Prophets being alive in the grave
It came to my knowledge that scholars such as Imam al-Bayhaqi, ibn Fawrak, as-Subki, Qatallani, and others said that the prophets are alive in the sense of the wordlly life but the belief of Ahle Sunnah is the they are alive in the sense of barzakh.
This is the result of one of their three facets which Ibn al-Jawzi ridicules them with.
As always, the basis for their argument is Aristotle’s categorisation of reality into substance and accidents.
When they were asked to classify the soul, whether it is a substance which exists by itself, or an accident which subsists in a substance and does not exist by itself; they opted for the soul being an accident, just as life is also an accident in a human body. They said that the qualities of a living being depend on the soul, which is an accident. Hence, when this accident, i.e. the soul, disappears, all the qualities of life also disappear.
What this belief necessitated is that the Prophet, after his death, is no longer a prophet, because prophethood is an accident, and an accident cannot endure two instances of time. Meaning, Allah regenerates the accidents that subsist in substances, and thereby the entire creation, every moment of time. Therefore, when the substance, i.e. the Prophet, dies, the accidents subsisting in that substance (life, soul, prophethood, etc.) also vanish.
This belief, regardless of al-Subki’s vigorous denial, lead to Ibn Furak’s death at the hands of the Sunni Seljuki Sultan Mahmud Subuktakin.
Since the belief that the Prophet is no longer a prophet became one of the shameful traits of the Ash’aris, we found the Ash’aris such as al-Qushayri and al-Bayhaqi fleeing to the other extreme and affirming that the Prophets are alive, like any of us are and fell short of denying that the Prophets really died. This is so that they can remain faithful to their Aristotelian’s faith that soul is an accident as well as prophethood, and both of these accidents still exist in the Prophet, because he is alive in his grave like we are.
Ahl al-Sunnah said in reply, that if the Prophet did not die, why did Allah tell him that:“Indeed you will die, and so will they?”
If the Prophet (saw) is alive in his grave like we are, then why the need to keep him buried underground?
If he is alive as we are, then would we not have solved the difference between Ahl al-Sunnah and the Ash’aris?
Is it because he cannot speak or move? If so, then what kind of life is it that they affirm if he cannot even speak or move?
As for Ahl al-Sunnah, we believe he is alive, just as we believe the martyrs are alive, for Allah has stated that clearly in the Quran.
Do we say that martyrs are alive as we are? And if they are alive as we are, then by which Shari’a it becomes lawful to marry their widows, and usurp their wealth by calling it inheritance?
These are just some of the ridiculous aspects of their belief as discussed beautifully by Ibn al-Qayyim in his Nuniyya.
Brought Back to Life to hear the Salam?
Some argue that since salam is continuously sent on the Prophet(saw) then his soul must be connected to the body.
The souls do not exist in the Prophet’s body. Rather, it is returned each time someone sends Salat and Salam upon the Prophet.
This return of the soul to the body is not like the return of the soul to the body in wordly life. Rather, it is in accordance with the nature of Barzakh.
Just like the person who is rewarded or punished in the grave, his soul is returned to his body in accordance with the laws of Barzakh, and not as we know it in this life. Or would the Ash’aris claim that this person is brought back to life to be punished in his grave? If so, then in this case, people are no different to the Prophets for both are brought back to life before the Day of resurrection!
If death never came to the Messenger, why was he buried? How about the statement of Abu Bakr when he said: Whoever used to worship Muhammad, then indeed Muhammad is dead!