‘Relation between us & those in Al Barzakh’
LIFE IN AL-BARZAKH
This chapter draws heavily on “al-Ayat ul-Bayyinat” by al-Alusi and al-Albani.
The basic principle is that the dead cannot hear the words of the living, just as the living do not know anything about the situation of the dead except that concerning which texts have been narrated, because the life in al-barzakh is a matter of the unseen, which no one knows except Allah.
You can pass by the graves of the mushrikeen and not feel that anyone is there or hear any sound from them, when in fact they are being punished in their graves.
A righteous Muslim man may be buried next to a wrongdoer, and Allah may have mercy on the righteous man and make his grave spacious for him and illuminate it for him, and it may be like one of the gardens of Paradise for him, whereas He punishes the wrongdoer, makes his grave constricted for him and then it may be like one of the ditches of hellfire for him, but their conditions will not be mixed (even though their graves are next to one another) and no one will be aware of either of them.
COMMUNICATION WITH AL-BARZAKH
Do the dead hear what takes place in this world? This question is not subject to human opinions or speculations. It is a matter of ghayb that is encompassed by Allah’s knowledge, and may only be established through clear evidence from Allah’s book and His Messenger’s ﷺ Sunnah.
As to the claims that they can hear and know about things in this world, like the living, this is pure falsehood, and there is no evidence for it in any text or from the point of view of rational thinking. Even more false and misguided is the view of one who says that they can hear and respond.
The dead in general, including the Prophets (peace be upon them) cannot hear those who call them in the sense of responding. They cannot answer the one who calls upon them or comply with whatever he tells them or forbids them to do. This is something that Allah has stated does not happen, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear” [an-Naml 27:80].
With regard to what the Prophet ﷺ said to the slain mushrikeen on the day of Badr when they were dragged and thrown into the dried well of Badr, and he said to them: “Have you found what your Lord promised you to be true?”
Whereupon ‘Umar (R.A.) (and others) exclaimed, “Are you addressing them after having been dead for three nights, and when these bodies have no souls in them? Can they hear? Allah S.W.T. says: «Verily, you cannot make the dead hear you.»”
He ﷺ replied: “They can hear what I am saying now…”
The Understanding of the Sahabah
When this incident was mentioned to A’ishah R.A., she said, “The Prophet ﷺ only meant that they now realized that what he told them was the truth.” Then she recited the ayah:
«So, verily you cannot make the dead hear you, nor can you make the deaf hear the call while they turn their backs to you.» (This is recorded by al-Bukhari, Ahmad, and others)
It is important to point out that the Prophet approved of the understanding of ‘Umar and others among the sahabah that the dead cannot hear. We should assume that these companions have previously gained this understanding from the Prophet ﷺ – otherwise, they would not have hastened to object to his action of addressing the dead.
And even if we assume that they were hasty in objecting without knowledge, it would then be the Prophet’s ﷺ obligation to clarify to them their misconception. However, he did not do any of that, but only indicated that those specific dead people were able to hear him at that specific time. Thus it is obvious that he ﷺ approved of their general understanding in regard to this issue.
And ‘A’ishah’s (R.A.) above statement shows that she had a similar understanding to that of ‘Umar and the other companions.
And with regard to what is mentioned in as-Saheehayn about the deceased when he is placed into his grave, and the Prophet ﷺ said: “He can hear the sound of their sandals when they turn to leave him”; and like the deceased’s hearing the two angels when he is placed in his grave and they ask him about his religion and his Prophet etc; and other things that are narrated in the shar‘i texts, that is the hearing of al-barzakh, and Allah knows best what its real nature is.
The deceased cannot hear all the time; rather it is only at these particular times, and his hearing is not like his hearing in the life of this world; rather it is particular to the circumstances of al-barzakh, and no one knows how it really is except Allah. This hearing does not result in any benefit for the deceased or any harm for the living, because no one has power over that except Allah, may He be glorified.
As for what is narrated about the Prophet ﷺ saying: “No one sends greetings of salaam upon me but Allah will restore to me my soul so that I may return his greeting of salaam,” that is something that is unique to him ﷺ and that does not result in the Prophet ﷺ benefitting or harming the living person who does that, apart from the reward that Allah, may He be glorified, bestows upon the one who sends blessings and peace upon the Prophet ﷺ.
And one should not ask of him ﷺ when he is in his grave anything that was asked of him in this world of meeting needs and solving problems, because the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) did not ask any such thing of him, because they knew that it is not permissible.
Thus, if Allah’s Messenger ﷺ cannot hear after his death what goes on the earth, this should apply more appropriately to those who are lesser than him.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The deceased cannot hear if he is called upon or invoked in such a way as to respond to the one who calls upon him. This is what is meant by the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear” [an-Naml 27:80].
The Deceased DO NOT visit homes after 40 days
When a person dies, he moves from this world to another realm, and his soul does not come back to his family and they do not feel anything of him. What is commonly believed that the soul of the deceased comes back to visit home or the place he/she died after forty days is a myth that has no foundation. It is not even from narrations that are weak, it is purely fabricated.
Do the Dead know of the condition of the family they left behind?
The dead person does not know anything about the circumstances of his family, because he is absent from them, in a state of bliss or torment. But Allaah may inform some of the dead of some of the circumstances of their families, but this is not necessarily so. There are some reports, which cannot be relied upon, that say that the deceased may know something about his family’s circumstances.
Seeing Dead Relatives in Dreams
With regard to dreams, some of them are true and some are the playing of the Shaytaan. The living may come to know something of the circumstances of the dead via true dreams, but that depends on the sincerity of the one who sees the dream, whether the dream is a true dream and the ability of the one who interprets these dreams.
Yet despite that we should not be certain of what the dream says, unless there is some evidence to indicate that. For a living person may see his deceased relative in a dream, advising him to do things or saying some things to him which he may know are true if they match reality. There have been some cases in which dreams matched reality and others where there is no evidence to suggest that the dreams are true. And some dreams are known to be untrue. So dreams are of three types. We must pay attention to that when dealing with news, reports and stories that have to do with the circumstances of the dead.
An example of the true Dream in the below Q&A.
My mother always sees in her dreams some of her family members who have passed away, and sometimes they ask her for water.
The scholars on Islamqa replied:
We asked some specialists in dream interpretation among Ahl al-Sunnah and they were unanimously agreed that the interpretation of the dream in which someone asks the dreamer for water is that he needs something from the living that will benefit him, such as making du‘aa’ for him or paying off his debt.
What we hope for is that this dream will be a lesson for the living, that they should hasten to pay off whatever debts they owe and seek forgiveness from people to whom they owe intangible debts. The Muslim should strive to make his balance weigh heavily by doing good deeds. This dream is a reminder to the living not to be heedless about the need of their deceased family members for prayers for mercy and forgiveness for them. End Quote.
We ask Allah to have mercy upon our deceased loved ones and yours, and to forgive them and raise them in status.
VISTING THE GRAVES
It is prescribed to visit graves in order to learn a lesson from that and to remember the Hereafter. That is subject to the condition that one does not say anything that will anger the Lord.
Visiting the graves is legalized for men, and the preponderating opinion is that it is forbidden for women. In visiting graves, there are two benefits.
Scenarios of Visiting Graves
Visiting graves falls into the following categories:
1) Visiting the graves in order to call upon their occupants – This is major shirk and takes the person out of Islam.
Example: The visitor says, “O so and so, I ask you to relieve me.”
2) Visiting the graves in order to invoke Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) by the gravesite – This is in principle an innovation; in addition, it can turn into a fitnah (affliction) for the visitor.
For instance, if Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) answers his request, he may think it was due to the blessing of the grave’s occupant; however, we know the occupant possesses nothing of this.
3) Visiting the grave to invoke Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) by the occupant – This involves putting the grave’s occupant as an intermediary between him and Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى); this is unlawful and could become major shirk.
Example: “O Allaah, I ask you by the right of this occupant and the right of Muhammad (: sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) upon you.”
4) Visiting the grave in order to agitate grief – Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said anything that agitates the affliction is from lamentation.
Example: Whenever a person remembers his beloved ones (e.g. father, mother, relatives, etc.) that have died, he visits their graves and this may fall under lamentation.
5) Visiting the graves to invoke Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) for its inhabitants – This is permissible.
6) Visiting the graves for remembrance of the Hereafter and contemplation – This is permissible.
Therefore, only the last two scenarios fulfill the legal justifications for visiting the graves, and both are recommended.
Etiquette of Visiting the Graves
1. Dua: Among the du’aa’s that may be recited are:
“Assalaamu ‘alaykum ahl al-diyaar min al-mu’mineen wa’l-Muslimeen, in sha Allaah bikum laahiqoon, as’al Allaaha lana wa lakum al-‘aafiyah (peace be upon you O people of the dwellings, believers and Muslims, In sha Allaah we will join you, I ask Allaah to keep us and you safe and sound).”
It is permissible to raise the hands when reciting this du’aa’, because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah who said: “The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ went out one night, and I sent Bareerah to follow him and see where he went. She said, ‘He went towards Baqee’ al-Gharqad [the graveyard in Madeenah], and he stood at the bottom of al-Baqee’ and raised his hands, then he went away.’ Bareerah came back to me and told me, and when morning came I asked him about it. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, where did you go out to last night? He said, ‘I was sent to the people of al-Baqee’, to pray for them.’”
2. While Making dua Face Kabah and not the Grave, one should not face the grave when making du’aa’ for them; rather one should face the direction of the Ka’bah, because the Prophet ﷺ forbade prayer (salaah) facing graves, and du’aa’ is the heart and soul of salaah, as is well known, and is subject to the same rulings.
3. You should not walk between the graves of the Muslims wearing your shoes. It was narrated that ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: ‘If I were to walk on hot coals or on a sword, or if I were to mend my shoes using my feet, that would be better for me than if I were to walk on the grave of a Muslim. And it makes no difference to me if I were to relieve myself in the midst of the graves or in the middle of the market-place [i.e., both are equally bad].’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1567