The Souls of the Believers Meet each other after Death Seeking News―and the Souls of the Living Meet with the Souls of the Dead in Dreams

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

إِذَا حُضِرَ الْمُؤْمِنُ أَتَتْهُ مَلاَئِكَةُ الرَّحْمَةِ بِحَرِيرَةٍ بَيْضَاءَ فَيَقُولُونَ اخْرُجِي رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيًّا عَنْكِ إِلَى رَوْحِ اللَّهِ وَرَيْحَانٍ وَرَبٍّ غَيْرِ غَضْبَانَ ‏.‏ فَتَخْرُجُ كَأَطْيَبِ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ حَتَّى أَنَّهُ لَيُنَاوِلُهُ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا حَتَّى يَأْتُونَ بِهِ بَابَ السَّمَاءِ فَيَقُولُونَ مَا أَطْيَبَ هَذِهِ الرِّيحَ الَّتِي جَاءَتْكُمْ مِنَ الأَرْضِ ‏.‏ فَيَأْتُونَ بِهِ أَرْوَاحَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَلَهُمْ أَشَدُّ فَرَحًا بِهِ مِنْ أَحَدِكُمْ بِغَائِبِهِ يَقْدَمُ عَلَيْهِ فَيَسْأَلُونَهُ مَاذَا فَعَلَ فُلاَنٌ مَاذَا فَعَلَ فُلاَنٌ فَيَقُولُونَ دَعُوهُ فَإِنَّهُ كَانَ فِي غَمِّ الدُّنْيَا فَإِذَا قَالَ أَمَا أَتَاكُمْ قَالُوا ذُهِبَ بِهِ إِلَى أُمِّهِ الْهَاوِيَةِ وَإِنَّ الْكَافِرَ إِذَا احْتُضِرَ أَتَتْهُ مَلاَئِكَةُ الْعَذَابِ بِمِسْحٍ فَيَقُولُونَ اخْرُجِي سَاخِطَةً مَسْخُوطًا عَلَيْكِ إِلَى عَذَابِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ‏.‏ فَتَخْرُجُ كَأَنْتَنِ رِيحِ جِيفَةٍ حَتَّى يَأْتُونَ بِهِ بَابَ الأَرْضِ فَيَقُولُونَ مَا أَنْتَنَ هَذِهِ الرِّيحَ حَتَّى يَأْتُونَ بِهِ أَرْوَاحَ الْكُفَّارِ

“When the believer is dying, the angels of mercy come to him with a white silk shroud and say: ‘Come out content and with the pleasure of Allah upon you to the mercy of Allah, a fragrance and a Lord Who is not angry.’ So it comes out like the best fragrance of musk. They pass him from one to another until they bring him to the gate of Heaven, where they say: ‘How good is this fragrance that has come to you from the Earth!’

Then the souls of the believers come to him and they rejoice more over him than any one of you rejoices when his absent loved one comes to him. They ask him: ‘What happened to so-and-so, what happened to so-and-so?’ Some of them (the believers) will say: ‘Let him be, for he was in the distresses of the world.’ But he responds: ‘So-and-so died, did he not come here to you?’ They say: ‘Rather, he was taken to the pit (of Hell).’

When an unbeliever’s death is close, the angels of punishment bring him the coarsest cloth of punishment (as a shroud) and say, ‘Come out, displeased and with Allah’s wrath upon you, and to punishment from Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.‘ The soul comes out with a stench like the most unpleasant stench of a corpse, they take him to the gate of the Earth (i.e the gate of the lowest Heaven) where they say: ‘How foul is this stench!’ Then they take him to the souls of the disbelievers.’

(Reported by An-Nasā’i, no. 1833, see Mishkat al-Masabih no. 1629 and graded saheeh by Al-Albāni)

Explanation:

The deceased believers will ask, “What happened to so-and-so, what happened to so-and-so?” Some of them (the believers) will say: “Let him be…” In a narration of Al-Hākim, it adds, “…until he has relaxed.” At-Teebi (rahimahullāh) said: “Some of them will say to others: Leave alone this new arrival, he has only just left the tiredness and troubles of the world.”

But he responds regardless: ‘So-and-so died, did he not come here to you?’ They say: ‘Rather, he was taken to the pit (of Hell).’ Shaikh ‘Ubaidullah al-Mubārakfūri (rahimahullāh) said: Meaning he was not brought to stay with us, rather he was taken to the Fire. (See Mar’āt Al-Mafātīh Sharh Mishkāt Al-Masābīh 5/323)

Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullāh) stated: “When the souls of the living are taken by death, they meet with the souls that have already died, and they ask the newly deceased about the condition of those still alive. They ask: ‘What did so-and-so do?’ So the newly deceased answers, ‘So-and-so got married’ or, ‘he is in good condition.’ And they ask him: ‘What about so-and-so?’ He responds: ‘Did he not come to you [after his death]?’ They reply: ‘No, he was taken to the Pit of Hell.’ And the souls meet up―those in the higher echelons descend to those who are in the lower levels [of Paradise] and those who are in the lower levels do not ascend to the higher echelons.” (Majmū’ al-Fatāwā 24/303)

Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

إن أرواح المؤمنين في الجنة، طائر يعلق بشجر الجنة، وأرواح الشهداء في أجواف طير خضر تسرح في الجنة حيث شاءت ثم تأوي إلى قناديل معلقة تحت العرش

“The souls of the believers are in Paradise as birds in the trees of Jannah, and the souls of the martyrs are in the bellies of green birds in Paradise roaming as they wish, and then they nestle in lamps (of gold) in the shade of the Throne.” (Reported with various wordings: At-Tabarāni 19/65 (122), see Saheeh al-Jāmi’ of Al-Albani nos. 912, 922 and see Fathul-Bāri 3/287, Ibn Bāz declared this wording it to be established as authentic)

In a wording:

أن أرواحَ المؤمنين طائرٌ يعلقُ في شجرِ الجنَّةِ حتى يردَّها اللهُ إلى أجسادِها

“The souls of the believers are a bird in the trees of Jannah until they are returned to their bodies (on the Day of Judgement).” (See Saheeh al-Jāmi’ of Al-Albani nos. 912, declared saheeh by Ibn Bāz in Nūr ‘alad-Darb, 14/48 and also Ibn ‘Uthaimeen)

إِنَّمَا نَسَمَةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ طَائِرٌ يَعْلُقُ فِي شَجَرِ الْجَنَّةِ حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ إِلَى جَسَدِهِ يَوْمَ يُبْعَثُ

The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “The believer’s soul is a bird that eats from [the fruits of] the trees of Paradise until it will be returned to its body on the Day when he is resurrected.” (Ibn Mājah, no. 4271)

In narration, the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said about the Martyrs: “Allah puts their souls into green birds which fly down to the rivers of Paradise, eat its fruit and nestle in lamps of gold in the shade of the Throne.” Then when they have experienced the bounties of their food, drink and place of rest, they ask: “Who will tell our brothers about us that we are alive in Paradise and are given provision in order that they might not be disinterested in Jihād and recoil from war?” So Allah (Most High) answered: “I shall tell them about you.” So, He revealed: “And do not consider those who have been killed in Allah’s path to be dead…” till the end of the verse. (Abu Dawūd, 2520, saheeh according to Al-Albani) So, they are alive in the Barzakh, which is separate from the life of this world and precedes the life of the Hereafter (Ākhirah).

The Souls of Dead Meeting the Souls of the Living

Ibn Bāz (rahimahullah) said: “As for the meeting of the souls of the dead with the souls of the living in one’s dreams, then I know of nothing that is authentically reported in this matter. However, Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullāh) mentioned that this is something that does take place―it is possible for the souls to meet each other. People have narrated plentifully regarding meeting the souls of those who have passed away in their dreams―which proves that these occurrences exist, and Allah is all-capable over everything. So the affair of the soul is strange, extraordinary and exceptional. And it is possible that while the soul is in Jannah, it is still able to meet with other souls (in this world in dreams).

And many people have narrated to me occurrences they have experienced in their dreams. From these stories is that a person informed me that his father had debts―so he saw in his dream another person who said to him: ‘Indeed for me there upon your father such-and-such an amount, and for so-and-so that is such-and-such an amount and for so-and-so that is such-and-such an amount.’ So the son went and asked each of them (that were mentioned by name) whether what he dreamt was correct, and each of them affirmed that yes, it was all correct. So the point is that there are things that cannot be denied that indicate that the souls can meet each other [in dreams] and Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, knows best.” (See Ibn Bāz in Nūr ‘alad-Darb)

Furthermore, the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “The souls are like gathered troops; those that were [created to be] acquainted with each other will come together. And those that were [created to be] averse to each other will oppose one another.” (Muslim, 2638) So, may Allah unite us with the righteous and the best of people as He has said:

وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَٱلصِّدِّيقِينَ وَٱلشُّهَدَآءِ وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ رَفِيقًۭا

“And whosoever obeys Allāh and the Messenger, they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, among the Prophets, the truthful believers, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!” (An-Nisā 69)


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