There was a very pious women in a certain town whom the people called 'Ammaa Jee'. She passed away recently and everyone in town was grieving over her death.
There was not a person who did not have good words to say about her. While some said that she never left her home, others were saying that she never missed a single salaah.
It was also she who taught countless children in the town to recite the Qur'aan properly. People were making du'aa saying,
"O Allaah! Forgive her, accept her good deeds, save her from the punishment of the grave and grant her Jannatul Firdous in the Aakhirah."
Nu'maan was a little boy who had learned to recite the Qur'aan from Ammaa Jee and was now becoming a Haafidh.
Although he had heard people speak about punishment, the grave, Aakhirah and Jannah, he had never given thought to these words and now that he had heard people say them at the funeral, he became interested in knowing them.
He was also wondering why Aammaa Jee had become so quiet all of a sudden and why people were bathing her, dressing her in white clothing and taking her to the graveyard. He thought that he had to ask his grandfather that night.
That night, he took his brothers Aasim, Saalim, Umayr and Khubayb with him as their grandfather went to his room. There they told him that they could not sleep.
When he asked them the reason, Nu'maan was the first to speak.
"Tell us what is this Jannah, Aakhirah, punishment and grave all about." he asked.
The others all confirmed that they also wanted to know. "Well," grandfather said,
"if you want to know such an important thing, you must all sit down quietly."
When they were all seated, their grandfather said,
"Dear children! There are two types of people in this world. The first group are those who do good deeds. They worship Allaah and serve the creation. The other group are those who disobey Allaah and cause harm and corruption on earth.
If the two groups were left as they are, the second group would always oppress the first group. Allaah has therefore created another world called the Aakhirah where people will go after they die and leave this world.
There the good will be rewarded for their good deeds and the evil will be punished for their sins."
Just as we believe Allaah is one, we must also believe in the next world to come after this world. After a person dies, he is placed in a grave where two angels arrive and ask him some questions about his life.
If he is a good person, he will be able to answer the questions easily and will then rest in peace in the grave. If he is an evil person but died as a Muslim, it will be difficult for him to answer.
He may then be punished in the grave and it will narrow for him and snakes and poisonous reptiles will bite him all the time. As for the Kaafir (non-believer), he will have no reply to give and will cry out 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I do not know.'
"Think of the grave as the first stage where the good will be rewarded and the bad will be punished. If one is at ease here, he will be at ease during the rest of the stages and if he is in difficulty here, he will be in difficulty throughout."
"Grandfather," Nu'maan asked, "Is there another world after the grave?" "Yes," grandfather replied, "after this comes the world that we call the Aakhirah. However, before the Aakhirah comes the day of Qiyaamah (Judgment).
On this day, the entire world will be destroyed and no plan, no security, and no theory of science will help anyone. Even the most solid buildings will crumble to the ground.
The sky will split, the stars, sun and moon will lose their light and the earth will shake just like you break your sandcastles with your hands."
Saalim, who had been listening with great interest then said innocently, "Then we will also not remain alive?" The other children started to laugh, but grandfather just smiled and said,
"That is what I am explaining to you. Everything in this world will come to an end. Don;t you see that when you buy a new pencil, you then sharpen it over and over again until it is eventually finished?
You buy a new book today and after some time you will see that its pages start to tear and fall apart until it is no more. Similarly, you see a plant grow up as a small shoot, later becoming a plant and then a large tree.
People then cut it down and burn it up in their fires. Just as everything in this world comes to an end, we will also soon come to an end."
"What I forgot to tell you is that an angel called Hadhrat Israafeel (may peace of Allaah be upon him) will blow a trumpet on the day of Qiyaamah, because of which everything will come to an end.
He will later blow it again and then all of creation from the time of Hadhrat Adam (may Allaah be pleased with him) will rise from their graves and will stand before Allaah to answer for everything they did with their youth they were given, how they earned and spent their wealth and whether they practiced on their knowledge.
People will also receive their books of deeds. Those who will be successful will receive their books in their right hands and the unsuccessful ones in their left hands. They will then be taken to Jahannam (hell)."
"How can a person be saved from Jahannam?" Umayr asked. Grandfather replied,
"By obeying Allaah, following Rasulullaah (peace be upon him), staying away from lies, stealing, backbiting and indecent acts and by showing respect to elders and being kind to those younger than you.
We must always beg Allaah for forgiveness and ask Him to save us from Jahannam. Today I will teach you a du'aa to recite whenever you remember and especially after every salaah. It is part of a verse of the Qur'aan. It is:
"O our Rabb, grant us (all that which is) good in this world, (all that which is) good in the Aakhirah and save us from the punishment of the fire (of Jahannam)."
There is also a du'aa taught in the Ahadeeth. It is:
"O Allaah! Save me from the fire of Jahannam"
Recite this du'aa seven times after the Fajr and Maghrib salaahs beafore speaking to anyone.
Now go and sleep well because I shall be asking you these du'aas tomorrow."