Is it acceptable in Islam to visit grave yards to offer Fateha.
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One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Is it acceptable in Islam to visit grave yards to offer
Fateha. People visit on occasions like Eid etc. even otherwise to offer fateha for their near and dear ones. I have also seen graves made of solid stone and cement with markings.Is this allowed.
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Fatihah and built graves
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Your Question: Is it acceptable in Islam to visit grave yards to offer Fateha.
Abdallah ibn Buraidah reported from his father that the Prophet (saws) said: "I had forbidden you to visit graves, but now you may visit them. It will remind you of the Hereafter." They were prohibited from visitlng the graves because of their proximity to the jahiliyyah (Days of Ignorance) when they used incorrect and obscene language. After they had fully entered the fold of Islam, became well pleased with it, and had fully accepted its laws, the Prophet (saws) permitted them to visit graves. Related by Muslim, Ahmad, and Abu Dawood.
The wisdom behind the allowance for the believers to visit the graveyards was given by the Messenger of Allah (saws) so that the believers would remember that none in creation will or can escape the pangs of death, and to remember the hereafter.
Whenever the Prophet (saws) visited a grave or graveyard, he (saws) would make the following supplications:
Ibn Abbas reported: "Once the Prophet (saws) passed by graves in Madinah. He (saws) tumed his face toward them saying: 'Peace be upon you, O dwellers of these graves. May Allah forgive us and you. You have preceded us, and we are following your trail'."
Related by Tirmidhi.
Aishah reported: "I asked: 'What should I say when I pass by a graveyard, O Messenger of Allah (saws)?' He (saws) replied, 'Say, "Peace be upon the believing men and women dwelling here. May Allah grant mercy to those who have preceded us and those who are to follow them. Certainly, Allah willing, we will join you"'.
Related by Muslim.
There is absolutely no evidence in the authentic and established Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws), nor in the practice of the noble companions, whereby any amongst them recited the Surah Al-Fatihah or practiced any rite or ritual called the Fatihah when visiting the graves or graveyards.
Thus, in light of the above absolutely clear guidance of the Messenger of Allah (saws), it is acceptable, permissible and encouraged for the believers to occasionally visit the graveyards and make supplications for the deceased; but to visit the graveyards and perform any rite or ritual like fatihah, etc. is against the Sunnah and a clear and manifest innovation which must be avoided by the believers who sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day.
Your Question: People visit on occasions like Eid etc. even otherwise to offer fateha for their near and dear ones.
The Messenger of Allah (saws) did not specify a day to visit the graveyards, thus one may visit the graveyards whenever one wills or is convenient for them.
To allocate a particular day to visit graveyards, or to assume that the visiting of graveyards on a particular day is more meritorious or auspicious than on other days, would be an incorrect assumption and belief.
To recite or offer fatihah when visiting the graves is not endorsed in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws), thus it has to be an innovation.and every innovation in the pure and perfect deen of Islam must be avoided by the believers who sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day.
Aisha narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: If somebody innovates something which is not present in our religion, then that thing will be rejected.
Related by Bukhari.
Sahih Muslim Hadith 1885 Narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah
That the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon: The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al Quran; and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohamed (saws). The most evil affairs are the innovations (bida), and every innovation (bida) is an error.
Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4515 Narrated by Ali ibn AbuTalib
That the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: If anyone introduces an innovation (bida in religion), he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation (bida) or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (bida), he is cursed by Allah, by His Angels, and by all the people!
Your Question: I have also seen graves made of solid stone and cement with markings.Is this allowed.
Jabir reported: "The Prophet (saws) forbade the whitewashing of a grave, sitting on it, or erecting any structure on it."
Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Nasa'i, Abu Daw'ud, and Tirmidhi
Abu Hurairah reported: "The Prophet (saws) said: 'May Allah destroy the Jews, because they used the graves of their prophets as shrines (places of worship).'' (Related by Bukhari and Muslim)
Aishah reported: "Umm Habibah and Umm Salamah mentioned to Allah's Messenger (saws) a church in which they saw drawings while in Abyssinia, whereupon he (saws) said: 'Those people used to build a shrine over the grave of a righteous man among them when he died, and make such drawings in it. These will be the worst of people in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection.''
(Related by Bukhari and Muslim)
In light of the above absolutely clear guidance of the Messenger of Allah (saws), it is absolutely prohibited for the believers to build any sort of structure over the graves of their deceased.
Although the scholars of the four major schools of thought in Islam unanimously discourage and consider it disliked to engrave anything on the grave, especially verses of the Glorious Quran, etc., they have differed slightly in their opinion whether it is something absolutely unlawful and prohibited. But all the major schools of thought hold it permissible to place a stone or rock near the grave so that the family members may recognize and locate the grave of their deceased loved one.
The Hanbali school of thought holds that inscription on graves is prohibited, whether it is a portion of the Qur'an or the name of the deceased.
The Shafi'i school of thought also holds that any inscription on the graves in prohibited.
The Maliki school of thought holds that writing any portion of the Qur'an is not permissible, and the writing of the name and date of death of the deceased is disliked and detested.
The Hanafi school of thought disapproves of writing anything on the grave and considers it unlawful, except when it is feared that any trace of the grave might disappear.
In light of the guidance of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and the example of the early companions, the believers should fear Allah and abstain from inscribing or writing anything on the graves of their deceased. The absolute maximum they may do is place a stone or a rock near the grave so that they may recognize the grave of their deceased loved one when they visit the graveyard. And Allah Alone Knows Best.
If one trusts, obeys, and follows the guidance and commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of never ever being misled; but if one believes, obeys and follows any other guidance, other than that of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of being led astray.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,