَّمَۖ وَسَآءَتۡ مَصِيرًا
<< And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers – We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination. >> 
This is a very clear example, which emphasizes for you that adhering to the Book and the Sunnah alone does not benefit them, as they reject the Sunnah in relation to what they entitle ‘Hadeeth Ahad’.
Therefore protection and perfection is adhering to that which the Salaf were upon. This is why we find one of our Imams from those who have an excellence in directing us to adhering to this Manhaj, the Manhaj as-Salaf as-Salih- in understanding the Book and the Sunnah, that Imam was Ibn al Qayyim who gathered this meaning of the Manhaj of Salaf-as –Salih in a line of poetry where he said
‘Knowledge is what Allah said what His Messenger said what the Companions said’
He did not say ‘knowledge is what Allah said and what His Messenger said’ rather he added to that ‘what the Companions said’ and do you know why he said this? Because the verses in the Qur’aan and the authentic Ahadeeth all indicate that the saved sect is that which adheres to what the Salaf and Companions of the Prophet were upon.’
All Praise belongs to Allaah, may His peace
and blessings be upon our final
Prophet Muhammad, his
family, his companions
and all those who
 [Ghaafir: 46]
 [Collected by Bukhari, Abu Dawood & Nisa’ee]
 [Daraqutni & Irwaa 1/311]
 [Nisa: 115]
 [Taken from the transcript of the lecture: ‘Usool Dawat as-Salafeeyah’ which has been transcribed in the book: ‘as-Salafeeyah, Haqqeeatuha, Usoolaha, Mawaqifah min al-Madhahib, Shubahaat Howla hu’ researched by Amr AbdulMun’im Saleem, p. 46]