Saturday, September 10, 2011


From Layman’s Desk-14
Part 23 continued – DOMES OVER GRAVES.
Next, the Jews and Christians used to gather for the visit of their prophets' graves and busy themselves with entertainment and music.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) forbade his Community from doing that, so that we should not make merry with forbidden things on feast days, nor play reeds or drums or gather to hold ceremonies during our visit. We should visit and greet, pray and then leave silently without staying long. 

Now it is very common for the Wahhabis to cite this Hadith Shareef:  Narrated ‘Urwa: Aisha said, “The Prophet in his fatal illness said,Allah cursed the Jews and the Christians because they took the graves of their Prophets as places for praying.”  Aisha added, ”Had it not been for that the grave of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) would have been made prominent but I am afraid it might be taken (as a) place for praying. [Sahih Muslim Volume 2, Book 23, Number 414]

The above hadith is quoted not for Muslims but for Jews and Christians who took their Prophets as God, Son/daughter of God. The Jews of Madina used to say that Ezra is the son of Allah; whereas the Christians of Najran used to say that the Messiah is the son of Allah, while others said that he was Allah Himself or that he was His partner.  As for the Makkan polytheists, they used to say that al-Lat, al-‘Uzza and Manat were the daughters of Allah.  The Holy Qur’an comes down heavily on these lies: “That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?” (9:30)
Let us see how the classical scholars view the above hadith: 
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami(in his Zawajir) quotes the hadith from Ahmad, Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) said: “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians; they have taken the tombs of their prophets as places of worship.”  He said, “The reason for considering it an enormity is obvious.  He explains, however, that, “Taking a grave as a place of worship means to pray on the grave or towards it. The prohibition, moreover, applies exclusively to the grave of someone venerated… under the two conditions: (A) that the grave is of someone who is honored and venerated; (B) and that the prayer is performed towards or on the grave with the intention of gaining the blessing of it, or out of reverence for it. (from: al-Zawajir, Reliance w21).  And this is only if one prays so close to it that if praying the prayer of those attentive (looking down), the grave would be within one’s sight.”
Hence praying salat towards the grave or doing sajda in front of it as Christians/Jews used to do it is haraam. No one in history of Islam took this hadith as proof of prohibiting building of tombs/shrines over Pious muslims graves.  Ibn Hajar-i Makki wrote on the hundred and twenty-fifth page of his book Fatawa-i fiqhiyya, "It is sahih to perform namaz at the tombs of prophets. It is not even makruh. Prophets are alive in their graves. But their lives are different from our lives in every respect. They worship in order to enjoy its taste, for they perceive Allahu ta'ala in the life of the grave better than they do in the world."
Shaykh Gibril Haddad states: As for the prohibitive hadith "they have taken the graves of their Prophets as places of worship" it means as qibla or as a masjid literally (praying on top of them). Cf. Qadi Muhammad Thana-Ullah Pani Patti [d. 1225AH], Tafsir al-Mazhari (Baluchistan Book Depot, Quetta, Pakistan), 6:23. Al-Hamdu lillah, no Muslim prostrates over the grave of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) nor takes it as his Qibla, nor paints pictures for worship.

Some people quote a Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) in which he ordered Hadhrat Ali ®  to "go and destroy every over-sized grave." This Hadith is in the Sahihayn, Sunan, and Musnad with various wordings. Ibn al-Jawzi in at-Tahqiq said of the Hadith of Ali ®: "This (Hadith) is understood to refer to the elevated (Pre-Islamic) tombs they (pagans) used to build with high and beautiful structures." (Al-Zayla'i mentioned it in Nasb al-Raya). Imam Sufyan al-Thawri said: "the hadith alone is liable to misguide except those who possess understanding" i.e. in the Religion.
Therefore, the correct understanding of the Hadith is,  Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam)  asked Ali ® to destroy all graves of non-believers (pagans) which were high on the ground. This correct understanding is based on the following Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam)which sheds more light:
Narrated Anas ®:  When the Prophet arrived in Medina....  he ordered that a Mosque should be built and sent for some people of Banu-an-Najjar and said, "O Banu an-Najjar! Suggest to me the price of this (walled) piece of land of yours." They replied, "No! By Allah (swt)! We do not demand its price except from Allah ( swt)." Anas ® added: There were Graves of pagans on it and some of it was un-leveled and there were some date-palm trees in it. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) ordered that the Graves of the pagans be dug out and the uneven land be leveled and the date-palm trees be cut down. (So all that was done).(Bukhari Book #8, Hadith #420).
The Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) wanted to destroy idol worship and its traces.  As such he removed all the idols from the Ka’ba.  He also instructed Ali ® to level all oversized graves of unbelievers.
According to Shaykh Gibril Haddad: “It is evident that the claim that "Islam condemns building edifices over graves for whatever reasons" is false since Islam has condoned the edifices over the graves of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), his Companions ®,  and the pious `ulama since the early centuries.”  He asks: “ Was Islam so weak back then as to be unable to stop the edifices being built, as it is weak today and incapable of stopping the destructive hand of those at work in the Hijaz, destroying those very grave sites?”  According to him, “What is condemned is to build such structures for worldly considerations such as pride, luxury, or imitation of non-Muslims.”  He,  therefore,  states: Those who say "Islam condemns" when in fact the reverse is true, silence themselves through lack of proof. Their (lack of) authority should definitely be exposed as uninformed and unethical.
A hadith Shareef with a wrong translation says: "Do not make my grave a place of festivity." The correct translation is: “Do not make my grave an anniversary festival and nothing more," meaning: Visit me often, not just once a year. Do not make an `EID of it.  Al-Mundhiri, a hadith scholar, explained this hadith: "Do not consider it enough to visit my grave only once a year, like on 'Eid days. Try to visit me frequently!" “Eid” denotes festive activities that come annually.  In Urdu language, for example, when someone meets us after a very long time we say: “Kyaa Eid ke Chaand bann gaye ho!” Which literally means, “You have become like the crescent of the Eid”, implying “Why don’t you meet me often!”  In this regard, it is to be noted that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhe wasallam) told Mu`adh ibn Jabal to visit his grave whenever he would return from Yemen. [Musnad Ahmad with two sound chains as stated by al-Haythami, al-Bazzar, al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and Musnad al-Shamiyyin, Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Ahad wal-Mathani and al-Sunna, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra]. And he (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) promised his intercession to those who would do so. There is consensus that such a visitation is among the Sunan and Qurubat or recommended acts of worship.

