As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 2


Visiting historical places or mosques in which the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) prayed

Translator's Notes                

Visiting historical places or mosques in which the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) prayed
Visiting historical places or mosques in which the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) prayed in addition to al-Masjid an-Nabawi and Masjid Quba (like visiting Mount Uhud, Jabal al-Noor, Cave Hira, Masjid al-Qiblatayn, Masjid Addas in Taif, and the seven mosques) and claiming that they are 'places which a person should visit' has no Sharee'ah evidence to suggest that these mosques should be singled out for visits. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) neither enjoined nor encouraged visiting these places as in the case of masjid Quba. Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said, '…the scholars of the salaf among the people of Medina and elsewhere did not regard it as mustahabb to set out to visit any places in and around Medina after the mosque of the Prophet, apart from the mosque of Quba', because the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) did not specify any mosque to be visited apart from that.' [Majmoo al-Fatawa (17/469)]

The sahabah y were the keenest of all people to follow the sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). None of them is known to have visited those mosques or historical sites. If this were a good thing, they would have been the first ones to do it. Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said, 'Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan, Ali and all the predecessors of the Muhajiroon and Ansar used to travel from Medina to Makkah to perform Hajj and Umrah, or for other purposes. None of them said that he was keen to pray in the places where the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) had prayed. It is known that if this had been mustahabb (recommended) in their view, they would have been the first ones to do it, for they had more knowledge of the sunnah and followed it more closely than anyone else.’ [Iqtidaa al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem]

It is indicated by the actions of the righteous salaf that visits to these places should be disallowed as a preventative measure. Al-Ma'roor Ibn Suwayd said, 'We went out with Umar Ibn al-Khattab and we came across a mosque on our route. The people rushed to pray in that mosque, and Umar said, 'What is the matter with them?' They said, 'This is a mosque in which the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) prayed.' Umar said, 'O people, those who came before you were destroyed because they followed such (practices) until they made them places of worship. Whoever happens to be there at the time of prayer, let him pray there, and whoever is not there at the time of prayer, let him continue his journey.'’ [Classed as saheeh by Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Majmoo (1/281)]

Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said commenting on this story, 'the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) had not singled out that place for prayer; he prayed there only because he happened to be staying there. Hence, Umar thought that imitating him outwardly without having the same reason for doing so did not count as following the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). Singling out that place for prayer was like the innovations of the People of the Book, which had led to their doom, so he forbade the Muslims to imitate them in this manner. The one who did that was imitating the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) in outward appearances, but he was imitating the Jews and Christians in his intention, which is the action of the heart. The action of the heart is what counts, because following in one's intention is more serious than following in outward appearances.' [Majmoo al-Fatawa (1/281)]

In another example, it is narrated that Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhi allahu anhu) heard that some people were visiting the tree under which the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) had accepted the bay'ah (oath of allegiance) of people, so he commanded that it should be cut down.' [It was classed as saheeh by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baree (7/448)]

Shaikh Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baz (rahimahullah) said after mentioning the places for which it is prescribed to visit in Medina, 'With regard to the seven mosques, Masjid al-Qiblatayn (the mosque of the two qiblah), and other places which some authors who wrote about the rituals of Hajj include among the places to be visited, there is no basis for doing that, and there is no evidence for doing so. What is prescribed for the believer at all times is to follow [the Sunnah], not to innovate.’ [Fatawa Islamiyah (2/313)]

Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullah) said, 'There are no places in Medina to be visited apart from these; al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the grave of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), al-Baqee', the martyrs of Uhud, and masjid Quba'. As for other sites, there is no basis for visiting them.' [Fiqh al-Ibadaat, p. 405]

Some may think that as long as one does not believe that these places hold any special virtue, it is allowed to visit these places. However, if one does not hold any such belief then there is no motive for visiting such places and thus it must be avoided as a preventive measure, and as Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) mentions in I'laam al-Muaqqieen (3/143), 'Taking preventative measures is one-quarter of responsibility, for there are commands and prohibitions. The commands are of two types, one of which is the end in itself and the other is the means to that end. And prohibitions are of two types, the thing that is prohibited because it is evil in and of itself, and the means that lead to that evil. So preventing the means that lead to that which is haraam (prohibited) is one quarter of the religion.

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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