The literal meaning of Barzakh is a veil or a curtain which stands between two things and which does not allow the two to meet. For example, that part or region of the ocean in which waves of both the sweet and the salty waters bounce and get God has provided between them an invisible veil whereby one cannot overcome another. (Ma Ra Jal… S.Rahman: 19-20). It is called Barzakh.
But technically Barzakh is a realm kept by the Lord of the Universe between this world of ours and the forthcoming Hereafter in such a way that both might maintain their individual limits. Barzakh is a state between these worldly and otherworldly affairs.
Halfway Bounder Between Rewards And Punishments
After entering the world of Barzakh one does not experience physical pains like headache, toothache and such other troubles. Such suffering forms a part of the essentials of the material world. But there, in Barzakh, it is the realm of abstracts or of incorporeal beings. Of course, it can also not be called the Hereafter which may mean that there will be only darkness for the sinners and only light for the obedients. Some people asked the Imam (a.s.) about the duration of the world or realm of Barzakh. He replied: It is from the moment of death upto the time when all will rise from their graves regaining life. (Min Heen… Be-haarul Anwaar). The Holy Quran says: “Behind them is Barzakh till the Day of Judgement”.
Picture In The Mirror, With Two Stipulations
Scholars and those who are experts in rhetoric’s have compared the Barzakhi body with what one sees in a mirror in front of him. Of course there are two differences. First, the said picture is actual (not a mere reflection) and second, it achieves senses. The Misaali body is actual and it also senses and understands things.
One of its examples is the same dream which we have. Therein we travel immeasurable distances in a split second. We, in no time, reach Holy Mecca, Holy Mashhad and all other places. We also see and hear people over there and also talk there. But all these things are not performed by bodily organs. Not only this, better and higher and finer things like various kinds of tasty food, good-looking faces and pleasing fragrance as well as attractive songs etc are also instantly available to the Misali body, things which are unimaginable here. All these things are found there in Barzakh and the souls can benefit from all these things in their allegorical (misali) bodies. (Wa Laa… Aale Imran: 169).
The Degree Of Effects
Compared with this world, one of the specialities of the realm of Barzakh is effectiveness. These fruits and these sweets and the pleasure which we derive in this world are in comparison with those in the realm of Barzakh, like a drop in the ocean. The tastefulness there is immeasurably more than it is here. If only a part of the face Hoorul-Ain (heavenly Houri) becomes unveiled, it will dazzle the eyes of the whole world. If the entire of beauty of that fairy opens it will outwit the shining of the sun. Doubtlessly absolute beauty is available only there. The Divine Words are: Inna…Amala (S. Kahf: 7) meaning: We have made whatever is in the world an adoration but it is a beauty which is a test or trial. The intention is to differentiate between child and a major person whereby it may be known as to who becomes mad after this toy of children (this material world) and who does not pay any attention to this plaything. The real pleasure lies in the real beauty and in trying to attain it.
Lasting Pleasure In The Realm Of Barzakh
Another specialty of the realm of Barzakh is its eternity or everlasting nature. Here (in this material world) nothing is everlasting. Beauty fades out soon. Food remains tasty only upto the time it is in the mouth, that is, only for a few moments. Same is the case with marriage and marital joy. These foods and fruits are also not long lasting. After some time they become rotten and useless and distasteful and foul. Nothing here is ever- lasting. But nothing gets deteriorated or corrupted in the realm of Barzakh because that world (in the Hereafter) does not depend on matter.
Everything is everlasting there.
Barzakh Is In The Veil Of This World
Some may think as to where such a vast world (realm) of Barzakh is at all situated? Our brain (intelligence) is unable to comprehend it. We will only say that the realm of Barzakh is in a veil and hence invisible to the physical eye. There are many narrations to make us understand this matter. For example: This world of ours, along with its vast lands and skies, if compared with the realm of Barzakh, is like a tiny spot in an endlessly big forest. So long as a man lives in this world, he is like a silk worm or like an unborn child in mother’ s womb. When he dies, he becomes free.
Of course, he remains in this very world and does not go away and out of it, but now he has no limitations like time and space because these things are limited only to this material world.
The Realm Of Barzakh Has Encircled This World
If it is said to a baby in the womb is told that there is a very vast world beyond you present station which is nothing in comparison with that one he is unable to understand or comprehend it. Similarly, we who are able now to see only through the physical eyes cannot comprehend the other world which is hidden from our eyes.
Almighty God says in the Holy Quran: Fa Laa…Ya’Maloon (Surah Sa- jdah: 17) meaning: No body knows which things have been provided for him which can cool their eyes. This is the reward of the good deeds done by them in the world. We only know that as the trust informer (s.a.w.s.) has informed us of it we testify to it. The realm of Barzakh has encircled and covered our present physical and material world just as this world has covered the world in womb. No other example is more explanatory.
Description Of Reward And Punishment In Barzakh In The Holy Quran
‘An naaru…azaab’ (Surah Mominun 40:46) meaning: They will be thrown in fire in the morning and in the evening and when Qiyamat will occur (it will be ordered) “Inflict the severest punishment on Aale Firon.”
This is one of those verses of Quran which testify to punishment in Barzakh. The above ayat refers to those people of the Pharoah who died of drowning in the Nile. Ever since that day, they are regularly brought near fire every morning and every evening. This will continue till the Day of Judgement where after they will be given the severest chastisement.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) says that there is no morning or evening in the Hereafter, that the said punishment in morning and evening refers to therealm of Barzakh.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: If the dead person is one of the people of hell, his place in hell is shown to him every morning and every evening in his grave (Barzakh period). If he or she is of the people of paradise, he or she is shown his or her palace in paradise and told that this will be your station in the Hereafter.
Barzakh To Last Till All Will Be Made To Rise From Graves On The Day Of Qiyamat
“Hattma…Yub Asoon” (Surah Mominoon, V: 99-100) meaning: So much so that when death comes to any of them the disbelievers) he says: My Lord! Send me back to the world so that I may perform some good deed to compensate what I left. In response, he will be told: Never (you cannot return). He says a fruitless thing. And after them is Barzakh till the Day when people will be made to rise and gather.
This verse shows it very well that man has a life after death and before the Day of Judgement. It is in between the two. It is known by the name of Barzakh.
Source: Excerpt from “The Hereafter (Ma’aad)” by Ayatullah Dastghaib Shiraazi