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Explanation of “Every Soul Shall Taste Of Death” And The Concept Of The Rasool (S.A.S) Being Alive In His Grave

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net
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Question:

You mentioned in the explanation of surah Ahzab ayat 45-46 that the prophet s.a.w is alive in his grave, what do you mean by this, can you provide your proof, when allah has mentioned that every soul shall taste death.


Answer:

Assalamu Alaikum,

Indeed, every soul shall taste of death, and so, the Prophet (s.a.w) also tasted of death, like other Prophets and the martyrs. Yet, although this happened, Allah said about the martyrs, “And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not.” (Surah Al Baqarah Verse 154).
In this verse, Allah states that those who are killed in his path are alive, do not say they are dead. This means that even though these people tasted death and were literally killed and were buried in their graves, they are alive in the sight of Allah, and they are not deemed to be dead.

In a similar manner, Allah says in Surah Ale Imran Verse 169: “And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision”.
Here, this verse also shows that people who have been witnessed in this world as having died, are refered to as being alive. Regarding the mentioned verse, the great scholar Qazi Shawkani writes, ‘It is established from the text of the book of Allah that the martyrs are alive being nourished by Allah and their lives are connected to their bodies. When this is so, then how much more it is established for the Prophets.’ (Nailul Awtaar Vol. 3 Pg. 211.)

These verses show that Allah Himself speaks about Martyrs being alive in their graves. This tells us that a special type of life is given to special souls in the state of barzakh. Although life in barzakh is given to everybody, believer or unbeliever, where they are able to taste the punishment or enjoy the rewards, a special type of life is given to the Martyrs, of whom the prophets are the greatest. This nature of life is of a higher degree of excellence and is far superior to the type of life given to others in Barzakh. It is on account of this nature of life in barzakh, (which is far different from being alive in this world), it is mentioned in authentic traditions that the bodies of the Prophets and martyrs do not decay, disintegrate and rot in the graves. Instead, it retains its freshness and a semblance of being alive.
Lives of Prophets in Barzakh have a higher distinction than all other martyrs and pious souls.

With respect to the traditions, there are a number of them which speak about the Prophet (S.A.S.) (and the Prophets in general) being alive in their graves, some are:

(1) Anas bin Malik (R.A.) narrates that the Prophet (S.A.S.) said, ‘The Prophets are alive in their graves and are engaged in performing Salat’ (Musnad Abi Yala, Fathul Baari, Mirqaat). The above tradition has been narrated from sound and authentic narrators.

(2) The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S.) said, ‘Whoever sends peace and blessings upon me at my grave, I hear it, and whoever sends it upon me away from my grave, it is delivered to me’. (Ibn Hibban, Ibn Abi Shaiba, Fathul Baari has recorded it with a good sanad, (narration). Allama Sakhawi has also recorded it with a good sanad in Al-Qaulul-Badee’.

(3) The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S.) said, ‘I passed by Musa (A.S.) at the red hilltop on the night of Miraj, and I saw him performing salat in his grave’. (Sahih Muslim, narrated with a sound and authentic sanad).

(4) The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S.) said, ‘certainly Allah has made it Haram (unlawful) upon the earth (to eat, destroy) the bodies of the Prophets’. (Abu Dawood, Nasai, Ibn Majah). Hafiz Zahabi has stated that this narration is according to the conditions of Imam Bukhari, hence, it is Saheeh (sound) (Talkhees Al Mustadrak). Imam Nawawi has stated that its sanad is saheeh (sound) (Kitaabul Azkaar). Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani, (the great commentator of Saheeh Al Bukhari) has stated that it is a Saheeh (sound/ authentic) Hadith (Fathul Baari). Ibn Khuzaima, Ibn Hibban and Dar Qutni have all considered the Hadith to be sound and authentic (as mentioned by Hafiz Ibn Katheer).

All the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah have also recorded Ijma (Unanimous agreement of all scholars) on this belief.

In Al-Qaulul Badee, it is mentioned ‘We believe and testify as the truth that the Prophet (S.A.S.) is alive in his grave. And upon this there is Ijma’.

Mulla Ali Qaari (R.A.) has written in Al Mirqaat, the commentary of Miskaat, ‘Certainly the Prophets are alive in their graves and this is Ijma’.

There are many other similar statements which have been written by the great scholars of the past, which all conform to the above mentioned belief of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamm’ah.

It is to be noted however, that prophets and martyrs being alive in their graves (as evident from the Quran and Sunnah) does not refer to that type of life which they had in the world while they were physically alive and moving about before death. Life in this world and life in the state of barzakh are two separate types of life. They are not the same and should not be treated in this manner. The life that the ahadith affirms for the prophets is only a barzakh form of life which is nothing like the worldly life. This is not a type of life which is like the real worldly life where one eats, drinks and roams about etc.

And Allah Knows Best.

Mufti Waseem Khan.

25/3/2014

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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