at-Tazkirah: التذكرة

“And keep reminding, because reminding benefits the believers.” (51:55)

Inhabitants of the Grave


The third major belief which the objector has trounced upon is the belief that the inhabitants of the grave can see and hear the living. Thus, the objector quotes three stories from Fadhaail-e-Aamal, after which he makes the following deductions and claims:

‘These stories teach that the inhabitants of the grave can help the living. This belief forms the basis for grave worshipping. The Fadhaail-e-Aamal promotes all these erroneous beliefs under the guise of virtues and exhortation. Those who expose themselves to the teachings of Fadhaail-e-Aamal which include believing that the engraved can hear, see and help the living will undoubtedly weaken their Tawheed and establish hope in other than the one, who Alone has the power to benefit and harm.’

In essence, there are three parts to this, i.e. for the inhabitants of the grave to, a) See, b) Hear, and c) Help the living. We will discuss the first two parts here and thereafter, the third.

It is a fundamental belief of the vast majority of Ulamaa that the inhabitants of the grave are able to hear and see those that visit them. (Kitaab-ur-Rooh of ibn Qayyim pg.12)

Hereunder are but some of the authentic proofs that substantiate this viewpoint:

1. Sayyiduna Buraydah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would teach the Sahaaba that, ‘When they enter the graveyard, they should address its inhabitants with the following words, ‘Peace Be upon you the believers among those in the graves, and surely through the will of Allah Ta’ala, we will soon join you. We ask Almighty Allah for eternal comfort for us and for you.’ (Sahih Muslim Hadith2254)

Hafiz ibn Qayyim (RA) (the famous student of Hafiz ibn Taymiyah) says, it is impossible that we be instructed to make salaam to things that cannot hear us … this is in fact a greeting and an address to something which can hear and perceive. (Kitaabur-Rooh pg.15)

Hafiz ibn Katheer (RA) has also mentioned this analogy in his Tafseer.

2. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Whenever any of you passes by the grave of his Muslim brother whom he knew in his lifetime, and you make Salaam to him, Allah then returns his soul to his body so that he may reply to the salaam.’ (Classified as Sahih by Haafiz ibn Abdul-Barr; ibn Katheer vol.3 pg.575 and Hafiz Abdul-Haqq al-Ishbeeli – refer al-Ahkaamul Wustaa vol2. pg.152)

3. Sayyiduna Abu-Talha (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that after the battle of Badr, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) addressed some of the disbelievers who were killed. The Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) enquired as to how could some lifeless bodies hear what he was saying. At this, he remarked, ‘You are not hearing more than they are (i.e. they can hear just as you can).’

Imaam Qataadah (RA) – a famous Taabi’ee – says, ‘Allah gave them life so that they may hear what Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said’ (Sahih Bukhari Hadith3976)

4. Hafiz ibn Taymiyah (RA) states that, ‘The deceased are able to speak and at times even hear those that address them. This has been established authentically from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) that they can hear the footsteps of those who visit them.’ (Fataawa ibn Taymiyah vol.4 pg.168)

The Hadith that Hafiz ibn Taymiyah (RA) has referred to is recorded by Imaam Bukhari in his Sahih (vol.1 pg.178 Qadeemi; Hadith 1338)

In fact, Imaam Bukhari (RA) was also of the same view (that the deceased can hear the footsteps). He named a chapter in his Sahih as follows, ‘The Chapter on that the deceased can hear the footsteps (of those present).’ (Sahih Bukhari vol.1 pg.178 Qadeemi; Chapter No.67)

5. Imaam Abu-Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah (RA) has recorded from Sayyiduna Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqqas that when he used to pass by the graves of the martyrs, he would make salaam to them, then he would say to his companions, ‘Why don’t you make salaam to them so that they may reply to you.’ (Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah)

For various other narrations similar to these, refer to Ahwaalul Quboor of Haafiz ibn Rajab al-Hambali (pgs.141-146; 132-134) as well as Kitaabur-Rooh of Haafiz ibn Qayyim (pgs.11-26)

Based on the abovementioned traditions, it can be clearly understood that through the will and power of Almighty Allah, it is possible for the inhabitants of the grave to see or hear the living.

