40 days after death

Question:

A.s.
Maulana Shaykh Nazim Efendi said that 40 days after someone dies the soul leaves this world. Does anyone know the hadith according to that?
Is it mentioned to read Surat-ul Yaseen after 40 days?
I will learn to wash the jenaza and our teacher told us that there is nothing like 40 days. She said it’s only a habit.
Thank you very much in advance
Wa salaam

Answer:

wa `alaykum salam,

A hadith states: “No Prophet dies and remains in his grave except forty mornings, until his soul is given back to him” (al-Tabarani and Abu Nu`aym from Anas). Ibn Hajar considers it a fair narration in Talkhis al-Habir.  Al-Bayhaqi mentions it in his monograph on the life of Prophets in the grave and says: “Meaning, they then become like the rest of the living, and are wherever Allah makes them reside, and another narration states: ‘They are not left in their graves except for forty nights, but [then] they pray in front of Allah Most High until the trumpet is blown.’” Al-Munawi said in Fayd al-Qadir: “This is because they are like martyrs; rather, their lives are higher than that of martyrs, and the latter are {alive, with their Lord, and provided for} (Q 3:169). The purpose of specifying their being ‘with Allah’ is to allude to the fact that their life is not visible to us. It is more like the life of the angels. It is likewise with Prophets.”

So if this is true of Anbiya it is true of their inheritors since the Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) said: “The `Ulama [i.e. Knowers of Allah] are the inheritors of Prophets” (Sunan and Musnad); and if it is true of their inheritors then it is true of their followers since the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) said: “A person is with the one they love” (al-Bukhari and Muslim, Sunan and Muwatta‘) and this means in life and in death and resurrection as well, by consensus of the commentaries.

Yes, there remains a connection of the souls to their respective graves but they are not confined there, hence the saying of Salman al-Farisi and Anas b. Malik (Allah be well-pleased with them): “The souls of the believers are in an earthly barzakh (isthmus-life) and they roam wherever they please” (Ibn Abi al-Dunya, al-Mawt; Ibn al-Mubarak, al-Zuhd; Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat; see Ibn al-Qayyim, Kitab al-Ruh, Question 15). They would never say that unless they knew it from the Prophet. The same is famously  related from Imam Malik. Ibn `Abd al-Barr said: “The souls are on the thresholds of their graves. This is the soundest position – and Allah knows best – because the hadiths to that effect are better and more firmly transmitted than others, and the meaning to me is that they might be found at the thresholds of their graves; not that they never move from
or part with the thresholds of their graves, but just as Malik said” (Istidhkar 8:354-355 §11849-11850, Kitab al-Jana’iz, bab jami`al-jana’iz). This scenario is mentioned among eight other positions by al-Shawkani in his brief treatise entitled Bahth fi mustaqarr arwah al-amwat (paper concerning the resting-place of the souls of the dead).

The 460-page dissertation Ahadith Hayat al-Barzakh (Hadiths concerning the life of the Barzakh) by the contemporary Muhammad b. Haydar b. Hasan ends with ten main conclusions, among them that “the soul [of the believer] remains connected with the bodily remains and the grave while its heavenly body (jirm) is in heaven (al-sama‘) after parting with the body, like a sunbeam falling on the ground although originally connected to the sun.” And Allah knows best.

May Allah have mercy on our souls here and hereafter.

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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