As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 2


On Visiting Graves

Words of Shaikh Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baz (rahimahullah)

Visiting Graves
It is Masnoon (recommended) for the visitors to Medina to visit the graves of al-Baqee, the graves of Shuhada (martyrs), and the grave of Hamzah (radhi allahu anhu) because the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to visit them, and supplicate for them. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to say, 'Visit the graves for they remind you of the Hereafter.' [Saheeh Muslim]

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to teach his sahabah y to recite the following words whilst visiting the graves,

‘Peace be upon you all, O inhabitants of the graves, among the believers and the Muslims. Verily, we will, Allah Willing, be united with you, we ask Allah for well-being for us and you.' [Saheeh Muslim]
At-Tirmidhee reports from Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu), '(when) Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) passed by the graves of Medina, he turned his face to them and said the following words,

‘Peace be upon you all, O inhabitants of the graves. May Allah forgive us and you. You have passed before us and we will follow you.' [Sunan Tirmidhee]

From these Ahadeeth it is known that the purpose of visiting the graves is remembering the Hereafter, and Ihsan (doing good) to the dead by invoking Allah's Mercy for them. But if (one's) purpose of visiting the graves is to make duaa (for one's self).*16 near the graves, ukoof (standing) near the graves, invoke them (i.e., the engraved) to fulfill one's needs, or cure the sick, or invoke Allah with their (the engraved's) tawassul, then this is a detestable bidah, which neither Allah nor His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) prescribed, and the salufus-salih (the pious predecessors) never practiced it, rather it is hujr (obscene talk). Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'Visit the graves, but do not practice hujr (obscene talk).' [Mu'atta Imam Malik, Musnad Ahmad, Sunan Nisaee]

The above-mentioned acts are bidah of different ranks; some of them are only bidah, which do not incorporate Shirk, like invoking Allah near the graves, and asking Him with the right of the dead and similar acts, while some of these acts are Shirk al-Akbar (the major Shirk), like making duaa (supplication) to the dead and Istigaathah (seeking aid in times of difficulty) and similar acts.
Thus, one should be aware of these acts and avoid them, and ask Allah for guidance to the truth. Verily, Allah Alone gives guidance and there is no ilah (deity worthy of worship) except Him.

Thus, I conclude (this treatise) with praises of Allah first, and May Allah send his blessings upon his slave and Messenger and the best of His creation, Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), and may Allah send his blessing upon the sahabah (radhi allahu anhu) and those who followed them in righteousness.
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Translator's Notes

*16: Dua is a form of worship
Allah says, ‘And your Lord said, ‘Invoke Me and I will respond to your (invocation)' Verily, those who scorn My worship, will enter Hell in humiliation.’ [Soorah al-Ghafir (40): 60] while explaining this verse the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, ‘Supplication is worship.’ [Saheeh Sunan Abu Dawood.] Those who visit graves to invoke Allah believing that duaa is more acceptable to Allah at such places are guilty of taking graves as places of worship. Furthermore, to claim that a particular place is auspicious for one to make duaa needs a proof from the texts like the one there is for the plain of Arafah.

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) writes in Iqtida Siraat al-Mustaqeem, ‘…The belief that supplication is more acceptable near graves has given rise to the practice of regular visits to certain graves. Urs is held at appointed days at certain graves. This practice is in contradiction to the Prophet's prohibition of not taking graves as place of gatherings. Moreover, he cursed the Jews and the Christians for having turned graves of their Messengers into places of worship. He had explicitly asked his community not to take graves as mosques, a wrong deed committed by earlier communities. Yet, Urs (procession) is held at appointed dates at several graves. People assemble there exactly in the same manner as they do at Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina. So much attention is paid to Urs that one feels that such arrangements are not made even for Hajj. People visit these graves from far and wide, and in the same manner as for Hajj. Some people even refer to these journeys as Hajj itself.
Such a journey for making supplication or worshiping near graves cannot be held as lawful in any case. No Muslim scholar can dispute this point. Some pseudo-scholar of later date might have justified it, which is not in our knowledge. What is plainly clear is that such a practice amounts to taking graves as places of gatherings...Those indulging in innovation have even erected mosques at these grave… The pious people, no doubt, deserve our love and obedience in that they have revived the faith. We should undoubtedly follow them. We should make supplication for their forgiveness and that Allah's Mercy and Pleasure descend on them. However, we should never take their graves as places of congregation. For such practices have been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger. We must shun these…
What lies at the root of this innovation is the belief that it is better to pray near graves and that it leads to the acceptance of one's supplication. If this false belief is removed from the minds and hearts, this practice would come to an end. We consider it as our duty to reiterate the point that there are many evils in congregating near graves hence making supplications there is forbidden as is offering prayer there. However, offering supplications there is much more serious in that it poses a serious trial for the Muslim community. It opens the door to polytheism. A Muslim who is concerned about his faith and about his success in the Hereafter must avoid this innovation.' [end quote]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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