Life of the deceased
Fatwa No: 87936

  • Fatwa Date:14-6-2004 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 26, 1425
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Question

My grand dad had just passed away and although I've made peace with it, I want to know whether the things I am told are really true! After a person has passed does his soul come to visit his home for the next 40 days and does he come during Asr and Magrib? Do the souls of the decease hear and see us? If we ask for forgiveness and if we thank the deceased do they hear or acknowledge it? Do they know what goes on in our lives in the years to come?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Whether the dead visit the houses of the living people and whether the latter see them is from the unseen that nobody, except Allah, knows.

It is not permissible to discuss this except with a proof. It is not reported in our Shariah, according to our knowledge that there is evidence that the dead visit their families, see them or aware about what is happening in their life.

However, there is a difference of opinion among the people of knowledge on whether the dead can hear the people who adress them at their graves.

Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, and some of Hanafi school of thought, refuted the opinion of those who say that dead people can hear the living ones.

Al Aalousi, may Allah have mercy on him, expanded on the evidences about this opinion in his book: 'Al-Ayat Al- Bayyinat Fi Admi Samai Al-Amwat'. He gave the evidence, as Aisha did, of the saying of Allah:    " Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear (i.e. benefit them and similarly the disbelievers), nor can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they flee, turning their backs." (An-Naml 27:80)

And the saying of Allah: "you cannot make to hear those who are in graves." (Fatir 35:22)

They interpreted the Ahadith which say that the dead can hear the people who are alive, as being peculiar to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), like when he heard the dead of the Mushrikin in the battle of Badr, or that the Ahadiths are specific to the time of burial, as reported in the Hadith: "the dead hear the sound of their shoes."

However, the majority of the people of the knowledge are of a different opinion; they confirmed that the dead hear the speech of those who visit them.

In this regard they gave many evidences, the most important ones are:

1.     The saying of Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) that he heard the dead of the Mushrikin in the battle of Badr, when he was blaming them. He said: "They hear more properly what I say than you, but they cannot answer".

2.     The saying of Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) about the dead in the grave: "He (the dead) indeed hears the sound of the shoes of the people who attended his burial as they go away". Reported by Muslim.

Ibn Al-Qayim reported in his book 'Al-Rooh' (the soul) that hafiz Ibn Abd Al-Barr who said: "It is confirmed that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "there is no Muslim who passes on a grave of a brother whom he knew in this life, and says 'Salaam' to him except that Allah sends back his soul to his body so that he would answer the 'Salam'.

Sheikh Al-Islam, Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Rajab and Al- Shanqitti are of the view that the above opinion is the preponderant one, and this is stated in the book 'Al-Adhwa'.

They interpreted the verses that refute the ability of the dead to to hear the living people on the basis of the inability of hearing and acting upon what they hear, not he basis of just hearing.

As regards, the ability of the dead to hear a person who is far away, there is no evidence about it, and the correct opinion is the one of Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Al-Qayim that they are not able to hear a person who is far away from them.

Allah knows best.

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