Barzakh Is In the Veil of This World
By : Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Abdul Husain Dastghaib
Some may think as to where such a vat 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.
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 Sajdah: 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.
Asbag bin Nabatah says: I saw my leader Amirul Momineen (a.s.) standing at the gate of Kufa looking towards the desert. It appeared that he was busy talking with some one but there was no one. I also stood up. After a long time I felt tired. So I sat down and got up again after a while. But Ali (a.s) was still busy talking. I went a step forward and asked: O Amirul Momineen! Who is it you are talking with? He said: This talk of mine was to please the spirits of the faithful. I asked: Which faithful. No one from those who have passed away is present here. He said: Yes, they are present here I again asked: They are present here physical or in spirit? He replied: Their spirits. Had you been able to do so, you could have seen how they gather at a place, talk mutually and please one another remembering the gifts and bounties of God.
It is mentioned in other hadiths that any faithful person who passes away either from the east or the west of this world finds that his spirit or soul which remains in his allegorical body have their place in Waadius Salaam near (in the neighbourhood of) Amirul Momineen (a.s.). In other words, Najaf-e-Ashraf is an exhibition of the higher world. Likewise, for the Kafirs (unbelievers) their stations in Waadiy-e-Barhoot which is situated in Yaman (Oman) in a fearful and barren land where even birds do not venture to go. This is a place for the appearance of mean souls.
Whatever you have heard about importance of nearness to Amirul Momineens (a.s.) is about spiritual neighbourhood, whatever one's physical distance from Najaf-e-Ashraf. In fact nearness to Ali (a.s) is attainable through knowledge and actions. When a man commits a sin he becomes away from Ali (a.s) in proportion to the seriousness of his sin. Very nice if the soul is with Ali (a.s) and body also gets buried near him in Najaf-e-Ashraf. It is indeed a very big fortune. But if, God forbid, one is physically buried in Najaf-e-Ashraf but his soul is under torture in Waadiy-e-Barhoot, it is a terribly bad luck. So all of us should try our best to make our spiritual relation with Ali (a.s) more and more strong and close. Doubtlessly, physical burial in Najaf-e-Ashraf also is not without benefits and has perfect effectiveness because of being buried there is, in a way, a means to nearness to the Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
It is mentioned in Madinat-ul-Ma Aajiz that, one day, Ali (a.s) was sitting with his companions at the back of the gate of Jufa. Looking up he said: Do you also see what I am seeing? People said: No, O Amirul Momineen! He said: I can see two persons who are bringing a dead body on the back of a camel for so that it may bury here. It will take yet three more days for them to reach here. On the third day thereafter Ali (a.s) went again with companions to see who comes. First people could see that a camel was coming towards them with a body on its back. A man was holding the rein of that camel in his hand. Another man was walking behind that camel. When they came nearer, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) asked: Whose body is this? Who are you and from where are you coming? They replied: We are from Yaman and this is the body of our father who had willed that his body should be carried to Iraq for being buried in Najaf-e-Ashraf. Ali (a.s) asked: Did you ask him the reason for it? They replied: Yes. Our father was saying that a man will be buried there who will be able, if he likes, to make intercession for the entire gathering on the Day of Resurrection. Maula-e-Kaainaat Ali (a.s) said: By God. I am indeed that man.
In connection with benefits for those who are buried near Ali (a.s)'s tomb Muhaddis Quni (r.a.) has given a very appropriate example in Mafatee-ul-Jinaan. There is an Arabic proverb: Ahmaa…Jaraad meaning such and such person is superior than the one who gives shelter to grasshoppers who took his shelter. The story is like this: A man named Madlaj bin Suwaid who belonged to the tribe of Tay was, one day, sitting in his tent. He saw that a group belonging to the Tay tribe was approaching his tent holding big bags and many utensils. He asked their condition. They said: Many grasshoppers have descended around your tent. We want to catch them. Hearing this, Madlaj got up, took a spear in his hand and ascending his horse declared: By God, I will kill anyone who even touches these grasshoppers. These grasshoppers are my neighbours and they have come in my shelter. How can you catch them? It will never be allowed. Then he defended his grasshoppers till the sun rose higher and it became hot and the grasshoppers flew away. Then he said: Lo. Now the grasshoppers have left my neighbourhood. Now it is your look out to deal with them.
In short, it is obvious that if some one takes himself in the neighbourhood of Ali (a.s), thereby taking his shelter will surely be benefited by his support.