According to ad-Dhahabi in Siyar A`lam al-Nubala' ("Lives of the Elite of the Nobility"), “The one who stands before the blessed Chamber (hujra) in all humility and submission, invoking blessings upon his Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- - O how blessed that one is! For he has made his visitation excellent, and beautified it with humbleness and love, and he has performed more worship than the one who invoked blessings on the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- from his own land or in his prayer. The reason is that the one who performs visitation has both the reward of visiting him and that of invoking blessings upon him; while those who invoke blessings upon him from all over the world only have the reward of invoking blessings upon him; and upon whomever invokes blessings once, Allah sends ten blessings.”

According to the Islamic scholars therefore, the correct meaning is "Visit me often and at all times." This is the explanation preferred by the Ulema, among them Hafiz al-Sakhawi the student of Imam al-Hadith Ibn Hajar in his chapter entitled "On the meaning of the hadith: Do not make my grave an `Eid" in "al-Qawl al-Badi` fil-Salat was-Salam `ala al-Habib al-Shafi`" (Beirut 1987/1407) p. 159-160: The author of "Silah al-Mu'min" said: "It is probable that the intent (murad) of the Prophet's saying: "Do not make my grave an `Eid" is emphasis and encouragement (al-hathth) on the frequency of visiting him and not treating his visit like an anniversary festival which does not occur in the year other than at two times.

According to Islamic scholars, the emphasis and encouragement on visiting his noble grave is mentioned in numerous ahadith, and it would suffice to show this if there was only the hadith whereby the truthful and God-confirmed Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) promises that his intercession among other things becomes obligatory for whoever visits him, and the Imams are in complete agreement from the time directly after his passing until our own time that this is among the best acts of drawing near to Allah.

As for the hadith that says, "Do not make your houses graves," it means: do not abandon prayer in your houses and thus turn them into places similar to the graveyard  where it is not permitted to perform the salat. Thus it is seen that Hadrat al-Munziri's explanation in regard to the above-mentioned hadiths is correct.

Lastly, I would like to quote the words of a modern Hanbali scholar of Islam who said:

"Allah has revealed the ayah 'The truth has come and falsehood as perished'. This ayah was revealed upon the conquest of Mecca. All idol worshipped was destroyed in Arabia, and Shaytaan lost all hope of taghut being worshipped ever again in Arabia. Whoever says that the Prophet’s grave has become an idol that is worshipped is a Kaafir, for denying the words of Allah and His Rasul sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, this is the opinion of those who considered Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab a Kaafir, with reason. After all, they are saying the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam lied when he said 'Wallahi, I do not fear that my ummah will fall into shirk'.
"Al-Qadi Iyad, Imaam Muwaafaq ud-Deen and Imaam Nawawi all quote the evidence of facing the Messenger of Allah. What you quote is unheard of and highly doubtful to be the words of the Imaams mentioned.
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam was buried in his house, he was buried on the ground. The thing that Wahhabis waggle on about being an elevated grave is simply a wooden box placed on top of the grave to stop the people of the past from sitting on the grave. As for the Dome, the dome was not built over his grave, but over his house. Wahhabis admit they want to destroy this and it displays their hypocrisy.
They can quote how much they want from Imaam Nawawi and Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani on building domes over graves, but the simple fact is, the green dome is the very same dome that they both saw with their own eyes, and yet they said nothing about it should be destroyed. Only the Wahhabis seem to arrive at this conclusion."
To be concluded, Insha Allah…

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