Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Wahhabi Claim that Visiting a Grave Makes One a Disbeliever

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from Imam Jamil Swiddiqi ibn Muhammad Faydhi az-Zahawi al-Kurdi’s (r.a.), al-Fajr asw-Swadiq fi ar-Radd ‘ala Munkiri at-Tawaswswul wa al-Khawariq, “The True Dawn: A Refutation of Those Denying Miracles and Intercession in Islam”.

The nature of Wahhabi doctrine is easily summed up: It is their declaring all Muslims unbelievers.  This answer is a sufficient definition of their entire school of thought.  The one who looks closely into the ideas they introduce will find that in each question that school strives to declare all Muslims unbelievers, even though Allah (s.w.t.) Himself is Pleased with Islam as their religion.  They have declared Muslims unbelievers for their assertion that Allah (s.w.t.) Transcends corporeality; they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their acceptance of ijma’ is unbelief; they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their unquestioning emulation, taqlid, of the legal rulings concerning the faith made by the a’immah, the mujtahidun of the four schools of Islamic law; they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their seeking the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) intercession, istishfa’, after his death and using him as a means, tawaswswul, to Allah (s.w.t.); and they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their visitation of graves.

To anyone who has eyes to see, it is obvious that a visitor to a grave either aims at seeking intercession, using as means to Allah (s.w.t.) those buried there and seeking to be Blessed by visiting them, as in the case of visitation of places where prophets and saints are buried; or, on the other hand, the purpose may be consideration of the departed folk in order to strengthen feelings of humility in the heart and attain reward by reading the opening chapter of the Qur’an and asking Allah (s.w.t.) to Forgive them, as when one visits the graves of all Muslims.  Or, yet again, the aim of visitation may be remembrance of relatives and the departed beloved and visiting those whom fate has snatched away, of early making their graves their abodes.  He remembers that they left him never to return again, feeling grief at their leave, his mind’s tongue moving to express itself in lines like the following:

“O thou departing hence in pomp and power,
Tarry a while, for thy ransom is pomp and power.
Do not make haste, but walk humbly,
For thou art leaving never to return again.”

His sensibilities impel him to visit their graves, pausing at the traces of their tombs to shed sad tears over their remains and express their sorrow in lines like the following:

“Gone are those dear to me, and I remain, like a lone sword.
How many a brother dearly beloved,
I laid in his grave by my own hand!”

There is not in any of these practices one thing which calls for labeling as an unbeliever a Muslim bearing witness that there is no god but Allah (s.w.t.) and Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the Messenger of Allah.  Even the uneducated and gullible among the people, not to mention the learned person versed in shari’ah, is ever so impelled by his ignorance as to intend, by his visitation of  a grave, to worship it; nor that he would ever believe that the grave itself accomplishes his need and creates what he wants.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “I forbade you in the past to visit graves, but visit them.”  This was recorded by Imam Muslim (r.a.); Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.); Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.); Imam an-Nasa’i; Imam ibn Majah (r.a.); and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.).

As for travels to visit graves, the ‘ulama have had different opinions about it.  Some of them make it haram, giving as evidence the words of the Prophet (s.a.w.), “Do not travel except to three mosques: the Masjid al-Haram, this Masjid here in Madina, and Masjid al-Aqswa.”  This is related by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), Imam Muslim and Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.).  Based on this, Qadhi Husayn al-Marwazi (r.a.) and Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) opted to forbid travel for visitation to graves.  This prohibition did not include the grave of the Prophet (s.a.w.), concerning which visit Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) and Qadhi al-Marwazi (r.a.) held the same position as the ijma’, namely that it is a sunnah mustahabbah.  Others have permitted travelling to ziyarat al-maqamat.  Among them, Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni (r.a.) and others.  The proof they adduce for its permissibility is the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) statement, “I have forbidden you in the past to visit graves, but visit them.”  They said the Prophet (s.a.w.) has commanded us in this hadits to visit graves, and that he did not differentiate between graves that are near and graves that are far and to visits which necessitate travel.

As for the hadits, “Do not travel except to three mosques...”, he only forbade frequency of travel to mosques not to places of religious visitation, just as is clear from his words.  He only forbade frequency of travel to mosques because one mosque is like the other and no city is devoid of a mosque; so there is no need for a journey.  This is not the case with graves that are places of visitation.   They are not equal in blessing just as the hierarchical standing of their inhabitants differs in the Sight of Allah (s.w.t.).  Without doubt, the exception expressed, “...except for three mosques,” has several ramifications.  Its meaning may be either the remote genus such as when one says, “Do not travel anywhere except to three mosques.”  According to this meaning, it is prohibited to travel anywhere other than what is expressed in the exception: this means that travel is illicit even for jihad, trading and commerce, gaining livelihood, acquiring knowledge and for pleasure and so forth.  This cannot be the case.  As for the proximate genus, the meaning is: do not undertake travel to any mosque except to three.  This is the correct interpretation.  The hadits is specific in forbidding travel to all mosques except three.  Thus, it is evidence for the permissibility for travel to visit graves.

‘Umar (r.a.), after the conquest of Damascus said to Ka’b al-Ahbar (r.a.), “O Ka’b, do you wish to come with us to Madina to visit the Messenger of Allah?”

Ka’b (r.a.) answered, “Yes, O Commander of the Faithful.”

Similarly, we have evidence of Bilal’s (r.a.) coming from Damascus to Madina to visit the grave of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  This took place during the caliphate of ‘Umar (r.a.).  Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) in Nayl al-Awthar, confirmed that Bilal (r.a.) undertook travel for the express purpose of visiting the Prophet (s.a.w.) according to a report with a good chain in Hafizh ibn ‘Asakir’s (r.a.) Tarikh ad-Dimashq.

Among those who say that traveling to visit graves is permissible, we find Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.), Imam al-Qasthallani (r.a.), and Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.).  The latter said in his Ihya’ ‘Ulum ad-Din, after mentioning the hadits about not travelling, mentioned above, said, “The gist of the matter is that some ‘ulama use it as evidence for prohibiting travel to places of religious visitation and pilgrimage.  It is clear to me that this is not the case.  On the contrary, visitation to graves is commanded by the hadits, ‘I have forbidden you in the past to visit graves, but visit them.’  The hadits only mentions the prohibition of visitation to mosques other than the three Mosques because of the likeness of one mosque to another.  Furthermore, there is no city in which there is no mosque.  Hence, there is no need to travel to another mosque.  As for places of religious visitation, the barakah of visiting them varies to the measure of their rank with Allah.”

Touching on the issue of whether dead people hear or not, our view is as follows.  It is well known that hearing in living people is actually a property of the spirit, ar-ruh.  The ear is only an organ or rather instrument of hearing, nothing more.  Since the spirit of the dead person does not become extinct with the extinction of his body, the belief that the spirit hears is not farfetched.   One cannot claim that it does not hear due to loss of the organ of hearing by reason of the body’s perishing, for we say that it sometimes hears even without that organ just as in visions.  Thus, the spirit talks and hears in its sleep just as it sees in dreams without mediation of an instrument, that is, an organ of sensation.  Then, is it too much for the rational person, after experiencing sound and sight in one’s sleep by the sole means of the spirit and without the slightest participation of the organs of sound and sight, to believe that after the spirit separates from the body it hears and sees even without the organs of sound and sight?

Yet and still, the Wahhabis do not extend their denial that the dead can hear to martyrs because Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s Way as dead.  Nay they live finding their sustenance in the Presence of their Lord. (Surah Ali ‘Imran:169)

There is no doubt that the rank of prophets is not beneath the rank of martyrs: they, like them, are alive with their Lord, receiving sustenance.  It has been narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “I passed by Moses on the night of my Journey while he was praying in his grave.”  This is a swahih hadits related on the authority of Anas (r.a.) and others by Imam Muslim (r.a.), Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.), Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) in Dala’il an-Nubuwwah and Hayat al-Anbiya’, and Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) in Anba’ al-Adzkiyya’ and Sharh asw-Swudur.  Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) commented on this hadits in Sharh Swahih Muslim, “The work of the next world is all dzikr and du’a.”

And on the authority of Anas (r.a.), the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Prophets are alive in their graves [praying].”  This is another swahih hadits related on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) by Imam al-Bazzar (r.a.) in his Musnad, Imam Abu Ya’la (r.a.) in his Musnad, Imam ibn ‘Adi (r.a.) in al-Kamil fi ad-Du’afa’, Imam Tammam ar-Razi (r.a.) in al-Fawa’idh, Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) in Hayat al-Anbiya’ fi Quburihim, Imam Abu Nu’aym (r.a.) in Akhbar Aswbahan, Imam ibn ‘Asakir (r.a.) in Tarikh Dimashq, Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) in Majma’ az-Zawa’id, Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) in Anba’ al-Adzkiyya’ bi Hayat al-Anbiya’, and even the heretic, al-Albani in Silsilat al-Ahadits asw-Swahihah.  Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) added, “The life of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in his grave, and that of the rest of the prophets is known to us as definitive knowledge.”  This is ‘ilman qath’iyyan.

Imam as-Sakhawi (r.a.), Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani’s (r.a.) student, wrote in al-Qawl al-Badi’, “As for us [Sunni Muslims], we believe and we confirm that he [the Prophet (s.a.w.)] is alive and Provided for in his grave.”

Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.) said in Kitab ar-Ruh, “It is obligatory knowledge to know that his body [the Prophet’s (s.a.w.)] is in the earth tender and humid [as in life], and when the companions asked him, ‘How is our greeting presented to you after you have turned to dust,’ he replied, ‘Allah has Forbidden the earth from consuming the flesh of prophets,’ and if his body were not in his grave ,he would not have given this answer.”  Imam Abu Ya’la al-Mawswili (r.a.) and Imam al-Bazzar (r.a.) also relate this.

On the authority of ibn ‘Umar (r.a.), the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “I saw Jesus, Moses, and Abraham, on them be peace.”  This is related by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), Imam Muslim (r.a.) and Imam Malik (r.a.) in his al-Muwaththa’.  Imam Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Husayn al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) recorded in Shu’ab al-Iman on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever sends blessings on me at my grave, I will hear him, and whoever sends blessings on me from afar, I am informed about it.”  Imam Abu ash-Shaykh (r.a.) cited it in Kitab asw-Swalat ‘ala an-Nabi, and Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.) commented in Fath al-Bari, “Abu ash-Shaykh cites it with a sanad jayyid.”  Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) also mentioned it in Hayat al-Anbiya’ and Shu’ab al-Iman.  Therefore, if the premise prophets are alive is affirmed, then, one must also affirm the premise prophets can hear; for hearing is a concomitant property of life.

It is incorrect to invoke the fact that since the life of prophets and martyrs in the barzakh is different from the life of this world, they cannot hear.  Even if we grant that the two lives are each of a different kind, nevertheless affirming “They are alive” with any kind of life is sufficient to establish that they hear and that their tawaswswul and supplication for help follows as a matter of course.

Finally, the organ of hearing itself, in prophets, is not voided by death: for their bodies do not suffer the corruption of the grave as we know from the noble hadits, “Allah has Forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets.”  This is a swahih hadits related on the authority of Aws ibn Aws ats-Tsaqafi (r.a.) by Imam Ahmad (r.a.) in his Musnad, Imam ibn Abi Shaybah (r.a.) in his Muswannaf, Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.) in his Sunan, Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.) in his Sunan, Imam ibn Majah (r.a.) in his Sunan, Imam ad-Darimi (r.a.) in his Musnad, Imam ibn Khuzaymah (r.a.) in his Swahih, Imam ibn Hibban (r.a.) in his Swahih, Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) in the Mustadrak, Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) in his Kabir, Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) in Hayat al-Anbiya’, Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) in Anba’ al-Adzhiyya’, Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) who confirmed Imam al-Hakim’s (r.a.) grading, and Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) in al-Adzkar.  Another version recorded by Imam ibn Majah (r.a.) has this addition: “And the Prophet of Allah is alive and provided for,” “fa nabiyyullahi hayyun yurzaq.”  Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) mention this version in Sunan al-Kubra.

If we were to say it is true that the bodies of prophets undergo corruption in their graves as the Wahhabis claim, having already affirmed that they are alive and receiving sustenance, then, this would simply count as affirmation that they hear even though they lack an organ for this purpose according to the view we expounded above.  We have abundant evidence in ahadits which provide evidence that other than prophets and martyrs among the dead can hear.  Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), Imam Muslim (r.a.) and the narrators of the Sunan cited the ahadits transmitted on the authority of ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) who said, “The Messenger of Allah spoke to the people [buried] in the well saying, ‘Have you found out that what your Lord had Promised you is true?’

