Munkar And Nakir
In Islamic eschatology, Munkar and Nakir are angels that test the faith of the graved.
These angels are described to have solid black eyes and a shoulder width of miles. Al-Suyuti referred to Hadith records Al-Hakim al-Nishapuri, Sunan Abu Dawood Mukar and Nakir as carrying hammers that were “so big that it can’t be moved even if all of humanity comes together to lift it.” Al-Suyuti also quoted other Hadiths from Ibn Abi al-Dunya and Al-Bayhaqi. He said that Nakir and Munkar spoke when tongues of fire came out of their mouths. If one answers the questions incorrectly, one will be beaten until Allah (God), allows for the beatings to stop. Al-Suyuti also mentioned in the hadith Munkar (Nakir) digging out the location of the deceased person using their teeth, and their hairs were reaching to their feet.
Munkar And Nakir’s Questionings
Muslims believe that after someone dies, their soul passes through a stage called barzakh where it remains in the grave. After the funeral and burial have ended, the questioning begins. Nakir and Munkar raise the dead soul in the grave to ask three questions.
An upright believer will answer correctly by saying their Lord is Allah, Muhammad is their prophet, and Islam is their religion. The time spent waiting for the resurrection will be pleasant if the deceased answers correctly. They may even enter heaven. Those who don’t answer in the above manner will be chastised and punished until the day of judgement. It is believed that Barzakh can already see the fires of hell and that the spiritual pain that this causes can lead to the purification of the soul.
Al-Mufid, a Shia theologian reports that angels often ask about one’s imam. It seems that the Quran is the correct answer.
Muslims believe that an individual will be able to correctly answer questions after death, not by recollecting them before death, but by having iman (faith) as well as deeds like salat (prayer), and shahadah.
Munkar And Nakir’s History
Munkar and Nakir have some similarities to Zoroastrian divinities. These divinities, including Mithra and Sraosha, play a part in the judgment of souls. Rashnu is described as being a figure that holds a set of scales, similar to some angels of death. It was written that the “image and function of Munkar, Nakir, carries certain echoes from the Zoroastrian idea of the angels Sarosh (“Obedience”) or Atar (“Fire”)”. Abathur Muzania, a mythical figure from the Mandaean religion is very similar to Rashnu. He is in the same place as Rashnu and has a set of scales. Muzania (mizan in Aramaic) means “scales” in Aramaic.
Recent research suggests that Munkar, Nakir may have been derived from astrological figures originally associated with Nergal, the Mesopotamian astral God. This theory is based upon the idea
that Nergal, the Mesopotamian god, has nearly the same characteristics as Munkar or Nakir. Assyrian Nakru, which literally means “enemy”, was an epithet for Nergal. Like the names Munkar or Nakir, Assyrian nakru comes from the same root. It is derived from the Proto-Semitic NKR, which also derived some negative terms. Some scholars use a different spelling; nakuru. Nakir is nearly the same spelling as Nakir. Nergal, a lord over the Underworld (Assyrian Qabru: grave) is another example. He has the terrifying voice of Nakir and Munkar, and can cause panic in gods and men alike. His breath can also burn his enemies. He wields a shining mace. Most scholars believe that he was once a sun god. He is also identified with the celestial twins Gemini in Babylonian astral mythology, which links him to Munkar or Nakir.
It is also important that Quran does not mention Munkar or Nakir. Tirmidhi mentions their names in the hadith tradition. Tirmidhi has been known to have visited Iraq. This indicates that Munkar and Nakir were introduced to Islamic beliefs at an early stage of Islamization in Mesopotamia (or Iraq). At the time Islam was introduced, Mesopotamians believed in Shamash the sun god, Nergal and other Babylonian gods. Munkar and Nakir could be influenced by Nergal, the god of the Underworld, who is represented by Mars. Astrologically, Munkar (and Nakir) share more clues about the Martian characteristics that connect them to Nergal.
A. J. Wensinck, a scholar, found that the association of Munkar with Nakir to the root NKR was unlikely. John MacDonald, a scholar, believes that the names of these two angels are not well explained. However, since they are passive forms, it is possible to understand them as “unknown” (or “disguised”), much like Judaism’s angels visiting graves disguised. Rabbinic literature has many traditions regarding punishing angels and chastising the dead.