Ibn al-Qayyim on Life in the Grave

As for the fainting of the spirits at the blast on the trumpet, it is not necessary to infer from it their death. In the sound tradition, “People faint on the Day of Resurrection and I am the first who recovers, but behold Musa is grasping the support of the throne. I do not know whether he awoke before me or at the same time in the swooning on the day of al-Tur” (See Quran lii,45) . This is the swooning in the Standing (Mawqif) of the Resurrection, when God comes to the division of the judgement and the earth is illuminated with His light. At that time the creatures, all of them, swoon. God said, “Abandon them until they meet their day on which they swoon (Quran Lii,45).” If this swooning were a death, then it would be another death.

A company of the excellent (Muslims) have drawn attention to this. Abu Abd Allah al-Qurtubi said, “The obvious meaning of this tradition is that this is a swooning, a fainting which is one the Day of Resurrection (Qimayah), not the swooning of death resulting from the blast of the trumpet.” He said, “our Shaykh, Ahmad Ibn Amr said, ‘The obvious meaning of the tradition of the Prophet indicates that this swooning is only after the second blast, the blast of the Resurrection (Bath), and the text of the Quran necessitates that this exception is only after the blast of the swooning.'” When this was (stated) one of the learned men said, “It is possible that Musa is one of the Prophets who did not die, and this is preposterous.”

Al-Qadi Iyad said, “It is possible that the meaning of this swooning is fear after the Resurrection, when the heaven and the earth are split asunder.'” He said, “The traditions and the stories amount to little.” Abu ‘l-Abbas al-Qurtubi refuted him saying . “His statement in the sound tradition opposes this, that he, when he comes out from his grave meets Musa grasping the support of (p.55) the throne.” He said, “This is at the time of the blast of fear only.” Abu Abdullah said, “Our Shaykh, Ahmad Ibn Amr, said ‘The consideration not pure non-existence, but only a transition from one state to another. There points to that the fact that the martyrs, after their violent end and their death, are ‘alive with their Lord, sustained, rejoicing, glad (see Quran iii,163).’ This is an attribute of those living in the world. Since this was true of the martyrs, the prophets are more worthy and more suitable in regard to that; in addition the fact that it is valid on the Prophet’s authority that the earth does not consume the bodies of the prophets; and that he met with the prophets on the Night Journey (Quran xvii, 1) in Jerusalem and in the heavens , especially with Musa. And he has given information that no Muslim greets him without God returning his spirit to him, so that he may return the greeting to him, etc., with other arguments from the whole of which a decision may be obtained to the effect that the death of the prophets may be inferred only to the extent that they are absent from us where we do not overtake them, although they are in existence, alive. That is like the state among the angles, for they are alive, in existence, although we do not see them . If it is confessed that they are alive, then when the blast of the swooning is blown on the trumpet everyone in the heavens and in the earth swoons, except whom God wills. As for the swooning of other than the prophets, it means death. As for the swooning of the prophets, the clearest inference is that it is a fainting. When the blast of the Resurrection (Ba`th) is blown on the trumpet, whoever has died is made alive, and whoever has fainted recovers. Therefore he said in the tradition admittedly sound., ‘I am the first who recovers.’ So our Prophets is the first who leaves his grave before all men, except Musa. There results in it uncertainty whether he rises before him from his fainting, or remains in the state in which he was before the blast of the swooning, (p.56) awake, because he was reckoned with in the swooning of the day of al-Tur. This is a great favor to Musa ; but it is not necessary from some one merit of his to infer his superiority over our Prophet absolutely, because a particular does not necessitate a universal.

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