Is Khidr (al-Khadir) alive?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

There is much difference amongst the scholars regarding the Prophet al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) as being alive or having passed. Although this Ikhtilaaf (difference of opinion) must be respected, individual Muslims are at liberty to follow whichever opinion they are more convinced of. I personally follow the opinion that the blessed Prophet al-Khadir (Khidr) has passed away. This is due to the abundance of supporting evidence.

عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُمَرَ، قَالَ: صَلَّى بِنَا النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ العِشَاءَ فِي آخِرِ حَيَاتِهِ، فَلَمَّا سَلَّمَ قَامَ، فَقَالَ: أَرَأَيْتَكُمْ لَيْلَتَكُمْ هَذِهِ، فَإِنَّ رَأْسَ مِائَةِ سَنَةٍ مِنْهَا، لاَ يَبْقَى مِمَّنْ هُوَ عَلَى ظَهْرِ الأَرْضِ أَحَدٌ

Abdullah bin Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with them both) said, one night the Messenger of Allah ﷺ led us in the Isha (prayer). Then he stood and said, ‘Do you see this night of yours? Nobody present on the surface of the earth (tonight), will be living one hundred years from it.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 116).

It is important to understand that there is no direct authentic narration regarding the Prophet al-Khadir being alive or not. If such evidence existed, then the authoritative scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah would not have division of opinion. However, there is substantial indirect evidence to support the opinion that al-Khadir has passed away.

The Hadith narration above supports the opinion that the Prophet al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) is no longer alive. Even if one argues that he was alive in the time of the blessed Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Hadith above dictates that he is no longer alive. Further, this Hadith mentions a general rule. The rule states that all people alive at that time would pass away within one hundred years. Despite that, this is a general rule and is open to exceptions. Additionally, the exceptions require equally strong evidence. For example, such evidence does exist for the Dajjal (anti-Christ) but not for Sayidina al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him).

Evidence to support the passing of Prophet al-Khadir
وَمَا جَعَلْنَا لِبَشَرٍ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ الْخُلْدَ أَفَإِنْ مِتَّ فَهُمُ الْخَالِدُونَ

We have not given eternity to any human prior to you. If you pass, will they live eternally? (Surah al-Ambiya, 34).

The noble verse of the Holy Quran above also establishes a general rule. Once again the Prophet al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) cannot be excluded from this general rule without equally strong evidence. Which, once again, does not exist. The same is true of the following Hadith.

اللهُمَّ إِنْ تُهْلِكْ هَذِهِ الْعِصَابَةَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْإِسْلَامِ لَا تُعْبَدْ فِي الْأَرْضِ

O Allah (Most High), if you destroy this group, from the people of Islam, then you will not be worshipped on the earth. (Sahih Muslim 1763 -58).

Further, the scholars considered the following verse of the Holy Quran as the strongest evidence to also support this argument. As such, they concluded that the Prophet al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) was not alive at the time of the Prophet ﷺ. Had he been alive, then he (Khidr, peace be upon him) would have been obliged to support the blessed Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ النَّبِيِّينَ لَمَا آتَيْتُكُمْ مِنْ كِتَابٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ ثُمَّ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مُصَدِّقٌ لِمَا مَعَكُمْ لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنْصُرُنَّهُ قَالَ أَأَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَخَذْتُمْ عَلَى ذَلِكُمْ إِصْرِي قَالُوا أَقْرَرْنَا قَالَ فَاشْهَدُوا وَأَنَا مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ

And when Allah took the covenant with the Prophets, saying: “Now that you have been given the Book and Wisdom; then comes to you a Messenger confirming what is with you; you must believe in him and assist him. He said “Do you affirm and take this covenant of mine?” They (the Prophets) replied, “Yes, we do affirm.” He said, “Bear witness, and I too bear witness with you.” (Surah Ali Imran, 81).

The above verse obliges all Prophets (peace be upon them) to support the Prophet Muhmmad ﷺ if they are alive in his ﷺ era. Yet, there is no authentic narration proving that the Prophet al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) was constantly at the side of our beloved Prophet ﷺ assisting.

If that had been the case, rather than one authentic narration, we would find innumerable narrations in which al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) was at the side of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ assisting and supporting. As we do with the likes of Sayidina Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali and Uthman (May Allah Most High be pleased with them all).

Further, any righteous person would have rushed to be at the side of the greatest of all Prophets even if it wasn’t an obligation upon the Prophets. Any righteous person would rush to the side of Sayidina Muhammad ﷺ to attain the blessings and Sharaf (nobility) of being close to the Prophet ﷺ.

Evidence to support the life of al-Khadir
وقال أبو الحسين بن المنادي: بحثت عن تعمير الخضر، وهل هو باق أم لا؟ فإذا أكثر المغفّلين مغترّون بأنه باق من أجل ما روى في ذلك، قال: والأحاديث المرفوعة في ذلك واهية، والسّند إلى أهل الكتاب ساقط لعدم ثقتهم، وخبر مسلمة بن مصقلة كالخرافة وخبر رياح كالريح، قل: وما عدا ذلك كلّه من الأخبار كلها واهية الصدور والأعجاز. حالها من أحد أمرين، إما أن تكون أدخلت على الثقات استغفالا، أو يكون بعضهم تعمّد ذلك. (الإصابة في تمييز الصحابة)

Abu al-Hasain bin al-Manadi said, I looked into the issue of al-Al-Khadir (Khidr), is he alive or not? I found that most of the heedless are deceived, thinking he is alive due to what has been narrated regarding that. He said, as for the prophetic narrations regarding the issue, they are incredibly weak. And the narrations from the people of the book are defective due their lack of reliability. The narration of Maslamah bin Masqalah is like a myth. And the narration of Riyah is like the breeze.

He said, every narration beyond them is feeble of source, flimsy. The situation is one of two matters, either it was fabricated against reliable narrators causing heedlessness. Or some of them intended it to be the case. (Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, al-Isabah).

As for the evidence supporting the fact that al-Khadir is still alive, it comprises of two types; narrations related to the Prophet ﷺ and stories. As for stories, they are not a source of evidence in Islam. Therefore, they must be discarded. Only stories from Quran and Sunnah are considered evidence in our beautiful Deen. Negligence regarding this ironclad Islamic principle has caused many to go astray and misunderstand Islam.

As for the narrations people mention regarding al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) meeting the Prophet ﷺ, they are very weak. Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani narrates this weakness in the Nass (text) above.

Further considerations
وَكَانَ قَاضِي الْقُضَاةِ أَبُو الْفَتْحِ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَلِيِّ بْنِ مُطِيعٍ الْقُشَيْرِيُّ الْمَعْرُوفُ بِابْنِ دَقِيقِ الْعِيدِ يُخْبِرُ عَنْ شَيْخٍ لَهُ أَنَّهُ رَأَى الْخَضِرَ وَحَدَّثَهُ، فَقِيلَ لَهُ: مَنْ أَعْلَمَهُ أَنَّهُ الْخَضِرُ؟ وَمِنْ أَيْنَ عَرِفَ ذَلِكَ؟ فَسَكَتَ. (البحر المحيط في التفسير)

The chief justice, Abu al-Fath Muhammad bin Ali bin Mutee’ al-Qushayri, better known as Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid narrated from a Shaykh of his, that he saw al-Khadir (Khidr) and spoke to him. It was said to him (the Shaykh), who informed him that it was al-Khadir (Khidr)? And how does he know it to be the case? So, he fell silent. (Imam Abu Hayyan, al-Bahr al-Muheet fi al-Tafseer).

The point mentioned in the Nass (text) above was also raised by Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani in al-Isabah. He too raised the question of how a Shaykh or righteous person could know that the person he met was al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him). Only the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ could confirm this for us.

وأما ما ذكره السهروردي في سر المكتوم أن الخضر حدثنا ثلاثمائه حديث سمعه من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم شفاها وكذلك ما ادعاه الشيخ علاء الدوله من استفادة الأحاديث النبوية بلا قاطة عنه فغير صحيح إذْا أجْمع المحدثون على أن الخضر ليس له رواية عنه عليه السلام كما صرح به العراقي في تخريج الأحاديث الأحياء. (رسائل القاري)

As for that which was mentioned by al-Sahrwardi in Sir al-Maktoom that al-Khadir (Khidr) narrated to us three hundred Hadith that he heard directly from the prophet ﷺ. Likewise, that which was claimed by Shaykh Ala al-Dawlah, that he gained prophetic Hadith without elevating the chain to him. It is not authentic, since the scholars of Hadith unanimously agree that al-Khadir does not have any narrations from him ﷺ. This was explicitly mentioned by al-Iraqi in the Takhreej of Ihyaa Hadith. (Imam Ali al-Qari, Rasail al-Qari).

It is important to note that the discussion regarding Sayidina al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) being alive or not is not a purely academic discussion. Rather, it has significant real-world implications. In the Nass above, we find people claiming to have taken Prophetic Hadith from Sayidina al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him). Such a belief can undermine the entire science of Hadith and thus undermine the religion of Islam. Fortunately, the scholars of Hadith addressed this issue and negated it completely.

Imam al-Iraqi firmly believed that al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) is still alive. However, he did not allow this to influence his opinion regarding taking Hadith from al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him). This is because such views destroy the authenticity of Hadith and undermine the entirety of Islam.

Scholars who believed al-Khadir is alive
وَأَمَّا قِصَّةُ تَعْزِيَةِ الخَضِرِ عليه السلام فَرَوَاهَا الشَّافِعِيُّ فِي الأُمِّ بِإِسْنَادٍ ضَعِيفٍ إلا أَنَّهُ لمْ يَقُل الخَضِرُ عليه السلام، بَل سَمِعُوا قَائِلًا يَقُول: فَذَكَرَ هَذِهِ التَّعْزِيَةَ، وَلمْ يَذْكُرْ الشَّافِعِيُّ الخَضِرَ عليه السلام، وَإِنَّمَا ذَكَرَهُ أَصْحَابُنَا وَغَيْرُهُمْ، وَفِيهِ دَليلٌ مِنْهُمْ لاخْتِيَارِهِمْ مَا هُوَ المُخْتَارُ، وَتَرْجِيحُ مَا هُوَ الصَّوَابُ، وَهُوَ أَنَّ الخَضِرَ عليه السلام حَيٌّ بَاقٍ، وَهَذَا قَوْل أَكْثَرِ العُلمَاءِ. وَقَال بَعْضُ المُحَدِّثِينَ: ليْسَ هُوَ حَيًّا. (المجموع شرح المهذب)

As for the story regarding the condolences of al-Khadir (Khidr) peace be upon him, it was narrated by (Imam) al-Shafi. The chain has weakness. Nevertheless, he did not say al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him). Rather, (he narrated) ‘a person saying’ (without specifying al-Khadir), then he mentioned the condolence. But (Imam) al-Shafi did not mention al-Khadir (Khidr) peace be upon him. However, our companions mentioned him. In it is evidence for them selecting which is the chosen (opinion), and considering stronger that which is correct. Namely, al-Khadir (Khidr) peace be upon him is alive and subsisting. This is the opinion of the majority of scholars. Some of the Hadith scholars said he is not alive. (Imam Abu Zakariyah al-Nawawi, al-Majmoo).

وَقَالَ ابْن الصّلاح: هُوَ حَيّ عِنْد جَمَاهِير الْعلمَاء وَالصَّالِحِينَ والعامة مَعَهم فِي ذَلِك، وَإِنَّمَا شَذَّ بإنكاره بعض الْمُحدثين. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

(Imam) Ibn Salah said, ‘He (al-Khadir) is alive according to the majority of scholars and righteous people. The lay people are with them regarding this. Some of the Hadith scholars deviated by rejecting it.’ (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, Umdatu al-Qari).

As seen in the Nusoos (texts) above, scholars have held the opinion that al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) is alive. Namely, Imams al-Nawawi and Ibn Salah. These scholars both went further and claimed it to be the majority position. However, this has been disputed by other leading authorities.

وَالْجُمْهُورُ عَلَى أَنَّهُ مَاتَ. (البحر المحيط في التفسير)

The majority hold the position that he has died. (Imam Abu Hayyan, al-Bahr al-Muheet fi al-Tafseer).

