The Valley of Punishment (wadi-e-barhoot)
The Valley of punishment (Wadi-e-Barhoot) is situated in the barren lands of a deserted valley in Yemen, which is devoid of food or water. This is the dwelling place of the evil spirits (rooh) who are made to stay there during Barzakh and taste severe chastisement.
One day a man came to the presence of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) in a manner that fear had overtaken him and his face had turned pale. He said that he had witnessed an astonishing event which was the cause of his restlessness. On the Prophet's inquiry he said: “My wife has a disease, for the cure of which she requested me to fetch some water from the well at Wadi-e-Barhoot (Mineral water has got the power to cure skin diseases). I took a leather bag and a bowl and left. When I reached there the eerie surrounding made me fearful and I hastily started searching for the well. I found one well and was about to fill water in the bag, when I heard the noise of chains from above me. I heard a voice requesting me for water for he was dying of intense thirst. When I looked above I saw a man hanging by a chain which was bound in his neck. I was confused but agreed to his request for water. When I extended my hand to offer him water, the chain was suddenly pulled on top, and the man reached just near the blazing sun. I was dumb-founded and scared, and started filling the water bag when I saw the man being sent down again.
He again requested me for water, and like before when I extended my hand to give him, the chain was pulled up. This happened thrice. On the third time I was totally frightened and ran away from there. O Prophet! I now request you to explain to me the incident”. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) replied, “The man whom you saw in the Wadi-e-Barhoot was none other than the accursed Cain (Qabeel, the son of Prophet Ada), who had mercilessly murdered his pother Abel (Habeel). He will be punished in the same manner in the valley, and on the day of Qayamat he will be fed to the blazing fire of hell”.
Sayyed Mo'min Shablanji Shafe'i in his book ‘Noorul Absar’ relates from Abul Qasim bin Mohammad, who says: One day I saw some people gathered near the ‘Maqame Ipaheem’ in the Masjid-ul-Haraam (Ka'bah), and asked them the reason for it.
They said that a christian hermit had converted to Islam and had an astonishing incident to narrate. I went and saw an old man wearing woolen clothes sitting there and inquired of him.
He said, “One day I was seated outside my hut gazing at the river and adoring it. Suddenly I saw a huge bir having the head of a donkey descending from the sky. It came down and sat on a bowlder. It spitted something from it's mouth and flew away. I observed properly and saw that it was a quarter part of a human body. The bird returned again and spitted another quarter part of the human body. This happened four times. When all the four parts collected together, a man arose from it. I was astonished, when I saw the bird coming again. The bird started biting the man and severed a quarter part of his body and swallowed it without chewing and flew away. It returned four times until it had swallowed the whole body in parts. I wondered as to what was happening and who the person might be. I regretted not having asked the person when the bird was away. On the second day I saw the same thing happening and gathered courage and went up to the person and asked him as to who he was, and why was he being troubled in such a manner.
He replied that his name was Abdul Rehman ibne Muljim, the murder of Ali ibne Abi Talib, and the bird was sent by Allah to punish him regularly for the grievous crime (murder of Hazrat Ali) which he had committed. Having got the reply, I left my hut and came about to inquire as to who this Ali (A.S.) was. People told me that he was the cousin, son-in-law, and the Vicegerent (Wasi) of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) of Islam. I have thus accepted Islam because of this event and have come to mecca to perform the Pilgrimage (Haj), Lesser Pilgrimage (Umrah), and the Ziarat of the grave of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S).
Those A'mal which prove helpful for the people in Barzakh
Allamah Qutubuddin Rawandi quotes from ‘Lubbe Labaab’ that it is related, that on the night of every friday, the spirits (Rooh) fo the dead ones come to the doors of their houses and call out: “O my children! O my relatives! Favour me by performing such acts which may prove helpful to me, and may also become the cause of Allah's blessings to be bestowed on you.
Give us a place in your hearts, and do not forget us, Have mercy on our wretched state. Surely we are in a state of imprisonment, loneliness, and anxiety. So donot hold your hands from giving alms (Sadqa) on our behalf, and pray for our forgiveness. It is possible that Allah may hear your prayers and bestow His mercy upon us, do so before you too may become like us. All as! some day we were also strong and healthy as you are now. O servants of Allah! Listen to our words, and pay heed to them.
