Kissing the graves of pious people
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Allah (SWA) in the Holy Quran has said:
‘Listen, the friends of Allah shall have no fear nor shall they grieve – those who have believed and have been fearful of Allah. For them there is the good news in the worldly life and in the Hereafter – there is no change in the words of Allah – that us the great achievement.’ (Surah Yunus v.62 – v.64)
Awliya is the plural form of wali. The word wali is used in the Arabic language in the dual sense of ‘near’ as well as ‘friend’ or someone held dear. There is a degree of friendship, love and nearness that is specific to particular servants of Allah (SWA). This is known as nearness in love. Those who are blessed with this nearness in love are called the Awiyahul Allah.
The degrees of this unique wilayah are endless. Its highest is for the blessed Prophets as every prophet has to be a wali of Allah. Then there lowest degree of this ‘wilayah’ is known as the degree of ‘Fana’ (self-elimination: I am nothing, He is everything). It makes the heart of man become so engrossed in the thought of Allah (SWA) that it would not allow any love rooted in this world to overcome it.
Saaidah Asma Bint Yazid Radiallahu Anha reports that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam gave the identity of an Awliyah by saying, “those who, when one sees them, remind of Allah.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
(Extracted from Maariful Quran p.558 – p.561 v.4)
From the above extract we can understand that there are people within our society who are very close to Allah (SWA). These people are the friends of Allah (SWA) thus, it is imperative that we respect them, sit in their company and take blessings from them.
Similarly, in order to rectify oneself and purify ones heart and to get the guidance of such mistakes committed inadvertently in our lives, it is preferable that we pledge to a ‘Murshid’ (preceptor) and become his disciple.
A Murshid is like a spiritual mentor and there are many benefits and advantages of pledging to a mentor and becoming his disciple. It is a way of purifying one's heart and to get the guidance of such mistakes committed inadvertently in our lives. An attachment and trust of the mentor is created in the heart of the disciple and he begins to yearn to adopt the ways and manners of the mentor.
If one inclines to be a disciple, then see if he (mentor) possesses these qualifications and do not pledge to such a person who does not possess these:
1. He should be acquainted with the requisites of Imaan and is not ignorant of the Shariah.
2. Nothing contrary to the Shariah is in him.
3. It should be seen that he is not doing it as a business to earn money.
4. He should be a disciple to a known and well-respected mentor.
5. The mentor should also be known as good amongst the people.
6. His teaching should be so effective as to create love and desire of Imaan in one’s heart.
7. He should be uncompromising in parting religious instructions.
If you can find such a mentor you can pledge to him and become his disciple. However, it should be understood that it is not obligatory to become a disciple. The obligation is to follow the religion and one can do so even without being a disciple.
There are many ahadith which prove the Companions Ridhawnullahi Ajmaeen doing baiah on the hands of the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam. (Behsti Zewar p.415 & Aapke Masaail p.364 v.7)
Respecting the Awliyah’s of Allah (SWA) important, however, to worship or kiss their graves or to prostrate and do tawafs in front of their graves is totally haram and unlawful. Sajdah and Tawaf are exclusive to Allah (SWA) and to the Kabah. The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said “O Allah! Do no let my grave become an idol which will be worshipped.” (Mishkaatul Masaabeeh p.72 v.1)
We are permitted to visiting the graves of these Awliyah and reciting the Quran and doing dua for them.
Allahmah Ibn Abeedeen Shami (RA) uses the hadith of Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah (RA),
“That the Prophet of Allah Sallallhu Alahi Wasalm used to visit the graves of the Martyrs of Uhud every year” to prove one is allowed to visit the graves of the pious predecessors.
Even though some immoral and cultural practices take place at such graves, which are against the teachings of Islam, this should not prevent one from visiting the graves of the pious predecessors.
(Raddul Muhtar P.150 V.3 & Darse Tirmizi P.115 V.2)
However, practices such as adorning their graves with lamps and flowers are not permitted and was not practiced by the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam and by the Companions. (Fatawa Rahimiyah p.413 v.10 & Aapke Masail p.316 v.1)
With regards to your final question, all the Prophets of Allah (SWA) are alive in their graves thus by sending duruud and salutation to the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam, he will hear it and reply to this greeting. Saaiduna Abu Dardah Radiallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said “Recite duruud upon me in abundance on a Friday since it is a respected day. On that day the Angels are present and whosoever sends Duruud upon me on that day then his Duruud is placed before me till the time when they have completed sending Duruud and Salaam.” Saaiduna Abu Dardah Radiallahu Anhu said “I asked ‘O Prophet of Allah. Will you even hear (the Salam) after your demise?’ The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam replied ‘Verily, Allah (SWA) has made it haraam upon the earth to eat the bodies of the Prophets Alayhis Salam. Thus, all the Prophets of Allah Are alive and they are given sustenance.’ ” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
In light of the above discussion we can conclude that respecting our pious elders and saints and holding them in high esteem is necessary however, this does notmean we should exceed the boundaries of the Shariah and start worshipping and Kissing their graves. This is an act of shirk which surely will take a person out of the fold of Islam. And finally, there is nothing wrong in sending duruud and salutations upon the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam and He Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam replies to each duruud and salaam sent.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham