Saturday, August 14, 2010

Part 3. DEATH IS NOT THE END OF JOURNEY, Islamic Perspective.


The Soul has also the faculty of Recognition in the Grave:

Not only do the dead hear, but they are also able to recognize the visitors to their graves. Here’s the incident that happened during the Caliphate of Hadrat Umar ® in which the deceased not only heard the question of the Caliph but also recognized him and answered him. This interesting incident is mentioned by Abul Qasim Ali bin al-Hasan ibn ‘Asakir with his sanad:

Yahya bin Ayub al-Khiza’i reports that during the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab ® there was a young man who had made praying at the masjid a must for himself. Umar ® was very pleased with him. He would pray ‘isha and then head home to his old father. A woman fell in love with him and would often stand in his path on the way home. One day she convinced him to accompany her. When he entered her house he started remembering Allah and Surah A’raf Verse 201 came on his tongue and he recited it, after which he fainted. The woman along with her maid managed to pick this man and put him outside his house. His family took him inside. Late at night the young man regained consciousness. His father inquired and after hesitation he finally told him the incident. His father asked which verse he recited. He repeated the verse for him and died. When Umar found out in the morning he went to the young man’s father and asked for where he was buried. Then Umar ® addressed the young man in his grave saying: “O young man! Whoever fears to stand in front of his Rabb, are there two Jannah for him?” To this the young man replied to Umar from his grave: “O Umar! My Rabb has given me both Jannah” (This incident has also been recorded in Tarikh Damishq al-Kabir 48-307, Matbu’a Darul Haya al-Tarath al-‘Arbi (Beirut, 1421), Tafsir ibn Kathir Vol.2 page 277 (under Surah ‘Araf verse 201), Darul fikar (1419) and Sharh as-Sadur page 213).  The Quranic verse that the young man recited was: Lo! those who ward off (evil), when a glamour from the devil troubleth them, they do but remember (Allah's Guidance) and behold them seers! (Quran 7:201).Many incidents are recorded in Kitab al-Qubur by Abi-Dunya (d.894 c.e.) which show that the dead Muslims buried in the graves have the faculty of recognition: Hadrat Aisha ® reported the Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wassallam as saying : When a person visit the grave of his Islamic brother, and sits by the grave he recognizes him and replies to his greeting.

A hadith narrated by Abu Huraira (R) declares, 'If anyone visits the grave of an acquaintance of his and greets him, the dead person recognizes him and replies to him. If he greets a dead Muslim whom he does not know, the dead person replies to his greeting.' " Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Barr [d. 1071 c.e.] and 'Abd al-Haqq, the author of the book Ah'kam, said that this hadith was sahih (sound).

Ibn Qayyim mentions that one should feel shy from the dead when visiting the graveyard because the dead perceive their visitor. He points out that "Even further than that; the dead knows about the works of the living among his relatives and brothers. In this connection, another tradition worth quoting here is by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (which is also quoted by Hakim). It is recorded in Mishkat Masabih:

“Ayesha said: ‘I used to enter my house in which the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) was, and put off my garment saying that only my husband and my father were there; but when Umar was buried along with them, I swear by Allah that I did not enter it without having my clothes wrapped round me owing to modesty regarding Umar.’”

Shah Abdul Haq Dehalvi in Sharh Mishkat in Vol.2 pg 931 writes regarding this hadith: “This hadith is a clear hadith which proves the dead have their senses, and while visiting a grave, giving respect to it is wajib.”

There are a number of traditions and ‘athar’ (narrations traced to the companions or their followers) to indicate that the dead person’s soul is brought news of worldly affairs. For example, according to ibn Abid-DunyaTamazar Binte Suhail (wife of Ayyub bin Ain Tiya) said: “I saw Sufyan bin Ain Tiya in a dream , and he said: ‘May Allah give proper reward to my brother Ayyub. He often comes to my grave. He came today too.’” Ayyub admitted that he had been to the graveyard that day and had gone to Sufyan’s grave as well.

Many such incidents are recorded in Kitab ar-Ruh, all of which cannot be mentioned here for the sake of brevity.

In his fatwas on "bringing the dead back to life," Ibn Taymiyya asks, "Do the dead recognize the people who visit them? If someone, whom they knew or did not know, comes to their graves, do the dead understand that a visitor came?" and answers: "Yes, they recognize and understand."

As we have noted before, Imam Suyuti said “Yes” to the questions whether the dead recognize the visitors and know their states in life, and whether the dead hear what the living say, and whether the dead meet one another.

While the “punished souls” of sinful believers and disbelievers are engaged in being chastised, the “blessed souls” of the pious believers are free to roam, meet one another, memorize what they have done in the world, and even talk about the matters of the living persons. The dead person’s soul meet with the living soul and exchange information about many things and even solicits advice.

The souls of the dead person listen to the news of the ones on earth and when any soul is taken, they will come to it hastily and ask it about the condition of the persons in whom they are interested. Ibn Qayyim points out in Kitab ar-Ruh that Abu Ayub al-Ansari ® narrated in the following tradition wherein the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) said: When the soul of the believer is grasped, the souls of the Garden will receive it and say, Let your brother rest, for he was in a great distress. Then they ask the soul, what so and so has done? Did so and so marry? If they ask it about a person who had died before its (body) death, the soul will say: He died before me. The other souls will say: To Allah we belong and unto Him is our return. He has been taken to his home in a bottomless pit.

Ibn Qayyim has also explained that there are many ways by which the living person can benefit the dead and these are by asking forgiveness from Allah for the deceased, giving charity or performing Haj on his behalf , reciting the Holy Qur’an and making Dhikr Allah. He states that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) ordered the Musims to recite some of the Qur’anic chapters at the grave of the dead person, and this is the proof that the the dead person hears the recitation and makes use of it. He relates: Abu Bakr al-Atrush said: There was a man who used to visit his mother’s grave every Friday and recite Surah Ya-Sin there. One day after reciting that Surah at the grave he said: ‘O Allah! If you have destined a reward for this Surah then grant it to the occupants of these graves.’ The next Friday, a woman came to the man and asked him if he was so and so, son of so and so. He said, ‘Yes.’ She said: ‘I dreamt that my dead daughter was sitting at the edge of her grave. I said to her: ‘What made you sit there?’ She said: ‘So and so, son of so and so came to the grave of his mother and recited the Surah Ya-Sin as a reward to the inhabitants of the graves. Therefore, some of its goodness befell us.’

The person will be with the one he loves:

A person whom he loves here will be with him in Barzakh and Hereafter: The Noble Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) has said that the spirits are hosts gathered together; those that they know one another agree, and those that do not know one another disagree.

A man came to the Holy Prophet and asked, ‘When will the day of Judgment come?’ The Holy Prophet replied, ‘What have you prepared for it?’ The man said, ‘I have not prepared for it with a lot of salah, fasting or sadqah (charitable donations) but I do love Allah and His Prophet. ‘The Holy Prophet said to him , ‘Anta ma’a man ahbabta (On the day of judgment) you will be with the one you love.’(Bukhari related by Hadrat Anas (R))

The Companions were afraid that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) would part company in this world after tasting the death and Allah would raise him up and so they would no longer be able to see him. It was then that Allah revealed:

“Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be in the company of those whom Allah has shown favour – the prophets, the affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. What a wonderful company they are!” (Qur’an 4:69)

The companionship that is established in this world is resumed in the Barzakh and in the Hereafter. Therefore, the person is with the one whom he loves in these three stages of soul’s existence, and the souls of the believers are united with the souls of prophets and Messengers of Allah and the Truthful, the Martyr and the Pious including Awliya Allah and the Sufi Shaykhs who are the Ulema of Haq. The souls that remember Allah by celebrating His praises and thus bringing themselves closer to Him are the heavenly souls. After their separation they will be with the souls they like in the Barzakh and on the Day of Resurrection. This reminds us of the famous declaration of Bilal ® on his death-bed when he told his grieving wife: "Dont say O! Disaster, say O! Joy, O! Joy, for tomorrow I meet the beloved Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and his Companions."

To continue Insha Allah.


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