Death and the Question of the two Angels in the Grave
O my beloved brothers,
Ayah 11 of Suratus-Sajdah means:
[Say, the Angel of Death who is given charge of you shall end your life (by taking your souls), then, to your Lord you shall return].
By consensus of the Ummah, the Angel of Death is our Master ^Azra’il, peace be upon him. He is an honoured angel as are the rest of Allah’s angels. ^Azra’il is assigned to the task of taking the souls.
If the soul taken is that of a Muslim, then it will be placed in the care of the Angels of Mercy and will be given the good tidings of having the Reward, Mercy and Acceptance of Allah.
However, if the soul taken is that of a blasphemer, then it will be given to the Angels of Torture and will be given the news of receiving Allah’s Punishment.
Moreover, the soul will not be kept in the hands of Angel ^Azra’il after he takes it even for a moment, rather, it will be taken to the skies if it is a soul of a pious believer and to the seventh earth if it is a soul of a blasphemer.
When the coffin is ready for its burial and people lift it on their shoulders, then, the angels will bring back the soul and accompany the funeral procession to the grave. Then as mentioned in the hadith, <<if the deceased is a righteous person he would say, ‘Take me ahead,’ however, if he is a blasphemer, he would say, ‘Woe to me! Where are you taking me?’ But his voice would not be audible to human beings, for had they heard it they would have fallen down unconscious>>. Narrated by An-Nasa’iyy and others.
Brothers in Islam, the deceased person is then placed in his grave. He leaves his wealth, children, parents and friends and all that which remains with him is his deeds.
The Prophet peace be upon him said, <<Three things follow a dead person (i.e. to his grave); two of which will return and one will remain with him. His family members, his wealth and his deeds follow him but his family members and his wealth return, while his deeds remain with him>>. Narrated by al- Bukhariyy.
Dear beloved brothers, the belief in the questioning of the two angels Munkar and Nakir is an obligation upon the accountable. This questioning is directed to both the believers and non-believers of whom Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was sent to.
The pious Muslim will not be frightened nor will he be disturbed by their questions; this is because Allah will strengthen his heart and therefore will not be horrified by their terrifying appearance. In the hadith, Munkar and Nakir were described as being black and blue (i.e. blackish-blue) with red eyes and tusks similar to the horns of cows. They are able to split the ground with their tusks and their voice is like thunder storm.
Having said that, the pious Muslim will be pleased upon seeing them and upon being questioned, for he knows that he will be saved. When questioned about the beloved Prophet, he will reply, “He is the slave of Allah and is His Messenger.” The angels will then reply to him, “look at that place in Hellfire, had you died as a blasphemer then that would have been your place, however, since you died as a believer, Allah has replaced it for you with one in Paradise.”
As to the hypocrite (i.e. in faith) or the blasphemer, he will be horrified to an extent where he will utter words he did not want to say, he will start saying [when questioned about the Prophet peace be upon him] “I do not know, I used to say about him what others used to say”. Then the angels will tell him, “You have never known nor said.” Then he will be hit with an iron hammer on his head, and he will scream and that scream will be heard by whatever approaches him except human beings and Jinn.