Monday, July 25, 2011
PART 9: VISITING THE GRAVES IS THE SUNNAH OF PROPHET [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] AND NOT GRAVE WORSHIP!
Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) is Alive in his Grave:
While discussing the aspects of visiting the graves as being the Sunnah of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam), we are are bound to discuss, at least cursorily, about the fact that Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) is alive in his grave. But again, this is a huge topic by itself and we can only refer to some of the indications. Also, we would like to refresh the memory that the soul is not like the body that it cannot occupy more than one place. A pious soul could be in Illiyin (Celestial Heights) and at the same time be at the grave to reply to the greetings. Ibn Qayyim mentions a hadith, saying: "This Hadith expresses the speed of the dead’s soul’s movement from the Throne to the Earth, and then from the Earth (back) to its place, and for this Maalik and other Imams said ‘the soul is set free, and goes wherever it wishes.‘ That is about the general case of the believers.
At the outset, let it be stated that Islam is explicit that every soul shall taste of death, and there is no denying that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) did taste of death. However, if someone goes on to say that the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) is not alive in his grave and that we are totally disconnected and separated from him and cannot reach him, or as some blasphemers say, “mixed in the soil” then know that this is a ploy by the la-Madhhabi and chelas of the Najdi Shaykh, ibn Wahhab, to rob you of your ’Iman, and leave you rudderless in the dark ocean of doubt and disbelief.
Very significantly, Allah informs us: "And say not of those who are slain in the Way of Allah 'They are dead'. Nay, they are living, though you perceive it not" (Quran: 2:154). Again, Allah Ta'ala states in the Holy Quran: “Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they are living, finding their sustenance from their Lord.” (Quran:3:169).
The above two Ayahs were revealed after the Battle of Badr. The Ashaabs (radi Allahu anhum) used to feel sorry for those who lost their lives in the battle, and used to say: “Alas, so and so has lost his life and has missed the pleasures of this world!” Allah Ta’ala revealed these Ayahs clarifying that the Shuhada (Martyrs) are not “dead” but are transferred from one place to another where they live and are fed by the Bounteous Lord who is not deficient of anything. If the Shuhada are not “dead”, how can we say that the greatest Apostle, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), is no more amongst us? Referring to the Messengers, Allah Ta’la says in the Holy Quran: “And ask those of our Mesengers, whom we sent before you, ‘Did We appoint any other god except the All-Affectionate, to be worshipped’?” (Part 25, Ruku 10) This verse proves that the Ambiya (alaihimus salaam) are alive because Allah Ta’la commands us to ask the Messengers about all matters. If they had passed away and mixed with the soil, surely, we would not have been commanded to ask them about anything. (Tafseer Dur Manthur; Tafseer Roohul Muaani)
In fact, there is overwhelming evidence to show that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) is alive in his grave and will remain so till the Day of Judgment. On this subject, the great Imam Suyuti (Allah have mercy on him) compiled a relevant work entitled ‘Inba al-Azkiya bi Hayaat al-Anbiya’ (Informing the intelligent regarding the living of the Prophets), in which he quoted many pieces of evidence in support of this belief. Similarly, other scholars such as Imam al-Baihaqi, Imam Abdul Wahhab al-Sha’rani, have also written and gathered proofs on this subject from the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sallal laalu alaihi wassallam). Further, the evidence can be gathered, among others, from Imam Suyuti’s Nur al-Sudur fi Sharh al-Qubur, and from Imam Qurtubi’s al-Tadhkira fi Ahwal al-mawta wa Umur al-Aakhira and and Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jauzia’s Ar-Ruh’ (The Soul) which can be confirmed in the sources like al-Qurtubi’s Tadhkira, ibn Rajab’s Ahwal al-Qubur, ibn Abi Duniya’s al-Qubur, al-Suyuti’s Sharh al-Sudur, and al-Kharrat’s al-Aqiba as well as the works of modern righteous Shaykhs of Ahle Sunnah wal Jamaat.
Imam Suyuti (rah) on Hayat of Anbiya in their graves: The life of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in his grave, and also that of other Prophets is known to us as "definitive knowledge (ilman qat`iyyan)" the proofs regarding it are in "TAWATUR".
Imam Baihaqi (rah) wrote a Juzz on Life of Anbiya in their graves, the proofs regarding it are such as 1) It is narrated in Sahih Muslim by Anas Ibn Malik (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: “I passed by Moses during my Night journey and saw him offering prayer in his grave, 2) It is narrtaed by Abu Nua'ym in his Hiliya from Ibn Abbas (ra) who heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) say: I passed by Moses and saw him standing in prayer, 3) It is narrated in Musnad of Abu Yal'a and by Baihaqi in his book "Hayat al Anbiya" from Anas (ra) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: The Prophets are alive in their graves and praying [Imam Suyuti in Al Hawi lil Fatawi, Vol. 2, Page No. 264]
From Abu Hurayra, in Abu Dawud with a sound (SaHeeH) chain: "No-one greets me except Allah has returned my soul to me so that I can return his salaam." Though the hadith does not mention the need of physically visiting the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) in Madinah Munawwara, it does furnish the legal proof for the validity of visiting and the manner of sending greetings to the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam). Regarding the word, “has returned” in the above hadith, some people quoting this Hadith say that the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is not alive since his soul returns to his body only when he is greeted. However, Imam Suyuti has explained that "radda" means `ala al-dawâm," i.e. permanently, and not temporarily: in other words, Allah does not return the rûH and take it back, then return it again and then take it back again, but He returned it to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) permanently, and the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) is alive permanently.
