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ROOH (SOUL)


Rooh or Ruh is the Arabic word for soul or spirit.

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

The rooh (soul or spirit) has been described by Allah (Glory be to Him) in His Book and by the Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) in his Sunnah, and various verbs and adjectives have been used in conjunction with the word ‘rooh’, such as seizing or grasping, taking (as in death), it may be fettered or shrouded, it comes and goes, it goes up and comes down, it may be pulled out like a hair being pulled out of dough… It is obligatory (in Islam) to believe in these attributes which are narrated in the “two Revelations” (i.e., the Qur’an and Sunnah), and also to realize that the soul is not like the body.

 

The word rooh is also used to refer to angel Jibreel (Peace be upon Him):

Which the trustworthy Rooh (Jibreel (Gabriel) has brought down. Qur'an.Surah Shuara 26: 193

 

And it is used to refer to the Qur'an:

And thus We have sent to you (O' Muhammad) Rooh (a revelation, and a mercy) of Our Command... Qur'an.Surah Shura 42: 52

 

Ibn Taymiyyah (May Allah have Mercy on Him) said:

"The soul which is controlling the body and which leaves it at the time of death is the rooh which was breathed into it. It is the nafs which departs at the time of death."
(Risaalat al-'Aql war-Rooh, Majmoo' ar-Rasaa'il al-Muneeriyyah, 2/36; see Sharh al-'Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah, 445)

 

Those who differentiate between the rooh and the nafs, and regard them as two separate things, are mistaken. [1]

 

Creation of Soul

Allah (Glory be to Him) is the Creator of all things, and the soul is something that has been created just like everything else. Allah (Glory be to Him) has kept this knowledge exclusively to Himself, as is stated in the hadith of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood®, who said: “Whilst I was with the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) on a farm, and he was resting on a palm branch stripped of its leaves, the Jews passed by, and some of them said to others, ‘Ask him about the soul.’ Some of them said, ‘What urges you to ask him about it?’ Others of them said, ‘Don’t ask him in case he says something you dislike.’ But they said, ‘Ask him,’ so they asked him about the soul. The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) kept quiet and did not respond to them, and I knew that he was receiving Revelation, so I stayed where I was. When the Revelation of the ayah was complete, he said (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And they ask you [O Muhammad] concerning the rooh [the spirit]. Say: ‘The rooh: it is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.’  Qur’an.Surah Isra’ 17:85, Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 9: 548.

 

The rooh (soul or spirit) has been described by Allah (Glory be to Him) in His Book and by the Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) in his Sunnah, and various verbs and adjectives have been used in conjunction with the word ‘rooh’, such as seizing or grasping, taking (as in death), it may be fettered or shrouded, it comes and goes, it goes up and comes down, it may be pulled out like a hair being pulled out of dough… It is obligatory (in Islam) to believe in these attributes which are narrated in the “two Revelations” (i.e., the Qur’an and Sunnah), and also to realize that the soul is not like the body.

 

Allah (Glory be to Him) created Adam and breathed the soul into him, as is stated in the Qur’an and in the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace): “When Allah created Adam and breathed the soul into him, he sneezed and said ‘Al-hamdu-Lillah (Praise be to Allah).’ He praised Allah (Glory be to Him) by His permission. Allah said, O Adam. Go to those angels, to a group of them who are sitting, and say, ‘As-salaamu ‘alaykum (peace be upon you).’ They said, ‘Wa ‘alayka al-salaam wa rahmat-Allah (and upon you be peace and the Mercy of Allah).’ Then he went back to his Lord, who said, ‘This is your greeting and the greeting of your descendants amongst themselves.’”Reported and classed as hasan by Al-Tirmidhi in Sunan Al-Tirmidhi 3290 and Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 978

 

Allah (Glory be to Him) sends the angel to breathe the soul into the foetus as was reported by ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ood ®, who said: “The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) who is the most truthful (of human beings) and his being truthful (is a fact) told us: ‘The constituents of one of you is gathered in his mother’s womb for forty days, then it becomes a clot of blood within another period of forty days. Then it becomes a lump of flesh, and forty days later, Allah (Glory be to Him) sends His angel to it to breathe into it the soul. The angel comes with instructions concerning four things, so the angel writes down his livelihood, his death, his deeds and whether he will doomed or blessed.”Reported by Sahih Al Muslim 6390. [2] [3]

 

The soul, when we sleep

When people sleep (and sleep is the “lesser death”), the soul is taken, but not completely, so the sleeper is still alive. Allah (Glory be to Him) says (interpretation of the meaning): “It is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep, He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.” Qur’an.Surah Zumar 39:42  

 

What happens to the soul after death

The soul of the deceased is taken from the ends of the toes towards the top of the body, and when it reaches the throat, the death rattle sounds in the throat of the person who is about to die, and his eyes glaze over and roll upwards. Umm Salamah® said: “The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) entered upon Abu Salamah ® (after he had died) and his eyes were open, so he closed them then said, ‘When the soul is taken, the eyes follow it.”  Sahih Al Muslim 2003.

