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

The Soul and the Nafs

[By Mujlisul Ulama]

The Soul and the Nafs — are they the same?

They are not the same. The soul (rooh) is a celestial and a superior substance. It is distinguished from the nafs which is an evil propensity whose abode is below the navel in the human body. The location of the Rooh is on the right side in line with the heart. The nafs is a grossly evil capacity which drives man to nothing but evil. In its evil and rebellious stage it is known as Nafs-e-Ammaarah because it commands only evil and transgression. By Mujaahadah (striving against its dictates and denying it is evil pleasures) it becomes subdued and recognizes a degree of goodness and the need to rise above the evil and satanic desires. By the permanent process of Mujaahadah the nafs passes through various stages of development and reformation.

The Rooh is the actual life-giving entity. Very few have been given knowledge about the Rooh. About the Rooh the Qur’aan says:

“They ask you about the Rooh. Say: the Rooh is among the Commands of my Rabb, and only a few have been given knowledge about it.”

The Rooh reacts under the direction of the Aql (Intelligence) and the Nafs (the evil propensity). If the Aql in man predominates and is able to restrain and subdue the Nafs, the Rooh becomes elevated and soars higher and higher into the spiritual and intellectual realms. On the otherhand, if the Nafs succeeds in asserting its base and bestial influence over the Rooh, the Aql failing in its obligation, then the Rooh degenerates. It becomes corrupt and is debased. It falls to levels lower than the level of even beasts.

In its highest stage of spiritual development which has no ceiling, the Nafs is described as Mutmainnah (at peace, at rest in the state of tranquility) where it automatically acts obediently in submission to Allah’s commands. It then has donned a spiritual mantle.But even in that stage of high spiritual development, the devotee of Allah Ta’ala has to keep a constant guard over his Nafs. The Nafs is liable to again degenerate and revert to its former self of base and crass materialism and bestiality. Thus, the struggle against the Nafs is a perpetual one. It is an ongoing process which endures until man is in this earthly abode, hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) described the struggle against the Nafs as ‘Jihaad-e-Akbar’ or the Greatest Battle.

Deception of “Summoning the Souls”

By Mujlisul Ulama

ONE of the favourable stunts of deception and fraud perpetrated by some people with the aid of evil jinn is supposedly to summon the souls or spirits of dead persons to appear. When the ‘souls’ of the deceased appear,   they speak and convey information about the unseen realm. Such a meeting with the ‘spirits’ or ‘souls’ is called a séance.

Sometimes at the séance the ‘dead’ makes a visible appearance and speaks to those present. Sometimes the ‘souls’ of the  dead denuded of physical form, speak through a medium who is a human being in a trance. During the trance, it is said that the souls of the dead enter into the body of the person who is in the trance.

All such demonstrations are satanic stunts of deception and fraud. Neither do the deceased persons appear nor their souls. All such displays are the effects of the shayaateen. Every person has a shaitaan called Qareen who constantly accompanies that person. Sometimes after the death of a person, Qareen assumes the appearance of the deceased and appears to people. Sometimes he does not make a visible appearance, but speaks through a medium in a voice which the observer recognizes to be that of the deceased person.

This type of fraud leads people to believe that the dead truly appear on earth. The souls of the dead are either in the abode of Torment (Sijjeen) or in the abode of Bliss (Illiyeen). No human being or devil has the power to summon the deceased from these abodes. Evil jinn assume the forms of the deceased and in this way deceive and mislead people. Never be impressed with this type of seemingly supernatural fraud.

Death – The Undeniable Reality

“O you who believe! Let not your properties, nor your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Whosoever does that, then they are the losers. So spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says: ‘My Lord! If only you would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give Sadaqah (I.e. Zakat – Obligatory charity) of my wealth, and be among the righteous.’ But Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.”

[Surah Al-Munafiqun 63:9-11]

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Remember much, that which cuts off pleasure: Death, since no-one remembers it in times of difficulty, except that things are made easy for him, nor mentions it at times of ease, except that the affairs become constricted for him.” [Jaami’us Sagheer, no 1222]

Life in this World

Many humans live the life of this world, seeking the best that it has to offer, while ignoring what lies ahead of them upon death. This is a result of weak faith, for such people live only for what is before their eyes. The adornment of this world are but temptations to distract you from the true purpose of life and the reminder that you will indeed be responsible for all you do in this life.

