Explaining the Holy Verse:
Wa Jee A Yaw Maizim Bi Jahannam (Surah Fajr 89:23), the Holy Prophet is reported to have said: "On the Day of Resurrection, hell will be brought forth in such a manner that it will have a thousand bridles and every bridle will be held by a thousand angels." Thus a thousand thousand (10,00,000) angels will be dragging hell. Hell will be shrieking and flames will be leaping from it high. It will encircle the entire gathering in Mahshar like the bezel of a ring. People of hell will be so restless that some of them will be almost dead. At that time will come the Command of God to bring forth Siraat. A bridge will be raised over hell and each and every one will have to pass through it without any exception. The following ayat of Surah Maryam: 71-72) explains this matter: Wa Imminkum…Jisiyaa.
Translation: There will be none of you who will not have to pass from over hell because the bridge 'Siraat' is above it. This is a firm word of your Lord. Then We will save the righteous and will leave the disobedients to themselves kneeling.
Both the people of paradise and the people of hell will have to cross that bridge of Siraat. Then the Holy Prophet said: There will be seven valleys in that path and there will be some stations in every valley and every station will be of a length of seventeen thousand farsakhs (farasakh=6 km) and seventy thousand angles will be posted in every valley. All will have to cross all of these valleys compulsorily.
The first Valley
Arrahm Wal Amaanah Wal Valaayah
You will be halted at the beginning of the bridge. “O the one who had broken off relations with your father and mother and brother!” Bad consequences of bad behaviour with these close relatives do appear even before death like cut in lifespan and removal of barkat (fruitfullness) from wealth. One will be asked about this offence in Qiyamat at the start of Siraat also. The Holy Quran asserts: Wa Taqullaah…Arhaam. (Surah Nisaa 4:1).
Translation: And fear God with Whose medium you ask one another and also be afraid of the consequences (punishment) of breaking off close relations.
If anyone of your close relatives (Zavil Arhaam) becomes ill visit him, help him if he is poor and needy. Support him if required. Do visit him at appropriate hours without fail.
Dishonesty In Wealth And Talk
Another station is that of Amaanat (honesty). It is not concerned only with money. If some one tells you something and also says that it should be kept secret and then if you tell that thing to someone else then also you have done a dishonest thing (a branch of trust) Al Majaalisu Bil Amaanah. If you have dishonoured or disgraced somebody, then you have been dishonest with him. For example, some one pledged his house with you and took a loan from you. Now, if he returns your money at the fixed time and you do not return his house to him, you have committed dishonesty, because, it will an excessive use (contrary to contract conditions). Similarly, if you have taken someone's house or shop on ijraarah (hire or lease) you must vacate the said premises as soon as the period ends. In short, be the dishonesty verbal or in deed, you will be questioned about it.
Permit Of Wilayat-e-Ali (A.S.) For Crossing The Siraat Bridge
One more station (Mauqif/halt) in the very first valley, which has been mentioned in many Sunni and Shia narrations, is the Wilayat of Ali (A.S.). In commentaries (tafseers) like that of Saalabi, the explanation of verse Waqifoohum…(Surah Saaffaat 37:24) is shown as: Masoolun…meaning: Stop them! They will be asked also about Wilayat Ali, that is, whether or not they were friendly with Ali (A.S.)?
Hamweeni and Tabari both are famous Sunni scholars. They have said that the Holy Prophet had said: O Ali! The one who will possess the permit of your Wilayat (friendship) will cross the bridge.
There are many narrations also which we omit, to be brief.
Second Valley – As Salaat (Namaz or Prayer)
After crossing the first valley (Wilayat-e-Ali and Trust and Family relations) man will reach the second valley where he will be asked about daily prayers (Salaat or Namaz), prayers for Signs (such as eclipses) and Qazaa (missed prayers) etc. as has been hinted earlier.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) said: The one who missed Namaz or prayers will not receive my intercession (Shafaat). The last vasiyyat (Will) of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) was: Laa Tanaalu…(Safeenat-ul-Bihaar) meaning: Our Shafaat can never reach those persons who underestimated the value of Namaz, for example, who prayed Fajr Namaz to sunrise or just before it, to offer Zuhrain at about sunset time. Such people will also not get the intercession of the impeccables. Then what to say about those who do not offer Namaz at all?
It is mentioned in narrations: One who gives up prayers dies thirsty and he will also rise thirsty on the Day of Judgement.
Teach Namaz To Children And Make Them Habituated To It
A thing which I want to emphasize and which I wish that all should know and convey it to others also is the responsibility which is on us with regard to our children. We must make our children habituated to Namaz or prayers even before they become adult. It is incumbent on all of us to train our children in such a manner they may become regular worshippers. There is no doubt in it that we will get its reward. The reward of whatever good deeds the children do before becoming major (as a result of the parents efforts) will reach the parents. Even after the children become adults, their parents will be benefited by their childrens good works as God will be pleased with the parents who trained their children nicely.
Reciting ‘Bismillahirrehmaanirraheem’ By A Child Ends The Chastisement Of His father
You might have heard that once a messenger was passing by a graveyard with his companions. At one spot, the Prophet told his companions: Walk away from this spot swiftly because the person in this grave is being punished. One year thereafter, that messenger was again passing with the same companions by the same graveyard but then there was no sign of any chastisement. The messenger said to God: O Lord! How is it that now this maiyat (body) is not being punished! Came a Voice: He had a son. After this man died, people took his son to a Madressa where the Maulavi or Ustaad taught the child to recited Bismillahirrehmaanirraheem. So when the child recited this and remembered Me with my attributes of Rahmaan (kind) and Raheem (Merciful) We too removed from this child's father his punishment as he was the means of this child's birth.
Summary is that a child's prayers and worships also benefits the parents. So this is our duty and the first demand of Amr Bil Maaroof and Nahy Aneel Munkar (Commanding of good and prohibition of evils) that we should pay our attention first to our children and thereafter to other near and dear ones. Wa Anzir…Hijaarah (Surah Tahrim 66:6).
Translation: O Faithful people! Save yourselves and your children from hellfire which will be fuelled by men and stones.
Third Valley – Al Khums Wal Zakat
If some one had failed to pay even one dirham of Khums or Zakat (poor tax) then he will be stopped in the third valley. There are many narrations regarding those who do not pay Zakat. In one of them the impeccables (A.S.) have said: God will make aqraa overpower the fellow who did not pay Zakat and it will cling to his neck. (When a python becomes to much full of poison its hair fall down and such bald giant python is called 'aqraa' in Arabic).
In another narration, the Hazrat says: If a farmer does not pay Zakat or his land, the same land along with all of its seven layers turns into a heavy stone clung to his neck.
Similarly, it is mentioned that Hazrat Hujjatul Asr (May God hasten his honorable revelatiom) will, in the time of his appearance, kill the one who stopped Zakat payment.
So beware! Not a single dirham of zakaat should remain unpaid because, if you had collected gold and silver and wealth and had not paid the zakat for it those dirhams and dinars will be made red hot in hellfire for stamping the sides of that offender.
Yawma Yuhmaa…Taknizoon. (Surah Taubah 9:35)
Translation: The day gold and silver will be made red hot in hellfire where with their sides and foreheads will be stamped and they will be told: This is what you had gathered for you. So now, taste the fruit of your collection.
By the way, let it also be understood that there is no difference between the zakat of wealth and the zakat of body. You should pay the zakat of your body (fitrah) during the night of Eid-ul-Fitr.
When The Intercessor Himself Will Become The Opponent (claimant)
Now remains the problem of Khums. Narrations in this matter show that the questioning will be harsher than that regarding zakat. Only one of many such narrations is sufficient for emphasis. In Kaafi and in Tahzeeb and also in Man Laa Yahzaruhul Faqeeh, it is written that Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A.S.) said Inna Ashadd…meaning: On the Day of Judgement, that hour will be extremely hard for people when those entitled to Khums will raise their claims and they will ask their dues from those who did not pay the same. It is enough (for showing the importance of this matter and the seriousness of this offence) to mention that those who are intercessors will come up as opponents.
Fourth Valley – As Sawn (Fasting)
There will be questioning about the fasts of the Holy month of Ramadhan in the fourth valley. As sawmu Junnatun Minannaar meaning: Fast is a shield against fire. The Holy Imam (A.S.) said that one who fasts gets two pleasures: The first is at the time of breaking the fast (sunset) when one gets a very pleasing feeling. Another is Inda Liqaa Allah. It means either at the time of death or while crossing the bridge Siraat when he or she will meet his or her Lord.
Fifth Valley – Al Hajj
If a person, during any period of his life, gets the ability to perform Hajj (according to relevant conditions) and yet he does no perform it, then he will be stopped in this valley. Rather, on the basis of a narration, there are two groups who will be told at the time of their death: Mut Yahodiyyn Av Nasraaniyyah meaning: You are dying as a Jew or a Christian (non at as a Muslim). Those two groups consist of people who did not pay due zakat and those who did not perform Hajj. It is enough for the condemnation of one who does not perform obligatory Hajj to say that the Lord of the Universe has, in the Holy Quran, used the work Kafir (denier) for him: Wa Lillaahi…Aalameen. (Surah Aale Imraan: 97).
Translation: And it is obligatory for people to perform Hajj only for the sake of Allah if they are able to reach Khaan-e-Ka'ba and who, despite having such ability, committed Kufr from Hajj, then (he should remember that) Allah independent of the universe.
No more discussion on these subjects is advisable as, by so doing, we will be going out of the discussion of Usool-e-Aqaaid (basic beliefs). Our only intention is to provide their list to most of the believers.
Sixth Valley – At Tahaarah (Cleanliness)
Ibne Abbas is reported to have said that Tahaarat means all the three types of cleanliness, that it, Wuzoo (ablution), Ghusl (bath) and Tayamum (intentional gesture). Some hadith writers have said that what is meant is absolute cleanliness. If someone is not regular in cleaning (women must especially take care of their cleanliness at particular times, otherwise) such persons will be halted in the sixth aqabah (valley) for questioning in this regard. Rather, it is also found in some narrations that, as mentioned by us earlier also, that being careless about cleanliness results in the punishment of Fishaar-e-Qabr (squeezing of grave).
Seventh Valley – Mazaalim (Oppression)
This valley is also called Aqba-e-Adl (Valley of Justice) and Aqba-e-Haqq-un-Naas (Valley of People's Rights). In the Holy Quran, it is mentioned a Mirsaad which means (ambush): Inna Rabbuka La Bil Mirsaad (Surah Fajr 89:14). If any one was slapped unjustly the offender will be detained in this valley for five hundred years and his bones will be crushed as a punishment for this crime.
O shopkeeper! What right have you to beat your servant? O teacher! On what sharaee (legal) ground are you punishing a child whereby it leaves black marks on the child's body. O Mr. Husband! Why are you beating your wives? From where the husband got a right's to whip his wife?
Of course, there are some exceptions. But such circumstances are rare and they are out of our subject and hence not discussed here. Otherwise we would have dealt with them.
Wal Laatee…Sabeelaa. (Surah Nisaa 4:34)
Translation: And those women about whom you fear that they will revolt then (first) try to make them understand (if despite it they do not realize) then you may stop sleeping with them and (even thereafter if they do not understand then) beat (but blood must not sprout nor should any organ break). Then if they begin to obey you, you also must not try to find ways of harming them.
Forty Years Imprisonment And Forty Years Of Chastisement And Scoldings
In short, who is there who can claim that he has never breached and trampled the rights of others. The impeccable (A.S.) has said: If somebody has with held someone's right, for example, not returned his trust then he will be detained in Aqabah (valley) for forty years and that nothing will be said to him. He will keep crying and weeping during all this time. Then an announcer (Munaadi) will announce: This is the fellow who kept any property of others with him. Then he will be reprimanded for another forty years. Then he will fall down in hell.
Of course, this punishment will be awarded in case his sheet of deeds had no good deeds. Otherwise, his good (reward) will be, proportionately, given to the rightful claimant as has been mentioned earlier. It is mentioned in some narrations that the reward of seven hundred Rakaat of Namaz or prayer will be given for non-payment of single dirham.
