Tomb Structures,
Visits, and Vows

by Sh. G. F. Haddad
Imam al-NawawiAl-Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i
hadith
not hadith alone applied
Imam al-Nawawi: a handspan
touching, kissing the tombs
Imam Muslim
Ahmad ibn Hanbal
praying in mosque with grave
visiting graves
no harm in tawassul
"Visit me often and at all times."
promises
veneration/breaking of tombs
Domes over the Grave of the Awilya
seeking blessings through relics of
Imam al-Dhahabi: kissing grave of Prophet MHMD
`Umar  raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif  on the Prophetic Grave
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

After Salam, the question was asked:

In almost all the books I have read, it says it is forbidden to build tombs over the graves. what is the correct view?

In Turkey, we have the tombs of Sultan Fatih Muhammad(ra), Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, (ra), there is a separate mosque building, and then there is a separate building where the grave is, isnt this a tomb? and if so, what is the correct ruling on this?

Wa `alaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah:

Imam al-Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim said al-Shafi`i and the Jumhur or vast majority hold that it is disliked to build tombs over the graves and to whitewash them. Al-Isnawi as quoted by al-Shirwani and al-Shirbini excepted the graves of Prophets, Ulema, and the Salihin or righteous Muslims, from this ruling. In other words, they held as permissible the building of superstructures over the graves of those considered pious. This hukm is found in other than the Shafi`i Madhhab as can be gathered further down. Further, to be precise, al-Shafi`i and the Jumhur hold that the above is "preferably disliked" (makruh tanzihi), not prohibitively disliked (even if such distinction is not formally made in other than the Hanafi School).

Al-Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i wrote in the 12th chapter of his 1999 "Advice to our Brethren the Ulema of Najd," which I titled "Grave Destruction and Desecration" in my translation of that work [LINK]:

You destroyed the sign-posts by which we knew the graves of the Companions, the Mothers of the Believers, and the members of the noble Family of the Prophet . You left them a vacant lot, the grave-posts scattered stones so that we no longer know whose grave is where. Gasoline was even poured on one of them. [The grave of Amina bint Wahb the Prophet's mother.] Truly there is no change nor power except with Allah Most High, Most Great! Leave stone superstructures intact for they are allowed! Leave the hand-span elevation for it is allowed, together with the two grave-posts! It is established that the Prophet placed a rock on top of `Uthman ibn Maz`un's (ra) grave saying: "With it I shall designate the grave of my [milk-]brother and later bury in it whoever dies among my relatives." Kharija ibn Zayd said: "I can see myself when we were young men [CORR. boys] in the time of `Uthman [ibn `Affan] (ra). The strongest one of us in high jump was he who could jump over the grave of `Uthman ibn Maz`un and clear it."

The first hadith is narrated from an unnamed Companion by Abu Dawud and al-Bayhaqi in al-Kubra (3:412) with fair chains cf. Ibn Hajar, Talkhis al-Habir (2:134); Ibn al-Mulaqqin, Tuhfat al-Muhtaj (2:29). The complete report states that the Prophet asked a man to place a rock on top of Ibn Maz`un's grave; when he was unable to move it, he rolled up his sleeves and helped him and the whiteness of his arms was visible. Ibn Maz`un was the first of the Muhâjirûn buried in Baqi` al-Gharqad. Ibrahim, the Prophet's son, was buried next to him. The second hadith is cited by al-Bukhari without chain in his Sahih chapter-title, "[Placing] a Stalk on Top of the Grave." Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari (3:256=1959 ed. 3:223 cf. Taghliq al-Ta`liq): "Al-Bukhari narrated it with its chain in al-Tarikh al-Saghir (1:42). It contains a proof for the licitness of raising high the grave and elevating it above the surface of the earth."

There are actually "Salafi" Ulema who hold that the latter report is weak and that if it were not weak then it would mean they were practicing long jump (not high jump). They said this to deny there was any superstructure. I read this argument in al-Mu`allimi's `Imarat al-Qubur. He also rejects another mu`allaq report in al-Bukhari's Sahih, the authentic report of the tent erected by al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn `Ali's widow over the latter's grave and where she resided for a full year. That this was a common practice can be deduced by the testaments of Abu Musa, Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, and Abu Hurayra stating: "Do NOT erect a tent over my grave!"

To the corollary question "How do we know whether these graves truly belong to the friends of Allah?" the reply is: From tawatur or the agreement of the learned or the commonly held opinion of the Muslims of that locality which there is no reason to doubt. In the above case, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and Sultan Muhammad Fatih - Allah be well-pleased with them - are among the Awliya according to the hadith of the Prophet concerning those who will conquer Constantinople: "What a blessed army they will be and what a blessed leader!"

Those who object, quote the hadith of the Prophet's order to `Ali to "go and destroy every oversized grave." The hadith is in the Sahihayn, Sunan, and Musnad with various wordings. However, as a rule, we do not apply Qur'an and hadith independently of the learned authorities in Islam. Imam Sufyan al-Thawri said: "the hadith alone is liable to misguide except those who possess understanding" i.e. in the Religion.

Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Tahqiq said of the hadith of `Ali: "This [hadith] is understood to refer to the elevated tombs they used to build with high and beautiful structures." Al-Zayla`i mentioned it in Nasb al-Raya.

"They" refer to the pre-Islamic Arabs and those early Muslims who continued to build up such tombs until they heard of the order no to do so.

Imam al-Nawawi in his Sharh Sahih Muslim said: "The Sunna is that the grave not be raised up a lot above the earth['s surface], nor rounded, but that it be raised up approximately a hand-span (shibr) and flattened, and this is the madhhab of al-Shafi`i and those [of the other schools] who agreed with him, while al-Qadi `Iyad related that most of the Ulema prefer it to be rounded [in the shape of a mound], and this is the madhhab of Malik."

Al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar added to this that it is haram to build them up high and he claimed that the fact that the Salaf and Khalaf built them up high is no proof that it is not haram, and al-`Azim Abadi approved him whole-heartedly in `Awn al-Ma`bud. We only mentioned these opinions to show that they affirm that this was the practice of the Salaf and Khalaf. As for the claim that it is haram, see al-Nawawi's statement above.

The Amir al-San`ani in Subul al-Salam also said: "The Jumhur - vast majority - hold that the prohibition of building up and plastering graves is one of preference (tanzih) [i.e. not strictness (tahrim)]."

There is also an excellent and authoritative discussion of the issue by Sh. Nuh Keller's wife, Ustadha Umm Sahl, on Mas`ud Khan's homepage:

www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/misc/nabulsi.htm

under the subtitle: "Domes over the Grave of the Awilya".

Concerning the acts of touching, kissing, rubbing the tombs etc:

Dawud ibn Salih said: "[The governor of Madina] Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet. He said: "Do you know what you are doing?" When he came near him, he realized it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The latter said: "Yes; I came to the Prophet, not to a stone." Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Ahmad (5:422), Al-Tabarani in his Mu`jam al-Kabir (4:189) and his Awsat according to Haythami in al-Zawa'id (5:245 and 5:441 #5845 Book of Hajj, "Section on the honoring of the dwellers of Madina, chapter on placing one's face against the grave of our Master the Prophet MHMD " and #9252 Book of Khilafa, "Chapter on the leadership of those unworthy of it"), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:515); both the latter and al-Dhahabi said it was sahih. It is also cited by al-Subki in Shifa' al-siqam (p. 126) and Ibn Taymiyya in al-Muntaqa (2:261f.).

It is also narrated that Mu`adh ibn Jabal and Bilal came to the grave of the Prophet MHMD and sat weeping, and the latter rubbed his face against it. Ibn Majah 2:1320, Ahmad, al-Tabarani, al-Subki, and Ibn `Asakir.

Imam Muslim relates in his Sahih, in the first chapter of the book of clothing, that Asma' bint Abi Bakr said: "Here is the cloak (jubba) of Allah's Messenger... [which] was with `A'isha until she died, then I got possession of it. The Apostle of Allah used to wear it, and we washed it for the sick so that they could seek cure thereby." Al-Nawawi comments in Sharh sahih Muslim (Book 37 Chapter 2 #10): "In this hadith is a proof that it is recommended to seek blessings through the relics of the righteous and their clothes (wa fi hadha al-hadith dalil `ala istihbab al-tabarruk bi aathaar al-salihin wa thiyabihim)."

