Prophets Creation And Spiritual Status
How the Prophet ﷺ continues to benefit us
Allah ﷻ mentions in the Quran status of martyrs - those who are slain in His path while struggling: “And say not of those who are slain in God's cause, "They are dead": nay, they are alive, but you perceive it not.” Allah ﷻ informs us that they are alive in a way incomprehensible to us. The life of the hereafter is separated from the life of this world through an invisible divider called barzakh, an Arabic term which can be translated as ‘barrier’ in English. Barzakh is the intermediary stage between life and the day of resurrection. Our physical existence separates us from that state which we can truly understand only if we ourselves were to transfer to that state. If Allah ﷻ says that a martyr is alive in a way our physical perceptions cannot comprehend then the prophets are definitely greater than the martyrs as Allah ﷻ says: “And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors, from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company are they!” Everything mentioned in the Quran is for a reason. The sequence in the verse mentions ‘prophets’ before ‘martyrs' which should make it clear that if martyrs are living in the presence of Allah then the prophets who not only die for Allah ﷻ but their entire lives are spent in Allah’s obedience could not be considered dead i.e. in the sense of having no existence in hereafter. A prophetic hadith confirms this for us “Prophets are in Paradise, martyrs are in Paradise, infants (Muslim and non-muslim) are in Paradise and children buried alive are in Paradise.”
The possibility of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ being alive in the barzakh has been experienced by millions of Muslims for the past fifteen centuries and continues to do so mainly in the form of dreams in which they experienced visions of the prophet. These visions are an evidence of Prophet’s spiritual connection with his ummah (nation) and continues to guide and bless them through it. Imam Nawawi relates this story of al-Utbiyy in his book al-Adhkaar:
“Al-`Utbiyy said: As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet (s), a Beduin Arab came and said: Peace be upon you, O Messenger of God! I have heard God saying: If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto you and asked Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful, (Al Quran 4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness (of God) for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord [mustashfi`an bika ila rabbi]. “Then he began to recite (poetry): ‘O best of those whose body is buried in the deep earth, And from whose fragrance the depth and the height have become sweet, May I be sacrificed for a grave which you inhabit, And in which are found purity and bounty and munificence!.' Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Prophet (s) in my sleep. He said to me: ‘O `Utbiyy, run after the Bedouin and give him glad tidings that God has forgiven him.'” And God Almighty knows best.”
It is reported by Muhammad ibn Abi Hatim, one of the scribes of Imam Bukhari, who said “I once saw al-Bukhari in a dream. He was walking behind the Prophet setting his feet directly in the Prophet’s footsteps.” Imam Bukhari’s collection of prophetic ahadith is agreed upon by Islamic scholars as the most authentic collection in the history of Islam. It has guided Islamic scholars for centuries and continues to do so. The vision of Imam walking in the footsteps of the Prophet is a symbolic reference to his position as an Islamic figure which influenced the world of knowledge. AI-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrated that Abd al-Wahid ibn Adam said: ‘I once saw the Prophet with a group of his companions, in a dream. He was standing, and I greeted him, and when he returned my greeting, I said: “Why are you standing here, O Messenger of Allah?” and he replied: “I am waiting for Muhammad ibn Ismail." A few days later the news of Imam Bukhari’s death reached me, and when I checked I realized that he had died at the moment when I beheld that dream.”
Another incident recorded by Ibn al-Jawzi in Kitaab al-Wafa: “Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Minqari said I was with al-Hafiz al Tabarani and al-Hafiz Abu al-Shaykh in the Holy Prophet’s Masjid, in some difficulty. We became very hungry. That day and the next we didn't eat. When it was time for isha, I came to the Holy Prophet’s grave and I said ‘O Messenger of Allah, we are hungry, we are hungry!’ Then I left. Abu al-Shaykh said to me ‘Sit. Either there will be food for us, or death.’ I slept and Abu al-Shaykh slept. Al-Tabarani stayed awake, researching something. Then an Alawi (a descendant of Hazrath Ali) came knocking at the door with two boys, each one carrying a palm-leaf basket filled with food. We sat up and ate. We thought that the children would take back the remainder but they left everything behind. When we finished, the Alawi said: ‘O people, did you complain to the Holy Prophet? I saw him in my sleep and he ordered me to bring something to you.’”
The above are a few of thousands of instances in which many pious have experienced the Prophetic vision for themselves or for others. Recently a young British man accepted Islam because he saw Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in a dream. He related the dream in a short interview to a Muslim preacher on a street in London, please click here to view. These visions inform us and confirm for us the spiritual status that has been bestowed upon him from Allah ﷻ and how his blessed personality continues to pray for us from barzakh. A prophetic hadith informs us how the Prophet continues to play his role as a messenger from the life of barzakh: “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 ask forgiveness of Him for you.” For the past 14 centuries the Muslims have experienced miracles in the city of Madinah, as well as witnessed him making supplications for them in their dreams, asking Allah ﷻ for their forgiveness, mercy and assistance. One very important thing to mention here is that despite the fact there is evidence of prophet’s great spiritual status in Islam (even after his death) he clearly emphasized in all his teachings to seek assistance directly from Allah ﷻ without the use of intermediaries as that is one of the beautiful aspects of Ibadaah (worship) in Islam as explained earlier. For instance when some companions expressed fear of Dajjal (Anti-christ) and his trials, the Prophet said: “‘If he appears while I am among you, I will contend with him on your behalf, and if he appears when I am not among you, then each man must fend for himself, and Allah will take care of every Muslim on my behalf.” Instances like these make it clear that the Prophet did not advise us to invoke him instead he emphasized on seeking assistance directly from Allah ﷻ as none can assist like Allah ﷻ can and that is the core of Ibadaah (worship) in Islam.
 Al Quran 2:154
 Al Quran 4:69
 Sunan Abu Dawud 2521 – Sunnah.com
 Haddad, Shaykh Gibril Fouad. 1992. "Visiting the Grave of the Prophet (s)." In Kitab Al-Adhkar, by Imam Al-Nawawi, 253-254. Mecca: al-Maktaba al-Tijariyya.
 Asqalani, Ibn Hajar Al. n.d. Selections from the Fath Al-Bari (commentary on Sahih Al Bukhari) Translated by Abdul Hakim Murad. The Muslim Academic Trust - www.masud.co.uk
 Abu Al Farash Al Jawzi (1126 – 1200 CE) - He was known for his works in exegesis of the Qur’aan as well as his numerous hadith writings.
 The Prophet in Barzakh by Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki – Translation by Sheikh Gibril Haddad. Please click here for more details.
 Sunan Ibn Majah 4075 – Sunnah.com