Can the dead hear people’s talk?

Q 5: Do the Awliya' (righteous people), hear the call of those who make Du`a' (supplication) to them? What is the meaning of the Saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): By Allah, the dead hear your footsteps. We appreciate your guidance.


A: The basic rule states that the dead people, pious or not, do not hear people's talk. Allah (Exalted be He) says: If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call; and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) like Him Who is the All-Knower (of everything). Also Allah (Glorified be He) says: ...but you cannot make hear those who are in graves. But Allah may make the dead hear the voice of one of His Messengers due to a particular wisdom as was the case with the dead Kafirs (disbelievers) in the Battle of Badr. Their hearing of the voice of the Messenger (peace be upon him) was to insult and reproach them and to honor His Messenger (peace be upon him). When his Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) wondered about him talking to the dead, he (peace be upon him) said: You are not more aware of my saying than them, but they cannot reply. For a better explanation on the subject, refer to Al-Nubuwwat, Al-Tawassul Wal Wasilah, and Al-Furqan by Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. These references provide sufficient information on the subject.As for hearing the footsteps of the participants in a person's funeral after burial, (Part No. 1; Page No. 152) it is a specific hearing authentically reported in the Shar`y (Islamic legal) text and confined only to such cases; it is just an exception to the general evidence stating that the dead do not hear as mentioned previously.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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