Can the Dead Hear Us?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

Can those buried in their grave hear us when we visit their grave, speak to them, or make du’a for them? Does it differ if they died Muslim or non-Muslim?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Yes, the deceased can hear the living when addressed by them, by the enablement of Allah Most High, as affirmed by numerous traditions (hadiths) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Muslim recorded that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said upon visiting a graveyard, “Peace be upon you abode of a believing people, we, if Allah wills, will surely catch up to you.”

And it is reported that he said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “There is not a person who passes by the grave of his fellow believer whom he used to know in this life, and sends greetings (i.e. salam) upon him, except that he recognises him and returns his greetings.” [Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Istidhkar, as related by al-`Iraqi in his Takhrij al-Ihya’]

This understanding is affirmed by numerous scholars such as Suyuti in his al-Hawi li’l Fatawa, Ibn al-Qayyim in his Kitab al-Ruh, Mulla `Ali al-Qari in his Mirqat al-Mafatih, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyya al-Kubra, and many others.

As for supplicating for non-Muslims after they have died, please see the following: Can We Pray for Non-Muslims Who Passed Away?

And see also: Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer and: What Is the Proper Etiquette in Giving Condolences to the Family of a Deceased Who Is Non-Muslim? and: Dealing with Death: Inward & Outward Manners

And Allah alone gives success

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)