It is no doubt that the enormous wealth which you now enjoy was once ours. We did not spend it in the way of Allah, but acted miserly and even usurped the rights of others. And verily this is the cause for our damnation, and your enjoyment. So now favour us by offering on our behalf a dirham or a morsel of food. We see that soon you too shall weep over your deeds, but it will be of no avail. Try and rectify your mistakes and save yourselves from regret”.
It is narrated from “Jame'ul Akhbaar” that one of the companions (Ashaab) of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) heard him saying that, “Send gifts to your dead”. I asked him as to what gifts could we send to the people who are dead. He replied, “It is to give alms (sadqa) on their behalf or pray for their forgiveness”.
The Prophet continued, “On every friday the spirits (Rooh) of the dead come to the homes and call out: O people of my house! May Allah bless you, have mercy on us. Whatever we have done in this world, we are facing it's consequences now, while the fruits of our toil is being enjoyed by others. Favour us by giving on our behalf a dirham, or a pead, or clothes, so that Allah may reward you with a heavenly attire”.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) started crying, and we also started weeping. He cried so bitterly that he became exhausted and said, “These are your muslim pethren who lived a lavish life, and now lie pressed beneath the earth. They now regret their mistakes and weep over the deeds which have become the cause of their affliction.
They say: Alas! if only we had spent our wealth in the path of Allah, and not have acted miserly, we would not have to be dependent on you now. We now beg of you to send us some Sadqa”.
In the same book it has been narrated from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) that he said that, “Whatever alms (Sadqa) is given on behalf of the deceased person, the blessed Angels adorn it on an illuminated tray (whose light spreads across the seven heavens) and take it to the head of the grave and say: Peace be on you, O inhabitant of the grave! This gift has been sent to you by your relatives. The deceased person takes the tray into his grave, as a result of which the entire grave gets illuminated, and the grave expands in length”.
He then continued, “Those who favour their departed relatives by giving alms on their behalf, it’s reward is as big as the mountain of Ohad in the sight of Allah, On the day of Qayamat, Allah will give the person shelter under His Throne (Arsh), when there will be no other shelter except this. Hence this sadqa proves useful for the living person as well as the dead one”.
Allamah Majlisi narrates in “Zadul Ma'ad” says that do not forget your dead, for they have no power to perform good deeds, and they totally rely on their children, pothers, and relatives. They eagerly await the favours. Particularly pray for them in the Midnight Prayers (Namaze Shab), and after every Obligatory Prayers (Wajib Namaz). And never forget to pray for your parents more than anyone else whenever you visit the sacred places, and perform good deeds on their behalf. It is also narrated that there have been such children who were disowned by their parents during their lifetime, but were later forgiven because they performed good deeds on their behalf after their death. The best deed to be performed on behalf of one's parents or relatives, is to pay their debts (Huququn Naas), and to perform worship acts (Huququllah, Namaz, Roza etc.) on their behalf. One should also perform the Pilgrimage (Haj) for them which they left in their life-time.
It is related in a trustworthy tradition that Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (A.S.) used to recite two units (Rak'at) Namaz during the night for his children, and during the day for his parents. In each Rak'at after Surah-al-Hamd he recited once Surah-al-Qadr, and in the second Rak'at after Surah-al-Hamd once Surah-al-Kausar.
Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (A.S.) says, that sometimes it happens that a dead person faces trouble and difficulty, and suddenly Allah grants him peace and prosperity. It is said unto him: this is so because your such and such pother in faith has recited Namaz on your behalf. A person asked him, “Can two dead persons be included in the same Namaz”? Imam (A.S.) replied, “Yes, you can do so, for verily the dead man becomes happy when this prayer reaches him through you”. He (A.S.) added, “Perform Prayers (Namaz), Fasting (Roza), Pilgrimage (Haj), give alms (Sadqa), and do other good deeds on their behalf, for these enter his grave and is also written in his scrolls of deeds (Name' A'amaal)”.
It is also narrated in another tradition from Imam Sadiq (A.S.) that he said that, “Perform good deeds for the deceased, for Allah doubles the reward, and this proves useful for them”.
It is also narrated that when someone gives alms (Sadqa) on behalf of the dead man, Allah commands Jipa'eel to take seventy thousand Angels along with him and go to the grave of the person. Each one of the Angels carries with them a trafull of blessings from Allah, and they call out: O friend of Allah! Your such and such friend has sent this gift for you. His grave then becomes illuminated, and Allah grants him one thousand cities in Paradise, and weds him with one thousand Houries, and gifts him one thousand attires, and fulfills one thousand wishes of his”.
My respected teacher Allamah Husain Noori narrates in ‘Darus Salaam’, that Allamah Sayyed Ali b. Hasan al Husainee Isfahani told him that: When my father died in Isfahan, I was studying in the Theological School (Hawza) in Najaf. The pending works of my father which were to be fulfilled, were assigned to the care of my pothers, regarding which I was not aware. Seven months after my father's death my mother too died. She was pought to Najaf and buried there. One day I dreamt that I was seated in a room. Suddenly my father entered therein. I got up as a sign of respect and saluted him. He sat with me and listened carefully to my conversation. I was aware that he had died, and so I asked him as to how did he reach there when he had died in Isfaham. He replied, “After people buried me, I was shifted here in Najaf, and now this has become the place of my dwelling”.
Then I asked him whether my deceased mother was with him. He replied in the negative, which made me shiver. He then replied that she too was in Najaf, but at a different place. I then concluded that my father was a Scholar (Aalim), and that a Scholar's status was more than an ordinary man.
Then I asked him about himself and he said that, “Formerly I was in deep trouble and faced many difficulties. But praise be to Allah, the trouble is now eased, and I am in peace”. I was surprised and asked him the reason for it. He replied, “I owed some amount to Haji Reza, the son of Aqa Baba, but I died and hence was punished because of it”. I woke up from my dream and thought over. I then wrote a letter to my pother who looked after the property of my father.
I wrote to him the whole incident, and requested him to find in the records of the book of laons (of my father) if any amount was due to Haji Reza. After some days my pother wrote back that he had searched in the creditor's register, but could not find any outstanding amount due to Haji Reza. I wrote back to him to go personally to the said person and ask him. After some days my pother wrote back that he visited Haji Reza. He said that he owed 18 tumans to our father, but had no witness for it except Allah. He said that after the demise of our father, he had asked my pother if his name was written in the creditor's register but he said no.
He thought to himself that if he claimed the amount he had no witness for it. He relied on our father that he would surely have written it in his register, but when his name was not found he thought that he must have to record it. When my pother tried to repay him the amount, he refused to accept the money and said that he had forgiven our father, and freed him from the loan which he had owed him.
Incident - 2
Allamah Husain Noori relates in ‘Darus Salaam’ from Haj Mulla Abul Hasan Mazandarani who says that: I had a friend named Mulla Ja'far b. Mohammad Husain Tapisani who lived in a town named ‘Teelak’. Once there poke out an extreme epidemic, and many people died because of it. People had appointed Mulla Ja'far as their trustee to distribute their loans if they died. But it so happened that after some time Mulla Ja'far himself fell prey to the epidemic, and the money was left undistributed. When I went to Karbala for the Pilgrimage (Ziarat) to the Shrine of Imam Husain (A.S.), one night I saw in a dream a man in whose neck was bound chains, from which fire was spurting out, and two men had held him. The ‘tongue of the imprisoned man was hanging out from his mouth and lying on his chest. When he saw me, he came near and I recognized him to be my deceased friend Mulla Ja'far. I was shocked and asked him the reason for this punishment. When he tried to answer me, the two men pulled the chain and dragged him behind. This happened thrice, and I woke up from my sleep with a loud cry. Hearing my screams, my fellow-student Aalim who was sleeping besides me also got up. I narrated to him the whole dream. Coincidently it was the time of opening the gates of the Shrine of Imam Husain (A.S.). I told my companion that it would be better if we went to the Shrine of Imam Husain (A.S.) and offer salutations, and ask for Mulla Ja'far's forgiveness. It is possible that Allah may forgive him. We went and prayed for him. Now twenty years passed but I received no further news about him. I presumed that the punishment was being meted out to him because he did not make haste in passing on the loans of the deceased people to their creditors. By the grace of Allah, I got the opportunity to go for the Pilgrimage (Haj), and then I went to Madina. Suddenly I fell ill, and my state worsened to the etent that I could not even walk. I requested my companions to bathe and clothe me, and carry me on their shoulders to the Shrine of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.S.).
They thought that it was my last wish and carried me to the Shrine. When I entered therein, I became unconscious. My companions left me to their respective chores. When I regained consciousness they took me near the tomb and lay me there. I recited the ‘Ziarat’ (Salutations). Then they carried me behind the Shrine to the house of Hazrat Fatema (A.S.). When I was laid there, I requested Her to give me cure, and I also said, “O Sayyedah! We have heard that you hold Your son Husain (A.S.) very dear, and I am one of the care-takers of His Shrine, hence for His sake please request Allah Almighty to grant me health”. Then I turned towards the grave of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) and asked wishes from him. Then I asked Him to forgive all my deceased friends taking each name till I reached the name of Mulla Ja'far. Suddenly I remembered the dream and started weeping.
I requested Allah to forgive him, because twenty years back I had seen him in a dream in a terrible state. With sincerity and solemnity I prayed for his forgiveness. Suddenly I felt my weakness to be eased. I got up, and without taking the help of others reached my place. Hazrat Fatema (A.S.) answered my Prayers and I was totally cured. We left Madina and went to the mountain of Ohad. We recited Ziarat of the Martyres of Ohad. There after twenty years I again saw my friend Mulla Ja'far ina dream. He was wearing a beautiful white dress, a turban was wound on his head, and he held a staff in his hand. He came towards me, saluted and said, “Verily a friend has to do the same as you have done for me. Previously I was in great trouble until you prayed for me. Allah relieved me from the punishment just before you came out of the Shrine. The Angels then bathed me in clean water.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) gifted me this dress, and Hazrat Fatema (A.S.) presented me with this cloak. I am now in peace, and have come to offer you thanks for what you have done. I also give you the good news that you have been cured of your illness, and will soon return to your family who are fine”. I awoke from my sleep and offered thanks to Allah.
Incident - 3
It is written in ‘Darus Salaam’ that Shaikh Haj Mulla Ali relates from his father Haj Mirza Khaleel Malharani, who says that:
I was in Karbala, while my mother lived in Tehran. One night my mother came to me in a dream and said, “O my son! I have died, and am being pought to you for burial in Karbala, and my nose has been poken”. I awoke frightfully. After some days I received a letter from my pother stating the news of the demise of my mother. It was also written in it that her corpse was being sent to me at Karbala to be buried there.
The people from the caravan who pought the corpse told me that the bier was kept in a guest house.
I accepted the reality of the dream, but was confused regarding the statement my mother made that “my nose has been poken”. I lifted the sheet from her face and saw that her nose was poken. I asked the people of the caravan regarding it.
They replied that when they pought my mother's corpse here, thekept it in a guest-house alongwith other corpses. Suddenly there ensued a quarell amoungst themselves, and in the collision the corpse fell down. Mybe that would have been the reason for it. I was grieved and took her corpse to the Shrine of Hazrat Abbas (A.S.) and placed it near the grave, and said, “O Abul Fazl! My mother was not serious about Prayers (Namaz) and Fasting (Roza), and sometimes neglected it. Now she lies here near you, so please ward off her difficulty. O my Master! I take responsibility to offer fifty years of the elapsed (Qaza) Namaz and Roza on her behalf”.
Then I buried her but later forgot to fulfill as promised. After some days I dreamt that some people had gathered in front of my house. I came out and saw that my mother was bound to a tree, and was being lashed severely. I screamed and asked them the reason for this punishment.
They replied that they had been commanded by Hazrat Abbas (A.S.) to punish her until so and so amount is not paid on her behalf. I entered my house and pought the money and gave it to them.
Then I untied my mother, and took her inside my house. I got up from my dream and calculated the sum, and found it to be equal to the amount for the performance of fifty years of elapsed Namaz and Roza. I took the money and went to the great Aalim of our time Sayyed Ali, and requested him to do the necessary arrangement to offer the elapsed Namaz and Roza of fifty years on behalf of my mother. Ther author of the book Mirza Husain Noori says, that the above incident is stated here to demonstrate the severity of the punishment due to laziness in worship, and sanctity of the places of Pilgrimage (Ziyarat).
Incident - 4
Haj Shaikh Mulla Ali quotes from his father Haj Mirza Khaleel Malharani who says that: In Tehran there lived a person named Ali Talib who workes in a bath-house. He did not offer Prayers (Namaz) nor fasted (Siyam). One day he went to a mason and told him to construct a bath-house for him, and agreed to offer the payment.
The mason asked him as to where he got such a huge sum, to which he replied that it was none of his business. The mason did as ordered, and the bath-house was built which became famous by his name. Mulla Khaleel further says that:
Once when I was in Najaf, I dreamt that Ali talib was in Wadi-us-Salaam in Najaf. I was surprised and asked him as to how could a person like him who did never ever offered Prayers nor Fasted be in Wadi-us-Salaam in peace. Ali Talib replied that, “When I died, I was bound in chains and shackles, and was being taken to be punished, when I received news that Haj Mulla Mohammad Kirmanshahi, one of the great
Ulamas of Tehran, had favoured me by appointing so and so person to perform the Pilgrimage (Haj) on my behalf, so and so person do perform my elapsed Prayers (Namaz) and Fasts (Siyam), and soand so person to pay the (Zakat) and atonement of rights (Radde Mazalim) on my behalf. He left no due pending on me, and thus I was freed of the punishment. May Allah have mercy on him”. Mulla Khaleel Malharani says: I awoke from my sleep and was astonished. After some days a group of people came to visit Najaf from Tehran. I asked them about Ali Talib.
They said that he had died, and Mulla Mohammad Kirmanshahi had appointed so and so persons to pray, fast, perform Haj, and give Zakat and Radde Mazalim on his behalf. The names of all the persons mentioned by them were the same as told to me in the dream by Ali Talib. This incident is in accordance to the tradition which says that whatever good-deeds are performed on behalf of the dead person, surely benefits him. It is possible that sometimes a dead person faces troubles & difficulties, but such good deeds performed by others on his behalf, relieves him. It is also demonstrated through the above incident that any believer (mo'min) who dies in the east or in the west, his spirit (rooh) is taken to Wadi-us-Salaam. It is also narrated by Ma'soom (A.S.) that it is as if I see the group of dead people conversing with one another.
Incident - 5
Shaikh Sa'eed Qummi narrates in “Arba'eenat” from a trustworthy authority, who told him that Shaikh Bahauddin Ameli once went to visit a wise man who lived near a cemetary in Isfahan. The wise man told Shaikh Bahai: Some days back I witnessed an astonishing incident, which I would like to tell you. Some persons came here with a dead body, buried it and went away. Suddenly I smelt a fragrance the likeness of which I had never smelt before. I turned towards the left and right to see where it came from. I saw a handsome young man wearing splendid clothes going towards the newly made grave.
He went and sat near the grave. I was all the more surprised when I saw the young man disappear into the grave. After sometime I smelt a bad odour the likeness of which too I had never smelt before. I saw an ugly dog going towards the grave and disappear in it. My astonishment knew no bounds. I was wondering about what actually was happening, when I saw the young man coming out of the grave in a bad state. His whole body was puised.
He started running away from the grave and I followed him. I stopped him and asked him the reason for running fearfully. The young man replied, “I am the dead man's good deeds, and was commanded to accompany him in his grave. Suddenly the dead man's evil deeds came in the form of a dog. I tried to keep him away from the dead man, but it bit me and wounded me all over.
He made a bad state of me and I could no longer remain in the grave. Hence I have come out leaving the dead man to the mercy of his evil deeds”.
(The dead man's evil deeds were more stronger than his good ones). When Shaikh Bahai heard this incident, he told the wise man, “Verily the incident is true, because it is narrated that the deeds (good or bad) which a person performs in his life-time, are given a physical form”.
Shaikh Sadooq in his book ‘Amali’ narrates that once Qays bin Asim Minqari came to the presence of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) accompanied by some people of Bani Tameem. He requested the Prophet to advice him. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) replied, “O Qays! When you die, a companion will also be buried along-with you, who will be alive while you will be dead.
If the companion would be blessed, you will get peace, and if he would be accursed, you will fall in anguish. Compel your companion to become good, because if you will be good, you will love him and respect him. While if you will be bad, you will hate him and neglect him. Verily this companion are your good deeds”. Qays said, “O Prophet of Allah! I wish that this advise be framed in a beautiful couplet, so that it could become the reason for our honour”.
The Prophet (S.A.W.S.) sent someone to fetch Hisan bin Sabit, a poet. At that moment Salsal bin Walahmas was present there, and he compiled a couplet.
Shaikh Sadooq relates from Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (A.S.) who says that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) said, “Once Prophet Isa (A.S.) was passing from near a grave which was engulfed in the wrath of Allah. After one year when he again passed from near that same grave, he saw that the punishment had been lifted off.
He asked Allah the reason for such a change. Allah revealed to him: O Isa! The dead man has left behind him a virtuous son, who when he reached adolescence, rectified the mistakes done by his father.
He helped the orphans and sheltered them. Hence I have forgiven him because of his son's good deeds”. <