Contents > Chapter 4: Life of the Barzakh > Refutation of the Deobandi View – 3: Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) hears and responds to the visitors of his grave



(1) The Angels Convey the Salaam

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Allah has Angels, who travel about the earth. They convey to me the peace greetings (salaam) from my Ummah.”[1] This Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) proves that he (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) does not hear the greetings directly, because if he could do so there would have been no need for the Angles to convey the greetings. The Salaf used to dislike the practice of frequenting the grave of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) to greet him with salaam, because whether someone greets him at his grave or from far, the Angels convey the salaam to him.


Abdullah Ibn Hussain, the grandson of Alee (radhi allahu anhu), saw a man paying frequent visits to the grave of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) and said to him, “O you person, Verily Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Do not take my grave as a place of worship and invoke blessings upon me wherever you are, for your blessings will reach me.” Thus, you and a person in Spain are equal.”[2]


A fabrication is often attributed to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) that he said: “Whoever asks blessings for me at my grave, I hear him, and whoever asks blessings upon me from afar, it is conveyed to me.”[3] This fabricated narration is mentioned in Fazaail-e-Aamaal, (Eng. Trans.), Virtues of Hajj, Chapter.8, p.131, Hadeeth no.11 (New Edition 1982, Published by Dini Book Depot - Delhi).


(2) Limitations to the Hearing

A living man, who is awake and alert, can barely listen to voices behind a wall or a barrier. If the inhabitants of the graves are alive and posses the sense of hearing as the living - how is it possible for them to perceive the voices beyond the loads of sand and gravel? Death does not excel one’s senses, it impairs them!!


People who are alive have many limitations to their hearing…

  • They can only hear when the speaker converses loud enough,

  • They can understand only one person at a time,

  • They cannot understand more than few languages, and

  • They cannot hear whilst asleep.


This is true even for Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), who too could not hear and understand unless someone spoke loud enough. During the lifetime of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), there lived in al-Medina, a young sorcerer named Ibn Saiyad. It was believed that he was one of the Dajjals.[4] Ibn Saiyad by his sorcery sought after the knowledge of the Unseen (Ghayb) but his information was always far away from the truth. Narrated Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhuma) “Allah’s Messenger once with Ubay Ibn Ka’ab (radhi allahu anhu) went to the garden of date palms, where Ibn Saiyad was staying. When the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) entered the garden, he (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) started hiding himself behind the trunks of the date palms, as he wanted to hear something from Ibn Saiyad before the latter could see him. Ibn Saiyad was lying in his bed, covered with a velvet sheet from where his murmurs were heard. Ibn Saiyad’s mother saw the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) while he was hiding himself behind the trunks of the date palms. She addressed Ibn Saiyad: “O Saf!” (And this was his name). Ibn Saiyad got up. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Had this woman let him to himself, he would have revealed the reality of his case.”[5]


(3) General refutation from the Qur’aan on hearing of the dead

Numerous stories in the books of the Deobandis claim that the dead Sufis listen to those who visit their tombs. As, Moulana Zakariyah says: “Allama Kamal Ibnul Humam, the author of Fathul Qadeer once recited Soorah Hud at the graveside of Shaikh Ibn Ata Iskandari. When he reached the ayah: “Among them are unfortunate and fortunate ones.” The Shaikh’s voice came from the qabr (grave) saying: “O Kamal, among us are no unfortunate ones.”


The Qur’aan explains that the deceased cannot hear in the graves, Allah says: “Verily, you cannot make the dead hear and you cannot make the deaf hear the call when they turn their backs and retreat.”[6]


In this verse, the disbelievers are referred to as dead and Allah compares the dead and the disbelievers with regards to the faculty of hearing. Even though, the living disbelievers can physically hear, they are considered as deaf as the dead, who do not hear at all. Thus, proving that the dead do not posses the sense of hearing in the grave. Another such comparison is found in Soorah Faatir (35): 22, where Allah says: “The living (believer) and the dead (disbelievers) are not alike. Allah makes whoever He wishes hear, but you cannot make those in the graves, hear.” ‘The living’ in this verse are the believers and ‘the dead’ are the disbelievers. This verse again compares the disbelievers to those in the graves, who are both similar. The disbelievers hear physically, but do not listen to the truth. They are just like those in the graves, who are at a higher level of deafness, and do not hear at all.[7]


This line of reasoning is proved with additional proofs from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, and is in accordance with the understanding of the Sahabah. When the punishment of the dead was mentioned to Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) on account of the family’s un-Islamic mourning, she commented, “The dead person is punished for his crimes and sins while his family cries over him then.” She said: “This is similar to the statement of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) when he stood by the well which contained the corpses of the pagans killed at (the battle) Badr: “They hear what I say.” She added: “But he said now they know very well what I used to tell them was the truth.” Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) then recited: “You cannot make the dead hear.”[8] and: “You cannot make those who are in their graves, hear you.”[9] [10]


Here, we see that Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) brings the two verses (30:52 and 35:22), as a proof when the hearing of the dead is being discussed. This is a reply to the false claim that these verses refer only to the disbelievers and cannot be used in reference to the hearing of the dead.

[1] Sunan an-Nasa’ee, Sunan ad-Darimi and Musnad Imaam Ahmad. See Saheeh Sunan an-Nasa’ee vol.1, no.1215. This Hadeeth is Hassan according to Shaikh al-Albanee.

[2] Mentioned by Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah in Kitaab al-Waseelah (p.136) and al-Iqtidaa p.155-156. Also by al-Albanee in Ahkam al-Janaaiz, p.280.

[3] This tradition was mentioned by al-Uqayli in his book, ad-Dhu’afa and by al-Khateeb, Ibn Asakir, etc. and they all agree that it is a fabrication (Mawdoo). Mentioned by Shaikh al-Albanee in Silsilatil-Ahaadeeth ad-Daee’fah, Hadeeth no.203.

[4] Narrated by Muhammad bin Al Munkadir, “I saw Jabir bin Abdullah swearing by Allah that Ibn Saiyad was the Dajjal. I said to Jabir, “How can you swear by Allah?” Jabir said, “I have heard Umar swearing by Allah regarding this matter in the presence of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) and the Prophet did not disapprove of it.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol.9, Hadeeth no. 453].

[5] Saheeh al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans.) vol.4, Hadeeth no. 290.

[6] Soorah an-Naml (27): 80.

[7] See Tafseer at-Tabaree, vol.21, p.36 and al-Qurtubi’s al-Jamee, vol.13, p.232. Also for more discussion see “The Mysteries of the Soul Expounded” by Abu Bilal Mustafa al-Kanadi.

[8] Soorah Yunus (30): 52.

[9] Soorah Fatir (35): 22.

[10] Saheeh al-Bukharee (Eng. trans.) vol: 5, no: 316.