Accountability: Location of souls in the Barzakh

It is mentioned that some of the souls are "confined in their graves, and others are confined on Earth." I was wondering what is meant by the souls being confined on earth. Please clarify.

Regarding the abode of the soul after leaving this world, Imam Ibn ul-Qayyim mentions over fifteen different opinions. Before he mentions them, he says:  "This is a great topic which people have spoken about and differed with regards to, and it can only be derived from evidence (from the Qur'an and Sunnah)."[1]

So what has been mentioned regarding the location of the souls after death is based on various scholarly opinions. That includes the statement: "some are confined in their graves; others are confined on earth." This was mentioned in the "Commentary on the Creed of at-Tahawi" by Imam Ibn Abul-'Izz.

What is meant by "others are confined on earth," is that these souls cannot rise to heaven. These are earthly souls which do not mix with the heavenly souls, just as they do not mix with them during their life on earth. A soul that is oblivious to its Lord, blind to His love, negligent of His remembrance, and remiss in seeking His pleasure is a despicable earthly soul.

After separation from its body, it cannot go anywhere, but remains here. On the other hand, the heavenly soul in this life clings to the love of Allah and to His remembrance, and seeks His pleasure and nearness. After separation from its body, it will join other heavenly souls.

Shaykh 'Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baz, commenting on the "Commentary on the Creed of at-Tahawi" by Imam Ibn Abul-'Izz, says:  "The correct opinion [regarding the abode of the souls after death] is the first opinion [mentioned by the author], that the souls of the believers are in Paradise and the souls of the disbelievers are in Hell, of which we seek Allah's refuge, until Allah returns them to their bodies."[2]

And Allah knows best.


[1] [Ar-Ruh, p. 110].

[2] At-Ta'leeqat al-Baziyyah 'ala Sharh at-Tahawiyyah, 2/956

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