Question:

Assalamu Alaykum,

I've heard that the soul of a believer is in form of a bird in paradise and the soul of a believer is free to roam and communicate with other souls so is it right?? How is Life Like after Death in al-Barzakh? is it true that souls meet ?

Answer: 

Bismillah, praise be to Allah the lord of the worlds, the creator of all the creations, the one that has the power to do anything He wills. Allah exists without a place, whatever you imagine in your minds Allah is different from it, and we ask Allah to raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad and his kind Aal family and companions, ameen.

In "al-Barzakh", which is the period of life after death like in the grave, the pious believer will enjoy the grave. He will have light and vegetation in it, and it will be widened for him. Some special believers do read Qur'an and pray while in the grave. Also all the Prophets are alive in their graves, praying as the Prophet (Sallallahu ^Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: "Prophets are alive in their graves praying". narrated al-Bayhaqiy.

As for the soul of the pious believer, yes it is in paradise enjoying the pleasures and the fruits in it. And these souls do meet and are able to deliver the Salam greetings to each other as per to the following Sahih Hadith:

ورد بالإسناد الصحيح المتصل من حديث كعب ابن مالك رضي الله عنه قال عبد الرحمن ابن كعب: لما حضرت كعباً الوفاة أتت أم بشر بنت البراء ابن عازب رضي الله عنهم فقالت: يا أبا عبد الرحمن إن لقيت أبي فأقرئه السلام، فقال: إنا أشغل من ذلك، فقالت: ألم تسمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال:" إن نسمة المؤمن طائر يعلُق في الجنة"، قال: بلى، قالت: هو ذاك.

هؤلاء ثلاثتهم صحابة، جاءت أم بشر إلى كعب ابن مالك و هو في مرض موت فقالت: يا أبا عبد الرحمن إن لقيت أبي فأقرئه مني السلام فقال: إنا أشغل من ذلك، و هو يقول ذلك تواضعاً ليس لعدم إمكان إبلاغ السلام من الميت الجديد إلى الميت القديم إنما تواضعاً يقول ذلك، قالت: ألم تسمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول:" إن نسمة المؤمن طائر يعلق في شجر الجنة"، قال: نعم، قالت: هو ذاك.

في هذا الحديث فوائد عديدة منها أن أرواح الأموات يلتقون فإذا مات ميت جديد يصعد بروحه فتستقبله أرواح المؤمنين الذين سبقوه، و في الحديث أيضاً أن أرواح المؤمنين بعد بِلى الأجساد تأوي إلى الجنة هذه أرواح الأخيار ليس روح كل إنسان مسلم إنما ذلك لأرواح الأتقياء الصالحين، و في الحديث أيضاً أن الأرواح الخيرة يصعد بها أول ما يموت الشخص إلى السماء الأولى ثم إلى الثانية ثم إلى السابعة ثم ترد إلى الأرض.

It's narrated with a Sahih Isnad Mutasil from the hadith of Ka^b son of Malik Radiallahu ^Anu, Abdur-Rahman son of Ka^b said: Um Bishr daughter al-Bara' son of al-^Azib said to Ka^b son of Malik as he was dying "O Abu Abdur-Rahman, if you meet my father, send him my salam", then He said out of humbleness: "I'm too busy from that", then she said: "Did you not hear the Prophet (Sallallahu ^Alayhi Wa Sallam) say: "The souls of believers are in the form of a bird flying in Paradise", he said "Yes it is like that". Those three were all companions.

In this hadith we find many benefits:
1- The souls of the dead return to their bodies
2- The souls of the pious believers meet, if a new person dies, his soul ascends to the heavens and meets previous dead believers
3- The soul of the pious believer is welcomed in the heavens by the souls of previous dead Muslims

And It's mentioned in the hadith that the bodies of the Prophets don't decay as per to the aformentioned Hadith narrated by al-Bayhaqiy:
قال رسول صلى الله عليه و سلم :" الأنبياء أحياء في قبورهم يصلون" ـ صححه البيهقي وابن حجر والهيثمي.

Also the the bodies of the true Martyrs and some pious believers do not decay, they remain preserved in their graves, while the soul is enjoying in heaven. As for the rest of bodies of the people, after they decay, the souls of the blasphemers are taken to Sijjin (A place in the seventh earth) to continue its torture until it's placed in judgment day. As for the soul of the pious Muslim, it ascends to heaven, not all Muslims, the special pious Muslims who performed all the obligations and avoided the sins.

We ask Allah to grant us that reward and to protect us from the torture of the grave and hellfire, ameen, and Allah knows best.