Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Where is the soul in between a person’s demise and their burial? Are they present at their janaza?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Yes, many narrations would seem to indicate that the soul is in fact present at the burial.
The Soul after Death
Abu Sa`id al-Khudri heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) say, “The dead man recognizes his washer and those that carry him and lower him into his grave.” [Hakim]
Qurtubi relates that Malik ibn Dinar said, “There is not a person who dies except that his soul is in the hand of an angel while he looks at his body, how it is washed, shrouded, carried and buried.” Munawi adds that this does not negate the narrations which mention of the soul’s rising beyond the seven heavens to their Lord, as it is possible that this happens and the soul returns to witness the burial. [Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir Sharh Jami` al-Saghir]
Returning of the Soul to the Body
Nawawi, in his Bustan al-`Arifin, relates a story in which the jurist Muhammad al-Nawawi confirmed that the soul returns to the body for questioning, after burial. Many prophetic narrations seemingly support this view.
`Uthman ibn `Affan relates that when the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to finish burying someone, he would stand by the grave and say, “All of you, ask Allah to forgive your brother and make him steadfast, for he is now being asked.” [Abu Dawud]
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani