Category Archives: Rooh/Spirit/Soul/ Death/Aakhirah

Inanimate Objects & Souls

[Mujlisul Ulama]

Question:  Do  trees,  stones  and  lifeless  objects  have  souls  and  do  they  have  emotions?

Answer:  They  are  not  lifeless.  According  to  the  Qur’aan  every creation  of  Allah  Ta’ala  engages  in  Tasbeeh,  glorifying  Him. The  Qur’aan  Majeed  states:

“The  seven  heavens  and  the earth,  and  whatever  is  in  them recite  His  Tasbeeh,  but  you  do not  understand  their  Tasbeeh.”   

There  are  numerous  verses  in the  Qur’aan  and  numerous Hadith  narrations  which  confirm  that  all  created  things,  including  inanimate  objects    engage  in  Tasbeeh  of  Allah Ta’ala. 

Allah  Ta’ala  spoke  to  the heavens  and  the  earth  and  they  responded.  Stones  would  offer  Salaam  to  Rasulullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam),  and  the  trunk  of  a  tree  had  wept when  Rasulullah  (Sallallahu alayhi  wasallam)  no  longer  leaned  against  it.

All  things  have  souls,  but  obviously  there  is  a  great  difference  in  the  souls  of  humans,  jinn  and  other  specimens  of  creation.  The  growth  and  life  of  vegetation  clearly  confirm  the  existence  of  souls  for  plants.  The  stone  crying  and  pleading  to  Nabi  Musa  (Alayhis  salaam)  to  intercede  on  its  behalf  so  that  it  may  not  be  cast  into  Jahannam  on  the  Day  of Qiyaamah  also  confirms  soul  and  emotion.  There  are  many  such  episodes  which  confirm  life  and  souls  for  all  created  objects – animate  and  inanimate.

Regarding  emotions  of  inanimate  objects,  it  is  obvious  that  if  they  are  utilized  correctly  for  the  purposes  for  which  Allah  Ta’ala  has  created  them,  they  will  not  suffer  pain  and  grief.

However,  if  these  inanimate  objects are  misused  and  abused,  it  will  also  be  zulm  (cruelty/injustice),  and  they  will  testify  against  the  zaalim (oppressor)  on  the  Day  of  Qiyaamah.  It  therefore  does  not behove  a  Muslim  to  abuse  any creation  of  Allah  Ta’ala,  be  it  a stone.


Refutation of the Belief of Reincarnation

[Allama’  Muhammad Idris Saheb Kandhlavi  (Rahmatullahi  Alayh)]

Just  like  the  Philosophers  and  the  atheists,  the  Brahmans  and  Hindu  also  refute  the  concept  of  resurrection.  However,  the Brahmans  and  Hindus  have  another  strange  belief.  They  say  that  there  is  no  such  thing  as Qiyaamah,  but  they  aver  that  after  death  the souls  change into  different forms.  They  say  that  the  souls  of  good people are  transformed  into  good bodies  and the souls  of evil  characters  are  transformed  into  bad  bodies,  like  dogs,  cats,  scorpions,  etc.,  etc.  This changing  of  bodies  by  the  souls  is  known  as  reincarnation.
Ahle-Islaam  say  that  this  belief  of  reincarnation  is  spurious  and  illogical.  The  reason  being  that  it  is  necessary  for  reward  or  punishment  that  the soul  be  made  aware  of  the  transgression  that  it  had  committed.  When  a  soul  knows  the  transgression  it  had  made  then  it  can in  future  abstain  therefrom  or  at  least  others  will  be  forewarned  thereof.  By  reincarnation,  the  soul  is  none  the  wiser  regarding  its  sin.  It  is  common  knowledge  that  if  a  person  lived  in  a  certain  village  for  many  years,  then  after  moving  to  another  village,  he  will  have  memories  of  his  previous  village,  in  that  he will  relate  to  others  regarding it.  So  now  the  Pundit  (Hindu  priest),  who  according to  his  own philosophy  has  lived  a  previous  (good!)  life  is  now  in  the  form  of  his  present  body,  but  he  cannot  relate  any  part  of  his  past  life  He  says  nothing,  nor  does  his  queen.  It  is  very  possible  that  in  the  previous  life  his  present  wife  was  his  mother,  sister  or  even  daughter! 

Or  maybe  Mahatma  or  Pundit  saheb  was  in  the  previous  life  the  father  of  this  girl  (present  wife)  and  now  he  comes  as  the  husband!  A  person  does  not  even  forget  a  dream  as  much  as  the  Pundit  saheb  forgot  of  his  70  odd  years  of  (previous)  life.  It  is  obvious  that  he  was  not  here in  a  previous  life.  This  sojourn of  his  life  is  the  first  on  earth  and  after  death  he  will  be  cremated  only  to  be  brought  in  to  the  second  stage  of   existence  (Barzakh),  and then  before  Allaah  Ta’ala. 

Even the  philosophers  regard  the   concept  of  reincarnation  as  being  stupid  and  illogical.

What to do at the Time of Maut (Death)

Majlisul Ulama

When Maut (Death) arrives, the muhtadhar (the person who is about the die) should be laid on his back with feet outstretched in the direction of the Qiblah. His head should be slightly raised so that he faces the Qiblah. It is said that this position facilitates the emergence of the Rooh (Soul). 

It is also permissible to lay the muhtadhar on his right side in the direction of the Qiblah. Although both ways are permissible, the first method is the most popular and has been the standard practice from the earliest time among the pious predecessors (Salf-e-Saliheen). Nevertheless, whichever way appears best for the muhtadhar may be adopted. 

Those present should start reciting loudly the Kalimah so that it reaches the ears of the muhtadhar inducing him to recite the Kalimah. The muhtadhar should not be instructed to recite the Kalimah. Those present should continue with the recitation until the muhtadhar recites it himself. 

When the muhtadhar has recited the Kalimah once, all present should maintain silence. An attempt should not be made to induce the muhtadhar to be constant in the recitation of the Kalimah. There is no need for the recitation to be right until the last moment of death. The object is that the last statement uttered on earth should be the Kalimah

However, if the muhtadhar after having recited the Kalimah, indulges in worldly conversation, then those present should renew the recitation of the Kalimah so that the muhtadhar too renews his recitation. After he renews the Kalimah, maintain silence. 

When the very final moments of death set in and the muhtadhar breathes in rapid gasps, then all present should recite the Kalimah loudly again. 

Recitation of Surah Yaseen is beneficial for the dying person. It lessens the pangs of death. 

There should be no worldly conversation in the presence of the muhtadhar. Such talk which attracts him to the world is disastrous on this occasion. At the time of departing from earth, the endeavour should be to induce greater awareness of Allah Ta’ala in the muhtadhar. Death with the heart attached to worldly objects of love, is indeed an evil demise.

Persons in the state of janaabat (requiring an obligatory ghusal) should not be present by the muhtadhar

After the muhtadhar has died, arrange the body parts properly. Tie a piece of cloth from under the chin to above the head to ensure that the mouth does not remain open. Close both eyes. Place the feet together and tie the two big toes with a ribbon of cloth to prevent the legs spreading apart. Place the hands at the side and cover the body with a sheet.  When arranging the body as described above, recite:  


“In the name of Allah and on the Millat (Deen) of Rasulullah”

Place something of sweet fragrance nearby, e.g. perfume, incense. Alcoholic western perfumes and air-fresheners should not be used. 

Anyone in the state of janaabat (i.e. requiring ghusl) should not remain by the mayyit (deceased). 

The Qur’aan Shareef should not be recited by the mayyit prior to the body having been given ghusl
Now proceed with the ghusl and kafan of the mayyit without delay.

Mysteries of the Ruh (Soul/Spirit)

And they ask you (O Muhammad), concerning the Ruh (the spirit); Say: “The Ruh (the Spirit): its knowledge is with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given a little,” (Al-Isra 17:85)

The majority of Islamic scholars agree that nafs (soul) and
ruh (spirit) are two names for one in the same thing, and as such are interchangeable. You will find throughout the Qur’an and the Sunnah the term ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ used intermittently. Some scholars of Hadith hold the opinion, that the ruh is other than the nafs , but the nafs, which is in the form of man, is dependent on the ruh for existence.

Mans nature (i.e. nafs) is filled with vanities, desires and passions. It is the source of trials and afflictions, and there is no enemy more hostile to him than his own nafs. Thus, the nafs wants and loves nothing other than the things of this world, while the ruh longs for the Hereafter and invites to it.

The Souls Form

According to Ibn al-Qayyim and affirmed by Ibn Abul-‘Izz al-Hanafi, we find their description of the “souls” form described and explained as follows:

“The spirit is an entity which differs from the physical, tangible body. It is a higher type of luminous (or light-like) being, alive and moving, and it penetrates the limbs, circulating through them as water circulates throughout the petals of a rose, as oil circulates throughout the olive, and as fire circulates throughout the burning embers of coal.”
( Ibn Abul- ‘Izz al-Hanafi in ‘al Aqeedat at Tahawiyyah)

Descriptions of the spirit as “light”, it’s mode of penetration of the body, and it’s shape cannot be proven by the Qur’an or the Sunnah. These descriptions can only be considered conclusions based upon their own understanding of the “proofs”.

The Sunnah is replete with description of the state and the nature of the soul. These Hadith substantiate the view held by dependable scholars:

An example of the physical and psychological punishment awaiting the disbeliever’s occurs in the following portion of a long, authentically related Hadith:

“….The Angel of Death says: “O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord”
The soul inside the disbeliever’s body is overcome by terrible fear (and does not want to deliver itself up), whereupon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multi-pronged skewers, being yanked out of wet wool – tearing with them the arteries and nerves..”  (Bukhari)

It is also narrated in an authentic Hadith Um Salamah (radhiyallahu anha) reported:

“Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) entered upon Abu Salamah (i.e. his corpse), whose eyes were wide open. The Prophet (saws) closed the lids and then said: “When the Ruh (spirit) is taken out, the eyesight follows it (i.e. watches it ascend).”
(Ahmed and Muslim)

These Hadith indicate in two ways that the soul is indeed a form. First of all, something must have form in order to be grasped and extracted. And second of all, eyes can only visualize something that has form.

