نحمده ونصلي ونسلم على رسوله الكريم
Reality of the Corporal Body After Death
In my recent debate with the Barelwi mulla, Mufti Syed Mubashar Shah Qadri, the issue of Jism Mithali was raised. Initially the mulla flatly denied the existence of such a concept, but when I cited the Deobandi scholar ‘Hakim-ul-Ummat’ Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi as affirming and explaining the reality of Jism Mithali, the mulla was trapped and had no choice but to utter a bald faced lie. The mulla claimed that after death the Ruh (spirit) of the deceased is returned to his original body, which is also called Jism Mithali. He went on to shamelessly claim that Ashraf Thanwi was stating the same in the book Ashraf-ul-Jawab (pp.600-601) which I had cited. In the debate I remarked that this is quite strange that the Jism Asli (original body) is synonymous with Jism Mithali yet this point escaped the mulla, who insisted on lying and twisting the meaning of Ashraf Thanwi’s words!
The reality is that after death the earthen, corporal body of the deceased decays until it is nothing more than bones and dust. The special spiritual life that the soul enjoys after death in the realm of Barzakh is obviously not with the earthen corporal body which is confined to this Dunya (world). On Judgment Day, the deceased will be resurrected as a new creation, but keep in mind that Judgment Day will not happen in this world, rather, it will be in the Afterlife. The people will come out of their graves and be gathered before Allah to face their final judgment. The resurrection will begin from the tailbone that is part of a person’s spine, through it a person will be resurrected from the grave. However, the intermediate period between a person’s death and his resurrection on Judgment Day is known as the Barzakh. During this intermediate period the Ruh of the deceased is disembodied from its corporal, earthen body, but it will experience the sensations of the world of the Barzakh, such as punishment of the Grave if it is a sinful soul or the delights of Paradise if it is a good soul, through a parallel, celestial body which may be termed Jism Mithali.
The usual objection against the idea of a parallel body which is granted to the soul after death in the world of Barzakh is that there is no explicit proof for such an idea in the divinely revealed Texts of Quraan and Sunnah. However, there are many matters in Islam which we come to know of not through a single explicit text, but through deduction from studying a whole range of texts on any given issue. One has to reconcile the fact that the corporal body that is buried in a grave decomposes and becomes nothing but bones with the revelatory belief of Islam that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ during his Israa and Mi’raj (spiritual ascension) beheld the ancient Israelite Prophets. For example, he beheld the Prophet Moses praying in his grave. Therefore, what the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ saw were these Prophets in a form that was identical to their form and image of their corporal bodies while they were alive in this world. That form which he witnessed is termed Jism Mithali and we have come to know that it is a different body or form from that of their corporal earthen bodies through simple deduction.
And this reality was affirmed by the classical scholars of Islam. For example, Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyuti (1445-1505 CE) writes:
وقد رأى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ليلة الإسراء موسى قائما يصلي في قبره ورآه في السماء السادسة فالروح كانت هناك في مثل البدن ولها إتصال بالبدن بحيث يصلي في قبره
نبی کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم نے شب معراج میں موسی علیہ السلام کو ان کی قبر میں دیکھا کہ نماز پڑھ رہے ہیں اور پھر چھٹے آسمان پر بھی دیکھا۔ اس کی وجہ یہی تھی کہ آپ کی روح جسم مثالی میں قبر کے اندر موجود تھی اور اسے ایک خاص قسم کے جسم سے اتصال حاصل ہے کہ وہ نماز بھی ادا کریں
“Nabi ﷺ saw Musa performing Namaaz in his Grave on the night of Me’raj and again he saw him on the sixth Sky. This was because his soul was present in the Jism e Mithali (Ideal body) inside the grave. In addition, it has a connection to a special kind of body, whereby it is able to perform Namaaz.”
وكذلك رؤية النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم الأنبياء في ليلة الإسراء في السماوات الصحيح أنه رأى فيها الأرواح في مثل الأجسام
اسی طرح حضور اکرم صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کا شب معراج میں انبیاء علیہم السلام کو دیکھنا اجسام مثالیہ کے ساتھ تھا۔
“Similarly, Rasoolullah ﷺ seeing the Ambia e Kiraam on the eve of Me’raj is said to be with Ajsaam e Mithalia.”
Reference: Sharh-us-Sudur: p.240