Near-death experiences & Islamic beliefs about dying

Posted on January 24, 2016 · Posted in Blog, General, Personal



We hear a lot about near-death experiences form thousands of people who came back from the brink of death. Their accounts of what they experience are remarkably similar. However, those accounts do not resemble what we read in the Sunnah regarding what takes place at the time of death. What should our stance be regarding these accounts?


The Qur’ân and Sunnah do not speak about near-death experiences at all. When the sacred texts speak about death, they invariably refer to the moment where the human being actually makes the transition from this world into the next.Experiences that take place before death occurs, like sickness and what have you, are not intrinsically related to death itself. They are experiences that people might have whether or not hey are really going to die. For instance, someone might get sick and recover from the illness, whereas someone else who is perfectly healthy might die all of the sudden in an accident. This is something quite obvious to all.

The Qur’ân and Sunnah do not discuss in detail what people might experience when they are in a state where they are physically likely to die, but rather they speak at length about what takes place after they really die – when they really make the transition into the next life. The sacred texts discuss the experiences in the “grave” (actually the time period between death ad resurrection), what occurs at resurrection, the Day of Judgment, and the ultimate destiny or arriving in Heaven or Hell.

As for the experiences that people face when they are physically on the brink of death, but then recover, those experiences were not actually the experience of death itself. Those experiences are physiological experiences that that have under the particular physical conditions they are in, whether they are going to die or recover. If such experiences are shared by many people, then that is because those people share the conditions that bring on those experiences.

As for the accounts of those experiences not resembling what Islam says about the time of death – like the arrival of angels to take the soul – it is because the people telling of those experiences did not die. The angels did not come to take their souls, because it was not their appointed time of death. If the angels did come, then those people would not have lived to give their account of their “near-death” experiences. When the time of death comes to someone, there is no returning to the world.

And Allah knows best.

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