"(That) day, the measure of which is fifty thousand years..." (The Holy Qur'an 70:4)
Continuing our discussion on the Hereafter, from life in the grave to life during Barzakh, we now seek to shed light upon the events that will take place on the Day that will determine our final destination – the Day of Judgement (Qiyamat). It is the day when all human beings who ever walked this earth – believers and non-believers alike – will assemble together in a great gathering, all standing before their Lord, answerable for their deeds and beliefs in this temporary, material world. Awareness of some of the occurrences on this day will, God willing, result in our active preparation in our present lives to protect ourselves from the terrors and pains of the next.
The Trumpet of Israfeel
The first occurrence when Allah intends the Day of Resurrection to arrive will be the blowing of the trumpet by the assigned angel, Israfeel. There are numerous verses of the Qur'an and hadith that tell us that there will be two blows of this trumpet: "And the trumpet shall be blown, so that all those in the heavens and earth will be destroyed except those whom God may want that they should not die. Then the trumpet will be blown again, and lo! They shall stand up awaiting." (39:68)
Between the two trumpet blows, the entire universe will remain destroyed for as long as Allah wishes – 40 years according to some narrations, 400 years according to others. Israfeel will then come back to life, blow the trumpet again by Allah's command, and all the dead will arise in varying states. The virtuous will be uttering Allah's praises of "Praise be to Allah who has fulfilled what He promised", while the sinners will be lamenting upon coming out of their graves, "O woe to us! Who has raised us up from our sleeping place?" (36:52)
Coming out of the Grave
One of the most horrifying events of the resurrection is the time of coming out of the graves. Abdullah ibn Mas'ood says that once he was in the presence of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (peace be upon him), when he said: "For every man there are fifty halting stations in Qiyamat, and each station will be equal to the span of a thousand years. The first halting place is when coming out of the grave, where every man will have to wait bare feet and naked, and bear the agony of hunger and thirst. But the person who believes in the Unity (Tawheed) of Allah, Proclamation (Be'that) of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), Accounting (Hisaab) and Resurrection, and bears testimony to the prophethood (Nabuwwat) of Prophet Muhammad while following the instructions ordained unto him, will be safe from this agony."
People will rise from their graves in different states, some rising such that their faces will be even worse than monkeys and pigs. Shaikh Tabarsi in Majma al-Bayan quotes from Bara ibn Azib who said that one day Ma'az ibn Jabal was seated in the presence of the Holy prophet in the house of Abu Ayyub Ansari. Ma'az asked the Holy Prophet regarding the eighteenth verse of Sura Naba: "The day on which the trumpet shall be blown so you shall come forth in hosts." The Holy Prophet replied, "O Ma'az! You have asked me a very horrifying question." He then began to weep and said:
"People from my Ummah will arise from their graves in different states: Some will have the face of monkeys, while others of pigs. Some will be walking upside down on their heads. Some of them will be blind and will not be able to walk. Some will be deaf and dumb and will not understand anything. Some will be in a state that their tongues will be hanging out of their mouths; filthy water will be coming out of their mouths which they will be licking with their tongues. Some people will arise with amputated hands and feet. Some will be hanging from the branches of trees made of fire. Some will be more rotten than a corpse and emitting a repugnant odor. And some will be wearing long garments of tar which will have been stuck to their skins and flesh. Those having the face of pigs will be the ones who ate unlawful (Haraam) property such as from bribery. Those walking upside down on their heads and the blind ones will be the unjust and oppressive rulers. The deaf and dumb will be the ones who prided upon their knowledge (Ilm) and worship (Ibadah). The ones licking their tongues will be those scholars (Ulema) and judges (Qadis) who did not practice what they preached. The ones with amputated hands and feet will be the ones who troubled their neighbors in the world and oppressed them. The ones hanging from the tree branches will be the ones who would backbite along with the kings and rulers (to please them), and instigated them by creating mischief. The ones emitting a repugnant odor will be the ones who acted according to their lusts and passions, and did not give Allah's rights. The ones wearing garments of tar will be the haughty and arrogant people."
Shaikh Saduq narrates a lengthy tradition from the Holy Prophet in which he said that: "A person who backbites and thus creates mischief and dissension among two people, Allah will fill his grave with fire, which will keep burning him until the day of Qiyamat. And as soon as he comes out of his grave, Allah will send a huge python that will keep biting at his flesh, and he will ultimately be thrown in hellfire."
Scrolls of Deeds (Naam-e A'maal)
We live in a world in which many things are hidden. We are not aware of what is in the minds and hearts of others, their inner conditions, their good or bad beliefs and their true motives and intentions – be they even the closest of our friends. In fact, we are not completely aware of our own selves. But Qiyamat is a day of honesty and justice; every person's scroll of deeds will be visible for all to see. It is the day where all the hidden secrets will be open and known to all.
The Lord of the Universe has, in His infinite Mercy, appointed two angels, Raqeeb and Ateeb, to serve as keepers over us, recording our every good and evil deed in this world so that we may be cautious and mindful of our each and every action. On the Day of Resurrection, we will each be given these scrolls of deeds and told to read them. There will be those whose happiness upon reading their scrolls will know no limits, while others will experience such severe pain after reading them that all the joints of their bodies will disintegrate, and blood and dirt will flow from their eyes in agony.
It is written in Haqqul Yaqeen that Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) said that when Allah will wish to take account of a believer, He will give his scrolls in his right hand, and He Himself will take his accounting so that no one else may come to know about his affairs. He will forgive his sins and replace them with good deeds, and people will look at him with awe in Paradise exclaiming, "Glory be to Allah! Verily this person is free from all sins." Indeed, as Allah tells us in the Qur'an: "Then as to him who is given his book in his right hand, he shall be reckoned with by an easy reckoning, and shall go back to his people joyfully." (84:7-9) A narrator once asked the Imam regarding this verse, as to who are the relatives of the believer in Paradise, upon which Imam replied, "His relatives will be the same as in this world, provided they are believers."
Whereas for the evil-doers, Allah will take the accounting out in the open in front of all those present on that day. He will end all communication with such people, and give their scrolls in their left hands from behind. Such people will cry out, "O what a catastrophe!" and will fall head-long into hell. These will be of those who led luxurious and careless lives with their families in this world and disbelieved in the Hereafter. It has also been narrated that Allah will tie the hands of the hypocrites (Munafiqeen) and disbelievers behind their necks.
Shaikh ibn Quwailah narrates from Imam Sadiq that he said, whoever in the month of Ramadan goes for the Ziyarat to the shrine of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) or dies on the way while going there, on the day of Qiyamat there will be no accounting and reckoning for him, and he shall enter Paradise without fear or anxiety. Allamah Majlisi narrates from Imam Ridha (peace be upon him) in Tuhfatus Sa'imeen that he said: "Whoever comes to visit my grave from far and near, on the day of Qiyamat we shall save him from three calamities: We shall give him refuge from the terrors of Qiyamat when the scrolls of good doers will be given in their right hands and of the evil ones in their left hands, he will be safe from the punishment at the Bridge of Siraat, and we will help him during the weighing of scales (Mizaan)."