Monday, July 18, 2011


From Layman’s Desk-14
Part 7 continued…
Concerning visits to the graves of ordinary Muslims:
According to Shaykh Abdul Haq Dehlwi (reh.)(d. 1052 H), "To visit graves is by consensus a mustahab (preferable) action" (Ashi'atul Lum'aat, vol.1, p.715) He also writes:  "When visiting the dead, respecting them is Wajib (necessary) especially where the pious are concerned. As it was necessary to respect them whilst they were alive, similarly, it is important to show them respect at their graves. This is because the help which the pious give depends on the respect that people who visit them show to them." (Ashi'atul Lum'aat, vol.1 p.720).  From these writing, it is absolutely manifest that the belief of Shaykh Abdul Haq was that to visit the graves is neither Shirk nor Bid'ah. Moreover, it is a preferable act and the visitor is blessed with the help of the inmate of the grave.
At the outset we may point out that we are not discussing about the faculties of the dead in the Barzakh as well as the torments and pleasures that the deeased is subject to in the grave for that has been well-settled elsewhere.  Nevertheless, we will just need to touch this very cursorily in a general post such as this one. Secondly, comments coming from sources such as the Wahhabi/Salafi /Deobandi and Tableeghi/Kharji,  i.e. other than from Sunni sources, must be dealt with circumspection and caution  since they are disrespectful of the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) and the Sahaba and because they harbor ill-will against the Awliya-Allah.  However, it  is to be noted that the Ahl as-Sunnah Scholars are accustomed to quote from Ibn Taimiyya, Ibn Qayyim, etc. , only in order to corroborate and establish the Truth of the Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah, their beliefs and practices.  Not that they really need it for they are well-endowed with the refutations of the contrary claim, but because when the Truth surfaces from the opponents  it leaves no room for their denial.  For example, the la-madhhabi regard Ibn al-Qaiyyim as a Mujtahid and praise him highly but when it comes to believing his book, such as Kitar ar-Ruh, they insist that those who believe him are polytheists.    What’s this dichotomy? Not sure, are they?  No respect for their own Ulema? And by “Ulema”  I don’t mean the petro-dollar-fed ones who have far exceeded Ibn Qayyim and his Shaykh Ibn Taimiyya in their excesses against the righteous scholars of Ahle-Sunna.   
Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jauzia (d.751/1350), whose writings are used as documents in Wahhabite books, also reiterates in his Kitab ar-Ruh: "When someone visits a grave, the dead person in the grave recognizes the visitor and hears his voice. He becomes cheerful and responds to his greeting. This is not peculiar to martyrs; it is the same for other dead people, too. This is not restricted to a certain time either; it is always as such."   As noted above, the La-Madhhabi do not believe him in regards to the faculties of the deceased in the grave.  This dichotomy reveals the stubborn and willful rejection of the Ahle Sunnah’s beliefs. 
According to ibn Qayyim’s Shaykh, ibn Taimiyya (1263-1328 c.e.) in his Majmu at-al-Fataawa (vol.24, page 331), the Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] said: “When one passes by the grave of Mumin brother, whom he had known in this world, and stands at his grave and says: ‘Assalaamu ‘alaikum’ the person in the grave will know him and also return his greetings.”  However, in reply to a question whether the dead could perceive the living acquaintances who visit them, Ibn Taimiyya stated: There is no doubt that they can!  By way of substantiation he pointed out that evidence to this effect comes from the Sahihain (i.e. the two Sahih books of Bukhari and Muslim) where Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] said that after the people have buried a dead person and leave for home, the dead person can hear the steps of those who leave (yasma’u qur’a ni ‘alihim).  (This applies to even the Kuffar.) [Majmu at-al-Fataawa, (Vol.24, page 362)]
Abu Bakr 'Abdullah ibn Abi 'd-dunya [d. Baghdad, 261 A.H. (894)] wrote in Kitab al-qubur: "Hadrat 'Aisha ® reported the Prophet as saying, 'When a person visits the grave of his brother-in-Islam and sits by the grave, he recognizes him and replies to his greeting.' This shows that the dead recognize the people who visit them. 
Aisha ® narrates that Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] said: "When ever a person visits the grave of his Muslim brother and sits besides him; then his Muslim brother feels comfort, and this condition remains until the visitor has left the grave" (Hayatul Amwaat Page No: 47, Ibn-e-Ibid dunya).  
It is in hadith that Abu Huraira ® declares, 'If anyone visits the grave of an acquaintance of his and greets him, the dead person recognizes him and replies to him. If he greets a dead Muslim whom he does not know, the dead person replies to his greeting.' " Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Barr [d. Shatiba, 463 A.H. (1071)] and 'Abd al-Haqq, the author of the book Ah'kam, said that this hadith ash-Sharif was sahih. Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya quoted this hadith Sharif in Kitab ar-ruh and gave many other khabars and added that there were many more khabars to be written in this subject.
The following hadith Shareef quoted by Ibn Abi 'd-dunya and by al-Baihaki in Shu'ab al-iman on the authority of Abu Huraira ® declares: "When a person comes near the grave of an acquaintance of his and greets, the dead person recognizes and greets him. If he comes near the grave of a person he does not know and greets, the dead person answers him."
Umro Bin Al-Aas ® in very last moments of his life said to his son at Abdullah ®:  "When you bury me, put the sand slowly on my grave, sit beside my grave for the duration in which a camel can be slaughtered and the meat of camel can be distributed   so that I can gain comfort and I should know what I have to answer the angels." (Sahih Muslim, Mishkaat Babud Dafanil Mayyat)
The people in the Qubur have awareness about what is happening outside. Some dead are actually praying or making Du'a in their Qubur.  

Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jauziyya quoted, in his book Kitab ar-Ruh and on the authority of Ibn Abi 'd-dunya, Sadaqat ibn Sulaiman al-Jafari as saying, "I was a man of bad habits. I repented of them after my father's death. I gave up my impetuosities.  Once I committed a fault. Thereupon, I dreamt of my father saying, 'Oh my son! I have been feeling comfortable in my grave with your beautiful deeds. What you do is shown to us. Your deeds have been like those of the sulaha. But I felt very sad and ashamed of what you did recently. Do not make me feel ashamed among the dead nearby.’”  This narration reflects that the dead who are not acquaintances can also be aware of the events in the world. Because, his father said, "Do not make me feel ashamed among the dead nearby," referring to the deeds of his son shown to him. He would not say so if the unacquainted dead did not understand that his son's deeds were being shown to the father.  The hadith ash-Sharif reported by 'Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak and Ibn Abi 'd-dunya on the authority of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari ®  declares, "Your deeds are made known to the dead. They become happy when they see your good deeds. They become sad when they see your bad deeds." It was said, "Fear Allahu ta'ala because of your brothers in the graves! Your deeds are shown to them," in a hadith ash-Sharif quoted by al-Al-Haakim at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Abi 'd-dunya and al-Baihaki in his book Shu'ab al-iman on the authority of Numan ibn Bashir. These two hadiths refer to all the dead.  Hadrat Abu 'd-darda ® said, "Your deeds are shown to the dead. They become happy or sad upon seeing them." 

Then there are ahadith to show that the dead feel pain.  Just to cite one: Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin as reported in Sunan Abu Dawood - Book 20, Number 3201:  The Apostle of Allah (sallal laaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said: Breaking a dead man's bone is like breaking it when he is alive. 

In another Sahih Hadith narrated by Ibn Hanbal, Al-Haakim and Tabarani, the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu `alayhi wasallam) saw a person sitting on a Qabr and told him: "Do not harm the person in the Qabr and he will not harm you."(la tu'zi sahib al-Qabri wala yu'zeek).   The 'Ulama of Hadith explained that this shows that the dead are affected by what people do at their Qubur. This Hadith also shows that the dead feel what happens on the top of their graves. Otherwise, why not sit on a Qabr, if the dead does not feel anything?  Therefore one should not harm or destroy Qubur.  The second part of the Hadith proves that the dead have the power to harm as well as to benefit you, each in their own way and in accordance with their rank bestowed by Allah, subhanaHu wa Ta`ala, of course.  From the Jami'u Karamatil Awliya we learn that Abu Nu'aym
and Ibn Asakir relate that "A miscreant relieved himself on the grave of Hadrat Hasan (R).  Right after that he went mad, and then died."  Also that Sahawi communicates: Someone came to visit the grave of Hadrat Amr ibn Aas (R). He asked a person being there if he knew where the grave was. When the latter pointed to the grave with his foot, his foot became paralyzed, and he could not walk.

Many such examples have been illustrated by Islamic scholars including Ibn Qayyim.  Once, in the presence of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), a person was walking out of a graveyard with his shoes on, Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: "O you who have shaved your hair, are you wearing shoes? Throw your shoes away. Do not harm the people of the grave so that they may not harm you".   It is stated in "Fathul Kadeer", "Tahtawi" and "Raddul Mukhtaar" that, "If a new path is created in a Muslim graveyard by any person then it is Haraam to walk on it because it must have been made over graves. On the contrary, old pathways were made avoiding graves. Therefore, to walk on them is quite in order".
It is stated in the Hadith that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said, "It is easier for me to put my foot on a sharp sword than to put a foot on the grave of a Muslim". In another Hadith, he says, "I will prefer to put my foot on burning fire so much so that it burns my shoe and reaches my feet, than putting my foot on the grave of a Muslim". This is a statement by that person, whom by Allah, if he sets his holy feet on the chest or eyes of any Muslim, will gain the peace and pleasure of both the world!

If a person performs salat near graves, the dead sees him and understands that he is performing salat and admires him. It may also be noted that the The word 'ziyara' (visit) is used in such hadith ash-Sharif, which would not have been used if the dead had not recognized the person who came to the grave. In all languages and every dictionary, this word is defined as the meeting of people who know and understand one another. And the word "Salamun 'alaikum" is to be said to persons who will understand it.
Yazid ibn Harun as-Sulami [d. 206 A.H. (821)] narrated, "Ibn Sasab attended a funeral. He performed two rak'as of salat by a grave. Then he leaned against the grave. He swore by Allah that he was awake when he heard a voice from the grave which said, 'Do not hurt me! You worship. But you do not hear. You do not know. We know but cannot move. In my view, there is nothing more valuable than those two rak'as you performed.' The person in the grave had understood that Ibn Sasab performed salat and leaned against the grave." After writing the above event, Ibn al-Qayyim quotes many other khabars reported from as-Sahabat al-kiram proving that the dead do hear.
It is narrated by Tirmidhi and an-Nasa'i as well as al-Hakim that one of the Sahabah put his tent over a qabr without knowing it and when he was inside the tent, he heard someone reciting surat al-Mulk. He went to Nabi Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) and told him what he heard. Nabi Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam)  informed him that surat al-Mulk is a protection against punishment in the qabr, and is protecting the man buried there. The `Ulama of Hadith explain that that man loved reciting surat al-Mulk when he was alive and thus Allah (swt) granted him that he could recite it in his qabr as well. This proves that an ordinary man is able to recite Qur'an in his qabr and a normal living man is able to hear him. Thus if a truthful person claims that he has been spoken to by a wali at the wali's qabr it most likely is true, and most importantly, possible.. This fact is grounded in the above Hadith.
Isa bin Muhammad (Alaihir Rahmah) says that I once saw Abu Bakr bin Mujahid (Alaihir Rahmah) after his death in a dream reading the Holy Quran. I asked, "You have died, how are you reciting," upon which he said, "After every Salah and finishing of the Quran, I would pray "O Allah, give me the Taufiq to recite the Quran in my grave" and that is why I am praying." (Faizan-e-Sunnat)
In a sahih narration by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) said that if anyone buries his brother  he must put on a beautiful kafan for the dead person because they visit one another in the grave (innahum yatazaawarun). This is only speaking about ordinary Muslims and not Awliya Allah. If ordinary dead Muslims  can visit one another in their Qubur, then how much greater is the status and ability of the Awliya Allah in their Qubur?  What awareness do not these friends of Allah (swt) have in their Qubur?
Imam Jalaluddin as-Suyuti was asked the following questions:Do the dead recognize their visitors and know their states in life?
Do the dead hear what the living say?
Do the souls of the dead meet and see each other?
He replied in the affirmative to all question and produced many prophetic traditions in support.  In al-Mutaqaddim he declared:  The soul of every deceased is bound to his body in an unknown way. The souls are permitted to affect and dispose (tasarruf) their bodies and be present in their graves. The attachment of the soul to the body will not fade even after the body decays in the grave.

It is Sunnah to visit Qubur, even on a certain fixed day, and annually.  It is recommended to visit the cemetery on Thursday night, Friday, Friday night until sunrise, and on Monday, for it is said---and this is supported by various narrations---that the spirits of the dead return to their graves at those times.  The degree of Friday is distinguished.  When visiting a graveyard, in the opinion of many Islamic scholars,  the person should include the following Surahs in their recitations because of their individual excellence and merits:  Surah Fatiha, Surah Ya-Sin, Surah Mulk,  and Surah Ikhlas.   According to Imam Shafi’i which is also documented by Imam Nawawi, it is better to recite the entire Qur’an Shareef by all those who are present at the grave-side.  al-Za`farani said: "I asked al-Shafi`i about reciting Qur'an at the graveside and he said: la ba'sa bihi - There is no harm in it." This is narrated by Imam Ahmad's student al-Khallal (d. 311) in his book al-Amr bi al-Ma`ruf (p. 123 #243). Similar fatwas are reported from al-Sha`bi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaq ibn Rahuyah, and also by Ibn al-Qayyim and al-Shawkani in their books.
The Messenger of Allah (sallal ‘alaihi wassallam) ordered the Muslim to recite some of the Qur’anic Surahs at the grave of the dead persons, and according to Ibn Qayyim, since this is being recited since a long time ago and even now, this is a proof that the dead hears the recitations and makes use of it.  The practice of Talqeen too is proven from the prophetic traditions of the Messenger of Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam].
It is narrated in Sharhus Sudoor by al-Imam al-Suyuti that Nabi Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) said that when you visit the graveyard, you should read Suratul-Ikhlas, Suratut-Takathur and Suratul-Fatiha, and present the reward of the recitations as a gift to the inhabitants of the graves. The Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] explains that these souls will then make du'a for you, asking Allah (swt) to forgive you and bless you.  So this then is a command of the Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam]. We learn from this Hadith that the souls of the departed have the ability to make Du'a for the living, asking Allah (swt) to help the living who are visiting them.  ibn Taimiyyah states in his Fataawa (Vol.24, p.331) that the meaning of  what Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] said: "When one passes by the grave of his believing brother who he had known him in this world, then stands by his grave and says, 'Assalamu 'alaykum', the person in the grave will know him and also return his greeting" (ya'rifuhu wa yarudda 'alayihi-ssalam)" is that the dead have awareness and are able to supplicate for the living since saying "as-salamu 'alaykum" is a supplication in favor of the person one greets. 

In another Hadith in (Kanzul Ummal by al-Imam al-Muttaqi) it is narrated by Sayyidina 'Ali ® that the Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] said: "Whoever goes to a graveyard or passes by a graveyard and recites surat al-Ikhlas eleven times and gives the thawab (reward) of the recital to the dead buried there, will receive the same thawab for it as the dead people.  In fact the Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] is encouraging us to recite surat al-Ikhlas and present the thawab (reward) of  it as a gift to the dead when we visit them. 
Then according to a hadith reported in Mishkaat, and narrated by Abdullah Umar ® after the deceased is buried, stand before its head-side  and recite the first Ruku of Surah Baqara, i.e. from “Alif Laam Meem”  upto “Humud Muflihoon”  and recite by its feet the last Ruku of the same Surah from “Aamanur Rasoolu”  till  “Fansurna alal qumil Kaafireen” i.e. till the end of this Surah. 

The Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] said: "Recite Sura Ya-Sin for your dead.”   (Abu Dawud, Ibn-e-Majah, an-Nasai, Mishkaat - Kitaabul Janaiz).    Scholars point out that the hadith is rigorously authenticated by Imam Suyuti (rah.) as well as Ibn Habban.    And al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, when discussing this hadith in al-Talkhis al-Habir, mentioned that Imam Ahmad (rah.) said in his Musnad, "Abul-Mughira informed us that Safwan informed us that the scholars used to say: If it, meaning Ya Sin, is read for the dying, his [death] will be lightened by it. " Strange how some people don’t even like Ya-Sin Shareef being read out for the dead!  Hadhrat Daata Ganj Baksh in his Famous Book "Kashful Mahjoob" said: "Do visit the graves of your relatives and beloved and do recite Fatiha and Ya-Sin at their graves, so that they should pray for you." Ibn al-Qayyim mentions in Kitab ar-Ruh: Abu Bakr al-Atrush said: “A man used to visit his mother’s grave every Friday and recite Surah Ya-Sin there.  After reciting the Surah one day, he said: ‘O Allah!  If you have destined a reward to this Surah, then reward it to the inhabitants of these graves.’  The following Friday a woman approached this man and asked him if he were so-and so.  After the man had affirmed it, she said: ‘I saw my dead daughter in a dream.  She was sitting by the edge of her grave.  I asked her what made her sit there.  She said that so-and-so  came to the grave of his mother and recited Surah Ya-Sin as a reward to the inhabitants of the graves  Therefore, some of its good befell us.”    

Muhammad bin Nu'man ®  narrates that Rasoolullah [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] said: "Whoever visits his parents' graves or visits one of their graves every Friday, then he will be forgiven and will be written as being one of the pious" (Mishkat page 154). 

It is also a known fact that we visit the graves of general sinful Muslims only to seek their pardon from Allah. We do not sit there, or kiss their graves with reverence or ask them to pray for us. A person who is undergoing Azaab for his wrong deeds, he neither deserves respect (on par with Awliya Allah) nor he can help others by his Dua. Thus, one recites the Qur’an and offers ‘Fatiha’ to the soul of the departed for success in afterlife which benefits both deceased and the one offering the ‘Fatiha. 

Visting graves also reminds one of one’s own death and the fickleness of the material existence unless one carries beneficial provisions from this life to the next.  Moreover, the person who visits his parents' graves every Friday, his sins will be forgiven.  If visiting the graves of one's parents can result in such a blessing, what about visiting the graves of the honoured friends of Allah (swt)?

Today, some people are saying that making Dhikr at the graves is Bid`a!  We have proven it is not so.  It is also proven that an ordinary man is able to recite Qur'an in his Qabr and a normal living man is able to hear him. Thus if a truthful person claims that he has been spoken to by a Wali, at the Wali's Qabr, it is most likely true, and most importantly, possible. This fact is grounded in the abovementioned Hadiths.  The pious Muslims are  in comforts in their life after death. They can very well hear to our call and reply to our questions, as the boy replied to Hazrat Umar ® when he visited his grave as we shall see later. 

To continue, Insha Allah…

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