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Is This Proof That the Prophet Is Alive in His Grave?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Asslamu Alaykum

“My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be shown to me and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if I see evil I will ask forgiveness of Allah for you.” I want to know whether this is a Sahih Hadith and does this prove that Prophet Muhammad, may God’s peace and salutations be upon him, is alive in his grave?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahm atullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your question.

The hadith you mentioned is narrated by Imam al-Bazzār:

حَياتِي خير لكم وموتي خير لكم، أما حَياتِي فأسن لكم السّنَن وأشرع لكم الشَّرَائِع. وَأما موتِي فَإِن أَعمالكُم تعرض عَلّي فَمَا رَأَيْت مِنْهَا حسنا حمدت الله عَلَيْهِ، وَمَا رَأَيْت مِنْهَا سَيِّئًا استغفرت الله تَعَالَى لكم

‘My life is good for you and my death is good for you. As for my life, I set sunnas and legislate laws for you. As for my death, your deeds are presented to me; I praise Allah for the good I see of them, and ask Allah to forgive you for the bad that I see.’

Some experts considered all the narrators to be sound, whereas others disagreed (al-ʿIraqi, Mughni al-Asfar). The least that can be said of the hadith is that it is a well authenticated, ḥasan, hadith.

The Life of Prophets After Death

Yes, this narration is a strong proof for the life of the Messenger of Allah, and the other prophets (Allah bless them and grant them all peace), although the nature of their life in the Barzakh is different to what we perceive as life. Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti has a work dedicated to this topic, Inbaʾ al-adhkiya bi hayat al-anbiyaʾ (Apprising the Intelligent of the Life of the Prophets).

In it he states, ‘The life of the Prophet [Muhammad] in his grave and the other prophets (Allah bess them all and grant them peace) is known to us with certainty due to many proofs and mass-transmitted (mutawatir) narrations. He then proceeds to cite various proofs such as the narration of Sahih Muslim which describes the prophet Musa praying in his grave on the night of the Isra.

And Allah knows best.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Does the Deceased Know What Is Happening to His Living Relatives?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I often think if my late father, God rest his soul, knows what is going on in the lives of my family. Does a deceased person know what is happening in his family’s life, the good and the bad?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The deceased moves into another realm of being termed the inter-world (barzakh). Such a world and its details are from the unseen and we do not know what that life is like except what has come to us from revelation.

However, it is unlikely that a person knows what is happening in the lives of the family they left behind, and in reality, it will not affect anything in their own lives as their book of deeds has been closed– except for the good works that people send the reward of.

Practically, this is the best thing that you can do for them. For details, please see: Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Chongkian

The Realities of Death and Dying – SeekersHub Toronto’s Seminar with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Ramzey Ajem, and Habib Hussein al Saqqaf

Death. Dying. Bereavement. Afterlife. Not subjects we particularly want to think about. But sometimes, it’s the things we are most avoiding, that are, in reality, the closest to us.

As the first snowflakes of the year fell to the street outside the Hub, burying out the autumn leaves that had fallen just days earlier, I was struck by how death always seems to be a morose subject of discussion despite being manifested all around us. Why, then, I wondered, are we still not ready to acknowledge it?

But in the final of the Living Religion seminar series at SeekersHub Toronto, aptly titled Death and Dying, we literally looked death in the face.

Spiritual Dimensions of Death and The AfterLife – Shaykh Ramzy Ajem

“Who here, by a show of hands, is ready for death?” asked Shaykh Ramzy Ajem, the first speaker of the seminar. No one moved.

“No one? Death isn’t a morbid subject; it shouldn’t be like that for a Muslim.” He said. “Death isn’t an end, it’s a beginning. You have a merciful Lord.”

He encouraged us to look at death in a positive light, and look forward to receiving that mercy. In regards to the afterlife, no one will enter Paradise based on his good actions; Paradise is from the mercy of our Lord. He told us that this life could never be a time for us to “collect” good deeds in a basket to be presented to Allah on the Day of Judgement; it is in our neediness of Him, that we attain a knowledge of Him.

He ended by urging us to examine our lives in perspective. “Our lives aren’t just cooking and cleaning, career, spouse. Love what you like, but you’re going to lose it. If your attachments are unbalanced, dying is going to be painful.”

However, if we see things in perspective, and realize that our purpose in life is to know Allah, and nothing more, death will be a pleasure.

 

The Importance of Remembering Death – Habib Hussein al Saqqaf

The next lecture was a video broadcast from the UAE, where Habib Hussein al-Saqqaf resides and teaches.

“The traveller,” Habib Hussein reminded us, “will not settle until he reaches his destination.” He emphasized that this worldly life is only one of the many stages that a human soul will pass through; that the stage of life is connected to the body, the stage of the barzakh is connected to the soul, and the stage of the afterlife is a perfect connection of both. He referred to death as a liqaa, a meeting.

That liqaa could be a happy one for you, if you loved Allah, His Messenger, and the noble ones. However, if you were attached to evil in your life, your liqaa would be an evil one.

A theme that is echoed throughout Islamic teaching is the idea of the husn al-khatima, the good ending. Habib Hussein encouraged us to seek that good ending proactively and with direction.

“No one is protected from sin,” he said, “but follow a sin with a good deed without delay.” He especially urged us not to wait; a good deed could be as simple as a smile, a kind word, or the act of giving food to another.

Habib Hussein left us with a practical plan to fortify our hearts, saying, “Whatever is in the hearts of men will spill out at the time of death,” and that constant repetition of the shahada, the testification of faith, la ilaha illa-Allah (there is no deity except Allah) cause it to be contained within our hearts, such that those could be our last words at the time of death.

 Practical Guidance for Preparing for Death – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz, as is his habit, focused on the practical aspects of preparing for death. “At a spiritual level, you’re dying every moment, because you have no inherent existence. You winked into existence, you would wink out if He didn’t sustain you.”

He shared ten ways:

1. Know your realities—Who is your Creator? Who are you? What is life and its purpose?
“One of the most amazing things about our religion,” he said, “is that we don’t just talk about God in the abstract; we know His attributes.”

2. Reflect on death—“Only a fool would believe that something changing is eternal,” he said.

3. Know the rights of Allah over you—your obligations to Him.

4. Know the rights of creation over you—“You have no right to harm God’s creation,” he warned. That could come in the form of physical harm, or something as simple such as gossiping.

22809255903_67e3137f79_b 5. Sense of urgency—that death could come at you any moment.

6. Use the “Death Test”—by asking yourself before any given action, “Is this what I want to die doing?” and during the action, “Is this the best use of my time?”

7. Having a living will—keeping track of your material and spiritual rights over God and others.

8. Keep a clean slate—through regular repentance.

9. Die beloved—with love and thankfulness, faith and trust, and certitude, pleased to meet your Lord.
And lastly, very practically:

10. Ask for a good ending.

Personal Reflection

Granted, death is a heavy subject, and will be so until the time comes when death is no more. However, the seminar had left me feeling hopeful rather than hopeless.

But the words of the ignorant and inexperienced cannot explain clarity. The only way to explain my feelings are contained in the final chapter of the miraculous poem Al-Burda:

“My Lord! Let not my hope on You be overthrown, nor let my credit with You be void of worth. Deal kindly with Your slave in both worlds, for when terrors call to him, his patience is weak.” (trans. Abdul Hakim Murad)

What little is contained in this world, cannot explain everything. What transpired in this world, cannot be the end of the matter. Therefore, death is a passage, not obliviation.

It took me a seminar to realize that.

 

Presentation of the Deeds of the Living to the Deceased and Martyrs and their Ranks

Answered by Ustadh Tariq Abdul-Rasheed
Question: Assalamu alaykum,
1) Can a person somehow watch over other people? Can they actually “be proud” of their children, for example? Is it permissible to act according to what they would have wanted?
2) Often times, after a martyr dies it is said about them that they are in Paradise. But is it not the case that a person cannot really experience Paradise or Hellfire until after Judgement Day?
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, and blessings and peace upon our master Muhammad, his Family, Companions and those who follow their noble way.
Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barkatuh,
May Allah (Most High) increase you in sincerity, beneficial knowledge and acceptable actions. These are wonderful and important questions and we ask Allah (The Exalted) to grant us ease and facilitation in understanding His (Most High) Deen.
Deeds are presented to the deceased
Regarding the first question; Imam Suyuti (Allah have mercy on him) authored a book related to the states of the deceased and the grave. Therein is a chapter entitled, “Presentation of the deeds of the living to the deceased” [Suyuti, Sharh as-Sudur].
He relates: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Certainly your actions are presented to your close relatives and kinsfolk from amongst the deceased. So, if your actions were good, they are delighted by it and if they are other than that – they say, “Our Lord, do not cause them to die until You guide then like You guided us.” [Imam Ahmad: Musnad from Anas with some weakness in the chain or narration]
He also relates: Abu Ayyub (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Your actions are presented to the deceased. If they see good they are happy and delighted and they say this if from Your immense favor upon your servant so complete it. If they see evil they say,” Our Lord reject it!”. [Ibn Mubarak: az-Zuhd with a sound chain, Ibn Ibi Dunya: al-Munamat]
He relates from an-Nʿumān bin Basheer, who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say, “Fear Allah regarding your brothers from the inhabitants of the grave for certainly your actions are presented to them”.[al-Bayhaqi: Shuab al-Iman, Ibn Ibi Dunya: al-Munamat]
These narrations are just some of what Imam Suyuti (Allah have mercy on him) has related in his book. From this we can understand that our actions are seen by our loved ones after death and they are pleased by our good actions and repudiate our foul actions.
Excellence to Parents and Relatives
Regarding doing what will please our parents and loved ones, then, this is encouraged by Allah (The Exalted) and His Noble Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) clearly in the Quran and may Prophetic narrations.
Allah (Most High) says, “Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.”[Nisa :36]
This verse is general in its implications and applies the same during their lives and after their death. In fact, it is clearly established in the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that we are encouraged to do good to the friends of our parents even after our parents have died.
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) relates: “I heard Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, “The finest act of goodness is the kind treatment of a person to the loved ones of his father after his death” [Imam Nawawi: Riyadh as-Saliheen from the collection of Muslim]
This is not exclusive to our parents (although greater in excellence) but is application to our other loved ones insha’a Allah.
Martyrs and their Rank
The scholars mention that there are three categories of martyrs:
1.) The martyr of this life and the hereafter: This refers to one who dies in a legitimate battle fighting for the sole purpose of establishing the word of Allah (The Most High). The burial for them entails specific rulings and as such they are regarded as a martyr in this life and the next.
2.) The martyr of this life only: Refers to one who dies in battle, but fought seeking the spoils of war or out of bravery. His reward is deficient though he is buried similar to the aforementioned since his affair is only know to Allah (Most High).
3.) The martyr of the hereafter only: This category refers to the like of those who are stricken by a plague or who die of a stomach ailment . The rulings of their burial are the same as other Muslims while they are considered martyrs with Allah (Most High). [Imam Bajuri: Tuhfah al-Murid, Imam Sawi: Sharh ala Jawharah at-Tawheed]
Imam Bajūri (Allah have mercy on him) mentions that it is an obligation for a Muslim to believe the martyr who died in battle is completely alive even if the particular circumstances is not known to us. The first category of martyr of is considered the highest ranking and actually do enjoy the food, drink and clothing of the hereafter.
Allah (Most High) says, “And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision.” [Al Imran: 169]
As for the third category, they are lesser in rank than the first and as such only witness paradise without enjoying its provisions.
The upshot is there would be nothing wrong, in any case, in referring to the status of martyrs in the present-tense. Either literally or by way of honoring them as Allah (The Exalted) has honored them.
Allah (The Exalted) knows best
Tariq Abdul-Rasheed
Checked and Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Can Souls Return to this World and Communicate With People?

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: I have heard from reliable people (family and friends) who claim to see and/or speak with people who have passed away.

I have also read what Quran & Hadith say about the soul and after life which seems that my friend’s stories are contradicting to what i have understood from Quran and Hadith. As per my understanding, there are basically 2 types of souls. Good and Evil. There are levels in the good souls like Prophets, Siddiqeen, Shuhada & Saliheen. I heard stories that pious souls have benefited/helped people in this world. I have also read stories that all souls remain in Barzakh and good souls are enjoying the bounties from Allah (SWT) and evil souls are being punished.

Can all souls return to this world and communicate with the people in this world?

Answer:

The Soul is Matter from Allah

The first and most important thing to remember when discussing the soul is that we cannot understand the true nature of it. When some of the Jewish residents of Medina asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) about the soul, he recited the revelation, “They ask you about the soul. Say, ‘The soul is a matter of my Lord” [Quran 17:85]

The Light of the Sun

In the Madhkal of Ibn al Hajj, the author mentions that what has been narrated about the soul is that it resides in the place where it was buried. But to explain the reports of experiences people would have seeing the deceased, he mentioned the likeness of the sun. Ibn al Hajj showed that in the same way that the sun never moves from its place but we experience its light from far away, so too is the soul in that it could remain in the grave of its owner and yet shine brightly and far away for others to witness, experience and communicate with.

For more on this topic please read the following Seekers Guidance answer:

The Soul After Death

For further reading to learn more about the soul, you may look into the following titles:

Imam al Qurtubi’s Tadhkira or the abridged version of the text entitled Mukhtasar al Tadhkira.

Imam al-Haddad’s The Lives of Man

Imam Ghazali’s Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife

Rami Nsour