A Strange Story About Burning In Barzakh
It is written in Mustadrak of Saqqat-ul-Islam Noori that according to what is mentioned in Anwaar-ul-Maziyyah (by Syed Gayasuddin Najafi, a Shia jurisprudent and a famous scholar among Imamiyah): In our village situated near Hilla there lived a man named Muhammad bin Abi Azeenah. He was the trustee of a mosque. He used to attend that masjid daily as a routine every day. One day, when he did not come to mosque, we inquired about him. We came to know that he was ill. We wondered very much because on the very previous day, we had seen him hale and healthy. When we went to see him, we found him burnt from head to feet. He used to faint, them become conscious and again faint. In once such interval, I asked him what had happened to him? He replied: Last night in my dream I was shown Siraat and then I was ordered to walk over it. So I proceeded, in the beginning the ground under my feet was levelled. Then I found that it has become thin. Initially, it was soft but later on it turned very sharp. I was putting my steps very slowly, balancing myself to escape falling down. Dark flames of fire from beneath were leaping upwards. I was observing that many people were dropping down like leaves in the fall (autumn). Once I felt that there was nothing except an hair like rope under my feet. The suddenly the fire dragged me to it and I also fell down in that cave of fire. The more I tried to come up the more I was going down. (Hellfire has the quality of drawing people to it, and that, according to a narration, the depth is equal to the length of a seventy year journey). As soon as I realized that I was about to be finished, I remembered that whenever I was falling or stumbling or falling, I used to exclaim Yaa Ali and saying Yaa Maulaai, Yaa Ameerul Momineen, Aghisni. I felt inspired to look upward. So when I looked up I found that a saintly person was standing by the side of the Siraat. He extended his hand, caught me and fetched me out. I submitted: O Master! I am burnt down. Please help me. The Hazrat passed his Holy hand over my body from my knee to femur. Suddenly I woke up to find that particular part of my body had no sign of burning and that it had healed but the rest of my body was burning.
That person remained bedridden for three months, weeping and complaining. Various medicines were given by a number of doctors before he became healthy after three months when fresh flesh appeared on his body. It is also written in this book Mystadrak that whenever that person was describing this even he was getting fever and was trembling.
Doubtlessly there is only one medicine and it is to cling to the Wilayat of the pious Ahle Bayt (A.S.). Imam Reza (A.S.) has promised that he will guide the visitors of his shrine on the bridge of Siraat. Moreover, Hazrat Abu Abdullah-al-Husain (A.S.) is also reported to have given many good tidings to those who cling to the friendship (Wilayat) of Ahle Bayt (A.S.) with regard to Siraat. So much so that, in one narration, Imam Sadiq (A.S.) is reported to have said that the Syed-us-Shuhadaa (A.S.) will obtain salvation of Janaab Mukhtar (r.a.) also.
One more thing which has been accepted as an essential belief in shafaa'at (Intercession) on the Day of Judgement. Those pious persons who have attained nearness to God and who are also respectable in the Divine view will hold the hand of the fallen weak and unable ones to free them from the chains and shackles of hell. It can also happen that they will raise someone's rank in paradise. For instance, a man enters paradise due to his good deeds but as he got a lower rank he is unable to be benefited by nearness to Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (A.S.). So the Taahir Imams (A.S.) will intercede on their behalf and get a higher rank for them. In brief, all are in need of such Shafaa'at.
The Entire Creation Including Messengers Will Need Muhammadi Shafaa’at
As per Bihar-ul-Anwaar, Abu Aiman is reported to have said that he once requested Imam Baqir (A.S.): O Son of Rasoolullaah! You saints have made people proud (careless) by promising shafaa'at to them. This made the face of Hazrat turn red. He said: “Woe unto you. On the Day of Ressurection, all the formers and the latters, including even messengers, will be in need of the intercession of my grand father Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). Have you become proud imaging that you need no Shafaa'at!
Greater Intercession Is The Prerogative Of Only Muhammad And Aale Muhammad (A.S.)
