Unfortunately the truth about death is little known. It is generally conceived as an end whereas death is nothing other than a transition from a material world to an ethereal world. It is a transformation!
When one dies, one leaves his physical body and continues his life either in the grave or outside the grave with his holographic wave body called the ‘spirit’.
The Quran says, “Every being (individual consciousness) will taste death.” (Quran 3:185)
When the brain stops functioning the bioelectrical energy supplied to the body is ceased which means the electromagnetic energy that connects the spirit to the body is lost, hence releasing the spirit to move on to an independent life. This is what death is about.
Since all of the activities that transpire in one’s brain during their lifetime is uploaded to their holographic wave body, like TV waves are uploaded with audio and visual waves, the spirit will move on to this next phase of life without feeling any difference in itself. Thus, the person will feel just as alive and real in the spirit body as they do in their biological body. Only with one difference; despite feeling alive and conscious, they will not be able to move their physical body. It will feel like paralysis! Though he will see and hear everything that’s going on around him he will not be able to make any contact with his surrounding.
This is how Ibrahim Haqqi Erzurumi narrates the event of death through the mouth of Muhammad (saw):
The deceased knows who washes and shrouds him, who attends his funeral prayer and burial service, who places him in his grave and who gives talkin (recitation of certain prayers by the grave done immediately after the deceased is buried). Do not shout and mourn in agony near the deceased for this will torture him, as the deceased can fully hear and see what’s going on around him.
Here’s Sahih Bukhari Hadith narrated by Abu Talha (ra):
On the day of Badr, the Rasul (saw) ordered that the corpses of twenty-four leaders of Quraish should be thrown into one of the dirty dry wells of Badr. It was a habit of the Rasul (saw) that whenever he conquered an enemy tribe, he would stay at the battlefield for three nights. So, on the third day of the battle of Badr, he ordered that his she-camel be saddled, then he set out, and his companions followed him saying among themselves. "Definitely the Rasul is proceeding for some great purpose." When he halted at the edge of the well, he addressed the corpses of the Quraish infidels by their names and their fathers' names, "O so-and-so, son of so-and-so and O so-and-so, son of so-and-so! Would it have pleased you if you had obeyed Allah and His Rasul? We have found true what our Rabb promised us. Have you too found true what your Rabb promised you?" Umar said, "O Allah's Rasul! You are speaking to bodies that have no souls!" Allah's Rasul said, "By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad's soul is, you do not hear what I say better than they do."
As can be seen the Rasul of Allah (saw) is correcting the big misunderstanding; that people are placed into the grave dead and then brought to life at the time of Doomsday. Indeed, when people are buried they are no less conscious and alive than they are while living in the world and they can hear everything that is spoken around them, just as they would have they not been buried.
"Whenever Uthman (ra) the third Caliphate, stood before a grave he wept until his beard was wet. When he was asked: ‘You have seen battle and death without a tear, and you cry for this?’ He said: ‘The grave is the first abode of the hereafter. Whoever is saved from it, what follows is easier; whoever is not saved from it, what follows is harder. The Prophet said: "I have not seen anything more frightful than the grave."’"
When Sa’d bin Muadh (ra), one of the greatest warriors and martyrs of Islam was buried, the Rasul of Allah (saw) said by his grave:
“This is a righteous servant for whom the Throne shook and for whom the gates of heavens were thrown open and whose funeral was witnessed by 70,000 angels who had never descended to the earth until that day. Were anybody to be saved from the squeezing of the grave, it would have been Sa’d. Because of the elevated station he reached he was released swiftly, that is all!”
Think about it, if the person was not conscious, could we even speak about any form of suffering?
The Rasul of Allah (saw) was asked:
“O Rasul, who among the believers are more intelligent and conscious?”
He said, “Those who remember death frequently and duly prepare for the life after death. They are the smartest and most conscious…”
In another place, he says, “The most conscious and foresighted one is he who subjects his ego to the divine laws and engages in activities that will benefit him in the future. The impotent is one who follows his ego and then wishfully hopes for some reward from Allah!”
Ibn Mas’ud (ra) narrates:
I heard the Rasul of Allah (saw) say “Indeed the sinners will be subject to much suffering in the grave, to such extent that the animals will hear their cries.”
Abu Said al Hudri narrates from the Rasul of Allah (saw):
Ninety-nine dragons will attack the denier in his grave until Doomsday. If one of them were to roar upon the earth no plant will ever grow again!”
Ibn Omar (ra) narrates:
When one of you dies, whether he is of the people of heaven or hell, he will be shown his place morning and night and told, “This is your abide, until your resurrection at Doomsday this is where you will dwell.”
Notice that in the Amantu, we say “And we believe in resurrection after DEATH” not “after DOOMSDAY”! Indeed, resurrection occurs immediately after death, not after doomsday. We live in this world with this physical biological body and the spirit body it produces.
Imam Ghazali the eminent Islamic scholar and Sufi master says the following in his “The Ninety-nine Names of Allah” under the name “Al-Baith.””
The majority of the people know about it (resurrection) only in terms of general suppositions and obscure imagination. Their utmost capacity in this respect lies in their imaginin that death is no-existence, (and resurrection is to come back into existence after becoming non-existent) as was the case with the first creation.
But their notion that death is (equivalent) to non-existence is mistaken, and their thinking that the second (act of) bringing into existece will be like the first one is (also) mistaken.
