Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.
Q. What is the meaning of the statement of your Sheikh (Sheikh Nazim al-Qubrusi) when he said, “When Mehdi (a.s) comes, I will call him (one of his murids) from Barzakh…So many people are going to come back from Barzakh (the life after death) with Grandsheikh, to follow Sayyidina Imam”? Do Naqshbandi beliefs echo the strange Shia Ithna Ashari sect doctrine of al-Raja’ah (the return)? Imam al-Sadiq said: “The first one who shall return to this world (at the time of al-Mahdi) is al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali, who rules until his eyebrow falls over his eyes due to his old age” (al-Bihar, v53, p46, Hadith #19 quoted from Muntakhab al-Basa’ir).
A. Belief in the return back to life after death of certain believers, to witness a great event, is not a “strange” belief to Islam and Muslims, nor is it limited to the al-Shia Ithna ‘Ashari.
On the Night of al-Isra, all of the Prophets from Adam to the Seal of Prophets (S) returned to life after death, physically, at al-Aqsa, in Jerusalem, and prayed behind the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and witnessed his exalted Coronation as the Imam ul-Ambiya. Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jam’ah maintains that al-Isra was a physical and literal journey, and not spiritual, and as such, already confirms belief in the return from the earliest days of the Seerah and Islam. In the online version of Al-Nubuwat (Arabic), Volume 1 page 218, Ibn Taimiyah said,
احياء الموتى فانه اشترك فيه كثير من الانبياء بل ومن الصالحين
[“Bringing the dead to life is common among the prophets and even among the righteous”.]
Abraham raised the dead
The Holy Qur’an states, “Behold! Abraham said: “My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead.” He said: “Dost thou not then believe?” He said: “Yea! but I would like to satisfy my heart.” He said: “Take four birds; Tame them to turn to thee; put a portion of them on every hill and call to them: They will come to thee (Flying) with speed. Then know that Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise” [2:260]. The words used by Abraham in this verse are “liyatmainna qalbee” (I seek that from Thee which will provide satisfaction to my heart i.e. the dhikr to raise the dead). The Holy Qur’an defines what provides satistaction (liyatmainna qalbee) to the hearts of believers, “Allatheena amanoo watatmainnu quloobuhum bithikri Allahi ala bithikri Allahi tatmainnu alquloobu“, meaning “Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah; for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction [13:28].
The verses above indicate that Abraham prayed to be granted the dhikr to raise the dead, meaning knowledge of the Name of Allah by which the dead can be raised. It also tells us in verse 260 of al-Baqarah that he was granted the ability to raise the dead, and did raise the dead. It is my understanding that this knowledge of how to raise the dead was then passed from Abraham to his spiritual inheritors, including the Israelite Prophets, in specific to Jesus son of Mary (peace be upon them), and the Ishmaelites, and Muslim Saints amongst whom is Mawlana Shaykh Nazim.
Jesus raised the dead
The Holy Qur’an states that Jesus son of Mary (alaihi salam) also brought the dead back to life. The Qur’an states, “I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah’s leave” [3: 49-51]. Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn Yusuf al-Buni included this dhikr (of Jesus alaihi salam) in his book Shams ul-Ma’arif al-Kubra.
Furthermore, the Holy Qur’an states about Uzair (alaihis alam), “Consider the one who passed by a ghost town and wondered, “How can Allah revive this after it had died?” Allah then put him to death for a hundred years, then resurrected him. He said, “How long have you stayed here?” He said, “I have been here a day, or part of the day.” He said, “No! You have been here a hundred years. Yet, look at your food and drink; they did not spoil. Look at your donkey – we thus render you a lesson for the people. Now, note how we construct the bones, then cover them with flesh.” When he realized what had happened, he said, “Now I know that Allah is Omnipotent”[2:259].
Sahabah raised the dead
The author of Hayatus Sahaba Mawlana Yusuf Kandhlawi writes in Volume 3 page 667 under the chapter ‘The reviving of the dead’:
“Hazrat Anas bin Malik reported: An Ansari youth was with us. He died very early. We closed his eyes and covered him with a cloth. Some of us said to his mother: ‘Observe patience over his death and intend for recompense (thawab)’. His mother said ‘Has he died?’ We said ‘yes’. That old woman raised both of her hands towards the sky and said ‘Allah! I believed in you and migrated towards your messenger. Whenever any misfortune visited me, I prayed to You and You removed it for me!’ Hazrath Anas reports that the boy removed the cloth from his face, i.e. he came to life and while he had not yet gone from there, he ate with us and we ate with him”.
Mahdi (alaihi salam) will raise the dead
Harun Yahya writes in his book ‘The Awaited Mahdi’, “Imam Abu Ishaq Salam states in his commentary on the Qur’an: “When the Mahdi appears he will go to the Companions of the Cave and greet them, and Allah will resurrect them and they will take their places at the Mahdi’s side. Afterwards, they will return to the place where they lie and not rise again until the day of Resurrection.” (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman)” and “Imam Suyuti states: “The slumber of the Ashab al-Kahf is a grant them by Allah. Because they will be the Mahdi’s helpers and will have the honor of being included in the community of Muhammed (saas).” (Hadiths from the commentary by Jalaladdin Suyuti, Portents of the Mahdi of the End Times, p. 59)”.
The Anti-Christ Dajjal will also know how to raise the dead
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri(radhiyallahu anhu): Allah’s Apostle(sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) told us a long narrative about Ad-Dajjal, and among the many things he mentioned, was his saying, “Ad-Dajjal will come and it will be forbidden for him to pass through the entrances of Madinah. He will land in some of the salty barren areas (outside) Madinah; on that day the best man or one of the best men will come up to him and say, ‘I testify that you are the same Dajjal whose description was given to us by Allah’s Apostle .’ Ad-Dajjal will say to the people, ‘If I kill this man and bring him back to life again, will you doubt my claim?’ They will say, ‘No.’ Then Ad-Dajjal will kill that man and bring him back to life. That man will say, ‘Now I know your reality better than before.’ Ad-Dajjal will say, ‘I want to kill him but I cannot.’ ” (Bukhari)
Established elementary Sunni belief
The proofs cited above help make it clear that Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s statement quoted in your question, is in fact not “strange”, nor is it a belief limited to al-Shia Ithna Ashari school. Rather, belief in the possibility of return to life after death, is established in elementary and basic Islamic beliefs for those who pay close attention to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. Prophetic inheritors like Sultan ul-Awliya Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi an-Naqshbandi and our GrandShaykh (qadas Allahu sirrah), who are inheritors of Abraham (peace be upon him) and the Holy Prophet (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) inherited this miraculous power as a Muhammadan grant, by the leave of Allah.
And Allah Knows Best!
Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin