First the "World of Ordeal", then the "Resurrection". We are not destroyed at death, we just go from this world to another world called the "Hereafter".
In the Hereafter, we go first to the "World of Ordeal" and then to the "Resurrection". In the Holy Qur'an, God tells us, "Those who die have an ordeal until Resurrection." He also commands, "Do not think that who are killed in the cause of God are dead; they are alive and receive their sustenance from their Lord."
God has informed us through Muhammad (PBUH), His Holy Prophet, that when a human being dies and leaves this world, he goes to the World of Ordeal with the same appearance, and there he is subject to short questions.
They ask him:
Do you believe in God?
Whose commandments have you obeyed?
Those of God? Or of somebody other than God?
Who is your Prophet?
What is your religion?
Who is your Imam?
A person who has worshipped God in this world and was religious and who lived with true faith, will answer easily and his faith will be obvious. After these short questions and answers, he will live in the World of Ordeal peacefully and happily until the Day of Judgment, successfully enjoying samples of the blessings of Paradise.
Questions and Answers in the World of Ordeal
Questions and answers in the World of Ordeal are real. People going to the World of Ordeal are really asked questions and they really have to answer them, but the questions and answers of the World of Ordeal are not the same as the questions and answers of this world.
People in the World of Ordeal hear the questions and answer them, but not by the ears and tongue with which they used to hear and speak in this world, but by the ears and tongue of the World of Ordeal.
It is not necessary for questions and answers always to be with these lips, tongues, mouths and ears. For example, in your dreams you speak to your friends and you hear what they say and you have a conversation with them. Is it with your ears? Is it with your tongue? Definitely not!
Sometimes in our dreams we go places to which we have never been before, but later, when we are awake, we go there and realize that we have seen that place in our dream.
In our dreams, with which body do we go to this place and to that place?
In our dreams, with which eyes do we see? With which ears do we hear?
Is it with these eyes and ears?
Is it with our normal body?
Definitely not, for our normal body is lying in bed and our eyes are closed.
It is possible that you, or someone you know, has had this type of dream.
The World of Ordeal is a real and true world, and the questions and answers of that world are also real and true, and we explained about the dream because it is a good example.
The Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (A.S), tells us: "Those who are bad-tempered at home are punished in the World of Ordeal."
Amir al-Mominin Ali (A.S), tells us: "Those who tell tales and backbite are punished in the World of Ordeal."
But those who did not accept God and His Prophets in this world, who were not obedient to the Holy Commands, and who were irreligious and cruel, cannot acknowledge God and His Prophets in the World of Ordeal either, and their disbelief makes itself manifest.
Such people will endure hardships and tortures in the World of Ordeal, and the sufferings of the World of Ordeal for them will be samples of the sufferings of Hell.
In the World of Ordeal, the truth about people will become clear, and so will their 'Iman' and 'Kufr", their belief and disbelief.
Those who, in this world, really believed in "God, the Day of Judgment and the Prophets", and performed good deeds, they will answer the questions easily, for their faith will manifest itself too.
But those who didn't have faith and had been bullies and oppressors and used to behave badly, these cannot give the right answers in the World of Ordeal, and their sins and disbelief become apparent.
A sinful person shall experience samples of the sufferings in the World of Ordeal that must be suffered in Hell, and the punishment for his deeds will begin from there.