Then someone exclaimed, ‘Are you calling out to the dead?’

The Prophet replied, ‘You do not hear better than they do, except they do not respond.’”

In Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim, we find the hadits of Anas (r.a.) on the authority of Abu Thalhah (r.a.), that the Prophet (s.a.w.), called to them, “O Abu Jahl ibn Hisham!  O Umayyah ibn Khalaf!  O ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah!  Have you not found out that what your Lord Promised you is true?  For I have found that what He has Promised me is true.”

‘Umar (r.a.) said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, how do you address bodies devoid of spirit?”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “By Him Who Holds my life in His Hands!  You do not hear what I am saying to them better than they do.”

Similarly, it has been affirmed in Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim on the authority of Anas (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Surely, when the servant of Allah is placed in his grave and his companions in this life turn away from it, he hears the thumps of their sandaled feet."  This is also found in Iman ibn al-Qayyim’s (r.a.) ar-Ruh, and in Imam as-Suyuthi’s (r.a.) Sharh asw-Swudur, Imam ibn al-Kharrat’s (r.a.) al-‘Aqibah, Imam ibn Rajab’s (r.a.) Ahwal al-Qubur, Imam as-Subki’s (r.a.) Shifa’ as-Siqam and others.

Imam Abu Nu’aym al-Isbahani (r.a.) mentioned with his chain of transmission from ‘Ubayd ibn Marzuq (r.a.) who said, “A woman of Madina, named Umm Mihjan, used to sweep the mosque, then she died.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was not told of this event.  Thereafter, he passed over her grave and queried, “What is this?”

Those present replied, “Umm Mihjan.”

He said, “The one who swept the mosque?”

They answered, “Yes.”

Thereupon the people lined up and prayed for her.  Then he addressed her, “Which work of yours did you find more Favoured?”

They exclaimed, “O Messenger of Allah, can she hear you?”

He replied, “You cannot hear better than she does.”

Then it is mentioned that she answered him, “Sweeping the mosque.”

The chain of transmission in this hadits is interrupted, but there are others more like it.  Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.) said in al-Iswabah, “Mihjana, also named Umm Mihjan, a black woman who used to sweep the mosque [in Madina].  She is mentioned in the books of swahih hadits but without being named.”

It is mentioned concerning ‘Aishah (r.a.), when she heard the hadits about the dead hearing, she denied it and said, “Why would the Prophet say something like that when Allah has Said, ‘You cannot make those who are in the graves hear.”

… but thou canst not make those to hear who are (buried) in graves. (Surah Fathir:22)

While her opinion does not affirm the hearing of the dead as Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) noted in his Fatawa, and in other places, we have no reason to follow it.  For the question necessarily concerns a well-known matter of faith which no one has permission to deny.  In fact, ‘Aishah (r.a.) has also narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, as Imam ibn Rajab (r.a.) noted in Ahwal al-Qubur, “Surely they know now that what I said to them is true.”  This narration of hers supports those which say that the dead hear, for if it is possible for a dead man to know, surely it is possible for him also to hear.  Therefore, to affirm that they do know is necessarily also to affirm that they hear.

We consider the Qur’anic verses:

… but thou canst not make those to hear who are (buried) in graves. (Surah Fathir:22)


Truly thou canst not cause the dead to listen ... (Surah al-Naml:80)

There is no evidence in them for the denial of hearing in the case of the dead in the absolute sense, it is only evidence for denying hearing for those who benefit thereof.  Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.) commented on this in ar-Ruh, “The actual meaning of these verses [Surah Fathir:22 and Surah an-Naml:80] is, ‘You cannot make those hear whom Allah does not wish to hear, for you are only a warner.’  That is, ‘Allah has only Given you the ability to warn, for which He has Made you responsible; not that of making those to hear whom Allah does not wish to hear.’”

