Q. I was asked by a relative who is Hindu about what happens to the soul when a person dies. He wanted to know, can the soul be judged by what the body does? He specifically wanted to know if the soul can be punished, ie. if it can feel pain in hell?
A. When a person dies, his Soul departs and is then returned to the body which is in the grave.
With respect to the question, ‘how can the soul be judged by what the body does? The answer to this is that it is the soul that has the body alive. The ability in the body to do everything depends on the existence of the soul which is in it. If the soul is not there, then the body is powerless and it becomes dead. So it must be understood that for one to be alive both the soul and the body must be joined together in a manner that cannot be detached. Further to this, one must also understand that the inspiration or whisper to do good or bad comes to the heart of a person which then makes the decision to do good or bad. If good is done, then it is done by both the body and soul and both benefit from the good deed. If bad is done, then it is done by both the body and soul and both enjoy the sin and wrong that has been done. The body simply follows the orders, desires and wishes. In this worldly life, the soul exists in the body and both are attached to one another. This unity of body and soul causes both to experience pleasure and happiness and also causes both to feel pain and sorrow. In a like manner, when both are rejoined together after death, they will both feel the pain of sufferings and would also enjoy the bliss of paradise if one is admitted to it. So, the soul will definitely feel the pain in hell.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan