I have read the various Aqeedas of Ahlus Sunnah. Could you please explain the concept of “Hayatun Nabi” and the proofs that the Rasool is alive in his grave.
The Aqeedah of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaat, is that the Prophet (S.A.S.) is alive in his grave, in a manner that his body is attached to the soul. He is nourished by Allah in his grave, and he engages in the performance of Salaah. He also hears the greetings / blessings (darood) sent to him by one who stands close to his grave. This Aqeedah (belief) is established from the Quran, Hadith, the statements of the Sahabahs, Tabieen, Tabe Tabieen and the Salafus Saaliheen (the Pious Predecessors).
With respect to the evidence from the Holy Quran, the Scholars have highlighted the following verse: Allah says: ‘And do not say about those who are martyred in the path of Allah that they are dead. Nay! They are alive, but you cannot understand’. (2:154)
Here, the Quran speaks about those who have died in Allah’s path as not being dead, instead they are alive.
Although everyone who passes away is normally referred to ‘as having died’ or ‘a dead person’. Allah has made mention about the martyrs, saying that ‘they are alive’ and ‘do not call them dead’. This statement shows that a special favour is given to them and their being alive after martyrdom is totally different from other people.
The scholars have established ‘Hayatun Nabi’ from this verse by saying that when this is the honour of the martyrs who are ordinary believers, then to a greater extent it is established for the Prophets, who were the greatest martyrs.
In order to show that the life given to those honored ones are totally different from others in the state of Barzakh, Allah explains the nature of their life in the entire verse. While highlighting this point ‘that the martyrs are alive’ Allah says in the verse, (speaking to all mankind) ‘However you cannot understand’. It means that man is not able to understand the nature of life the martyrs are given after their physical death.
About this life, Allah states in Surah Al-Imran, ‘Think not of those who are killed in the way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their lord, and they have provision’. ‘They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty and rejoice for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve. ‘They rejoice in a Grace and a Bounty from Allah, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers’. (3:169,170,171).
Regarding the mentioned verse, the great scholar Qazi Shawkani writes, ‘it is established from the text of the book of Allah that the martyrs are alive being nourished by Allah and that their lives are connected to their bodies. When this is so, then how much more it is established for the Prophets. (Nailul Awtaar vol. 3 pg. 211)
With respect to the traditions, there are a number of them which speaks about the Prophet (S.A.S.) ( and the Prophet in general) being alive in their graves, some are:
(1) Anas bin Malik (R.A.) narrates that the Prophet (S.A.S.) said, ‘the Prophets are alive in their graves and are engaged in performing Salat’ (Musnad Abi Yala, Fathul Baari, Mirqaat). The above tradition has been narrated from sound and authentic narrators.
(2) The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S.) said, ‘whoever sends peace and blessings upon me at my grave, I hear it and whoever sends it upon me away from my grave, it is delivered to me’. (Ibn Hibban, Ibn Abi Shaiba, Fathul Baari has recorded it with a good sanad, (narration). Allama Sakhawi has also recorded it with a good sanad in Al-Qaulul-Badee’.
(3) The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S.) said, ‘I passed by Musa (A.S.) at the red hilltop on the night of Miraj and I saw him performing salat in his grave’. (Sahih Muslim, narrated with a sound and authentic sanad).
(4) The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S.) said, ‘certainly Allah has made it Haram (unlawful) upon the earth (to eat, destroy) the bodies of the Prophets’. (Abu Dawood, Nasai, Ibn Majah). Hafiz Zahabi has stated that this narration is according to the conditions of Imam Bukhari, hence it is Saheeh (sound) (Talkhees Al Mustadrak). Imam Nawawi has stated that its sanad is saheeh (sound) (Kitaabul Azkaar). Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani, (the great commentator of Saheeh Al Bukhari) has stated that it is a Saheeh (sound/ authentic) Hadith (Fathul Baari). Ibn Khuzaima, Ibn Hibban and Dar Qutni have all considered the Hadith to be sound and authentic (as mentioned by Hafiz Ibn Katheer).
All the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah have also recorded Ijma (Unanimous agreement of all scholars) on this belief.
In Al-Qaulul Badee, it is mentioned ‘We believe and testify as the truth that the Prophet (S.A.S.) is alive in his grave. And upon this there is Ijma’.
Mulla Ali Qaari (R.A.) has written in Al Mirqaat, the commentary of Miskaat, ‘Certainly the Prophets are alive in their graves and this is Ijma’.
There are many such other statements which have been written by the great scholars of the past which all conform to the above mentioned belief of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamm’ah.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan