Misconceptions about seeing the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, while awake
Fatwa No: 256558

Question

Assalamu alikum believing that we can see Prophet peace be upon him with his body while awake is false as Imam abul abbas Qurtubi said "Some people said they would take the literal meaning, that whoever sees him in a dream sees him actually, and hence seeing him in a dream is the same as seeing him while awake. But this is an opinion which is so baseless (fasid) that even basic intellect is enough to know it is wrong. This opinion necessiates that anyone who sees him (in a dream) will see him in the form he died in and also that two persons should not be able to see him at two different places if they dream at the same time." fath ul bari (12/385) but what about the creed that auliyah can experience Prophet peace be upon him in spiritual form? as qurtubi said: "other ahadith also establish “TO CERTAINTY” that the meaning of death given to Prophets is that “THEY DISAPPEAR FROM OUR EYESIGHTS BUT IN REALITY THEY ARE ALIVE AND PRESENT” and their condition is like that of Angels, because Angels are also alive and “PRESENT” and nobody from human beings is able to see them, “EXCEPT FOR THE AWLIYA WHO THROUGH THEIR KARAMAH CAN EXPERIENCE THEM” [al-Mafhim lima Ashkala min Talkhis Kitab Sahih Muslim Volume 006, Page No. 233-4].

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.

You should know that the statement of Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him that reads, "... nobody from human beings is able to see them …" refers to the angels and not the Prophets because the pronoun refers to the closest noun (antecedent), i.e. the angels in this case. In fact, a group of Companions and allies of Allaah (Awliyaa') have been soundly reported to have seen the angels, according to well-known Ahaadeeth.

As for seeing the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, while awake, it is a mere claim that is not supported by evidence. On the other hand, if you mean by 'experiencing the spiritual form of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam’, feeling his presence as urging the person to honor and revere him, then there is nothing wrong with this.

An example of this is when the person feels that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is addressing him personally when reading the Ahaadeeth - the commands and prohibitions. Another example of this is when the person invokes blessings and peace upon the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in the Tashahhud. The worshipper uses the Arabic pronoun “Kaaf,” i.e. the second person pronoun in the Tashahhud. The usage of the second person pronoun “Kaaf” (="you")  in the word "‘alayKA" (="upon you") indicates the strong feeling of the presence of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as if the worshipper is addressing him directly.

Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “Are the Words, "As-Salaamu ‘alayka" (i.e. "peace be upon you") addressed to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as people address one another? The answer is, no. If that were the case, the prayer would be invalid, because the prayer should not contain inter-human discourse. If that were the case, the Companions (during the lifetime of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )) would have spoken these words out loud so that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, could hear them, and he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would have returned the greeting to them as they used to do when they met him. Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book Iqtidhaa' As-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem: “You address him in such a way because it is as if he is present in front of you given your strong mental attachment to him during the prayer.

Allaah Knows best.

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