That is because what is meant by the phrase, ‘Those in the graves,’ in the first verse and by ‘the dead’ in the second verse are the unbelievers, who are compared to the dead lying in their graves.  Just as the dead do not hear with a beneficial kind of hearing, that is, with a hearing made complete by the mutual exchange of address between the hearer and the speaker, in the same way the unbelievers do not hear the warning signs that the Prophet (s.a.w.) addressed to them in a way that benefits them by guiding them to faith in Allah (s.w.t.).

What otherwise confirms the above is that unqualified hearing is also an established attribute of the unbelievers: they heard what the Prophet (s.a.w.) said to them; but they derived no benefit from it.  This is confirmed by Allah’s (s.w.t.) Saying:

If Allah had Found in them any good, He would indeed have Made them listen; (as it is) if He had Made them listen, they would but have turned back and declined (faith). (Surah al-Anfal:23)

Hence, what is meant by ‘listen’ is a hearing which brings benefit to the hearer, and the next portion refers to hearing which carries no benefit.  If this were otherwise, the sense of the passage would be corrupt inasmuch as the verse would, then, be a syllogism where the middle term is reiterated; the end result would be: “If Allah had Recognised any good in them, they would have turned away.”  This conclusion is absurd and contradictory, since it would entail that the turning back take place, which is evil, despite the fact that Allah (s.w.t.) recognised good in them.  Allah’s (s.w.t.) recognition would be, in that case, a misrecognition with respect to the true state of the unbelievers.  Allah (s.w.t.) is High above such a possibility.

The two verses cited above point to a further meaning, that what is meant by the hearing negated in both cases is the hearing connected with the faculty of guidance just as the context of the two verses indicate.  The meaning then is that, Allah (s.w.t.) is Telling our Prophet (s.a.w.), “You do not guide the unbelievers by yourself, because they are like dead men and that you cannot cause the dead to hear by yourself.”  The Only Agent Causing them to hear is Allah (s.w.t.) as the Qur’an Says:

It is true thou wilt not be able to guide everyone whom thou lovest: but Allah Guides those whom He Will and He Knows best those who receive guidance. (Surah al-Qaswasw:56)

One does not say that just as the one Causing the dead to hear, in reality, is Allah (s.w.t.), likewise, the one Causing the living to hear is, in reality, none other than He, for Allah (s.w.t.) is the Creator of all actions whatsoever, just as the true doctrine on the matter teaches.  What, then, is the motivation for illustrating Allah’s (s.w.t.) agency with the hearing of the dead?

The fact that Allah (s.w.t.) Alone is the One Causing the dead to hear is a matter admitting of no ambiguity even for a blind man.  As for His Being the One Causing the living to hear, in reality, it is inappropriate to use such terms.  This is because one might falsely suppose that the Agent Causing hearing in the one spoken to is the actual speaker, on the grounds that the hearing of the one spoken to directly follows the external voice issuing from the mouth of the person who addresses him.  Hence to exemplify Allah’s (s.w.t.) agency with the hearing of the living is improper.  To give an example requires that its content be unambiguously clear; this is not the case in the category of living persons as we have explained.  Allah (s.w.t.) Highlighted the power to make the dead hear in the Qur’an as an example of His Agency, because in the case of the dead, His Agency is more evident to the mind than in the case of the living, although He Equally Effects the hearing of both the living and the dead.

Since the unbelievers were alive, to illustrate the fact that the Prophet (s.w.t.) cannot make them hear by comparing them to the living whom the Prophet (s.w.t.) cannot cause to hear comes close to fashioning a comparison between a thing and itself, as we find in that given by the poet who said:

“Surrounded as we are with water,
We sit like people encircled by water.”

The Wahhabis respond, with regard to the hadits of the People of the Well, that the hearing experienced by the dead on the occasion when the Prophet (s.a.w.) questioned them was a miracle proper only to him.  It does not count as evidence, they claim, that these dead were also capable of hearing the speech of someone else.  The answer to this is that the miracle is not a miracle unless its manifestation is a phenomenon experienced by other persons like the speaking of pebbles.  The companions were hearing the voice of the pebbles glorifying Allah (s.w.t.) while they were being held in the palm of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) hand.  This is the hadits of Abu Dharr (r.a.) related by Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) in Majma’ az-Zawa’id with a swahih chain.  Abu Dharr (r.a.) narrated, “The Prophet (s.a.w.) picked up pebbles and they glorified Allah in his hand; he put them down and they became silent...”

It is impossible that the dead’s hearing of the Prophet (s.a.w.) speaking to them be a miracle since it was not manifest to anyone but himself.  Furthermore, the hadits reporting that the dead hear the thumping of sandaled feet, as recorded in the Shaykhayn, contravenes such a phenomenon being a miracle in the case of the People of the Well.  For it indicates that dead people also hear the talk of other people besides the Prophet (s.a.w.).

The Wahhabis further respond that the object intended when the Prophet (s.a.w.) spoke to the dead was admonition of the living and not to cause an act of understanding on the part of the dead.  The answer to this is that if the intended object of his speech was admonition of the living, why did ‘Umar (r.a.) ask, “How do you speak to bodies devoid of spirit?” out of astonishment at his speaking to them?  I do not believe that fatuousness has pushed the Wahhabis to the point of thinking that after almost three-quarters of a millennium they understand what the Prophet (s.a.w.) meant better than his companion, ‘Umar (r.a.).  Besides, the answer the Prophet (s.a.w.) gave by itself constitutes denial that what he aimed at was admonition because he replied, “You do not hear better than they.”  This answer is obviously not suitable as an admonition.  On the contrary, it is a clear rejection of ‘Umar’s (r.a.) sense of farfetchedness in the Prophet’s (r.a.) behaviour and astonishment because of it.

The Wahhabis, finally, answer that the Prophet (s.a.w.) only spoke to the dead out of personal conviction that they hear.  Thereafter, they claim, the two verses of the Qur’an were Revealed to correct his belief.  The response to this is that it is inconceivable that the Prophet (s.a.w.) believed anything like that of his own accord.  On the contrary, it came about necessarily in virtue of Revelation and Inspiration from his Lord.  Allah (s.w.t.) Said of him:

Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. (Surah an-Najm:3)

This is especially the case since he did not arrive at his knowledge of the matter by merely exercising his faculty of reason.  Rather, it came about by way of Revelation and Inspiration.

One piece of evidence that indicates that Allah (s.w.t.) quickens the dead in their graves so that they hear is His Statement retelling the avowal of those who said:

… “Our Lord!  Twice hast Thou Made us without life, and twice hast Thou Given us life …” (Surah Ghafir:11)

If Allah (s.w.t.) did not give life in the graves a second time, it would be impossible to put to be Created without life a second time.  The Wahhabis answer this by saying that the first putting to death is the state of non-existence prior to Creation and the second putting to death is after Creation.  In truth, putting to death can take place only after the occurrence of life and there is no life prior to Allah’s (s.w.t.) Creation of life.  As for their response that the first putting to death is the putting to death of people after their life in the world of atoms, it is weaker than the first answer.  People in the world of atoms were no different than spirits which Allah (s.w.t.) Created and then Questioned:

When thy Lord Drew Forth from the Children of Adam ― from their loins ― their descendants, and Made them testify concerning themselves, (Saying), “Am I not your Lord (Who Cherishes and Sustains you)?" ― They said, “Yea!  We do testify!” ... (Surah al-A’araf:172)

Moreover, we all know that death is defined as a separation of the soul from the body.  Hence, there is no death prior to embodiment, although it is possible for Allah (s.w.t.) to Annihilate spirits after Creating them.  But that has nothing to do with death as we have just defined it.

Finally, the Wahhabiyyah usher forth evidence for the incapacity of dead people to hear on the basis of a legal ruling of the shari’ah that ‘ulama apply in the case where a man performs certain acts using such words as, “If I address X, my wife is divorced,” or, “My slave-girl is free.”  Now, if that man speaks to X after his death, then the divorce is invalid and the act of manumission null.  They conclude that the basis of nullity and voidness is the fact that dead person lacks the faculty of hearing.

We refuse to grant that the basis of the ruling for the ‘ulama is the absence of hearing on the part of the dead.  On the contrary, they base themselves on what they know of custom, namely that it routinely makes the stipulating of oaths like the above, conditional on life.  The whole benefit of speaking is the mutual exchange of communication, which does not place when one party of the communication is dead.  Conversing with a dead person, therefore, does not qualify as speech only inasmuch as his death renders him powerless to respond - not because he is powerless to hear.

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