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Barzakh


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Author Topic: Barzakh  (Read 2725 times)
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« on: June 30, 2007, 04:15:40 am »

 BismEm


Those who have never heard of the term "barzakh" .. let me explain it briefly.  Barzakh is simply a name given to the place where souls are thought to stay between death and the Day of Resurrection.  Please note, this concept arises purely from Hadith.  The Noble Quran mentions nothing (directly nor indirectly) about such a place.  This does not go to say that there is no such place where the soul rests between death and Resurrection.  What I am simply saying is that the concept of Barzakh is not supported by the Quran.  Surely the soul must be resting somewhere between the period of death and Resurrection.  But it is only known to Allah alone, none else. 

I would like to analyze the concept of Barzakh in the light of the Quran, and on the basis of a question asked by a reader on this subject at IslamOnline.  The query is as follows.

As-Salamu `alaykum. What is "Al-Barzakh"? I have heard that God has created special place for dead people. Do their souls live there? What about the Prophets? Do their souls also live there? My second question is: Does the dead person know what goes on in this life and what happens to his relatives? Thank you. -  (August 2003)

First, let me start by saying that people who ask such questions are only prompting the clerics to lie.  Matters like these belong deep into the Unseen which NO mortal being can ever know.  For most such queries the Almighty Allah has mentioned nothing in the Quran.  It is only the Hadith and other extra Quranic contents that construct purely imaginary stories about the Unseen to impress vulnerable minds, being completely out of line with Quranic values.  While weaving such stories might seem a trifle to us, in the Sight of Allah it's a huge violation.

Now let us check how much of Barzakh is mentioned in the Quran and how much of it is woven by the fictions of Hadith.

To begin, let's first see what the Quran says about the soul. 

They are asking thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little. (17:85)

This is about the only verse in the Quran that talks of the soul, and Allah has flatly stated that He has given very little knowledge about the soul to humans. 

Then, in verse 39:42 Allah has conveyed the concept that the soul does not die with the body.  Please read.

Allah receiveth (men's) souls at the time of their death, and that (soul) which dieth not (yet) in its sleep. He keepeth that (soul) for which He hath ordained death and dismisseth the rest till an appointed term. Lo! herein verily are portents for people who take thought. (39:42)

The important point to note is, again, Allah does NOT mention where or how He keeps the soul, absolutely in conformity with verse 17:85. 

As explained by Sh. Hamed al-Ali, “Literally Al-Barzakh means interval or a barrier between two things." And then he quotes verse 55:20 of Surah Ar-Rehman (read the verses below).  But when we read the preceding and following verses of 55:20, we find that the word "barrier" used here has NOTHING to do with the concept of Barzakh taken commonly by the clerics as a place where souls are preserved till the Day of Judgment.  Instead in verse 55:20 Allah clearly refers to the different kinds of sea water (perhaps it could even mean the meeting of the sea water and river water, commonly known as the estuary).

19. He hath loosed the two seas. They meet.
20. There is a barrier between them. They encroach not (one upon the other).
21. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny ?
22. There cometh forth from both of them the pearl and coral-stone.
23. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny ?
24. His are the ships displayed upon the sea, like banners.
25. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny ?
(Surah 55)


Then the same sheik says "Technically, it stands for an intermediary stage between this life and another life in the Hereafter; it’s an interval between death and the Day of Resurrection."  And then he quotes verse 23:100 (read below).  Again, the term "barrier" in this verse does not by any stretch of imagination portray a temporary resting place for souls.  Rather, it very obviously refers to the partition between the two realms, i.e. the spiritual world and the earthly world.  In other words, once the soul goes to the spiritual world, there's no turning back to the earthly world.  And again, Allah mentions NOTHING (neither directly nor indirectly) as to where He keeps this soul.

97. And say: My Rab! I seek refuge in You from suggestions of the evil ones,
98. And I seek refuge in You, my Rab, lest they be present with me,
99. Until, when death cometh unto one of them, he saith: My Rab! Send me back,
100. That I may do right in that which I have left behind! But nay! It is but a word that he speaketh; and behind them is a barrier until the day when they are raised.
101. And when the trumpet is blown there will be no kinship among them that day, nor will they ask of one another.
102. Then those whose scales are heavy, they are the successful.
103. And those whose scales are light are those who lose their souls, in hell abiding. (Surah 23)



(In accordance with the Quran)
Further, Sh. Hamed al-Ali states, "This does not mean that there would be special places for every soul, but the souls of dead people are in different places according to the level of their Iman: some of them will be on the highest paradise with the souls of Prophets and martyrs; some believers will be in a particular place in Paradise before the Day of Judgment;" 

This is the only concept that's in accordance with the Quran.  The Noble Quran states that in Paradise there will be grades, and yes, some could be taken to Paradise before the Day of Judgment while some could be sent to Hellfire before the Day of Judgement .. which means The Almighty will decide their cases prior to the Day of Judgement.  However, this doesn't mean we are entitled to make guesses about the final destination of people.  It's important to keep in mind that details on these matters belong strictly to the Unseen and we are not to meddle with them.

(Not in accordance with the Quran, only from Hadith)
Sh. Hamed then continues "some will have their graves like gardens of Paradise and some will have it like pits of the Hell-Fire. All of these cases and states of people will be in the period of Al-Barzakh, each one according to the status of his Iman." 

This concept about reward and punishment in the graves is NOT at all warranted by the Quran.  It is purely from the list of Hadith stories.  Thus, as always, we also see a confusing clash.  Sh. Hamed first talks about reward and punishment in the grave, and then he conveniently switches over to the "period of Barzakh."  So, is Barzakh a time-period or is it a place?  The scholars don't just seem to be making stories on Barzakh, but neither are they sure if Barzakh is a certain period of time or a specific place.

In case it's taken to be a certain period of time, that much can be accepted for the purpose of identification of that time.  But beyond that, we can say nothing otherwise it will contradict verses 17:85 and 39:42.  Therefore, we have no knowledge how the soul is preserved by the Divine Power during this period known as 'Barzakh,' IF this term is given to identify a particular period of time only.

Concerning the second part of the question, if souls know what's happening in this mortal world, Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi answers

“The dead person does not know anything of the life of living people because he or she lives in a completely different world. However, it is reported that the dead person feels the footsteps of those who walk over him or her. It is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) looked at the people of the well, in which the bodies of the disbelievers killed in the Battle of Badr were thrown and said, “Have you found true what your Lord promised you?” `Umar asked, “You are addressing dead people.” The Prophet replied, “They hear better than you do, but they cannot reply.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Surely the dead cannot communicate with earthly world, but nowhere does the Quran says that the dead can hear us nor hear us better than we can nor about feeling the footsteps of those walking over them .. probably referring to walking over the graves.  It's disrespectful to walk over someone's grave from earthly perspective, however, what lies in the grave are only the physical remains, NOT the soul.  So there's no question of hearing anything. This is a typical unwarranted presumption of Hadith and therefore must be disregarded.

Sheik Faysal also says "These narrations refer to the period that closely follows the death of a person, but after that, the deceased moves completely to a new different world where he or she will not be aware of anything of what happens at this life. This may be confirmed by the verse: “Thou canst not reach those who are in the graves.” (Fatir: 22)”

The Noble Quran is always consistent, and unlike Hadith, is free of contradictions.  Thus, the above verse 22 from Surah Fatir asserting that we cannot get in touch with those in the grave once again confirms the Divine statement of verse 17:85 that we humans have been given little knowledge about the soul and neither we communicate with them and vice-versa .... further discrediting the story of Barzakh.
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2007, 12:42:23 am »


As-Salamu `alaykum. What is "Al-Barzakh"? I have heard that God has created special place for dead people. Do their souls live there? What about the Prophets? Do their souls also live there? My second question is: Does the dead person know what goes on in this life and what happens to his relatives? Thank you. -  (August 2003)

First, let me start by saying that people who ask such questions are only prompting the clergy to lie.  Matters like these belong deep into the Unseen which NO mortal human can know them. 
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right on!  From where do these folks come up with such questions, and how in the world do they expect the "scholars" to answer them?  Have the "scholars" supposed to have taken a tour of the unseen world?  Either such questioners are seriously stupid or their blind faith on the "scholars" has made them dangerously ignorant.  When the "scholars" find people coming up with queries like these, if they had an ounce of honesty and decency, they would tell them not to ask these questions as no one can know them.  But the ego of "scholars" is more important to them than obeying Allah.  They will never say that they don't have the answers and therefore have to lie in order to say something. 


Sh. Faysal's statement:
“The dead person does not know anything of the life of living people because he or she lives in a completely different world. However, it is reported that the dead person feels the footsteps of those who walk over him or her. It is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) looked at the people of the well, in which the bodies of the disbelievers killed in the Battle of Badr were thrown and said, “Have you found true what your Lord promised you?” `Umar asked, “You are addressing dead people.” The Prophet replied, “They hear better than you do, but they cannot reply.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
[/font]

the dead person doesn't know anything ... yet a 'report' from Bukhari makes the sheik know everything about the dead person ..  Shocked



Sh. Hamed then continues "some will have their graves like gardens of Paradise and some will have it like pits of the Hell-Fire. All of these cases and states of people will be in the period of Al-Barzakh, each one according to the status of his Iman." 

...  Sh. Hamed first talks about reward and punishment in the grave, and then he conveniently switches over to the "period of Barzakh."  So, is Barzakh a state / condition, or is it a place?  The scholars don't just seem to be making stories on Barzakh, but neither are they sure if Barzakh is a certain period of time or a particular place.


that's an important catch.   now he's making it sound as if Barzak is a time frame.  he apparently does not want to clarify it.  this is what happens while making up stories.  there's no consensus on issues.


Sheik Faysal also says "These narrations refer to the period that closely follows the death of a person, but after that, the deceased moves completely to a new different world where he or she will not be aware of anything of what happens at this life. This may be confirmed by the verse: “Thou canst not reach those who are in the graves.” (Fatir: 22)”

Allah narrates in this verse that we humans in this earth can never know about those who are in the graves.  that also automatically means we can never know anything about their souls as Allah has already confirmed in other verses. 

sheik faisal talks about the deceased (maybe meaning the soul) not being aware of this world.  therefore he is actually saying something else.  I don't know why he is connecting what he has said with this Verse.

mr. faisal is a bit confused.   
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2007, 12:45:15 am »

Thanks for this important and intereting discourse, Zaynab Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2007, 02:39:53 am »

 BismEm


 Oh, I swear by the afterglow of sunset,
 And by the night and all that it enshroudeth,
 And by the moon when she is at the full,
 That ye shall journey on from plane to plane.
 (84:16-19) Al-Inshiqaaq


I have the feeling that possibly the above verses refer to the journey of the soul as it travels away from the body after death .. " ...journey on from plane to plane."  And Allah does not say where it travels. The detination of the soul is kept unknown to humankind.  Alhamdulilah. 

Interesting article / discussion.  Thanks sisters.
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2009, 04:19:58 pm »

Recently, in the collection of "Sahih" At-Tabarani al Kabeer from Ka'b Ibn Malik & Umm Mubashshir, I read the following Hadith that gives another view of how souls are preserved till Allah unites them with the body.

'The Messenger of Allaah (p.b.u.h.) said, "The souls of the believers are inside green birds in the trees of Paradise until Allah returns them to their bodies on the Day of Resurrection." '

So now there are two versions as to where our souls rest when we leave this world - Barzakh and the "green birds," neither of which have been confirmed or even indirectly referred to in the Glorious Quran.  

Thus, as a staunch believer grounded in the Quran, I would disregard this Hadith the same way as the concept of Barzakh.  That's because only Allah knows best.  Without any confirmations from Him, we cannot arrive at such conclusions.  And needless to say, without any warrants from Allah (The Most High), the beloved Prophet (pbuh) would NEVER make such guesses.   No matter how sweet the above Hadith may sound to some human ears, for total lack of any Quranic evidences, I cannot put this narration beyond a guess.
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2009, 08:42:38 pm »


'The Messenger of Allaah (p.b.u.h.) said, "The souls of the believers are inside green birds in the trees of Paradise until Allah returns them to their bodies on the Day of Resurrection." '


This is the first time I'm reading this Hadith.  No wonder no one has been able to keep count of the total number of narratives in all collections.  It's amazing how new ones keep popping up.  I so much agree with your comments sister rose.  The Noble Quran gives us no reason to accept such rhetorics.  The truth of where Allah makes our souls to rest till the Day of Judgement is only known to Him alone.
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2009, 12:08:41 pm »

Souls of believers resting inside "green birds" ?   The Glorious Qur'an makes no such references.  I'm not saying that this is impossible because everything is possible for Allah, if He so desires.  But what I mean is, if Allah said nothing about this in the Qur'an, and Allah also mentioned that He has given us little knowledge about the soul as in Surah Al-Isra, then how would anyone else know this very confidential information?
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 12:13:03 am »

 BismEm


"He is the Omnipotent over His slaves. He sends guardians over you until, when death comes unto one of you, Our messengers receive him, and they neglect not." (6:61)

"Then are they restored unto Allah, their Lord, the Just. Surely His is the judgment. And He is the most swift of reckoners." (6:62)



When we read the above verses carefully, we realize that these could be a reference to that transitational stage between death and Resurrection when souls are kept in the custody of Allah Almighty in a place not disclosed by Him to those of us still living in this earth. 

However, there are certain references in the Quran which make it possible that in the case of some people Judgment is dispensed soon after their death, and they maybe granted either Paradise or Hellfire, depending on their deeds.  E.g. martyrs may enter Paradise soon after leaving the earthly world.  And Pharoah and his followers enter Hellfire soon after their earthly departure.
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2011, 10:16:58 pm »

SALAAMS TO OUR READERS.  SOME POSTS ON BARZAKH TOPIC IS FOUND AT ANOTHER THREAD BECAUSE A MEMBER IGNORANTLY WENT OFF TOPIC OUT THERE.  YOU WILL FIND A BRIEF INTERACTION ABOUT BARZAKH AT THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE POST-THREAD.  THE REMAINING DISCUSSION AND QUERY OF THAT MEMBER IS POSTED HERE FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR READERS TO DISPEL THAT MEMBER'S UNQURANIC MISGUIDED IDEAS BORROWED FROM THE HADITH.

THANKS ALL!
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2011, 02:13:59 am »

Salaams to our readers.  This post is a continuation of the discussion on Barzakh which was started by a member at Tree of Knowledge post.  I apologize for going off topic there.  Please continue reading as below for clarification of that member's misinterpretation of the Quran.

Responding to the query of member saraawan:
The following is the paragraph in which I requested you to quote an Ayat directly from the Glorious Quran to prove that barzakh is mentioned in Allah's Final Message.


Can you please quote any specific references from the Quran which clearly assert that 'Barzakh' is the name of the transitory period between death and Resurrection along with the description of life in a place called "Barzakh" in the same way as many ahadith write on Barzakh?  Before giving a sweeping comment, you should at least read the link which sister Heba referred to.

But you failed to quote any Quranic ayats saying that your "english is not good"  and then you continued with your personal thoughts claiming that the Quran mentions of barzakh as "middle-stage."  Your reply is quoted below.

sorry my english is not good so i try to explain  barzakh word use in Quran for sure but its in the middle stage not like this world or upper world and what is that Allah Knows the best that what i am trying to say

Is this reply by member saraawan sufficient to convince us that barzakh referring to "middle-stage" exists and is a Quranic concept?   Does the word Barzakh or 'Barrier' (in english) mean "middle-stage" of the soul's life in the Quran?   I would say NO.  The detailed analysis is already given above in the first & original post.   But for the conveniece of readers, I'll re-mention the important points to clarify the wrong idea and mis-interpretation of the Glorious Quran presented by this member.

As Muslims and human beings we all know for sure that the body of every living being contains a soul.  The body is mortal while the soul is immortal.  The body and soul are together as long as we live in this earthly world.  Then, when the body dies, the soul departs from the body and is kept in the safe custody of Allah Almighty until the Day of Judgment.  And, Allah has NOT told us in the Quran where and how He keeps the soul until the Day of Judgment.  This can be proven by direct references to the Glorious Quran.

First of all, please refer to the 17th Surah, Bani-Israel, Ayat 85, where Allah says:   "They are asking thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little." (17:85)   In this verse Allah mentions that some people during the Prophet Muhammad's (S) time asked him detailed questions about the soul.  Allah's reply is very clear.  Allah Almighty plainly commands the Prophet (S) to tell those people that knowledge about the soul is highly confidential and we humans have been given very little information about it.  This particularly refers to details after death.  This Ayat is a firm enough command & confirmation from Allah for we humans to shut our mouths and not construct stories about Barzakh.

Secondly, the only information Allah has given us about the soul is that unlike the destructible physical body, the soul is immortal and does not die.  This confirmation is contained in the 39th Surah, Az-Zumar, Ayat 42: "Allah receiveth (men's) souls at the time of their death, and that (soul) which dieth not (yet) in its sleep. He keepeth that (soul) for which He hath ordained death and dismisseth the rest till an appointed term. Lo! herein verily are portents for people who take thought."  (39:42)  In this beautiful verse Allah confirms that He receives human souls during their death.  He retains the soul in His custody and allows the physical body to decay through the natural process until the Day of Judgment.  The word "sleep" in this Verse has analogically been compared with death, with the reference that the soul does not die during death.

No confirmations of Barzakh or punishments in grave can be found in the Quran.   Barzakh is only a wishful thinking of the human mind of the Unseen.  Unfortunately most human beings are too nosy and inquisitive and want to dig into the Unseen which Allah has decided not to disclose yet.  If we try to interfere with the Unseen, it will only result in gossipy lies and imaginary tales like barzakh and many similar such stories we find in the Hadith.  Barzakh is a purely Hadith connected tale and thus, as believers in the Quran alone, we do not attach any importance to it at Muslim Villa.
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2011, 02:33:55 am »

WHY DO SOME PEOPLE LACKING IN QURANIC EDUCATION THINK THE CONCEPT OF TRANSITORY LIFE AS BARZAKH IS CONTAINED IN THE QURAN?

The word Barzakh literally means a separation or interval between 2 things.  Thus, the term bazakh or "barrier" has been used in Quranic verse 55:20 (Surah Ar-Rehman) and verse 23:100 (Surah Al-Muminun).  But it is used in a very different context and it does NOT at all mean "middle-stage" or transitory life of the soul.   I quote these 2 verses. 

First Verse 55:20, "There is a barrier between them. They encroach not (one upon the other)." (55:20).  If you read the preceding verses, you will know that this verse refers to the sweet river water and the salty sea water. All rivers flow into the sea, which means rivers meet the sea.  Yet, by the will of Allah, there is a separation or "barrier" between river water and sea water because of which the river water does not get affected by the bitter sea water.   

Now quoting verse 23:100, "That I may do right in that which I have left behind! But nay! It is but a word that he speaketh; and behind them is a barrier until the day when they are raised."  (23:100). In this verse again the word barzakh or "barrier" does not refer to the Hadith concept of barzakh or "middle-stage."  Instead it refers to the separation or barrier between the earthly world and spiritual world, referring that after death the soul passes away into the spiritual world and is barred from returning to the earthly world.  But where and how Allah keeps the soul in the spiritual world is not told to us.  That is only known to Allah.

From some references of Quranic verses, it's likely that the period after death until Resurrection will be in oblivion.  Regardless of the duration of time, when souls will be awakened on the Last Day for questioning, it will seem to them that they were asleep for a short period.  Here is one example from the Quran of such a verse referring to disbelievers. "And on the day when the Hour riseth the guilty will vow that they did tarry but an hour - thus were they ever deceived."  (30:55)  Surah Ar-Rum.  And here's another set of verses from Surah Ya Sin which apparently refer to all humankind rising on the Day of Judgment.  It is very important so please read carefully: "And the trumpet is blown and lo! from the graves they hie unto their Lord, Crying: Woe upon us! Who hath raised us from our place of sleep ? This is that which the Beneficent did promise, and the messengers spoke truth.  It is but one Shout, and behold them brought together before Us!  This day no soul is wronged in aught; nor are ye requited aught save what ye used to do.  Lo! those who merit paradise this day are happily employed,  They and their wives, in pleasant shade, on thrones reclining; Theirs the fruit (of their good deeds) and theirs (all) that they ask; The word from a Merciful Lord (for them) is: Peace! But avaunt ye, O ye guilty, this day!  (36:51-59).  Hence, from these set of verses it is crystal clear that there is NO middle-life after death.  Secondly, the period between death and Resurrection will feel very short as if one has awakened from their sleep.  Thirdly, where the souls are kept during the transitory period from death to Resurrection is only known to Allah.  We cannot presume it to be Barzak (let alone making stories about it) because Allah has not given us any reasons to presume such things.

The Quran also mentions that in the case of some disbelieving folks, their punishment will start soon after death, as in the case of pharoah (firon) and his followers.  I quote those verses: " .. while a dreadful doom encompassed Pharaoh's folk.  The Fire; they are exposed to it morning and evening; and on the day when the Hour uprises (it is said): Cause Pharaoh's folk to enter the most awful doom.  (40:46)  Surah Al Momin.  These 2 verses indicate the punishment for the very sinful ones starting prior to the Day of Judgment.  And it also indicates that the punishment will be of the Fire of hell.  There is absolutely no references nor hints that this punishment will be experienced from the grave nor from a place called barzakh.

Thus, people who have not studied the Quran properly or have not understood it well enough, should have the courtesy to keep their mis-information to themselves for the sake of Allah, and not come up with false ideas by taking the risk of misguiding others as well.
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2011, 05:58:31 am »

Wonderfully explained sister Zeynab.  It couldn't have been made clearer and simpler to understand.  If still anyone doesn't it, then they should keep their crap to themselves instead of spewing it all over this place and driving others nuts.
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2011, 06:26:42 am »

Mash'Allah, very articulately penned from start to finish.  Thanks Sister Zeynab.  Quoting Verses 55:20 and 23:100 is particularly useful.  Barzak is explained in the Quran simply as a partition or a separation or a barrier.  Just as there is an unseen separation between river and sea even though they meet, similarly there's a separation or barrier between the 2 realms - this world and the next - which disallows the departed soul to return.  This is the only meaning of barzak conveyed in the Quran.  Painting barzak as some sort of intermediary world by itself is purely a hadith fad extending from its imaginary ideas of punishments or rewards in the grave with loads of stories.   All that gotta be trashed as hogwash. 
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2012, 12:36:16 pm »

remarkable post detailed information bunch of thanks sister Zeynab ! miss conception of barzakh wasn't enough ? now azab-e-barzakh too.?  Angry this is so unacceptable ,unquranic view of barzakh from hadith and scholars  55:20 ,23:100 ,25:53 these are so simple verses what they have made it

And He it is Who hath given independence to the two seas (though they meet); one palatable, sweet, and the other saltish, bitter; and hath set a bar and a forbidding ban between them 25:53

 ya Allah so much wrong materiel .i don't believe it have got to know hadith about the barzakh life and.why they make reference of 16:21 verse to barzakh life ?? there is NO clue of barzakh life in a sence of rest or punishment /temporarily place of soul ??

(They are) dead, not living. And they know not when they will be raised. 16:21

see in this hadith ! how streached hadith portray barzakh punishments.

[Sahih Bukhari – Volume 2, Book 23, Hadith 468]

its long hadith from Bukhari which explains the concept of Barzakh (life after death)  Shocked
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Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.9:111
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2018, 06:51:37 pm »

BismEm

 Oh, I swear by the afterglow of sunset,
 And by the night and all that it enshroudeth,
 And by the moon when she is at the full,
 That ye shall journey on from plane to plane.
 (84:16-19) Al-Inshiqaaq


I have the feeling that possibly the above verses refer to the journey of the soul as it travels away from the body after death .. " ...journey on from plane to plane."  And Allah does not say where it travels. The detination of the soul is kept unknown to humankind.  Alhamdulilah.  
..........

Yes, you have a point there.  Also, some have opined that it may refer to the lifespan of every individual (those who have a fairly long life in particular) that they will go through various stages in life ... probably referring to the ups & downs and trials & tribulations of life.    But I think as you said, the reference to the journey of the soul after death is more likely.   And only Allah knows best. 

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