As mentioned earlier, this is accepted by the vast majority of the scholars such as: 1) Hafiz ibn Abdul-Barr (RA), 2) Hafiz ibn Kathir (RA), 3) Hafiz ibn Qayyim (RA), 4) Allaamah Shawkaani (RA) and others. It, thus, becomes abundantly clear that ignorance of the above proven fact had led to such baseless / irrational objections.

The third aspect is of the inhabitants of the grave helping the living. The objector, after quoting a few stories claims, ‘These stories teach that the inhabitants of the graves can help the living.’

Firstly, we would have to clear this point. It is not our belief, neither is it the author’s belief that the inhabitants of the grave can assist the living. Our belief, the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa, the belief of the author of Fadhaail-e-Aamal is clear and that is, that undoubtedly the inhabitants of the grave cannot assist the living.

Secondly, the objector has made a tremendous blunder in making such an absurd claim. Nowhere in the entire book, Fadhaail-e-Aamal, did the author every say or support such a claim. The objector was being biased and hence he searched for a few stories here and there from which he quickly jumped to conclusions. Such irrational claims are of no avail in front of justice. If this was the case, then any person can make any deduction from any book to suit his own whims and desires. Let alone any book, even the Qur’aan. Take for example, the verse wherein Allah Ta’ala states, ‘Your wives are a tilt for you, so approach your tilt as you wish’. Speaking about how a husband may have intercourse with his wife. Now any person can quickly come to a deduction here that it is permissible for a husband to have annul intercourse with his wife, whereas this is prohibited and unlawful. Likewise, the objector’s claims were irrational. He did not understand the object of the story, hence, he took the meaning that suited his own desires, made a false allegation and wishes to mislead everyone else into believing his fabricated lie. We, thus, place on record that this allegation is a lie and that the author never said that, neither did he intend the false meaning that is being portrayed by the objector.

This brings us to end of the three major issues that were raised by the objector. The information mentioned above were all based on clear facts with references and explicit proofs from the Qur’aan, Hadith, incidents of the noble companions of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the verdicts of the great Ulama and Muhadditheen of the past. The abovementioned facts and proofs are more than sufficient for one who reads with an open mind and does not have a biased attitude. However, we wish to further elucidate the fact that stories and incidents of this nature (as appears in Fadhaail-e-Aamaal) are replete with in other authentic and worldrenown books. Hereunder, we will mention but a few:

Hasan ibn Sufyaan Nasawi (RA) was once with his friends in Egypt out in search for Ahaadith. Their provisions became exhausted to such an extent that three days passed by without a morsel of food. They were forced to beg. Hence, they drew lots to see who from amongst them will go out to beg. Hasan ibn Sufyaan’s name came up and consequently, he took to one corner of the Musjid and performed two Rakaats of Salaat after which he made Du’aa crying and begging unto Allah Ta’ala. When he finished, he saw a young handsome man who had just entered the Musjid and remarked, ‘Where is Hasan ibn Sufyaan?’ he replied, ‘I am here’ The young man then said, ‘The King (Tooloon) conveys his salaams to you and he apologises for his shortcomings towards your service. Here is one hundred Dinaars for every one of you. when Hasan and his friends asked the young man as to how the King had come to know of them, the young man said, ‘The King saw a dream in which a rider flew to him in the air. The rider was holding a spear with which it entered his home and pierced the King in his hip and said – wake up! Go and see to Hasan ibn Sufyaan and his friends. Go! Wake up – Go. Wake up because they are starving for 3 days in the Musjid. The Kinf asked, ‘Who are you?’ the reply was, ‘I am Ridhwaan, the door-keeper of Jannat’ The King woke up and his hip was in severe pain. Thus, he sent these coins to you. (Siyaar aalamin nubalaa vol.14 pg.161; of Hafiz Dhahabi)

Now, look at the abovementioned incident. The objector quoted a similar incident from Fadhaail-e-Aamaal in which ibn Jalaa relates that he saw in a vision Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)  giving him a piece of bread. He ate half of it and after he woke up, the other half was in his hand. The objector quotes this story and then (out of ignorance) boldly states that the book Fadhaail-e-Aamaal promotes erroneous beliefs. Yet, we see a similar incident quoted by Allaamah Dhahabi (RA)? Such a great scholar and Muhaddith who is world-renown and unanimously accepted for his indepth knowledge and research on Ahaadith – he has narrated this incident, has he deviated.

Abu Idrees Madeeni (RA) says that once a person from Madina by the name of Ziyaad came to us and joined us in a battle that we fought. We laid siege to one city and the 3 of us; myself (Abu Idrees), Ziyaad and another person were all together. One of us went to search for food whilst all of a sudden a caterpult was shot up which landed close to Ziyaad and injured him. He fell down unconscious. We gathered around him for the entire day, but he never moved an inch. Thereafter, all of a sudden he laughed to the extent that he opened his mouth wide enough for us to see his teeth. Then he cooled down. Then he began to cry until he even shed tears. Then he regained consciousness and sat up in bewilderment saying, ‘What am I doing here?’ We explained to him, ‘Don’t you remember the caterpult that hit you?’ He was quite confused. We asked him about what had transpired because of which he laughed. He said, ‘Let me tell you. after I lost my conscious, I was taken to a room made out of rubies and chrysolite and in there, I was taken to luxuries and comfortable bed which was steadily made from woven pearls of gold and rubies upon which lay the choicest of cushions. When I sat upon it, I heard the sound of jewellery from my right side. A beautiful young woman appeared before me, I do not know whether she was more beautiful or her robes or her jewellery. She welcomed me saying, ‘Welcome to the harsh person who never used to ask Allah for (great bounties like) us. We are not like his wife.’ When she said this, I smiled after which she came and sat next to me on my right side. I asked her, ‘Who are you?’ She said, ‘I am your young beautiful wife’. When I stretched my hand to touch her, she said, ‘Hold on! Not now, you will come to me at the time of Dhuhr.’ I cried until she finished speaking. Then I heard a sound to my left and the exact same thing happened. A young beautiful woman appeared and the same thing transpired between us, as previously. Abu Idrees Madeeni says that this person, Ziyaad, was sitting and talking to us. When the Muadhin called out the Dhuhr Adhaan, he passed away. (Man aasha ba’adal mawt of Hafiz ibn Abid-Dunyaa pg.82).

Now, look at the abovementioned incident. The objector quotes an incident from Fadhaail-e-Aamaal in which Shaykh Khayr Nurbaf knew the exact time of his death. The objector, after quoting the incident says that this story is deviant. Furthermore, the objector quotes other stories in which certain people saw paradise and hell after which he refutes Kashf. Here is a perfect example of both Kashf and also the fact that this person, Ziyaad, knew that he is going to die at the time of Dhuhr. This incident has been recorded in a book called Man Aasha ba’adal mawt, written by the great Muhaddith ibn Abid-Dunyaa (RA). He is a renown personality especially amongst all other great Muhadditheen. Will the objector say that his books too are promoting corrupt beliefs?

Another incident of a similar nature is mentioned in the very same book where once a person fell ill. He became so ill that he stopped all movement. So, the people shut his eyes and prepared him – took off his clothes, etc. so as to give him Ghusl. All of a sudden, he woke up and showed signs of movement. The people said, ‘Glory be to Allah, we thought you passed away!’ He said, ‘Yes I had passed away and I was taken to my grave at which I saw a handsome young man with a sweet smelling fragrance. He put me in my grave and covered me up with leaves. Therein, an ugly evil oudored woman appeared saying, ‘You did this and that and she counted a few things of which I was put to shame. I said, ‘I swear by Allah that you should leave me alone.’ She said, ‘Lets go, we will challenge you.’ We went to a wide spacious sweet smelling house at which there was an outdoor side bench made from silver. In one corner, stood a person performing Salaat. He was reciting Surah Nahl and he got stuck repeating the same verse over and over again. The woman then corrected the man.

Thereafter, the man then lifted up a pillow nearby under which lay a piece of paper which he removed. He looked at it but before he could say anything, the ugly woman spoke out, ‘This man did this and that’. The young handsome man said, ‘But he did this and this and this…’ enumerating all the good. The man said, ‘This is a servant who has wronged himself but Allah Ta’ala has forgiven him. His time is not yet up. He will die on Monday. This person then explained to the people around him – look – if I die on Monday, then I hope to get what I’ve seen and if I don’t die on Monday then these were just imaginary thoughts. The man passed away on Monday after Asr. (Man aasha ba’adal mawt pg.127). It is clear from this incident also that this person knew the time of his death and also had the power of Kashf which – obviously – was afforded to him by Allah Ta’ala alone.

Once during the era of Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) there was a drought. A person came to the grave of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and said, ‘O Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)! Seek rain for your Ummah because they are about to be destroyed.’ This person saw in a vision a voice telling him, ‘Go to Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu), convey salaams to him and inform him that very soon it will rain.’ Also, tell him to be alert and watchful. The man went to Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and related this to him. Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) began to cry and thereafter he said, ‘O my Lord! I do not leave out except that which I am incapable of doing.’

Subhaanallah, look at the abovementioned incident. The objector has quoted various incidents of this nature from Fadhaail-e-Aamal and thereafter claims that this is ‘grave worship’ and further he claims, ‘Reading such stories from Fadhaail-e-Aamal to them will play havoc with their beliefs and further corrupt their religion.’ Will the objector then make his concocted deduction here too and say that this story promotes grave worship? look, this was done in the time of such a great Sahaabi like Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu). There were so many other Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) around at that time. Even when this was brought to the awareness of Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu), neither himself nor anyone else had any objections. When Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhu) had no objections, who are we to do so?

Now, let us have a look at the source of this incident. Firstly, this incident is recorded in Dalaail-un-nubuwwah of Imaam Bayhaqi (vol.7 pg.47). This book is worldrenown and unanimously accepted. Imaam Bayhaqi needs no introduction, suffice to say that he has written great works on Ahaadith upon which the whole world is dependent upon. Will the objector lay his false blatant allegation of ‘grave worship’ on Imaam Bahyaqi, just because he mentioned such an incident in his book? Secondly, this incident is also recorded in Musnadul Faarooq by ibn Katheer (vol.1 pg.223). Thirdly, it has also been recorded by the worldrenown scholar Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) in his al-Isaabah (vol.6 pg.216). One wonders how on earth would the objector lay such a foolish allegation of grave worship on these great scholars. What’s even better is this that the incident has also been recorded in Fath al-Baari (vol.2 pg.629; Qadeemi) – The most accepted commentary of the most authentic book after the Qur’aan – Saheeh al-Bukhari. That’s not all, Imaam Bukhari (RA) himself has made indication towards this incident in his Taareekh al-Kabeer (vol.7 pg.304). The objector should cover his face quickly out of shame because both ibn Katheer (RA) and ibn Hajar (RA) have classified this incident as authentic. (Musnadul Faarooq vol.1 pg.23; Fath al-Baari vol.2 pg.629). This clearly proves that the objector is being biased and wishes to attack the book Fadhaail-e-Aamal for no reason whatsoever. Why does the objector not lay his blatant lie against all these books – Dalaail-un-nubuwwah, Fath al-Baari, Isaabah, Taareekh al-Kabeer and Musnadul Faarooq? Why doesn’t he say that these books promote graveworship?

Like these, there are numerous other such incidents that have been authentically recorded by the illustrious scholars of Islam. This further establishes the fact that the objectors were led to these types of ignorant and baseless objections due to their lack of Islamic knowledge and the true understanding of Islam. The wise people have rightly stated, ‘Objecting is a sign of a man’s ignorance.’

(Faculty of Specialty in Hadith Sciences
Madrasah In’aamiyyah, Camperdown)

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Filed under: 1. 'Aqaid, 6. History & Biographies, Books, Qur'an, Sunnah & Hadith

4 Responses

  1. […] 1.TheExistenceofAbdaals 2.TheRealityofKashf 3. Inhabitants of the Grave […]

  2. Aadam says:

    Excellent rebuttal to the deviant who made these false allegations against the Fazaaile Amaal. May Allah Ta’ala accept
    your efforts and protect our Mashaaikh from these Deviant Devils

  3. kamal says:

    The wise people have rightly stated, ‘Objecting is a sign of a man’s ignorance.’ this is not a wise saying. Our father Iraabeem (as) objected to shirk along with all the nabis and rusul (a hum s) including our prophet (sas).

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