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When I asked this question to a Masjid cleric, I never got a satisfactory answer. There is a lot of research going on this field. There are many Television shows that prove Ghost exists. But Science is in utter denial.

What is the verdict about Ghosts from the Holy Quran. If they exist then in what form? Are these humans who have deceased or are they entirely a separate race?

I am especially intrigued in this because I have heard a lot of ghost stories in my home country and then I have seen a lot of stories here in US. And they are totally different from each other. How can I visualize ghosts according to Quran.

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Off topic, but I highly doubt that the myriad of ghost reality TV shows are evidence for anything (other than the need for ratings). Science is not in denial. Science, simply, has not been provided with solid, scientifically provable, evidence. The vast differences in the traditions of ghost stories across cultures is another indication that ghosts are merely an artifact of its society. –  System Down Jun 20 '12 at 17:56
    
It's quite a stretch to say there are any shows that prove ghosts exists. –  Flimzy Jun 20 '12 at 19:23
    
GhostBusters vs MythBusters? –  muntoo Jun 25 '12 at 19:56
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5 Answers

Islam believes in the unseen. We don't believe in ghosts.

Let me specify. What is a "ghost?" Typically, this means "the soul or spirit of a dead person who haunts the world of the living." This definition contradicts Islam; once a soul leaves, it never returns until the Day of Resurrection.

There are many ayaat and ahadith that talk about what happens to a human soul when it dies. To summarize:

  • The angel of death comes and extracts the soul
  • The angels wrap it and carry it
  • It is eventually returned to its grave
  • The person is asked the questions of the grave
  • They remain there until resurrection day

Going back to ghosts: on the other hand, we have Jinns, which are mentioned in the Qur'an: invisible beings of great physical strength. They can possess (enter into and speak on behalf of) humans.

Among the proofs of this are:

Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity being possessed. That is because they say, "Trade is [just] like interest." But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. Surah Baqarah, verse 275

The highlighted section (my notes), in Arabic, refers to possession by Jinns.

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please bring proof from the Quran that when a soul leaves it never comes back. I recall someone telling me that in the Quran it says that the soul will be able to wander the earth until the day of judgement. –  Al Ummat Jun 20 '12 at 17:39
    
@AlUmmat look up "the life in the grave" and you will find lots of details. I will quote some relevant ahadith, but that's secondary to the issue here. –  ashes999 Jun 20 '12 at 17:46
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@AlUmmat, Ashes is right. The soul is not allowed back to the earth after death. You can find it in Surat al-Mu'minoon. –  Youssef G. Jun 20 '12 at 18:10
    
@ashes999: Also, Ashes please provide an explanation for the quote as its difficult to understand the English translation. "being possessed" in Arabic is pronounced (ma-jnon, where jnon is rooted in jinn which is pronounced differently in Arabic than English), which you could extend that futher to ma means "one who..." and adding the "jinn" part is "one who is jinn". This is based on similar words like "maktoob" and "kitab" where "maktoob" means one that is written. –  Youssef G. Jun 20 '12 at 18:12
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@YoussefG. - "majnoon" is more accurately translated as "crazy" (though the etymology with djinn is correct). In Arabic, the word usually used for someone who is possessed (by djinn) is "mamsoos" (touched). –  System Down Jun 20 '12 at 19:08
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There is no concept of a ghost in Islam. However, there are two concepts that are somewhat similar.

  • The soul, or ruh. Muslims believe that while a body may die, the soul of a person goes on living. Most scholars agree that the dead are aware of what happens in the living world, and there is a major section that believe that the souls of especially righteous people can intercede for us with Allah (others believe that this is false and shirk). There are also hadiths and stories of the dead communicating with the living through dreams. But there is no evidence that the souls of the dead can physically visit the living or manipulate the physical world in any way.

  • There are beings known as the Qareen. Every human being has a Qareen, who is a djinn that invisibly accompanies the human from birth. In popular folklore, djinn are said to have a longer lifespan than a human, so while the human counterpart might die, the djinn counterpart lives on. This Qareen knows everything about his human companion, and this has been advanced by some as an explanation for things like ghosts and psychic readings.

Disclaimer:

I do not (personally) believe in the existence of ghosts or such, and I'm only presenting this answer as a reflection of some common beliefs in this area.

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The RUH is a Spirit God gave Adam and every human from birth. It is a gift from God and gives Humans intellect above other Animals. It's from God and cannot be judged. Their is also the Nafs, or the soul. This is inherintly in humans and allows us to pick right from wrong. –  Ali Feb 23 '13 at 16:38
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Dead souls may not return to the world of livings.

According to Qur'an:

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ ۚ كَلَّا ۚ إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا ۖ وَمِن وَرَائِهِم بَرْزَخٌ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ

سورة المؤمنون، الآيات 99 و100

[For such is the state of the disbelievers], until, when death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back

That I might do righteousness in that which I left behind." No! It is only a word he is saying; and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected.

Surat Al-Mu'minūn, Ayas 99, 100.

And according to Hadith:

روى الترمذي وابن ماجة عن جابر بن عبد الله بن عمرو بن حرام، يحكي عن استشهاد أبيه في غزوة أحد، قال:ـ

لَمَّا قُتِلَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَمْرِو بْنِ حَرَامٍ يَوْمَ أُحُدٍ لَقِيَنِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فَقَالَ ‏"‏ يَا جَابِرُ أَلاَ أُخْبِرُكَ مَا قَالَ اللَّهُ لأَبِيكَ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ وَقَالَ يَحْيَى فِي حَدِيثِهِ فَقَالَ ‏"‏ يَا جَابِرُ مَالِي أَرَاكَ مُنْكَسِرًا ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ اسْتُشْهِدَ أَبِي وَتَرَكَ عِيَالاً وَدَيْنًا ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ أَفَلاَ أُبَشِّرُكَ بِمَا لَقِيَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَبَاكَ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ مَا كَلَّمَ اللَّهُ أَحَدًا قَطُّ إِلاَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ وَكَلَّمَ أَبَاكَ كِفَاحًا ‏.‏ فَقَالَ يَا عَبْدِي تَمَنَّ عَلَىَّ أُعْطِكَ ‏.‏ قَالَ يَا رَبِّ تُحْيِينِي فَأُقْتَلُ فِيكَ ثَانِيَةً ‏.‏ فَقَالَ الرَّبُّ سُبْحَانَهُ إِنَّهُ سَبَقَ مِنِّي أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهَا لاَ يَرْجِعُونَ ‏.‏ قَالَ يَا رَبِّ فَأَبْلِغْ مَنْ وَرَائِي ‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى ‏{وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ}‏ ‏"‏ ‏.‏

Ibj Majah and At-Tirmidhi reported that Jabir bin 'Abdullah said:

When 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin )Haram) was killed on the Day of Uhud, the Messenger of Allah met me, and said: "O Jabir, shall I not tell you what Allah has said to your father?" Yahya said in his Hadith: "And he said: 'O Jabir, why do I see you broken-hearted?' I (Jabir) said: 'O Messenger of Allah, my father has been martyred and he has left behind dependents and debts.' He said: 'Shall I not give you the glad tidings of that with which Allah met your father?' I said: 'Yes, O Messenger of Allah.' He said: 'Allah never spoke to anyone except from behind a screen, but He spoke to your father directly, and He said: "O My slave! Ask something from Me and I shall give it to you." He said: "O Lord, bring me back to life so that I may be killed in Your cause a second time." The Lord, Glorified is He, said: "I have already decreed that they will not return to life." He said: "My Lord, then convey (this news) to those whom I have left behind." Allah said: "Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allah, Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision."

In this Hadith, it is clearly stated that no soul may return back to the world of livings, not even the soul of a martyr or a messenger.

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Thanks to @YoussefG for referring to the Ayah. –  Hosam Aly Dec 1 '12 at 7:41
    
He said: "O Lord, bring me back to life so that I may be killed in Your cause a second time, I am sure he did not ask to bring his soul back. He wanted to bring himself back so he can fight again and be killed the same way. A soul cannot be killed or harmed by a sword. How do you interpret this as soul? –  muslim1 Dec 1 '12 at 14:49
    
@Thecrocodilehunter What is the meaning of "himself"?! How is he to be "brought back to life", except by returning his soul to his body? –  Hosam Aly Dec 1 '12 at 15:44
    
himself mean, him as a living person again. Let say you die and you ask God "Can you bring me back to life". What would you mean by that? –  muslim1 Dec 1 '12 at 15:54
    
