It is the belief ('Aqeedah) of deen that after death, mankind will enter a realm before the day of resurrection, which is known as Aalam-e-Barzakh. There are many sects in Islam who claim to be Muslims but do not believe in Aalam-e-Barzakh.' This is a grave misunderstanding on behalf of these people. Death is the ultimate reality that no human can escape. It awes people and challenges all of their false claims of deviant beliefs. It puts an end to their hopes for prosperity and success in this life. Once there, they have no way of returning to this life.
Allah say's in the noble Qur'aan:
"Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he say's, "My lord! Send me back. Perhaps I may do good in that which I have left behind," Indeed no! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is a Barzakh until the day when they are raised up."
The discussion regarding Al-Barzakh is only based on authentic text from Allah's book and his messengers Sunnah. It has been mentioned in the Qur'aan and has been established by numerous Ahaadeeth.
Al-Barzakh has two states. A person will either be punished in this realm, which is known, as "Azhaabul-Qabr" or he will receive the blessings and bounties of Allah due to his faith and good deeds, this is known as "Tan'eemu Ahlit-Taa'ah Fil Qabr" in Arabic.
Majority of the books on six Aqeedah only mention the former state and suffice on that. This is due to the fact that the narration regarding six Azhaabul-Qabr exceeds the narrations regarding Tan'eemu Ahlit-Taa'ah Fil Qabr. Also, due to the fact that there are more people who will be punished in the grave than those who shall receive bounties. It is reported in an very lengthy Hadeeth reported by Ahmed and Abu Dawood on the authority of Al-Baraa Bin Azhib, that they (the companions) when out with Allah's messenger to the funeral of a man from the Ansaar.
They reached the location of the grave before it was dug. The messenger of Allah sat down facing the Qibla; and they sat around him quietly, as if afraid to disturb birds standing on their heads. He held in his hand, a stick with which he was moving the earth, raising and lowering his eyes three times. He said to them (two or three times),
"seek refuge in Allah from the punishment of the grave." Then he said (three times), "oh! Allah I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave."From this Hadeeth, we can see that the prophet himself seeked refuge from the punishment of the grave. No human being will be speared from the squeeze of the grave. However, the following Hadeeth indicates that it is not the same degree of severity for all people; some it would be Sa'ad bin Mu'az; however, he was squeezed once then released." (Narrated by At-Tabrani in Al-Kabir).
However those who will receive the bounties and the mercy of Allah will truly be in the gardens of bliss. Although it is apparent that the best protection against punishment in the grave is to carry the truth belief in Allah and avoid the major sins. There are specific things that are mentioned in the Ahaadeeth that protect a person from the punishment of the grave. These things are as follows: Martyrdom on the battlefield (At-Tirmizhi), standing guard in the way of Allah (Muslim), death caused by abdomen disease (At-Tirmizhi), reciting suratul Mulk (Al-Hakim), Dying on Friday (Ahmed and At-Tirmizhi).
Before the two above mentioned, it states that the person will be approached by Munkar and Nakeer.
Author:(Maulana) Afikul Islam
(Arabic Year 6 - 2001), Darul Uloom London
Taken with thanks from : HaqIslam.org