Do Souls of the Dead Return Back to the World ?


Whilst some take this concept very seriously, and make use of un-Islaamic measures, like the hanging of amulets and pagan rituals to protect themselves from the revengeful soul, others simply consider these issues to be unimportant and do not bother to seek knowledge about it. But the fact remains, that not only do many people fear the souls, but entire religions are focused around ancestor and soul worship. Large amount of wealth is spent on making offerings to the souls and many rituals and festivals are held in this regard, for example, many people believe that the deceased visit this world on the 15th of Shabaan (8th month of the Islaamic Calendar) and they call it 'Eid of the Dead.' Some even go to the extreme in preparing food, which the deceased liked! It is therefore essential that the Muslims be informed about the gravity of this call and be educated about the correct Islaamic Aqeedah (belief). This article is specifically aimed to expose the falsity of these beliefs and bring to the reader authentic proofs from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, which undoubtedly reject the soul's return. We hope that this article will dispel doubts and confusion around the subject. And with Allah lies all success.

Islaamic Concept of the Soul:

Soul is from the matters of the unseen and nothing can be said in its explanation without established proofs from the Book and the Sunnah. The knowledge required for our welfare in this world and the Hereafter has been conveyed to us by the Messenger of Allaah , and there is no need to seek any goodness beyond that. The Messenger of Allaah said: “There is nothing that will take you closer to Paradise but that I have enjoined it upon you, and there is nothing that will take you closer to Hell but that I have warned you from it.” [Musnad ash-Shafi'e and others] The Jews asked Allaah's Messenger about the soul and in reply the Qur'aan said: “They ask you concerning the soul. Say that the soul is from Allaah and you have not been given knowledge of it except a little.” [Soorah al-Isra (17): 85] The Soul is a creation of Allaah, whose function is to bring life to the human body. It remains with the human body throughout the life and departs at death. After which the souls are either held in Paradise or punishment. There is no returning back of the souls of the righteous people from Paradise, and no escaping of the souls of evildoers from the punishment of the grave. Therefore, pious or evil, the souls do not return to this world, neither to take revenge nor to assist the living. Neither is there any concept in Islaam, which explains that justice is dependent upon the soul's coming back and setting things aright. Islaam teaches that Allaah is responsible to see that every being gets its due right and injustice does not go unpunished.

Journey of the Soul after Death
This is based on a Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (saws) recorded in Sunan Abu Dawood v.3, p.1330, no.4735. Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee


Death occurs when the soul separates from the human body and enters the realm of 'Barzakh', which is the period between one's death and the Hereafter.

Appearing of the Angels

The Believing soul: Angels with faces shining bright like the sun descend from the Heavens, carrying a shroud and
fragrance of Paradise and sit away from him as far as the eye can see. The Angel of Death then approaches and
says: “O good soul, come out to Allaah's forgiveness and pleasure.” The soul then comes out as gently as a drop from
a water skin, and he seizes it. Within the blinking of an eye, the other Angels take the soul and put it in the shroud and fragrance. There will then come from the soul, a fragrance like that of the sweetest musk found on the face of Earth.

The Disbelieving soul: Angels with black faces come down to him from the Heaven with hair cloth and sit away from him as far as an eye can see. The Angel of death comes to him and says: “O wicked soul, come out to the displeasure from
Allaah. The soul becomes scattered in the body, and the Angel of Death draws it out as violently as a spit is drawn out from moistened wool. He then seizes it, and when he does so, the other Angels do not leave the disbelieving soul
in his hand for an instant, but put it in that hair cloth and from it comes forth a smell like the most offensive corpse found on the Earth.

Ascending to the Heaven

The Disbelieving soul: The Angels take the disbelieving soul up to the Heaven and do not bring it pass a company of Angels without their saying: “Who is this wicked soul?” to which they reply: “So and so, the son of so and so.” Using the worst names
that he was called in the world. When he is brought to the lowest Heaven, request is made for the gate to be opened
for him, but it is not opened for him. Allaah, who is most Great and Glorious, then says: “Record his Book in Sijjin (the
lowest place) and his soul is thrown down to Earth.”

The Believing soul: The Angels ascend the believing soul to the Seventh Heaven and every group of Angels they pass asks: “Who is this good soul?” to which they reply: “So and so, the son of so and so.” using his best names by which people called him on the Earth. Then the believing soul is presented before Allaah. Allaah, the Great and Glorious, says: “Record the Book of My servant in the Illiyyoon and take him back to Earth, for I created mankind from it, and I shall return them to it, from it I shall bring them forth again.”

Questioning in the Grave

The Believing soul: The Soul is temporary restored in the body. Two Angels come to it and ask: “Who is your Lord?” He replies: “My Lord is Allaah.” They ask: “What is your religion?” He replies: “My religion is Islaam.” They ask: “Who is this man who was sent among you?” and He will reply: “He is the Messenger of Allaah .” They ask: “What was the source of your knowledge?” He replies: “I have read Allaah's Book, believed in it and declared it to be true.” Then one cry is heard from the Heaven: “My servant has spoken the truth...”

