Muslim Beliefs 7 – Death Cont

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Jamal Badawi

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In the Name of Allah, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and the sustainable universe, I greet you with the greetings of all of the profits from Adam, the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon them. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be upon you. I'm your host Hamad Rashid, and today's program we continue with the seventh program and the series on Muslim beliefs. And today's topic, we'll be dealing with the or continuing our discussion that we started last week, talking about the soul, and what happened, what happens to the soul after death? I want to welcome to the Islamic focus program, Dr. Jamal betawi of St. Mary's University. Welcome, brother Jamal. We were as I

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mentioned in my introductory remarks, in our program last week, we talked about the very interesting subject, dealing with death and some of the near death experiences. Could you summarize the highlights of our last week's program? Okay, there were two basic areas that we covered last time. One was to continue on the discussion of the experience of death as described in the Quran, the lost revelation of God and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And we concluded that basically, an individual at the time of this usually hopes to come back to life in order to catch up with good deeds or to make good deeds if he hasn't done enough.

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And that there are certain engines who are in charge of taking the soul.

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And that the person at the time of death can tell what his destiny is going to be like, based on the shape of those engines, the way he sees them, and the way they act with him. The way he saw also is taken from from his body.

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And as we indicated last time, for the pious person, the injuries would be greeting him the same Islamic greeting Salaam Alaikum. Peace be with you, they would be assuring him, a person who would be wicked, usually is not greeted that way. And he's he feels, what his destiny is going to be like.

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The second basic area that we touched on was

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the issue that comes in written literature. Once in a while, especially in recent days, recent years, about the so called near death experience reports made by people who are just about to die, what they have seen or experienced or felt, we tried to summarize some of those experiences and feelings, as reported in this literature. And then we tried to evaluate that from a Muslim perspective, by indicating that after all, near death, is not as and that the real experience at the time of death is something that nobody has gone through and came back. It's something that's irrevocable and final. And as such for the Muslim, we can look into those reports, you can study

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them, but after all, the ultimate source of authentic information would have to be a revelation, because this is something which is unseen, something that's not subject to the normal tools of research. But just before we leave this question of near death experiences or visions of at the time, a person is involved in an experience, perhaps, brings them close to death. Is it possible that some of these experiences that we discussed last time could be explained by scientific analysis? I think there are Yeah, there are certain areas that could be explained by science, but again, limited area but not all, because like I said, this is an area of unseen. For example, in as

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you know, many scientists tell you that lots of our experiences throughout life is stored in our brain cells. And in one study, famous study that's usually quoted by Dr. penfield. He was doing a brain surgery. And what he did was to stimulate certain areas or spots in the brain. As a result of this stimulation, he found that people involved started to remember

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events in their lives, which was totally forgotten beforehand.

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So one of the possible explanation for that could be a neurological type of explanation that is to say, just like you keep information on tips you could have also a fast rewind. So many of the experiences for example of people saying that the entire life passed before their eyes in seconds. It just like having again a very fast everyone.

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I have the tip, in this case, the information stored and in the brain. So this might be one way of looking at some of the areas. But like I said, this is only just like a glimpse on the unseen. But the turtle picture really is something that's hidden from us, we have to depend on divine revelation to give us the more vivid and more accurate description of what actually goes on, like to touch on a related subject and not the subject of suicide. How does Islam view suicide,

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and Islam suicide is regarded as one of the major sins. It is a sin for which the person is severely punished in the afterlife.

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The main idea behind it is that according to Islam,

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no person owns anything in the absolute sense. You don't own any property in the absolute sense. You don't own your own life also in the absolute sense, because everything is owned by Allah is owned by God who is the creator of the universe, everything belongs to

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the fact that we are blessed with certain natural resources, property, health, or life.

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It does not mean that we can do or dispose with those resources, our lives the way we wish, according to our own whims. Islam regards the human being on Earth as the trustees of God on earth.

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So we have a particular trust and our lives in the trust in our hand to be used for our benefit for the benefit of our families and benefit of humanity at large. And as such, if we destroy without any justification, this life which is a trust in our hand, we are betraying our trust as human beings and not fulfilling our mission for which we are created on this earth. In fact, that when you refer to the Quran, for example, in chapter four,

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in verse 29, it says, what to do and forsaken in Allah cannot be combined, do not kill, or destroy yourself, for certainly, God is being merciful to you,

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we find that the same basic principle has been reiterated and emphasized by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And in one of the sayings, he said that if a person commits suicide, he would come back in the day of judgment and continue in a vicious circle, repeating the same act of suicide that he did constantly. In other words, he dies and is raised back to life, and commit suicide in the same manner. For example, He specifically says, if a person throws himself out to the mountain from top of a mountain, he will come in the day of judgment and keep repeating the same thing. If a person poisoned himself or herself, he would repeat the same act, if a person kills himself by hitting

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himself with an

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iron or something, he would keep repeating and doing that himself by way of punishing him of the same type of betrayal of his trust by destroying that life, that gift that was given to him. Even in the case of severe psychological or physical stress. The Muslim is taught that one should persevere, should always ask God to release him from from this pain and difficulty, and never to disperse. In fact, the Quran quotes Jacob, the father of Prophet Joseph, this, we have found them both.

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When he was asked, sending his children to look for Joseph, and he said, Well, that is from Dracula, don't you ever despair, from the soothing mercy of God. So in the worst of circumstances, a person should always look for this for this type of soothing mercy that could come from him, by way of his belief in strong conviction, the maximum that the Muslim would be permitted to do in case the suffering is really beyond toleration is to simply pray to God, as the Prophet has explained, and Bukhari and Muslim. Something like Oh God,

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give me life if you feel life is better for me, and take me away or give me this if you decide that this is better for me, but never to take things in our own hands.

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You perhaps may have answered in park my next question and

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in on the topic of suffering, like we read a lot today about the

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euthanasia and mercy killing for example, is this is mercy killing euthanasia, permissible in Islam.

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First of all, there is no mercy and killing. Start with

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the

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wrong

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which is done by others, is the same as the wrong that's done by you. In other words, if it is wrong, morally, to commit suicide, it is also wrong to have somebody else take you

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Life try to destroy your life, even if you request him to do so, it is wrong for both. Just like somebody saying, I'm not paying any bribe, somebody else is paying it. For me, that's also wrong. Because both of them are basically in the same boat. Really.

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It is quite true that we should feel sympathetic and sensitive towards the suffering of people who are sick, especially those who are terminally ill.

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But the Muslim also look at it in a different perspective, it is quite possible that the person who's suffering,

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that this suffering May, in a way, pay for some of his sins and mistakes. And maybe it's a way that God would relieve him from a greater and more everlasting suffering in the life after death. It could be just one way to atone for sin, maybe I'm not saying that one should seek it. But this could be if he is patient enough, and he is really

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trying to use that experience, to get closer to God and to feel his need, or her need more of God. That's, for example, was narrated in Bukhari and Muslim.

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The other thing is that

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the best thing that you can do to a person who is terminally ill or suffering, would be to provide him with whatever assistance that might be needed, pain relievers, or whatever.

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But one of the things that should not be forgotten is not just the physical needs in terms of therapeutic type of treatments, but also the spiritual needs of the person who knows that sooner or later, or probably within a short time, he is going to die. And that is by reminding him to repent,

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from his mistakes, to seek the acceptance of God, to try and make peace with God in whatever is remaining of his life. Because this is the concept of repentance is very much emphasized. And there is no original sin, but there is a wide open door for repentance at any time if the person sincerely directs his feelings towards towards God. They there are issues that sometimes seem to be mixed with euthanasia, or the so called mercy killing.

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Some physicians raise the issue of people who

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have had irrevocable damage and severe damage in the brain that there is no chance whatsoever that they they're going to live. And they say, with the development of medical technology, it may be possible to hook somebody to the heart lung machine, whereby you have life, which is almost like vegetable life, the brain is destroyed. And as you know, the the brain cells once they are destroyed, they don't regenerate themselves like other cells in the body.

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And the question that usually arises here is that what do you do in a case like that, even then, it is not appropriate to give an injection or overdose to let the person die. But if the physicians are agreed, that there's absolutely no chance of survival.

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One way of detecting that, of course, is that is the eg with the equipment that detects brain activity shows that there is no activity whatsoever. And that continues for some time. It means that the person practically is that even though you could still artificially bump the blood throughout the body. But this is a matter that, like I said, is a sensitive matter that has to be clearly studied both by Muslim jurists, as well as competent physicians in order to establish some kind of guidelines. as to which cases you're not really obliged to keep hooking the person and the equipment. But again, that's different from deliberately taking the life of the individual.

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before asking you what happens to the soul after death, I'd like to touch on another practical question, and that has to do with the

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care of the terminally ill does Islam give any guidance as to how to care for the terminally ill and for the person who's gonna die?

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Yeah, there are certain things. One point I might have mentioned earlier, that for the sick person who should be treated with all compassion and kindness, you might give him pen color, but don't turn him into self color, you know, that's a different thing altogether.

