Question: Some people say, “A person who died at the time of Hadrat Âdam has gone through punishment in the grave up until now. A person who has died now, on the other hand, will go through less punishment compared with the former person. Is it compatible with Allah’s justice?” Is a person who died before others at a disadvantage?
Why do you think it is a disadvantage to die at earlier times? Allahu ta’âlâ does not punish anyone with a chastisement more than he or she deserves. Moreover, He forgives most of the sins. A hadîth-i sharîf declares, “The grave will be either a garden of Paradise or a pit of Hell.” People who died at the time of Hadrat Âdam are continuously in the garden of Paradise on condition that they are pious. Staying in the grave much is not an inconvenience for such people. However, if they are disbelievers, they are subjected to various torment in the grave. The punishment in the grave is considerably lighter than the punishment in Hell. If those who died are sinful Muslims, the torment they experience in the grave will be counted as retribution and atonement for their sins. If they stay in the grave much and if all their sins are washed away on account of the punishment they suffer in the grave, they will be resurrected as being sinless on the Day of Resurrection.
The punishment is very light for some humans but very vehement for some others. If the punishment inflicted on a person who died at the time of Hadrat Âdam is very light, for example, like the feeling of a flea’s biting and if the punishment for another person is like the feeling of a needle’s being inserted into the body and if the punishment for a person who died yesterday is like the feeling of a knife’s being pushed into the body or like the feeling of a sword’s chopping the body, which person experiences the most agony? Nobody suffers torment more than his or her sins necessitate, and nobody faces even the slightest amount of injustice. If one is beaten with a club once every day but if another one is beaten with a club every hour, their torment will be different even though they have died on the same day. In other words, staying in the grave much does not necessarily mean experiencing much torment just as staying less does not necessarily mean escaping it. All people experience punishment in accordance with their sins.
Some rejecters of the punishment in the grave claim that punishment is not imposed before accounts are settled. Do they suppose that Allahu ta’âlâ does not know (never!) their sins? Even if the Mîzân is not set up, their punishment is fixed, definite. The angels called Kirâman and Kâtibîn record our deeds in a device like a camera, the exact nature of which is unknown to us. All our limbs will bear witness to all of the sins we have committed. No one will be able to deny his or her sins.