The issue under discussion is undoutedly sensitve because it has been made sensitive and disputable amongs Muslim Ummah since last few centuries.
Lets see its legitimacy in the light of Quran and Sunnah .. and .. not in the light of practices of people.
1. Ziyarat-ul-Quboor (Visiting or Seeing the graves)
The meaning of Ziyarat or Ziyarah are derived from Arabic root word “زَارَ، يَزُوْرُ، زَوْرًا، zaar, yazoor, Zaura” which means to meet, to see or to intend to go to someone… (Zubaidi : Taj-ul-Urus, 6: 477)
Meaning of Ziyarat are : to come to meet someone, or to meet closely, or to join, proclivity, effection are also meant by this word (Batrus Bustami, Moheet-ul-Moheet 384)
Usually this word is used for : to go to meet someone out of love, respect or effection (Fuyoomi Al-Misbah-ul-Munir 1 : 260)
Mazar means the place of Ziyarat (Ibn-e-Manzoor Afriqui, Lissan-ul-Arab 4 : 333)
ZIYARAH OF HOLY PROPHET (SAW) IN THE LIGHT OF QURAN & SUNNAH :-
In Islam, the practice of Ziyarah has a great significance as Quran in Surah Nissa 4: 64 says to Muslims who have done some unjust or sinns
when they were unjust to themselves, come to you (Holy Prophet (saw)) and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger (saw) had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.
Here comes the importance of Visiting someone who is dear to Allah. No doubt Allah is the one who gives forgiveness and mercy, but in this part of Quran, the unjust and sinner Muslims are directed to come to Holy Prophet (saw), and Holy Prophet (saw) would also ask to Allah to forgive that sinner (Recommendation or Intermediatoin), then the sinner would have found Allah oft-returning to mercy, The Merciful.
Since the whole Quran is perpatual, its teachings are also perpatual, this verse DOES NOT referes only to life of Holy Prophet (saw) rather its also valid for the rest of ages… for details please see the references :-
1..Ibn-e-Kathir tafseer-ul-quran, 1 : 519-520
2.. Behaqui Shob-ul-Iman, 3: 495-496
3.. Qurtabi, Al-jame-ul-Ahkam-ul-Quran, 5:265
Imam ibn-e-Qayyam (ra) in his ” Qaseed-tun-Nuniya” describes the virtues of Visitng Prophet’s (saw) grave:-
فکأنه فی القبر حيّ ناطق
فالواقفون نواکس الأذقان
Keep in mind & heart that Holy Prophet (saw) is alive in his grave and talks
So keep your head down when you stand in the court of Holy Prophet (saw).
PRACTICE OF HOLY PROPHET (SAW) TO VISIT GRAVES :-
Ibrahim bin Muhammad (ra) reported that Holy Prophet used to visit the graves of martyers of Ohud War in the beginning of year and said : السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْکُمْ بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَي الدَّارِ.
Salaam on you ! As a result of your patience, what a nice place you got in Akhirah
Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman (ra) also used to visit in the same way.
1.. Abdur Razzaq al-musnaf : 3:573
2.. Aini , Umdat-ul-Qari, 8:70
3.. Tabri, Jami Al-Quran, 13:142
4.. Imam Suyuti, Dur-ul-Mansoor, 4:641
5.. Ibn-e-Kathir, tafseer-ul-Quran-ul-Azeem,
After Having made clear from Quranic Verse, lets see this subject in the light of Hadith :-
Holy Prophet (saw) said: “Do Visit the graves because this practice reminds the aakhirah (life hereafter)
1.. Muslim 2:671..976
2.. Haakim al-mustadrak: 1:531..1390
Blessings of Visiting Holy Prophet (saw)’s grave :-
Holy Prophet (saw) said : The one who Visits my grave, My intercession (Shifa’ah) is due for him (Essentially the visitor will get Shifa’ah) of the Holy Prophet (saw) on the day of judgement)
1. (Dar Qutni, Al-Sunnan 2: 278)
2. (Behaqui, Shohb-ul-Imaan 3: 490, and 4159 and 4160)
3. (Hakeem Tirmazi, Nawadirul Usool, 2 : 67)
ZIYARAH OF OTHER PIOUS MUSLIMS IN THE LIGHT OF QURAN & SUNNAH :-
Holy Quran In Sura Al-Kahf 18, in Verse 60 – 82, describes the event of Prophet Moses (Musa) (AS) when Allah (swt) ordered Moses to visit a Wali-Allah (Friend of Allah) Khidhar (AS) to seek knowledge and wisdome and Moses along with his servant, went in search of Khidhar.