The latter verdict puts to rest the possible claim that, on the basis of the above reports, such veneration applies only to the Prophet .

Imam al-Dhahabi said:

Ah.mad ibn H.anbal was asked about touching the Prophet's MHMD grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it. His son 'Abd Allah related this from him. If it is asked: "Why did the Companions not do this?" We reply: "Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive, enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, nearly fought each other over the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the greater Pilgrimage, and even if he spat it would virtually not fall except in someone's hand so that he could pass it over his face. Since we have not had the tremen­dous fortune of sharing in this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, and acceptance, even to kiss it. Do you not see what Thabit al-Bunani did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik and placed it on his face saying: "This is the hand that touched the hand of the Mes­senger of Allah MHMD"? Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their excessive love for the Prophet MHMD, as they are ordered to love Allah and the Prophet MHMD more than their own lives, their children, all human beings, their property, and Paradise and its maidens. There are even some believers that love Abu Bakr and 'Umar more than themselves. Al-Dhahabi, Mu'jam al-Shuyukh (1:73 #58).

Al-Dhahabi elsewhere relates that Imam Ahmad himself used to seek blessings from the relics of the Prophet MHMD then he lambasts whoever would fault the practice of tabarruk or seeking blessings from blessed objects:

'Abd Allah ibn Ah.mad said: "I saw my father take a hair that belonged to the Prophet MHMD, put it on his mouth, and kiss it. I believe I saw him put it on his eyes. He also dipped it in water and drank the water to obtain cure. I saw him take the Prophet's MHMD bowl (qas'a), wash it in water, and drink from it. I saw him drink Zamzam water in order to seek cure with it, and he wiped his hands and face with it." I say: Where is the quibbling critic of Imam Ah.mad now? It is also authentically established that 'Abd Allah asked is father about those who touch the pommel of the Prophet's e pulpit and touch the wall of the Prophet's e room, and he said: "I do not see any harm in it." May Allah protect us and you from the opinion of the Khawarij and from innovations! Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam al-Nubala' (9:457). Ch. on Imam Ah.mad, section entitled Min adabih.

As for the licitness or desirability of praying in a mosque that contains or is located near the grave(s) of one or more righteous persons, it is established from the hadith of the Prophet MHMD: "In the Mosque of al-Khayf there is the qabr of seventy Prophets." Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Bazzar with a chain of trustworthy narrators according to al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (#5769, #5965).

Whoever asks his need from Allah may do so at the grave of the Friends of Allah. Whoever asks his need from other than Allah commits shirk, even in his own home. The point is that the the proximity of a grave does NOT make du`a to Allah haram although it might make it mustajab. This is the opinion of the Ulema, for example, concerning du`a at the grave of Imam al-Nawawi in the town of Nawa, district of Dar`a, outside Damascus.

Al-Khatib narrated with his chain from `Ali ibn Maymun in Tarikh Baghdad that he heard al-Shafi`i say in Baghdad: "I swear that I seek blessings through Abu Hanifa (inni la'atabarraku bi Abi Hanifa) and come to his grave every day" - meaning that he visits it. "Whenever I am in need of something, I pray two rak`as then come to his grave and ask Allah I for the fulfillment of my need, and little time passes before it is fulfilled."

Also famous in Baghdad is the grave of Ma`ruf al-Karkhi, which was known as "al-Tiryaq al-Mujarrab" or the Proven Medicine among the Salaf. So were those of Imam Ahmad, Ibn al-Baqillani, Ibn Furak, Isma`il Abu `Uthman al-Sabuni, and many others.

Al-Shawkani said in his treatise entitled al-Durr al-Nadid fi Ikhlas Kalimat al-Tawhid which is part of his book al-Rasa'il al-Salafiyya:

There is no harm in tawassul through any one of the Prophets or Friends of Allah or scholars of knowledge... One who comes to the grave as a visitor (za'iran) and invokes Allah alone, using as his means the dead person in the grave, is as one who says: "O Allah, I am asking that you cure me from such-and-such, and I use as a means to You whatever this righteous servant of Yours possesses for worshipping You and striving for Your sake and learning and teaching purely and sincerely for You." Such as this, there is no hesitation in declaring that it is permitted.

This is one of the reasons for making the graves of the righteous prominent. Even the author of Fiqh al-Sunna admits the fatwa that "If the grave is of a scholar or a righteous man, it is preferable to write his name on it to make it known." There are many reports prohibiting writing on the grave. This shows that even Sayyid Sabiq accepted the reading of these reports as denoting general dislike which does not apply to the pious, not absolute prohibition.

As for the prohibitive hadith "they have taken the graves of their Prophets as places of worship" it means as qibla or as a masjid literally (praying on top of them). Cf. Qadi Muhammad Thana-Ullah Pani Patti [d. 1225AH], Tafsir al-Mazhari (Blauchistan Book Depot, Kuetta, Pakistan), 6:23. Al-Hamdu lillah, no Muslim prostrates over the grave of the Prophet nor takes it as his Qibla, nor paints pictures for worship.

As for the hadith "Do not make my grave a place of festivity," this is a wrong translation, the correct translation being "Do not make my grave an anniversary festival and nothing more," meaning: Visit me often, not just once a year. Do not make a `EID of it.

`Eid denotes two things:

- a time that returns (=`aada) annually; this is the meaning here. And
- a time that one observes with festive activities (=`ayyada).

The Prophet told Mu`adh ibn Jabal to visit his grave whenever he would return from Yemen. [Musnad Ahmad with two sound chains as stated by al-Haythami, al-Bazzar, al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and Musnad al-Shamiyyin, Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Ahad wal-Mathani and al-Sunna, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra]. And he promised his intercession to those who would do so. There is consensus that such a visitation is among the Sunan and Qurubat or recommended acts of worship.

So the correct meaning is "Visit me often and at all times." This is the explanation preferred by the Ulema, among them Hafiz al-Sakhawi the student of Imam al-Hadith Ibn Hajar in his chapter entitled "On the meaning of the hadith: Do not make my grave a `Eid" in "al-Qawl al-Badi` fil-Salat was-Salam `ala al-Habib al-Shafi`" (Beirut 1987/1407) p. 159-160:

The author of "Silah al-Mu'min" said: "It is probable that the intent (murad) of the Prophet's saying: "Do not make my grave a `Eid" is emphasis and encouragement (al-hathth) on the frequency of visiting him and not treating his visit like an anniversary festival which does not occur in the year other than at two times. This meaning is supported by his saying: "Do not make your houses graves," that is, do not abandon prayer in your houses and thus turn them into places similar to the graves where one does not pray." There is no agreement on this. It seems that the Prophet was pointing to what he said in the other hadith concerning the prohibition of taking his grave as a place of prostration (masjid), or else that his intent was from the perspective of gathering. We have already seen something to that effet in the ahadith of this chapter. Some of the commentators of the "Masabih" have said: "The Prophet's saying is an abridged form of the sense: "Do not make the visit to my grave an anniversary festival," and its meaning is the prohibition of (formally) gathering for the purpose of his visit in the way that people gather together to celebrate `Eid. The Jews and Christians used to gather for the visit of their prophets' graves and busy themselves with entertainment and music, so the Prophet forbade his Community from doing that." It was also said that it is probable that the Prophet's prohibition was intended to prevent hardship (raf` al-mashaqqa) for his Community, and also because it was disliked that they commit excess in overly honoring his grave. I say: The emphasis and encouragement on visiting his noble grave is mentioned in numerous ahadith, and it would suffice to show this if there was only the hadith whereby the truthful and God-confirmed Prophet promises that his intercession among other things becomes obligatory for whoever visits him, and the Imams are in complete agreement from the time directly after his passing until our own time that this is among the best acts of drawing near to Allah. Shaykh al-Islam (Taj al-Din) al-Subki said in his book "Shifa' al-Siqam": "A large number of imams have inferred from the hadith "No-one greets me except Allah has returned my soul to me so that I can return his salaam" [Abu Dawud with a sound chain] the legal desirability (istihbab) of visiting the grave of the Prophet . I say: This is a sound inference because when the visitor greets the Prophet his reply is given from near, and this is a benefit much sought-after which Allah has made easily available for us to return again and again to the very beginning of that blessing."

As for the hadith "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) cursed women who visited graves" and the claim that al-Tirmidhi graded it a hasan sahih tradition, this is not true. Al-Tirmidhi graded as hasan sahih the hadith "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) cursed women who FREQUENTLY visited graves" (ZAWWARAAT), while the other one he graded only hasan, but its termination is: "and those who take them as places of worship and light candles over them" i.e. those who stay there in bewildered mourning for long durations of time as was the practice in Jahiliyya, apparently a diehard phenomenon.

But to say in absolute terms that "Every lamp or lantern placed over a grave must be removed" (Fiqh al-Sunna) is incorrect, as is the statement that "It is not correct to stop at a grave or make a vow at it." How can it be incorrect to stop at a grave when the Prophet ordered us to visit them?! Nor is it incorrect to make a vow to Allah Most High, wherever the place, but it is the intention and wording of that vow that is subject to caution.

I may post on the subject of vows at graves later insha Allah. Allah knows best,

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©


Question about promises

First of all I'm confused about the differences between oaths, promises, and vows. In quaran it says that you should keep your promises (including promises made to God), but in some hadiths it say that you shouldn't make vows. Please clarify this for me. Secondly, the reason i asked the 1st question is that I made a promise to God that I would give a certain % of my income (well above 2.5%)to the poor if I get a job. And sure enough I got a job, but now if I do that , there is not much left for myself. I didn't take into account many of my bills. I have to help my family with money as well, Could I use a portion of the money set aside to give to the poor (certain % of my income) to help my family? Is it possible to modify a promise? (for example instead of %of income I should've said % of what is left for me (after taxes, bills ))

If the promise was made in the form of a nadhr (solemn vow) i.e. pronounced outloud with the word "nadhartu... [I vow that...]" then it is binding exactly as formulated and cannot be revoked, modified, nor expiated. It must be fulfilled exactly as spoken and intended. One should know, not only exactly what one said but also exactly what one intended at the time.

If the promise was not made in the form of a nadhr but rather as a yamin (solemn oath) i.e. pronounced outloud with the word "I swear" (uqsim) by Allah or by one of His Names or Attributes such as "I swear by the All-Knowing that..." then it is also binding just as the nadhr is but with the difference that unlike the nadhr it can be modified or revoked on pains of a sin the kaffara (expiation) of which is to feed ten people who are poor or short of money or to provide clothing of any kind for ten such persons, or to fast three days, preferably consecutively.

If the words used were: "I resolve (a`zim) by Allah" or if no words were pronounced outloud but only a mental intention was formed, then this does not count as a binding promise. And Allah knows best.

As for the prohibition of swearing oaths, it means that it is detestable to make them unless one is called upon to do so such as in one's defense or in witnessing a legal case, or for other good reasons. It is actually among the grave sins (kaba'ir) to habitually swear oaths even if truthful. How about when one is not always truthful, as is frequently the case with merchants, street vendors, or in casual conversations?

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©

"Muhammad is the noblest of the Arabs and `Ajam. Muhammad is the best of those who trod the earth." (Al-Busiri)


Question regarding tombs, veneration

Salam `alaykum:

I feel bound by the obligation of Nasiha to point out that Shaykh Gamieldin's letter to the Cape Town, South Africa daily The Cape Argus shows lack of knowledge of the sources of Islam on the issue of grave visitation and the etiquette pertaining thereto. The issue hinges on "the erection of shrines to the dead" - I presume he means tombs (darih, qabr) as well as shrines/santuaries (maqam) - "and their veneration" meaning respect of a pious Muslim through visitation of his tomb, touching or kissing it, its embellishment, etc.

I had replied to someone else who had asked me the following question:

Recently i met an arabi, we had long discussion about wahabism and their thoughts. When we discussed about building of tombs for dead persons, he quoted a hadith, in which he said Once Prophet Mohammed Peace be upon him, had sent Hazarth Ali (RA) to Yemen to break the tombs, please put light upon this hadith.

Reply:

The hadith is in the Sahihayn, Sunan, and Musnad with various wordings.

Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Tahqiq said: "This [hadith] is understood to refer to the elevated graves they used to build with high and beautiful structures." Al-Zayla`i mentioned it in Nasb al-Raya.

Imam al-Nawawi in his Sharh Sahih Muslim said: "The Sunna is that the grave not be raised up a lot above the earth['s surface], nor rounded, but that it be raised up approximately a hand-span (shibr) and flattened, and this is the madhhab of al-Shafi`i and those [of the other schools] who agreed with him, while al-Qadi `Iyad related that most of the Ulema prefer it to be rounded [in the shape of a mound], and this is the madhhab of Malik."

Al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar added to this that it is haram to build them up high and he claimed that the fact that the Salaf and Khalaf built them up high is no proof that it is not haram, and al-`Azim Abadi approved him whole-heartedly in `Awn al-Ma`bud.

But the Amir al-San`ani in Subul al-Salam said: "The Jumhur - vast majority - hold that the prohibition of building up and plastering graves is one of preference (tanzih) [i.e. not strictness (tahrim)]."

There is also an excellent and authoritative discussion of the issue by Sh. Nuh Keller's wife, Ustadha Umm Sahl, on Mas`ud Khan's homepage:

< ummah.org.uk/masud >

under the subtitle: "Domes over the Grave of the Awilya."

The rest of this post concerns veneration of the tomb of a righteous Muslim.

Dawud ibn Salih said: "[The governor of Madina] Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet. He said: "Do you know what you are doing?" When he came near him, he realized it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The latter said: "Yes; I came to the Prophet, not to a stone." Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Ahmad (5:422), Al-Tabarani in his Mu`jam al-Kabir (4:189) and his Awsat according to Haythami in al-Zawa'id (5:245 and 5:441 #5845 Book of Hajj, "Section on the honoring of the dwellers of Madina, chapter on placing one's face against the grave of our Master the Prophet MHMD" and #9252 Book of Khilafa, "Chapter on the leadership of those unworthy of it"), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:515); both the latter and al-Dhahabi said it was sahih. It is also cited by al-Subki in Shifa' al-siqam (p. 126) and Ibn Taymiyya in al-Muntaqa (2:261f.).

It is also narrated that Mu`adh ibn Jabal and Bilal came to the grave of the Prophet MHMD and sat weeping, and the latter rubbed his face against it. Ibn Majah 2:1320, Ahmad, al-Tabarani, al-Subki, and Ibn `Asakir.

Imam Muslim relates in his Sahih, in the first chapter of the book of clothing, that Asma' bint Abi Bakr said: "Here is the cloak (jubba) of Allah's Messenger... [which] was with `A'isha until she died, then I got possession of it. The Apostle of Allah MHMD used to wear it, and we washed it for the sick so that they could seek cure thereby." Al-Nawawi comments in Sharh sahih Muslim (Book 37 Chapter 2 #10): "In this hadith is a proof that it is recommended to seek blessings through the relics of the righteous and their clothes (wa fi hadha al-hadith dalil `ala istihbab al-tabarruk bi aathaar al-salihin wa thiyabihim)."

The latter verdict puts to rest the possible claim that, on the basis of the above reports, such veneration applies only to the Prophet . This would be contrary to the rules of Islamic Principles (Usul) and probably none claims it except the uneducated.

Imam al-Dhahabi said: "Ah.mad ibn H.anbal was asked about touching the Prophet's MHMD grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it. His son 'Abd Allah related this from him. If it is asked: "Why did the Companions not do this?" We reply: "Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive, enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, nearly fought each other over the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the greater Pilgrimage, and even if he spat it would virtually not fall except in someone's hand so that he could pass it over his face. Since we have not had the tremendous fortune of sharing in this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, and acceptance, even to kiss it. Do you not see what Thabit al-Bunani did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik and placed it on his face saying: "This is the hand that touched the hand of the Messenger of Allah MHMD"? Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their excessive love for the Prophet MHMD, as they are ordered to love Allah and the Prophet MHMD more than their own lives, their children, all human beings, their property, and Paradise and its maidens. There are even some believers that love Abu Bakr and 'Umar more than themselves. Al-Dhahabi, Mu'jam al-Shuyukh (1:73 #58).

