Part 5: THERE’S BARAKA IN THE AWLIYA-ALLAH GRAVES.
In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, and blessings and peace of Allah upon His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), his Family and all his Companions.
As we have seen, Allah has Himself exalted the position of His Awliya not only in this world but also in the Hereafter. The well-known Quranic Ayahs and Ahadith attest to this sterling fact. The purpose behind visiting the shrines of prophets and noble Shaykhs is to glorify , seeking blessings and intercession – seeking , because Allah (Mighty and sublime He be) calls for connection rather that disconnection . They are alive in their graves; therefore reaching them and glorifying them and evoking and interceding with them is agreed upon by the learned and the Imams of religion. Their blessing is valid during their life and after their death as well. Some persons believe that it is Shirk (associating partners with Allah) if you call the Awliyah Allah (Saints) for help, for example, "Ya Ghous, Assist me" or "Ya Khwaja, Assist me". The Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama'at believes that it is permissible to call the Awliyah Allah (radi Allahu anhum) for assistance or help as this is not associating partners with Allah Ta’ala. We believe that Allah Ta’ala has given the Awliya Allah special powers to assist the creation with His permission. Suffice it to say, the following verse among many of the other verses of the Holy Quran proves that one can also seek the assistance of the Awliya Allah: "Your helpers are Almighty Allah and His Rasool and those Muslims who perform Salaah and give alms and make Ruku" (Part 6, Ruku 6). Besides, this Madad was asked by Musa (AS) from his countryman with the word istaghaatha “he asked for help” (28:15) and by Dhul-Qarnayan using the term "help me" in Surat al-Kahf (a`eenuni) (18:95) which is the same root as "we turn for help" (nasta`een) in the Fatiha.
Imam ibn Abideen Shaami (d. 1253 H) writes: "Saints hold differing ranks in the court of Allah and to those who visit them, they benefit them through their spiritual stations" (Raddul Muhtar, vol.1 p.604). From these writings of the Imam, he has made his belief totally clear that according to their rank, saints gift their visitors with benefit and blessings.
According to an Islamic scholar, the ways of Awliya are not uniform: One eats heartily and sleeps soundly; another starves himself and keeps nightly vigils; one associates with people while another keeps aloof; one dresses in rags while another dons silk and fine linens; one keeps silent while another joins in conversations; one conceals his condition while another reveals it; one does service to all – devotee and fornicator alike – while another does not even answer the salaam of the latter; one receives gifts without asking, while another does not receive them!
Imam Hasan ibn Ibrahim al-Hallal [ra] has stated that whenever he had any urgent need, he would go to the grave of Imam Moosa ibn Ja'far [reh.] and make Tawassul through him. Allah (swt) would fulfil his need. (refer Taarikh Baghdad).
Ibn Hibban (reh) (d.354 A.H., the great Muhaddith from Salaf-as-Saaliheen) relates his own account of going to Al-Ridha’s (reh) grave, performing Tawassul through him and states that whenever “I was afflicted with a problem during my stay in Tus, I would visit the grave of Ali bin Musa [May Allah (swt)’s blessings be upon his grandfather and him] and ask Allah (swt) to relieve me of that problem and it (my dua) would be answered and the problem alleviated. And this is something I did, and found to work, many times." According to him, "This is such a reality that I found it to be true no matter how many times I did it. May Allah grant us death in the true love for Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and his blessed Ahlul Bayt." [Ibn Hibban, Kitab uth-Thiqat Volume 008, Page No. 456-7 #14411]
Ibn Hajar (Tahdhib 7:339) narrates the account of the Imam of Ahlul-Hadith Ibn Khuzaymah, under the entry of the same Ali bin Musa Al-Ridha. He relates that Ibn Khuzaymah also performed tawassul at the grave of Al-Ridha.
Tajuddin al-Subki [reh.] has mentioned that the people would go to the grave of Imaam ibn Foorak (reh.), the teacher of Imaam Baihaqi, and make Du'a and their Du'as would get accepted.
Ibn al-Jawzi in his biographies of the awliya entitled Sifat al-Safwa lists many of those at whose graves tabarruk (seeking blessing) and tawassul is recommended. Among them:
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari: "al-Waqidi said: It has reached us that the Eastern Romans visit his grave and seek rain through his intercession when they suffer from droughts" (1:243). Mujahid said: "People would uncover the space above his grave and it would rain."