As for their thinking that death is non-existence, this is invalid. Rather the grave is either one of the pits of the fires (of Hell), or one of the bowers of the gardens of Paradise.
Inner vision has shown the masters of insight that man was created for eterity and that non-existence has no access to him. True, freedom of action may at one time be cut off from the body, and then one says, “He has died”; at another time it may be returned to the body and then one says, “He lives and is resurrected,”
As for their thinking that the resurrection is a second creation which is just like the first creation, this is not correct. Rather is the resurrection another formation not related to the first formation at all. For man there are numerous formations (resurrections), not only two.”
When death is tasted the material body disintegrates and the person is resurrected with his spirit body with which he continues his life until doomsday.
Then during the event we call doomsday, which is the disintegration of the Earth in the heat of the sun, he will be resurrected again.
Then depending on the place he is to go after this period, he will undergo another form of resurrection.
Are we going to be as aware and as conscious as we are right now when we are in our graves?
Abdullah bin Omar (ra) answers this as follows:
Hadhrat Omar (ra) asked the Rasul of Allah (saw), “O Rasul of Allah, are we going to be conscious in our graves?”
“Just as you are right now” he answered.
So how will one who tastes death and then placed into the grave feel while his body is totally inactive yet he is completely conscious and aware?”
Lets hear the answer from Anas (ra):
The Rasul of Allah (saw) said: “When the servant is placed into grave he will hear the distancing of footsteps, and then two angels will appear before him, they will make him sit up and ask him:
“What do you say about the man called Muhammad?”
If he is a believer he will answer, “I witness that Muhammad is the servant and the Rasul of Allah.”
Then they will say, “Look at your place in hell. Allah has replaced it with this place in heaven.” After this he will see both his place in hell and his place in heaven.
If he’s an unbeliever he will say, “I don’t have definite knowledge. I only know what I heard from others.”
He will be told, “You failed to recognize and know him”. He will be hammered with such intensity that everything besides the humans the jinn will hear his cries.”
Lets end this topic with the hadith:
“Crying and mourning after the deceased causes suffering to the deceased.”
There are many such warnings in hadith books. All of them lead to the same conclusion:
The person does not die, he tastes death, in other words, death is an experience, a changing of life dimensions. Thus, even though the biological body becomes inactive with this experience, consciousness isn’t lost, it continues until doomsday, during which a new body is formed.
Now lets have brief look at what transpires after death.
After the experience of death, the person continues to perceive his surrounding for some time, he hears and sees everything that goes around him but he isn’t able to respond or make contact in any way, like in a state of paralysis.
Then comes the time to wash the corpse. Why is the corpse washed?
The wisdom behind washing the corpse according to my understanding is to supply bioelectrical reinforcement to the body via osmosis, as the body continues to live at the cellular level for some time after death. Thereby, the person is able to continue his connection to the world for a little while longer.
The period between the point of death until the place of gathering (Mahshar) is called the Intermediary Dimension (Barzakh). Life after death is divided into three stages:
- The life of the grave
- The life in the Realm of the Grave
- The life of the Intermediary Dimension (Barzakh)
The Life of the Grave:
This begins immediately after the point of death with the resurrection of the holographic wave body (spirit) and continues until the end of the burial. This is similar to the process of falling asleep when we got to bed, for a while we are still conscious and able to perceive everything that’s going on, after some time we begin to doze off, and then we dream. In much a similar way the deceased also undergoes a transition period into his own Realm of the Grave life. During this time, the two angels of account appear and ask the person who his Rabb is, who his Nabi is and what his Book is… I beg your attention; nobody is questioned of their madhap or tariqah! Those who make such claims are clearly devoid of religious knowledge for nowhere in the Quran or amongst Hadith does it say the person will be questioned of his madhap or tariqah. Such notions were formed after the Rasul of Allah (saw), they have no validity in the intermediary realm.
After this questioning, the person will then move on either to the Realm of the Grave or to the Intermediary Dimension. What’s the difference?
The Realm of the Grave:
This is very similar to the state of dreaming, where the person isn’t aware of being in dream state and thus evaluates everything according to his worldly views and measures. Just like he perceived the world to be real while living, he will perceive the realm of the grave to be just as real. This can either be a paradise like experience, seeing peaceful and joyful dreams one after another, or hell-like, seeing extremely horrendous nightmares that cause pain and suffering. This is what the hadith “The grave will either be a garden of paradise or a pit of hell” refers to.
This state will continue until doomsday.
The Intermediary Dimension:
Those who’ve been martyred on the way of Allah, the saints and the Nabis that have ‘died before death’ will resume their lives with their spirit bodies, free from the restrictions of the grave life.
In the intermediary dimension, the martyrs, saints and Nabis can freely roam around and make contact with each other depending on their acquired state.
There is also a hierarchy in the intermediary dimension by which its habitants are governed. I explained this in detail in The Mystery of Man.
The saints of the Intermediary Dimension who’ve acquired the station of self-conquest (fath) can even make contact with the people in the world.
Saints who’ve acquired unveiling but haven’t reached self-conquest on the other hand, wont be able to make direct contact with the people in the world, despite being free in almost every other way.
More information on unveiling (kashf) and self-conquest (fath) can be found in The Power of Prayer.
So in short, this is the kind of life awaiting us after death!
 Ninety-nine Names of God in Islam, translated by Robert Charles Stade, pg 46-47 http://www.ghazali.org/books/Ghazali-99-Name-of-God.pdf