Sunday, August 15, 2010

Part 4: DEATH IS NOT THE END OF JOURNEY - Islamic Perspective in Brief.


Just a little glimpse on the origin of the Soul:

Though it is not our subject here, at this stage, we are constrained to take a peep into the origin of the soul. This is because we learn that the souls are capable of doing a lot more as we shall discuss presently.

Imam Razi (rah.) and other Islamic scholars point out, the spirit (the word is being interchangeably used for the soul) is not from the genus of the body. In Surah Muminoon (in verses 12 13 and 14) Allah mentions grades of physical construction. Regarding the spirit He said: “(We) then produced it as another creation” (Qur’an 23:14). Thus it should be understood that the soul belongs to a different genre, i.e. it is a different creation. It belongs to Alam-e-Amr, i.e. the World of Command (Qur’an: 17:85) where despite existence things are removed from form and quantity and where they are unlimited by direction and climes. The soul is the masterpiece of creation and it makes us what we are! Especially so, since Allah the Exalted has stated: When I fashioned him and breathed into him My Spirit ….(Qur’an 15:29). Imam Ghazali (rah.) has explained that this does not mean that the personality of God is divisible since God knows Himself as the Principle of the emanation of all that emanates from Him and therefore He has attributed the soul to Himself by the words, “My Spirit.” Although the human soul is one by nature, it gets divided when it is related to bodies which we stated before too. The soul is basically pure and sound, and it is for this reason that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) has forbidden us to use the word, “Khabis” for the soul. It is the evil influence that makes it insensitive and remorseless. All Islamic scholars are one in agreeing that the soul is different from the body though in description they differ in degree but not in kind, with Ibn Qayyim al Jauziya describing it as a higher type of luminous being that’s alive and moving and circulating through the limbs of the body like the water circulates through petals of a rose, etc. Imam Ghazali (rah.) describes it as existing by itself, and not being impressed on the body nor being connected or disconnected to the body. In short, Knowledge concerning the existence of soul is intuitive and the intelligence is unable to understand its nature. The essential attributes of the soul are that it is pure intelligence, possessing life, knowledge and peace and can hear, see and speak. It is a self-subsisting substance which recognizes its Creator and His attributes through itself and its attributes, unaided by senses for the things it knows are not felt.

Now after that little glimpse into the nature of soul, let us turn to further information we get from the Islamic scholars. The exegist, al-Badawi, while interpreting the fifth verse of Surah Naaziat of the Holy Qur’an, he said that after departing from the body, the soul of the wali goes to the world of angels. This is also evident from the ahadith that tell us about the martyrs’ soul moving about with angels for various purposes. Imam Suyuti points out the hadith narrated by Ibn Asakir on the authority of Abdullah ibn Abbas to show that the souls are permitted to attach to and dispose their bodies even while they are at the Paradisical Heights of Illiyin. That hadith relates to Jafar ibn Abu Talib ® who is known as the man who brought Islam to Africa as he and his wife, Asma bint Umais were among the immigrants to Ethiopia. Later on coming back to Arabia, while fighting valiantly in the Battle of Muta and sustaining many wounds when even his hands were cut off, he achieved martyrdom. He came to be known as the one whom Allah has given two wings.

According to that hadith, the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) declared: 'One night Jafar Tayyar came to me. There was an angel with him. It had two wings. The tips of the wings were stained with blood. They were going to the valley of Beesha in Yaman,' after Jafar Tayyar had been martyred. It was declared in a hadith ash-Sharif, related by ibn Adi on the authority of Hadrat Ali bin Abu Talib ®: 'I saw Jafar ibn Abi Talib among angels. They were giving the good news of the coming rain to the people of Beesha.' Hadith scholar Hakim reported 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas as saying that he was sitting by Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam), and Asma' bint 'Umais was also present. Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam), after saying "Alaikum salam," declared: 'Oh Asma! Your husband Jafar came to me with [Archangels] Jabrail and Mikail just a moment ago. They greeted me. I answered their greeting. He said, "I fought with disbelievers in the Battle of Muta for a few days. I got wounded on seventy-three points all over my body. I held the flag with my right hand. Then my right arm was cutoff. I held the flag with my left hand, them my left arm was cut off. Allahu ta'ala gave me two wings instead of my two arms: I fly with Jabrail and Mika'il. I fly out from Paradise whenever I wish. And I go in and eat its fruits whenever I wish." ' Upon this, Asma' said, 'May Allahu ta'ala's favors do good to Jafar! But I am afraid people will not believe it when they hear it. Oh Rasul-Allah! Would you tell them on the minbar! They will believe you.' Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) honored the majid and ascended the minbar. After praising and glorifying Allahu ta'ala, he said, 'Jafar ibn Abi Talib came to me with Jabrail and Mikail. Allahu ta'ala has granted him two wings. He greeted me.' Then he repeated what he had told Asma' about her husband." These hadiths reveal that Allahu ta'ala permits His martyred and pious servants to do useful deeds for men.

Imam Jalal ad-din as-Suyuti reports one such ‘khabars’: "Ibn Abi 'd-dunya said: Abu 'Abdullah ash-Shami went to fight against the Byzantines. They were pursuing the enemy. Two Muslim soldiers departed from the main body of the army. One of them said, 'We saw the enemy commander and attacked him. We fought for a long time. My friend fell martyred. I gave up fighting and turned back and looked for our fellow soldiers. Then I said to myself, "Shame on you! Why do you flee?" and turned back and attacked the enemy commander. My sword blow missed him. He attacked me, knocked me down and sat on my chest. He made a grab at something to kill me with. Just at that moment, my martyred friend sprang up and caught the enemy by his hair and pulled him back. We together killed the unbeliever. Talking to each other, we walked to a distant tree where my friend again lay down dead. I came to my Muslim brothers and told them what had happened.'

" The author of the book Rawdat al-'ulama', Hanafi scholar az-Zandawisti, [Another book of Husain Ibn Yahya az-Zanduwisti al-Bukhari Rawdat al-ulama, is famous, too. He passed away in 400 A.H. (1010).] quotes and the author of the book zubdat al-fuqaha' narrated this event too. Hadith scholar [Ahmad] al-Mahamili ash-Shafi'i [d. Baghdad, 415 A.H. (1024)] 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn 'Abdullah as saying, 'We were in Damascus with a friend. His wife was with him, too. I already knew that their son had been martyred. A cavalryman approached us. My friend welcomed him. "This is our son," he said to his wife. "May Satan be far from you," she said, "You are wrong. Did you forget that your son was martyred long ago?" The man felt regret for what he said. But he went close to the cavalryman and, after looking carefully, said, "By Allah! This is our son!" The woman was compelled to look and cried, "By Allah! It's him!" My friend asked, "You were martyred, my son, were you not?" The cavalryman said, "Yes Father! But, 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz has just died now [in 101 A.H. (720)]. We martyrs asked our Rabb for permission to visit him. I asked for permission also to greet you." He bid farewell and departed from them. soon it was heard that 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-Aziz had passed away.' "

Al-Imam as-Suyuti adds, "These khabars are genuine and true. The 'ulama' of hadith wrote them with their documents. Al-Imam ['Afif ad-din 'Abdullah] Yafii [ash-Shafi'i (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih), d. Mecca, 768 A.H. (1367),] wrote the last one. I also repeated it to support his writing." He thus maintains that the souls are permitted to attach to and dispose their bodies even while are at Illiyyin. Even if the body is transferred to another grave, the attachment of the soul to the body will not be disturbed. This attachment does not fade even after the body decays and its earthen substances, liquids and gases diffuse into the soil.


One must ponder as to for how long one is going to live! Soon death is going to overtake us and the grave will be our destination. It will seem to some that by destroying the graves and insulting the occupants of the graves they will gain a name or petro-dollars for themselves in certain quarters. Remember that Death is a great leveler. So what will happen to that person when he is confined to that very grave? Is he going to be commended in the grave world? What about the souls of the persons he insulted in this physical world? Will they welcome him?

The answer in brief is provided by verse 69 of Surah Nisa and a hadith of Imam Bukhari both of which we noted in our previous post. How can we imagine such a person to be in the august company of the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Pious either in Barzakh or the Hereafter when element of love for them is absent in his heart, and according to the hadith related by Anas ® the Holy Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wassallam said: you will be with the one you love.

We also need to remember that according to the scholars of Ahle Sunnat, the bodies of the prophets (a.s.), the Awliya-Allah and the martyrs are alive with their physical bodies and their shroud. These beloved personalities are given sustenance in their graves. It makes no difference whether they are alive on the earth or have tasted death. This is because a prophet remains a prophet after assuming the veil of departure, the Awliya-Allah don’t change their status after tasting death, and even an ordinary Muslim remains a Muslim after death

So what will be the destination of the harmers of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and his progeny and haters of his companions and his (s) deputies who are the Awliya-Allah? We leave that to the Islamic scholars to let us know!

However, we do know that harming the progeny of Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) means harming the Prophet (s) himself! And harming the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) tantamounts to harming Allah the Almighty. Naturally then, harming the Sahaba who are his (s) Companions or the Awliya-Allah who are the “Burhan-e-Nabwi” is again harming the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam).

We know that Abu Jahal has been called a Pharaoh of the Ummah, and the kind of punishment he is undergoing till the end of days. We also know the fate of Abu Lahab and his wife which is evident from the Holy Qur’an. Both of them insulted and ridiculed the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and wanted to harm him (s) in more ways than one. Surah al-Masad (Chapter 111 of the Holy Qur’an) condemns both these harmers of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) very severely. Maybe someone will say that these persons were disbelievers! Then does it give a licence to the “believers” to harm Allah and the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and his progeny and those associated with him in one way or the other?

On one occasion, the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) saw Umar bin Hazam ® leaning against a grave. He said to him: Do not cause harm to the inmates of the graves!

