Question: When the deceased is buried, does his soul return to him in his grave, and if it does, until when will the deceased be punished in his grave, or will his soul go up to the highest heaven? Also, will the punishment (in the grave) stop or will it be continuous until the day of resurrection? Benefit us, clarify to us whether those who died generations before have remained in a state of punishment (in their graves until today) or are they waiting until the day of resurrection?
Answer: The grave is either a garden from the gardens of paradise or a pit from the pits of the hellfire, as has proceeded in the narrations from the Prophet (ﷺ). So the believers are in a state of joy in their graves and their souls are transferred to paradise delighted. The souls of the believers will be flying in paradise, eating from its fruits and Allāh will return them (the souls) to their bodies whenever he desires, during questioning and other than that. So their (the believers) souls and bodies will be in a state of joy forever, they will receive a share of joy in accordance to that which Allāh decrees.
As for the disbelievers, they will be in a state of punishment and their souls will be punished as well. Their bodies will receive their (decreed) proportion of punishment. As for how long it will be and how it will be, this is for Allāh (i.e. Allāh knows best), we do not possess knowledge of this. Allāh knows how long (they will be punished). What we know is that the believers bodies and souls will be in a state of joy and that the disbelievers will be in a state of punishment. We have not been informed about the finer details of the punishment (i.e. how long etc.) except that he (the disbeliever) will be punished along with his soul and body.
The disobedient one’s fate will be delivered according to the will of Allāh, he will either be punished in his grave, forgiven, or punished at certain times. His affair is with Allāh the Almighty and Exalted. The Prophet (ﷺ) informed us that he passed by two graves, one of which (the inhabitant) was being punished for tale-carrying and the second for being negligent of cleansing after relieving himself. So the disobedient ones are in danger if they die upon disobedience without repenting, they are threatened with punishment but they may be excused due to their many good deeds or other reasons. If they are punished, Allāh knows best how they will be punished, its duration, and when it will stop, this is for Allāh the Almighty and Exalted, He is the one who knows everything.
Source: al-Mawqiʿ al-Rasmī li-Masāḥah al-Shaykh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Bāz: Aḍāb al-Qabr wa Naʿīmahū
Translated by: Munīb al-Ṣumālī