From the Layman’s Desk-14: Part 1:
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, MOST BENEFICIENT, MOST MERCIFUL.
The Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam]did not permit vistiting the graves initially but later visitation was allowed:
It should be noted that permission to visit the graves wasn’t granted because during the pre-Islamic days of ignorance (Jaahilya), people used to visit the graves and after sometime, they would construct statues and images on the grave. Then, these would be treated as idols and they would pay reverence in front of these. So, they were cursed and the visitation of the women was prohibited. (Ibn al-Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 2, p. 430.). Women who frequently visited the graves and lighted candles upon the graves taking them as a place of worship during th Jaahilya were cursed. A verse from the Holy Quran mentions: “Wa la Taqum ‘ala Qabrihi” (Do not stand at his grave) which refers to the grave of the Munafiq. Also, there were were not many muslim graves during the nascent Islam in and around Hijaz.
We also know from the hadith quoted in Sahih Muslim that the Messenger of Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] visited his honourable mother’s grave at Abwa (a place between Makkah and Madinah Munawwara) along with his companions and even wept there. The companions too wept on seeing him (s) weep: The Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wassallam) said: "I had forbidden you to visit the graves but Muhammad has been permitted to visit the grave of his mother, so visit them, for truly, they remind you of the hereafter." [Narated from Buraida by al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahîh). Also confirmed by Ahmad, ibn Majah and al-Nisai.] The hadith of Buraida ® is also mentioned in Miskhat. According to the renowned Muhaqqiq, Shaykh Abdul Haq Dehlwi writes that because the period of ignorance had just passed, Rasoolallah (sal Allahu alayhis wassallam) forbade the visitation due to fear of the Muslims returning to their old ways. However, when the people became well acquainted with the orders of Islam, then the dear Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) allowed the visitation to take place (Ashi'atul Lum'aat, vol.1 p.717).
After the migration to Madinah Munawarrah (622 c.e.), the first companion buried in Jannat Al-Baqi was Uthman bin Maz’un who died on the 3rd of Shaban al-Moazzam in the 3rd year of Hijrah. Rasulullah (sal-Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa sallam) erected a big gravestone with his blessed hands at the grave of this foster brother of his. Hence, it became a sunnat to erect grave-stones. In 4 A.H., the Holy Prophet’s [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] infant son, Ibrahim was buried there. Among the relatives of the Prophet Muhammad [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] who were buried at Jannat Al-Baqi are: his aunts Safiya and Aatika, and his Aunt Fatima bint al-Asad, the mother of Hadhrat Ali ®. The third caliph Uthman ® was buried outside Jannat Al-Baqi, but with later extensions, his grave was included in the area. Nearly seven thousand companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] were buried there, not to mention those of the Ahlul Bayt: Imam Hasan bin Ali ®, Imam Ali bin Hussain ®, Imam Muhammad bin Ali ®, and Imam Ja'far as-Saadiq ® were all buried there. It is the general view that Fatimah az-Zahra ® was also buried in Jannatul Baqi. In later years, great Muslim scholars like Malik bin Anas and many others, including the Muhajarin and the Ansars, were buried there too. The people of Madinah Munawarra then began to use that site for the burial of their own dead. Then there were places where many Sahaba were martyred in the cause of Islam. At such places the Martyrs were buried and these burial grounds too, such as Uhud, became a place of great historic importance along with Jannatul Baqi and the Jannatul M’ala. The graveyard at Madinah Munawwara, Jannatul-Baqi, is regarded as the holiest one on earth since the relatives and progeny of Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] are buried there. So also the Sahaba ® and holy people are buried there. Thus even the graveyards are not of the same rank. Large numbers of people from all over the world have been visiting the Jannatul-Baqi and Uhud as well as the Jannatul Ma’la and greeting the occupants of the graves as taught to us by the Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] since the time of Salaf-as-Saliheen to this day! As we noted before that the Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an about the graves of the hypocrite: “Do not stand at his grave” it was based on this that the Ulema of the four schools of thought (i.e. the Ahle-Sunna wal Jamaat) deduced the contrary position, i.e. standing by the graves of a believer, is permissible. Al-Bazzar narrates that the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) visited the Jannat al-Ma'la graveyard in Makkah, where the mother of believers, our Sayyidah Khadijah ® is buried, and said: "This is a blessed graveyard" (Ni'mah al-maqbarah hadhih).
One of the prophetic traditions in this regards mentions: "Verily, I had restrained you from visiting the graves. Now, visit them. Certainly, it reminds one of the Hereafter."(Sunan Tirmidhi, Vol.3, Pg. 370). The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), himself used to visit the graves of his deceased companions, and it is narrated in Sahih Muslim and Sunan of at-Tirmidhi that the Messenger of Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] regularly visited the graveyard of Madinah, Jannat al-Baqi', and made supplications there. He taught us to say: “O inhabitants of the land of believers and Muslims! May peace be upon you. Insha’allah we are going to join you. I ask Allah for the salvation of both you and us.” (Muslim, Janaiz, 104; Ibn Majah, Janaiz, 36). According to the narrations by Tirmidhi and Ibn Abbas, the Messenger of Allah visited Madinah graveyard once and turning to graves, he said: “O the inhabitants of the graveyard, peace be upon you! May Allah forgive us and you. You went before us and we are going to come after you.” (Tirmidhi, Janaiz, 58, 59). It is significant to note that the Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam], while commanding us to visit the graves, did not differentiate between the graves that are near and the graves that are distant for which it becomes necessary to travel for the visit.
It is also narrated in Sahih Muslim that Messenger of Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] taught his wife and our mother Sayyida Aisha ®, the etiquette of visiting graves and the way of greeting the dead. It is in Hadith - Sayyidah Aisha Siddiqah (radiyallahu ta'ala anha) narrates that: "When the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) used to pass the night with her, in the last part of the night he would go to the graveyard of Madinah (Muslim, Mishkat p.154). .
All his life, the Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] used to visit the graveyard of Baqi and other burial grounds. Just see a few examples:
Narrated Ibn Abbas ®: A person died and Allah's Apostle [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] used to visit him. He died at night and (the people) buried him at night. In the morning they informed the Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] about his death). He said, "What prevented you from informing me?" They replied, "It was night and it was a dark night and so we disliked to trouble you." The Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] went to his Grave and offered the (funeral) prayer. (Bukhari Book #23, Hadith #339)
Narrated Anas bin Malik (R): We were (in the funeral procession) of one of the daughters of the Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] and he (Prophet sallal laahu ‘alaihi wassallam) was sitting by the side of the Grave... (part of the Hadith) (Bukhari - Book #23, Hadith #374).
In Al-Fajr as-Sadiq it is related that Abu Nu`aym Al-Isbahani has mentioned with his chain of transmission from `Ubayd Ibn Marzuq who said: "A woman of Medina, named Umm Mihjan, used to sweep the mosque, then she died. The Prophet was not told of this event. Thereafter, he passed over her grave and queried: "What is this?" Those present replied: "Umm Mihjan." He said: "The one who swept the mosque?" They answered: "Yes." Thereupon the people lined up and prayed for her. Then he addressed her: "Which work of yours did you find more favoured?" They exclaimed: "O Messenger of Allah, can she hear you?" He replied: "You cannot hear better than she does." Then it is mentioned that she answered him: "Sweeping the mosque." The chain of transmission in this hadith is interrupted. There are others more like it. Ibn Hajar says in al-Isaba (8:187): "Mihjana, also named Umm Mihjan: a black woman who used to sweep the mosque [in Medina]. She is mentioned in the books of sound (sahih) hadith but without being named."
Those who object to the visiting of the graves on the ground of ‘Shirk’ evidently don’t have respects even for the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] who used to pray for his companions during their life and who after their death used to visit the burial grounds and offer prayers on their graves!
To continue, Insha Allah….