Seeing and speaking to the dead is an illusion
Fatwa No: 18244

  • Fatwa Date:10-10-2010 - Thul-Qi'dah 3, 1431
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Question

Is it possible to see and speak to a dead person when you are awake?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

If what you mean is whether a dead person can come out of their grave or if their soul can come and speak so that people can see it, then this is impossible in this worldly life and occurs only on the Day of resurrection. Allaah the Almighty Says (what means): {And the Horn will be blown; and at once from the graves to their Lord they will hasten.}[Quran 36:51]

Ibn Hazm  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him stated that there is consensus that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his Companions will not return to this worldly life until they are resurrected along with all other people.

Whoever claims that they have seen or spoken to a dead person is mistaken and imagining this because Satan has configured himself and appeared before him. This is not considered a supernatural ability but a fable and superstition. Although the Companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, were strong allies of Allaah the Almighty, none of them reported seeing the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, or meeting him, Abu Bakr or ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them after their deaths, although they greatly longed for and loved the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him explained that such a vision in a dream may be from Allaah the Almighty and thus true, but it also may be from Satan, because he can appear in dreams or otherwise as a person who can be seen and misleads people of little knowledge and faith. This has happened to many Indian polytheists and to others who see their dead returning to life, repaying debts, returning deposits and informing them about the dead, but it is only Satan taking the form of the deceased. Also, he may appear in the form of a righteous honored person saying, "I am so and so," although he is Satan. This has happened to many monks and also to other people who were followers of Islam. People may see in their waking, for example, someone saying that they are the Prophet Ibraaheem, Moosaa, or ‘Eesaa (Abraham, Moses, Jesus), may Allaah exalt their mention, or Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He might also say that he is a companion or disciple of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, or be seen flying in the air. This is all from the devil, and not a real person.

However the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, explained that whoever sees him in a dream has actually seen him, because Satan does not appear in this form. [Ahmad and Muslim] Thus, seeing the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in a dream is a true vision.

Some people may believe they see a prophet near his grave or in another place, or a human figure coming out from a splitting grave, which makes the person believe that the deceased is actually arising or that his spirit has materialized and come from the grave. In these cases it is a Jinn who has appeared like the dead in order to lead the person astray. Indeed the soul cannot be under dirt and when it comes out from the body it does not require dirt to be removed. Such things are only an optical illusion performed by Satan. Such things happen to many who claim to be Muslims, to the People of the Book and to polytheists. Many people believe that these are the supernatural abilities of the righteous slaves of Allaah the Almighty, but they are merely the misguidance of Satan.

And Allaah Knows best.

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