Is the Prophet alive in his grave? What is the impact he has on our life?
Is the Prophet alive in his grave? What is the extent of the influence of the after life upon us in the life of this world?
First we need to clarify the technical terms involved in this issue, for merely clarifying terms dissipates most problems. If the intended meaning of the Prophet’s live in his grave is that he did not depart from the life of this world, and that God did not take him to Him, then this is false according to the text of the Quran, We appointed immortality for no mortal before thee. What! if thou diest, can they be immortal! [21:34]; Lo! thou wilt die, and lo! they will die [39:30].
The Prophet left the life of this world, but his departure did not cut him off from us. He has another life which is the life of the prophets and is called life after death or after dying as it was referred to when he said, “My life is good for you, you speak and I speak to you; and my death is good for you, your actions are brought before me and whatever I see of good I praise God, and whatever I see of bad I ask for God’s forgiveness on your behalf.”
And he said, “There is nobody who greets me with peace except that God sends it to my spirit and I respond to them with peace.” This hadith indicates that his spirit is connected to his blessed body forever because there is no time in which someone is not greeting the Prophet with peace. The life of the Prophet after his passing is not like the life of other people after their passing because the spirits of people other than prophets do not return to their bodies again so it is a deficient life of the soul without the body. Even if they have a connection to the life of this world by returning greeting of peace and other things that have been established in traditions, the prophets enjoy a life that is that is more complete that their lives before passing and more complete that the lives of the rest of creation after passing.
It has been authenticated that the prophets worship God in their graves. According to Anas the Prophet said, “I passed by Moses on the night of my night journey by al-Kathif al-Ahmar, and he was standing praying in his grave.” Also according to him the Prophet said, “The prophets are alive in their graves praying.” This hadith indicates that they are alive in both body and spirit due to the mention of the place when he said, “in their graves,” for if it were a life of the spirit alone he would not have mentioned the place of their lives. They are truly alive in their graves as they were before their passing from this life; it is not a life of the spirit alone. Their bodies are protected and it is forbidden for the earth to devour them. It has been authenticated that the Prophet said, “God has forbidden the earth to devour the bodies of the prophets.”
The Prophet, then, is alive in his grave in both body and spirit, and his body is preserved like the bodies of the rest of his brothers the prophets. He enjoys intimacy with his Lord worshipping Him in his grave, connected to his community, seeking forgiveness on their behalf, interceding with God for them, returning their greetings of peace, and many other things.
Whoever denies the life of the Prophet in his grave after his passing has belied him in what we have related of his sayings. And whoever denies that he has departed from the life of this world has belied what we have mentioned from the Quran. The correct position is to affirm his passing from this world as well as his life in his grave, and that he worships his Lord, returns the greetings of peace to those who greet him with peace, intercedes on behalf of his community, and seeks forgiveness for them as the most trustworthy and trusted one has informed us. And God is Most High and knows best.