Does Islam teach that souls are eternal to the past? And if so, where is this teaching found? In other words, are souls "pre-eternal" (a term found here) or "past-complete" (a term found here), both terms just meaning that the soul has always existed, being past-eternal, aka eternal to the past, aka eternal with respective to the past.

I understand that typically Islam teaches the pre-existence of souls from multiple sources (such as this Shabir Ally video here that actually seems to deny the pre-existence of souls or even possibly the existence of a soul), and Wikipedia specifically says that Islam teaches that souls were created at the same time that God created Adam. Is this true? If so, where is this teaching found?

I am not asking if souls exist, if souls exist eternally with respect to the future aka never die, or about mind-body dualism.

Related but unhelpful answer here.

  • Souls are not omnipresent. They were created and so they do infact have a beginning. i,e there are NOT 'eternal to the past'
    – Ahmed
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 6:16
  • @Ahmed Where can I find this teaching? And when were they created? If you know, please post an answer! Thanks. Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 6:19

2 Answers 2


As‘salaamu alaikum!

Souls are definitely created things, although I do not know the mystery of how Allahu ta alaa made them nor what he created them from. I only know that ALL THINGS, except Allahu ta alaa Himself, are created things. That necessarily includes the souls.

But I can substantiate my claims directly from the Qur‘an....

“When your Lord drew forth from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (He said), ‘Am I not your Lord?‘, they said, ‘Yes! We do testify!‘ Lest you should claim on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Truly, we were heedless of this.‘ Or lest you should claim, ‘Our fathers before us may have taken false gods, but we are their descendants after them. Will You destroy us because of what false and worthless men did?‘ Thus do We explain the signs in detail, that perchance they may return.” Surat-ul-Araaf (7), ayat 172-174.

Now, if you read the ibn Kathir tafseer on the above ayah, you will find a reference to a hadith wherein the Prophet (alaihi salaam) explained that Allahu ta alaa extracted all the souls of Father Adam‘s offspring from Adam‘s spine and presented Himself to them. Then He asked them “Am I not your Lord?” And they were obliged to give the First Shahada, “Yes! We do testify!”

So, we know that Allah created Adam from dirt and water, and then breathed His Rooh (Spirit) into him to give him life, (15:29). After that, Allah was able to extract all of the souls from Adam‘s spine. Clearly, those souls existed within Adam and were residing within him. Logic tells us, then, that the souls came into being when Allah gave life to Adam.

We also know from the Qur‘an that there is nothing in existence that is similar to Allah (6:103; 16;74; 112:4). Allah is Eternal (As‘Samad, 112) from past to future - nothing other than Allah is Eternal. That alone tells us that the souls must be created things, because EVERYTHING other than Allah is created.

I hope ths answer satisfies you.

As‘salaamu alaikum.

  • Thanks for the answer! Can you link to the hadith mentioned? I found the tafsir but after a brief search couldn't find the hadith mentioned. Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 23:05
  • 1
    Sorry little brother, but I am an old school, low tech kind of guy. I didn‘t even know that ibn Kathir was available online. I study from the actual book version - it‘s about 10 volumes. In the books I read the ahadith are right there in the text. You can‘t miss it. The next time I‘m at the masjid I‘ll take another look at that passage and see if it cites to the ahadith collection where that particular hadith can be found. Okay? Ma‘as‘salaam, brother. Stay studious. May Allahu ta Allah increase you in knowledge. Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 1:33
  • Wow, that's impressive! And thank you very much, that would be wonderful! God bless. Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 1:55
  • There's a problem. There are many ahadith that mention an angel being sent to breath souls into the wombs. How can the souls be breathed when they are already in the loins of fathers all the way from Adam AS?
    – Afiq
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 14:19

Tirmizi 3037

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "When Allah created Adam He wiped his back and every person that He created among his offspring until the Day of Resurrection fell out of his back.

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ لَمَّا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ آدَمَ مَسَحَ ظَهْرَهُ فَسَقَطَ مِنْ ظَهْرِهِ كُلُّ نَسَمَةٍ هُوَ خَالِقُهَا مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ

  • Does this say anything about souls? Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 2:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .