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Visiting the graves

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Ziarat (visitation) of graves of believers from the view - point of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

The scholars (Ulema`) of Islam with the support of Ayats of Quran and traditions have recommended Ziarat of grave especially the Ziarat of the Holy Prophet's gave and the pious people and consider this to be a virtue and honour. The group of Wahabis do not consider the principle of Ziarat to be 'naraam (in apparent terms) but declare the journey for Ziarat towards the grave of the holy saints as unlawful and forbidden. After completion of the principle of Ziarat, we shall discuss the matter of journey for Ziarat of the graves of the holy saints.

Ziarat of graves is having too many moral and educative effects which we shall discuss them here very briefly.

Looking at this silent valley (ie. grave) which has blown off the light of everyones life from the poor to the rich and the weak to the powerful and all of them being buried with only three pieces of cloth, causes the mind and the heart to reduce greed and avarice to a great extent. If a person possesses an eye which can see warnings he can thereby learn a lesson and think within himself as such: A transient life of 60 or 70 years ending in getting concealed under the soil and then decaying and getting destroyed is not so much valuable that a person strives hard to achieve wealth and position and does injustice upon himself and the others.

Witnessing this silent valley which softens the most adament heart and makes the most heavy ear to hear and gives brightness to the most poor eye - sight, causes a person to review his plans in life and ponder over the great responsibilites which he has before Allah and the people and controls his desires.

The Holy Prophet refering to this point in a tradition says:

زور القبور فانها تذكركم الاخرة

'Visit the graves; for visiting them becomes the cause of remembering the next world'.

Sahih Ibn - Majah Vol 1 page 113 chapter of -

ما جاء في زيارة القبور' '

While the authenticity and firmness of Ziarat of graves is so obvious that it is needless to produce proofs and reasonings to a great extent yet, we reflect here some of the proofs for those who are doubtful.




Quran clearly instructs that the Holy Prophet should not perform prayer over the dead body of the hypocrites and should not stand near their graves. It says:

'ولا تصل على أحد منهم مات ابدا و لا تقم علي قبره انهم كفروا باالله و رسوله و ماتوا و هم فاسقون'

'And never offer prayer for any one of them who dies and do not stand by his grave, surely they disbelieve in Allah and His Apostle and they shall die in transgression'. - [Tafseer of Baizaavi Vol 3 page 77.]

This Ayat, for destroying the character of the hypocrites and rebuking the members of this group commands the Holy Prophet,

1- Not to perform salat over the dead body of any one of them.

2- riot to stand over their graves; and this reality is presented with the sentence

;و لا تقم علي قبره

When the Holy Quran commands that one should avoid these two actions with regard to the hypocrites it means that for others who are not hypocrites these actions are good and worthy to be performed.

How let us see what

'و لا تقم علي قبره "

means? Does it refer only to the standing at the time of burial which in the case of hypocrites is not permissible and in the case of the believers good and necessary? or it refers to standing at the time of burial and other instances?

Some of the commentators think the Ayat refers to the matter of standing at the time of burial but some others like Baizavee see the Ayat from a far angle and interpret it as such:

'و لا تقم علي قبره للدن أو الزيارة'

[Surah Tauba, Ayat 84.]

Paying attention to the contents of Ayat will show that it is having a wider meaning ie. it concerns standing at the time of burial as well as stopping after the burial.

This is because two sentences form the total sum of the purport of this Ayat and these two sentences comprises of:

(1)'ولا تصل على أحد منهم مات ابدا '

The word of , أحد which has been placed in the course of prohibition is good for all individuals.

The word of ابدا is good for all times and the meaning of the sentence will be as such: 'Do not perform salat for any one of the hypocrites at any time".

By paying attention to these two words we can easily understand that the meaning of the concerned sentence is not refering to recitation of salat over the dead body since reciting salat over the dead body takes place only once before the burial and cannot be repeated. If it specifically meant recitation of salat over the dead, then it was needless to bring the word of ww To imagine that this word serves the purpose of expressing all individuals is completely irrelevant because the sentence

'ولا تصل على أحد

is good of such inclusion and purpose and there is no more need to mention it once again.

Moreover, the word ابدا in Arabic refers to time and not individuals such as:

'ولا تنكحو ازواجه من بعده ابدا'

[Sura Ahzab, Ayat 53.]

Therefore the contents of the first sentence is that: never seek forgiveness and mercy for any one of the hypocrites whether at the time of reciting salat or otherwise.


'و لا تقم علي قبره'

The contents of this sentence in connection with the previous sentence is as such:

'و لا تقم علي قبر احد منهم ابدا'

because the adverbs which are present in

  معطوف علي

هare also applicable for


Therefore it cannot be said that -Qiyam- (standing) is the -Qiyam at the time of burial because it is presumed that -Qiyam- (standing) at the time of burial for each one is not subject to repetition and the word of ابدا,which is commendable in this sentence too shows that this action is worthy of repetition.

The reply to the supposition that this word is applicable for all individuals was said in the previous sentence since with the presence of

it is needless to express that once again.

By paying attention to these two points in the words

لا تصل



one can say:

God has prohibited the Holy Prophet from seeking any kind of mercy for the hypocrites whether by means of reciting salat upon the dead body or merely by means of Dua and from any kind of standing over their graves whether at the time of burial or after the burial. This means that these two actions ie. 'seeking forgiveness'and 'standing' is permissible and worthy for the grave of a believer in all the instances and one of the cases is standing for Ziarat and reciting Quran upon a believer who has been buried for years.

Now we shall discuss the virtue and excellence of Ziarat of graves from the view-point of traditions.


From the Islamic traditions which the authors of Sihah and Sunan have narrated we derive the conclusion that the Holy Prophet had prohibited, due to temporary reason the Ziarat of graves and later on allowed the people to make haste for Ziarat.

Perhaps the reason for prohibition was that their dead ones were predominantly polytheists and idol-worshippers and Islam had cut off their relation and affection with the world of polytheism.

It is possible that the reason for prohibition was somethingelse also and that is the newly - converted Muslims were writing vain elegies and saying un - Islamic things over the grave of the dead ones. But after the expansion of Islam and the 'faith' entering into the hearts of people, this prohibition was lifted and the Holy Prophet permitted the people for the sake of educative benefits, to go for Ziarat.

The writers of Sunan and Sihah narrate as such:

(3) كنت نهيكم عن زياره القبور فانها تزهد في الدنيا و تذكره الاخره

"I had prohibited you from Ziarat of graves. From now on, go for Ziarat because Ziarat will make you feel disinterested in this world and make you remember the Hereafter." -[[ Sunan Ibn - Maajah, chapter of

ما جاء في زيارة القبور

' " Vol 1 page 114 Indian print; Sahih Tirmizi chapter of


. Vol 3 page 274 along with commentary of Ibn Arabi Maliki; Lebanon print. After narrating the tradition from Bareeda, Tirmizi says:

حديث بريدة صحيح و العمل على هذا عند اهل العلم لا يرون بزيارة القبور بأساً و هو يقول ابن المبارك و الشافي و احمد و اسحاق'

The tradition of Bareeda is correct and the people of knowledge act upon it. They do not put forward any obstacle for performing Ziarat of graves and they are people like Ibn-Mubarak, Shafa'ee, Ahmad and Ishaaq.

Meanwhile, you may refer to the following documents:

Sahih Muslim Vol. 3. page 65 chapter of

'استئذان النبي ربه عز و جل في زيارة قبر امه

' Sahih Abu Dawood Vo1.2. page 195 Book of


chapter of

'زيارة القبور'

Sahih Muslim Vo1.4. page 73 Book of


chapter of

"'زيارة القبور'

1- Sahih Muslim Vo1.3. page 65; chapter of

'استئذان النبي ربه عز و جل في زيارة قبر امه'

Sahih Ibn-Maajah Vol. l page 114.

According to the narrators of this tradition, the reason the Holy Prophet took permission from Allah for visiting the grave of his mother was that his mother was a polytheist. Undoubtedly the mother of Holy Prophet was a monotheist and a believer like her father, grandfather and ancestors. For this reason all the portion of this tradition is incompatible with the religious standards.

Sunan In - Dawood Vo1.2 page 195. Book of


, Egyptian print along with the additional notes of Shaikh Ahmad Saad from the Ulemas of Azhar. Sahib Muslim Vol 4 page 74 Book of


chapter of

'زيارة قبر المشرك']]-

It is on the same basis that the Holy Prophet was visiting the grave of his mother and informing the people to visit the graves since Ziarat is the source of remembering the Hereafter.

Here is the text of the tradition:

زاد النبي قبر فبكي و ابكي من حوله ....استاذنت في ان اؤور قبرها فاذن الي قزوروا القبور فانها تذكركم الموت'

"The Holy Prophet visited the graves of his mother and cried near her grave and also made others around him to cry. Thereafter he said: I have taken percussion from my Lord to visit the grave of my mother. You too visit the graves since such a visit becomes the source of remembering Clod.

(4)- Ayasha says that the Holy Prophet declared free the Ziarat of Graves,

  ,إن رسول الله رخص في زياره القبور

[Sahib Ibn Maajah Vol.l page 114].

'The Holy prophet permitted the visit of graves'


(5)- Ayesha says: The Holy Prophet taught me the manner of visiting the graves. Here is the text of the tradition:

فامرني ربي البقيع فاستغفر لهم قلت كيف اقول: يا رسول الله قال قولي: السلام علي اهل الديار من المومنين و المسلمين يرحم الله المستقدمين منا و المتستاخرين و انا ان شا' الله بكم لاحقون.

[Sunan Nesa'ee Vol. 3 page 76 and Sahih Muslim Vo1.3. page 64 chapter of:

"مايقال عند دخول القبور."].


'My lord commanded me to come to Baqi and seek forgiveness for them. (Ayesha) says: I asked him how one should seek forgiveness to which the Holy Prophet replied: Say Peace (Salaam) be upon the people of this place from the believers and muslims, May God have mercy on those who have left and those who are to follow. We shall join you all very soon.'

(6)• In another tradition there has come the sentences which the Holy Prophet used when performing Ziarat of graves. it is as follows:

"السلام عليكم دار قوم مومنين و انا وياكم متواعدون غدا ومواكلون و انا ان شاء الله بكم لاحقون اللهم اغفر لاهل بقيع الغرفد."

[Sunan Nesaee Vol. 40 page 76 - 77.].

In another tradition the text of Ziarat is narrated in a different way:

" السلام عليكم اهل الديار من المومنين والمسلمين و انا ان شا' الله لاحقون أنتم لنا فرط و نحن لكم تبع اسئل الله العافية لنا و لكم".

[Sunan Nesaee Vol. 40 page 76 - 77.]

In the third tradition, the text is narrated still differently:

"السلام عليكم دار قوم مومنين و انا ان شاء الله بكم لاحقون"

[Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. 2 page 196].

From the tradition of Ayesha we get this information that whenever night was approaching the Holy Prophet ould go towards Baqi and say:

"السلام عليكم دار قوم مؤمنين و اتاكم ما توعدون غدا موحلون و انا ان شاءالله بكم لاحقون اللهم اغفر لاهل بقيع الغرقد."

[Sahih Muslim Vo1.3. page 63 chapter of

"مايقال عند دخول القبور."].

From another tradition we come to know that the Holy Prophet used to hasten for Ziarat along with a group of people and teach them the manner of doing Ziarat

كان رسول الله يعلمهم اذا خرجوا إلى المقابر فكان قائلهم يقول:السلام على أهل الدار".


السلام عليكم اهل الديار من المومنين والمسلمين و انا ان شا' الله لاحقون اسئل الله لنا و لكم العافية".

[Sahih Muslim Vol. 3 page 110 chapter of

"مايقال عند دخول القبور" ]


The only matter which is remaining is the matter of Ziarat by women which in some of the traditions, the Holy Prophet has prohibited them from doing so.

لعن الله زوارات القور.


[Sahih Ibn Maajah Vol. 1 page 478 1st Edition, Egypt Book of


chapter of

""مايقال عند دخول القبور]

 "The Holy Prophet has cursed the women who go for excessive Ziarat."

But it should be known that utilizing this tradition for proving prohibition of Ziarat is not correct due to a number of reasons:

Firstly, most of the Ulemas think this prohibition to be in the'Makrooh'sense and the reason for it being Makrooh was because of the special conditions prevailing at that time. One of the commentators of tradition i. e., the writer of 'Meftah - ul - Haajah' in his commentary on Sahih of Ibn Majah refers to that and says:

"اخلتفوا في الكراهة هل هي كراهة تحريم أو تنزيه ذهب الاكثر إلى الجواز اذاآمنت الفتنة"."

 [Hawashi Ibn Maajah Vol 1 page 114 Indian edition.]

The Ulemas are having two opinion about the prohibition the Holy Prophet stipulates: That whether it is prohibited in the Makrooh sense or prohibited in the Haram sensel But most of the Ulemas believe that women can go for Ziarat if they are certain of remaining free from trouble.

Secondly, we have read in the previous tradition that Ayesha narrates from the Holy Prophet that the latter declared free the Ziarat of graves.

If the women were excluded from this declaration then it is necessary to remind that this declaration is exclusively for men especially when the narrator is a lady and amongst the people to whom he lie. Prophet) was addressing was a lady and every addressee will natrually think that the order and declaration is directed to him or her. Thirdlly, Some of the traditions mention the manner in which the Holy Prophet taught Ayesha to perform Ziarat of graves[ Refer to tradition no. 8.] and Ayesha herself used to personally visit the graves after the Holy Prophet.

Fourthly, Tirmizi narrates that when Ayesha's brother I. e. Abdur - Rahman - bin - Abi Baker died in Ethiopia his body was taken to Mecca and buried there. When his sister Ayesha came to Mecca from Medina, she visited his grave and recited two poems in his demise.[Sahih Tirmizi Vol. 4 page 275 Book of


, chapter of

"."مايقال عند دخول القبور

The commentator of Sahih 'Tirmizi "Imam Hafez - ibn Arabi' (born on 435 and died on 543) writes in his additional notes on Sahih. The fact is that the Holy Prophet has permitted the men and the women to go for Ziarat. If some of the traditions mention it to be Makrooh it is because of restlessness and impatience near the grave or because of not observing proper Hijab.

Fifthly, Bukhari narrates from 'Anas' that the Holy Prophet saw a woman crying over her beloved one and comforted her to have faith and be patient. The woman not recognising the Holy Prophet, said: "You release me from the calamity which has befallen upon me and not befallen upon you". When it was said to her that he was the Holy Prophet she left the grave and went to the house of the Holy Prophet pleading pardon for not recognising him. The Holy Prophet replied: 'Patience is advised at the time of misfortunes". [Sahih Bukhari page 100 Book of


chapter of

" زیارت الكبور

" Sahih Abi Dawood Vol. 2 page 171]

If Ziarat was forbidden, the Holy Prophet would have prohibited her from this action while the Holy Prophet only requested her to adopt patience. Moreover, after the women visited the house of the Holy Prophet he talked of patience and steadfastness at the time of misfortunes and did not say anything about Ziarat of grave; otherwise he would have ordered her not to visit the grave of her beloved one any more.

Sixthly, Fatemah daughter of the Holy Prophet used to visit every Friday the grave of her Uncle Hamzah and recite prayer and pay hommage to his grave. [Mustadrak Hakern Vol 1 page 377 Wafa- ul - Wafa Vol 2 page 112].

Seventhly, Qurtabi says that the Holy Prophet did not prohibit any lady going for Ziarat. Instead he cursed those ladies who were going for Ziarat very often as he uses the words

  زوارات القور



which is used for exaggeration. [ Abu Dawood in his Sunan Vol 2 page 196 has narrated


Perhaps the reason of cursing such a habit is that excessive Ziarat is the source of spoiling the rights of husband. If such factors are absent in the Ziarat of one lady then there is no problem as such since remembering death is a matter which is necessarry for both men and women.

Eighthly, if Ziarat of grave is the source of getting disinterested towards this world and a reduction of the greed of the person in helping him to remember the Here after, it also brings some benefit for the dead one i. e. for the one who is buried under the soil and is helpless from doing anything. This is because the Islamic ziarat is usually accompanied by recitation of "Fateha" and giving its reward to the deceased. In fact this is the best gift which an alive person can give to his or her beloved dead one.

Ibn Mqjah narrates in his Sahih that the Holy Prophet said:

اقراء و ايس على موتاكم.

[Sahih Bukhari page 100 Book of


chapter of

",زيارة القبور

" Sahih Abi Dawood Vol. 2 page 171.]

"Recite sura Yasin upon your dead ones"

Therefore what is the difference between man and woman that one should be permitted and the other forbidden except that if the women are faced with some special situations which we previously discussed. Now that the matter of Ziarat of the graves of believers is clear for us it is necessary to refer to the valuable effects of Ziarat of the graves of the holy saints and beloved ones of Allah.



By, Syed Mohd Abbas

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