 

More information about how the soul comes out (at death) was reported in the hadith of Imaam Ahmad (May Allah have mercy on him) from al-Bara’ ibn ‘Aazib ® who said: “We went out with the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar, and we reached the grave whilst it was still being dug. The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) sat down and we sat down around him, and it was as if we had birds on our heads. In his hand was a stick with which he was scratching in the earth. He raised his head and said, ‘Seek refuge with Allah (Glory be to Him) from the punishment of the grave,’ two or three times. Then he said, ‘Verily, when the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him angels from heaven with white faces, as if their faces are the sun. They bring with them one of the shrouds of Paradise and some of the perfume of Paradise. They sit with him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death (May Allah have mercy on Him) comes to him and sits by his head and says, ‘O pure soul, come out to the forgiveness and pleasure of Allah.’ Then his soul comes flowing out like a drop of water flowing from a cup. Then he takes the soul, and no sooner does he seize it but they take it and place it in that shroud and perfume. Then out of it comes the most excellent fragrance of musk to be found on the face of the earth. Then they ascend with it and they do not pass by any group of angels but the angels ask, ‘Who is this pure soul?’ and they reply, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so’ – using the best names by which he was known on earth. Then they bring it to the lowest heaven, and ask for it to be opened, and it is opened for him.

 

Those who are of high rank in each heaven accompany it until they approach the next heaven, and so it goes until it reaches the seventh heaven. Then Allah (Glory be to Him), may He be glorified and exalted, says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon (the highest heaven) and take him back to the earth, for I created them from it, and I shall return them to it, then I shall take them out from it again.’ Then his soul is returned to his body and two angels come and make him sit up, and ask him, ‘Who is your Lord.’ He says, ‘Allah.’ They ask, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They ask, ‘Who is this man that was sent amongst you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace).’ They ask him, ‘What knowledge do you have?’ He says, 'I read the Book of Allah and I believed in it.’ Then a voice will call out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth. Prepare for him a bed from Paradise and give him clothes from Paradise, and open for him a door to Paradise.’ And he will feel its breeze and smell its fragrance, and his grave will be widened for him as far as his eye can see. Then a man with a handsome face, beautiful clothes and a pleasant fragrance will come to him and say, ‘Good news! This is the day that you were promised.’ He will say, ‘Who are you? You face looks as if it brings good news.’ He will say, 'I am your good deeds.’ (The deceased) will say, ‘O Lord, let the Hour come so that I may see my family and my wealth again.’

 

When the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him angels from heaven with black faces, bringing with them sackcloth. They sit with him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes to him and sits by his head and says, ‘O evil soul, come out to the wrath and anger of Allah.’ Then his soul disperses in his body and is dragged out like a skewer being pulled out of wet wool. Then he takes the soul, and no sooner does he seize it but they take it and place it in that sackcloth. Then out of it comes the most putrid stench of rotten flesh to be found on the face of the earth. Then they ascend with it and they do not pass by any group of angels but the angels ask, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they reply, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so’ – using the worst names by which he was known on earth. Then they bring it to the lowest heaven, and ask for it to be opened, and it is not opened for him.” Then the Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and Grant Him peace) recited (interpretation of the meaning): “… For them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle” Qur’an.Surah A’raf 7:40. Then he said, “Then Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen (the lowest Hell) in the lowest earth. Then his soul is cast down.” Then he recited (interpretation of the meaning): “… and whoever assigns partners to Allah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place.” Qur’an.Surah Hajj 22:31. He said, “Then his soul is returned to his body and two angels come and make him sit up, and ask him, ‘Who is your Lord.’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They ask, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They ask, ‘Who is this man that was sent amongst you?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice will call out from heaven, ‘He is lying. Prepare for him a bed from Hell and open for him a door to Hell.’ And he will feel its hot winds and smell its stench, and his grave will be constricted for him until his ribs interlock. Then a man with an ugly face, ugly clothes and a horrible stench will come to him and say, ‘Bad news! This is the day that you were warned about.’ He will say, ‘Who are you? You face looks as if it brings bad news.’ He will say, 'I am your evil deeds.’ (The deceased) will say, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come!’”Musnad al-Imaam Ahmad, 17803. [4]

 

The soul is connected to the body in five different ways

Ibn al-Qayyim (May Allah have Mercy on Him) said: The soul (al-rooh) is connected to the body in five different ways, to which different rules apply.

 

  • Its connection to the body as a foetus in his mother’s womb.

 

  • Its connection to the body after a person is born.

 

  • Its connection to the body when a person is asleep, when the soul is connected in one way and separated from it in another way.

 

  • Its connection to the body in al-Barzakh (the period between a person's death and the Day of Resurrection).

 

  • Its connection to the body on the Day when bodies will be resurrected. This is the most perfect type of connection to the body, and has no comparison to the previous types, because after that the body will never die, sleep or have anything wrong with it. [5]

References

[1]http://www.turntoislam.com/threads/the-soul-ar-rooh-and-an-nafs.51499/

[2]http://islamqa.info/en/ref/4395

[3] http://www.sunnah.com/urn/2209320

[4] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/4395

[5] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/6090

 

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