Hearing of the Dead


as salamu ‘alaykum,

Respected Shaykh Haddad,

1) I will be thankful if you can you kindly provide the complete analysis of this narration along with different chains of narration and its grading:

When one passes by the grave of his mu’min brother who he had known in the dunya, and stands at the qabr and says, `Assalamu `alaykum’, the person in the qabr will know him and also return his greeting. [ Majmu`a Fatawa Ibn Taymiyah, 24:331]

2) How is it possible to get the copy of 1361/ 1942 edition of Kitab al-naqd `ala al-jahmiyya by Uthman ibn Sa`id al-Darimi, since the edition uploaded on internet is that of 1985.



[This is an important question on the HEARING OF THE DEAD.]

`Alaykum Salam,

1) It is narrated:

I. from Ibn `Abbas, from the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Istidhkar (2:165 no. 1858) and al-Tamhid with a sound chain according to `Abd al-Haqq al-Ishbili in his Ahkam al-Sughra (1:345) cf. al-Ahkam al-Kubra (2:546) and al-Wusta (2:152), al-`Ayni in `Umdat al-Qari (bab Ziyarat al-qubur), and al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar but this is all an incorrect grading since Ibn `Abd al-Barr’s chain contains two to three unknowns and is therefore weak.

II. as a saying of Abu Hurayra by:

(i) Ibn Abi al-Dunya in al-Qubur as related by al-Suyuti in al-Hawin (2:302):

عن محمد بن قدامة الجوهري عن معن بن عيسى القزار عن هشام بن سعد عن زيد بن أسلم عن أبي هريرة قال إذا مر الرجل بقبر يعرفه فسلم عليه رد عليه السلام وعرفه وإذا مر بقبر لا يعرفه فسلم عليه رد عليه السلام

(ii) al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (7:17 no. 9296) through Ibn Abi al-Dunya with the same  chain as above.

Ibn Abi al-Dunya’s chain is also weak because of Muhammad b. Qudama al-Jawhari and Hisham b. Sa`d, and because it is broken between Zayd b. Aslam and Abu Hurayra.

III. from Abu Hurayra, from the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) by:

(i) al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (6:137)
(ii) Tammam al-Razi in his Fawa’id (1:75 no. 139)
(iii) Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (10:380)

Imam al-Suyuti declared its chain good (jayyid) in his Jami` al-Kabir but this chain is also  weak due to the unanimous weakening of its narrator `Abd al-Rahman b. Zayd b. Aslam as stated by Ibn Tahiral-Qaysarani in Ma`rifat al-Tadhkira, Ibn al-Jawzi in al-`Ilal al-Mutanahiya (2:429-430=2:911 no. 1523), al-Dhahabi in Mizan al-I`tidal under `Abd al-Rahman b. Zayd and others. See al-Ahdab, Zawa’id Tarikh Baghdad (5:174 no. 885).

Ibn Taymiyya in his Majmu` al-Fatawa (24:331) claimed that Ibn al-Mubarak said it is established as authentic from the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) but I could not find this mentioned anywhere.

Something similar is narrated from `A’isha (may Allah be well-pleased with her and all the Companions), from the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) through `Abd Allah b. Sam`an who is discarded according to Ibn Rajab and others, however, al-Zabidin in the Ithaf (10:365) said this is actually `Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. Sam`an who is  trustworthy.

In conclusion the report has a basis by which it can be considered acceptable due to its multiple chains even if they are all weak, and it is confirmed by other hadiths that show the reality of the hearing of the dead such as the hadith of the dead of Badr and other reports as discussed at length by Imam al-Tabari in Tahdhib al-Aathaar where he said: “A large number of the Predecessors among the scholars of the Community said that the dead hear the speech of the living, whence the Prophet’s address to those buried in the well [at Badr]. They also said that his words to the Companions, ‘You certainly do not hear any better than they do,’ are the most resplendent exposition of the truth of what we have said: namely, that the dead hear the speech of the living.”
(Tahdhib al-Aathaar 2:491).

Al-Tabari then proceeds to narrates 14 Prophetic hadiths to that effect and, twenty pages down, introduces a chapter entitled “Mention of those of the Predecessors who asserted the Soundness of those Reports and said ‘Truly the Dead hear the Speech of the Living, and Speak, and are Cognizant,’ after which he narrates 11 reports from Abu Hurayra, Ibn  Mas`ud, Jabir, and some of the Tabi`in to that effect. He concludes:

It is therefore obligatory to firmly assert that Allah makes anyone of His creation hear, after their death, whatever He wishes of the speech of living human beings as well as other creatures in any way He wishes, and He makes whomever among them He wishes understand whatever He wishes, and He grants bliss to whomever of them He likes with whatever He likes, and He punishes the unbeliever in his grave and whoever of
them deserves punishment in any way He wishes, just as the narrations and reports from the Messenger of Allah state. (Tahdhib al-Aathaar 2:518-519).

Among the subsequent authorities who positively asserted the reality of the hearing of the dead in their works or legal responses are:

• Ibn `Abd al-Salam in his Fatawa Mawsiliyya (pp. 100-101);

• al-Nawawi in the chapter of his Sharh Sahih Muslim entitled al-Janna wa-Sifat Na`imiha;

• Ibn al-Qayyim in the opening chapter of his Kitab al-Ruh;

• Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani in al-Jawab al-Kafi `an al-Su’al al-Khafi, in which he replies to twenty-nine questions pertaining to the state of the dead in the graves.

• al-Sakhawi in his magisterial treatise on the address to those recently buried (talqin) entitled al-Idah wal-Tabyin bi-Mas’alat al-Talqin;

• al-Suyuti in the opening fatwa of the first part of the responses on Resurrection in his Hawi lil-Fatawa (2:169-175 Mabhath al-Ma`ad, Ahwal al-Barzakh);

• the Hanafi jurist Muhammad `Abid al-Sindi al-Ansari in his treatise Hawl al-Tawassul wal-Istighatha (pp. 170-181) takes issue with the majority position of his school, according to which the dead can hear only immediately after their burial and before they are questioned by the angels and not thereafter. Indeed, the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) waited THREE FULL DAYS before addressing the dead Makkans in the well of Badr (al-Bukhari, Maghazi, Qatl Abu Jahl; Muslim, al-Janna wa-Sifat Na`imiha). He also mentioned that (i) Sayyida `A’isha’s denial of the hearing of the dead was not based on direct witnessing of the events at Badr but upon reports through intermediaries; (ii) the possibility that she changed her understanding later, since she addressed her brother `Abd al-Rahman in his grave a month after he had been buried (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Jana’iz, Ma Ja’a fil-Ziyarati lil-Qubur lil-Nisa’; al-Bayhaqi, Sunan 4:49).

• the unpublished 42-page Tawdih al-Bayyinat fi Sama` al-Amwat (1306/1888, mistitled Tarjih al-Bayyinat in the Azhar manuscript library catalogue) by the Mufti of Basra, `Abd al-Wahhab b. `Abd al-Fattah al-Hijazi al-Baghdadi

• the 500-page Tadhkirat al-Rashid bi-Radd Tabsirat al-Naqid by the Hanafi Imam al-Laknawi;

• the 300-page Hayat al-Mawat fi Bayan Sama` al-Amwat by the Hanafi Imam Ahmad Rida Khan in Urdu — Allah Most High have mercy on them all.

2) you will find the Dar al-Kutub al-`Ilmiyya offset reprint of the original 1358 edition under the title رد الإمام الدارمي عثمان بن سعيدعلى بشر المريسي العنيد.pdf.

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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