Ma`ruf al-Karkhi (d. 200H): "His grave can be seen in Baghdad, and one seeks blessings with it. Al-Hafiz Ibrahim al-Harbi (d. 285H) -- Imam Ahmad's companion -- used to say: Ma`ruf's grave is proven medicine" (2:214) Ibn al-Jawzi adds: "We ourselves go to Ibrahim al-Harbi's grave and seek blessings with it" (2:410)
Al-hafiz al-Dhahabi also relates Ibrahim al-Harbi's saying about Ma`ruf al-Karkhi: "Ma`ruf's grave is proven medicine." Siyar a`lam al-nubala' (9:343).
Abu al-Hasan al-Daraqutni said: "We used to seek blessings from Abu al-Fath al-Qawasi's grave" (2:471).
Abu al-Qasim al-Wa`iz: "His grave can be seen in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's cemetary and it is sought for blessings." Related in the notice on `Abd al-Samad ibn `Umar ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq (2:482).
Al-Hafiz Abu al-Qasim Ibn `Asakir says in Musnad Abi `Uwana (1:430): "Abu `Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Saffar said to me that the grave of Abu `Uwana in Isfarayin [near Naysabur,i.e. Nishapur] is a place of visitation for the whole world (mazar al-`alam) and a place for obtaining blessing for the entire creation (mutabarrak al-khalq)."
Al-Hafiz Diya' al-Din al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali said in his book al-Hikayat al-manthura (Zahiriyya ms. 98, an autograph) that he heard the hafiz `Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali say that something like an abscess appeared on his upper arm for which there was found no medicine. He came to Ahmad ibn Hanbal's grave and applied his arm against it, after which he found himself healed. Imam Kawthari said that he read this account in Diya' al-Din's own handwriting. See Maqalat al-Kawthari (Riyadh and Beirut: Dar al-ahnaf, 1414/1993) p. 407, 412.
Al-Hafiz Abu `Ali al-Ghassani relates in Ibn al-Subki’s Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya 2:234: Abu al-Fath Nasr ibn al-Hasan al-Sakani al-Samarqandi came to us in 464 and said: “We had a drought in Samarqand some years ago. The people made the istisqa’ prayer but they did not get rain. A saintly man named al-Salah came to the judge and said to him: “I have an opinion I would like to show you. My opinion is that you come out followed by the people and that you all go to the grave of Imam Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Bukhari and make istisqa’ (prayer for rain) there. Perhaps Allah will give us rain.” The judge said: “What a good opinion you have.” He came out and the people followed him, and he prayed for rain in front of them at the grave while people wept and SOUGHT THE INTERCESSION OF THE ONE THAT WAS IN IT. Allah sent such heavy rain that those who were in Khartenk (where this took place, three miles away from Samarqand) could not reach Samarqand for seven days because of the rain’s abundance.
Hazrat Shamsuddeen Muhammad Hanafi (reh) was performing ablution in his room. He suddenly threw his wooden sandal into the air. It disappeared although there was no way for it to exit through the room. He gave the other sandal to his disciple and asked him to keep it until the first one returned. After some time a certain person from Syria arrived with the sandal and some money as gifts and said, "May Almighty Allah give you the thanks for this. The actual incident, which occurred, was that once when a thief sat on my chest and was about to slaughter me. In my heart I said, 'Ya Sayyidi Muhammadin Ya Hanafiyu.' Then suddenly, this sandal came and fell on the chest of the thief with such force that he became dazed and collapsed and Almighty Allah has saved me through your blessing." (Tabqaatul Kubra)
Before the passing away of Moulana Rumi (reh.)he revealed to his Mureeds a startling secret. He said: "Whatever conditions you may be in, remember me, so that I can be your protector and helper, irrespective of what state I may be in. In this world I have two types of relationships, one with my body and the other with you, and when, with the Mercy of Allah I am freed from this contact with my body and the world of loneliness is exposed to me, I will divert the attention of my soul to you."
The great Sufi Shaykh, Hamiduddin Nagori (D.677 A.H.), said that whoever has a need that he needs to be fulfilled, he should go to the grave of his wife, Sayyidah Khadijah, and seek blessings there because she never turned anyone away (Sultan at-Tarikeen, p.93). From these words of Khwaja Hamiduddin, we discover his belief that the chosen people of Allah can help people even from their graves. Muslims should go to the graves of the chosen servants of the Creator and seek the benefits from them.
Also, Shaykh Abdul Haq Dehlwi (d.1052 A.H.) writes: "Imam Shafi'i said that the grave of Hadrat Musa Kaazim ® is a place where supplications are accepted readily" (Ashi'atul Lum'aat, vol.1 p.715).