وكذلك جمهور الناس على أن الخضر مات صلى الله عليه وسلم، وتقول فرقة إنه حي، لأنه شرب من عين الحياة، وهو باق في الأرض، وأنه يحج البيت، وغير هذا. (المحرر الوجيز في تفسير الكتاب العزيز)

Likewise, the majority of people hold that al-Khadir has died (peace be upon him). A group says that he is alive because he drank from the spring of life. (They say) he remains on the earth, he performs Hajj and other than this. (Imam Ibn Attiyah, al-Muhrar al-Wajeez).

ذَهَبَ الْجُمْهُورُ مِنَ النَّاسِ إِلَى أَنَّ الْخَضِرَ مَاتَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ. وقالت فرقة: إنه حَيٌّ لِأَنَّهُ شَرِبَ مِنْ عَيْنِ الْحَيَاةِ، وَأَنَّهُ بَاقٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَنَّهُ يَحُجُّ الْبَيْتَ. (تفسير القرطبي)

The majority of people hold that al-Khadir has died (peace be upon him). A group said that he is alive, because he drank from the spring of life. (They say) he remains on the earth, and he performs Hajj. (Imam Abu Abdillah al-Qurtubi, al-Jami li Ahkaam al-Quran).

أبو حيّان في تفسيره: الجمهور على أنه مات. (الإصابة في تمييز الصحابة)

(Imam) Abu Hayyan said in his Tafseer: The majority holds that he has died. (Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, al-Isabah).

Scholars who believed al-Khadir has passed
واختلف العلماء هل هو باقٍ إِلى يومنا هذا، على قولين حكاهما الماوردي، وكان الحسن يذهب إِلى أنه مات، وكذلك كان ابن المنادي من أصحابنا يقول، ويقبِّح قول من يرى بقاءه، ويقول: لا يثبت حديث في بقائه. وروى أبو بكر النقاش أن محمد بن إِسماعيل البخاري سئل عن الخضر وإِلياس: هل هما في الأحياء؟ فقال: كيف يكون ذلك. وقد قال النبيّ صلى الله عليه وسلّم : لا يبقى على رأس مائة سنة ممن هو اليوم على ظهر الأرض احد. (زاد المسير في علم التفسير)

The scholars differed over whether he (al-Khadir) is alive to this day. (Imam) al-Mawardi mentioned two opinions. (Imam) al-Hasan (al-Basri) held the opinion that he has passed away. Likewise, Ibn al-Munadi from our companions. He considered the opinion of those who believed in him being alive abhorrent. He used to say that there is no sound Hadith regarding his being alive.

(Imam) Abu Bakr al-Naqqash narrated that (Imam) Muhammad bin Ismael al-Bukhari was asked regarding al-Khadir (Khidr) and Ilyaas (peace be upon them both), are they alive? He replied, how could that be possible? Indeed, the Prophet ﷺ said: “No person that is on the face of the earth today, will remain so in one hundred years.” (Imam Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Jowzi, Zaad al-Maseer).

وَأنكر حَيَاته جمَاعَة مِنْهُم البُخَارِيّ وَإِبْرَاهِيم الْحَرْبِيّ وَابْن الْمَنَاوِيّ وَابْن الْجَوْزِيّ. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

A group (of scholars) rejected his being alive. Amongst them is (Imam) al-Bukhari, (Imam) Ibrahim al-Harbi, (Imam) Ibn al-Munadi and (Imam) Ibn al-Jowzi. (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, Umdatu al-Qari).

Many quoted Imam al-Bukhari saying al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) is not alive. This is often mentioned in the context of a discussion regarding the narrations that allude to his being alive being unsubstantiated. Therefore, it is of greater relevance. This demonstrates that a great scholar of Ahl al-Sunnah held the opinion that al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) is not alive.

More importantly, this text adds weight to the point that there are no sound Hadith proving al-Khadir is alive. For example, if such narrations existed, then it is highly probable that Imam al-Bukhari was aware of them. Additionally, he, Imam al-Bukhari, would not contradict sound Hadith narrations.

