1

Someone I know recently died by killing himself. I don't know if he is going to Jannah or not, that's is why I wonder if he can see and hear us now.

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There is no clear evidence as to whether the dead can hear or see those who are alive or not. There is evidence that certain incidents took place, or still take place, where the dead can hear those who are alive, but the opinion is that such incidents are either specific to the Prophet ﷺ or specific to a time or place.

The Qur'an compares the disbelievers to the deceased in their refusal to listen to the Prophet ﷺ:

إِنَّكَ لَا تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَىٰ وَلَا تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ الدُّعَاءَ إِذَا وَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِينَ

Indeed, you will not make the dead hear, nor will you make the deaf hear the call when they have turned their backs retreating.

Surat An-Naml 27:80

It is a figure of speech that their deafness is likened to that of those who are dead, which means the dead do not normally hear. In another verse, Allah draws parallels between the believers (the living) and the disbelievers (the dead):

وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْأَحْيَاءُ وَلَا الْأَمْوَاتُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُسْمِعُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۖ وَمَا أَنتَ بِمُسْمِعٍ مَّن فِي الْقُبُورِ

And not equal are the living and the dead. Indeed, Allah causes to hear whom He wills, but you cannot make hear those in the graves.

Surat Fatir 35:22

Then the verse, in a similar fashion to the previous verse in 27:80 likens the disbelievers' unwillingness to listen to the deafness of the dead. However, in a hadith narrated by 'Umar ibn al-Khattāb after the Battle of Badr, the Prophet ﷺ talked to the deceased among the disbelievers in their graves, and he told 'Umar that they could hear him:

عَنْ أَنَسٍ قَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ عُمَرَ بَيْنَ مَكَّةَ وَالْمَدِينَةِ أَخَذَ يُحَدِّثُنَا عَنْ أَهْلِ بَدْرٍ فَقَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لَيُرِينَا مَصَارِعَهُمْ بِالأَمْسِ قَالَ

هَذَا مَصْرَعُ فُلاَنٍ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ غَدًا

قَالَ عُمَرُ وَالَّذِي بَعَثَهُ بِالْحَقِّ مَا أَخْطَئُوا تِيكَ فَجُعِلُوا فِي بِئْرٍ فَأَتَاهُمُ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَنَادَى

‏يَا فُلاَنُ بْنَ فُلاَنٍ يَا فُلاَنُ بْنَ فُلاَنٍ هَلْ وَجَدْتُمْ مَا وَعَدَ رَبُّكُمْ حَقًّا فَإِنِّي وَجَدْتُ مَا وَعَدَنِي اللَّهُ حَقًّا

‏فَقَالَ عُمَرُ تُكَلِّمُ أَجْسَادًا لاَ أَرْوَاحَ فِيهَا فَقَالَ

مَا أَنْتُمْ بِأَسْمَعَ لِمَا أَقُولُ مِنْهُمْ

It was narrated that Anas said: "We were with 'Umar between Makkah and Al-Madinah when he started to tell us about the people of Badr. He said that the Messenger of Allah showed them the day before where they [the disbelivers] would fall. He said:

This is the place where so-and-so will fall tomorrow if Allah wills.

'Umar said: 'By the One Who sent him with the truth, they did not miss those places. They were placed in a well and the Prophet came to them and called out:

O so-and-so son of so-and-so! O so-and-so son of so-and-so! Have you found what your Lord promised to be true? For I have found what Allah promised me to be true.'

'Umar asked the Messenger of Allah: 'Are you speaking to bodies in which there are no souls?' He said:

You do not hear what I say any better than they do.'"

Sunan an-Nasa'i, Book 21, Hadith 258

The majority of scholars that this incident was specific to the Prophet ﷺ on the day of Badr and only to the disbelievers. There is another hadith that may also be contextual to any person at the time one is being placed in one's grave, being able to hear the footsteps of one's friends:

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا وُضِعَ فِي قَبْرِهِ وَتَوَلَّى عَنْهُ أَصْحَابُهُ

Anas ibn Malik reported that Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) said: When the servant is placed in his grave and his friends retrace their steps.

Sahih Muslim, Book 53, Hadith 87

Abu Huraira in the hadith about what happens to the soul of a believer after it ascends to heaven:

فَيُسْأَلُ: مَا فَعَلَ فُلَانٌ؟ مَا فَعَلَ فُلَانٌ؟

Then he is asked [by the souls of one's relatives]: "What happened to so-and-so? What happened to so-and-so?"

