The Prophet (SAW) is Alive in His Grave
(al-nabi hayyun fi qabrihi)
النبي حي في قبره
By S. Z. Chowdhury,
Numerous ahadith establish that the Prophet (SAW) and indeed all of the Anbiya’ (Allah’s peace and blessings upon them all!) are alive in their graves receiving their provision (rizq) from Allah as He wills (SWT); as the hadith Master Imam al-Sakhawi states:
“And we believe and affirm that he (SAW) is alive in his grave and given provision [from Allah] and that his noble body is not consumed by the earth and there is consensus regarding this – wa nahnu nu’minu wa nusaddiqu bi-annahu (SAW) hayyun yurzaqu fi qabrihi wa anna jasadahu al-sharif la ta’kuluhu al-ard wa ijma‘ ‘ala hadha.”
Some of the well-known narrations regarding the life of the Prophet in his grave are the following:
2. “The Prophets are alive in their graves praying [to their Lord]” – al-Anbiya’ ahya’ fi quburihim yusalluna.
3. “No-one sends greetings upon me except that Allah returns my soul so that I can return greetings upon him” – ma min ahad yusallimu ‘alayya illa radda Allah ‘alayya ruhi hatta arudda ‘alayhi al-salam.
5. “My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be shown to me and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if I see evil I will ask forgiveness of Allah for you” – hayati khayrun lakum tuhaddithuna wa yuhaddathu lakum wa wafati khayrun lakum tu‘radu a‘malukum ‘alayya, fama ra’aytu min khayr hamidtu Allaha wa ma ra’aytu min sharrin istaghfartu Allaha lakum.
6. “Whoever invokes blessings upon me at my grave I hear him and whoever invokes blessings on me from afar, I am informed about it” – Man salla ‘alayya ‘inda qabri sami‘tuhu wa man salla na’iyan bullightuhu.
And Allah knows best.
 See al-Qawl al-Badi‘, p.243.
 It is also means ‘to sanctify’ ‘to make unlawful’, ‘to prohibit’, ‘to deny’, ‘to withhold’ & ‘to exclude.’
 The verb also means ‘to devour’, ‘to gnaw’, ‘to corrode’ or ‘to eschew.’
 The narration is rigorously authenticated (sahih): see, ibn Majah, Sunan, 1/345 (#1085, 1636 & 1637); Abu Dawud, Sunan, 1/275 (#1647 & 1531); al-Nasa’i, Sunan, 3/91 (#1374); al-Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih (#1366 & 1361); al-Darimi, Sunan, 1/440 (#1572); Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, 4/8 (#16207); ibn Khuzaymah in his Sahih, 2/838-839 (#1733) with two chains; al-Ahad wa ’l-Mathani by al-Shaybani, 3/217 (#1577); al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra, 1/519 (#1666 & 5789); the Mustadrak of al-Hakim, 1/413 (#1029, 3577 & 8601) where he grades it according to the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim and al-Dhahabi confirms the grading in his al-Talkhis; al-Tabarani in Mu‘jam al-Kabir, 1/216 (#589); ‘Abd al-Razzaq in his Musannaf, 2/253 (#8697); al-Suyuti in Anba’ al-Adhkiyah; ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Kitab al-Ruh, p.62 & ibn Hibban in his Sahih with the wording: “an ta’kula ajsamana – [Allah has prohibited the earth] to consume our bodies,” 3/190 (#910). ibn Majah in his Sunan also has the addition: “fa nabi Allah hayyun yurzaqu”, 1/524 (#1637). Cf. also al-Albani’s Irwa’ al-Ghalil, 1/35 & (#4); al-Ta‘liq ‘ala ibn Khuzaymah (#1758); al-Ta‘liq al-Targhib, 1/249; his Sahih Abi Dawud (#962); Sahih ibn Majah (#889) & Takhrij Fadl al-Salah ‘ala ’l-Nabi (#22) of Imam Isma‘il al-Qadi.
