What is the authenticity of the following narration and does it imply that the souls of the dead can return to this world?
Sayyiduna Uthman (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said that when the enemy surrounded his house and stopped the household from receiving water, he was thirsty for many days. ‘Uthman (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said: One day I saw Rasulullah, (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), give me some water from my window. Some days later my roof parted and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) accompanied by Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) entered and gave me some water to drink, and informed me that I will break my fast with them tomorrow.
(Tarikh Ibn Kathir)
Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has cited numerous versions of this incident. What you have quoted, seems to be a combination of a few versions.
Many of these explicitly state that Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radiyallahu ‘anhu) had seen Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna ‘Umar in a dream. The version you have quoted will also be understood in the same light, rendering the implication in your question as inapplicable.
In addition to clarifying the above, these numerous chains and versions also lend support and strengthen each other. Thus the incident is suitable to quote.
(Refer: Al Bidayah Wan Nihayah, vol. 7 pgs. 331- 333)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar