Thursday, September 1, 2011


From the Layman's Desk-14.

Part 20:The Awliya-Allah:Continued:

Honouring the Graves of Awliya kiraam:

The Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) said: "The one who does not thank people, does not thank Allah, subhanaHu wa Ta`ala,", and we owe it to the Prophets, `alaymmu-s-salam, and Awliya kiraam, who protected and spread the Deen of Allah subhanaHu wa Ta`ala, over the ages, that we visit their shrine, 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 into confusion. 

One way of honouring the Awliya-Allah is by way of celebrating the Urs.  ‘Urs is the day of the passing away of the noble Saints and Prophets.

Urs as we know is derived from a Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him, his family and his companions) where it is narrated in Mishkaat Shareef (Tirmidhi Shareef Hadith narrated by Abu Hurraira ® and also mentioned in Baihaqi) that when the Waliullah, a Beloved Of Allah successfully answers three questions in the grave then the angels (malaika) give him glad tidings of his success in this world and in the hereafter stating, Sleep Like The Sleep Of A Bridegroom (nim ka naumatil aroos) who is only going to be awakened by the Beloved, who is Allah, on the Day Of Qiyaamah.  Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (reh.) explains that “the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him, his family and his companions) stated that you have aroos, you have irs and you have ur’s. Aroos is the ain with a zabar or fatha on the top is bridegroom. The irs, ain with a kasra, the zer at the bottom is the bride and urs with the damma or pesh on the top is actually wedding or ‘the wedding party’ (baraat). This is where ur’s is derived from in brief and it is celebrated, to commemorate and to observe the success which is enjoyed by the Waliullah in the sight of Almighty Allah. For the lovers of Allah, the beloved ones of Allah and the devotees of the beloved ones of Allah it is motivation to follow in the footsteps of the Waliullah so that they may also achieve supreme success in the hereafter as well….”
Another reason is because, on this day, the angels will reveal the beauty and splendour of Rasoolullah [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] and ask him, “What did you say about this man?” He will reply, “He is the Aroos (adorned personality) of all creation. The entire creation has attained splendour through him.”  Meeting the beloved is the day of ‘Urs’, and it is for this reason that the day is called Urs. 
According to Shaykhul Islam, Dr. Tahir ul- Qadri, the Urs held at the shrines of Awliya-Allah are the means of ‘Zaahiri’ and ‘Baatini’ Barakah.    Ziyarah of their mazaars and speaking out there, making a ‘Minbar’ and talking  about Allah and His Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] and the Awliya are the Sunnah of Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam].    Such hadiths are available in the Sahih Sitta and Agreed-Upon (Muttafaq Alay) Hadiths and is also found in dozens of  other books of hadiths from various narrations.  Tracing the origin of ‘Urs’, Dr. Tahir ul- Qadri states that  a few days before his demise the Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] along with the Sahaba, Awliya, and  Slaves  went to the ‘mazaars’ of the martyrs of Uhud.   It was a form of “Ishtamaayi  Ziyaarat”.  This shows that it is perfectly alright to visit the mazaars of martyrs, the pious and the men of Allah in this manner.  After the ziyaarat, salaat and dua, the Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] addressed  the crowd from the Minbar.  The point is, Minbars are available only in the Masjids and not at the Mazaars - unless there is a Masjid around and a Khutba is to be recited.  How did the Minbar come at the place?  This point was not noted by other scholars and so it was not mentioned in their books.  So this means that the Minbar was brought from Madinah Munawwara with the intention  that it may be used for addressing the gathering from it after the Ziyarat and Fateha, thus creating a Sunnah.  The Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] declared:   By Allah,  I am not afraid that you will associate anything with Allah in worship after (my demise), but I apprehend that you will vie with one another for the life of the world.” (Yeh Dar hai ke duniya-daari karoge…) 

Now the above statement was made at the time of  Urs of the Martyrs of Uhud, after the Ziyarah of the mazaars and after Dua and by keeping the Minbar and addressing the gathering from that Minbar.  Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri has emphasized that there is a reason for and importance of that declaration being made at Uhud, namely that till the “qayamat”  (Doomsday) whoever visits  the mazaars of the Awliya-Allah shall not be called ‘Mushrik’.   This is what was conveyed by Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] at the time of Urs of Martyrs of Uhud.   This declaration could have been made by Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] at any other place.  But he chose Uhud, as explained by the Shaykh, by “Urs ka samaa baandh ke, Ishtama Urs ka qaayam kar ke, …wahee.n minbar par farmaayaa, yeh samjhayaa jaa rahaa thaah ke yeh meree sunnat hai, aur agar yeh meree sunnat ho gayee toh Shirk kaisa?"  In other words, the message was loud and clear:  The Sunnah of Urs should be continued since it is not ‘Shirk’.  In short, celebration of Urs is proven from Sahih hadith and Sunnah of Prophet.  Pursuant to that, observation of such custom is found among the Muslim majority all over the world even today since that time. 

Shah Waliullah Dehlvi in his book "Faizul Haramain", Page No: 57:  "If someone achieves mystical knowledge then his soul become so powerful that Tariqah, Maslak, Saintly chain, Lineage, Genealogy, Relations and everything connected with that person comes into the range of his favor and inclination.  The favor of ALLAH, reflects through his spiritual attention".  And in his Persian book, "Hama’at":  "This guarantees for the regular attending on death anniversaries (Urs) of the saints.  Regular visits to their  shrines  to recite Fatiha there, distribution of charity, to honor his offspring, relations and relics are lawful in Shariah; and also these are supererogative (Nafl and Mustahab) actions."
Regarding the placing of the flowers of the graves of Awliya,  Mullah Ali al-Qari writes in the commentary of the Hadith (see below) in al-Mirqat fi Sharh al-Mishkat that:  "Our Ulama have issued a ruling that to place fragrance and plants (over a grave) are a Sunnah practice".  It is stated in the famous Hanafi Fiqh book Fatawa Alamgiriyyah/Hindiyyah (Kitab al- Jana'iz) that it is allowed to put flowers on a grave.  To place flowers and fresh branches on the graves is also a Sunnah. (Bukhari Sheriff Vol.1).  
It is narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that: Once, while travelling, Nabi Muhammad, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, stopped at a certain place and said that there was a grave in front of him, and that the person therein is busy suffering punishment. Nabi Muhammad, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, then broke off two branches from a date palm and placed in on the grave, and said that as long as the branches were fresh, the punishment would be lessened.  This is because the fresh branches would be making the Dhikr of Allah, subhanaHu wa Ta`ala. So this act is a Sunnah, and people use flowers, as it is more available and also able to maintain its freshness.  From this we can also deduce that if we ourselves perform Dhikr at the Qubur, it would also lessen the inhabitants' punishment. Performing Dhikr at the Qubur of the Awliya would bring more blessings upon their respective Ruhs (souls).  Doing this would be compliance with a divine order.  Therefore, one fails to understand how placing flowers over a grave means associating a Partner with Allah!!!  It is sad that sometimes, even the so-called learned  people  fail to understand the consequences of calling a normal practice of Muslims as Shirk.
In the famous book, "Raddul Mukhtaar", it is stated: "It is permissible to place a cloth on the Qabar of a Wali  or pious Muslim so that visitors be more respectful when visiting the grave. People are also aware of the holy person's status and gain auspiciousness from the holy person who is resting in the grave.  It is allowed to put on a ‘Ghilaaf’ on the graves of Awliya and Ulema when it is recognised that the majority respect the person in the grave. 
 ‘Chaadars’ that are placed on the grave of the Awliya-Allah is an act of Sunnah.  After the demise of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) a sahaabiyah came to Sayyida Aisha Siddiqah ® and requested her to show the grave of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam).  Sayyidah Aisha Siddiqah ® then raised the ‘Ghilaaf’ (a sheet of fabric) from the grave of Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam)  The sahaabiyah became very, very emotional, wept beyond control, and finally collapsed and passed away.  (Baihaki Shareef, Fatawa Shami Volume 5) The Chapter on ‘Libaas’ also states that it is good to place ‘Chadar’ on the graves of Awliya-Allah. 
The Fuqaaha-e- Kiraam (Islamic jurists) have stressed that chaadars should not be placed on the graves of the general Muslim public.  The great Shafi scholar and Sufi, Imam Abdul Wahab al-Sharani (rah) writes: My teacher Ali (rah) and brother Afzal ud din (rah) used to forbid that domes should be build over graves of ordinary people and also to put the deceased in “coffins” and also to put sheets over their graves. They used to say that only Prophets and great awliya deserve domes and sheets, whereas we should be buried in the feet of people and also in their ways [Al-Anwar al Qudsiya, Page No. 593]
Shaykh `Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi said in Kashf al-Nur `an Ashab al-Qubur ("The Unveiling of Light from the Occupants of the Graves") the sum of which is that a good innovation that agrees with the objectives of the Sacred Law is called a sunna. Thus, building domes over the graves of Scholars, friends of Allah (awliya') and the righteous and placing covers, turbans and cloth over them is permissible if the objective therein is to create reverence in the eyes of ordinary people so that they will not disdain the occupant of that grave.   
The use of fragrance is also traced to the authentic prophetic traditions compiled in Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood, al-Hakim, an-Nasa’i and al-Tayaalisi where details are given as to how the souls of the Momeens are taken out of the bodies and brought towards the Heavens and finally taken back to the bodies and the graves.   The angels of mercy with faces shining bright like the sun descend from the heavens and sit  as far as the eye can see.  The Angel of Death comes and tells  the soul of the believer to “come out to your Lord’s forgiveness and pleasure” and then the soul comes out of the body like the water that flows out of the mouth of the water- skin and all the angels between the skies and the earth supplicate for Allah’s blessings on him.  Then there are details about how the soul is taken up right to the Seventh Heaven by the angels, and the other angels asking about the name of this “wonderful soul”. The Angel of Death is barely able to receive the soul in his hands as other angels take it from him, wrapping it with fragrant winding sheets.   His record is placed in ‘Illiyun’ i.e. “a written record witnessed by those who are brought near to Allah” (Qur’an: 83:19-21).  All those details cannot be given here, but what is significant to mention for our purpose is that the angels carry with them burial sheets and scents from Paradise.  The soul is wrapped up in these fragrant sheets throughout the journey to the Seventh Heaven and back.  The Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) indicated that there exudes from soul a scent like the most beautiful fragrance of musk that one could find on the face of the earth.   Without elaborating further on the long hadiths shareef, it may be shortly stated that the Juloos-e-Sandal (lit.”fragrance or scent”) and Juloos-e-chaadar (i.e. sheets of fabrics) or “Gilaaf” are rooted in the Sunnah of the Angels,as is evident from the ahadith, and there is no innovation involved. 

According to a very famous prophetic tradition, one of the three things the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  preferred  in this world is perfume.  Therefore, the spiritualised precincts of a wali's tomb are sprinkled with ‘Itr’,  a non-alcoholic perfume, for our benefit so that it ushers us into calmness and serenity. It tends to purify our thoughts and is also synonymous with the state that the Wali is in since it has a certain degree of affinity with the rooh (soul/spirit) and ‘roohaniyat’  (spirituality).  However, as stated, the sprinkling of the perfume and fragrance is for the benefit of the visitors.
During the Urs people visit the grave of Awliya Allah.  Zikr is held; the life and teachings of Awliya-Allah are made known to the gathering; Mahfil-e-Sama is also organized  and  food is served all of which are the Sunnah and practice of the Sahaba.  If the Urs is conducted within the framework of Shariat with good intentions and motives then we would have surely acquired the spiritual blessings and limitless bounties of both the worlds. We shall again broach this topic later to prove that Urs is not Shirk as claimed by the La-Madhabi. 
It is important to note that  we  find extensions of symbols that are linked to Allah, such as Rasool-Allah (Messenger of Allah) Baitullah (for Ka’ba), Shahrullah (Month of Allah, i.e. Ramadan), Nabi-Allah (prophets of Allah), Wali-Allah (Friends of Allah), and Naaqata Allah, the she-camel of Allah that came out of the rock as a miracle for the people of Thamood; “And the (sacrificial) camels! We have made for you among the signs of Allah”  (22:36) who are honoured with garlands around their neck, and so on.  Since Awliya-Allah remind  us of Allah  and Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) as well as other Anbiya (a.s.),  their graves are in fact the symbols of Allah.  “This is the fact of the matter (so understand it well).  And whoso observes the sanctity of what has been ordained as symbols of Allah, do so because of the piety of the heart.” [(Surah al-Hajj, 22:32), Translation by Abul ala Maududi in Tafheem al-Quran.]
Now, when we show honour (yu’azzim) to the signs and indications of Allah, it is termed as “piety of the heart” as seen from Surah al-Hajj (22:32):   When there is an impulse to do good, Allah recognizes it (Surah 2:158). And the prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] said, “The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest.   When we honour and love the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) and those associated with him or even the things associated with him and the friends of Allah, the impulse is to do good. When we visit the places of rest of the Holy Prophet (Sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and the blessed companions and the family of Holy Propht (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) as well as the shrines of Awliya-Allah, the impulse is to do good because the symbols of Allah necessarily remind us of Allah the Exalted and Majestic as He is. He is fully aware of it, and no evil imputations by the ignorant will change the piety of the heart. Therefore, showing honour is an impulse to do good within the bounds sanctioned by Allah.   Yusuf Ali says that impulse should be to do good, and if once we are sure of this, we must obey it without hestitation, whatever the people may say.   
According to Shah Waliyullah: “To love the symbols of Allah the Exalted, means to love the Qur’an, the Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) , and the Ka’ba, or to love anything that reminds us of Allah the Exalted. To love the Awliya of Allah is the same.”  [Hujjat Allahi’l Baaligha;  Altaaf al-Quds – The Sacred Knowledge (Persian)]
Suffice it to point out a tradition quoted in Abi-Shaiba’s Musnad  and in Kunooz ad-Daqaaiq which states that the Holy Prophet (Sal Allahu  Alayhi wasallam) said: “When Awliya are seen, Allah the Exalted is remembered.” When asked about the characteristics of Awliya, Imam Nawawi too said the same thing.  Ibn Majah also reports this hadith shareef.  A tradition related by Imam Baghawi says: “My Awliya are remembered when My Name is mentioned, and I am remembered, when they are mentioned.”  Therefore, those things by which we are reminded of Allah are included by the Ulema among the signs or symbols of Allah. 
Respecting and loving the signs or symbols of Allah is definitely loving  Allah. Respecting and loving those whom Allah loves definitely means loving Allah. Respecting and loving Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and his relatives or near and dear ones is, again, loving Allah and his Messenger (sal  Allahu  alayhi wasallam).  Conversely, harming the parents and progeny of Holy Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] is harming the Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] and harming him (s) is harming Allah (swt.)  When we visit the graves of Awliya-kiraam it is for the sake of Allah who loves his Awliya about whom he mentions in the Holy Qur’an:  No doubt! Verily, the Awliya' of Allah, no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve) (10:62).  Where does Shirk come in?

The elevated status of the  awliya is alluded to in the tradition known as the hadith al-awliya. Allah takes them into His care and assists them. The one who loves the  awliyah loves Allah. And conversely the one who injures them, "…Allah declares war against him" [Cited by Bukhari from Abu Hurairah] and in another version of this tradition Allah says, "… he (the person who commits the injury) has declared it halal for him to make war against Me" [Cited by Imam Ahmad and Imam Qushairi from ‘Aisha]. The versions of this hadith cited by Tabarani differ mainly in the wording. Tabarani’s narrations also include some very interesting additions not mentioned by the other narrators.

Love and respect for the Awliya-Allah is obligatory (Wajib); while it is prohibited (haram) to dislike or injure the Awliya. Can there be any greater punishment than the Divine War? So beware! 
Next, evidence regarding seeking the Baraka from the pious people or even the relics attached to them are overwhelming.  We have noted above the status of Awliya-Allah with Allah (swt).  As we noted before, it is the Sunnah of the Sahaba that in order to obtain the Baraka they used to touch the grave of Prophet [sal Allahu alayhi wasallam] or even put their head on it besides touching and kissing the pommel of the Prophet’s minbar.  There was nothing wrong in these practices as is mentioned  by `Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his book entitled al-`Ilal fi ma`rifat al-rijal. 
But we shall just give one example not the recent but that goes back to some 4000 years to show the impact:  It is narrated in Sahih Muslim (Kitab al-Zuhd) that Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) was travelling with his Sahaba through the land of Thamud [the land of the people of Nabi Salih (as)].  While travelling, the Sahabah collected water from the wells in the land.  Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) ordered the Sahaba to throw that water away, as those were from the wells of the kuffar in the time of Nabi Salih (a.s).   Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) then permitted them to drink from a certain well from which the camel of Nabi Salih (a.s.) had drunk.  It is important that we note here that Baraka is received from the Nabi Salih’s (a.s.) camel that lived some 4000 years ago and the camel was itself a sign of Allah.  Coming to the times of Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam), all the Sahabah always sought Tabarruk from any object connected to the pious.  Nabi Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallm) was the first and foremost in teaching us to receive blessings from him which was illustrated by the fact that he distributed his hair and wudu` water.  An-Nasa’i narrated that Nabi Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) gave bay'ah to a group of people. They informed him (s) that they used to worship  idols before, but now that they were Muslim, they desired to build a mosque in that vicinity and requested du`a of Nabi Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam).  Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) made wudu` (lustration) and gave the water to these people, ordering them to destroy the idols and place the water in the mosque for Baraka. They were concerned that by the time they reached their destination, which was far, the wudu’ water may dry up.  Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) replied that the water would bring purity and would not become less. (Mishkat al-Masabih No.716). 
In Sahih Muslim, it is narrated that Sayyidina Utbaan ® always asked Mohammed Mustafa (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) to pray in a certain part of his house, so that he too may pray there and receive blessings in this regard. Imam Nawawi (Sharh Muslim vol.8 p.118) comments on the  Hadith  in Sahih Muslim that we should try to derive blessings from things connected to pious people(wa min fawaid hadhal Hadith, at-Tabarruk bi Aathaar as-Saliheen).

Imam Nawawi  also says in Sharh Muslim vol.5,  p.161,  that there are three main things (Fawa'id) we learn from this Hadith:  (1)It is permitted to get Baraka from Salih people and objects connected to them. (2) It is recommended to pray in the places where the pious used to pray. (3) It is recommended to seek Baraka from the places where the pious people resided.
The Awliya-Allah  are the “Burhan-e-Nabwi” in the words of Hadhrat Ali Hajweri.  So how could it be wrong in seeking Baraka at the Qubur of the Awliya-Allah? 

To continue, Insha Allah…

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