 Narrated from Anas b. Malik by Abu Ya‘la in his Musnad, 6/147 (#3425); al-Haythami, Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 8/211 & al-Suyuti, Anba’ al-Adhkiya’ (#5). al-Albani grades the narration as sahih in his Silsilah Ahadith al-Sahihah (#621). Cf. also the sahih narration: “[The night I was enraptured] I met Musa standing in his grave Praying – [laylah usra bi] marartu ‘ala Musa wa huwa qa’im fi qabrihi,” see Muslim, Sahih (#2375); al-Nasa’i, Sunan (#1631-1637); Ahmad in his Musnad, 3/148 & 248 (#12532 & 12234); ibn Hibban in his Sahih (#49) & al-Albani, Silsilah Ahadith al-Sahihah (#2627).
 The chain is said to be rigorously authenticated (sahih); see Abu Dawud, Sunan, Kitab al-Manasik (#97) and in al-Albani’s edition under Ziyarah al-Qubur (#2041) where he grades it hasan (although he considers it sahih in his Silsilah Ahadith al-Sahihah !) most probably weakened due to the narrator Humayd b. Ziyad Abu Sakhr b. Abi Makhariq (d.89 AH) who is saduq yahim (truthful but prone to committing errors) according to ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1/200 and not strong (laysa bi-qawiyy) according to al-Nasa’i in his Kitab al-Du‘afa’ wa ’l-Matrukin, p.168. However, he is considered trustworthy (thiqah) according to Hafiz al-Daraqutni as quoted by ibn Hibban in his al-Thiqat, 6/188. See also al-Mizzi’s Tahdhib al-Kamal, 7/366 & al-Darimi’s al-Tarikh, p.260. Imam Ahmad also narrates the hadith in the Musnad, 2/527 (#10827); ibn Ishaq al-Rahuyah in his Musnad, 1/453 (#526 & 2041); ibn ‘Asakir, Mukhtasar Tarikh Dimashq, 2/407; ibn al-Najjar, Akhbar al-Madina, p.145; Abu Nu‘aym al-Asbahani in his Akhbar al-Asbahan, 2/353; al-Tabarani in Mu‘jam al-Awsat, 3/262 (#3092); al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra, 1/519 & 3/249 (#1666 & 5789) & his Shu‘ab al-Iman (#4161); Ibn Kathir, Tafsir 6:464; al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib, 2/499 & al-‘Asqalani’s Talkhis al-Habir, 2/267; al-Haythami in Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 1/162; al-Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih (#925) & 2/499; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal, 6/464 & finally Murtada al-Zabidi, Ithaf al-Sadat al-Muttaqin, 4/419 & 10/365.
 The ‘Ulama’ have said that the verb ‘wajabat’ gives a strong indication (qarinah) that visiting the Prophet (SAW) is a recommended action (mustahabb). The hadith however, is considered weak (da‘if) by some due to the narrator Musa b. Hilal al-‘Abdi who is deemed unknown (majhul) or even weak (da‘if). The chain in the narration is: Musa b. ‘Abdi from ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Umar from Nafi‘ from ibn ‘Umar. However, Imam al-Dhahabi declares this chain fair (hasan) in his Mizan al-I‘tidal, 4/226 where he comments regarding Musa b. ‘Abdi: “salih al-hadith” ([he is] fit to transmit narrations). Moreover, ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani considers him to be “suwaylih al-hadith” (fit to transmit narrations) in Lisan al-Mizan, 6/134-135. Cf. also his Talkhis al-Habir fi Ahadith al-Rafi‘i al-Kabir, 2/267-268 & his Ta‘jil al-Munfi‘ah bi-Zawa’id Rijal al-A’immah al-Arba‘ah, p.416. Furthermore, ibn ‘Ady also rebuts the claim that he is completely unknown and comments that he was one of the teachers of Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, see al-Kamil fi ’l-Du‘afa’, 6/2350 so too did Imam Lucknawi in Raf‘ wa ’l-Takmil, pp.248-249; al-Albani also declares him “thiqah al-riwayah” (established in transmission) in his Irwa’ al-Ghalil fi Takhrij Ahadith Manar al-Sabil, 4/338! Furthermore, Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki declares the narrations sahih in his Shifa’ al-Siqam fi Ziyarah Khayr al-Anam, pp.12-13 which was confirmed by al-Lucknawi in al-Ajwiba al-Fadila, pp.154-155 as well as by al-Samhudi in Sa‘adat al-Darayn, 1/77. Finally, see the extensive account given by Imam al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar, 5/179-184.
As for ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Umar b. Hafs b. ‘Asim b. ‘Umar b. al-Khattab al-‘Umari (d.147 AH): al-Dhahabi states in his book al-Kashif that he was a Faqih and established in his reliability; as well as salih al-hadith whereas ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani says he was unwaveringly trustworthy (thiqah thabit) in Taqrib al-Tahdhib, p.407 as well as by Ahmad in Abu Hatim al-Razi’s, al-Jarh wa ’l-Ta‘dil, 5/326 & Ahmad in his ‘Ilal, 1/405; al-Nasa’i; Abu Zur‘ah, Tarikh al-Dimashq, p.436; al-Darimi, al-Tarikh, p.128 & al-Sakhawi said he was salih al-hadith in al-Tuhfah al-Latifah, 3/366. His younger brother ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar (d.171 AH), however is considered to be weak but pious (thus most probably a reference to the weakness in memory and retention) by ibn Hajar, Taqrib al-Tahdhib and Nasa’i in his Du‘afa’, p.325 although ibn ‘Ady does comment there are no faults with him (la ba’sa bihi), al-Kamil fi ’l-Du‘afa’, 4/141. Cf. al-‘Ijly, Tarikh al-Thiqat, p.294 & ibn Hibban, al-Majruhin, 2/6. Both brothers narrated from Nafi‘ from ibn ‘Umar.
 See the Sunan of al-Daraqutni, 2/278 (#194); al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal (#42583); al-Tayalisi, Musnad, 1/12 (#65); al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra, 5/246 (#10053) & al-Tabarani, al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir, 12/406 (#13496). Cf. also the hadith: “whoever visits my grave after my death, it is as though he has visited me while I am alive – man zara qabri ba‘da mawti, kana ka-man zarani fi hayati,” see al-Tabarani, al-Mu‘jam al-Awsat, 1/95 (#287); al-Daraqutni, Sunan, 2/278 (#192) & the Kanz al-‘Ummal (#2196, 12368, 12371, 12398 & 16413).
 See the Musnad of al-Harith with the Majma‘ al-Zawa’id of Hafiz al-Haythami, 2/884 (#953) but it is considered weak by al-Albani due to the narrator ‘Abd al-Majid b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Abi Rawwad (d.206 AH) who was a Murji’ite and was said to be weak in memory committing errors as mentioned by Abu Hatim in al-Jarh wa ’l-Ta‘dil, 6/64 saying: “laysa bi ’l-qawiyy.” He was declared saduq (truthful) by ibn Hajar in Taqrib wa ’l-Tahdhib, 1/478 but committing errors (yakhti’) and commented that ibn Hibban was extreme in saying he was matruk (abandoned). He was declared thiqah (trustworthy), however, by: Abu Dawud, Ahmad b. Hanbal, ibn Ma‘in, al-Nasa’i & ibn Sa‘d as well as by Shaykh Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut in Tahrir al-Taqrib, 2/379 (#4160) and the late Dr. Nur al-Din ‘Itr in his edition of al-Dhahabi’s, al-Mughni, 1/571 (#3793). See the Tarikh al-Dawri, 2/370; al-Burqani, p.317; the Tabaqat of ibn Sa‘d, 5/500 & ibn Hibban, Kitab al-Majruhin, 2/160. Yet in spite of this, ‘Abd al-Majid was retained by Muslim as a sub-narrator, e.g. see the hadith in Kitab al-Hajj (#179). Finally, see ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani’s Matalib al-‘Aliyah, 4/22.
