Occurrences after death
Fatwa No: 83540

Question

People say that the spirit of a deceased person roams in the home for 40 days after death. I suspect that this is untrue. Could you confirm whether there are any circumstances in which spirits remain among us after death.When you are dying do the souls of your deceased loved ones come to greet you?I have read that upon death angels take good souls to a place called Illiyeen. Also I have heard that souls remain in their graves where a window onto jannah is opened before them. Additionally I have also heard that after death, the time until the day of Judgment passes instantaneouly for you. How do you reconcile all the different descriptions of what happens when one dies? Could you elaborate on the actual sequence of events please?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
What people claim about the soul of a dead person roaming in his house for certain days after his death, etc., is not correct. As per the correct Ahadith, when the Angel of death takes away the soul of a Muslim person immediately the other angel accompanying him, puts it in the shroud that suits it. And then they take it to the Heavens. They pass all the heavens one by one receiving a welcome till they reach the seventh Heaven. Then Allah Commands them to Register the Book of His servant in Iliyyeen. (I.e. the seventh Heaven where the souls of Believers are). At that place, this new arriving soul meets other believers' souls who died before and they inquire about those people who were with them in the world and about their condition. If they hear good about them they Praise Allah, otherwise they ask forgiveness of Allah for them. And then that soul would be put back into its body and then two angels come to him, make him sit up and ask him: Who is your Lord? Who is your Prophet? And what is your religion? Allah Strengthens him so he replies "My Lord is Allah, my religion is Islam and my Prophet is Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). After that according to some accounts Allah Says: "My Servant has spoken the truth, so spread a bed for him in Paradise, clothe him from Paradise and open a door for him from Paradise. So some of its air and perfume will come to him and a space will be made for him as far as the eye can see. A good looking man in a decent dress and good perfume will come to him. He asks him: Who are you? He replies: I am your good deed. The deceased then asks Allah: O Allah, establish The Day of Hour so that I will return back to my family and to my property. He will be told: Sleep as a bridegroom sleeps, and no one awakes him except the most loving person to him. And when he is raised on the Day of resurrection he will feel that he still likes to sleep more. And his place of Paradise after entering it will be presented to him twice in a day, at morning and at evening". There is no contradiction between his sleeping and seeing the place being presented to him, since these matters are related to the unseen, so one should believe in them as reported in Qur'an and Hadith. The Hereafter life is not like this life, so one cannot compare them. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.} [33:36].
In fact, we know that a sleeping person in this world has dreams that please him and some that make him feel sorrow and also dreams as if he stayed for a long period or only for a short period, etc. This experience helps us to understand that matters of the Hereafter are reasonable and not to be doubted.
As for the claim that the soul of the deceased person roams in his house for 40 days this is wrong. In fact, there is no sound Hadith proving that the souls of deceased persons come back after the death. What is narrated on this subject is condemned by the eminent Muslim scholars and ruled out. Actually, the narration about such matters is fabricated.
All the details mentioned above pertain to the soul of the believer. As for the soul of a Kafir (unbeliever) after his death it is taken to the nearest heaven of this world but the doors will be not opened for it as Allah mentioned in Qur'an: "… for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle (which is impossibleI…"[7:40]
Allah Says: "Register his book in Sijjeen (This place is at the bottom of the seventh earth where all the souls of Kafirs are imprisoned) then the angles throw his soul to the earth from the heaven". Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {… unto Him and whoever assigns partners to Allâh, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place.}[22:31].
When his soul come back to his body two angels come to examine him. They ask him "who is your lord"? "Who is your prophet"? "And what is your religion"? The disbeliever will not be able to give the correct answer; he will give the wrong answer. So, he will reply: "Alas, alas, I do not know". Then Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): "He has lied, so spread a bed for him from Hell, clothe him from Hell, and open for him a door into Hell. Then some of its heat and pestilential wind will come to him, and his grave will be compressed, so that his ribs will be crashed together. And his place in the Hell will be presented to him twice every day in morning and evening till Allah will establish the Day of Hour".
Some scholars believe that just before the Day of judgement Kafirs will find a taste of nap and then they will resurrect so they become astonished and Say: {They will say: "Woe to us! Who has raised us up from our place of sleep." (It will be said to them): …}[36:52].
Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa