Is the Messenger of Allah (s) Alive ?
“And say not of those who are killed in the Way of Allaah, “they are dead.” Nay they are living, but you perceive it not”.
The saying of the Exalted, “do not say of those who are killed in the Way of Allaah: they are dead. Nay they are living”: The literal sense of this verse shows that the Martyrs are alive and not dead.
But Allaah has said in another verse, concerning one who is far superior to the Martyrs:
Indeed you (O Muhammad) will die and verily, they (too) will die.-i
The reply to this is that the Martyrs die with the death of this world and therefore their wealth is inherited and their wives can marry again by consensus of the Muslims. This is the death, with respect to this world, that Allaah informed His Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) that he would die.
It is established in the Saheeh of Bukhaaree from his Companion Abu Bakr that when he (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) died, Abu Bakr said:
“May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, by Allaah, Allaah will not combine for you two deaths. As for the death that Allaah has written for you then you have died.” And he said, “The one who used to worship Muhammad then Muhammad has died,” and he derived evidence from the Qur`aan and all of the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) returned to him.
As for the life that Allaah has affirmed for the Martyrs in the Qur`aan and the life of the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) that has been affirmed in the hadeeth that his soul returns to the body in order to reply to the greetings sent to him, then both of these are lives of the Barzakh, and not comprehensible to the people of this world (i.e. those who have not died).
With respect to the Martyrs, Allaah has said, “but you perceive it not.” And the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) has explained that:
their souls are placed in the bellies of green birds which have lanterns suspended for them from the Throne of Allaah. They roam around in Paradise wherever they desire, then return to these lanterns.-ii
They are blessed in this way.
As for what is established from him (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) that no one sends salaam upon him except that Allaah returns his soul to his body so that he may return the salaam, and that Allaah has appointed Angels to convey to him the greetings of his nation, then this life is also not understood by the people of the world. This is because it is established for him despite the fact that his noble soul is in the highest place in Paradise, above the souls of the Martyrs, and the way that this pure soul which is in the highest place of Paradise connects with this noble body which is not eaten (or decayed) by the earth is also not understood by the creation and known only to Allaah.
Just as Allaah said concerning this type of life “but you perceive it not” so if this life was of the type that the people of this world could understand then as-Siddeeq (ra) would never have said that he (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) had died, and his burial would not have been permissible and neither appointing a Khaleefah after him, and neither would the killing of Uthmaan (ra) or the differences that arose amongst his Companions have occurred. And neither would what took place with Aa`ishah have occurred and they would all have asked him(sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) concerning the rulings of things about which they differed after him such as the inheritance of the grandfather and the brothers and the likes. So when the Qur`aan makes clear that the Martyrs are alive with the saying of the Exalted, “nay they are alive” and the Qur`aan also makes clear that the reality of this live cannot be understood by the people of this world with His saying, “but you perceive it not”, and the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) establishes that he is alive in the grave, hearing the greetings and replying to them and that his Companions who buried him could not comprehend this life then we come to know that the remaining people of this world also cannot comprehend this.
This will be understood with more ease when one considers the state of the one who is asleep for he opposes the actions of the one awake in almost all aspects, including the fact that he experiences dreams which can be understood. Allaah knows best.
Al-Allaamah ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, says in Kitaab ar-Ruh: “It is known by necessity that his (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) body is fresh and preserved in the earth for his Companions asked him, “How does our salaah upon you reach you after you have died?” To which he replied:
Indeed Allaah has made it forbidden for the earth to eat the bodies of the Prophets.-iii
So if his body was not to be in his grave then he would not have answered in this way. It is also authentically reported from him that he said:
Indeed Allaah has appointed angels to roam the earth conveying to me the greetings from my Ummah.-iv
It is also authentically reported from him that he saw Musaa (AS) praying in his grave on the night of Israa and that he also saw him in the sixth or seventh heaven. So the soul was there but at the same time connected to the body in the grave. Therefore there is no contradiction between the soul of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) connecting with his body in order to respond to the salaam sent to him while still being in the highest place of Paradise because the nature of the souls is not the same as the nature of the bodies.”
This discussion proves that the reality of the life of the Barzakh is not comprehensible to the people of this world.
Allaah knows best.