Imam ibn Hajar al-Asqalani states in his monumental “Fath al-Bari” which is commentary on the Sahih Bukhari: "When the living of the martyrs is proven from the text of the Qur'an, then this is also proven from an analogical point of view. And the Prophets are superior to the martyrs" (Fath al-Bari, 6/379). In the same commentary at 17/22, he emphasized that "Death will never come to the Blessed Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) in his grave, but he will remain alive, due to the fact that the Prophets remain alive in their graves". Sakhawi, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalâni's student, said: "As for us (Muslims) we believe and we confirm that he (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) is alive and provided for IN HIS GRAVE" (al-qawl al-badee` p. 161).
There are prophetic traditions to prove the soil cannot have any harmful effect on prophets’ bodies. In a sound hadith it is stated that Aws bin Aws ® related: “The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) said: The day of Jumah is one of your best days. On this day Allah created Adam and caused him to die. Further, the ‘nafkhah’ (blowing of the horn) and ‘saa’iqah’ (Universal Seizure) occur on this day. So invoke blessings upon me, for verily your invocation is conveyed to me. The companions asked O Messenger of Allah how will our invocations be conveyed to you when you will have decomposed? He replied, Verily Allah has forbidden the earth to eat the bodies of the prophets.” (1)
Ibn al-Qayyim who is one of the many persons who have authenticated the above hadith, pointed out in in “Kitab ar-ruh”, p. 58: "It is obligatory knowledge to know that his (s) body is in the earth tender and humid (i.e. as in life), and when the Companions asked him: "How is our greeting presented to you after you have turned to dust" he replied: ‘Allah has forbidden the earth from eating into the flesh of Prophets,’ and if his body was not in his grave he would not have given this answer." Versions of such hadiths have come to us from other chains of transmission as well. For example, in Ibn Maja there is this addition: "And the Prophet of Allah is alive and provided for." Baihaqi mentions it also in the Sunan al-kubra.
Now, very briefly, Al-Imam al-Baihaki [d. Nishapur, 458 A.H. (1066)] wrote in his book Itiqad, "Prophets' souls are given back to their bodies after they are put into their graves. We cannot see them. They become invisible like angels. Only the distinguished people to whom Allahu ta'ala has bestowed it as a karama can see them." (2)
Imam al-Subki states: "It is from our beliefs that the Prophets are alive in their graves". [Tabqat al-Shafi’iyya al-Kubra, Volume 006: Page No.266] The great Hanafi jurist, Ibn Abidin says: "The Prophets are alive in their graves, as proven from the Hadith". [Rasa’il of Ibn Abidin, Volume 002: Page No. 203] Even the two controversial shaykhs, ibn Taimiyya and ibn al-Qayyim al-Jauzia, never disagreed with the principle that Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] is alive in his grave. Ibn Qayyim went to say that by consensus of all Muslims, Holy Prophet’s [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] is alive in his grave and his “flesh his fresh.”
Shaykh ‘Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi (1551-1642 c.e.) writes: "There is no death for the Ambiya (a.s.). They are alive and existing. For them is that one death that has come only once. After this, their souls are put back into their bodies and the life that they had on earth is given back to them" (Takmeelul Imaan in Farsi). There is agreement on the Prophets being alive and no one disagrees that this life is physical, worldly and real. It is not like the life of martyrs which is spiritual and figurative. [Ashi’at al-Lum’at, Vol 1, Page 574] The Prophets (a.s.) are usually involved in performing ritual prayers (Salaat) and worshiping Allah (out of their own choice and not binding on them), and we can normally not see or feel them.
The late Shaykh of Makkah, Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki (Reh.) said in his last book Manhaj al-Salaf: "Some of those whom Allah has forsaken come and cite the verse: "Verily you shall die and verily they will die" (39:30) together with other Qur’ anic texts and Prophetic hadiths of related meaning, attempting to use them as proofs for their own corrupt designs and ill intentions. This is in order to cast aspersions on the perfections of the Prophet Muhammad -- Allah bless and greet him -- and so as to assert for him ordinary humanity as well as equality between the noblest of all Prophetic Messengers and all other human beings....The Shaykh then tells these “whom Allah has forsaken” to let discourse reflect the understanding:
1) that the Prophet’s -- Allah bless and greet him -- perfections endure and remain entirely preserved without the slightest doubt;
2) that he hears spoken words, replies to the salâm given, praises Allah for the good deeds of his Umma that are shown to him, and asks forgiveness for the evil ones;
3) that showing excellent manners with him at his maqâm upon visiting him, greeting him with our salâm at his grave, in his mosque, and in his Rawda, are all among the most stringent obligations and the most binding of duties;
4) that “his sanctity after he died is exactly as his sanctity when he was alive,” as stated by the Imam of the Abode of Emigration [Imam Malik] to the Abbasid Caliph;
5) and that even though he -- Allah bless and greet him -- died and his body has undoubtedly disappeared from our sights – for none eternally remains except the One Alone, the Living, the Self-Sustaining Who never tires nor sleeps – nevertheless, he is alive with a complete isthmus-life (hayât barzakhiyya) which is greater and better and more perfect than worldly life – indeed, higher, dearer, sweeter, more perfect, and more beneficial than worldly life."
