Question 86: Greetings and peace,
My question is regarding purgatory, what is the life of the dead like in purgatory? And do they meet with others and visit the dead and the living? And do they eat food and drink water? And what about the good deeds which we perform for them? Many thanks.
Sender: George Butrus
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Abundantly Merciful, the Intensely Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds. And may the peace and prayers of Allah be upon Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad, the Imams and the Mahdis.
People are of different categories, and the people in each category have their own purgatory. So the state of the Prophets, Vicegerents, and Awliyaa’ of Allah swt, is not the same as the state of the rest of the believers who commit acts of disobedience. And the state of the leaders of disbelief and corruption is not the same as the state of the rest of the disbelievers, leaders [of disbelief] like Nimrod who fought the prophet of Allah Abraham pbuh, and Pharaoh who fought the prophet of Allah Moses pbuh, and Ananias and Caiaphas, the non-working clerics of the Jews who fought the prophet of Allah Jesus pbuh.
And the dead in purgatory can visit the living and the dead by the permission of Allah, and they eat and drink that which suits the world to which they descended and [that which] suits their previous works/acts. And the believers from them benefit from the good works performed for them by the believers in this worldly life. And I personally visited the grave of my father years ago and he spoke to me from the grave and I heard his voice.
And many of the living see the dead visiting them in visions, meaning during sleep.
As for the prophets and vicegerents in purgatory certainly they continue working on what Allah has assigned for them, and they have works and effects in this world and in other worlds. 1
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1 – And this meaning came in many narrations from the pure progeny pbut: Narrated from the Prince of Believers pbuh in his sermon, he said, “… O people take this saying from the Seal of the Prophets (pbuh & his family), that those from among us die whereas they are not dead, and those from among us decay whereas they have not decayed. So do not speak of what you do not know, as most of the truth lies within what you deny. Accept the one against whom you have no argument, and that is me…” Nahjul Balaghah Vol. 1, p. 154.
Ammar bin Marwan narrated from Samaa, he said, “I was entering the house of Abu Abdullah pbuh and he saw me talking to myself, so he said, “What is the matter, do you miss seeing Abu Jafar pbuh?” So I said, “Yes.” He said, “Then enter the house.” And there was Abu Jafar pbuh.” Basair al-Darajat by al-Saffar p. 295.
A group from the Shia came to al-Hassan bin Ali pbuh after the murder of the Prince of Believers pbuh and asked him questions, so he said, “Would you recognize the Prince of Believers if you were to see him?” They said, “Yes.” So he pbuh said, “Then lift the curtains.” So they did, and they found the Prince of Believers pbuh and did not deny him. And the Prince of Believers pbuh said, “Those from among us die whereas they are not dead, and those from among us remain as a proof against you.” Basair al-Darajat by al-Saffar p. 295. (The commentator