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The Friend’s Neighbour’s Brother

A man came to the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and said, “Tell me an action which will ensure my entrance into the Garden.” The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Worship Allah and do not associate anything else with him. Establish the Prayer and pay the Zakat and maintain ties of kinship.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Feriabi (may Allah have mercy on him) narrated, “One day I went with a group of friends to visit Abu Sanaan, may Allah have mercy on him. When we got there he suggested that we go visit a neighbor of his whose brother had recently died and offer our condolences.

“When we got there we found the man extremely upset and crying inconsolably. We sat close to him and tried to comfort him but he wouldn’t listen to us. So we admonished him asking him if he didn’t know that death was everybody’s inev¬itable end. He said that he was well aware of the reality of death. What he was crying over was the torture that his brother was suffering morning and evening.

“We said, ‘Has Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) informed you of the Unseen!’ He replied, ‘Of course not. But what happened is that after I had buried my brother and the ground had been leveled over him and the people had returned home, I sat down by his grave forlorn. Suddenly I heard a wail from the grave, ‘Have you left me all alone to suffer the torment of the grave. Oh I used to pray and I used to keep the fasts.’ The voice made me cry and I dug his grave restlessly. The grave was full of fire and a metal collar encircled his neck. Out of pity for my brother I extended my arm to remove the metal collar from him but the fire burnt my hand and fingers.’ The man uncovered his hand and we saw that it was badly burnt. He said, ‘So I filled the grave again and returned home. Will I not mourn such a catastrophe?’

“We then asked him, ‘What did your brother do (for which he is now suffering)?’ He re¬plied, ‘He never used to pay the Zakat.’ We said, ‘This is in accordance with Allah’s saying, ‘Those who withhold in miserliness what Allah has given them out of His grace should not take it as good for them. Instead, it is bad for them. They shall be forced, on Doomsday, to put on what they withheld, as iron-collars round their necks. To Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. Allah is All-Aware of what you do.’ [Quran, Surah Al-e-Imran, Ayat 180]

“From there we went to the Companion of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), Abu Dharr (radi Allahu anhu), and related to him the whole incident and asked, ‘Jews and Christians die too but such incidents regarding them do not come to light?’ He (radi Allahu anhu) said, ‘They are undoubtedly in Hell. Al¬lah just shows you the condition of the Muslims for you to take heed.’ Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says, ‘(Say, O Prophet), There have come to you proofs (to open your eyes) from your Lord: If any will see, it will be for (the good of) his own soul: If any will be blind it will be to his own (harm). I am not here to watch over your doing.’” [Quran, Surah AI-Anaam, Ayat 104]

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