Truth about the Soul

Truth about the Soul

Truth about the Soul The soul is one of the greatest puzzles for humanity. All people agree that a “living” person becomes “dead” by the departure of “life” or “soul”. The soul is the only part of ghayb that even atheists and materialists cannot deny.
Obviously, the soul is responsible for life. But what are its properties, qualities, abilities, etc? Philosophers, theologians, mystics, scientists, and other types of people have tried to answer such questions — only to come up with conflicting and confusing views that have no solid proof or evidence.
In Islam, we are given a few glimpses into the knowledge of the soul. But its detailed understanding remains concealed from us. ALLAH  says:

«They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning the soul. Dream Interpretation
Say, “The soul is of the affair (i.e., knowledge) of my Lord. And you (people) have not been given of knowledge except a Iittle.”» 1
Al-QurtubI (ij&) said:
“This means that the knowledge of the soul is a great and major affair that belongs with Allah (t$g). He kept this knowledge obscure and undetailed so that people would realize their inability to know the truth about
;/r :Ji ^)\ £
1 Al-lsra 17:85.
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their soul — though they know it (i.e., the soul) exists.
And being incapable of fully comprehending the truth about themselves is more reason for them to be incapable of fully comprehending the truth about Allah (i.e., His majesty and other attributes).” 1
From various authentic texts, we leam that the soul is an invisible object that is intertwined with the body. It has many qualities that we normally apply to tangible bodies: It has “eyes” and “hands”; an angel “blows” it into a body to give the body life; an angel “pulls” it out of a body to cause the body death; it “hides” and “clings” to the body to evade the Angel of Death; it “departs” from the body at death; it has either a good or foul “odor”; angels “hold” it, “put” it in shrouds, and “embalm” it; it “speaks” to other souls in the heavens; and so on. 2
Although the body dies, the soul does not. Al-QurtubI (‘*&’) said, ‘The soul neither dies nor expires. It is of those created things that have a beginning but no end.” 3
In this book, we will leam some additional qualities of the soul.
Two Words for “Soul” in Arabic
In the texts of the Quran and Sunnah, two words are used for soul: “ruh“ (pi. arwah) and “nafs” (pi. anfus) 4. Some scholars believe that these two words apply to different aspects of the soul. The correct view, however, is that they have the same meaning, because they are used interchangeably when discussing identical situations.
For example, al-Bara Bin ‘Azib (4&) reported that the Prophet said: , ,
ill ^ J\ ^>>1 .fcpaJI u!Lo ‘JjL*
«.. .j,j% :Cj\ iu dk* jir ui JL iij’
1 Al-Jami’ li-Ahkam il-Quran 17:85.
2 We discuss these and other related incidents in our book, “Life in al-Barzakh”.
3 Al-Jami‘ li-Ahkam il-Quran 39:42.
4 This is similar to that the English words “spirit” and “soul” are synonyms.
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The Soul
As another example, Umm Salamah (t^) reported that the Prophet (H) visited Abu Salamah after his gaze became fixed (because of death). He closed Abu Salamah’s eyes and said:
«lil jl»
<indeed, when=”” the=”” ruh=”” is=”” taken,=”” eyesight=”” follows=”” it.=””> 2
Reporting the same incident, Abu Hurayrah (*^>) said that the Prophet (!&) said:
> ~>i oL» lil jLujVI Ijjj |«JI»
* ‘ \ ‘ > ‘ ‘ * “® \ ”ll*’4
(( . > tJ lA> 3
Commenting on this, an-NawawT (3^5) said:
‘This provides evidence for those who say that ruh and nafs have the same meaning.” 4
A third example is that Allah ($$) says:
1 Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and others; verified to be authentic by al-Albanl {Ahkam ul-Janaiz pp. 198-202).
2 Recorded by Muslim (920), Ahmad, and others.
3 Recorded by Muslim (921).
4 Al-Minhaj 6:463.
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iV ^ cX JJ Jfcj . Ijjftl J£> il>
«Allah takes the anfus at the time of their death, and (also) those that have not died during their sleep.» 1
Also referring to sleep, Abu Qatadah Prophet {$&) said:
«. *Li> &> LlJI ajUI jl»
reported that the
<indeed, allah=”” took=”” away=”” our=”” arwah=”” (during=”” sleep)=”” when=”” he=”” willed,=”” and=”” returned=”” them=”” to=”” us=”” willed.=””></indeed,></indeed,>

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