From these writings, it is found that the belief of Imam Shafi'i was that to go to the graves of the pious and to seek blessings from them, to offer supplications near them graves and to believe the occupant of the grave to be a means of removing difficulties is totally permissible. The Imam also believed that some of these graves are a place where supplications are accepted.
We have noted above al-Wakidi’s and Mujahid’s account of Hadrat Abu Ayyub al-Ansari ® who was one of the great Companions of Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam). According to The History of al-Tabari, 39:40: Mujahid says: Whenever there is famine, people expose the grave, so it starts raining. It was reported that the Greeks frequent his grave, renovate it, and pray there for rain in times of drought. Hafidh Ibn Kathir, Ibn abdul-Barr and Ibn Sa’ad, Ibn Athir write: 'Whenever there was a famine in Rome, then the Romans would supplicate by presenting the Waseela of Abu Ayyub Ansari RadhiAllahu 'anhu'. (Tareekh Ibn Kathir Tabakat Ibn Sa’d, Usdool-Gabah, Isteyab by Ibn Sa’d, Ibn Atheer and Abdul-Barr) Hafidh Ibn Kathir made no critical comments with regards to this. When supplication was made through Abu Ayyub Ansari Radi Allaho making him the waseela, it did rain. Ibn ‘Abd-ul-Barr does mention in al-Istiab fī ma‘rifat-il-ashāb (1:405)]: Thus, even the enemies were forced to revere his grave, and people soon came to know the blessings emanating from the grave. Whatever they prayed for at the grave was immediately granted. And Abū Ayyūb’s grave lies near the ramparts of the fort and everybody knows it... When people pray for rain there, it starts raining. It would be interesting to see what the Historian Philips Hitti writes: Tradition asserts that in the course of the siege Abu-Ayyūb died of dysentery and was buried before the walls of Constantinople. His legendary tomb soon became a shrine even for the Christian Greeks, who made pilgrimages to it in times of drought to pray for rain. During the siege of Constantinople in 1453 by the Turks, the tomb was miraculously discovered by rays of light… and a mosque was built on the site. Thus did the Madīnese gentleman become a saint for three nations. (Hitti, History of the Arabs, 201-2)
The Graveyard of Bab-ul-Burdan has a group of meritorious people. At the Musalla prescribed for Salat-ul-‘Id, there was a grave known as the Grave of Nuthur (pl. of nathr) [An-Nathr is an oath to Allah by which one commits oneself to do any good deed which is not obligatory, such as fasting a certain number of days or paying charity. It is obligatory to fulfil one's nathr.]. It is said that in it was buried a man who was a descendent of Ali Ibn Abi Talib. People perform Tabarruk by visiting him, and whoever had a need would come to him to have his need fulfilled.
Qadi Abul-Qasim Ali Ibn al-Muhsin at-Tannukhiyy told me; he said: My father told me; he said: I was sitting in the presence of Adud-ud-Dawlah while we were camping near the A’yad Musalla in the eastern part of the city of as-Salam aiming to go with him to Hamathan. In the first day he attended the camp, his eye fell on the construction made on the Grave of Nuthur. He said to me: What is this construction? I said to him: This is the Mashhad (Grave) of Nuthur. I did not say grave, because I knew his superstition of this. He liked the wording and said: I knew this is the Grave of Nuthur, but I wanted its matter to be explained. I said: This is a grave, it is said, of Ubaydullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Umar Ibn Ali Ibn al-Husayn Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib. It is also said: It is the grave of Ubaydullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Umar Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib. It is said that one ruler wanted to have him killed secretly. A ditch was made for him. He was taken on it without him knowing and fell into it. Then the sand was thrown over him while alive. The grave was famous as the Grave of Nuthur, because every single nathr made for him was valid, the nathir (one who performs the nathr) achieved what he wanted and is obligated to fulfil his nathr. I am one of those who made nathr for it many times that I cannot count for hard matters. I achieved them; fulfilling the nathr became obligatory upon me and I did fulfil it. He did not accept this saying and said what implicated that this occurred accidentally. Then lay people marketed it magnified and spread false news about it. I stopped talking.
A few days later while we were camping in our position, he sent after me in the afternoon. He said: Ride with me to the Mashhad of Nuthur. We rode along with some of his retinues until we reached the place. He entered and visited the Grave. There, he prayed rak’atan after which he made a sujud in which he made a long dua' in a such a way that no one heard him. Then we rode back to his tent and stayed for days. Then we moved to Hamathan. We reached it and stayed with him for months. Then he sent after me and said: Do you remember what you told me about the Mashhad of Nuthur in Baghdad? I said: Yes, I do. He said: I addressed you with its meaning without that which was in me to have a good company with you. What was in me is that all of what was said about the Grave was a lie. A short time after that something occurred to me that I was afraid it would happen. I worked hard to avoid its happening even if it amounted to spend all of what I had in my treasuries and employing my soldiers. I could not find a way to that. Then I remembered what you told me about the nathr for the Graveyard of Nuthur. I said: Why do I not try that? I performed a nathr that if Allah protected me from that matter, I would carry 10,000 full Darahim to the box of this Mashhad. Today I got the news of being protected from that matter. I told Abul-Qasim Abd-ul-Aziz Ibn Yusuf -his writer- to write to Abur-Rayyan, who was his delegated ruler in Baghdad to carry them to the Graveyard. Then he looked at Abdul-Aziz who was present and said: Surely, I wrote that and the order in the letter was executed. [This is the end of the statement by al-Khatib al-Baghdadi.].
To reiterate, those who seek Baraka and tawassul do not believe in the originality and independence of these causes and agents but believe that they are the means and a channel or a route through which Allah (swt) in his infinite Mercy grants miracles and marvels for the sake of the honour of His Friends. It is also worth remembering the general rule of thumb that all those Quranic verses which say “there is no Helper beside Allah” speak in relation to the Kuffar (Disbelievers) and those Quranic verses saying that there are many helpers are in relation to Believers. Another general rule of thumb to remember is that Karamaat of Awliya-Allah are true, and steadfastness in the way of Allah is also a miracle. This is further clarified by Imam Mujaddid Alf Thaani Ahmad al-Faruqi as-Sirhindi who writes, “It is not a condition for a Wali [that is, for a person whom Allah loves] to display karamat. As it is not necessary for the scholars to display karamat, so it is not necessary for the Awliya to display karamat, because Wilayah means qurb-e ilahi. [That is, it means to get closer to Allah, to know Him.” [Volume 2, 92nd Letter of his Maktubat]
After examining all the narrations and quotations, it is clear as the daylight that in every era the respect of the Tabarukaat and Wasila was in progress. The Sahaba-e-Kiraam, Akaabireen, A'imma-e-Mujtahideen, Awliyah and the Ulema have always respected and honoured the Tabarukaat. Those who showed disrespect towards it were engulfed by the Azaab (Punishment) of Almighty Allah. Thus, it is necessary upon the Muslims to respect and honour the Islamic relics. We owe it to the Prophets, `alaymmu-s-salam, and Awliya, who protected and spread the Deen of Allah, subhanaHu wa Ta`ala, over the ages, that we visit their shrines, dress it with flowers if we wish to (as it is Sunnah) and make Dhikr there. A Nation, which does not honour its true servants and heroes, is an ungrateful Nation and is bound to land in confusion.
Shaykh Abu Talib al-Makki Alayhi Rahma said, “If you are not from the righteous, see to it that you have love for them, for Allah Most High will look to their hearts, and perhaps He will see you in them and allow you to join them.” In another wording it says, “And perhaps He may look at your name and forgive you.”
To respect those things attributed to religion is also acceptable. Almighty Allah says, “For those who respect the signs of Allah, then this is from the piety of the hearts.” (Surah Al Haj, verse 32). The shrines of Awliya-Allah are also among the signs of Allah. We ask Allah to fill our hearts with love for His beloved ones, namely the Blessed Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), the Sahabalkram, the mujtahideen, the Auliya-Allah, and that He blesses us with the ability to follow their path. O Allah! We ask of you your love and the love of those whom you love.
We shall now conclude with the Hadith ash-Sharif written in Sahihayn, the two genuine Hadith books, one by al-Bukhari and the other by Muslim states that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) visited the graves of the martyrs of Uhud exactly ONE YEAR after they died. A minbar was BUILT in the graveyard for him to deliver a sermon. 'Uqba ibn Amir (radi-Allahu `anh), the relater of the Hadith ash-Sharif, said, 'Rasulullah (sall-Allahu Ta`ala `alaihi wa sallam), ascended the minbar. It was the last time I saw him on the minbar. He declared: "I do not fear whether you will become polytheists after I die. I fear that you, because of worldly interests, will kill one another and thus be destroyed like ancient tribes." '