Two Deaths and Two Lives

In the Qur’an Allah (swt) has mentioned two deaths and two lives.

“How can you deny Allah when you were dead, he gave you life, then he gave you death and he is going to give you life once again and you will come back to us.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:28)

“….The kafir will say on the day of judgment -Oh Allah, you have bound us to die twice, and you gave us life twice, and now we admit our sins, so is there any way out for us?…..”  (Surah al’ Ghafir 40:11)

The first death is the state of the soul when it was first created. Allah (swt) creates first of all from the sperm, it turns into ‘Alaqa’ (leach like substance), then the ‘Mugarah’ (little piece of flesh), and when it is in the shape of a fetus (after 120 days), the soul is breathed into it. This is the moment when life begins. When the soul leaves the body (when death occurs), this is the second death and then Allah (swt) gives them a new form and this is the second life.

This life now is the most important one, because what we do in this life, determines what happens in the next.

A third of our life is spent in sleeping. While we are sleeping our souls leave our body.

“Allah takes souls at the time of their death and (the souls) of those that do not die, during their sleep. He retains those souls for which he has ordained death, whereas he releases the rest for an appointed term.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:42)

The soul can experiences pain and emotions and we know this by the fact that we dream.

The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“The clearest among you in his dreams are the clearest among you in his faith. If you speak the truth all the time, then your dreams will be true, but if you speak lies all the time then your dreams will be false.”  (Sahihayn)

“If you could see, when the wrongdoers taste the pangs of death, and the angels stretch their hands out (saying), “Deliver up your souls. This day you will be awarded a degrading punishment.” (Al-An’am 6:93)

Here it is stated that death is painful for the disbeliever’s. Although, they are ordered to surrender their own souls to the angels, they are unwilling; therefore, the soul must be forced out as it does not wish to meet its punishment.

The term “akhriju anfusakum” used in this Qur’anic verse literally mean “expel” or push out your souls, indicating that the soul becomes a separate entity from the physical body.

The Meetings of Souls

Souls of the Dead Meeting with Each Other

The souls of the dead may be divided into the following two categories:

1. Favored souls (i.e. those of pious believers)

2. Punished souls (i.e. those of the sinful believers and disbeliever’s)

The souls of the second group are confined to places of punishment and are too preoccupied with the torments of the grave to be able to meet or visit with each other.

However, the blessed and favored souls of the pious believers are free to roam and meet. They may visit and discuss with each other their previous existence on earth. In the barzakh every soul will be with companions of like nature. (Ibn al-Qayyim’s Kitab ar-Ruh page 28)

The following Hadith is a direct reference and clear proof that , in general, the souls of pious believers are able to meet and converse with each other.

Abu Huriarah (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Verily, the soul of the believer (after death) soars up to the heavens, whereupon the souls of other believers come to it, seeking news about those they know from the people of the earth.”
(Muslim, Bukhari and Ahmad)

Souls of The Dead Meeting with Souls of The Sleeping

Since the souls of the living (which are sleeping) and the souls of the dead can roam in the spiritual world – for they are not tied to their earthly bodies – it is certainly possible that they meet and converse. This deduction is confirmed by the majority of dependable Qur’anic commentators, foremost among them; Imam Ibn Jareer at-Tabari and Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah).

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Allah takes the souls at the time of death and (the souls) of those that do not die during their sleep. He retains those souls for which He has ordained death, whereas he releases the rest for an appointed term.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:42)

Ibn al-Qayyim mentions two view points regarding the tafseer on this verse. The first view is there are two points in time at which Allah takes souls: death and during sleep. Death may occur during sleeping or at other times.

The soul taken at death is “retained” soul referred to in this verse. The “released” soul is that which is taken during sleep and is returned to its respective body upon awakening.

The second position in regard to this verse is that both the “retained” soul and the “released” one are taken during sleep. Then those who have completed there specified period of life are retained, while those who have not completed their time are returned to their bodies. This view suggests that the verse refers to only souls that die in their sleep and the souls which are returned to their respective bodies upon awakening, and does not mention the “retained” souls that die at times other than during sleep.

When I was researching this topic, I found it very hard to get information from the Qur’an and Authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)

I think an appropriate way to finish is to re-quote the ayah from the beginning of this paper:

“And they ask you (O Muhammad) concerning the Ruh (the spirit): Say: “The Ruh (the spirit): its knowledge is with my Lord, And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given but a little.”
(Al-Isra 17:85)