Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Ibn Qayyim on Visiting and Greeting the Deceased and Their Interaction with the LivingAn Imam of today’s “Salafis,” Ibn Qayyim, in his Kitab al-Ruh, elaborates on the dead’s knowledge of the living, interaction with them and the permissibility of visitation, greeting and praying for the deceased.

فصل ويدل على هذا أيضا ما جرى عليه عمل الناس قديما وإلى الآن من تلقين الميت في قبره ولولا أنه يسمع ذلك وينتفع به لم يكن فيه فائدة وكان عبثا وقد سئل عنه الإمام أحمد رحمه الله فاستحسنه واحتج عليه بالعمل ويروى فيه حديث ضعيف ذكره الطبرانى في معجمه من حديث أبى أمامة قال قال رسول الله إذا مات أحدكم فسويتم عليه التراب فليقم أحدكم على رأس قبره ثم يقول يا فلان ابن فلانة فإنه يسمع ولايجيب ثم ليقل يا فلان ابن فلانة الثانية فإنه يستوي قاعدا ثم ليقل يا فلان ابن فلانة يقول أرشدنا رحمك الله ولكنكم لاتسمعون فيقول أذكر ما خرجت عليه من الدنيا شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله وان محمد رسول الله وأنك رضيت بالله ربا وبالإسلام دينا وبمحمد نبيا وبالقرآن إماما فان منكرا ونكيرا يتأخر كل واحد منهما ويقول انطلق بنا ما يقعدنا عند هذا وقد لقن حجته ويكون الله ورسوله حجيجه دونهما فقال رجل يا رسول الله فإن لم يعرف أمه قال ينسبه إلى امه حواء فهذا الحديث وإن لم يثبت فإتصال العمل به في سائر الأمصار والأعصار من غير انكار كاف في العمل به وما أجرى الله سبحانه العادة قط بأن أمه طبقت مشارق الأرض ومغاربها وهي أكمل الأمم عقولا وأوفرها معارف تطيق على مخاطبة من لا يسمع ولا يعقل وتستحسن ذلك لاينكره منها منكر بل سنه الأول للآخر ويقتدي فيه الآخر بالأول فلولا ان المخاطب يسمع لكان ذلك بمنزلة الخطاب للتراب والخشب والحجر والمعدوم وهذا وان استحسنه واحد فا لعلماء قاطبة على استقباحه واستهجانه وقد روى أبو داود في سننه بإسناد لا بأس به أن النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم حضر جنازة رجل فلما دفن قال سلوا لأخيكم التثيب فإنه الآن يسأل فأخبر أنه يسأل حينئذ وإذا كان يسأل فإنه يسمع التلقين وقد صح عن النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم أن الميت يسمع قرع نعالهم إذا ولوا منصرفين

Another proof of this [the dead hearing the living] is also the practice of people (`amal al-nas) formerly and to the present time of instructing the dead in his grave (talqin al mayyit fi qabrihi). If the dead did not hear that and did not benefit by it there would be no advantage in it and it would be done in vain. Imam Ahmad was asked about it and he considered it good (istahsanahu) and adduced for it a proof from usage (ihtajja `alayhi bi al-`amal).There is also related on this subject a weak narration which al-Tabarani related in his Mu`jam from Abu Umama who said that the Messenger of Allah said, 'When one of your brothers dies and you have smoothed over the earth upon his grave, let one of you stand at the head of the grave and say, "O So and so Son of So and so" for he will hear, though he cannot reply - and then say, "O So and So, son of So and so," and he will say, "Direct me, Allah have mercy upon you mercy on you," though you will not hear it, but should say, "Remember the creed upon which you departed from this world, the testification that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His slave and messenger, and that you accepted Allah as your Lord, Islam as your religion, Muhammad as your prophet, and the Koran as your exemplar." For then the two angels Munkar and Nakir will take each other's hand and say, "Let us go, what is there to keep us beside someone who has been instructed how to make his plea?" A Man said, "O Messenger of Alllah, what if one does not know the name of his mother?" and he answered, 'Then one should mention his descent from his mother Eve, saying, "O so and so son of Eve" Although this hadith has not been established (lam yathbut), nevertheless the continuity of its practice in every country and time without objection is sufficient warrant for its performance. For Allah certainly never caused a custom (`ada) to persist so that a people who encompass the eastern and western parts of the earth, and who are the most perfect of peoples in intelligence, and the most comprehensive of them in sciences, should agree to address one who neither hears nor reasons, and approve of that, without some mistrustful one of that people disapproving it! But, the first established it for the last (sannahu al-awwalu li al-akhir), and the last imitates the first therein (wa yaqtadi fihi al-akhiru bi al-awwal). And were it not that the one who is addressed hears, this act would have the status of address to earth and wood and stone and the non-existent -- and this, even if one person might approve of it, the learned would unanimously abhor it and condemn it.Abu Dawud related in his Sunan with a chain to which there is no objection: The Prophet attended the funeral of a man, and when he was buried he said: "Ask confirmation for your brother, for he is now being questioned." So he gave information that he was being questioned at that time. And since he was being asked, then he could hear the dictation. And it is valid on the Prophet's authority that the dead one hears the beating of their sandals when they turn to leave.