The narration is also found in Kanz al-‘Ummal of al-Hindi (#31903-31904); from ibn Mas‘ud by al-Bazzar in his Musnad, 1/397 (#) with a sahih chain as stated by al-Suyuti in his Manahil al-Safa fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Shifa’ p.31 (#8) and his excellent Khasa’is al-Kubra, 2/281 including the Tahdhib of that book by Shaykh ‘Abd Allah al-Talidi, pp. 458-459 (#694) where he comments that the chain is sound according to Muslim’s criteria; al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, 3/401 where he quotes that al-‘Iraqi considered the men in the narration to be sound except for ‘Abd al-Majid ibn Abi Rawwad for the reasons above and then disputes Imam al-Suyuti’s grading although al-Suyuti’s evaluation is the stronger; al-Haythami, Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 9/24 (#91) where he comments that it was related by al-Bazzar in his Musnad and the narrators are all men of the sahih category; al-‘Iraqi in Tarh al-Tathrib fi Sharh al-Taqrib, 3/297 where he grades the chain as “jayyid” (although cf. his Mughni ‘an Haml al-Asfar, 4/148); ‘Abd Allah al-Talidi in the Tahdhib al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, pp.458-459 (#694) & Mahmud Mamduh in his wonderful Raf‘ al-Minarah ‘an Takhrij Ahadith al-Ziyarah, pp.156-159. Moreover, see the mursal chains both omitting the link to the companion from the tabi‘i Bakr ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Muzani as narrated by ‘Abd Allah al-Qadi in his Fadl al-Salah ‘ala ’l-Nabi, pp.36-39 (#25-26) where it was graded as sahih mursal by ‘Ali al-Qari in his commentary on the Shifa of Qadi ‘Ayyad, 1/102 as well as by the strict ‘Abd al-Hadi in al-Sarim al-Munki, p.217 and then by al-Albani in the takhrij of his edition of Fadl al-Salah ‘ala ’l-Nabi, p.37 but later declares it weak in his Silsilah Ahadith al-Da‘ifah (#979).
 The narration is from Abu Hurayrah as stated in the Kanz al-‘Ummal (#2165, 2197, 2198 & 41512) of al-Hindi. Abu Shaykh also cites it with his chain in Thawab al-Salah ‘ala ’l-Nabi (the Jala’ al-Afham), p.22 where ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani grades the chain as “jayyid” (good) according to his student al-Sakhawi in al-Qawl al-Badi‘, p.227 (see al-‘Asqalani’s Fath al-Bari, 6/379 & 488); Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari confirms ibn Hajar’s grading in al-Mudawi li ‘Ilal al-Munawi, 6/277; al-Suyuti in al-La’ali’, 1/259 & 1/282-283 also considers the chain as “jayyid”. Not surprisingly, al-Albani considers the narration forged (mawdu‘) in his Ahadith al-Mawdu‘ah (#203) as well as his commentary on al-Alusi’s Ayat al-Bayyinat, p.80 echoing ibn Taymiyyah’s verdict in the Majmu‘at al-Fatawa, 27/241-242 which no doubt stems from the lack of knowledge of Abu Shaykh’s chain, see al-Mamduh, Raf‘ al-Minarah, p.354. Cf also the narration: “Verily Allah has Angels roam [the earth] conveying to me the greetings of my nation – inna lillahi mala’ikatan sayyahina yuballighuna ‘an ummati al-salama,” narrtated by al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan, 5/579 (#3600); ‘Azim Abadi, ‘Awn al-Ma‘bud, 6/21; al-Darimi, Sunan, 2/409 (#2774); al-Nasa’i, Sunan, 3/43 (#1282) with over five chains of narrations; Ahmad in his Musnad, 1/387 (#3666, 4210, 4320 & 7418); al-Tabarani, Mu‘jam al-Kabir, 10/219 (#10528-10529 & 10530); ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 3/195 (#914) where Shaykh Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut states that it is sahih according to the criterion of Muslim; the Mustadrak of al-Hakim, 2/456 (#3576) where the grading of sahih was confirmed by al-Dhahabi in al-Talkhis; al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra, 1/380 (#1205 & 9894) & Shu‘ab al-Iman, 2/218 (#153); al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Talkhis al-Mutashabih, p.766; ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak in al-Zuhd, p.364 (#1028) as well as in his Musnad, p.30 (#51); Abu Ya‘la in his Musnad, 9/137 (#5213); ibn Abi Shaybah in his Musannaf, 2/253 (#8705 & 31721); Kanz al-‘Ummal (#1747 & 9904) & finally ‘Abd al-Razzaq in his Musannaf, 2/215 (#3116).