Believing in death is part of belief in the unseen and is an essential part of faith.

As Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:

“Alif Laam Meem. This is the Book without doubt, in it is guidance sure, for those who fear Allah, those who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what we have provided.”

[Al-Baqarah 2:1-3]

and also:

“Seek Allah’s help with patience and prayer. It is indeed hard, except for those who are humble. Who bear in mind that they will meet their Lord and that they are to return to Him.”

[Al-Baqarah 2:45-46]

A Reminder

Death is a harsh and fearful reality faced by everyone who lives. No one has the power to avoid it, nor does anyone around the dying person have the ability to prevent it.

It is something, which happens every moment and is encountered by the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak. They are all the same because there is no plan or means of escaping it, no power, no means of intercession, no way to prevent it, nor to delay it, which shows that indeed it comes from One having tremendous power – so that the human is helpless in this regard and can only submit to it.

So in Allah’s hand alone is the granting of life, and in His hand is the return of what He gave at the appointed time, and after the allotted life span, whether the people are in their houses amongst their families, or striving to seek provision or striving for Aqeedah (correct belief). Reward and recompense are with Him, and He has full knowledge and power.

So the return of all is to Allah, and they will be raised up before Him, having no place of return except that, and no destiny but this one.

The only difference between people will be their deeds and intentions. But, with regard to their physical death, then it is one, death at the appointed time after the decreed span, and resurrection on the Day of Gathering of mankind when we will all face Allah. Then Forgiveness and Mercy, or His displeasure and punishment will be dealt out justly according to His will.

As Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).”

[Surah Aal-Imran 3:185]

You must believe with absolute certainty the reality that the life in this world is limited and has an appointed beginning and an appointed end. Everyone’s soul will taste it and will depart from this life. The difference between these souls is their final destination: Paradise or Hell. We should exert all effort in attaining Paradise and pay great attention to avoiding prohibitions and deeds, which may inevitably lead us to Hell.

There are many ayah’s in the Qur’an that mention Death:

“Say: Verily, the death from which you flee will surely meet you, then you will be sent back to (Allah), the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will tell you what you used to do.”

And also:

“And we granted not to any human being immortality before you (O Muhammad), then if you die, would they live forever? Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good, and to Us you will be returned.”

[Surah Al-Anbiyah 21:34-35]

And also:

“(He) Who created death and life, that He may test which of you is best in deed. He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.”

[Surah Al-Mulk 67:2]

There are many Prophetic Ahadith regarding death and the effect it should have on us.

From Al-Baraa’ ibn Aazib (radhiyallahu anhu), who said:

“We went out with Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) with the funeral of a man of the Ansar and we came to the grave and the niche in the side of the grave (al-Lahd), had not been dug out yet, so Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) sat and we sat around him as if we had birds upon our heads, and in his hand he had a stick with which he was striking the ground. Then he raised his head and said: ‘Seek Allah’s refuge from the Punishment of the Grave,’ two or three times. Then he said: ‘When the believing servant is leaving this world and going onto the Hereafter, angels with white faces – as if their faces were in the Sun – descend upon him. With them is a shroud from the shrouds of Paradise and perfume for embalming from the perfume of Paradise, so they sit away from him at the distance the eye can see and then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head and says: “O good soul, come out to forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure.” He said: “So it comes out, just as a drop flows out from the mouth of the drinking vessel, and he takes it but does not leave it in his hand even for the blink of an eye until they take it and places it in that shroud, and that perfume, and there comes out from him a smell like that of the best musk found upon the face of the earth.” He said: “So they ascend with it, (i.e. the persons soul) and they do not pass by any group of Angels except that they say: ‘Who is this good and pure soul?’ So they reply: “So and so, the son of so and so.” with the best of his names which he used to be called by in this world, until they come to the lowest Heaven, and ask that it should be opened for him, so it is opened for him, they accompany him through every Heaven until he is taken up to the seventh Heaven, and Allah the Al-Mighty says: “Write the record of my slave in Illiyun (signifying highness) and return him to earth to his body.” Then they say: “Who is your Lord?” So he will say: “My Lord is Allah.” So they will say: “What is your Deen?” He will say: “My Deen is Islam.” So they say: “Who is the man who was sent amongst you?” So he will say: “He is Allah’s Messenger.” So they say: “How did you come to know that?” So he will say: “I read the Book of Allah, and believed in it , and attested to it.” So a caller will call from Heaven: “Indeed My servant has spoken the Truth, so spread a place for him in Paradise, and a open a door to Paradise for him, so some of its fragrances and scents come to him and his grave is extended as far as the eye can see.” He said: “A person with a Handsome face, and beautiful clothes and good smell comes to him and says. ‘Receive good news, which will please you. This is the day which you were promised.’ So he says to him: “Who are you?, since your face appears to signify good.” So he says: “I am your righteous actions.” He therefore says: “O Lord, establish the Last Hour. O Lord establish the Last Hour – so that I may return to my family and wealth.”

