Are the Prophets Alive in Their Graves?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from Are the Prophets Alive in Their Graves? By Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam.

The ‘aqidah of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah is that our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.) and all the prophets are alive in their graves.  This is the ‘aqidah held by us throughout the ages, and many books have been written on this subject.

Imam Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuthi (q.s.) compiled narrations on this subject in his Inbah al-Azkiya’ bi Hayat al-Anbiya’, in which he quoted many evidences in support of this belief.  Similarly, other scholars such as Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.); Imam ‘Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sha’rani (r.a.); and Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.), in his ar-Ruh al-Adab; have also written and gathered evidences with regards to this.  The evidences on the prophets remaining alive in their graves are as follows.

And question thou Our messengers whom We Sent before thee; did We Appoint any deities other than (Allah) Most Gracious, to be worshipped? (Surah az-Zukhruf:45)

Many commentators have stated in their respective exegeses of the Holy Qur’an that the living of the prophets can be proved from this verse.  This is explained further in Durr al-Mantsur of Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.), Ruh al-Ma’ani by Imam al-‘Aluwsi (r.a.) amongst others.

And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah, “They are dead.”  Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not. (Surah al-Baqarah:154)

Regarding this verse, the great muhaddits, Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.), stated in his monumental commentary of Swahih al-Bukhari, Fath al-Bari, “When the living of the martyrs is proven from the text of the Qur’an, then this is also proven from an analogical point of view.  And the prophets are superior to the martyrs.”

Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) narrated, “On the night of Isra’, the Rasulullah (s.a.w.) passed by the grave of Musa (a.s.), and found him praying in his grave.”  This is considered swahih and recorded in the Shaykhayn and elsewhere.

Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) also narrated that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “The prophets are alive in their graves, performing swalah.”  This is recorded by Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), in his Hayat al-Anbiya’; and Imam Abu Ya’la (r.a.), in his Musnad.  This hadits has also been authenticated by many ahadits scholars, such as Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.), Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.), Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (r.a.), Imam al-Munawi (r.a.), and Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.), amongst many others.

Aws ibn Aws (r.a.) narrated that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “Send swalawat in abundance on me on Friday, as your sending swalawat are presented to me.”

The swahabah inquired, “How is it possible that you receive our swalawat when your body will have been decayed?”

Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “Verily Allah has made Forbidden for the earth to eat the bodies of the prophets.”  This is recorded by Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.), Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.), Imam ibn Majah (r.a.), Imam ad-Darami (r.a.) and others, and authenticated by many more, such as by Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.).

Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) narrated that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “None of you greets me except that Allah Returns my soul on me until I return his greeting.”  This is recorded in Musnad Ahmad and Musnad Abu Dawud.

Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) narrated that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “The prophets are not kept in their graves for more than forty nights, but they remain worshiping Allah until the trumpet will be blown.”  This is recorded in Sunan al-Bayhaqi.

There are many narrations regarding this, and we have only reproduced a few as an example.  Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.) was of the view that these narrations have reached the level of certainty, tawatur.  And this is the ijma’ of the scholars.

Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) wrote, in Fath al-Bari, “Death will never come to the Blessed Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) in his grave, but he will remain alive, due to the fact that the prophets remain alive in their graves.”

Imam Taj ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) also wrote, in his Thabaqat ash-Shafi’iyyah al-Kubra, “It is from our beliefs that the prophets are alive in their graves.”

The great Hanafi jurist, Imam ibn ‘Abidin (r.a.) wrote, in his Rasa’il, “The prophets are alive in their graves, as proven from the ahadits.”

The mujtahid, Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.), a favourite of the Salafis, stated in Nayl al-Awthar, “The Prophet (s.a.w.) is alive in his grave, as has been established in the hadits, ‘The prophets are alive in their graves.’”

Also, one of the major incidents that proved this, is during the of Mi’raj, the Prophet (s.a.w.) met and conversed with many other prophets.  He also led them in swalah in Masjid al-Aqswa’.

The above evidences from the Qur’an, ahadits and the narrations of the pious predecessors are sufficient to prove the fact that the prophets remain alive in their graves after they pass away from this world.  There are many other evidences which we have not mentioned here since this is sufficient for the sincere believer.  This has always been our ‘aqidah.  It is only recently that some people have objected to this view.  They are people of innovation in doctrine.  For more details on this subject, one may refer to Imam as-Suyuthi’s (q.s.) Inbah al-Azkiya bi Hayat al-Anbiya’ and Imam al-Bayhaqi’s (r.a.) Hayat al-Anbiya’.


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