When we look at the above hadith shareef, we find it so un-Islamic that In today’s scenario suicide bombers are sent to destroy the shrines of the Awliya-Allah and killing the Muslim visitors ( for example, at the shrine of Hazrat Ali bin Uthman al-Hajweri in Lahore). Graves of Muslims saints are also being destroyed in Somalia and other countries. This trend began barely eighty years ago when the graves of the Companions of the Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wassallam were destroyed at the place which is the cradle of Islam. The grave of his (s) mother who bore him was also not spared but doused with gasoline. There, unjustifiable vitrolics are being hurled at his (s) parents. Not to speak of the glorious heritage of Islam that has been systematically destroyed to enable constructions of lavish and most modern hotels that would generate income and more income! Other planned targets are destruction of the Gumbad-e-Khizra (The Green Dome) over the Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wassallam’s grave and latter’s separation from the Masjidun Nabvi . No, all this is not being done by any non-Muslim, but by those who claim to be Muslims! May Allah save and protect all the Muslims from this ‘Fitna’.

Those who know the details of the Night Journey of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu laihi wassallam) do know that he (s) passed by Musa (a.s.) and saw him praying in his grave. In support, Imam Sayuti (rah.) has cited the hadith as reported by Anas b. Malik ® which is mentioned in the Sahih of Muslim, Musnad of Abu Ya’la, and Hayat al-Anbiya of Baihaqi, as well as the one in Hilya of Abu Nu’aym that reports the narration from Ibn Abbas from the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). On the authority of Ibn `Umar the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) said: "I saw Jesus, Moses, and Abraham, on them be peace." This is related by Bukhari, Muslim and Imam Malik in his Muwatta. Together they prove that Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) passed by Musa (a.s.) during the Night Journey and saw him standing to offer or offering prayer in his grave and that the prophets are alive in their graves and praying. (Vide al-Hawi lil Fatawi, vol.2, p.264) Ibn Hajr al Asqalani (rah) also authenticated it in his Fath ul-Bari, Volume 6: Page No. 483: Musa (A.S) is alive in his grave and also other Prophets remain alive in their graves.

Then, Abu Dawud narrates that Aisha (R) said that when Najashi (the pious King of Abyssinia) had passed away, the Sahabah reported that there was LIGHT shining from his grave (yura ala qabrihi Nur). He was not even a Sahabi (i.e. a Companion of the Holy Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) but it was believed that he was a Wali. Thus, if the Sahabah believed that the Awliya can have nur (light) and blessings at their Qubur (graves), why indulge in disputing that fact?

The Holy Qur’an says: Behold! Verily on the Awliya-Allah there is no fear. Nor shall they grieve (10:62). Ibn Qayyim has written an entire book discussing this in detail in the biographies of Awliya-Allah. He writes: Ma`ruf al-Karkhi (d. 200H): "His grave can be seen in Baghdad, and one seeks blessings with it. al-Hafiz Ibrahim al-Harbi (d. 285H) - Imam Ahmad's companion- used to say: Ma`ruf's grave is proven medicine" (2:214) Ibn Qayyim adds: "We ourselves go to Ibrahim al-Harbi's grave and seek blessings with it" (2:410). Al-hafiz al-Dhahabi, who is another student of ibn Taimiyya, also relates Ibrahim al-Harbi's saying about Ma`ruf al-Karkhi: "Ma`ruf's grave is proven medicine." Siyar a`lam al-nubala' (9:343).

Imam Suyuti mentions in Sharh as-Sudoor (page 86) an account given by Abul Qasim Qushairi from Abu Sa’d Khurraz: “I was in Makkah Muazzamah when I found a young man dead outside the gate of Bani Shaiba. As I looked at him, he looked at me, smiled, and then said: ‘O Abu Sa’id! Do you not know that the beloved of Allah are alive even though they have passed away? They have only been moved from one house to another!’”

Many such accounts have been mentioned in Sharh as-Sudoor to show that the Death is just like moving house.

Ibn Taymiyyah writes: That is what is mentioned regarding the Karamat which happen at the graves of Prophets and Righteous like Light and Angels descending upon them, The shayateen being tied, (the people of graves) doing shafaat ,punishment being given to those who lower the status of the ones in the grave, etc is all “HAQQ (TRUTH)”. This happening at the graves of Prophets and Saliheen is Karam and Mercy of Allah [Ibn Taymiyyah in Iqtida as-Sirat al Mustaqeem, Page No. 195]

The dead are affected by what the people do at their graves. A hadith cited by Imam ibn Hanbal, Hakim and Tabarani, shows that the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) saw a person sitting on a grave and told him: “Do not harm the person in the grave and he will not harm you.”

Therefore, one should not harm or destroy the graves. The corollary that follows is that if one shows love and respect to the inhabitants of the graves so that the same will be reciprocated in the form of a ‘dua or blessing. According to the Ulema, this is the reason why a Muslim shows respect to the graves of those whom Allah has ordered us to love, namely, the Prophets and the Saliheen including the Awliya-Allah and the martyrs. According to Shah Abdul Haq Dehelvi, it is ‘Wajib’to respect a grave while visiting it.

The Most Beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) has said that Allah said, “Whoever shows enmity to a friend of mine, I shall be at war with him.”

There is no doubt whatever that such people who shows enmity to Awliya-Allah by disrespecting them and their graves will be soon destroyed by Allah the Almighty because is there anyone who can afford a war with Allah!

To continue Insha Allah.


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