Al-Dhahabi elsewhere relates that Imam Ahmad himself used to seek blessings from the relics of the Prophet MHMD then he lambasts who­ever would fault the practice of tabarruk or seeking blessings from blessed objects:

"'Abd Allah ibn Ah.mad said: "I saw my father take a hair that belonged to the Prophet MHMD, put it on his mouth, and kiss it. I believe I saw him put it on his eyes. He also dipped it in water and drank the water to obtain cure. I saw him take the Prophet's MHMD bowl (qas'a), wash it in water, and drink from it. I saw him drink Zamzam water in order to seek cure with it, and he wiped his hands and face with it." I say: Where is the quibbling critic of Imam Ah.mad now? It is also authentically established that 'Abd Allah asked is father about those who touch the pommel of the Prophet's e pulpit and touch the wall of the Prophet's e room, and he said: "I do not see any harm in it." May Allah protect us and you from the opinion of the Khawarij and from innovations! Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam al-Nubala' (9:457). Ch. on Imam Ah.mad, section entitled Min adabih.

As for the licitness or rather desirability of praying in a mosque that contains or is located near the grave(s) of one or more righteous persons, it is established from the hadith of the Prophet MHMD: "In the Mosque of al-Khayf there is the qabr of seventy Prophets." Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Bazzar with a chain of trustworthy narrators according to al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (#5769, #5965).

As for the confusion of Shaykh Gamiel over a bodyless maqam, and how could such a place be venerated, has he not heard of Maqam Ibrahim in front of the Ka`ba? There is also a Maqam Ibrahim in Barza, near Damascus, that the Ulema of Sham have authenticated as the place where Ibrahim (as) took refuge from Nimrud and prayed. Neither spot is his grave but both are venerated. It is established that his grave is in al-Khalil and it also is venerated. The pious Muslims in this Umma do not doubt that du`a is answered in such places, just as it is answered in the place of the Mawlid of the Prophet in Makka, in Khadija's house, etc. All of these being Maqams, as were the places where the Angel ordered the Prophet to pray during his Isra', teaching him: "This is the place where Musa (as) rested on his flight from Egypt, this is the place where `Isa (as) was born, etc. because, lo and behold, all such places were, are, and shall until the Day of Resurrection remain holy in Islam.

As for Shaykh Gamiel's characterization of Muslims as committing "such practices as shirk" and his use of foul terms such as "shrine-worship", "pagan ceremony" etc. it falls under the Qur'anic verse 16:116:

{ And speak not, concerning that which your own tongues qualify (as clean or unclean), the falsehood: "This is lawful, and this is forbidden," so that ye invent a lie against Allah. Lo! those who invent a lie against Allah will not succeed. }

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©


`Umar (ra) on the Prophetic Grave

Al-Bukhari narrates in his Sahih, Book of Jana'iz:

When `Umar was stabbed he sent his son `Abd Allah with a message to `A'isha to "Ask her if I can be buried with my two companions," that is, in her room, next to the Prophet and Abu Bakr. `A'isha replied: "I wanted the spot for myself, but I shall put him [`Umar] before me today." It had been her habit that if a man from among the Companions asked her that spot she would always refuse. She herself gave the following instructions before her death: "Bury me with my lady-friends (the wives of the Prophet MHMD in al-Baqi`) and do not bury me with the Prophet in the house, for I dislike to be held in reverence (inni akrahu an uzakka)." Ibn `Umar came back with the news, whereupon `Umar said: "NOTHING IN THE WORLD WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THAN THAT RESTING-PLACE." Narrated by al-Bukhari in his Sahih.

Compare this to the impious sayings of those who claim that "there is nothing there."

Hajj Gibril





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