We should remember that each Prophet’s practice is his sunnah and Prophet’s sunnah is always admissible, permissible and rightful in the eyes of Allah (swt) thats why Allah made it part of Quran.
(Note: the details can be read from Quranic translation of Sura Al-Kahf (The cave) verse 60 to 82).
Now Lets see the legitimacy in the light of Hadith :-
Hadith 1 –
Holy Prophet (saw) said in a Hadith Qudsi that Allah (swt) says “My Love is due for the people who Love each other only for the sake of My Love, Who sit close to each other only for my sake, Who go & meet each other only for My Willingness (Radha) and Who spend the money only for my Willingness ”
1. Imam Al-Malik, Al-Mo’ta 2: 953 : 1711
2. Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, Al-Musnad : 5: 233 : 22083
Hadith 2 –
Holy Prophet (saw) said : The one who visited his parent’s grave (both or single) on Friday, he is forgiven (by Allah) and his name is mentioned in the list of righteous and pious people.
1.. Al-Tabrani, Mojam-ul-Ausat 6:185
2.. Behaqui , Shob-ul-Imaan : 6:201
3.. Suyooti, Durr-ul-Mansoor : 5:267
VISITING GRAVES PRACTICED BY HOLY PROPHET (SAW) & SEHABA (RA)
PRACTICE OF HOLY PROPHET (SAW) :-
Muhammad bin Ibrahim (ra) reported : Holy Prophet (saw) used to visit the graves of martyers of Ohud, in the beginning of every year, and He used to say : السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْکُمْ بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَي الدَّارِ
and Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman also used to practice like this.
1.. Abdur Razzaq al-musnaf, 3:573
2.. Aini, umdat-ul-Qadri, 8:70
3.. Tabri Jam-ul-Bayan, 13:142
4.. Imam Suyuti, Durru-ul-mansoor, 4:641
Practice of Umar-e-Farooq (ra) :-
When Ka’ab Al-Ahbar accepted Islam, he was offered by great Sehabi & Ameer-ul-Momineen Hazrat Umar (RA) to visit the grave of Holy Propeht (saw). Ka’ab Al-Ahbar agreed and both visited the grave of Holy Prophet (saw), paid SALAM and then to grave of Hazrat Abu-Bakar Siddique (ra) and paid SALAM. Moreover the both performed 2 Rakah Nafl.
1.. Waqdi, Futu-ush-Sham : 1:244
2… Hathmi, Al-johar Al-Munzam 27 . 28
Practice of Sayyeda Ayesha Siddiqua (ra).. She says ..
When the Holy Prophet (saw) and my father Abu-Bakr’s graves were in my House, I used to visit the graves without shaal (Hijaab) because they were my Husband & father. But when Umar (ra) was burried there, I swear, I never entered there without Hijaab because of Haya (modesty).
1.. Ahmad bin Hanbal, Al-musnad 6: 202
2.. Haakim, Al-mustadrak, 3:61 .. 4402
Important point : ARE THE ALL DEAD EQUAL ????
No, all dead people are not equal in the light of Quran & Sunnah
There are some beloved people of Allah (swt) who have sacrified their whole lives for the sake of Allah Almighty and they are blessed with another type of life which our minds cannot conceive …
as Quran says for the martyerd ..
“Do not even think they are dead, rather they are alive, they are given food by Allah, (Aal-Imran 3 : 169 )”
As we also see of practice and faith of Sehaba karam in the above Traditions, its clear that ..
The salam can not be said to dead people. Its only said to the one who can listens it. Neither the Hijaab can be made from dead people because Hijaab is only essential for a Na-Mehram who can see a Muslim Lady. Above practice of Umm-ul-momineen Ayesha Siddiqua (ra) expresses her views and faith that Umar was not dead like others rather he was able to see and listen even in grave.
In the light of above Quranic and Hadith fact, this misunderstanding should be removed from our minds that all the people are equal in the eyes of Allah Almighty because here Allah (swt) Himself has given a superior and higher kind of life after death to those who are killed in the way of Allah (swt).
TOMB or BUILDING ON GRAVES :-
Making Tomb (or Building) on a grave is also act of Sehaba and the first tomb was made by Sehaba was the Tomb of Holy Prophet (saw). for details .. lets see the Hadith below :-
Once the city of madina came under droughty (shortage of water/rain), the people complained to Ayesha (ra) and she suggested them ” Go & see the grave of Holy Prophet (saw) and open above small window (for ventilation) in the way that there should be no veil between grave and sky. As the people opend the window above the grave, heavy rain came and whole city got green after that rain. The camels got fed & fat and this year was called ” AAM-UL-FATAQ” (the year of excess).
1.. Daarmi, Assunan, 1:56 .. 92
2.. Ibn-e-Jaozi, Al-wafa be-Ahwal-lil-Mustafa, 817, 818 : 1534
3.. Sibki, al-shifa siqaam fi ziyarat-ul-khair-ul-anaam, 128
NOTE that Ayesha Siddiqua (ra) advised the people to open the window which was above the grave of holy Prophet (saw) with the angle that there should be no veil between grave and sky, which means there was already some building on the grave and no Sehabi (ra) dare to demolish that building even Abu-Bakar and Umar (ra) preffered to be burried under that building in the side of Holy Prophet (saw) and other Sehaba (ra) fulfilled their desire.
If making any building or Tomb on a grave was strictly forbidden and against the teachings of Islam, Holy Prophet (saw) himself would have ordered in His life not to build up any building, or Sehaba karam (ra) would have removed the building above the grave of Holy Prophet (saw). But the building was kept on the grave of Holy Prophet (saw).
And REMEMBER that act of Holy Prophet (saw) as well as act of Sehaba Karam (ra) is enough reason for us to practice.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HOLY PROPHET (SAW)’S UNCLE HAMZA’S GRAVE :-
Imam Shams-ud-din Sakhawi (ra) writes about the grave of Holy Prophet (saw)’s uncle Hamza (ra)’s grave :-
A Qubba (TOMB) was made on his grave and it was visited and was source of blessings (Barakah)
Sakhawi, Al-Tohfa-tul-Latifa 1:307
Now lets go ahead :-
Abdullah bin Umar, the son of Hazrat Umar (ra) used to visit the graves of Holy Prophet (saw), Abu Bakar and Umar (ra) and he used to say :-
السّلام عليک يا رسول اﷲ! السّلام عليک يا أبا بکر! السّلام عليک يا أبتاه!
Assalam-o-Alaika Oh Messenger of Allah, Assalam-o-Alaika Oh Abu-Bakar and Assalam-o-Alaika Oh my father !
1.. Abdur Razzaq al-musnaf, 3: 576 .. 6724
2.. Ibn-e-Abi-Shaibah, Almusnaf, 3 : 28.. 11793
3.. Behaqui, al-Sunan-ul-kubra, 5:245..10051
4.. Ibn-e-Ishaq Azdi, Fadhal-us-Salat Ala-Nabi (saw), 90,91.. 97-98
PLEASE Again read carefully his way of Salam as he was saying salam to alive people :-
Once Abu-Ayyub Ansari (ra) came to grave of Holy Prophet (saw) and put his face on the grave.
Caliph of that time, Marwan saw him and asked him ” Do you know what are you doing ?”
Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra) replied : نَعَمْ، جِئْتُ رَسُوْلَ اﷲِ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم وَ لَمْ آتِ الْحَجَرَ.
“YES (I know what i am doing) because I came to Holy Prophet (saw) and not to a stone”
1.. Ahmad bin Hanbal, Al-musnad 5: 422
2.. Haakim, Al-mustadrak, 4:560 .. 8571
3.. Tabrani, al-mojimul kabeer, 4:158 .. 3999
NOTE the faith of Abu Ayub Ansari (ra) who believed here is Holy Prophet (saw) and not only stones or dust.
IMAM SHAFAI (RA) used to visit the grave of IMAM-e-AZAM ABU HANIFA (RA) for getting Barakah (blessings) :-
Imam Shafai (ra) himself says :-
” I get blessings from Abu-Hanifa (ra) by daily visiting his grave, whenever I fell in trouble, I pray 2 rakaat and come to grave of Abu-Hanifa (ra), and standing near his grave I pray to Allah Almighty, and does not move from there until my problem is solved and my trouble is over.
1.. Khateeb Baghdadi, Tareekh-e-baghdad, 1:123
2.. Ibn-e-Hajar Haithmi, Al-Khaikhrat-ul-Hassan, 94
3.. Ibn-e-Adam Shaami, Radd-ul-Mukhtar, 1:41
Ziyarah or Visiting to Mazar, graves
Making Tomb or Building over graves
Saying Salam direct to pious and righteous person inside the grave
Getting Blessings from this holy place
all are permissible acts and not shirk. because the Auliya Allah are friends and beloved of Allah (saw) and not the enemy of Allah… So if there is some blessings around the place of Wali-Ullah (friend of Allah) Its only blessings of Allah.
May Allah (swt) bless all of us with true light of faith. Ameen.
Wassalam o Alaikum