What guidance do the scholars of religion and the pious people who adhere steadfastly on the Divine Laws of Islam have to offer in the following matter regarding death and departure of the soul:
- Does the soul of a Muslim return to visit his late residence?
- Does his soul request or desire reward (Isal al-Thawab) in the form of the recitation of the Qur’an in his memory by his relatives; or the giving of alms/charity in his name or memory by relatives; or the feeding or the monetary assistance of the needy in his memory by relatives?
- On which specific days does the soul of the deceased Muslim visit his late residence?
It has been established by Imam Abd Allah ibn al- Mubarak and Abu Bakr, and Abu Shaiba; and by the teacher of al-Bukhari and Muslim, Hazrat Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al-As (may Allah be pleased with him); and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad; and Tabarani in his Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir; and Hakim in his Mustadrak; and Abu Nu’aym in Hilya, on truly certified authority that the Messenger ﷺ said that: ‘Verily the world is a paradise for the Kafir and a prison for the Mu’min (believer). When the soul of the Mu’min leaves his body (i.e. when he dies), his soul can be likened to a person who has just been released from prison and who strolls about visiting places at leisure on the earth.’
Hazrat Abu Bakr in his narration states that: ‘When a Muslim dies, the way is cleared for him to go wherever he pleases.’
Ibn Abu Dunya, Baihaqi and Sa’id ibn Musayyab (may Allah be pleased with them) have narrated that Hazrat Salman Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him) and Hazrat Abd Allah ibn Salam (may Allah be pleased with him) once met and whilst talking to one another, one said to the other, ‘If you die before I do, then please … let me know what befell you in the hereafter.’ Upon hearing this, the other asked: ‘Do the living and the dead ever meet?’ To this, the one replied: ‘O yes! The souls of the Muslims abide in Janna! They may visit whichever place they choose to visit.’
Ibn al-Mubarak in Kitab al-Zuhd, and Abu Bakr, Ibn Abu Dunya and Ibn Munda (may Allah be pleased with them) state that: ‘Verily the souls of the Muslims are in the state of suspension between the heaven and the earth. They may visit whichever place they wish to. And the souls of the infidels are confined to a valley of Hell.’
Ibn Abu Dunya stated that Imam Malik narrated that: ‘I have received a saying that the souls of the Muslims are free to visit whichever place they desire.’
Imam Abu Umar has stated, according to Imam Jalal al- Din al-Suyuti in Sharh al-Sudur that: ‘It is superior that the souls of the martyrs are stationed in Janna, whereas the souls of the Muslims are confined to their place of abode after death. They go wherever they please to.’
Allama Munadi cites in the commentary of Jami’ Saghir that: ‘Without doubt, when the soul departs from the framework of the body, and is freed from imprisonment after death, it wanders about to visit whichever place it wishes to.’
It is stated in Khazanat al-Riwayat that some scholars and researchers have narrated that: ‘When the souls (of the departed Muslims) are freed on the night of Jumu’ah (at nightfall on Thursday), they spread out (on the earth). First they come to their place of burial (their grave) and then they visit their residences (their homes).’
It is stated in the book, Dastur al-Qadha, by Imam Nasafi that: ‘Verily the souls of the departed Muslims visit their homes every Friday (Thursday nightfall), and whilst standing at the door-side they call out in a pitiful voice: ‘O people of my household! My children! My respected ones! Do give charity on my behalf. Remember me! Forget me not! Do have mercy on me over my poor state.’
It is also stated in Khazanat al-Riwayat that Hazrat Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that: ‘When the days of Eid, Jumu’ah and Layla Bara’a appear, the departed souls (of Muslims) come and stand at the doors of their homesteads and cry out: ‘Is there anyone here that thinks of me? Is there anyone here that will have mercy on me? Is there anyone here that thinks of my poor state (in the hereafter)?’
May Allah ﷻ keep us on the Straight Path – Amin. And peace and abundant blessings be upon the Holy Prophet ﷺ, his family, his companions and his entire ummah.
And Allah ﷻ knows the best
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan رحمة الله تعالى عليه
Translation by Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari Translator of Majestic Quran, www.majesticquran.co.uk