As-Salamu`alykum dear sheikh. My question is about surat al-‘araf. On verses 40 - 41, Allah says: "Lo! They who deny Our revelations and scorn them, for them the gates of heaven will nor be opened not will they enter the Garden until the camel goeth through the needle's eye. Thus do We requite the guilty. Theirs will be a bed of hell, and over them coverings (of hell). Thus do We requite wrong-doers." It seems that Allah explains to us that there is something like a purgatory, something between nar and jannah. Is there in Islam something like that?
Answer (Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti):
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Some Muslim scholars believe in some sort of a purgatory. They base their argument not on the verses you quoted, but on another verse in the same surah, namely verse 46.
The word "al-a'raf" (the heights) mentioned in this verse, and from which the surah took its title, was interpreted by some scholars as a place between Hell and Paradise. According to this understanding, some people will stay there for some time before they enter Paradise.
There is also another way to look at the concept of ‘purgatory’ in Islam: according to some hadiths, some Muslims will receive a temporary punishment in Hell, after which they will be admitted to Paradise. The reason for this is that they don’t practice what they believe, but their belief will save them from eternal punishment.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Source : Islamonline