Definition of Shirath
Shirat is a bridge spread over the Inferno Hell. It is, as said by Abu Sa’id Al Khudri, “More subtle than a hair and sharper than sword.” (Narrated by Muslim)
All mankind are going to pass this shirat. Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “There is not one of you but shall pass by Hell. This is a decree which your Lord will fulfill.” (QS. Maryam/Mary : 71)
وَيُضْرَبُ جِسْرُ جَهَنَّمَ » . قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم :« فَأَكُونُ أَوَّلَ مَنْ يُجِيزُ ، وَدُعَاءُ الرُّسُلِ يَوْمَئِذٍ : اللَّهُمَّ سَلِّمْ سَلِّمْ ، وَبِهِ كَلاَلِيبُ مِثْلُ شَوْكِ السَّعْدَانِ ، أَمَا رَأَيْتُمْ شَوْكَ السَّعْدَانِ ؟ » . قَالُوا : بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ . قَالَ :« فَإِنَّهَا مِثْلُ شَوْكِ السَّعْدَانِ ، غَيْرَ أَنَّهَا لاَ يَعْلَمُ قَدْرَعِظَمِهَا إِلاَّ اللَّهُ ، فَتَخْطَفُ النَّاسَ بِأَعْمَالِهِمْ ، مِنْهُمُ الْمُوبَقُ ، بِعَمَلِهِ وَمِنْهُمُ الْمُخَرْدَلُ ، ثُمَّ يَنْجُو ،
“As-Sirat will be laid across Hell”. The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said: ” and I (Muhammad ) shall be the first amongst the Messengers to cross it with my followers. Nobody, except the Messengers, will then be able to speak and they will be saying, ‘O Allah! Save us, O Allah! Save us.’ “There will be hooks like the thorns of Sa’dan in Hell. Have you seen the thorns of Sa’dan ?’’ The people said, “Yes.” He said, “These hooks will be like the thorns of Sa’dan; but nobody except Allah knows their greatness in size and these will entangle the people according to their deeds; some of them will fall and stay in Hell forever; others will receive punishment (torn into small pieces) and will get out of Hell…” (Narrated by Bukhari)
Mankind crossing on the shirat will have different fates; one may pass it as the lightning bolt; one as the fast blowing wind; one as the flying bird;whereas the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- will be standing at the end of shirat, invoking Allah, “O Lord, save them, save them”. Until a man who is unable to walk but by crawling come. The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,
وَفِى حَافَتَىِ الصِّرَاطِ كَلاَلِيبُ مُعَلَّقَةٌ مَأْمُورَةٌ بِأَخْذِ مَنْ أُمِرَتْ بِهِ فَمَخْدُوشٌ نَاجٍ وَمَكْدُوسٌ فِى النَّارِ » . وَالَّذِى نَفْسُ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ بِيَدِهِ إِنَّ قَعْرَ جَهَنَّمَ لَسَبْعُونَ خَرِيفًا .
“And around the shirat will be the hanging iron hooks, ordered to entangle one whom is allowed to be taken. Some will be scratched but saved, and some will fall into the Hell.”
Abu Huraira said, “By Allah who has the soul of Abu Huraira in His hand, indeed, the depth of the Hell reaches 70 years deep.” (Narrated by Muslim)
After the Shirat
After passing the shirat without falling into the Hell, there will be a retaliation among the believers so that they’ll enter the Paradise in perfect condition and free from sins. They will be stopped at a qantharah (bridge). The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said:
« إِذَا خَلَصَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ مِنَ النَّارِ حُبِسُوا بِقَنْطَرَةٍ بَيْنَ الْجَنَّةِ وَالنَّارِ ، فَيَتَقَاصُّونَ مَظَالِمَ كَانَتْ بَيْنَهُمْ فِى الدُّنْيَا ، حَتَّى إِذَا نُقُّوا وَهُذِّبُوا أُذِنَ لَهُمْ بِدُخُولِ الْجَنَّةِ ، فَوَالَّذِى نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِيَدِهِ لأَحَدُهُمْ بِمَسْكَنِهِ فِى الْجَنَّةِ أَدَلُّ بِمَنْزِلِهِ كَانَ فِى الدُّنْيَا » .
“When the believers pass safely over (the bridge across) Hell, they will be stopped at an arched bridge in between Hell and Paradise, where they will retaliate upon each other for the injustices done among them in the world, and when they get purified of all their sins, they will be admitted into Paradise. By Him in Whose Hands the soul of Muhammad -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- is, everybody will (recognize) his dwelling in Paradise better than he recognizes his dwelling in this world.” (Narrated by Bukhari)
Some said that ‘qantharah’ is the end part of shirat near the Paradise, and some said that qantharah is another, special bridge for the believers. And Allah knows best.
Author: Marwan Ibn Musa
Article of www.whatisquran.com