Is the Prophet alive in his grave?

Q: What is the ruling on someone who believes in the fundamental articles of faith - meaning that his creed is completely conforming with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace be upon him), yet he thinks that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) hears his voice when he invokes Allah’s peace and blessings upon him at his grave? Is he regarded, while holding such a belief, a Muslim who follows the way of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) or is he an innovator in religion from among those people who follow their own whims and fancies?


A: First: It is not legislated in Islam that whenever a Muslim enters Al-Masjid Al-Nabawy (the Prophet’s Mosque) to visit the Prophet’s grave and make Du‘a’ (supplication to Allah) near it, nor to make it an often-visited place, to which he comes repeatedly. Abu Dawud narrated a Hadith with a sound and reliable Isnad (chain of narrators) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stated: Do not make your houses graves (i.e., devoid of worship) and do not take my grave as an often-visited place (i.e., a place which you visit repeatedly). And invoke Allah’s blessings upon me, for your invocation of blessings (upon me) will reach me wherever you may be. It is also reported by Abu Ya‘la, Al-Qady Isma‘il and Al-Hafiz (Part No. 1; Page No. 480)  Al-Diya' Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahid Al-Maqdisy in the book entitled “Al-Ahadith Al-Mukhtarah” (Selected Hadiths): On the authority of `Aly ibn Al-Husayn that he once saw a man coming to a gap that was near the Prophet’s grave in which he entered and supplicated. ‘Aly ibn Al-Husayn forbade him from doing this and said, “Shall I inform you of a Hadith which I heard from my father on the authority of my grandfather who quoted the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying: ‘Do not take my grave as an often-visited place (i.e., a place which you visit repeatedly) and do not make your houses graves (i.e., devoid of worship). And invoke Allah’s blessings upon me, for your greeting of peace will reach me wherever you may be.’” This Hadith is reported with a good Sanad (chain of narrators). The Prophet’s Sahabah (Companions) were more keen to do good deeds than we are and loved the Prophet (peace be upon him) more as well. They knew best the Prophet’s right over his Ummah (nation) and the etiquette that must be observed when visiting his grave. Yet, not one of them is on record to have frequented the Prophet’s grave to supplicate there. It is only authentically reported that whenever Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would come to Al-Madinah following a journey, he would go to the Prophet’s grave and say: “Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! Peace be upon you, O Abu Bakr! Peace be upon you, O father!” Then he would leave. Therefore, Malik ibn Anas (may Allah be merciful to him) disliked that the people of Madinah would go to the Prophet’s grave every time they entered the Masjid. He used to say: “Nothing would set right the last generation of this Ummah except that which set right its first generation.” Second: The Prophet (peace be upon him) is alive in his grave in the sense of the life of Barzakh (period between death and the Resurrection), in which he can enjoy whatever blessings and favors Allah the Exalted bestows upon him. However, his life in this sense is by no means similar to that of his life in this world. Allah (Exalted be He) says (what means): Verily you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) will die, and verily they (too) will die. Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord. (Part No. 1; Page No. 481) The Prophet’s Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all) offered the funeral prayer for him and afterwards buried him in his grave (peace be upon him), which they would not have done had he been alive in the worldly sense. The Sahabah faced many hardships and ordeals (after his death), but they never went to his grave to consult him or seek his advice in solving their problems, although they were in dire need for it, and that clearly indicates that the Prophet’s earthly life ended at his death. He died in the same manner ordinary human beings die. The Sahabah were fully aware of this fact. They appointed caliphs to succeed the Prophet (peace be upon him) and exerted themselves in conducting their worldly and religious affairs in the light of the Book of Allah and Sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him) without having to return to him, while in his grave, for consultation, because the dead are essentially incapable of hearing the speech of the living. However, it is narrated by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud with a good Isnad (chain of narrators) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No one greets me with peace except that Allah restores to me my soul so that I may return his greeting of peace.” Thus, it becomes clear to you that there is nothing wrong with what the man in question believed, based on this Hadith.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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