Sunan an-Nasa'i al-Kubra, Book 58, Hadith 11924

If the relatives of the deceased could see and hear their relatives, they would not have had the need to ask about their well being. There is a weak hadith that is widely circulated about the deceased returning the greetings of those who pass by their graves, but it cannot be used as proof:

ما من عبد يمر بقبر رجل كان يعرفه في الدنيا فيسلم عليه إلا عرفه ورد عليه السلام

Anytime a servant [of Allah] passes by the grave of a man that he knew in this world, and he sends his salām (greetings) to him, he [the deceased] would recognize him and return his salām.

Da'īf al-Jāmi' as-Saghīr 2/752/5208

The conclusion is we do not know one way or the other, but a higher number of scholars lean towards the inability of the deceased to hear or see.

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In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. We cannot find words to praise Him, as He only sees fit how laudation should be addressed to Him. We seek refuge in God from the evils within ourselves and the evils of our bad deeds. Whosoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whosoever He leads astray will never find guidance. We bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the One without any associate, and We bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger and bondman, peace and blessings be upon him, his kith and kin, his Companions and all those who follow their guidance until the Day of Judgment.


Your Question: Can the dead see us?

Answer:

Sa’id b. Jubayr (d. 95/714) is reported to have stated : “ It is for sure that the dead people are informed about the people who are alive. There is nobody whose relative(s) passed away and who is left uninformed about the relatives he leaves behind. If the news they receive is good, they become happy and if it is not, they become upset.” (23) Abu’d Darda (d. 32/652), from the Honored Companions, used to pray like this: “O Allah, I take refuge in you from a deed which may make my dead relatives feel ashamed of” (24)

Abdullah b. Mubarak reports that Abu Ayyub al-Ansari said: “ The deeds of the people who are alive are reported to the dead. If they receive good news, they become happy and share the glad tidings but if they receive bad news, they pray “ O, Allah keep him away from it”.

As can be understood from the dead people asking for news from a person who has recently died, we cannot say that the dead people receive the news about the people alive on their own – except for the ones Allah wills. For this reason, we learn that they are informed by those who have just arrived and joined them. Their receiving news from the new-comers proves that they meet and talk to each other.

Muhammad’s (pbuh) meeting with other prophets while he was still alive is something possible to happen. And it is of no difficulty for Allah to do this. This happened when Allah made him meet them and in the night of Miraj, Muhammad (pbuh) met the spirits of the Prophets at Al-Masjid al-Aqsa while he was awake. Later, some reports prove that he met some of them in the heavens.

Also, in an another hadith narrated by Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (pbuh) reported that Moses (pbuh) prayed to Allah to let him talk to Adam (pbuh) and Allah let Moses (pbuh) meet and talk to Adam (pbuh), when he was still alive and awake.

Those who are alive meeting the people in the intermediate realm while they are asleep, is divine dreams, which are a part of prophecy, according to Ibnu’l Qayyim’s report; and they represent Knowledge. Erzurumlu Ibrahim Hakki says: “Seeing the dead in good or bad situations in the dream is knowing the exact situation they are in. This is to show the situation of the dead or to make stay awake.” , He pointed out that seeing the dead in the dreams are of real dreams.

When Imam al-Sadiq (as) was asked about whether we should visit graves and whether the people of Barzakh realised we are visiting them, he (as) said: “Yes, by Allah!They surely understand your visit, feel delighted and enjoy your company.” (al-Faqih 1:115)

“A believer (in Barzakh) visits his family and sees that which he would like and that which he would hate is veiled from him. A disbeliever visits his family and sees what he would hate and what he would like is veiled from him. Some are allowed to visit every week, while others are allowed to visit according to their actions” (al-Kafi, 3:230)

As for the dead can hear, the scholars disagree concerning whether the dead hear the talk of living people. Some believe that they hear them. Others believe the opposite, i.e. that dead people do not hear living ones.

The Hadith where the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) addressed the dead of disbelievers in the battle of Badr three days after their death: "When he halted at the edge of the well, he addressed the corpses of the Quraish infidels by their names and their fathers' names, "O so-and-so, son of so-and-so and O so-and-so, son of so-and-so! Would it have pleased you if you had obeyed Allah and His Apostle? We have found true what our Lord promised us. Have you too found true what your Lord promised you? " 'Umar said, "O Allah's Apostle! You are speaking to bodies that have no souls!" Allah's Apostle said, "By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad's soul is, you do not hear, what I say better than they do".

The narration reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim that "The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) told Muslims to greet the dwellers of graves and he said: 'Say: peace be upon you all, O inhabitants of the graves, among the believers and the Muslims. Verily we will, Allah willing, be united with you'" .

the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “When the funeral is ready (for its burial) and the people lift it on their shoulders, then if the deceased was a righteous person, it (the soul) would say, 'Take me ahead', [i.e. hasten to burry me] and if he was not a righteous one, then it would says, 'Woe to me! Where are you taking me?' His voice is heard by everything except human beings; and if they heard it, they would fall down unconscious.” [An-Nasaa’i and Ahmad]


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