Thus Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi says: This is our answer to those who want a scientific examination of the question, without passion, partisanship, or obduracy, and who want to tread the path of the People of Truth – meaning the people of high manners, refinement, and true knowledge.
Imam al-Shawkani (whom the Salafis normally refer to) states: “The Prophet (Peace and blessing be upon him) is alive in his grave, as has been established in the Hadith “The Prophets are alive in their graves”. (See: Nayl al-Awtar, 5/101). Similarly, the doyen of the early Ahl-i Hadith, Siddiq Hasan Khan Bhopali (d.1890 c.e.), is said to have mentioned that prophets (a.s.) are not dead but are alive: Ek baar maut ke waqt un ki rooh sirf ek baar jism se nikaali jaati and us ke fauran rooh badan me.n lauTaa dee jaati hai aur voh jism aur rooh ke saath qabron me.n zinda hote hain. It is a known fact that the bodies of Prophets, Sahabah and Awliya-Allah remain fresh and intact in their Grave.
Allah states in the Holy Quran: “And how would you deny faith while unto you are rehearsed the Signs of Allah and among you lives the Prophet”. (Sura al- ale’Imraan: 101) This is a typical Ayah proving Hayat-un-Nabi – “among you lives the Prophet”. The word “lives” has cleared all doubts. “Among you” has been generalised, meaning with every individual, wherever he or she may be regardless of time. Man’s vision and power of hearing is restricted, but it is not so in the case of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam.
Ibn Hajar al-Haythami wrote in Kitab al-Jawhar al-munazzam fi ziyarat al-qabr al-sharif al-Nabawi al-mukarram: "The proofs and the transmitted texts have been established as authentic in the highest degree that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) is alive and tender... that he fasts and performs pilgrimage every year, and that he purifies himself with water which rains on him."
All the above, which is only a fraction of the evidence actually available, is necessary for us to understand that there is no such thing as “mixing in the soil” after death, and in fact Death is not the end of the Journey. This will also help us in understanding about the mediation at the graves or in absence which we will discuss next.
To continue, Insha Allah…
(1)The above Hadith Shareef is present in the following books:
Sahih Ibn Hibban, Hadith No: 912.
Sahih Ibn Khuzaima, Hadith No: 16328.
Sunan Kubra Lin Nasai, Hadith No: 16592.
Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith No: 1138.
Mustadrak ‘Alas Sahihain, Hadith No: 980.
Sunan Abu Dawood Shareef, Vol. 1, Pg No: 150.
Sunan Nasai, Hadith No: 1385.
Musnad Imam Ahmed, Hadith No: 16592.
Musannaf Ibn Shaiba, Vol. 2, Pg No: 389.
Mo’jam Kabeer Tabarani, Hadith No: 588.
Mo’jam Ausat Tabarani, Hadith No: 4936.
Jame’ Ul Kabeer Lis Suyuti, Hadith No: 1790.
Kanz Ul ‘Ummal, Hadith No: 2202.
Jame’ Ul Ahadith, Hadith No: 8441.
Sunan Darmi, Hadith No: 1624.
Sunan Sughra Lil Baihaqi, Hadith No: 607
2[Al-Imam as-Suyuti said so, too. Also, al-Imam an-Nawawi, Imam Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali as-Subki [d. Egypt, 756 A.H. (1355)] and al-Imam Muhammad al-Qurtubi [d. 671 A.H. (1272)] relate the same from their masters. Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya [d. 751 A.H. (1350)], a Hanbali alim, wrote exactly the same in his Kitab ar-ruh. The Shafi'i 'ulama' Ibn Hajar al-Haitami, Shams ad-din Muhammad ar-Ramli [d. 1004 A.H. (1596)] and Qadi Muhammad Zakariyya [d. Egypt, 926 A.H. (1520)]; the Hanafi scholars Akmal ad-din Muhammad al-Babartee [d. 786 A.H. (1384)] and ash-Sharnblali Hasan [d. Egypt, 1069 A.H. (1658)]; the Maliki scholars 'Abdullah Ibn Abi Jamra [d. 675 A.H. (1276)] and his disciple Muhammad ibn al-Haji al-Fasi [d. 737 A.H. (1337)] in his book Madkhal; and Ibrahim al-Laqani [d. 1041 A.H. (1632)] in the book Jawharat at-tawhid, and many other 'ulama' narrated the same.]