1. Is there any evidence to tell whether after people die, if they are aware of what is happening in this world…e.g. with their families?
2. Is it permissible to visit graves and speak to the dead? Not make dua to, or pray to, but just speak to them?
As Salaamu Alaikum,
All praises are for Allah and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah (SAS).
With Allah’s help, the following is the answer to your question:-
1) According to certain narrations, and based upon the religious verdicts (fatawa) issued by many great Muftis, it is established that after people die, they are aware of what is happening in this world with their families. (with Allah’s permission and wish)
In this regard, it is narrated from Anas (RA) said, ‘Certainly your actions are placed upon your relatives and family members who have died. If the actions are good, then they become happy and receive glad tidings. But if the actions are not good, then they say, ‘O Allah, do not cause them to die until you have guided them just as you have guided us. (Sharh As Sudoor fi Ahwaal Al Mawta wal Quboor; Musnad Imam Ahmad; Musnad Anas bin Malik- Fatawa Mahmoodiya vol.1 pg 612).
2) Yes, it is permissible to visit the graves and speak to the dead. Even if you wish to make dua for them, you can do so. Speaking to them, and making duas for them are evident from the dua we recite when entering the graveyard. The masnoon dua we say is:-
As Salaamu Alaikum daara qawmim mumineen wa inna Inshaa Allahu bikum laa hiqooon wa Nas’alul laaha lanaa wa lakum al Aa fiyah.
Meaning:- Peace be upon you, O dwellers of this place of the believers. Surely, when Allah wills, we will Certainly join you. We beg Allah for our and your safety.
Other similar duas are transmitted from the Prophet (SAS) while entering the graveyard. These duas (supplication) show that we are actually addressing the dead when we enter the graveyard.
It is also evident in Sahih Al Bukhari (and other compilations) that in the battle of Badr, the Prophet (SAS) threw the bodies of the slain infidels (who fought him in the battle of Badr) and then addressed them, saying, ‘O so and so, son of so and so and so and so, son of so and so! Would it have pleased you if you had obeyed Allah and His apostle? We have found true what our lord promised us. Have you too found true what your lord promised you?’ Umar (RA) said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! You are speaking to bodies that have no souls!’ Upon this, the Prophet (SAS) said, ‘By Him in whose hands is the soul of Muhammad, you are not better hearers to what I say than them’.(In other words, they can hear better to what I say, than you O Umar). (Al Bukhari- The battle of Badr- The death of Abu Jahl).
So, based on these and other evidences, many sound and reliable scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah have stated that the dead can hear in the grave- when Allah gives them the ability to do so. Hence, you can speak to them
And Allah knows best,
Mufti Waseem Khan