A few Hadith on this topic
Imam Ahmad and Hakim reported Hadrat 'Aisha (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anha) as saying, "When I used to go in my room after my husband and father were buried there, I would take off my overcoat. I never took it off after Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) was buried. Because, he was not my near kin. I was restrained by my sense of modesty because he was there.
Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya (died in 751/1350), who is called "'Allama" (eminent master) and whose writings are used as documents in the Wahhabite book, is quoted elsewhere [Al-basa'ir li-munkiri't tawassuli bi-ahli'l-maqabir, originally edited in Pakistan; Istanbul impression, 1980, p 22.] as having written in his Kitab ar-Ruh: "When someone visit a grave, the dead person in the grave recognizes the visitor and hears his voice. He becomes cheerful and responds to his greeting. This is not peculiar to martyrs; it is the same for other dead people, too. This is not restricted to a certain time, either; it is always as such.
It is written in the Sahihain of al-Bukhari and Muslim: "Allahu ta'ala sent all the prophets to our Prophet on the Miraj night. He became the imam, and they performed two rak'as of salat." The salat includes bowing (ruku') and prostration (sajda). And this shows that they performed salat corporally, with their bodies. Musa's ('alaihi 's-salam) performing salat in his grave also indicates this. It was declared in the hadith ash-Sharif quoted in the book Mishkat [Last volume, section on the Miraj chapter one.] on the authority of Muslim, "Near the Kaba, the disbelievers of the Quraish asked me how the Bait al-muqaddas was. I had not looked at it carefully. I become very stressful. Allahu ta'ala showed me. I saw myself among prophets. Musa ('alaihi 's-salam) was performing salat standing up. He was thin. His hair was not untidy or drooping. He was like a brave young man of the Shan'a tribe [of the Yaman]. 'Isa ('alaihi 's-salam) looked like Urwat ibn Masud as-Saqafi."
These hadiths prove that prophets are alive in Allah's audience. Their bodies have become ethereal like their souls. They are not dense or solid. They may become visible in material and spiritual worlds. It is for this reason that prophets can be seen in soul and body. The hadith ash-Sharif explains that Musa and 'Isa ('alaihima 's-Salam) were performing salat, which involves physical actions that are to be done with the body, not with the soul. Muhammad's ('alaihi 's-salam) description of Musa ('alaihi 's-salam) with medium height, lean and thin, and with tidy hair shows that he saw not his soul bot his body.
Said ibn Musayyab said, "The adhan and iqama were heard being recited in the al-Hujrat an-Nabawiyya when the adhan could not be called and salat could not be performed in Masjid an-Nabi," on the day when the men of Yazid tortured the people of al-Madinat al-munawwara -the 'Harra' event that took place in 61 A.H. Ibn Taymiyya [d. 728 A.H. (1328)], too, quoted this in his book Iqtida' as-sirati 'l-mustaqim.
l-Imam an-Nawawi, in his commentary of the Sahih of Muslim, says, "The dead feel pain and are offended by the loud cry of their relatives." Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari [d. Baghdad, 310 A.H. (923)] said so, too. Qadi 'Iyad al-Maliki (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) [d. Morocco, 544 A.H. (1150)] said that this was the best interpretation and noted that Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) prevented a woman from crying loudly over her son's death. "Oh Muslims! Do not offend your brothers in graves by crying loudly," he ordered. This hadith ash-Sharif shows that the dead hear and are offended and feel pain for their relatives' crying. Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) declared, "Say 'As-salamu 'alaikum' when you greet the ones in graves." This is why Muslims say, "As-salamu 'alaikum! Ya ahla dari 'l-qawmi 'l-Muminin." Obviously, such a greeting can be said to those who can hear and understand.
The dead recognize the people who visit them. Abu Bakr 'Abdullah ibn Abi 'd-dunya [d. Baghdad, 261 A.H. (894)] wrote in Kitab al-qubur: "Hadrat 'Aisha (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anha) reported the Prophet as saying, 'When a person visits the grave of his brother-in-Islam and sits by the grave, he recognizes him and replies to his greeting.' A hadith ash-Sharif narrated by Abu Huraira (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) declares, 'If anyone visits the grave of an acquaintance of his and greets him, the dead person recognizes him and replies to him. If he greets a dead Muslim whom he does not know, the dead person replies to his greeting.' " Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Barr [d. Shatiba, 463 A.H. (1071)] and 'Abd al-Haqq, the author of the book Ah'kam, said that this hadith ash-Sharif was sahih. Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya quoted this hadith ash-Sharif in Kitab ar-ruh and gave many other khabars and added that there were many more khabars to be written in this subject.
The word 'ziyara' (visit) was used in the hadith ash-Sharif, which would not have been used if the dead had not recognized the person who came to the grave. In all languages and every dictionary, this word is defined as the meeting of people who know and understand one another. And the word "Salamun 'alaikum" is to be said to persons who will understand it.
Ibn al-Human wrote in Fat'h al-Qadir, his annotation of Al-hidaya: "The Hanafi 'ulama', commenting on 'oath,' said, 'The dead do not hear. If one who has sworn not to talk with somebody talks with that same person when the latter is dead, his oath will not be broken.' " However, it was said, "The words of the Hanafi 'ulama' on 'oath' are based on [linguistic] custom. These words do not show that the dead do not hear. The Hanafi 'ulama', in explaining the knowledge about 'oath,' say, 'If one swears not to eat meat but then eats fish, his oath will not be broken.' However, Allahu ta'ala said 'pleasant meat' for fish. But the flesh of fish is different from meat according to custom. Similarly, if a person swears not to talk with someone and talks to him after he dies, his oath will not be broken. Because 'talking' means 'talking face to face' according to custom. A dead person hears, but since he does not talk in a conventional audible way, the two will have not talked with each other according to custom. This is why his oath will not be broken." It does not mean that it is not broken because the dead person did not hear.
One of the proofs documenting that the dead see the living is the hadith ash-Sharif, "Every dead person is shown his [future] place in the next world every morning and every evening. The one who deserves Paradise is shown his place in Paradise, and the one who deserves Hell is shown his place in Hell," which is related by al-Bukhari. The word 'shown' means that they see. "They" declared Allahu ta'ala, referring to the people of Pharaoh, "are shown the fire every morning and evening!" 'Shown' would mean nothing if the dead did not see. Abu Nuaym related on the authority of 'Amr ibn Dinar, "An angel holds the soul when a person dies. The soul watches the body being washed and shrouded. 'Hear how men praise you,' he is told." A hadith ash-Sharif narrated on the authority of 'Amr ibn Dinar by Ibn Abi 'd-dunya declares: "A person knows what happens to his household after his death. He looks at those who wash and shroud him." The hadith sahih quoted by al-Bukhari declares: "The angels munkar and nakir, after questioning, say, 'look at your place in Hell! Allahu ta'ala changed it and granted you a place in Paradise.' He looks and sees both of them."
hadith ash-Sharif quoted by Ibn Abi 'd-dunya and by al-Baihaki in Shu'ab al-iman on the authority of Abu Huraira (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum) declares, "When a person comes near the grave of an acquaintance of his and greets, the dead person recognizes and greets him. If he comes near the grave of a person he does not know and greets, the dead person answers him." This hadith ash-Sharif, too, indicates that the dead see the person who visits or stands by their graves. If they did not see, it would not have been noted in the hadith ash-Sharif that a dead person answers the greeting of someone whom he did not know before death. The former recognizes and answers; the latter does not know but still answers the greeting.
The hadith ash-Sharif reported by 'Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak and Ibn Abi 'd-dunya on the authority of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) declares, "Your deeds are made known to the dead. They become happy when they see your good deeds. They become sad when they see your bad deeds." It was said, "Fear Allahu ta'ala because of your brothers in the graves! Your deeds are shown to them," in a hadith ash-Sharif quoted by al-Hakim at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Abi 'd-dunya and al-Baihaki in his book Shu'ab al-iman on the authority of Numan ibn Bashir. These two hadiths refer to all the dead. Hadrat Abu 'd-darda (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) said, "Your deeds are shown to the dead. They become happy or sad upon seeing them."
Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya quoted, in his book Kitab ar-ruh and on the authority of Ibn Abi 'd-dunya, Sadaqat ibn Sulaiman al-Jafari as saying, "I was a man of bad habits. I repented of them after my father's death. I gave up my impetuosities. Once I committed a fault. Thereupon, I dreamt of my father saying, 'Oh my son! I have been feeling comfortable in my grave with your beautiful deeds. What you do is shown to us. Your deeds have been like those of the sulaha'. But I felt very sad and ashamed of what you did recently. Do not make me feel ashamed among the dead nearby." " This narration reflects that the dead who are not acquaintances can also be aware of the events in the world. Because, his father said, "Do not make me feel ashamed among the dead nearby," referring to the deeds of his son shown to him. He would not say so if the unacquainted dead did not understand that his son's deeds were being shown to the father.
It is narrated by Ibn Al-Mubarak who said : One of the Ansar narrated to us from al-Minhal ibn ‘Amr that the latter hears Sa’id ibn Al-Musayyib say :”Not one day passes except the Prophet’s s.a.w. community is shown to him morning and evening. He knows them by their marks and their actions, thereby giving witness concerning them. Allah said,”But how (will it be with them) when we bring of every people a witness, and we bring you (O Muhammad) as witness against these?”(4:41)
Narrated by Ibn Al-Mubarak in al-Zuhd(pg. 42), Ibn kathir in his Tafsir 1:500, al-Qurtubi in is al-Tadhkira (1:335), Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani in Fath Al-Bari (9:99) and Al-Mubarakfuri in Tuhfa al-Ahwadhi (8:300).
Ibrahim Ibn Shayban said: “One year I went on a pilgrimage then I came to Madinah and approached the grave of the prophet s.a.w. and said Salam to him. I heard, coming from inside the room, the reply:”Wa’alaikum al-salam.”
Narrated from Muhammad ibn Hibban by Abu Nu’aim in Al-Targhib (#102), Ibn Al-Najjar in Akhbar al-Madinah (pg. 146), Ibn Jawzi al-Qayyim in Muthir al-Gharam (pg. 486-498), Al-Fayruzabadi in Al-Silat wal Bushr (pg. 54) and by Ibn Taimiyya in Iatida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim (pg. 373 to 374)
Ibn taimiyya was asked if the dead are aware of the living who visit them. Ibn taimiyya replied : “There is no doubt that they are aware of the living that visit them.” And Ibn Taymiyyah quoted the following Hadith in his support: “The proof of dead awareness comes from two Sahih Books of Bukhari and Muslim in which Rasool Allah(alayhi salaat wa salaam) said that when people have buried a dead person and leave for home, the dead can hear the thumps of sandaled feet of those who leave.”
(Majma al-Fatawa by Ibn Taymiyyah, vol. 24, page 362 )