@Thecrocodilehunter I can't think of a meaning other than "Would you return my soul to my body". –  Hosam Aly Dec 1 '12 at 18:46
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I have read different views about this, but being a Muslim, from Islamic perspective and under the light of its authentic scriptures, Ghosts (spirits of dead people) do not exist in this world that humans live in. After the death of a person, his soul/spirit can directly go to heaven (for eternity), otherwise according to my knowledge (if Allah (God) decides that he was a bad person and does not forgive him, then it suffers from punishment in grave until the day of judgement when they may be placed in hell). In a case where a person was neither good nor too bad to go to heaven or hell then its up to God's will, it has been told in the sayings of prophet (peace be upon him) that such a person's soul may await in another realm and tested further until a decision for him going to hell or heaven can be made. There are many questions that can arise regarding what i have written until now, but all cannot be compressed within this text area. According to Islam the supernatural beings from human perspective are the angels and the Jinns. Angels are totally different beings than the Jinns. Angels are righteous and do not have free will as Jinns and humans do. They were created pure in nature by God with only a good side and solely to serve and worship Him hence they only do what God has ordered them to and worship God. As for Jinns (created from smokeless fire) they have been given the same free will as human beings and they can be good or bad ones. the word demon can be related to the bad Jinns. The good Jinns am not sure if i can relate that to a word in English. Jinns do have free will but restricted access to the world of humans or i should rather say to come directly in contact with humans even if they may reside on this earth. There are certain boundaries which they cannot trespass unless it be the will of Allah (i would say from my knowledge and faith that those boundaries have been set by Allah to keep his beloved humans protected from the bad Jinns). This again gives birth to many further questions which can only be answered in a very long discussion.

Iblees (biblical Lucifer) is the Arabic word for the Satan. According to Islamic beliefs he was not an angel. As i mentioned angels CAN NOT and DO NOT disobey God (they do not have the ability to do so...lack of will to make a choice and being created pure in nature and immune to satanic mischief). Iblees was given the status of an angel by God due to his high amount of worship towards Him. He was from the Jinns and chose to disobey God when humankind was created as God's favorite creation. He refused to bow down to Adam as ordered by God (due to pride and arrogance) and he asked God for a chance and challenged God that this human race that is your favorite creation, i will misguide them and lead them into mischief, God gave him the chance to do so (which is the test for humans) and at the same time God told Satan that you will never be able to misguide my true believers and they will eventually repent for their sins and ask for forgiveness and will return to the path of the righteous.

Allah created human kind with free will of choice as well but i guess with even more constraints and restrictions and a way harder form of test as there was for the Jinns. When people usually do see something supernatural which looks like a dead person that they knew, that is probably a Jinn that has appeared in that humans form, mostly from among the bad kind of jinns to spread mischief or fear. Hope that clarifies the concept of ghosts, jinns and angels in Islam. I have written this totally on the basis of my memory as to what i have read all my life in Authentic Islamic scriptures, in order to clarify some concepts which i have read on some websites by some muslims or "muslims" (i guess they wrote the otherwise out of ignorance or mistake). There may be small mistakes in what i have written but i can assure the basic concepts are up to the mark according to Islamic teachings. Allah (God) Knows best.

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Quran clearly says that soul exists but...(let's read)

[17:85]

وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

And they ask you about the soul. Say, "The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little

My own idea is that soul is something like information which have been stored in God's created media (a book but not like my physical book). Say you have a Linux CD which you can use to boot up your computer and say one day it breaks and destroyed. Does this mean that the Linux has been destroyed; not at all, you can download the Linux's soul from the Internet and write it to a newly raw CD; this is my own understanding about soul ;)

So the ghosts which you mention can be applyed on Jins instead. Quran clearly says that Jins exist and are made of fire. They have social like us. [6:130]

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That is the most unusual description of Linux I've seen yet... –  muntoo Jun 25 '12 at 19:59
    
@muntoo, I meant that soul is like a done job or information about a done job. I meant when a Linux's CD destroyed, it does not mean that Linux destroyed because it's a done job stored in almost reliable media, Internet. In same way, when a Human dies, it does not mean it does not exists but it's a collection of done job stored in God's created medias :) it's a personal idea, sorry if it looks like bad idea! –  Yasser Zamani Jun 26 '12 at 7:22
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