Praise be to Allaah.
The majority of
texts that speak of this matter divide people into two categories:
Believers. The angels of mercy take their souls and lift them
up to heaven with great care, coming with glad tidings, calling them by the
most loved of their names, so they feel joy, blessing and happiness which
makes them steadfast.
Disbelievers and hypocrites. The angels of wrath take their
souls, coming with harshness and warnings, and the gates of heaven are
closed in their faces, so they are thrown in the earth to face woe and
punishments as recompense for what they did in this world of wrongdoing,
disbelief and enmity.
Allah, may He be
glorified and exalted, mentioned that in the Holy Qur'aan, where He says
(interpretation of the meaning):
(angels) who pull out (the souls of the disbelievers and the wicked) with
2. By those
(angels) who gently take out (the souls of the believers).
3. And by those
that swim along (i.e. angels or planets in their orbits)”
Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Ibn Mas’ood, Ibn
‘Abbaas, Masrooq, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, Abu Saalih, Abu’l-Duha and al-Suddi
said: “By those who pull out” refers to the angels, i.e., when they
pull out the souls of the sons of Adam. There are some whose soul is taken
forcefully and they suffer when it is taken out, and there are some whose
soul is taken gently, which is referred to in the verse, “and those who
gently take out.” This was stated by Ibn ‘Abbaas.
It was also
narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that al-naazi’aat refers to the souls of
the disbelievers, which are taken out, then plunged into the Fire. This was
narrated by Ibn Abi Haatim. End quote.
There is fear for
the Muslim who commits sin or is an evildoer -- and what is meant is the one
who persists in committing major sins or transgresses against people and
dies in that state. To which of the two groups mentioned above does he
belong? Is his soul taken by the angels of mercy and treated in the same
manner as the believers, or is it taken by the angels of wrath and treated
in the same manner as the disbelievers?
This is a matter
of the unseen and we have not found any text that clearly and definitively
states the situation of the one who commits major sins.
But there are some
references that may indicate that the angels of wrath take the souls of
those who commit major sins. For example:
The hadeeth about
the man who killed one hundred people, then he repented to Allah, may He be
glorified and exalted. When he died, the angels of mercy and the angels of
wrath disputed as to which of them would take his soul and take it up to
heaven. The story was narrated by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri from the Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him):
The angels of
mercy and the angels of torment disputed over him. The angels of mercy said:
he came repenting and turning wholeheartedly towards Allaah. The angels of
torment said: He never did anything good. Then an angel in the form of a man
came to them and they appointed him (to decide) between them. He said:
Measure the distance between the two lands, and whichever is closer, that is
where he belongs. So they measured it and they found that he was closer to
the land that he was heading for, so the angels of mercy took him.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari
(3740) and Muslim (2766).
Think about how
the angels of wrath wanted to take the soul of this sinner who had killed
one hundred people. Were it not for the sincerity of his repentance, his
soul would have fallen to the share of the angels of wrath. So there is the
fear for all of those who commit major sins that the angels of wrath may
take their souls if they do not repent to Allah, may He be glorified and
There are many
hadeeths which describe how the angels come to take the soul of the one who
is dying and take it up to the highest heavens; these hadeeths compare and
contrast the situation of the believers and that of the disbelievers. In
some of these hadeeths it says al-faajir (evildoer) instead of al-kaafir
(disbeliever). And in some of them it describes him as al-rajul al-su’ (the
bad man). This may also indicate that the one who commits major sins is in
great danger in this regard.
It was narrated
from al-Bara’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said -- in a lengthy hadeeth in
which he described the situation of the believer and the evildoer when their
souls are taken --:
“… as for the
evildoer, when he is about to enter the Hereafter and depart from this
world, the Angel of Death comes to him and sits by his head. There come down
to him angels from heaven with black faces, bringing with them sackcloth.
They sit with him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death and
says, ‘O evil soul, come out to the wrath and anger of Allaah…’ .
This was narrated
by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (1/93) and classed as saheeh by Shaykh
al-Albaani in Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz (no. 108). The hadeeth is also narrated in
al-Sunan. Ibn Tooloon compiled in his book al-Tahreer al-Mursakh fi
Ahwaal al-Barzakh (p. 75-112) the hadeeths and reports which speak of
But if we say that
what is meant by the evildoer or the bad man in these reports is the
disbeliever who is mentioned in the other reports, then all the versions of
the hadeeth are in accordance, as seems to be the case. So that means that
there is nothing definite about Muslims who commit wrong actions and major
sins. And Allah knows best.
(may Allah have mercy on him) said:
lives the angels take while they are in a pious state (i.e. pure from all
evil, and worshipping none but Allaah Alone) saying (to them): Salaamun
‘Alaikum (peace be on you) enter you Paradise, because of that (the good)
which you used to do (in the world)”
–interpretation of the meaning].
In this verse
Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, stated that the pious who obeyed the
commands of their Lord and avoided that which He forbade will have their
souls taken by the angels when they are in a good state, i.e., pure and free
of shirk and sin -- according to the soundest commentaries -- and they will
give them the glad tidings of Paradise and greet them with salaam..
This meaning is
also stated elsewhere, as in the verses in which Allah says (interpretation
of the meaning):
who say: “Our Lord is Allaah (Alone),” and then they stand firm, on them the
angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor
grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been
keepers will say: Salaamun ‘Alaykum (peace be upon you)! You have done well,
so enter here to abide therein”
shall enter unto them from every gate (saying):
‘Alaikum (peace be upon you) for you persevered in patience! Excellent
indeed is the final home!”
The glad tidings
are given at the time of death, and when they entered Paradise from one
gate, because they are glad tidings of good after moving to the Hereafter.
description of those whose souls are taken when they are in a good state and
to whom it is said ‘ peace be upon you, enter Paradise,’ it may be
understood that those who are not described as pious will not be taken by
the angels in that noble state or be greeted or given glad tidings.
Allah has stated
this meaning elsewhere, such as in the verses where He says (interpretation
of the meaning):
lives the angels take while they are doing wrong to themselves (by disbelief
and by associating partners in worship with Allaah and by committing all
kinds of crimes and evil deeds).” Then, they will make (false) submission”
“Verily, as for
those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as
they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for
them), they (angels) say (to them): ‘In what (condition) were you?’ They
reply: ‘We were weak and oppressed on the earth.’ They (angels) say: ‘Was
not the earth of Allaah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?’ Such
men will find their abode in Hell — what an evil destination!”
“And if you
could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at
death); they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): “Taste the
punishment of the blazing Fire”
And there are
other similar verses. End quote from
Perhaps it may be
said here -- and Allah knows best -- that the situation of those who commit
acts of disobedience and major sins, at the time of death, varies according
to their level of disobedience and obedience. For the person who is one of
those who affirm Tawheed and are good and righteous, they will have the glad
tidings and good situation that Allah has promised here, and that the one
who mixed good deeds with bad deeds will find himself in a mixed situation,
so he will be deprived of the glad tidings and good situation and merciful
treatment by the angels, according to his situation and deeds.
See also the
answer to question number 52887.
And Allah knows best.