The dimension of life pertaining to the period between death and judgment day is termed the realm of barzakh. This period is divided into three stages:
- The life of the grave (kabr)
- The life of the realm of the grave
- The life of barzakh
A. The life of the grave
This stage of life begins when the person tastes death and is resurrected as the spirit (holographic wave) body and goes on as the person continues to perceive things as matter in the grave. The person continues to hear and see everything before and after he is buried in his grave. This is similar to going to bed but still being awake and able to perceive everything, to feel the stiffness or softness of the bed, etc. Just like this, the deceased will initially be able to see everything that transpires in his grave. And just like before we fall asleep when we seem to be in a semi-sleep state where we can still hear what is going on around us yet also begin to see dream-like things, the deceased will also continue to perceive the outside world while getting ready to make the transition into the realm of the grave.
This is when the two angels will come to call the person to account, asking him ‘Who is your Rabb? Who is your Nabi? What is your Book?’…
Note that the person will never be questioned of his sect or order! He who preaches that people will be questioned about their religious sects and Sufi orders, etc. are clearly ignorant in religious knowledge. There is no verse in the Quran, nor any recorded hadith about being questioned about one’s religious sect or order! Such establishments were formed after Rasulullah’s (saw) transition to the realm of barzakh;these terms are not even recognized in barzakh!
After being held to account, the person progresses to either the realm of the grave or the realm of barzakh. So what is the difference between the two?
B. The life of the realm of the grave
This realm is very similar to the dream world; however, the person is unaware of the fact that he is dreaming and continues to evaluate things as though he is living in the world.
The life in the realm of the grave will be perceived as real as this world is perceived when one lives here. This life can either be the grave of heaven, full of peaceful, serene and pleasurable dreams, or be the grave of Hell and comprise terrifying and agonizing nightmares.
This state of existence continues until Doomsday. This is the life of the grave of those who are confined to their graves, referenced by Rasulullah’s (saw) hadith “the grave of the deceased will either be a garden of paradise or a pit from hell.” Other than this, there is also the life of barzakh.
C. The realm of barzakh
This state of existence is independent of the restrictions of the grave and pertains to the saints (waliyy), Nabis, and those who were martyred in the name of Allah. In short, it is for those who were able to die before dying.
In the realm of barzakh, the martyrs, saints (waliyy) and Nabis are able to freely roam about and, depending on their ranks, interact with each other.
Additionally, there is a hierarchy in this realm, by which the people there are administered. I have covered this topic in detail in The Mystery of Man, in the chapter about the ‘Rijali Ghayb (The Men of the Unseen).
The saints (waliyy) of barzakh, who were able to acquire a fath (self-conquest) while on earth, will be able to make contact with the people on earth. In contrast, those who were able to acquired kashf (self-discovery) but not fath, despite their freedom and unconstrained state of existence, will not have the opportunity to make such contacts.
Hence, the person will continue to live after tasting death, either in the life of the grave, or depending on his rank, in barzakh.
Such is the life awaiting us on the other side!