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A person should also be reminded of his destiny, to make peace with God, this is one thing to carry and to carry on from this what happens when the person really starts to die? What can you do or say,

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one of the things that should be done at that time as taught by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is to recite in front of him, the testimony, the testimony, which means there is no deity that Allah or one God, and Muhammad is His messenger that is reaffirming his belief in God his acceptance of all prophets as symbolized or represented by the last prophet.

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Mohammed peace be upon him.

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One need not push the person to say but simply repeated in front of him or her and the person will pick it up because it is very important that the person would depart this world, no matter how sinful he might have been, he should depart this word, at least with this expression of belief, and hope in God in the hope that he would be forgiven.

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There are also some saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in which he says that one particular chapter of the Quran would be desirable to be read at the time when the person is dying. And that's called DSC in chapter 36, in the Quran, and no wonder because that chapter deals with the creation, verse, life, death and resurrection. So it's very appropriate for the for that occasion.

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Once the person actually dies, and

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is totally gone, then his eyes should be closed. One of the sayings of the Prophet which would be of interest, perhaps of people who studied dreams, and what happened to the eyeballs during deep sleep, that the Prophet says that once the soul is taken away, the site followed, we don't fully understand what that mean. But this is an area of research that can be explored. So the eyes should be closed, a person could be kissed by his loved ones, if need be, there's nothing no prohibition.

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Definitely, people cannot resist the feeling of sorrow or having tears. However, the prophet recommended that one should not cry in a very loud

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voice, because this could hurt even the soul of that individual, especially, saying words that are assures the spirit of the mercy of God or expression of lack of faith, this should be avoided, but normal expression of, of sorrow would not be prohibited.

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Then, according to Islam, also, it is desirable to bury the person as soon as possible not to keep the body for too long. And the first thing that should be done is to give the body a bath,

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full bath, when put some comfort oil, which gives some nice smell also, that and then the body would be dried and wrapped in simple white

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cloth.

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For the men, it should be at least three layers. For a woman, it's desirable to have five layers. There is nothing wrong of making also ties around the neck, waist or feet. After this,

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a punit funeral player must be conducted on behalf of the person that's a little different from the regular prayers. If people would stand in lines in front of the, let's say, the casket or the body, and they say takbeer say Allahu Akbar, he got his greatest and they decide the first chapter of the Quran. And then the second time, they say God is the greatest and then they decide the second half of the Shabbat, which is part of the regular prayers. And then they meet another

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takbeer Locklear and then recite

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prayers on behalf of the dead person that God may accept him, you know, enter him into paradise and save him from the Hellfire song. After this is finished, which would take only a few minutes.

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It's desirable for as many people as possible to follow the funeral. But there is no music, no singing, no fire, no loud sounds, but solemn, sincere prayers silently on behalf of the person who who died. Once the people reached the graveyard where the pledge should be prepared.

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The body would be lowered preferably without a casket, but there's nothing wrong also if the casket is required, and then the people around with carry three handfuls of dust or

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towards his head, in the first time they say from it, we created you the second time into it that's into Earth, we are going to return you and the third time from East or from earth we are going to resurrect again this is actually a verse in the Quran in which God says we created you from Earth into earth are we going to return you and from Earth we're going to raise you up in the Day of Judgment. A person should be buried on his right side facing the Qibla. That's the Kaaba, the holy Kaaba in Mecca, which is now in Saudi Arabia. And that should be it things should be covered then people keep praying for the deceased person going back to the soul. What happens to it after the URL

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and what does it experience

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the the there are several saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him which indicates very clearly that

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After death, a person is not just finished. And that's it, that a person is questioned even in his grave. Of course, we don't know exactly how the person could have been burned or cut into pieces, and still his God who created him initially is able to

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bring him for this question. So we don't know exactly the nature of that questioning. But it says that a person would be questioned, who your Lord is, who your prophet is,

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he may be asked also certain things about his faith. And according to the saying of Prophet Muhammad, also, he says, for the believer, the answer to these questions would be easy. And actually, he's referring to one verse in the Quran in chapter 14, verse 27, which says that God would give this

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strength and power of believers in this life and in the Hereafter, and of course, the hereafter for each person start really immediately after variant. So I believe I would be able to handle this questions. an unbeliever, no matter how he might know that intellectually, he would be confused. And according to the Prophet, also, every person after death, and after this questioning, will see his position in paradise or the hellfire. So he knows where he is, he's going not only knows there are a number of sayings also to the effect, that a person also is either punished or rewarded. Again, how this is a matter that is beyond our imagination, understand, because we talk about really a world

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that is beyond this physical world realize that there are clear indications of, of punishment or reward. It's just similar to one aspect that all of us perhaps have gone through. Suppose you have a nightmare.

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You will be there feeling that somebody is choking you that you're drowning, that something hurting. Anybody who's observing your body, your physical body, why you're suffering from that nightmare, I would say that there's nothing wrong, nothing is choking, nothing is hurting physically, but to you during sleep during that nightmare. It's real. It is very real. And in fact, once you wake up and say, Thanks, God, I had a bad nightmare. So here we have punishment and reward even though the physical body is not being affected. So you can make this analogy at least to understand that the the punishment and reward starting immediately after burial is something that is real, even though

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physically we might not be able to prove it or test it.

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But there is a clear evidence also, not only in the Hadith, or saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. I just take one as an example of this, which appears in the Quran in verse 46. In chapter 14, it talks about the the pharaohs,

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the people who persecuted Moses and his people. And interestingly enough, it says, in front of the fire, will they be brought morning and evening. And the sentence will be on the day of judgment that cast the people of Pharaoh into the severest penalty. You notice here, there's a very interesting thing in this verse, that it talks first about the pharaohs even though the pharaohs have already died a long time ago, there became dust. But still there were signs that day and night or morning and evening, which means all the time they show or they are brought in front of the fire. So it means that they are punished. And then after that, it says and also in the Day of Judgment later on.

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This will not be the end of their suffering still, that the part of the thorough will be thrown into the severest penalty that is in the Hellfire, which is a conclusive proof from the Quran. That punishment and reward does not really have to wait until the day of judgment, it could start immediately. As soon as the person departs. From this word it just like an interim period. The Quran calls it also barza.

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Arabic means a partition is just like a partition, between one level of life which is our sad life, and interim periods until the day of judgment. So just to kind of in between, type of, of existence. So that's why

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the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him used always to teach people to pray, and one of the prayers or God I seek refuge in You from the punishment in the grave, I seek refuge in You from the punishment in the hereafter. So both of them are areas that one can either enjoy, or suffer depending on his beliefs and deeds.

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We've talked about the awareness of the Soul of the

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World in the afterlife. Is the soul also capable of comprehending what is going on in this physical world after death. There's actually there's some evidence to that effect that the

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Soul after death, I can't follow what is going on around it.

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First of all, in one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is that after the person is buried at the time when he's questioned, it says he hears the sound of their shoes when they are turning away when they leaving him there alone.

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Of course, we can talk about hearing here in a sense of just physical hearing that we know of in this world, because you know, scientifically or physically, it's not, can't hear in the same normal sense. But it says he hears the sound of people. That's why it was the custom of the Prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him when somebody is buried, that he says to people around, pray for your brother or sister because he's being questioned now. And some people even recite verses from the Quran, hoping that that might be of some benefit to the deceased person. There are also others, saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that again shows that even the dead people would be

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aware of what goes on, after the famous battle of beddit when the pagans came to destroy the Muslims, and actually they were defeated, and many of their leaders were killed.

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After they were vetted already, the prophet peace be upon him, he stood there, and he talked to them. He said, So and So Mr. So and So? Did you now find that the promise of God is true, that is promised for punishment for those who disobeyed him and defied His commands? And he kept repeating that so one of the companions armor was standing there? And he said, Oh, Prophet, are you talking to people who have already been decayed, rotten bodies on the earth? The answer of the Prophet was, Amara, you are not

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more aware, you can listen better than they do. But they cannot respond, they cannot give back that apply.

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They find evidence also the Prophet peace be upon him says that if a person passes by a graveyard, by a brother or a friend that he knows, or he knew in this life, and he says to him, Assalamualaikum, or Peace be upon you, that Allah, God will cause that person to reply back, but of course, you cannot use that particular reply. In fact, it is required that if a Muslim passes by a graveyard of believers that even though he might not know them, he would say Assalamu alaikum. Salam on I mean, that is made peace be upon the believers who are resident of this particular area.

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The Prophet sallallahu Sallam also indicated that at times, especially on Friday nights, and the night before, that's, let's say Thursday night and Friday, that he would be aware of the deeds of his people. And he would definitely feel glad if Muslims behave themselves in accordance with the teaching. Hanson even said when they deviate, not only this, the one of the interesting things also is that the,

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towards people that if they pray to God, to have his peace and blessings upon him, that God will cause the prophet to reply back, even though we know of course, that he died a long time ago, but Allah would cause him to be able to respond back to this greeting of peace. Brother Jamal, I want to thank you, we've exhausted our time for today. I want to invite all viewers back next week when we'll finish off this discussion of what happens to the soul after death. And we'll go on and look at the question of the day of judgment what happens on the on the Day of Judgment. That's our program for the day. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum Peace be upon you.