The Disbelieving soul: Angels approach the disbelieving soul for questioning, but he can barely answer their questions by saying: 'Alas! I do not know…'

The Abode and Companion

The Believing soul: Some of the joys of Paradise and its fragrance come to him and his grave is made spacious for him as far as an eye can see. A man beautiful face, beautiful garments and sweet odor comes to the righteous slave and says “Rejoice in what pleases you, for this is your day which you have been promised.” He asks “Who are you?” He replies: “I am your deeds.” He then says: “My Lord, bring the Last Hour; my Lord bring the Last Hour, so I may return to my people and my property.”

The Disbelieving soul: Some of the Hell's heat and hot air comes to him, his grave is made narrow for him such that his ribs interpenetrate into each other. A man with an ugly face, ugly garments and an offensive odor comes to him and says: “Be grieved with what displeases you, for this is your day which you have been promised.” He asks: “Who are you? For your face is most ugly and brings evil.” He replies: “I am your wicked deeds.” He then says: “My Lord, do not bring the Last Hour.”

From the above description of the journey of the soul after death , based on the Hadeeth of Allaah’s Messenger , we know how the soul is taken out of the human body upon death and presented before Allaah. If the soul is righteous, it enjoys the bounties of Allaah and if it is wicked, it suffers the torment of the grave, which is very severe and none can escape its anguish and suffering. The Messenger of Allaah said “This Ummah will be tried in its grave. If it were not for the fear that you might not bury your dead, I would pray to Allaah to make you hear what I hear.” [Saheeh Muslim] Uthman Ibn Affan used to cry until he wet his beard, if he was to stand on a grave. He was told: 'You mention the Heaven and the Hell-Fire and you don't cry, but when you mention the grave, you burst in tears!' He said: 'I heard the Prophet of Allaah saying: “The grave is the first stage of the Hereafter, whoever passes it will be at ease afterwards, and if he does not succeed in it, he will be in worst of conditions.”
I also heard him saying: “Never have I seen a sight more horrifying than that of grave.”

To the living, the grave is simply an empty, dark hole in the ground, but to the dead it is a window into either Paradise or Hell, where he faces the realities of the Hereafter all by himself. The grave is a place of solitude, and there is no greater isolation than this! What can be a bigger isolation for someone, than being separated from parents, family, and relatives? One leaves back all his possession and wealth and is put in the grave, under gravel and sand? Nothing accompanies the dead in his grave except his deeds, Allaah's Messenger said: “Three things follow a dead man, two of which will return and one will remain with him. His people, his property and his deeds follow him but his people and property return, while his deeds remain with him.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee (8/ 521)]

At this time, if one's deeds are good and righteous, they become for him a good company. Allaah's Messenger said: “(After the questioning) a man with a beautiful face, beautiful garments and sweet odor comes to the righteous slave and says: “Rejoice in what pleases you, for this is your day which you have been promised.” He asks: “Who are you? For your face is perfectly beautiful and brings good.” He replies: “I am your good deeds.” He then says: “My Lord, bring the Last Hour; my Lord bring the Last Hour, so I may return to my people and my property.” Regarding the evildoer, he said: “…a man with an ugly face, ugly garments and an offensive odor comes to him and says: “Be grieved with what displeases you, for this is your day which you have been promised.” He asks: “Who are you? For your face is most ugly and brings evil.He replies: “I am your wicked deeds.” He then says: “My Lord, do not bring the Last Hour.” [Saheeh al-Jami as-Sageer, 1/1676]

All this and the Hereafter has still not commenced for us. So, let this be a reminder for all to prepare for death by doing good deeds in accordance to the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, even if it means to give a trifle in charity. Allaah's Messenger said: “Protect yourself from the Hellfire, even by a part of a date (that is given in charity).” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

After clarifying the good and evil in this world, Allaah, the Exalted, has given every man a free will to choose between them. It is up to the individual, whether he takes enough good deeds to accompany him in his grave, or he chooses to
carry the burden of evil deeds. This choice of evil and good is only valid as long as one is alive. As death approaches, all deeds come to an end and the person becomes weak and helpless; so helpless that after death he is in need of the living to give him ghusl, shroud him, place him in his grave and make Du'aa for his forgiveness. Allaah's Messenger said: “When the coffin is ready (for its burial) and people lift it on their shoulders, then if the deceased is a righteous person he says, 'Take me ahead,' if he is not a righteous one, then he says, 'Woe to it (me)! Where are you taking it (me)!' And his voice is audible to everything except human beings; if they heard it they would fall down unconscious.” [Bukharee (2/ 462)]

After knowing the realities of death, how helpless and weak man becomes after death, and how he faces the realities of the Hereafter and witnesses the great Power of Allaah… Can a Muslim, who believes that Allaah alone has the Power to benefit and harm, accept that a dead man's soul can come back to this world and help the living? Or after
witnessing the Power of Allaah the dead would dare to scare the living, harm them, possess them or demand offerings from them, etc…etc…?

Barzakh forbids any Return

Allaah and His Messenger have clearly defined to us journey of the soul after death and the abode of both, the
disbelieving souls and the righteous souls. This period between the death and the Hereafter is known as 'Barzakh'.
Linguistically, 'Barzakh' means a veil, barrier or partition between two things. Ibn Abbas , defines Barzakh as a
Hijab (a partition of veil). Al-Qurtubi, in his exposition states: 'The Barzakh is a barrier between two things. It is
the stage between this world and the other world - from the time of death until the time Resurrection. Thus, whoever
dies enters the Barzakh” [See al-Qurtubi's Tafseer, vol.12, p.150] Once the soul enters the realm of Barzakh, there is no return for it back into the world as is clearly known from the Qur'aan and the Ahaadeeth of Allaah's Messenger .

Allaah says regarding the evil soul: “…when death comes to one of them (who joins partners with Allaah), he says: “O My Lord! Send me back to life. In order that I may do good deeds in the things that I neglected. By no means! It is but a word he says. And before him is a Barzakh until the day they are raised up.” [Soorah al-Mu'minoon (23): 99-100] This verse reveals the condition of the disbeliever upon death; when he faces the realities of the Hereafter, he wishes to return back to the world and mend his mistakes, in order to avert the punishment. But he is plainly refused and confined in the grave and punished for his sinful actions because he has entered the Barzakh. It is impossible for him to escape the strong Guardian Angels of Allaah and return back to this world.

The abode of the righteous soul is Paradise, the Messenger of Allaah said: “The soul of a believer is a bird eating
from the trees of Paradise until Allaah restores it to its body on the Day of Resurrection.” [An-Nasa'ee, Ibn Majah and others. Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee Sharh al-Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah (p. 455, footnote: 1)] It is unlikely that the righteous soul, who is surrounded by the bounties of Allaah, would leave the blessings of Allaah and come to the world. Allaah's Messenger said: “No servant who has good in store for him with Allaah and dies ever wants to return to the Earth even if he were to have the whole world and everything that is in it, except for the martyr. That is due to what he sees in the nobility of martyrdom. Verily, he would like to return back to the Earth, in order to be martyred another time.” [(Saheeh) Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhee (1341)] But as the Messenger of Allaah informed, even the martyr is refused the permission to return, he said: “The souls of the martyrs live in the
bodies of green birds who have their nests in chandeliers hung from the throne of the Almighty. They eat the fruits of Paradise wherever they like and then nestle in these chandeliers. Once, their Lord cast a glance at them and said: “Do you want anything?” They said: “What more can we desire? We eat the fruit of Paradise wherever we like.Their Lord asked them the same question thrice. When they saw that they would be continued to be asked and not left (without answering the question), they said: “O Lord, we wish that You may return our souls to our bodies so that we may be slain in Your cause once again. When He (Allaah) saw that they had no need, they were left (to their joy in Heaven).” [Saheeh Muslim (4651)]

These and many other proofs from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah deny the concept of the soul's return, and thus there remains no doubt that souls of the dead do not return back to the world.

Observed Phenomenon

If spirits do not return back to this world, then what is the explanation for the Observed Phenomenon, like the physical appearance of the dead, speaking of the souls through medium, and leaving messages for the living using Ouija boards? And how do these spirits answer every question correctly about the life and character of the dead?

Appearing of the Spirits: The alleged appearing of the spirits is an ancient claim. Many a time, it is fabrication simply through deception, trickery, and psychological influence. In other cases, it is done through the use of Jinn. Deception is an old and well known trick that the Jinn use to mislead mankind; they play with the minds of humans in order to
ruin their religion and cause them to commit Shirk. A clear understanding of the topic should help the Muslims not to be deceived by the spiritualists.

The spiritualists, who claim to have contacts with the spirits of the dead from an Islaamic point of view, are in fact not religious and liars. They make contacts with the Jinn through evil incantations and demonic rituals and perform
extraordinary feats with ease through them. Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said: “Many of those people (the so called spiritualists) write the Words of Allaah in blood or other impure substances. They write or make other statements that are pleasing to Shaytaan.” [See Majmoo al-Fatawa, v.19, p.35]

The Jinn (sing. Jinni): The Jinn are a living creation of Allaah, created from smokeless flame of fire. They share the material world with the humans. Though they are invisible to us, they eat and drink with us, and also have the ability
to inhabit the human body and influence our thoughts. They are stronger than humans and can take different forms and shapes. Amongst them are Muslims and Kafirs; the Kafir Jinn help their counterpart among the humans in evil acts.

When the spiritualist contacts a Jinni, the Jinni takes advantage of his ability to acquire different forms and adopts the appearance of the dead and pretends to be the returned souls.

This is one of the ways by which the Shaytaan attempts to deceive humans and lead them astray. For example, on the Day of the Battle of Badr, a devil came to the polytheist of Quraysh in the shape of Suraqah bin Malik. This incident is also related in the Qur'aan in Soorah al-Anfal (8): 48: “(Remember) when the Shaytaan (evil Jinn are called Shaytaan
meaning ‘devils’) made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said: 'No one of mankind can overcome you this Day (of the battle of Badr) and verily, I am your neighbor (for each and every help).' But when the two forces came in sight of each other, he ran away and said: 'Verily, I have nothing to do with you. Verily! I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allaah for Allaah is severe in punishment.” Another incident is related in Saheeh al-Bukharee; a Jinni came to Abu Hurayrah several times, when he was in charge of the alms in Ramadan. Abu Hurayrah narrates: “Allaah's Messenger ordered me to keep Sadaqah (al-Fitr) of Ramaadan. A man came
and started taking handfuls of the foodstuff (of the Sadaqah, stealthily). I took hold of him and said: “By Allaah, I will take you to Allaah's Messenger .” He said: “I am needy and have many dependents, and I am in great need.” I
released him, and in the morning Allaah's Messenger asked me “What did your prisoner do yesterday?” I said: “O Allaah's Messenger ! The person complained of being needy and of having many dependents, so, I pitied him and let him go.” Allaah's Messenger said: “Indeed, he told you a lie and he will come again.” Then the visitor came again and the same episode repeated twice, after which Allaah's Messenger asked: “O Abu Hurayrah! … Do you know whom you were talking to, these three nights?” Abu Hurayrah said: “No!” He said: “It was
Shaytaan.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee 3/ 505]

Similarly, the Shaytaan makes use of this extraordinary ability of taking the appearance of the dead people, and performs supernatural feats at graves and tombs. People witness these unusual events and increase in the
veneration of the dead. Eventually, these unusual events cause people to have faith and hope in the powers of the dead and they call upon the engraved to fulfill their needs instead of Allaah and thus commit Shirk... and
this is exactly what the Shaytaan (Kafir Jinn) intends.

Shaikh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said: “To take the graves as idols is the first step towards polytheism; it is why some visitors to graves hear the voices near the graves, see certain visions before them, witness strange forces in operation which are taken for a miracle of some righteous deceased people whereas sometimes they are the Jinn and the Shaytaan. For instance, they observe a grave being cleft and the deceased comes out of it, talks with people and embraces them. Such a thing you will witness near the graves of the Divine Apostles and other people, whereas in reality it is Shaytaan. Indeed, the Shaytaan assumes the form of a human being and says: 'I am so and
so Prophet.' 'I am so and so Shaikh'; and he tells a lie… The ignorant person believes that the one who came out of the grave, who caressed him or conversed with him, was the inmate of the grave, or was a righteous person
or a Divine person. In contrast to it, a perfect believer knows without any shadow of doubt that he is Shaytaan.” [Kitab al-Wasilah (English Translation) pp. 42]

The Qareen: Every human has been assigned a Jinni to be his constant companion. He is called 'Qareen' and he encourages evil desires. The Messenger of Allaah once told his companions: “Everyone of you has been
assigned a companion from the Jinn.” They asked: “Even you, O Messenger of Allaah !” He replied: “Even me, except that Allaah has helped me against him and he has submitted. Now he only tells me to do good.” [Saheeh Muslim]

It is this Qareen, who is responsible for knowing the character and deeds of the dead. For example, during séances (apparently) a Jinni often pretends to contact the dead and allows them to speak to the living. In fact, the
Jinn had contacted the Qareen of the dead. The Qareen, who was a constant companion of the dead person and knew his entire life history, will be able to mimic the voice of the deceased and answer any questions accurately (about the dead person's life), thus fooling those present into believing that they are in the presence of spirits.

In Conclusion: souls of the dead cannot and do not come back to earth, they cannot appear to or converse with the living inhabitants of the Earth. Causing people to believe in the return of the souls is one of the means adopted
by Shaytaan to misguide mankind. By pretending to be returned souls of the dead along with the performance of extraordinary feats, they deceive people into believing in the powers of the dead. This has become a religious science of its own having no basis in the Qur'aan or the Sunnah. Ultimately, it leads to the worship of the souls of the dead
and in reality worship of the Shaytaan himself. [See Majmoo al-Fatawa v.1/p.359-61]

The Supernatural is thus not the World of Spirits and Lost Souls, but the World of Jinn!

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