But when the unbelieving servant is leaving this world and going into the Hereafter, angels with black faces descend upon him as far as the eye can see. The Angel of Death comes and sits by his head and says: “O foul soul, come out to Allah’s displeasure and anger.” So the soul spreads throughout the body, so he (the Angel of Death) drags it out, just as a pronged roasting fork is pulled out of wool. So he takes it, but does not leave it in his hand for the blink of an eye until they put it in those coarse sack cloths. Then there comes from him an offensive stench, like that of the foulest smelling corpse rotting upon the face of the earth. So they ascend with it (i.e. the soul), and they do not pass by any group of angels except that they say: “what is that foul smell!” So they say: “So and so, son of so and so,” calling him with the ugliest names which he used to be called with in this world, until they come with him to the lowest heaven, and ask permission to enter, and it is not opened for him.” Then Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) recited:

“…for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of a needle (which is impossible).”

[Surah Al-A’raf 7:40]

So Allah Ta’ala says: “write his record in Sijjeen (a name signifying constriction) within the lowest earth.” Then his soul is flung down, and he recited:

“…and whoever assigns partners to Allah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place.”

[Surah Al-Hajj 22:31]

So his soul is returned to his body and two Angels come and make him sit up. Then they say to him: “Who is your Lord?” So he will say: “Ah, ah, I don’t know.” So they will say: “Who is this man who was sent amongst you?” So he will say: Ah, ah, I don’t know.” So a caller will call from heaven: “You have lied so spread a place for him in the Fire, and open a door to the Fire for him.” So some of its heat and scorching air comes upon him, and his grave is constricted to the extent that his ribs interlace, and a man with an ugly face, unsightly clothes and smelling offensively comes to him and says: “Receive news of that which will grieve you, this is the day which you were promised.” So he will say: “Who are you?” He will answer: “I am your evil actions.” So the unbeliever will say: “O Lord, Do not establish the Last Hour.”

[Saheehul-Jaami, reported by Ahmed and others]

Death is Pre-Established

Death will occur at a fixed time. The time is, of course, unknown to us. The place, the time, the way in which each of us will die is known only to Allah. The death of each of us has been pre-recorded in a book by Allah. It cannot be brought about or avoided:

“Wherever you are death will find you out, even if you are in the towers built up strong and high…”

[Surah An-Nisa 4:11]

“It is He who gives Life and causes Death: and when He decides upon an affair, He says to it, ‘Be’ – and it is.”

[Surah Ghafir 40:68]

Death cannot be caused by anyone or anything, nor can it be stopped or delayed unless such is in agreement with what has been pre-written. Allah Ta’ala tells us:

“Nor can a soul die except by Allah’s leave, the term being fixed by writing…”

[Surah Aal-Imran 3:145]

This is where belief in Al-Ghayb (unseen) plays a big role. As humans we are deficient in our knowledge and as such we grasp that which is before us, comprehend it very well and use it for our benefit. We see the signs of Allah throughout the world before our eyes… the sun, the moon, day and night. etc., and it is these that we use to our advantage. However, the unseen, that which we have been asked to believe in without being able to see, is also an area of knowledge that we must grasp and use to benefit us as it contains much concerning our life in the hereafter.

Dying

The demise of a person contains a number of occurrences that we cannot see and perhaps are unaware of when they take place. When a person dies we cannot see what he sees, nor hear what he hears, nor feel what he feels. We don’t know what happens and of course no one has lived to tell of that experience. There are certain things we do not know that occur.

Sakaraatul Mawt

The stupors of death, called Sakaraatul Mawt, will be painfully felt by all. This fact is related in the Hadith concerning the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasaloam). Aa-ishah (radhiyallahu anha) related about the events before his death:

“There was a leather or wood container full of water in front of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). He put his hand into the water and rubbed his face with it, saying: Laa illaaha illallaah !” No doubt death has its stupor’s.” Then he raised his hand and started saying: “O Allah, with the highest companions!” (and kept on saying this) until his hand dropped.”

