Extraction of the soul - believers vs. disbelievers
Fatwa No: 9891

  • Fatwa Date:7-3-2012 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 14, 1433
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Question

Does every dying person see the angel of death? Does the way the soul is removed differ between Muslims and non-Muslims?

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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

There is no proof indicating that every person dying sees the angels taking his soul. Some people may see them, and some may not. In a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , said that "Moosaa (Moses)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention saw the angel of death when he came to take his soul". [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

The spirit of a Muslim is taken in a different way to that of a non-Muslim. The angels take the soul of non-Muslims by force. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the overwhelming pangs of death while the angels extend their hands, [saying], "Discharge your souls! Today you will be awarded the punishment of [extreme] humiliation."} [Quran 6:93]

Allaah The Almighty also Says (what means): {And if you could but see when the angels take the souls of those who disbelieved. They are striking their faces and their backs and [saying], "Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire."} [Quran 8:50]

These two verses indicate that the souls of non-Muslims are forcibly removed, whereas the souls of Muslims are removed with ease. In a Hadeeth on the authority of Al-Baraa’ Ibn ‘Aazib  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that "the soul of a Muslim is removed like a water drop flows from a vessel. The soul of a non-Muslim is removed like a multi-pointed skewer is removed from wet wool that causes the veins and nerves to sever". [Ahmad, Abu-Daawood & Al-Haakim]

Allaah Knows best.

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