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Last Updated: 2014/11/08
Summary of question
Are the elemental bodies of the Prophet of Islam (AS) and Imams in the same places where they were buried?
Are the elemental bodies of the Prophet of Islam (AS) and Imams in the same places where they were buried?
Concise answer
According to some narrations, the elemental bodies of the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams (AS) are not in the same land where they were buried. In fact, their pure bodies are transferred to the divine ‘arsh (lit. throne). Examples of these narrations will be mentioned in the detailed answer.
Detailed Answer
According to some narrations, the elemental bodies of the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams (AS) are not in the same land where they were buried. In fact, their pure bodies are with their Lord in the divine ‘arsh[1] but that land is honored and respected due to the Prophet’s and Imams’ bodies which were buried there at first. Since the angels descend and are considerate of their pilgrims, that place remains sacred and holy, even though their pure bodies have been moved to the divine throne.[2]
As we read in the narrations:
1. Imam Sadiq (AS) says: “No Prophet nor any of their trustees posthumously remain more than three days[3] in the earth but their soul, bones, and flesh will be carried to the heavens and only their burial places will be visited and the salutations will be communicated to them from afar and they will hear them in the proximity of their burial places.”[4]
2. Abdullah bin Bukayr Arjani asked Imam Sadiq (AS): “If Imam Hussein’s grave is dug up, do they find anything therein?”
Imam Sadiq (AS) answered: “O son of Bukayr, you have asked a very big question! …If they were to dig up the grave when he was buried, they would find him there, but he is alive and he receives sustenance from his Lord looking at his army and the Throne … and saying: “O Lord, fulfill Your promise to me. He looks at his pilgrims.  He knows them, their names, ranks and status with God more than you know your children and what you have in your house.  He sees those who weep for him and he intercedes for them with Allah to forgive them. All those angels who were in the heavens and the Hāeir (the land in which the Imam’s body is buried) hear the pilgrims’ cry; they seek their forgiveness and they go out of that land when they have no sins with them.”[5]

[1] Vide: Indexes “Arsh and Throne”, question 60 (Site: 296); “The Concept o Arsh and Throne”, question 5761 (site: 2004).
[2] Vide: Isfaraini, Mulla Ismail, Anvar a-Irfan, research: Nazari, Sa’eid, p.238 and 239, Islamic Propagation Office, Qom, first edition, 1383 (2004); Astarabadi, Muhammad Ja’far, al-Barahin al-Qate’ah fi Sharh Tajrid al-‘Aqaed al-Sate’ah, vol.4, p.240, Maktab al-E’lam al-Islami, Qom, first edition, 1382 (2003); Faiz Kashani, al-Shafi fi al-Aqaed wa al-Akhlaq wal-Ahkam, p.901 and 902, Dar al-Lowh al-Mahfoz, first edition, 1425 A.H.
[3] In some narrations, “three  days have been mentioned”; (Sheikh Tusi, Tahzib al-Ahkam, vol.6, p.106, Dar al-Kotob al-Islamiyyah, Tehran, 1365 (1986).
[4] «مَا مِنْ نَبِيٍّ وَ لَا وَصِيٍّ حَتَّى يُرْفَعَ بِرُوحِهِ وَ عَظْمِهِ وَ لَحْمِهِ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ وَ إِنَّمَا يُؤْتَى مَوَاضِعُ آثَارِهِمْ وَ يُبَلِّغُونَهُمْ مِنْ بَعِيدٍ السَّلَامَ وَ يُسْمِعُونَهُمْ فِي مَوَاضِعِ آثَارِهِمْ مِنْ قَرِيب»  (Ibn Qulawayh, Kamil al-Ziarat, p.329 and 330, Murtazawi Publications, Najaf, first edition, 1356 (1976) A.H.; Sheikh Saduq, Man La Yahzuruhu al-Faqih, vol.2, p. 577, Jame’ah Mudarresin Publications, Qom, second edition, 1404 A.H.)
[5]  Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Behar al-Anwar, vol.25, p.376, Nashr Islamiyyah, Tehran, printed in different years multiple times, Kamil al-Ziyarat, p.329.
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