The opinion of Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani
وَالَّذِي تميل إِلَيْهِ النَّفس، من حَيْثُ الْأَدِلَّة القوية. خلاف مَا يَعْتَقِدهُ الْعَوام، من اسْتِمْرَار حَيَاته، وَلَكِن رُبمَا عرضت شُبْهَة من جِهَة كَثْرَة الناقلين للْأَخْبَار الدَّالَّة على استمراره، فَيُقَال: هَب أَن أسانيدها واهية، إِذْ كل طَرِيق مِنْهَا لَا يسلم من سَبَب يَقْتَضِي تضعيفها، فَمَاذَا يصنع فِي الْمَجْمُوع؟ (الزهر النضر في حال الخضر)

From the perspective of evidence, what the soul inclines towards is contrary to what the masses believe. Namely, his life continuing on. It is possible that a doubt was caused for them due to the abundance of people narrating stories about it continuing on. Then it is said, assume the narrations have feeble chains, since no chain is free of weakness, but what should be done with the collective? (Imam Ahmad bin Ali ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, al-Zahr al-Nadir).

قلت: اعتنى بعض المتأخرين بجمع الحكايات المأثورة عن الصّالحين وغيرهم ممن بعد الثلاثمائة وبعد العشرين مع ما في أسانيد بعضها ممن يضعف، لكثرة أغلاطه أو اتهامه بالكذب، كأبي عبد الرحمن السلمي، وأبي الحسن بن جهضم، ولا يقال يستفاد من هذه الأخبار التواتر المعنويّ. (الإصابة في تمييز الصحابة)

I say, some of the later scholars focused on collecting stories narrated from righteous people and others, from those after three hundred and after twenty. Despite that which is found in the chains of some of them, weakening them. Due to the abundance of mistakes and the assertions of fabrication. The likes of Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami and Abu al-Hasan bin Jahdam. It cannot be said that these narrations lead to the stories being Mutawatir in meaning. (Imam Ahmad bin Ali ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, al-Isabah).

There seems to be some confusion regarding the opinion of Imam Ibn Hajr regarding al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) being alive or not. The texts above clarify his opinion. He believes al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) has passed away. Furthermore, he clarifies that the argument that feeble narrations supporting the other view do not strengthen each other to the point of being Mutawatir.

Imam Ibn Katheer’s view
وَلَوْ كَانَ حَيًّا لَوَجَبَ عَلَيْهِ الْإِيمَانُ بِمُحَمَّدٍ وَنُصْرَتُهُ. (البداية والنهاية)

If he was alive, then it would have been obligatory for him to believe in Muhammad ﷺ and assist him. (Imam Abu al-Fidaa Ibn Katheer, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihaayah).

وَأَمَّا الْخِلَافُ فِي وُجُودِهِ إِلَى زَمَانِنَا هَذَا فَالْجُمْهُورُ عَلَى أَنَّهُ بَاقٍ إِلَى الْيَوْمِ

As for the difference regarding his being present until our time, the majority are of the view that he is alive today. (Imam Abu al-Fidaa Ibn Katheer, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihaayah).

Another scholar whose view is misunderstood regarding the Prophet al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) being alive or not is Imam Ibn Katheer. Although he mentioned that the majority opinion is the opposite, he believed al-Khadir has passed away. Due to this, one should be careful in assuming a scholar’s own opinion when he is simply conveying the majority.

فالجمهور على أَنه بَاقٍ إِلَى يَوْم الْقِيَامَة. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

The majority are of the opinion that he will remain alive until the day of judgement. (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, Umdatu al-Qari).


As seen in the discussion above, there is certainly a difference of opinion regarding the Prophet al-Khadir (Khidr, peace be upon him) being alive or not. With great scholars on both sides of the argument. Further, there is even a difference of opinion regarding al-Khadir’s (Khidr, peace be upon him) prophethood:

وَاخْتُلِفَ أَيْضًا فِي نُبُوَّتِهِ وَالْمَشْهُورُ أَنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ وَحَكَاهُ ابْنُ عَطِيَّةَ عَنْ الْجُمْهُورِ. (طرح التثريب في شرح التقريب)

It is also differed over his prophethood. The renowned opinion is that he (al-Khadir) is a Prophet (peace be upon him). Ibn Atiya said it is the position of the majority. (Imam  Zayn al-Deen al-Iraqi, Tarh al-Tathreeb).

Thus, the difference must be respected. Neither opinion should be considered deviance. However, one should request evidence from any person holding or promoting either opinion. Since, Muslims should not speak about religious issues without evidence.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (24.03.23)