Let’s continue with hadiths regarding the stages of life after death:
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra) and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (ra):
“Then a bridge will be laid across Hell. I and my followers will be the first ones to go across it.”
“An announcer will ask, “Where is Muhammad?” Upon this the Rasul of Allah (saw) will stand and all of his followers, the devout and the sinners, will follow him to the bridge.
Then the light of the believers will blind the sinners and they will begin to fall into hell until only the Rasul and the devout followers are left.”
“All the other nations will move out of our way and we will pass through them with the mark of ablution shining on our body, our faces lit with Nur. The other nations will look at my followers and say, “They have come so close to becoming Nabis!” On that day none but the Rasuls will speak. And the invocation of the Rasuls will be “O Allah, keep us safe! O Allah keep us safe!”
“Then when they reach the Bridge ‘as-Sirat’ Allah will give Nur (light) to each of them. Once they pass over the inclined part of the bridge and reach the flat part the Nur will be taken from the hypocrites. The hypocrites will say to the believers, “Wait for us, let us borrow some of your light” and the believers will reply, “Our Rabb! Increase and complete our Nur…”
“They will be told, “Run to salvation according to your Nur!” While crossing the bridge some will pass in the blink of an eye, some will pass like lightning, some will pass like the wind, some will pass like swift horses, some will pass like camels, some will walk, some will crawl, and some will be thrown into Hell.”
Ibn Masud (ra), explains the varying speeds as:
“The blink of an eye, the speed of lightening, as fast as a meteor, like the wind, like swift horses, like she-camels” and adds “some will have Nur only in their toes and crawl over the bridge dragging their arms and legs.”
“There will be thorny hooks on the bridge like the hooks in hell called as-Sadan… Did you see as-Sadan? These hooks will be like the thorns of Sadan but none knows how big they are other than Allah. The hooks will snatch those with bad deeds.”
Some will run, some will walk, and the last one will creep and crawl his way to heaven. Then he will ask, “My Rabb why did you leave me behind?”
And Allah will say, “It was your own deeds that left you behind.”
The 8th verse of chapter at-Tahrim says:
“Their Nur (light of knowledge) will race before them and on their right. They will say, “Our Rabb... Perfect our Nur (increase the scope of our observation) and forgive us... Indeed, you are Qadir over all things.”
And the 13th verse of chapter al-Hadid says:
“On that Day the (hypocrite) men and two-faced women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light (Nur; knowledge of the reality).” It will be said, “Go back and seek light.” And an (unsurpassable) wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior (inner world) containing grace, but its exterior is torment (the condition of those who fail to experience the reality is suffering, whereas observing the qualities of the Names leads to a state of grace).”
“Both the hypocrites and the believers will be given Nur and as they begin to cross the bridge the hooks and clamps will snatch some away and the Nur of the hypocrites will be extinguished. In the end, only the believers will be saved.”
“The first group to pass the bridge will be a group of seventy thousand believers. They will go directly to heaven without being called to account. Those who come after them will be like the brightest stars in the sky. They too will pass with ease.”
“There are hooks and clamps on each side of the Bridge and they catch on command. These hooks are the lustrous desires that surround hell. Those who are deluded by these desires will fall into hell and be destroyed. Some will eventually reach salvation after a period of suffering.”
We asked, “O Rasul of Allah! What is the bridge?” He said, “It is a slippery (bridge). I have come to know that the bridge over Hell is thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword. Some will be safe without any harm; some will be safe after receiving some scratches, and some will fall down into Hell (Fire). The last person will cross by being dragged (over the bridge).”
Finally when Allah finishes His judgment, and intends to take out of the Fire whoever He wishes to take out from among those who used to testify that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah, He will order the angels to take them out and the angels will recognize them by the mark of prostration (on their foreheads) for Allah banned the fire to consume the traces of prostration on the body of Adam's son.
I swear by Allah in whose hand of power is my being, the invocation and prayers of those who are saved from hell for the salvation of their brothers who are still inside will be nothing like the beseeching and praying you have seen in this world. Those who are saved will say,
“Our Rabb, those who remain in hell are our sisters and brothers. They used to pray with us and fast with us and perform pilgrimage and do good deeds.”
Then Allah will say, “Go then and save anyone with a dinar worth of faith in their heart.”
Allah will forbid the fire from burning them. These intercessors will enter hell and take out their brethren.
Then Allah will say, “Go back and take out anyone with a half dinar weight of faith in their heart.”
And they will go back inside and save them.
Then Allah will say:
“Go back inside and save anyone with an iotas weight of faith in his heart.”
And hence they will go back inside and save more people.
Finally, all the Nabis, the Rasuls, angels, believers will have done their interceding to save the people. At last Allah will say “Now it is my turn” and He will send the remainder of my followers into hell. The people in hell will say to them, “You used to worship Allah in the world and never associated partners to Him, yet here you are in hell with us! You used to pray and fast, yet here you are in hell!”
Upon this, Allah will say, “I will free them from hell for the sake of my Honor and Glory” and then He will save them.
Then Allah will say, “The angels interceded, the Nabis and Rasuls interceded, the believers interceded. Only the Most Merciful One is left!”
Then some who have done no good deeds in the world and who have turned to coal in hell will be taken out. And they will be dipped into water, called Ma'ul Hayat (water of life), from which they will spring out like a seed springs out on the bank of a rainwater stream, with gold hoops around their necks so the people of paradise recognize them, and they will say:
“These are the exempt ones that Allah brought to paradise for the sake of their faith, even though they have done no good deed.”
And Allah will say, “Go into Paradise, everything your eyes can see is yours!”
And they will say, “Our Rabb! You have blessed us with a blessing to which you have not given to anyone in the world!”
And then, one man, will remain in the middle of hell and heaven, with his face turned to hell, he will be the last person to enter paradise. He will say, “O Rabb! It's (Hell's) smoke has poisoned me and its flame has burnt me; please turn my face away from the Fire.”
He will keep on invoking Allah till Allah says, “Perhaps, if I give you what you want, you will not ask for another thing?” The man will say, “No, by Your Power, I will not ask You for anything else.”
Then Allah will turn his face away from the Fire. When he sees paradise the man will say, “O Rabb, bring me near the gate of Paradise.” Allah will say to him, “Didn't you promise not to ask for anything else? Woe to you, O son of Adam! How treacherous you are!”
The man will keep on invoking Allah till Allah says, “But if I give you that, you may ask me for something else.” The man will say, “No, by Your Power. I will not ask for anything else.” He will give Allah his covenant and promise not to ask for anything else after that. So, Allah will bring him near to the gate of Paradise, and when he sees what is in it, he will remain silent as long as Allah wills, and then he will say, “O Rabb! Let me enter Paradise.” Allah will say, “Didn't you promise that you would not ask Me for anything other than that? Woe to you, O son of Adam! How treacherous you are!”
On that, the man will say, “O Rabb! Do not make me the most wretched of Your creation” and he will keep on invoking Allah till Allah smiles and allows him to enter Paradise.
But the man will cry: “O Rabb! Please don’t make me the most miserable of Your creation!” and he will keep on invoking Allah until Allah, the exalted, will smile and allow the man to enter Paradise.
While narrating this part Ibn Mas’ood (ra) smiled and said:
“Why don’t you ask me why I am smiling?”
They said: “Why are you smiling?”
He said: “This is how the Rasul of Allah (SAW) smiled and when they asked, “Why are you smiling, O Rasul of Allah?” He said: “Because when Rabb of the worlds smiles and tells him, “Make a wish!” the man will say, “Are You making fun of me when You are the Rabb of the Worlds?” and Allah will respond, “I am not making fun of you, but I am Able to do whatever I will!”
And the man will keep on wishing and wishing and asking for so many things until he can’t find anything else to ask for. Then Allah will help him out and remind him saying, “How about this… and how about that?” And then, when the man is completely satisfied, Allah will say, “All your wishes will be granted… and doubled!”
Abu Hurairac (ra) added: “That man will be the last of the people to enter Paradise.”
The Rasul (saw) explains,
I know the last man to come out of hell and enter paradise. He will come out crawling from hell and Allah will tell him, “Enter paradise” but when he goes there he will see it full and say, “O Allah, I found paradise to be full!” and Allah will tell him, “Go and enter paradise” again the man will find it full and again Allah will say, “Go and enter paradise, you will be given a place ten times bigger than the world”
And the Rasul of Allah (saw) smiled until all his teeth could be seen, and then he said, “This man will have the lowest rank and place in paradise.”
It is reported on the authority of al-Mughira b. Shu'ba that the Rasul of Allah (saw) said:
Moses asked his Rabb, “Who amongst the inhabitants of Paradise has the lowest rank?”
Allah said, “The person who will be admitted into Paradise as the last of all among those deserving of Paradise. I will say to him, ‘Enter Paradise.’ He will say, ‘O my Rabb! How should I enter while all the people have settled in their apartments and taken their portions?’ He will be asked, ‘Would you be pleased if you could have the kingdom of a king amongst the kings of the world?’ He will say: ‘I will be pleased my Rabb.’ Then Allah will say, ‘For you is that, and like that, and like that, and like that, and like that.’ On the fifth repetition he will say, ‘I am well pleased My Rabb’. Then Allah will say, ‘It is for you and ten times like it, and for you is what your nafs (self) desires and your eye enjoys’ He will say: ‘I am well pleased, my Rabb.’
Then Moses asked: “Which is the highest of ranks amongst the inhabitants of Paradise?”
Allah said: “They are those whom I have chosen for Myself. I established their honor with My own hand and then set a seal over it and they will be blessed with Bounties which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human mind has perceived and this is substantiated by the Book of Allah, Exalted and Great ‘No soul knows what delight of the eye is hidden for them; a reward for what they did.’”