I have 2 questions which I would appreciate your guidance on, of course whenever you have time. 1. Some people say that the soul remains around until 40 days after death. Please comment on this. 2. About 6 to 8 hours before the deceased passed away, she was reaching her hand out and saying mama sometimes and papa sometimes, “help me”. Some family members are thinking that she was seeing her deceased parents. Could this be so , please shed some guidance on this. Jazakallah khair.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
1- The belief that the soul remains around until 40 days after death is incorrect and baseless, rather the soul is returned to the body after burial is completed, and the questioning of the grave begins.
The soul returning to the body for questioning after burial is supported by many Ahadith;
Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alahi wa sallam), would stand by the grave after buring the deceased and say: “Seek forgiveness for your brother and pray for his steadfastness, for he is now being questioned.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, no: 3213)
2- There are various Quranic verses and Ahadith which discuss the affairs of Death and barzakh. These texts are true and their purports will be manifested as Allah Ta‘ālā wills. The difficulties at the time of death, questioning of Munkar and Nakīr in the grave, the bliss or punishment which will be experienced in the grave as per one’s faith and actions, etc. will occur. However, we are merely mukallaf (responsible) of having īmān ijmālī (faith without delving into details) upon their occurrences and are not mukallaf of understanding the subtleties of the rūh (soul) and barzakh (transitory life between this life and the hereafter), as these are not from the necessities of dīn.
What is proven, is the pain and agonies of death are the last hardship that a person encounters before meeting Allah, and they are the last thing by means of which Allah forgives the sins of His slave. These difficulties and pain is experienced by every person at death, and has nothing to do with whether the person was pious or an evildoer; rather if he was pious it will increase him in reward, otherwise it will expiate him for sins. When a pious soul sees the angels of mercy and glad tidings, this will help alleviate such difficulties. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez said: I would not like the agonies of death to be reduced for me, for that is the last thing by means of which sin may be expiated for the believer’. We ask Allah to make these agonies easy for us and help us to bear them.
‘Aa’ishah (Radhiallahu Anha) narrates that during the sickness of which he died, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) began to put his hand in water and wipe his face with it, saying: “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah (there is no god but Allah), verily death has agonies.” Then he held up his hand and started saying: “With the higher companions…” until he passed away and his hand fell. (Al-Bukhaari)
It is therefore possible, that during the difficulties of death a person may remember their dear ones. The calling of the deceased her parents may be due to the difficulties of death she was experiencing, and not actually seeing her parents.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Arshad Ali
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)