Related by Al-Bukhari

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was shown his place in Paradise and given the choice of living or dying and joining those “Highest Companions”. Refer to Surah Nisa: 4 Ayah 69 and Al-Bukhari – Volume 1, Hadith Number 516.

The best way to explain “The stupors of Death” is as follows: When a person is dying, they come in and out of consciousness, even when they appear conscious, they may be dazed and incoherent – that’s why it is so important, at this time to remind the person of Allah, always remembering, that (though you cant see what’s happening), it is a very trying and sometimes a confusing time for the dying person.

Repentance and Request To Return

Another inevitable occurrence at death is the desire to return back to life just to do one more good deed. This is especially true for the Kafir (unbeliever), and the transgressor. They will regret their lives and wish to return to put aright their deeds. It must be a frightening thing for them at death.

“Until when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: “O my Lord! Send me back in order that I may work righteousness in the things I have neglected…”

[Surah Al-Mu’minun 23:99-100]

Once Sakaraatul Mawt approaches there is no turning back. When the rattling of death is heard in the throat, nothing can be reversed:

“Then why do you not intervene when it (the soul of the dying person), reaches the throat…Call back the soul if you are true.”

[Surah Al-Waqi’a 56:83,87]

It is then that the dying person sees the angels and he realizes Death is at hand. Once the angels are seen, man can grasp the reality of Al-Ghayb (the unseen), for he has witnessed the truth of it. Declaration of faith is of no avail at that time for it is no longer “Unseen”. Any repentance at this stage is rejected.

“Allah accept the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercyfor Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil until death faces one of them and he says: ‘Now have I repented indeed’, Nor of those who die rejecting faith; for them We have prepared a punishment most grievous.”

[Surah An-Nisa 4:17-18]

Many people don’t repent or seek refuge in Allah, until they face difficulty. Then when they are in trouble and feel the need they have for Allah, they turn to Him and beg for His help and His mercy.

“When trouble touches man he cries unto Us – lying down on his side, or sitting or standing. But, when We have removed his affliction he passes on his way as if he had never cried to Us for the affliction that had touched him. Thus do the deeds of transgressors seem fair in their eyes.”

[Surah Yunus 10:12]

Incredibly, many people today feel no need for Allah at all. Repentance never occurs to them. They feel self-sufficient. As sincere Muslims, we should turn to Allah at all times, not just at times of trouble. Consider the stories of Prophet Yunus (alayhis salaam) and Fir’awn. They were in similar places and trouble. They both sought refuge in Allah in the same manner. Yet they were dealt with in different ways. Fir’awn was drowning at sea. When he realized his plight, he turned to Allah saying:

“…And I believe that there is no God but Him whom the Children of Israel believe in. I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam).”

[Surah Yunus 10:90]

At his moment of death he declared his belief in Tawheed, which is the key to Paradise. Yet his repentance was rejected. When he supplicated to Allah, Jibreel (alayhis salaam) threw mud in his mouth so that the angels could not hear him.

Prophet Yunus (alayhis salaam) was in three dark places: way out to sea, in the dark of night, in the stomach of a whale. He supplicated:

“And remember Jonah, when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall not punish him (i.e. the calamities that had befallen him!) But he cried La illaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You, (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) be You above all the (evil) they associate with You. Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.”

[Surah Al-Anbiyah 21:87]

Prophet Yunus (alayhis salaam) also sought refuge in Allah through his belief in Tawheed and was saved. Why Yunus (alayhis salaam) and not Fir’awn? Allah Ta’ala said:

“So, We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers (who believe in the Oneness of Allah, abstain from evil and work righteousness).”

[Surah Al-Anbiyah 21:88]

Fir’awn was not of true faith, therefore his repentance was rejected by Allah. True faith is always present, not simply in times of distress. Remember the mud thrown in the mouth of Fir’awn when he cried out. When Yunus (alayhis salaam) supplicated to Allah the angels responded saying: “A familiar voice from a well known slave.” A very important lesson from this is that we should try to remember Allah, at all times and asks Him for help even when we are in comfort and free of problems. By remembering Allah in easy times He will remember you in difficult times just as He did to Yunus (alayhis salaam).

Presence of Shaytan

Just as the angels will be present, Shaytan will be too. It is his last chance to try to turn man to evil. He will do what he can to cause him to die upon Shirk  (Polytheism), or at least commit sin.

“Indeed Shaytan is present in all of your affairs, even at the time of eating. Therefore, if a morsel of food falls to the ground, one should remove any harmful thing from it, and eat it. Don’t leave it for Shaytan to eat. And when one finishes, he should lick his fingers, for no one knows where the blessing in the food might be.”

[Related by Al-Bukhari]

Shaytan can assume any form he desires in order to deceive man. He can come to you when you are dying in the form of your deceased Mother or Father or close friend saying:

“I come to you from the other life and I have found that Christianity is the truth.”

This is the time when the weak in faith may fail. Never consider yourself to be of firm, unshakable faith. Allah holds our hearts between His fingers.

Even those of great knowledge never consider themselves of unwavering faith. They fear that they may lose the gift of Islam. The Qur’an tells us of such people:

“…And those firmly grounded in knowledge say: ‘We believe in it, the whole of it is from our Lord. And none will grasp the message but men of understanding. O Lord let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from You, for You are the Granter of bounties without measure.”

[Surah Aal-Imran 3:7-8]

An example of Shaytan’s work at the time of death is seen in the story of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, the great scholar and founder of the Hanbali school of thought.

At his death, his son was beside him telling him: “Say Laa illaaha illallaah.” Imam Ahmad replied: “No! No!” The son was horrified and repeated to his father: “Laa illaaha illallaah.” And again Imam Ahmad said: “No! No!” He then lost consciousness. When he came to he told his son: “I see my devil saying: Ahmad! I was not able to deviate you!” The devil had come to him and tried to get him to admire himself for his righteous life by insisting that before he die, he say he was of the people of Paradise. Imam Ahmad reply was: “No!, No!, not until I die.”

Ibid

Husnul Khaatimah (A Good Ending)

Life in this world is of many types yet death is only two. Just as there is only Paradise and Hell, there is only a good ending and a bad one. A good ending is known as Husnul Khaatimah. We know that a person who dies with Husnul Khaatimah is reassured by the angels that good awaits him. He has died with faith in Islam and his good deeds will benefit him all the more.

Of course there are stories of those who, Insh Allah died with Husnul Khaatimah:

 ** A young man helped a stranded elderly couple repair their car, which had broken down on the freeway. His friends left him with them and continued on their way Makkah. The young man stayed with the couple until their car was fixed and then went to Makkah. When he arrived, he went to the Haram (mosque), he prayed, and stayed in sujood for a long time until finally his friends became worried. When they touched him he fell over. He had died in prostration.

** A young man was changing a tire and while doing so, his car was hit from behind which then hit him. He was severely injured and kept mumbling the entire time. The ambulance came to take him to hospital, the medic noticed his constant mumbling, and tried to hear what he was saying, as he leaned over to listen, he realized that the young man was reciting Qur’an.

Suu’-ul Khaatimah (A Bad Ending)

As for a bad ending – Suu-ul Khaatimah – there are a few causes:

1) Corrupt Beliefs

Even though this person may perform good deeds, may even renounce the world in piety, some of his beliefs are false. He is convinced that his belief’s are true and correct. It doesn’t cross his mind that he may be in error. This discovery is only made when Sakaraatul Mawt reaches him. And, though he may be upon the truth in some of his belief’s, his falsehood will delete him.

“Say: shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works.”

[Surah Al-Kahf 18:103-104]

Whether such beliefs are held due to one’s opinions or are taken from others, the person falls into this danger. His good deeds are of no benefit to him. Without correct belief, which is based upon the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah, nothing will benefit him.

2) Persistence in Acts of Disobedience

The person who persists in sin will accustom his heart to sinful acts. They will become natural to him. All such deeds that become typical aspects of our lives will come to us at the time of death. If we are accustomed to righteousness and obedience and the doing of good deeds, it will be in this frame of mind that we die. And, if we have accustomed ourselves to a life of sin or persisted in certain sinful acts, these acts will fill our minds at death. If this occurs, if these acts of disobedience overcome our thoughts due to the active role they played in our lives, we will end our lives with Suu-ul Khaatimah.

We know from the Sunnah that a person should be encouraged to say La illaaha illaallah when he is dying, but some of us will be unable to say this due to such acts of disobedience that preoccupied us in our lives.

A few examples are:

 ** A person who was very fond of alcohol was dying. He was encouraged to say La illaaha illaallah, but all he could say was: “Pour another glass for me.”

** Two young men were driving around the city listening to music. They were in a very bad accident. One of them escaped with little harm, while the other one was badly hurt. When the friend who was not hurt realized that his friend was dying he encouraged him to say: La illaaha illallaah, all he could do was to sing the verses of the song he had been listening to in the car.

3) Deviation From The Straight Path

He who possesses correct belief and is upon the straight path, but then leaves it will cause himself Suu-ul Khaatimah. Man may know the truth and live in accordance with it for some time. Yet he follows Shaytan when he commands him to reject faith.

“Like the Shaytan when he says to man: “Disbelieve!” But when man disbelieves, Shaytan says: “I am free of you, I do fear Allah, Lord of the Worlds.” The end of both will be that they will go into the fire, dwelling therein forever. Such is the reward of the Unjust and the Wrongdoers.”

[Surah Al-Hashr 59:17]

4) Deterioration of Faith

Deterioration of faith begins in this way. A Muslim feels himself sufficient in his knowledge and fails to see his weaknesses. Slowly he loses even the knowledge that he has because he fails to put it into practice. He neglects the Sunnah and perhaps feels the spiritual path of faith is sufficient for him. Practical affairs, for which we take guidance from the Sunnah, such as; how to eat and sleep, how to pay Zakat, become unimportant to him. Though spiritual worship is rewarded, often the practical deeds are of more benefit to a Muslim in life and may even be of greater reward.

For example: Scholars are of the opinion that recitation of the Qur’an is rewarded, although seeking knowledge is of greater reward. Recitation without knowledge and practical application is fruitless.

“The similitude of those who were entrusted with the Taurat (torah), but who subsequently failed in those (obligations) is that of a donkey which carries books (but understands them not). Evil is the similitude of a people who falsify the signs of Allah; And Allah guides not those who do wrong.”

[Surah Al-Jumu’ah 62:5]

5) Weakness in Faith

Faith to many people is a matter of the heart, an inner belief. However, Islamic faith is much more.

The definition of faith in Islam is: A belief in the heart supported by words from the tongue and actions of the body. Faith in Islam cannot simply be an inner belief, nor words from the tongue, it must be backed up by deeds. This is where many Muslims fail in faith.

You cannot simply hope for Paradise, you must work for it. We must consequently pass many trials and tests in order to obtain it. If our actions do not convey what we carry in our hearts and voice from our mouths, our faith is weak, and therefore deficient. Often times, such weaknesses in faith are caused by one’s love for Dunya, the worldly life. The love of Dunya can become excessive causing faith to become so weak that one lives for this world only, dreading death, as it represents the end of worldly life, that he loves so much. If Sakaraatul Mawt reaches him whilst in this state, he will find himself doubtful in faith and can end with Suu-ul Khaatimah.

Often we are impressed with people particularly non-Muslims, who are well mannered and of impeccable behaviour. Yet they posses little or no faith. Such people will have their deeds rejected by Allah and will be those with Suu-ul Khaatimah.

The manners and behaviour with which they impressed people so much in this life will be of no help to them when they face Allah. Muslims may die with Minor and Major Suu-ul Khaatimah.

Perhaps, they were believing practicing Muslims, but fell into innovation in religion. Some may have fallen into one of the sects, whose followers claim to be Muslim. Whether or not they fall into the minor or major category depends upon the seriousness of that which they involve themselves in. Of course the most serious is that which concerns one’s Aqeedah, definitely casting one into the Major Suu-ul Kaatimah.

An example is found in the Sufi’s. Some of their beliefs are Kufr, while others, though they are contrary to Islamic teachings, do not cast them out of the fold of Islam. Such things show all the more reason to seek Islamic knowledge so that we may avoid falling into such falsehood, thinking that we are on the right path.

“Say: ‘Shall We tell you of those who lose most in respect to their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought they were acquiring good by their works.”

[Surah Al-Kahf 18:103-104]

Those of the Minor category are those who have faith yet die upon sin. On the Day of Judgment, the Scale will weigh their deeds, good and bad. This will determine whether they are the people of Hell or the people of Paradise.

We Should All Ask Ourselves:

If I Die in the State I Am Today, Will I Die with;

Suu-ul Khaatimah Or Husnul Khaatimah???

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:  

image

“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)