Do Dead People Hear What the Living Says?

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Question and Answer Details

Name of Questioner

Hisham   - Saudi Arabia

Title

Do Dead People Hear What the Living Says?

Question

Dear scholars of Islam, As-Salamu `Alaykum wa Rahamtu Allah wa Baraktuh. I’d like to know whether dead people hear what the living says or not? This question perplexes my mind. Thanks a lot for your clarification.

Date

11/Jun/2002

Name of Counsellor

Islam Online Fatwa Editing Desk

Topic

The Unseen

Answer

Wa`alykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh.

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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


Dear brother in Islam, we do really commend your interest in getting yourself well-acquainted with the teachings of Islam. May Allah bless your efforts in pursuit of knowledge!

Brother, your question is of particular nature for it pertains to Al-Ghaibiyat (the Unseen), i.e. things that cannot be known except by means of revelation, namely the Qur’an or the authentic Sunnah.

Regarding your question, we would like to cite for you the Fatwa issued by Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajid, a prominent Saudi scholar:

“Dead people do not hear anything that the living says. Allah says, “But you cannot make hear those who are in graves.” (Fatir: 22)

“So verily, you (O Muhammad) cannot make the dead to hear.” (Ar-Rum: 52)

With regard to the Hadith, which describes the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, addressing the dead bodies of the disbelievers on the day of the battle of Badr, it is to be understood that this was a particular case, where Allah brought them back to life so that His Prophet, peace and blessings of upon him, might rebuke them.

(a) It was narrated that Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, stood over the well of Badr (into which the bodies of the disbelievers had been thrown) and said, ‘Have you found the promise of your Lord to be true?’ Then he said, ‘They can hear what I am saying now.’” (Reported by Al-Bukhari, 3980; Muslim, 932)

(b) It was narrated that Abu Talhah quoted `Umar as saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, why are you speaking to bodies that have no souls?’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: ‘By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, you do not hear what I am saying any better than they do.’ ” Qutadah said: Allah brought them back to life so that they could hear what he was saying, so that they might feel regret and shame for their disbelief.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari, 3976; Muslim, 2875. See Fath al-Bari, 7/304)

The relevant point here is that Allah caused the people in the well to hear the words of His Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, so that they might be rebuked for their sinful deeds. But it is not correct to deduce from this Hadith that the dead can hear everything, because this applied to a special occasion. Some scholars made an exception and said that the dead can hear the Salam (greetings of peace), but this is a view for which clear sound evidence is lacking.” (Majmu` Al-Fatawa, 4/275, 276)”

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islam-qa.com.

Shedding more light on the issue, Sheikh Faisal Mawlawi, Deputy Chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, states:

“Dead people don’t know what takes place in the life of the living, for they are existing in a different world. Yet, it’s reported that the dead person hears the sound of the people’s footsteps when they leave the cemetery after the burial. Also, on the Day of the Badr the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, addressed the dead amongst the disbelievers. We can say that all these narrations refer to the close period to the burial. But, after that phase of time the dead person transfers to another world in which he can never feel what is going on the earth. This is based on the Qur’anic verse: “But you cannot make hear those who are in graves.” (Fatir: 22)”

If you are still in need of more information, don't hesitate to contact us. Do keep in touch. May Allah guide us all to the straight path!








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