That the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is alive is already established from the verses of the Holy Quran as evidenced in the following articles:
There are more proofs on the subject available in Traditions (Sunnah), which is the subject matter of this article.
There are several traditions in reliable Sunni books that clearly mention that the Prophets (a.s.) are alive even after their departure from this world. With regards to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), there are several instances wherein it is evident that he (s.a.w.a.) is alive.
There are too many traditions on salaam (salutations) and salawaat (benedictions) on the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.), its importance, its mode, its reward, etc. to be listed over here. This topic can be researched further under two verses of the Holy Quran:
There are many traditions that underscore the fact that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is aware of the salaam/salawaat being conveyed to him and responds to the addressor. This is only possible if he is alive. We highlight two traditions from the many widely reported traditions on the topic:
a) Abu Darda narrates that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) said: Send excessive salutations upon me on Friday because this is the day when the angels come to me and present the salutations of everyone who has sent salutations upon me.
Abu Darda asked: Even after your demise?
The Prophet (s.a.w.a) replied: Allah has forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets.
(Sunan-e-Ibn Maajah, Jilaa al-Ifhaam by Ibn Qayyim)
b) Jabir b. Samurah reported Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.) as saying – I know the stone in Mecca which used to convey me salawaat before my advent as a Prophet and I know that even now.
(Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fazaail, trad 5,654)
These traditions highlight that place and time are not barriers for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). He hears and sees regardless of the time and location. Those who consider the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) dead should know that this is not the characteristic of a dead person; rather it shows that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is more alive than the living ones.
II) Meraaj (Ascension)
The Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) ascent to the heavens (Meraaj) is another instance which proves that Prophets (a.s.) are not dead. There are many reports, some of which are mentioned below, that state he (s.a.w.a.) met and even conversed with prophets who had passed away centuries earlier.
a) The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is reported to have said – I saw Prophet Moosa (a.s.) in the valley of Azraq, while passing from Mecca to Medina. He was reciting ‘Talbiyyah’ (to say, “Labbaik Allahumma labbaik” which means here I am, O Allah, here I am denoting readiness to serve Allah) in a loud voice. On another occasion I saw Prophet Yunus wearing a long woolen overcoat and riding a red camel.
(Sunan Ibn Majah, pp 20, 208)
b) It is recorded in Saheeh Bukhaari and Saheeh Muslim that Allah sent all the Prophets (a.s.) to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) on the night of Meraaj. He was the Imam and the prophets performed two units of prayers behind him.
c) There are many other reports that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) met and conversed with various prophets like Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) and Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) on the skies in the course of his journey to the seventh sky. Prophet Moosa’s (a.s.) role in reducing the number of units of (obligatory) prayers from fifty is well-documented by scholars.
It is clear that if the true Prophets (a.s.) were dead and lifeless as these so-called Muslims claim, they would not have had the honour of meeting the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and conversing with him.
III) Death pangs and grave of the Muslim
It is an accepted fact that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is present at the time of the death of a Muslim and the Muslim sees him and recognizes him. If he deserves it, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) intercedes for him. In the grave, the angels ask the corpse about his belief in the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) while he (s.a.w.a.) is present in the grave and the Muslim sees him. (Mishkaat al-Shareef by Muhammad b. Abdullah, Saheeh Bukhari, Kitaab al-Janaaiz, Hadith 422)
This proves that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is alive and is present in multiple places at the same time. Moreover, depending on the Muslim’s deeds, he (s.a.w.a.) intercedes for him (both at the time of death and in the grave) which gives lie to the claims of the so-called Muslims who declare that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) being dead can neither benefit nor harm and maintain that such a belief is polytheism.
IV) Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) pleasure and displeasure
Another proof of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) being alive is in his pleasure and displeasure, which in turn leads to Allah’s pleasure and displeasure and consequently to Paradise and Hell respectively.
The question these Muslims need to answer is whether it is possible to please/displease the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) only in his lifetime or even after his death?
If it is possible to please/displease the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) only in his lifetime then what is the purpose of the numerous traditions wherein he (s.a.w.a.) has urged/warned towards an action linking it to Allah’s pleasure/displeasure and therefore heaven/hell. Does it mean that now that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is dead, Muslims are free to perform/refrain from such actions since they have no consequence?
For example, take the following traditions widely reported by scholars:
i) Faatemah is a part of me, that which grieves her grieves me and whatever troubles her, troubles me.
(Saheeh-e-Bukhari, vol 6 pg 158, Musnad-e-Ahmad vol 4 pg 324, Saheeh-e-Muslim vol 7 pg 141 Book of the Companions’ Virtues, Chapter of Faatemah binte Muhammad’s Virtues, Sunan-e-Abi Dawood vol 1 pg 460)
ii) …. She (Faatemah) is part of me. She is my heart. She is the soul between my sides. Who displeases her has displeased me and whoever displeases me displeases Allah.
(Noor al-Absaar, pg 52, Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 43 p. 54)
Do traditions of this nature only hold true during the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) lifetime? Was Hazrat Faatemah (s.a.) part of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in his life time only and was her pleasure/displeasure/anger/grief equal to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) pleasure/displeasure/anger/grief only in his lifetime?
Is this tradition meaningless after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise because a dead prophet cannot be pleased/displeased/angered/saddened? If that were the case, why did Abu Bakr, Umar and other Muslims who disputed with her in the matter of Fadak and were confronted by Hazrat Faatemah (s.a.) with such traditions, not object to the invalidity of the traditions by stating that since the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is dead traditions of pleasure and displeasure lack merit?
This only means that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) can be pleased/displeased/saddened after his death like he could be pleased/displeased/saddened in his lifetime and such pleasure/displeasure/grief has consequences i.e. it is linked to Allah and leads to Paradise/Hell. This means that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is alive since pleasure/displeasure/grief cannot be attributed to a dead and helpless person.
Under the circumstances how can these so-called Muslims claim that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is dead and can provide no benefit/loss? Is there any benefit/loss greater than Paradise/Hell which is the result of his pleasure/displeasure even after his death?
V) Witness in the nation
We have discussed the position of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) as a witness in the nation at length in an earlier article under the following verses:
Apart from the verses, there are several traditions which prove that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is alive and is aware of our actions, which is the role of a witness. We reproduce a widely reported tradition to conclude the discussion:
Ibn Masood relates – TheProphet (s.a.w.a.) informed – 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 exhibited to me, and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if I see evil I will seek forgiveness from Him for you.
(Musnad, vol 1 pg 397 by al-Bazzaar, Manaahil al-Safa pg 31, Hadith 8,Al-Khasais al-Kubra vol 2, pg 281, Majma al-Zawaaid, vol 9 pg 24 Hadith 91 by Haithami, Tarh al-Tasreeb by Iraqi in (3:297)
This and other traditions of this nature prove that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is aware of our actions even after his death and intercedes for us. The numerous verses and traditions related to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) being a witness refute the belief of the so-called Muslims who claim that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is dead and can neither provide harm nor benefit.