in category Other Beliefs

Did the Shiites reject the punishment of the grave?

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Islamic researcher, graduated from Al-Azhar University, Islamic Studies in the English language. I also studied at Temple University in the US.
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In a Nutshell:
Whilst the majority of Shiites accept the notion of the punishment and the bliss of the grave, other Shiites adhere to the notion of reincarnation that ends with ultimate happiness with angels or the ultimate sadness with being only a non-living thing.

The Twelver Shiites

The Twelver Shiites adhere to the same view of the Sunnis. They believe the disbelievers and the disobedient Muslim will live a painful life in the grave because of the bad deeds they committed in their life. They also believe the righteous Muslim would live a comfortable life in his grave until the Day of resurrection. The Twelver argue with the same logical and traditional pieces of evidence mentioned by Sunnis.
Attusi, an outstanding Shiite scholar, said:

عَذَابُ الْقَبْرِ وَاقِعٌ لإِمْكَانِهِ وَتَوَاتُرِ السَّمْعِ بِوُقُوعِهِ
"The punishment in the grave is true because of its rational possibility and tawatur of narrations proclaim its reality." (Allamah Majlesi, al-Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 6, p. 272)

كُلُّ مَا أَخْبَرَ بِهِ النَّبِيُّ أَوْ الْإمَامُ فَاِعْتِقَادُهُ وَاجِبٌ ...( ك ) أَحْوَالُ الْقَبْرِ وَعَذَابُهُ وَثَوِابُهُ وَسُؤَالُ مُنْكَرٌ وَنَكِيرٌ وَالْإِحْيَاءُ فِيهِ .
"Everything is mentioned by The Prophet (saw) or the Imam must (wajib) be believed … (such as) the circumstance of the grave and its punishment and reward; as well as the interrogation of the two angels and the resurrection in it." (Attosi, al-'Aqa'id al-Ja'fariyah, in: Allamah Majlesi, al-Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 58, p. 104)

Imam Saduq (d. 381 A.H.) said:

اعْتِقَادُنَا فِي الْمَسْأَلَةِ فِي الْقَبْرِ أَنَّهَا حَقٌّ لاَبُدَ مِنْهَا ، فَمَنْ أَجَابَ بِالصَّوَابِ فَإِذَا بِرَوْحٍ وَرَيْحانٍ فِي قَبْرِهِ وَجَنَّةٍ وَنَعِيمٍ فِي الْآخِرَةِ ، وَمُنْ لَمْ يَأْتِ بِالصَّوَابِ فَلَهُ نُزُلٌ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ فِي قَبْرِهِ وَتَصَلِيَةُ جَحِيمٍ فِي الْآخِرَةِ .
"Our belief in the issue of grave is that it is necessarily true. Whoever correctly answer, then for him is rest and bounty in his grave and a garden of pleasure on the Day after. Whoever wrongly answer, then for him is accommodation of scalding water in his grave and burning in Hellfire on the Day after." (Allamah Majlesi, al-Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 6, p. 279)

Imam al-Mufid (d. 413 A.H.) said concerning the belief in the interrogation of the two angels:

إِنَّ ذَلِكً صَحِيحٌ وَعَلَيْهِ إِجْمَاعُ الشِّيعَةِ وَأَصْحَابُالْحَدِيثِ

"This is true and Shiites and Sunnis (ahl al-Hadith) unanimously agree on it." (Mufid, 'Awa'il al-Maqalatm, p, 76)

Allamah Majlesi, a Shiite jurist, said:

عذَابُ الْبَرْزَخِ وَثَوابُهُمِمَّا اُتَّفَقَتِ عَلَيْهِ الْأُُمَّةُ سَلَفًا وَخَلَقًا ، وَقَالَ بِهِ أَكْثَرُ أهْلِ الْمِلَلِ وَلَمْ يُنْكِرْهُ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ إلّا شِرْذِمَةٌ قَلِيلَةٌ لَا عِبْرَةَ بِهِمْ ، وَقَدْ اِنْعَقَدَ الاجْمَاعُ عَلَى خِلاَفِهِمْ سَابِقًا وَلاَحِقًا ، وَالْأَحَادِيثُ الْوَارِدَةُ فِيه مِنْ طُرُقِ الْعَامَّةِ وَالْخَاصَّةِ مُتَوَاتِرَةُ الْمَضْمُونِ
"The Umah, earlier and successors, has agreed on the punishment and the bliss of the grave. The notion is accepted by most religions' followers and no Muslim has rejected it except whom are very few people not taken into consideration because the early and later, unlike them, consensus was established. There are many general and especial meaningfully mutawatir (recurrent) narrations (confirm this notion)." (Allamah Majlesi, al-Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 6, p. 271)

The Ismaili Shiites

The Ismaili Shiites rejected the notion of punishment of the grave in the accepted form of the other Sunnis and Shiites. They believe in the notion of metempsychosis or reincarnation. When a person dies, his soul is transmigrated to another man or thing. So If he was good enough, his soul would go to a righteous person and therefore he would be happy. But if the dead person was not good or righteous, his soul would transmigrate to an animal or a vicious human with which he would suffer. Thus the punishment or the bliss after death is only through the good or bad body he will redress. In such a context, the notion of grave does not have any room as the grave is only the bed of an old and worn-out body, nothing more. (At-Tibi, ad-Dustur, p. 9, Harithi, al-Anwar al-Latifah, pp. 131-139, Usul al-Isma'iliyah, Vol. 2, p. 616, Cited in al-'Itibi, al-Hayah al-Barzakhiyah, pp. 150-165)

The Nusairis Shiite

The Nusairis Shiites are one of the exaggerators in Shia, they see divinity attributes in Ali (ra). They also believe in the metempsychosis but in a different way. They have four stages of metempsychosis: Naskh, Maskh, Faskh and Raskh.
Naskh is the transmigration of the believers' and disbelievers' souls into another human body. The righteous believer's soul is incarnated in a better believer until he reaches to the top rank of faith and then his soul will be elevated to live amongst the angels. The disobedient believer's soul is incarnated in a disbeliever's body in a way that makes him suffer. The Naskh of disbeliever's soul has 7 stages that end with the incarnation in animals (Maskh), then into plants, mosquitos or ants (Raskh), then into non-living things (Faskh). This is the kind of punishment or bliss humans face after their death. Thus there is no room for punishment or bliss of the grave. (Al-Alami, an-Nusayriyah, pp. 260-270, Shihristani, al-Milal wa an-Nihal, p. 206, cited in al-'Itibi, al-Hayah al-Barzakhiyah, pp. 167-171)


The Shiites adhere to two views regarding the punishment or reward of the grave. The majority of Shiites agree with the Sunnis on the approval of the notion while the Ismaili, the Nusairis and others who believed in the notion of metempsychosis, where the painful or happy life a man will live after death would be through the new body he is going to dress, rejected it.


Al-'Itibi, al-Hayah al-Barzakhiyah.
Allamah Majlesi, al-Bihar al-Anwar.
Attosi, al-'Aqa'id al-Ja'fariyah.
Mufid, 'Awa'il al-Maqalatm.
At-Tibi, ad-Dustur.
Harithi, al-Anwar al-Latifah.
Usul al-Isma'iliyah.
Al-Alami, an-Nusayriyah.
Shihristani, al-Milal wa an-Nihal.

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