The soul after death, difficulties at the time of death.

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

 I have 2 questions which I would appreciate
your guidance on, of course whenever you have time. 1. Some people say that the
soul remains around until 40 days after death. Please comment on this. 2. About
6 to 8 hours before the deceased passed away, she was reaching her hand out and
saying mama sometimes and papa sometimes, “help me”. Some family members are
thinking that she was seeing her deceased parents. Could this be so , please
shed some guidance on this. Jazakallah khair.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

1- The belief that the soul remains around until 40 days after death is incorrect and
baseless, rather the soul is returned to the body after burial is completed, and
the questioning of the grave begins.

The soul
returning to the body for questioning after burial is supported by many Ahadith;

Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) narrates
that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alahi wa sallam), would stand by the
grave after buring the deceased and say: “Seek forgiveness for your brother and
pray for his steadfastness, for he is now being questioned.” (Sunan Abi Dawud,
no: 3213)

2- There are various Quranic verses and Ahadith
which discuss the affairs of Death and  barzakh.
These texts are true and their purports will be manifested as Allah Ta‘ālā
wills. The difficulties at the time of death, questioning of Munkar and Nakīr
in the grave, the bliss or punishment which will be experienced in the grave as
per one’s faith and actions, etc. will occur. However, we are merely mukallaf
(responsible) of having īmān ijmālī (faith without delving into details)
upon their occurrences and are not mukallaf of understanding the
subtleties of the rūh (soul) and barzakh (transitory life between
this life and the hereafter), as these are not from the necessities of dīn.

What is proven, is the pain
and agonies of death are the last hardship that a person encounters before
meeting Allah, and they are the last thing by means of which Allah forgives the
sins of His slave. These difficulties and pain is
experienced by every person at death, and has nothing to do with whether the
person was pious or an evildoer; rather if he was pious it will increase him in
reward, otherwise it will expiate him for sins. When a pious soul sees the
angels of mercy and glad tidings, this will help alleviate such difficulties. ‘Umar
ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez said: I would not like the agonies of death to be reduced
for me, for that is the last thing by means of which sin may be expiated for
the believer’. We ask Allah to make these
agonies easy for us and help us to bear them. 

 ‘Aa’ishah (Radhiallahu Anha) narrates that
during the sickness of which he died, the Messenger of Allah () began to put his hand in water and wipe
his face with it, saying: “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah (there is no god but Allah),
verily death has agonies.” Then he held up his hand and started saying: “With
the higher companions…” until he passed away and his hand fell. (Al-Bukhaari) 

It is therefore possible,
that during the difficulties of death a person may remember their dear ones.
The calling of the deceased her parents may be due to the difficulties of death
she was experiencing, and not actually seeing her parents.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)