The main shafaa’at is the intercession by Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and the Aale Muhammad (A.S.). Rest of intercessors are branches of the main one. This is to convey that they got this privilege because of the formers. For example, among the rest of the intercessors are also the ulema (scholars) and the righteous who will help many in entering paradise. Can they ever be other than the followers of Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (A.S.)? Likewise, among the intercessors will be Momineen (faithful persons) too. The Masoom (A.S.) says that every momin will intercede n favour of a hundred persons. From where the Momineen got this honour? Only from Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (A.S.). Also for instance, the intercessors will also include the Saadaats. Have they not been given this respectable position only due to their belonging to the Holy Progeny? Similarly the Holy Quran and the Holy mosques will also intercede on the Day of Resurrection. They too are among the aasaar (symbols) of the aforesaid Holy persons.
Intercession At Every Stage
The main place of intercession is the field (Maidaan) of Mahshar (Qiyamat). But there are evidences to show that intercession is effective not only in Barzakh but also in this world. For example, some kind of calamity is about to fall at a certain place but that trouble is removed as a result of the intercession of Hazrat Valiy-e-Asr (May God hasten his appearance). Or, for instance, a body is under chastisement in the grave (barzakh) but some one from his relatives in the world approaches the Holy Ahle Bayt (A.S.) and after much weeping makes them a waastah (medium). The Merciful God pardons the aforesaid dead relative or friend due to the holiness of the said saints. If all our said masters will intercede God will surely forgive us. Many such events have taken place. (In this connection, martyr Dastgaib Shirazi has, in his commentary of Surah Najm quoted two events. Those who wish may refer to pages 120-131 titled 'Shafaa'at by Hazrat Abul Fazl Abbas'). The story of Syed Humeri is also to be found in many books. (Refer to Gunaahaan-e-Kabeerah under Aasaar-e-Share Khumr).
Student Who Became A Doctor
An event of healing by Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (A.S.) is also recorded in our world and that is the story of Haji Mirza Khalil. It is a recent event. Some aged people even today may remember it. At first Haji Mirza Khalil was a student in Madressa Daarus Shifaa in Qum. Once when he was sitting in his room, an old lady came running anxiously and said: “My lady master has a serious heart trouble. Do you know any medicine?” The Haji who had no concern with medical science, at once replied: Give such and such medicine to her. Next day he saw people coming to him with plates full of tasty foods as fees of his prescription. Thereafter neighours knew tha a very knowledgable doctor has arrived in the madressa who cures serious illnesses only through prescriptions. As a result, people began to rush to the Haji's room. He also thought that the arrangement won't do. So he purchased Hakim Momin's book 'Tohfaa' and after studying it, engaged in the work of a medical practitioner regularly. He became an expert physician soon and people took him to Tehran and he remained in that profession for long. Once he thought of going to Karbala but he was not in a hurry about it. One night, he saw some one in his dream who was telling him: If your intention is to visit Karbala Shareef, then make haste for there is a likelihood of a ban on visits to the Holy Place after about two months (and so happened).
An Indian Syed Lady And Leprosy
The late Haji Khalil proceeded towards Karbala within two months and witnessed what he had seen in his dream and understood that it was a Rooyaa-e-Saadiqah (a true dream). He stayed in Karbala for quite a long time and continued his medical practice there also. One day, two ladies came to him. One of them showed him her hand which had a strange kind of wound on it. The Haji said: This illness is called Khorah which has reached the bone and hence become incurable. That lady returned very disappointed. But her companion came back and said: O Haji! Did you not recognize that lady? The Haji said: No. She said: That woman is a lady Syed (Alavi) and she is one of the Indian princesses. Her longing for Ziyarat of Husain (A.S.) has dragged her upto Iraq along with all her wealth. Now she has also become poor due to this ailment since long. You too have made her hopeless! The Haji said: Please bring her back at once. When that lady returned, the Haji said: O respected madam! Though this ailment is very complicated and hard, I will make you use some medicines. God willing (Inshaa Allah) you will soon recover.
So the treatment began and the lady's hand was cured. After this, that lady was so impressed by the Haji that she stayed in his premises and behaved like a kind mother with him.
You Will Die After Ten Days
After a few days, Haji Khalil saw the same person in his dream whom he had seen earlier (and who had advised him to hasten to Karbala). Now he told the Haji: You will fall ill and die after ten days. Haji made his will. He became ill after a few days and his condition turned for the worse until on the tenth day; he was almost dead. When the Haji was breathing his last, that Alwi lady came up to him. Seeing the Haji's serious condition she became very fearful. She told the people not to touch the Haji until she returned. She proceeded directly to the Holy Haram (tomb) of Syed-us-Shuhadaa (Imam Husain a.s.), caught hold of the net and said: O His Grandfather! I will obtain the Haji from you. Please take back his life from Almighty God. Then she wept so much that she fainted. In her consciousness she saw that the Hazrat (A.S.) was telling her: O My Daughter! What has happened to you? The lifespan of the Haji has ended and the time of his death has arrived. That lady submitted: I know nothing of it. I am asking the Haji from you.
Double Life Due To Barkat OF Husain (A.S.)
The Hazrat (A.S.) said: Okay. Since you are insisting so much, I am praying to Almighty Allah. If He wills, He will return the Haji to this world. After a short time, the Hazrat smiled and said: God has answered my prayer and He has returned the Haji to the world and has also doubled his lifespan. At that time the Haji was thirty year old. Thereafter he died at the age of ninety years. During that period he got four sons one of them being the great Marjaa Faqeeh Alhajj Mirza Husain and another was a famous doctor.
Briefly concluding, when the Alawi lady heard this good tiding and returned to Haji's house, she found him sitting in a good condition. He exclaimed: O respected Alavi Madam! May God give you a great good reward.
One of the admonitions mentioned in Haji Khalil's will was his instruction to his son that he must take care of Saadaats (Syeds), especially their respected and honourable ladies, as they are very esteemed in the highest court of Almighty Allah.
There are many similar examples in books. In Darus Salaam of Iraqui, the last chapter of which is about wonders resulting from the Tawassul of Ahle Bayt (A.S.) there is a story of a child (from Turbat Peach) who had died after falling from the ceiling of his house.
Our Hope Is Closely Connected With The Intercession Of The Holy Prophet
Meaning: (O Mercy for Mankind!) What fear is there to the wall of the community when a personality like you are its support. What fear can there be of ocean waves for a man whose ship is being navigated by Noah (A.S.)!
It is mentioned in vol. 3 of Biharul Anwaar that the Holy Prophet said: “A prayer of every messenger is necessarily answered. Earlier messengers made that prayer concerning this world and God accordingly answered it here and fulfilled their aim. I have left that prayer for the Hereafter so that the sinners of my community (Ummah) may be forgiven.” Let us hope that this great mercy will include us also.
There are several narrations regarding the intercession by Fatima Zehra (s.a.) based on the sayings of the Holy Prophet and the Holy Imams (A.S.). According to one of such narrations, the impeccable (A.S.) has said, after making a mention of Fatima (s.a.)'s arrival in the field of Mahshar and her welcome there: “Every woman who never missed an obligatory prayer (Namaz), compulsory fast, and Hajj and payment of Zakat dues and whose husband was also not displeased with her, will certainly be entitled to the intercession of Fatima Zehra (s.a.).”
Intercession Is The Anchor Of Hope, Not Of Pride
Of course it must always be remembered that shafa'at or intercession must not make one proud or careless, imagining that as the said shafa'at is certainly from the Ahle Bayt (A.S.) we may do whatever we please or like. No, it is never so. There are some sins which result in man's departure from this world as a Kafir (denier). In that case there is no question of intercession. Again there are some sins the punishment for which must be suffered in hell till the sinner is purified and only thereafter he may become qualified for shafa'at. So man must remain fearful of God at every moment and along with it, he must also remain hopeful of the Most Merciful's Mercy.
Wal Alal…Bi Seemaahum (Surah A'raaf: 46)
Translation: And some people will be on A'raaf who will recognise everyone by looking at their foreheads.
According to the news given by Ahle Bayt (A.S.) A'raaf is high place which will on Siraat. God Almighty will allow room for the Holy Prophet and Ahle Bayt there. One with a shining forehead will be recognized as a friend of Aale Muhammad (A.S.) and Ali (A.S.) will allow him to proceed to paradise. Accordingly the meaning of the above quoted verse will be: Wal Alal… (Muhammad and Ali (A.S.) will recognize everyone passing from over the bridge from their faces.
* The Hereafter - Ma'ad. Chapter 3. By Ayatullah Dastghaib Shiraazi (q.s.).