I was recently asked a question regarding the occurrence of the devilish whispers in the grave. The only explicit thing I have been able to find on the issue is a report in al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi’s Nawadir al-Usul where he mentions:
روي عن سفيان الثوري أنه جاء في الخبر أنه عندما يدفن الميت يقال له من ربك؟ يدخل الشيطان عليه فيتمثل له ويشير إلى نفسه فيقول أنا ، فطلبنا تحقيق هذا فوجدنا في الأخبار عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه كان يقول عند دفن الميت (اللهم أجره من الشيطان
I know there are narrations that mention the Prophet (Allah bless him) and the companions seeking refuge from the devil after the placing of a body into the grave; Ibn Hajar mentions they are related in abundance in his Fath al-Bari.
a. What is the authenticity of the report mentioning the presence of the devil in the grave?
b. Are these narrations wherein refuge is sought from the devil at the time of burial indicative of his presence or potential presence in the grave, as argued by al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi?
c. What is the nature, if established, of this “whisper” noting that the realm of taklif i.e. the worldly realm, is now gone?
This is in Asl 277 of Nawadir al-Usul of al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, from Imam Sufyan al-Thawri without chain other than the formula of weakening (sighat al-tamrid) “ruwiya“. So it is among the “scholarly hearsay reports” (balaghat) and therefore weak, but it might complement the descriptions of the sound reports that the angels appear and ask those questions.
It is not entirely correct that there is no taklif in the grave, since the interrogation/test (su’al/fitna) of the grave is the very definition of taklif.
Hajj Gibril Haddad