Saturday, 18 April 2009

Near Death experiences and Islam

When doctors returned to check on the patient who had almost died and been in a deep coma before being resuscitated, he thanked them for all the work they had done. He had, he told the surprised team of medics, been very impressed and had watched everything they had done. He had heard all that had been said, too, and, at one point, had been concerned when resuscitation was about to be abandoned. He then went on to describe in detail the room where he had been treated – although he had never been conscious in there.

That near-death experience is one of a number recorded by Dutch doctors and one of thousands of similar cases that have now been documented in a major worldwide study.

New research shows that many critically ill kidney dialysis patients have similar experiences, and that almost one in 10 heart-arrest survivors also report near-death experiences whose features include out of body sensations, bright lights, dark tunnels, and images of life events and spiritual entities.

But there's no consensus on what lies behind near-death experiences, even though they are being increasingly reported. Are they, as some people are convinced, signs of the soul leaving the body? Or are they, as others suggest, the last, dreamlike act put on by a dying brain?

Near-death experiences are surprisingly common. In the latest study, researchers quizzed 710 kidney dialysis patients and found that, out of 70 patients who had suffered a life-threatening event, 45 had gone though a near-death experience. And research by Virginia University shows that 10 per cent of heart-arrest patients, and 1 per cent of other cardiac patients, had reported having a near-death experience.

Near-death experiences occur in both sexes, in every culture, and at all ages. Researchers at the University Hospital of Geneva recently reported what they describe as the first case in a child of 12 who had undergone elective, uncomplicated surgery that had run into difficulties. But, in spite of considerable differences in ages, cultures and diseases, many features of near-death experiences are remarkably similar.

The spiritual theorists have it that this is the immediate prelude to death itself, and that it establishes that there is life after death. These theories take what the individual sees, hears and feels as being a report of exactly what happened. One suggestion is that, at the time of death, the body and soul separate and near-death experiences are a glimpse of the first part of that process.

A range of psychological theories have been put forward to explain the phenomenon. One suggests that it is a defence mechanism in the face of impending death. Another floats the idea that the working of the brain is somehow altered by changes in chemicals that occur shortly before death. Other explanations include false memories, a reaction to acute stress, and anoxia, or lack of oxygen, resulting in sensory disturbances.

A newer theory suggests the arousal system is implicated, and that the near-death experience is triggered by the crisis. The idea is that rapid eye movement (or REM sleep, where most dreaming occurs, and where the sleeper is paralysed, with only the heart, diaphragm, eye muscles and the smooth muscles active) is involved. At the root of the theory is the notion that some people are more prone to a condition called REM intrusion, where sleep paralysis occurs when they are awake. It is found in people with narcolepsy, or excessive sleepiness, and it can be accompanied by hallucinations or delusional experiences that are unusually vivid and often frightening.

Research led by Dr Kevin Nelson, clinical neurophysiologist and Professor of Neurology at the University of Kentucky shows that, out of 55 people who have had near-death experiences, 60 per cent had at least one prior occasion where REM sleep state intruded into wakefulness, compared to only 24 per cent in a control group. "Instead of passing directly between the REM state and wakefulness, the brain switch in those with a near-death experience is more likely to blend the REM state and wakefulness into one another," he says.

Brain regions involved in the REM state are part of the arousal system that regulates different states of consciousness, and are also part of the brain's fight-or-flight survival instinct. The theory, which is gaining support, is that people who have experienced a previous REM-intrusion are more likely to have a near-death experience under circumstances of peril. It has also been shown that stimulating the heart and lung nerve, as occurs during resuscitation, can trigger REM-intrusion.

The theory also has explanations for the common characteristics of near-death experience. The impression of being dead, for example, could be a reaction to the paralysis of REM, while the tunnel of light may be linked to changes in blood flow in the retina and visual activation by the REM system.

The paranormal and spiritual images may result from the fact that the limbic system, which is older than other parts of the brain and which is involved in behaviour, emotion and long-term memory, is strongly active during REM sleep. Out of body experiences – often reported by people under extreme stress – have also been linked to the arousal system.

While it offers explanations for many features of near-death experience, the researchers behind the arousal theory say that it is still work in progress. The problem for them and other researchers looking for more down-to-earth explanations is that they have to find a rationale for their theories, unlike the spiritual theorists who accept everything as reported as evidence of paranormal activity.

Little fieldwork has been carried out to prove or disprove the spiritual theory as a whole, although out-of-body experiences have been examined. These experiences often involve the individual looking down from ceiling height at themselves on the operating table, or in a bed. To test whether these are real, some experimenters have placed labels and objects on the top of equipment that could only been seen from the ceiling. So far, no one has been able to spot them.

All these sound very convincing but we cant believe in them according to Islam. There is a detailed section on Death on our homepage and in that there is a small section on Barzakh. Once the person is buried and the people leave, the Angels come and ask some questions. After that the person goes in an intermediate stage where he is not aware of anything. The people will be raised on the day of judgement when the trumphet will be blown. Till then there are no souls floating around. The only exception being if the person has comitted suicide then their soul will wander till the appointed time of their death.


  1. so if something cannot be believed because it doesnt apply to islam it is not true.Experience is bigger than faith. Those experiences are created by Allah too.

  2. To the previous commenter... did you read the article? If experiences can be explained in a rational manner then why jump to unnecessary conclusions?

    1. What made me believe was the phenomena happened to a blind lady from birth who never seen colors. She described people, light and visual details? If people don't believe, even if someone comes out of the dead will never make them believe.

  3. One thing which stands out for me is how many NDEs involve witnessing things that happened when they were "dead". They can recall what was said or what others were doing. They could even give information on people in other rooms.

    If we rely solely on rational explanations for things, we lose faith. Faith is rarely rational. Belief in the afterlife could be viewed as irrational because it can't be scientifically proven.

    It is also interesting to note how the Night of Ascension has so much in common with NDEs. I think the most rational explanation for NDE is God is still speaking to us. It makes me feel that my relationship with God is much more rational because I have heard the stories of those who have been there, even if just for a moment in time.

  4. Where can I read first-hand Muslim near death accounts?

  5. Such a bullshit article. I was born Muslim, became an atheist and turned again to deep spirituality and Quran after reading about NDE's. There is nothing in NDE's that outrage the principles and spirituality of Quran.... I think the Mulla who wrote this article is uncomfortable with soft portrayal of God... They love to present death and God as terrifying... But NDE's present death and God with beauty... and love...

    This classic NDE has challenged all science as please watch carefully...

    1. Anonymous, you'll find that NDEs are quite congruous with the teachings of Sufism, especially of Rumi and Ibn Arabi. Indeed, their Sufism is itself rooted in a deep meditation over the Quran.


    muslim NDE experience book

  7. Salams,

    I have been reading about near death experiences for a few years now. If these experiences are true, and the evidence seems to suggest that they are, then only a Sufi-Islamic model of reality and the afterlife can provide an adequate explanation for the experiences in question.

    As the great Spanish Sufi Ibn Arabi said, God reveals Himself to each individual differently, according to the measure of his or her soul. The divine self-revelations (whether it be through a "white light," the figure of Jesus, [peace be upon him], holy figures, angelic beings, or prophets) must take into consideration the unique cultural and spiritual landscape of the NDEr. The Real has created many nations and has revealed Himself to each one differently. It would be naive to deny religious experiences of those outside of one's own faith tradition simply because such experiences do not correspond to a narrow theological reading of one's own religion.

    If God gives me tawfiq, I pray to write something on this in the future from an Islamic point of view which does not dismiss the validity of the NDE.

    In the meantime, feel free to email if you have any thoughts on this matter

    Fi aman Allah

  8. How can a flat lined person, with no brain activity, experience an NDE if it is just REM, dreams, or other phenomena? Answer: They can't.

  9. As I am not a member of the Islamic faith and only came onto this site because I was doing a project for school I can only come from an Academic viewpoint.
    From what I have read it seems that the magority of NDE's have come from members of Christianity, now im not saying Muslims do not have NDE's is just that the magority of them you hear on the news or read on the the web seem to be from a christian viewpoint. This could be because they feel that they should share it with other people to convert others or they merely want to share or it could be that many Muslims do not want to make what they feel to be a close a personal experience public.The truth of the matter is that you have no real standing unless you experience one tyourself otherwise how can you hope to comment

  10. Suggest searching the name Eben Alexander. He is a neurologist who was, by all matters, brain dead. His greatest challenge now is desiring to convince his Neuro-Doubters. Science can only speak from a scientific perspective, which is right up the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Another way to look at is, "Science is barking up the wrong tree" in regard to NDEs. The can know humongous amounts for the good of us, but can only elaborate on what already is known or stumble upon things by 'accident'. There are discoveries, but they already existed or are made from what already exists. Science alone proves nothing in the Spirit. Those in those fields will protect their cause and be forever blinded to the Truth, and in such, using a scientific perspective to explain Reality is fruitless. The faith of Science lies in itself which is forever inconclusive. In Ecclesiastes this is well spelled out. If you can read it on line, the gist of it is, "Vanity vanity, all is vanity (in vain)...all is toil under the sun, like grasping at the wind" short, like chasing rainbows. YOu never get to the point because it's always changing, just like science. It is a totally different reality. However, an NDE similarity can be experienced in regard to the Essence of the Experience without physically having to be in an operating room. It can happen in THIS LIFE once one dies to Self and becomes a "new man" through the restorative Power of God in His Spirit ("The Holy Spirit'). This is noted in Isaiah where in 3:33 he writes, "and I will tell you things you do not know". This is True. Experience speaks for itself, but no one listens along the carnal road of Cain.

  11. In our existence, we are tethered to our Earthly limitations. Skeptics fear what they do not understand and a defense mechanism to fear is to try and discredit whatever is causing the fear. Simply because NDE's transcend the laws of physics and other Earthly limitations do not mean they are not 100% real. Volumes of research has been done to those who have experienced NDE's and the events are overwhelmingly similar from one NDE to another. Regardless of the age, beliefs, religion, culture, race, or station in life, the reports say the same things. ALL NDE's go into a great light and are consumed with a feeling of calm and overpowering love. Children who have never ever heard the name of Jesus Christ come back after an NDE and profess to have spoken with him. Atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Catholics all have the same experience. While science would like to have us believe that it is a physiological event, studies in NDE's tell a different story. You can read some astounding testimonies on NDE at:

  12. I am a Muslim. Being born into the faith allows very little room to question things and one assumes that you are living the truth just because the elders say so. However as i started growing up i started questioning all religions not just Islam and frankly while the common message of love remained the same and i could connect with that, other traits of these religions are immensely problematic for me. The one thing that really ticks me of and that is that only followers of a certain belief system will be excepted into heaven. This self righteous attitude is common amongst all the major religions so much so that even different sects within each belief system such as the Shea's, Sunnis; Sufi s,Catholics ,Methodists etc all purport to have the keys to heaven. That is BS. It simply does not make sense. Once i started reading about the NDE'S i realized what i had been thinking all along that we have an all powerful God who does not really care how we approach him as long as we love one another be selfless and live a just and decent life we all have the key to a great spiritual life after death. This has given me so much comfort and peace and this has been all thanks to the many people who have had similar life NDE experiences and came back to tell their tale. The evidence is mounting daily to the existence of a spirit world in which we are all loved regardless of color or creed.I read daily of another amazing NDE story that the so called Atheists cant explain. I urge all Muslims to seek the truth and don't be blindly led by Mullahs and so called spiritual leaders. It is simply not possible for God to belong to any particular belief system. He created us all so why would he throw a person into hell if he or she was born into a Christian home and believed in God and also lead a good righteous life. It is not logical. I continue to pray as a Muslim when i can as this is one way of praying that i know but i also pray like a Christian every day whenever i can to thank God for all that i have and ask for his blessings.I know he does not care how you pray and how you thank him as long as you do. All other so called "Sunas" that were practiced in the early days of Islam are all irrelevant today and does not matter. I am a human soul created by God and i am here to mature my soul so that i can go back to him when my time is up. Everything else is immaterial and useless created by men for control and politics. In this journey of spirituality i have realized one thing and that is that as long religious fundamentalists remain on earth their will never be peace on this beautiful planet of ours.

  13. I agree with some of the issues you touched on. However, I find some of them problematic. I suggest you do a little background research on what the catholic teaches and not solely rely on statements by anti-catholics or self rightous catholics who purports their own interpretation of Catholic doctrine to serve their own interests. That being said, be advised that the Catholic church does not teach that salvation can only be achieved by becoming a card-carrying member of the catholic church. She teaches that everyone who lives in good concience, but not knowing Jesus Christ MAY in fact go to heaven. Jesus is a loving and merciful God who wants everyone to eventually join him in heaven unless that person deliberately rejects his unconditional love. God simply does not condem those who through not fault of their own never had the opportunity to know about Him. Just to touch on NDE, isn't it strange to you that the majority of people who experienced NDEs provides many evidence from their NDE experience that supports christian beliefs? I have run across articles that muslim subject experience NDE and became convince of christianity, but not the other way around.

  14. Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) chairman Ashok Kheny from India had NDE. He was in comma state when doctors were treating him but his soul had moved out of body and above the sky. After his soul returned to the body, he narrated the incidents he saw in heaven. Doctors said that it is due to brain's hallucination but Ashok Kheny denied it and could exactly tell what the doctors were doing before his soul returned to the body. This is not possible in hallucination state.

  15. Salaam to All.

    In the name of God, the most Merciful the most kind. I have read the previous posts with an open mind and no pre-judgement for or against someone being a Muslim or not.

    People we are missing the obvious here, we are not here to judge one another but to try and live our lives accordingly because Life is ultimately a Test. Our greatest gift given by Allah Azawajal is Logic, never overlook this unique gift.

    Alot of excuses are made if not mentioned in the Quran we should not pursue a matter such as Near Death Experiences. This is wrong because Islam is down to interpretation and the proof of this is the many Sects in Islam such as Sunnis, Suffis, Whabbis, Etc.
    Does it tell us in the Quran how we should do Wudu or read our Namaz? Does it tell about the Dajjal/False Massiah? NO IT DOES NOT! However we do not question or overlook this with the same mentality do we?

    Anyway back to the point of discussion I personally have had 3 near Death experiences. One where I know on a Spiritual level my Soul left my body. It was horrible there was no visit to Heaven or Hell. I was hit by a Car point blank when I was 9 years old outside on the Road where I live. I did not feel any pain, it was instant.
    I was in a place that can only be described as a "VOID". It was completely Black to the point I could not even see my own hand. I was on my own, I cried out for help but no-one was there but myself. At that point I was beginning to accept my lonely fate then out of nowhere a little White Dot appeared and it got Bigger and Bigger to the point suddenly a huge White Flash of Light blinded me. I physically felt my Soul come back into my body. I was only 9 but understood Islam well and Life as never been the same since.
    So to everyone who believes in the 1 true God. Do not let people dictate to you what should be put up for debate or not. No human on this Earth has a right to Judge your Deeds or Sins. Only Allah Azawajal as that right. Find your purpose in Life and stop wasting time. Life is precious and spread this Truth. This is my testimony that I want to share. Thank you all for taking your time to read this.

  16. From what I know...what I've heard.
    NDEs that lead to a conversion of sorts, usually spur from exposure to the doctrine in question and a wanting to accept it.
    I'm an ex-Christian. Now Muslim.
    From a LOGICAL perspective, I would understand how a Muslim may not express an NDE of seeing the angels: Why? Because they have not experience final DEATH. You aren't going to be questioned and judged for your sins if you're only NEAR death and are intended to come back to this Life- that's for any one of any religion. If you come back, how you gonna be judged when you haven't finished your tasks?
    Anyway...One-sided Muftis and Mullahs: Need to get a life and get a grasp of reality AND their own religion. It isn't difficult. Really.
    As a Muslim, I've seen more blessings and miracles in one year than I ever have as a Christian in ten years. That's my personal choice and beliefs!
    And yes, have also had near death experiences. Along with witnessing the healing power of Islam in the name of ALLAH/GOD, NOT in the name of Muhammad (saw) or Jesus(Isa, saw). It's not up to MEN to judge us- it's up to Allah,God.
    BTW- No, I didn't see anyone in these experiences. Voices, and peace. That's what I can testify to. And the power of Quran. My hubby left this world. He's in a spirit place now. But when he was alive, and I recite over him, his health was returned. When I sleep, and he warns me of something that will happen- it occurs.
    So, we all know this life (physical) and THAT life (spiritual) is all very real.
    It's only up to us to live right right now. but don't close yourself to possibilities.

  17. You are all invited to visit the Facebook Community Page, "Islam and the Near Death Experience," for some Muslims accounts of NDEs.

  18. The Nde makes most sense to me because it stands above all religion . But it this phenomenon is so universal then why do Asian people experience it so less ?